Extremis

May. 20th, 2017 08:30 pm
daibhidc: (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] daibhidc
Okay, the Moff's getting all ontological again.

Well, the big spoiler - it is Missy in the vault. This actually came as more of a surprise than it should have; I had somehow leapt to a wrong conclusion from a standing start, after accidentally glancing at the DWM article on this episode before noticing the spoiler warning and seeing the phrase "The Monk Trilogy". Coupled with "the Monk" being a credited character in the Radio Times (which I'm now sure was a deliberate red herring) and, well, I was expecting an unexpected reveal that there was a completely different renegade Time Lord in the vault.

The flashbacks were interesting. The Planet of People Who Specialise in Killing People was ... well, a very Moffat idea, and added a particularly dark twist to the latest riff on "Look me up!" And of course, while the Doctor might have been responsible for enough deaths to send the wrist-thing beeping manically, he can't just straight-out execute someone, not even (or least of all) Missy. Nardole arriving to remind him of that - with a new "This is what defines the Doctor" speech rather than another "Never cruel or cowardly" paraphrase - was neat, and is presumably the Secret Origin of the Doctor/Nardole team.

Speaking of Nardole, I liked the scene where he actually gets serious about "kicking arse", and then there's the "secret badass" bit, which kind of humorously undercuts it, but without losing the point, so that Bill now takes Nardole more seriously than the Doctor does. It's a shame it didn't actually happen.

Having said that, I didn't feel cheated when I realised (eventually, long after it had been all but spelled out - "So it's all a simulation except the TARDIS crew!" "...except the Doctor and Bill!" "...except the Doctor?") that we'd been following computer simulations for much of the last 45 minutes. They were real enough for the episode.

(Fridge logic does cut in a bit with why the Monks can't just stop the book from existing, or how a simulation can exactly replicate everything up to the Doctor returning from an alien planet blinded if it can't even do random numbers - surely instead of actually trying to come up with a random number, and therefore always using the same pattern, the program would simulate what thought processes Nardole and Bill would go through to come up with a random number, and then they'd say the number they'd say. And if it can't do that, how can it simulate the much more complex thought processes of Nardole starting to suspect he's a simulation and not wanting to test it in case it's true, but knowing he has to?)

Still not sure about the blindness - using the sonic sunnies as a VISOR is arguably a bit of a cheat, but it was presented as an aid, not a replacement. More to the point, they didn't seem to be doing much with it except the ironic "He can't see the book that will kill him but that he needs to examine!" High Concept and jokes about him covering badly. I'm still happy to wait and see where it's going, but I said that last week, and this week I'm starting to suspect that is where it's going. We shall see.
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