clocketpatch: A small, innocent-looking red alarm clock, stuck forever at 10 to 7. (12's Attack Eyebrows)
[personal profile] clocketpatch
So, some jumbled up thoughts as I rewatch for anyone who's interested:


On the Planet Karn, the Doctor is engaged in some discussion with the Leader of the Sisterhood.

"The truth. Will you go."
"No."
"When"
"Soon."

This is a fun bit of dialogue. Very Doctor-y, and very well delivered by Mr. Capaldi. Then things get interesting:

"An enemy is just a friend you don't really know yet. Sorry, was that me being cynical again?"
"Aren't we friends, Doctor?"
"That's different. I don't like you."
"Which means you can trust me."
"You know who to give that to."

Because on the face on it, this seems like just more banter, but after watching the whole story this becomes clear set-up. Davros is an enemy who could have been a friend (and who the Doctor, on some level respects). The Master/Missy is a friend who became an enemy, and the Doctor still regards her as a friend, but doesn't particularly like her. But does trust her, apparently, or at least knows that her actions are predictable enough to serve his purpose.

Anyone can hide from an enemy, Doctor. No one, from a friend.

Thus ends the prologue. I think this the reason is why he wants the dial given to Missy, because the Doctor believes he can hide from her, and he can. Which is why Missy goes to Clara. It might be tradition to give confession dials to your greatest friend, but since when has the Doctor ever followed tradition? I don't think he regards Missy as a friend anymore, but as Missy says, friendship is complex, and she does manage to find him.

One other thought, before proceeding to the episodes proper:

You are embarking on an enterprise that will end in your destruction

I don't think this enterprise is the Doctor's mercy visit to Davros. This isn't just a prologue to the Magician's Apprentice; it's a prologue to all of series 9. Besides which, the conclusion of the Witch's Familiar makes it fairly obvious that the Doctor knew what he was getting into going in, and also knew how to defeat Davros from the get go. He (and we, the audience) did learn some valuable insights about both the Doctor and the Daleks from the result, but I don't think the Doctor ever really felt as vulnerable as Missy proclaims (except maybe at the end, when confronted with Clara!Dalek). He baited Clara and Missy into position for his plan to work, and the bait was the confession dial… but the dial is real. It's the plot point of the series. What is the Doctor's confession? And What is the endeavour that will lead to his destruction?

More on that later, but for now:

Skaro

The gas masks, the fog, the terrified young boy running through a battlefield in the mist. The clam drones (lol, they referenced the giant clams). It's all very evocative, and it raises as many questions as it answers.

I got the strong impression that Davros was behind enemy lines for this sequence, and that the first mercy shown to him was given not by the Doctor, but by one of his own eternal enemies, the Thrals. I'm curious to know what he was doing in the battle field and where he'd seen a hand mine before. Where was Davros running to and from?

And how did the Doctor get there? If the past of the original Skaro and the original Gallifrey are no longer locked (as seen in Listen last series) then, well… I don't know, but it's certainly interesting to speculate on, isn't it?

You've got to make a choice.
Davros. My name is Davros. Help me.

This story isn't subtle about referencing Genesis of the Daleks. "If someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?" The choice is made real and this time the Doctor fails, and is ashamed.
The lengthy pre-credits sequence with Colony Sarff visiting the Star Wars Cantina, The Shadow Proclamation, and Karn is well done and creepy. I enjoy the Sisterhood of Karn especially. "The Doctor is where he always is. One step behind. And one step ahead."

I am intrigued about what the "Suicide moons" the Shadow Proclamation are talking about though.

"Strictly amongst ourselves, a phenomenal kisser." Who do I get the feeling that Clara has been doing Miss Frizzle style TARDIS trips for more members of her class? I'm not certain how I feel about that.

I am highly amused whenever hashtags and Twitter make an appearance in this show which predates personal computers and the internet.

Kate Stewart! Always nice to see. I like UNIT's new Scientific Advisor too. "It's not an invasion because that doesn't come with a fair warning" That's faulty logic Clara. The Sycorax definitely gave fair warning, so did those Cubes from the Power of Three, and any number of other invaders, but I degress.

HEY MISSY YOU SO FINE, YOU SO FINE YOU BLOW MY MIND, HEY MISSY.

It's nice to know that the Space-Time-Telegraph is still working, and that the Doctor still fails to use it to check in. The psychic projection… thing… was weird though. Let's not do that again. (Was it supposed to be some kind of joke about breaking the forth wall?)

Missy is an instant show stealer. Have I mentioned how much I adore Michelle Gomez in this role? When Missy first popped up last series, my first thought, was "Oh no, this is going to be awful," but she has quickly succeeded in becoming one of my favourite (if not my number one favourite) Master. She takes tropes and mannerisms from all her processors, puts her own unique spin on them, and absolutely dominates the screen. She's in a hot, tropical country with a cup of tea, and would like eight snipers please, because she knows that no one trusts her and she's fine with that.

She plays the Master with contempt and malice and confidence:

"Death is for other people dear. Would you like to sit in the shade? I know how you humans burn."

But the little twinge of nerves as she looks in her make-up mirror is brilliant. Missy puts on a good show of confidence, but, unlike the
Doctor, she isn't completely certain of her position, even if she does always survive. Her defensiveness about the confession dial is a part of that.

Personally, I don't think the Doctor has a "Greatest Friend", just as I don't think he has a "Greatest Enemy", or a "One True Love", but Missy wants – needs – to be all of these things at once, and has to put down anyone else who might qualify.

"You're the puppy."

But that doesn't mean that she's not a friend. Because that's what this story is all about, thematically. It's about showing mercy and kindness because we are all connected. Sometimes are friends are enemies and sometimes are enemies can be friends.

"Since when have you cared about the Doctor?"
"Since always."
"But you keep trying to kill him."
"He keeps trying to kill me. It's sort of our texting. We've been at it for ages."
"It must be love."
"Oh, don't be disgusting. We're Time Lords, not animals! Try nano-brain to rise above the reproductive frenzy of your noisy little food chain and contemplate friendship. A friendship older than your civilization and infinitely more complex."

And I guess, one more thought, is that Missy is still evil. She cares about the Doctor, and the Doctor cares about her, but that doesn't make her good. It says something about the poor judgement we sometimes all have with our friends and the people we trust (it's easier to trust someone you don't like, or don't think you like, because your judgement is less impaired?). Don't assume that a person is good just because of who they're friends with.

"How do we find him?"
"Anachronisms. The slightest, tiniest… anachronisms."

It's silly and makes no sense, but Twelve in his magician's coat, stained t-shirt and hoody, playing electric guitar on a tank and making terrible post-dated puns is hilarious. And this scene also contains what I think is this story's biggest strength: small snippets of dialogue which paint pictures of adventures that we don't see but can imagine. Like: "a daffodil is not a broadsword, but I still won the last round". And then, a moment later, when he says, "I spent all day yesterday in a long scarf, and the day before in a long scarf. It's my party, and all of me is invited."

So many good bits of dialogue in this act:

"And you know what they say, hugging is a great way to hide your face."

"It's the wicked stepmum! Everyone hiss!"

The guitar riffs punchlines.

The revelation of Colony Sarff as a giant snake monster is a bit… underwhelming? But still creepy. I'm curious how Colony Sarff ended up working for Davros, or if he's another one of Davros's genetic manipulations.

"Now hang on. Davros is your arch-enemy, now? I'll scratch his eye out." Missy is jealous and horrifying and inappropriate.
And then that's contrasted against the Doctor's shame. The Doctor's conscience.

"Traps are my flirting. This is a trap."

The brief summary of Genesis of the Daleks while they're in the spaceship is great, as is:

"Davros made the Daleks, but who made Davros?" it's clear that the Doctor thinks he is to blame, but he isn't, not really. Davros was a product of his world. He's development of the Daleks predates the Doctor interference.

The Doctor's answer to Clara's question is also interesting. Why did he send her the confession dial?

"I've known her a long time. She's one of my own people."
"That isn't the point… I think you've been lying."

Lying about so many things… I still think that the Confession Dial is significant, and that the fact the Doctor sent it to Missy – "she's one of my own people" – is significant, and the prophesy about the hybrid warrior that shows up in the next episode of the arc is significant, and the fact that Gallifrey and Skaro are no longer time locked is significant.

What I'm saying, is I think that the confession dial has something to do with Gallifrey, and maybe not so much why the Doctor left it,  but who he left it with…

Yeah, I know there is very little (basically nothing, really) to support this theory, but I think that the confession is something to do with Susan (and this will probably be like that time I was utterly convinced that Donna was Romana, but allow me my eccentricities). I also think that his endeavor might have something to do with Gallifrey and bringing it back out of the pocket universe where it's currently hiding. Because I keep thinking... I've been thinking since Eleven regenerated... That Time Lords don't give away free regenerations just because they're feeling nice. Time Lords are calculating. They saved the Doctor so that he might save them, but once he's done that... I don't think that they're going to be very nice to him when they come back.

Any way, enough baseless speculation. Back to the episode! I do like Clara trying to guilt the Doctor into surviving. And "Gravity". .

"How can you and the Doctor be friends?"
"Why shouldn't we be?"

More dialogue on a theme.

Davros is very good in these episodes. As child and as an old man. It is probably the best use of the character since his first appearance. He is not a robot, or a raving lunatic – he is an actual character. The BBC archive clips he plays are not subtle, but they work with the scene and add to it rather than coming across as corny continuity porn.

Twelve and Davros spark off of each other. The entire episode could consist of them shouting at each other and it would still be marvellous.

Clara and Missy ALSO spark. They make an astonishing double act.

Missy and Twelve's shared feared on realizing that Skaro lives is wonderful. As is this line:

"Where does an old man go to die, but with his children." The Daleks as horrible children. Davros as a caring father. And maybe also… foreshadowing? Because the Doctor is an old man too.

"Did the Doctor tell you that? Because you should never believe a man about a vehicle?"

Missy has awesome dialogue.

The ending of this episode is brilliant. Even knowing that they must somehow survive, Missy, and Clara, and the TARDIS being destroyed is a wonderful cliff-hanger. The Doctor's panic as his plan unravels and with it a bit more of his sanity.

"Why have I ever let you live."
"Compassion, Doctor… let me hear you say it just once. Compassion is wrong."

And then the return to Skaro's past, and EXTERMINATE.

*Review to be continued*




 
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