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Doctor Who II


AncalagonTheBlack
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Very solid episode. Silly and nonsensical, but if you don't like silly and nonsensical you should have checked out in 2005 (not to mention several times during the original run). At least it was much better-paced, Sacha Dhawan was excellent and they seemed to have accommodated the COVID restrictions better which pretty much wrecked the last special. Easily Chibnall's best contribution to the franchise.

It sets a record for the number of Doctors that appear (8), but oddly not the number of companions (8), as The Five Doctors (the 20th anniversary special from 1983) had 10.

Also apparently the episode has been submitted to the Guinness Book of Records, or fans are trying to submit it, for breaking the record for the longest amount of time of appearances of a character in a TV show with the same actor. Ian Chesterton (William Russell) last appeared in the final episode of The Chase, which aired as part of the OG show's second season on 26 June 1965, so that's 57 years, 3 months and 27 days. The previous record was set by the soap opera Coronation Street, which had an actor return in 2011 to a role they last played in 1968, and this obviously smashes that by a decade.

It probably therefore also sets a record for the longest span of appearances of a character as well, since Ian also appeared in the very first episode of Doctor Who which aired on 23 November 1963.

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1 hour ago, Maltaran said:

No sillier than when John Simm’s Master was dancing to Scissor Sisters

I love that he went to the trouble of converting a 1916 Russian room to a disco. 
And the cyberman and dalek exchanginf looks was gold

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I was trying to work out which other companions could join the support group and to be honest it's not a long list, due to characters or actors no longer being with us, or the characters being left by the Doctor in different time periods with no reason or capability to get back.

By my count only Polly, Benton, Yates and Grace (if you even count her as a companion and not a one-off guest star) are readily available from the classic pool of companions, and Martha and Donna from the modern companions. Maybe Lady Christina if you count her (Big Finish has given her a big ongoing storyline with her and the flying bus, anyway).

Susan is on future Earth, Vicky is in Greek times, Steven is on a random planet, Jamie is in 18th Century Scotland, Zoe is on 22nd Century Earth, Leela and Romana are MIA after the Time War, Nyssa was left in the future, Turlough is on his homeworld of Trion, and Peri is on Thoros Alpha married to Brian Blessed for reasons that I'm still hazy on (though some hints in the supplementary material she may have returned to contemporary Earth). Katarina, Adric and Sara are all dead, of course (and Katarina's actress is also no longer with us, and Sara's is retired after a series of strokes). So some of those characters could show up again but Graham's support group probably won't be able to find them.

Unfortunately, the actors playing Barbara, Dodo, Ben, Victoria, Liz, Harry and, of course, Sarah Jane are no longer with us.

Rose, Amy, Rory, Clara, Nardole and Bill are obviously in other universes/time periods etc. They could return but only with a massive palaver story-wise. River Song, Astrid and Adelaide are all dead as well, of course, and none of them are from contemporary Earth anyway.

Adam and Mickey are never appearing again without being recast, natch. Captain Jack might make a comeback as Barrowman's offences seem of a much lesser degree and he could get on the contriteness track.

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3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I was trying to work out which other companions could join the support group and to be honest it's not a long list, due to characters or actors no longer being with us, or the characters being left by the Doctor in different time periods with no reason or capability to get back.

By my count only Polly, Benton, Yates and Grace (if you even count her as a companion and not a one-off guest star) are readily available from the classic pool of companions, and Martha and Donna from the modern companions. Maybe Lady Christina if you count her (Big Finish has given her a big ongoing storyline with her and the flying bus, anyway).

Susan is on future Earth, Vicky is in Greek times, Steven is on a random planet, Jamie is in 18th Century Scotland, Zoe is on 22nd Century Earth, Leela and Romana are MIA after the Time War, Nyssa was left in the future, Turlough is on his homeworld of Trion, and Peri is on Thoros Alpha married to Brian Blessed for reasons that I'm still hazy on (though some hints in the supplementary material she may have returned to contemporary Earth). Katarina, Adric and Sara are all dead, of course (and Katarina's actress is also no longer with us, and Sara's is retired after a series of strokes). So some of those characters could show up again but Graham's support group probably won't be able to find them.

Unfortunately, the actors playing Barbara, Dodo, Ben, Victoria, Liz, Harry and, of course, Sarah Jane are no longer with us.

Rose, Amy, Rory, Clara, Nardole and Bill are obviously in other universes/time periods etc. They could return but only with a massive palaver story-wise. River Song, Astrid and Adelaide are all dead as well, of course, and none of them are from contemporary Earth anyway.

Adam and Mickey are never appearing again without being recast, natch. Captain Jack might make a comeback as Barrowman's offences seem of a much lesser degree and he could get on the contriteness track.

Was unaware Adam’s actor had done stiff.

The Moffat era was pretty brutal on companions; they’re all dead (Clara multiple times).

If I was allowes to write Who, I’d reveal Gallifrey-Clara as Romana’s first incarnation.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

and Martha and Donna from the modern companions.

 

Not Donna, unless the specials undo her blocked memories and the need for it.


On the other hand, no particular reason Bill couldn't  show up. It'd be a bit odd but she's got the same powers as Heather, ie she's as capable of going literally anywhen as the Doctor is and a lot easier...

(I still wanna know wtf it was that left a puddle of engine oil that could turn people into something that powerful, though I know Moffatt never actually thought about it or left a line of investigation)

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Thought it was watchable but still very Chibnall. And I rarely much like the grand finales, in any case. They tend to go wildly OTT, use too much CGI, and the writing drops a level. Glad at least that he didn't revisit the Timeless Child stuff, which I hated. Looking forward to the next era. 

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It’s a shame that Chibnall only learned how to properly do the throw it all at the screen method of storytelling on his last episode. Paul McGann still looking good, he could easily be the Doctor now.

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Overall I certainly enjoyed this one, and I loved the Rasputin scene, but I wasn't quite sure about it. The issue is that it never really establishes what the 'forced regeneration into the Master' actually means. How does that work? What are the stakes here? I kind of headcanoned it myself, concluding that the Master used his previously canonical talent of possessing other bodies to take over the regenerated body of the Doctor via the connection during regeneration, but my head is doing a hell of a lot of canon there. And it's still not really clear what that means for the Doctor. It needed a pause there to explain. Plus, the whole story would have had more weight if the only way out was to trigger another regeneration and that's how we end the Jodie incarnation... but then we'd have lost the goodbye scene, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

Overall I certainly enjoyed this one, and I loved the Rasputin scene, but I wasn't quite sure about it. The issue is that it never really establishes what the 'forced regeneration into the Master' actually means. How does that work? What are the stakes here? I kind of headcanoned it myself, concluding that the Master used his previously canonical talent of possessing other bodies to take over the regenerated body of the Doctor via the connection during regeneration, but my head is doing a hell of a lot of canon there. And it's still not really clear what that means for the Doctor. It needed a pause there to explain. Plus, the whole story would have had more weight if the only way out was to trigger another regeneration and that's how we end the Jodie incarnation... but then we'd have lost the goodbye scene, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Also, why can't the Master just go around pretending to be the Doctor to discredit her? He's already a Time Lord, he's got a TARDIS that's already pre-disguised as a police box etc. He doesn't actually need to "become" her.

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15 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Also, why can't the Master just go around pretending to be the Doctor to discredit her? He's already a Time Lord, he's got a TARDIS that's already pre-disguised as a police box etc. He doesn't actually need to "become" her.

It does seem in character for The Master to go for the overly convoluted and especially cruel way of discrediting the Doctor rather than the simpler one.

I thought it was a fun episode. Obviously had some daft moments (such as UNIT deciding to imprison The Master in their HQ when that was blatantly part of his plan or Graeme somehow getting into a Dalek base in a South American volcano on his own) but at least managed to remain somewhat coherent. My first memories of Doctor Who are watching the Sylvester McCoy era so it was nice to see Ace back. Sacha Dhawan is great fun as The Master. Overall I thought it was a good finale for Whittaker as The Doctor, which is good because after a fairly strong first season the quality of her episodes was very variable.

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The more you think about it, the dodgier the Master's plan is.

It would have made more sense to take over the Doctor but keep her appearance the same, then run around discrediting her deeds. You'd then have Whittaker having to play the Master, which would be fun (and you could have Sacha Dhawan kicking around as a mental image or something if you didn't want to lose him from half the episode, or we see Sacha and everyone else sees Jodie, Quantum Leap-style etc).

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9 hours ago, Werthead said:

The more you think about it, the dodgier the Master's plan is.

It would have made more sense to take over the Doctor but keep her appearance the same, then run around discrediting her deeds. You'd then have Whittaker having to play the Master, which would be fun (and you could have Sacha Dhawan kicking around as a mental image or something if you didn't want to lose him from half the episode, or we see Sacha and everyone else sees Jodie, Quantum Leap-style etc).

But the Master can't simply have the ability to possess the Doctor whenever, or that would call into question why he never did it before. Doing it during a forced regeneration allows you to do it as a one-off (or at least unprecedented) event.

As to why actually take over the Doctor? Well, if you just impersonate her, the Doctor is still around somewhere, and even if imprisoned she has a habit of showing up to foil the Master's plans. And the Doctor's appearance isn't necessarily what matters. The Doctor has looked like a lot of different people. But people out there have ways of identifying her despite that.

More to the point, the stakes of the Master impersonating the Doctor are lower in story terms.

Edited by mormont
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9 hours ago, williamjm said:

It does seem in character for The Master to go for the overly convoluted and especially cruel way of discrediting the Doctor rather than the simpler one.

I thought it was a fun episode. Obviously had some daft moments (such as UNIT deciding to imprison The Master in their HQ when that was blatantly part of his plan or Graeme somehow getting into a Dalek base in a South American volcano on his own) but at least managed to remain somewhat coherent. My first memories of Doctor Who are watching the Sylvester McCoy era so it was nice to see Ace back. Sacha Dhawan is great fun as The Master. Overall I thought it was a good finale for Whittaker as The Doctor, which is good because after a fairly strong first season the quality of her episodes was very variable.

Yes. After 50 years of UNIT capturing the Master only for him to escape, often causing a bodycount, woukd surely make them less blase about locking him up. Especially when he oretty much let hinself be captured.

Also, given UNIT has only recently been reconstituted after austerity saw it shut down, surely Kate would be a bit more bothered about losing her HQ and most of her personnel there?

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Also: the Master isn't well. At least in the New-Who era, pretty much all of his (and her) behaviour has been motivated in huge part not just by needing to be 'the Master' but by a huge personal obsession with the Doctor. Him feeling the need to turn her into him doesn't make a whole lot of sense as a cunning plan-  it makes perfect sense as something a stalker with magic science-powers might do.

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He needed the Doctor dead so he could be her and go around having adventures with companions. It wouldn’t really work if he just dressed up as her.

I’m usually quite pedantic about the level of sense in DWs science fantasy but the forced regeneration didn’t bother me. They changed the Doctor into Jon Pertwee so that plus consciousness transfer doesn’t seem like a big leap for Gallifreyan technology. The thing that undermines it somewhat is Chibnall’s own retcon of the Doctor being a unique being who’s the source of the power in the first place so it would be perfectly believable if it didn’t work on her like on other Time Lords.

But I also think using the forced regeneration as the cause of her death would’ve been better. The Qurunx was a dumb invention, could have powered the planet a dozen other ways. And the Master used a little box to make it zap the Doctor, is that what happened? Better if she’d been unstable but able to hold on for a while like Tennant’s original exit. Unstable regeneration would also give you an explanation for the weird regeneration and why she’s regenerating clothes all of a sudden.

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7 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

Outside the UK, Doctor Who is now licensed to stream on Disney+.

The article also mentions Gatwa is officially the 15th Doctor, so Tennant's current incarnation must be the 14th...

 

A bit of outrage over that decision in Australia where it's been available free-to-air on the ABC since 1963. Now people will have to have Disney to access it.

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