The Peripheral: Empathy Bonus

Thoughts on episode 2 of The Peripheral. Book and show spoilers, notes and musings not a review.

SPOILERS follow, you have been warned.

My first thoughts on the opening sequence were “she’s better at the games coz she’s never done it for real”. And we get that hammered home later with the conversation between Burton & Flynne where he chides her for releasing the sheep in game with a sub-text of “do that in real combat & you’re dead”. But obviously there with the in-your-face-text of explaining what an empathy bonus is and how he thinks they’re only in games, and she doesn’t.

Love the dynamic between Burton & Flynne, I totally buy that they’re siblings. Oddly I don’t remember Burton much from the book, he’s not one of the characters that stuck in my mind, but he’s definitely one of my favourites in this. Connor is also pretty much as I imagined him (not necessarily in a visual sense but in a character sense), and he’s one of the characters that did stick in my mind from the book: him, Flynne and Wilf of the ones we’ve been introduced to.

Wilf’s a bit of a fuck-up at this point tho, and I think the way we’re seeing this in the show is different to in the book (where he’s a POV character so we see more of his thoughts). I remember him being more tedious in the book, here he just seems out of his depth. More so than Flynne who’s definitely out of her depth but has more the feeling that she could be a player.

Liked the bit where we see the local crime boss in his VR game and the way it looks like a VR game whereas in episode 1 you think the future-London looks like a VR game before you know it’s real but this “real” game looks just a bit uncanny valley just like games do today.

Also loved the bit where the sheriff is checking out the floating coffee cup, that’s an awesome scene.

Healing Flynne & Burton’s mother, that’s looking for an empathy bonus, isn’t it? One thing I like about the books is how the titles work on multiple levels and so far the titles of the episodes of this do too.

The Peripheral: Pilot

Thoughts on episode 1 of The Peripheral (Amazon Prime TV series based on the William Gibson novel). Book and show spoilers, notes and musings not a review.

SPOILERS follow, you have been warned.

Feels like this is going to be a good adaptation of the book, tho neither J nor I have read it recently enough to remember everything it definitely had the right feel for what we liked about the book. It did change stuff (the stuff Flynne saw in game wasn’t the same for instance) but it all felt like it rhymed.

Quite a few visual reminders of The Matrix without being totally unsubtle. Like the fight in the car between Flynne/Easy Ice and robot, the way she dropped right into a body in another world on a motorbike, even the jacking in/peripheral process. Obviously the original conceptual influence goes the other way round, but the references here were a nice touch and set up the “but wait, is it real?” moment.

I love the way (which is absolutely true to the books) Flynne is the shit-hot gamer but she uses her brother’s avatar and takes his place in games. Male avatar, gender neutral nick, no-one knows you’re a girl on the quake server (unless you tell them) and sometimes that’s a damn good thing. And one thing Gibson is really good at, and always has been, is writing central female characters for his works who are real people and totally badass.

They’re doing neat things with colour, too, I think. The world Flynne lives in is golden. It sucks but the colouring somehow gives it a sense of nostalgia for a lost youth. The world she goes to in the “game” is sharper & colder and bluer.

Doctor Who: Under the Lake

Another two-parter! Which is a little annoying as we’re extremely unlikely to get a chance to watch the next one live … OK so fewer people I read/follow online seem to be talking about Doctor Who so there’s less chance of inadvertent spoilers, but even so it’s a bit annoying to have to wait even longer to find out what happens!

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

Felt like a very classic Who episode in some ways – a locked base episode with running down corridors as the dominant activity, complete with monster of the week that baffles/intrigues the Doctor and a Reason the TARDIS won’t be terribly useful. A big difference, tho, was that once the Doctor introduces himself everyone (nearly?) is all “oh, the Doctor, UNIT, yes we know these things”, he probably didn’t even need the psychic paper. So we don’t have so much faffing about with people trying to assert authority (except Pritchard and it was quickly established he was the one no-one was going to miss when he died).

Ended with a somewhat less easy to unpick cliff-hanger than the last one. I mean, it’s again obvious that the Doctor isn’t dead just like Clara & Missy weren’t. But I’ve less of any idea of how they’re sorting it out: teleport seems less plausible … holograms? we’ve had that flagged as a possibility by the Clara-hologram in the “faraday” cage room (so not a faraday cage, but hey it’s science fantasy not science fiction, that’s the mantra to keep in mind). J pointed out that two of the deaths previously were off-stage with no body visible (top-hat-alien dude and the heroic commander) so maybe the ghosts don’t require death to be formed, but in the case of Pritchard the Creepy Corporation Guy we did actually see his body so that too seems less than plausible. We’ll find out in a week (or two) I guess 🙂

I liked that Cass (second in command, deaf) was characterised primarily as “cleverest in the room when the Doctor steps out” and “sensible”, and deaf was not her defining feature. I think it’s going to turn out to be plot relevant though – we had her skill at lip reading used this episode. But the thing we had flagged up several times during the episode and not resolved was that she won’t let her translator into the ship because it’s dangerous. So she’s perceiving something the others aren’t – could be just she’s the cleverest one, but also maybe not a coincidence that “earworm” was the analogy the Doctor chose?

Odd little interlude in the middle with the Doctor cautioning Clara about “going native”, and the offhand reference to the TARDIS only being big enough for one of him. Clara as wannabe-Doctor or Apprentice Doctor (to be more fair) has been a running theme for most of the time she’s been in the show. That and her seeming inability to take any of the threats seriously – it’s all an adventure and she quickly forgets/doesn’t care about the risks. They’ll win in the end, right? No-one important dies … Which sits oddly against the compassion>* theme of the previous episode. So, yes, odd. Also odd was the Doctor being again ill at ease with the social politnesses of human society – I have a feeling that Moffat Who in general has been keen to use such things to play up the alieness of the Doctor. But it doesn’t sit well with me – in that I don’t expect the Doctor to need cue cards and Clara’s help to remember to say “oops, yes, sorry for your loss” when he tactlessly holds forth about the exciting possibilities of someone’s friend’s death. I do think the tactlessness in the first place is in character tho 😉

I don’t think the titles have anything particularly season-arc significant about them after all, in fact I’m at a loss there – either there’s nothing obvious for the red-thread running through the season or I’m being dumb. Both are eminently possible … and I did forget to look for the wedding ring this time, I don’t think it was a shoved under our metaphorical noses. I like that the sunglasses are a Thing that we appear to be keeping – fits with the “don’t believe what you see” sort of themes too, changing perceptions though the right lenses etc. Even if not significant to the arc (if they’re not) titles are still interesting to think about – I so rarely notice titles (yes, I know, bad reader/viewer, no biscuit) that I forget to think about how they tie into what they’re titling. Under the Lake still pings as Arthurian to me, and we do have a sword popping up as prominent feature of the episode, abeit not literally. Before the Flood is more biblical tho: the sinful world before it was cleansed. And an Ark, a survival pod if you will …

Doctor Who: The Witch’s Familiar

Perhaps the hardest bit of these posts is coming up with something for spoiler space when I advertise them over on Facebook or G+! This evening I’m all out of random witty thoughts to share, so hopefully a couple of sentences saying that will suffice.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

It seems the moral of the story is “don’t do what you’re told”, particularly if it’s an ancient sociopath that’s doing the telling … a sensible idea. But overall a reasonably subversive set of messages we’re being sent so far this season. If you’re shown something, don’t believe it; if you’re given an order, don’t blindly obey. Or perhaps just: think for yourself.

Obviously Clara and Missy survived, and the Doctor didn’t kill Davros-the-child, nor Davros-the-old-man. Although I suppose the implication is that the Dalek sewers/graveyard are going to kill Davros and all the Daleks, but that’ll just be a localised problem that they overcome easily and off camera before the next story they show up in. I wasn’t actually that keen on the reveal that the Doctor had somehow planned to give his regeneration energy to the sewers to spoil Davros’s victory. I know they had to come up with some way to have the Doctor win in the end and escape, but I thought that undermined the difference between Davros & the Doctor that was set up – that the Doctor can have compassion even for his enemy. Though maybe it wasn’t really the Doctor’s plan, maybe he was just using the “cat defence” when he realised he’d been tricked – “I totally meant to do that”.

J was right – Clara was the Witch’s Familiar, with Missy in the role of the Wicked Witch. Another compare & contrast set up – again we’re shown that no matter the Doctor’s faults, the point is that he cares and treats people as people not just as particularly useful pointy sticks. Another parallel between the two halves of the plot is neither Clara nor the Doctor being all that convincing with their “how dare you I’ll kill you” threats. Although the Doctor at least didn’t actually utter the threat just tried to imply it without saying it. But the Daleks didn’t believe him any more than Missy believed Clara.

Seems the season arc this time is about why the Doctor really left Gallifrey, although I’m guessing that just as we never found out the Doctor’s name we won’t find this out either. But we’ve had Missy rubbing it in Clara’s face about her shared past with the Doctor (did she really say “when we had a daughter”? I only half caught that). And Davros overtly mentioning it too. Moffat also clearly wants us to remember the confession disc/last will & testament or whatever that disc really is. (I did like the double fake out with that – the Doctor grabs the glasses and Davros & we assume him to be playing the fool, then it turns out the sunglasses are the new screwdriver (at least for now)). Oh and the ring the Doctor is wearing … called to our attention several times towards the end of the episode. I can’t remember if he wore a wedding ring before or not but it couldn’t’ve been pointed out more if it had had a flashing neon sign above it this episode.

Nice call back to Clara’s initial story with her inside the Dalek. And I liked thematically the idea that Daleks are all about taking emotion and feeding that energy into negativity & destruction. For me it fits into the “think for yourself” theme that these two episodes have – after all how many times does one see a picture or headline in the media or in a widely shared facebook post that’s designed to tug at the heartstrings or generate outrage, and then the story attached encourages the reader to hate “those responsible”. And often if you take the time to look into the story properly it turns out to be bobbins – but it served its purpose in getting people worked up and their hatred pointed in the direction the original authors wanted.

Curious to see if the title of the next episode (Under the Lake) continues to be significant … though that may’ve just been a thing for that two-parter. All “Under the Lake” makes me think of in that sort of context is Excalibur, and nymphs, so perhaps just literal this time. (No spoilers for that episode in comments please, J prefers to remain totally unspoiled.)

Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice

So Doctor Who is back – that kinda snuck up on me, I didn’t notice till about a week ago that it was coming up. It’s about the only fiction I watch on TV and pretty much the only thing I write up for this blog in a timely fashion – more a stream of consciousness bit of chat about the episode than a review per se, and probably won’t make much sense if you didn’t watch it. And yes, I’m waffling right now in this intro paragraph as its sole purpose is to not have spoilers in the entry preview on facebook/G+ 😉

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

So now we’re past the spoiler warning let’s start with the end! Believe nothing you see is my takeaway from the rest of the episode. That was pretty much the theme running through the whole thing – not just the walking out into Skaros when they thought they were on a space station. But also the snakey-dude and the crypto-Dalek. And of course Missy who wasn’t as dead as all that at the end of last season (I mean, we knew she wasn’t but we “saw” a “death” for her). So I don’t believe any of that ending either: not the deaths, not the destroyed TARDIS, not the Doctor going back to kill child-Davros. (Did we even see the deaths live? Or did we just see both on Davros’s screens as the Doctor did? You can do a lot with special effects after all 😉 ) Of course, I’m just left wondering what else I’ve forgotten to disbelieve …

Oh and I think one shouldn’t believe Missy with that “you’re the puppy” line to Clara. Missy came to Clara for help, the Doctor seemed to react worse to Clara’s potential death than Missy’s … if she’s just a pet, she’s not just the cute puppydog. After all, it’s not like Missy turned good, as she demonstrated herself.

Damnit, wrote the above paragraph and it was niggling at me why that felt significant and I got about three lines further into this post & I think it’s just come to me. Look at the title of the episode: “The Magician’s Apprentice”. Isn’t that Clara’s relationship to the Doctor? Next episode: “The Witch’s Familiar”. Clara again? Or is Missy the Witch rather than the Doctor? Or Clara the Witch for that matter? (Or I’m totally off-base with this, but I must pay more attention to the titles than I usually do.)

It really wasn’t where I expected the season to start. I mean: the Daleks, the Master (Mistress, whatever), a two-parter. That feels season finale rather than opener. And more self-contained than a Moffat season normally starts off like – by which I mean that if there is a season arc/season big-bad set up in this one then I didn’t spot it. Moffat may’ve just got more subtle tho 😉 Or I’ve missed something blindingly obvious … or believed something I shouldn’t’ve. I’d call out the fairy-tale feel of the episode titles, but after a few seasons I think fairy-tale is just part of the underpinnings of Moffat Who.

I liked the 80s cheesey music vibe running through this. And the Doctor’s “axe fight” was awesome 😀 As were the crap jokes that were only going to work in a few hundred years time. Clara’s levelled up in badass too – both in terms of leather jacket wearing motor bike riding, and in terms of being called in by UNIT as much in her own right as because she’s the conduit to the Doctor, and facing down Missy. Obvious film reference was Star Wars, and I did enjoy seeing the seedy spaceport bar Doctor Who style.

Looking forward to finding out what happens next, about the only thing I’m sure about is it won’t be what I expect.

Doctor Who: Last Christmas

The blog’s on a little bit of a hiatus at the moment – as might’ve been apparent. A combination of being very busy in December and wanting to get some posts written so I have a buffer between writing and posting! It will return properly in a couple of weeks or so. However, I wasn’t going to not write up and post about Doctor Who in a reasonably timely fashion! We watched it on Christmas Day at J’s parents place – the toddler in the house kindly (well …) let us have the telly before he went to bed 😉

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

I liked the episode a lot – less cutesy than the Christmas episodes often are, whilst still being Christmas themed. And even quite dark in places, with an unsettling ending. I did find the comedy elves tedious, tho – particularly the “that’s (not) racist” string of jokes.

Having the film references be not just obvious but also part of the storyline was quite cool. I’ve seen someone elseweb say they didn’t like the reveal at the end of Shona’s film viewing list for Christmas Day as they thought it was too heavy handed, but I thought it was a nice touch – another reinforcement that everything before was part of a shared dream state. I found the references particularly fun this time too as we’d just finished watching Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction (an interesting series, recommended) which had talked about the isolated-science-base-wakes-something-horrific theme in science fiction as one of its topics.

Of course the film reference they didn’t explicitly mention was Inception, which wasn’t so much a passing reference as the underpinning of the plot (tho I haven’t seen Inception to really draw parallels I just have a pop-culture awareness of it). Not just with the popping in and out of dreams within dreams, but also the ways you know it’s a dream – Santa obviously was one here, but also the orange which we see again at the end … That and the whole “second chances being rare” thing do make it a trifle unsettling at the end. I’m again wondering about the dreamlike/fairytale nature of some of the stories from last season – but again I don’t think they’d actually go there. Probably.

The return of Danny worked for this episode – but hopefully that’s done, bringing him back over & over would cheapen the ending of the previous season. Another thing I saw in passing elseweb was someone noting that the Clara/Danny relationship worked better in this episode than it often seemed to in the previous episodes – perhaps a sign it was always better in her dreams than the reality (and hence the constant lying). It was also an interesting counterpoint to the Amy/Rory relationship – Amy’s choice in a dream where Rory died was to die herself; Clara’s dream resurrection of her boyfriend had him persuade her to wake up and live.

Long wait till the next season now!

Doctor Who: Death in Heaven

The last Doctor Who before Christmas! Which isn’t that long a gap, to be honest but I’m trying not to think about that as I’ve not even begun to consider Xmas shopping yet 😉

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

I thought that was a good end to this season of Doctor Who – for a change a Moffat written finale that actually hung together without becoming too clever for its own good.

The scene I talked about last time as having been in the trailer but not in the story yet was the bit with Clara announcing that “Clara Oswald” had never existed. Which was misdirection, so I completely fell for that. It worked well in context – a lot of the arc of this season has been about Clara thinking of then putting into practice the answer to “What would the Doctor do if he was here?”. And announcing she was the Doctor was certainly worth a try.

It is presumably no coincidence that this season’s story revolved around soldiers and their actions and sacrifices, with the finale airing the day before Remembrance Sunday in the centenary year of the start of WW1. And once I’d thought of it like that, it’s made me think of the Kipling poem “Tommy”, here’s a verse from it:

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap.
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? ”
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

Which casts the soldierphobia and persistent mockery of Danny Pink by various characters in the show in a bit of a different light – he’s Tommy, he’s the un-appreciated veteran, and he’s the saviour that stands between the people of Earth and destruction when the time comes.

After, of course, he has his heart ripped out of him by Clara’s defence of the Doctor “her best friend, the one man she’ll never lie to”. Poor Danny. And he probably doesn’t realise that’s another lie – Clara lies to the Doctor just as much as she lies to everyone else. I’m glad they didn’t cheapen the story by making Danny decide to live – they’ve been building up his sense of honour throughout the season so it wouldn’t’ve felt right for him to come back from the dead. Poor Clara, nonetheless.

I was a bit shocked by Osgood’s death though, and by the fact that it stuck – just after the Doctor noticed her enough to hint he’d take her on the TARDIS. Which meant that the Brigadier’s daughter being saved by the Brigadier was even more startling. The Brig wasn’t one of the old Who companions I imprinted on particularly, most of his stories were a bit long ago for me to remember. So those scenes didn’t have quite the same impact on me as on other people, but it was still a pretty neat way to say farewell to the Brig after his actor’s death.

(I do, however, find the “you can resist cyberconversion by the power of love” thing a bit crap. Barring a few sociopaths most people love somebody so how on earth do cybermen ever convert anyone for heaven’s sake??)

The lies between the Doctor and Clara at the end and the appearance of Santa Claus on the TARDIS presumably mean we’ll get Clara back for at the very least a proper farewell. My friend Tash pointed out that Clara is presumably pregnant with Danny’s kid so that Orson Pink can exist, and I’m inclined to agree. Although it is possible they’ll just dodge all of that with a handwave about “time can be re-written”, but “Danny didn’t come back and I’m pregnant” would make sense for the news Clara wanted to tell the Doctor.

I haven’t mentioned Missy yet – I did like her as the next incarnation of the Master. And the scheme whereby she invents an afterlife to harvest minds to in order to create the cybermen was just the sort of ludicrous over-the-top and nutty plan I associate with the Master. And I was amused by the evil-Mary-Poppins costuming & mannerisms, too 🙂

Looking back at the season as a whole I think I was wrong about most of the links between the individual stories and the season arc. But despite the hit & miss start I really enjoyed the season in the end.

Doctor Who: Dark Water

Writing this up a little late, as we ended up extremely busy this weekend & at the beginning of the week, so I’m sure some of the things I thought of to say at the time we watched it have vanished from my head. Oh well.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

Wasn’t expecting that opening sequence at all. Danny goes from being mostly irrelevant (and not well treated by Clara) to fridged. I liked the way Clara reacts – felt very true to character, and a good pay-off for several “don’t make threats you won’t carry through” moments through the season. And there’s more than one pay off to that in this episode – in retrospect it’s been a theme of the season but I don’t think I’d consciously realised that till just now. Clara is definitely a woman who doesn’t make threats, she makes promises … even when sometimes the result is akin to cutting off her nose to spite her face, as with switching off communication with Danny later in the episode.

Another recurring thing this episode was about “missing the headline” – commenting on/talking about one thing when another thing is more significant. So I’m pretty sure there’ll be pay off to that next episode. There’s a scene from the trailer for the finale that we haven’t had yet and I reckon either what Clara was saying in it was total misdirection or that fits in here with missing the headline in her opening conversation with Danny (despite her insistence she’s started with the headline). Being vague because J doesn’t watch trailers and doesn’t want spoiled for it.

We did find out quite a lot of what’s going on here though – Missy == the Master as speculated. And she’s taking backups of dead people and convincing them to delete their emotions prior to re-downloading them into cyberman bodies inhabited by corpses. There’s a lot of resonance here to the opening episode with Clara (modern-Clara that is) – The Bells of Saint John (post) – can’t claim credit for thinking of it myself, I read someone else’s hope that the current story wouldn’t save Danny whilst writing off all the other dead minds in the same way that first story saved Clara but not all the rest. But definite reminders of that episode now I think about it. I’m presuming that Missy is the woman who gave Clara the phone number that gets her in touch with the Doctor. There are also minds that are uploaded in some fashion, with dead bodies left behind. Tweaking of the emotions once the mind is digitised too – I remember sliders to move emotion/intelligence etc up and down. I’m not suggesting a direct link of any sort here, just that there’s a lot of resonance and it feels to me like we’re maybe supposed to be reminded.

Definitely looking foward to the next episode and finding out the answer to what’s going on! 🙂

Doctor Who: The Forest of the Night

I thought this Doctor Who episode was rather charming, in a fairytale sort of way. Which isn’t necessarily a universally held opinion, as I’ve seen at least one “Worst. Episode. Ever” post! A non-spoilery way to sum it up might be that if you hated the science in Kill the Moon (post) then you probably wouldn’t like this episode either.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

I liked the opener with Maebh running through the forest to look for the Doctor, and I loved the way her name and her costuming and her behaviour throughout the episode back up the fairy tale feel of the episode. Mind you, I suspect if you’ve actually had auditory hallucinations as part of a mental illness then you might find the “she’s tuned into another channel” stuff rather irritating – it’s a bit too dismissive of what is an actual problem for some people not just a fairytale plot device. However, even given my misgivings about that, I think it was apt for the mystical feel of the story.

The bit with the wolves, then tiger, was a funny set piece but felt fairly disconnected from the rest of the story – I guess left in to hammer home the Little Red Riding Hood motif, and to show Danny as good at the Doctor style stuff. Overall I thought this episode did a really good job of showing how Danny and Clara both have strengths when dealing with the mundane type stuff (the teachery looking after the kids stuff) and the adventure type stuff. But they have such very different priorities – and it was clear both were right, but right from different perspectives. Clara might say she finds Danny’s priorities attractive, but I don’t really buy that she believes that deep down. Or rather, I think she likes the idea that he’s a stable place to come home to, but has no intention of settling down.

Interesting juxtaposition between this episode and the previous one – in Flatline the Doctor hopes the monsters aren’t monsters, but they are. In this the Doctor assumes the forest grew for nefarious reasons, and it hadn’t. I was reminded by the overall plot of something I’ve been mildly amused by in a much more mundane setting recently. Our cat has a flea infestation so we’re grooming him regularly which he isn’t keen on, and I reckon he’s thinking to himself “if it isn’t bad enough having fleas biting me, now the humans keep combing me too, couldn’t they wait till I was over the fleas?!”. And the arc of this episode was “first a forest grows overnight, next a solar flare, couldn’t the trees have waited till some other time?!”. And yeah, much the same reasons – the forest/grooming is because of and intended to solve the solar flare/fleas. Of course, trees growing like that and vanishing afterwards with no ill effects is frankly ludicrous, and wouldn’t protect from a solar flare either. As with Kill the Moon the very fairytale unreality of it makes me wonder about the reality of the universe this season is set in.

And next is the start of the season finale! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing where the Missy stuff has been going (and if the fairytale stuff is significant or not). I’m not going to speculate out loud about any of that tho – J’s pretty spoilerphobic so doesn’t watch the trailers for next week each time. And I don’t think I could speculate without drawing on that. On that note please don’t discuss spoilers from the trailer in comments anywhere.

Doctor Who: Flatline

Another good episode. And as always around this point of the season I’m running out of things to say above the spoiler cut …

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

I liked the monsters, particularly the gradual ramping up of their abilities as the reconnaissance missions gave them results and taught them about 3 dimensions. And the whole “they’re in the walls” thing was creepy, and well done – you twig to the floor thing just before the characters do. Although I’m not quite sure why they’d want to invade/kill people other than “because”, but I guess that’s a time honoured Doctor Who baddy rationale. And I liked the way their tech? powers? were used to accidentally mess with the TARDIS’s external dimensions – I’m not sure that’s been done before in the series. I do tend to like it when the TARDIS’s abilities and attributes are used for more than just a glorified taxi service in the story.

The tiny TARDIS in the handbag, with the Doctor’s hand handing out gadgets and tools as she needed them was pretty funny, too 🙂

Clara’s been learning well from the Doctor about how to take charge of a situation and project confidence in her “plan” whilst she makes it up as she goes along. And I liked that she does step up to the challenge, and she does well – she keeps most people alive after all. As with last week though I think we get hints that she’s not necessarily learning the right things from her association with the Doctor. This isn’t entirely a companion that’s becoming her best possible self due to the Doctor’s influence is it? She’s getting the arrogance and the external shell of pragmatism, but it’s not clear that she’s continuing to care on the inside. Just a bit too cavalier about the deaths she couldn’t prevent, just a bit too quick to lie and manipulate. Mind you, she’s not very good at lying when it isn’t a life or death situation – witness how quickly she’s caught out by both Danny and the Doctor for the lie at the end of last episode. I had assumed the storyline there was to be Clara+Danny4eva, but I’m not so sure any more – I find it hard to see how she can salvage the relationship from here. Unless Danny is as stupid as she treats him as, of course … which would be a shame.

I’m also reconsidering where the Missy plot-line is going, too. That scene at the end where she talks about having chosen Clara well is intriguing. And does, I think, make it obvious that she’s the lady who gave Clara the TARDIS phone number way back in the first episode with this Clara. Only 3 episodes left in the season so I guess we get to find out what it’s all about soon! Hopefully it’ll be a bit less nonsensical than previous Moffat season finales – it’s definitely done with a lighter touch throughout this time round.