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Say hi to Thirteen!

I finally got to watch "Twice Upon a Time". Unfortunately, the BBC now doesn't allow iPlayer to stream to masked IP addresses, so I can't VPN to watch, so I had to buy it on Amazon. Next season, I guess I'll have to pre-buy the whole thing. Or move to England, which is much more appealing. ;)

Comments behind the cut. Somewhat spoilerific.


It was mostly just meh. Lots of talking, a hell of a lot of trying to be deep and meaningful. More appropriation of canon history - the First Doctor not wanting to regenerate, rather than his canon dignified acceptance of his death; the identity of the captain to wow the audience (couldn't they have referred to some other important character, rather than bringing him back yet again?); more explanations of why the Doctor left Gallifrey. Scenes of discrimination against Bill and/or mentions of her orientation, since that was a requirement of every episode this season.

"Ponderous". That's the word. The show has been ponderous for at least the past season, if not all the way through Twelve's run, and that's what this episode was.

All right, enough whining.

Mostly, the plot was pretty weak. It basically served the purpose of putting obstacles in the Doctor's way so that there was time for the characters to make long monologues about purpose, fairy tales, and memory. Its main goal was to provide both Doctors a reason to regenerate, and, well, I'm hard pressed to actually state what did it: something about the Christmas armistice showing that good things do happen sometimes, and that's worth living for?

The Testimony was interesting and cool, but waaaay OP. (That's "over-powered" in gamer lingo.) Moffat just gave the show the ability to bring back any character ever, for no reason and with no consequences. But again, that fits his storytelling patterns.

It wasn't a bad episode. It just wasn't good. Oh, except the Doctor's final speech was just horrid. For me, it encapsulated everything about the past three seasons: Peter Capaldi given the worst material and just running with it. He's really a fantastic actor and his Doctor was great; he deserved better.

My husband couldn't help but joke that "Oh, typical: new girl Doctor is a bad driver." :) I wish we'd gotten to see more of Thirteen here - all of the previous Doctors got a few lines to say, even Ten -> Eleven, who also regenerated alone. We got a nice glimpse of who Eleven was in his first appearance. But I will say, I was very pleased that Thirteen saw herself and smiled. I've been apprehensive that the first female Doctor would be plagued with adjustment problems and that doesn't look likely anymore.

One last weird thing... During the very short scene between One and Twelve where they're talking about why they don't want to regenerate, I realized that the music in the background was familiar. I thought about it for a moment and identified it as a new, soft and sweet arrangement of the music from "Doomsday", the iconic music from the scene where Rose dreams that the Doctor is calling her to Darlig ulv Stranden, and then their meeting there. Such an odd choice! I still haven't figured out the significance of that.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
flowsoffire
Dec. 27th, 2017 10:22 am (UTC)
Psssst: the music from this whole episode was PACKED with callbacks. I definitely recognized Doomsday, "Vale Decem" from Ten's regeneration, various tracks from the Twelve era such as the Singing Towers theme and the Heaven Sent music, but I also thought I could hear some Eleven era tunes and maybe even one from Donna's era, I can't be sure! It just seemed they were doing ALL THE HISTORY for Moffat's goodbye, but stretching far beyond his era, which felt both slightly strange and pretty cool. It's the whole history of the show, which fits with the plot, except they couldn't very well do classic!Who music.
shivver13
Dec. 29th, 2017 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, I definitely heard a lot more than just "Doomsday", but it seemed odd to me that the music didn't match what was going on in the show. Usually they make sure the music means something, like playing "This is Gallifrey" when they're talking about Time Lords. They just seemed to be stuffing callbacks in wherever they could. Which I suppose is another thing that prevented the episode from being cohesive.
flowsoffire
Dec. 29th, 2017 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, I see what you mean. I think they probably thought out where they wanted to place the callbacks, but they must have spread them out all throughout the episode and it could seem pretty disjointed to us, one would need a rewatch to know for sure…
bas_math_girl
Dec. 27th, 2017 01:51 pm (UTC)
According to the Radio Times the answer to the music question is number 11 on this list: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2017-12-26/doctor-who-christmas-special-easter-eggs/ (whereas I merely found myself counting how any times Rose and Clara unnecessarily were referenced...)
shivver13
Dec. 29th, 2017 05:12 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, sneaking in the music at inappropriate times and just the general feeling of "Hey, remember when I did this?" that pervaded the episode made it feel like Moffat's love letter to himself (and by extension, Murray Gold's).

I didn't really notice too many references to Rose (perhaps one), but I knew that there would be more Clara. It was pretty much a given that Twelve would get his memories of her back - after all, undoing what little character development that's happened with a feel-jerker scene is a hallmark of Moffat's writing.
alumfelga
Dec. 27th, 2017 10:00 pm (UTC)
The rumour is, Murray Gold is leaving, too and it was his last episode, hence those pieces from previous seasons. I was surprised to hear "Doomsday" and "Vale" in scenes that had nothing to do with, well, Ten, and glad to hear the Doctor's theme again. If Gold is really gone, I'll miss him more than I'll miss either Moffat or Capaldi.

I'm glad it wasn't only me who didn't like Twelve's final speech. I thought it was too long and sounded like Moffat just couldn't (ironically) let go. Oh, just write Chibnall a letter if you need to and let your time come to an end. Capaldi deserved better final words.
shivver13
Dec. 29th, 2017 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm with you. I will definitely miss Murray Gold more than anything in the last three seasons. Except Jamie Mathieson. I hope that Chibnall contracts him to write more episodes.

You know, I have to admit, I didn't really hear the whole speech. My mind just wandered off in the middle of it. I had a bit of a problem with that through the episode - about three or four times, I found myself just off in la-la land while characters were talking.
alumfelga
Dec. 31st, 2017 04:01 pm (UTC)
You know, I have to admit, I didn't really hear the whole speech. My mind just wandered off in the middle of it.
You didn't miss anything new. Moffat already said it all, except one bit that was Capaldi's.
tkel_paris
Dec. 28th, 2017 04:09 am (UTC)
It was a big WTF for me. I was annoyed over Clara's words, thinking about a few other things that were FAR MORE rude for the Doctor to forget about. And it was slow enough that I had time to be annoyed with the number of WTF thoughts I had in trying to follow what was going on. Although I didn't dislike it as much as I disliked Eleven's last episode, it was NOT one of the stronger Christmas specials. I think the worst of the ones with David Tennant was still stronger than this one. (Mind, I liked this one better than I did the 2014 Christmas special. Not that that's saying much.)

Twelve had to give a lot of speeches, didn't he? Why do I suspect the next Doctor promptly forgot all of those words? Especially in light of how the special ended?
shivver13
Dec. 29th, 2017 05:28 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree with you that it was better than Eleven's finale, but not a great special. I absolutely think that all of DT's specials were better. This one suffered from discarding plot in favor of trying to be emotional and deep. Oh wait, that pretty much covers most of Twelve's run. (I did like parts of the 2014 Christmas special, but as a whole, it didn't really hold up.)

tkel_paris
Dec. 31st, 2017 04:31 am (UTC)
That's why I was constantly feeling WTF moments! The plot was almost non-existent! Ugh! Way to leave the fans disappointed, Moff. I badly wanted PC to stick around for ONE year under the new showrunner. (I loved the line about "no wonder you're always being invaded". That was the highlight. But the ending made me mad; brought back to mind the Dallas plot-fix I heard so much about growing up. Never mind the idea that the ending fix could've been used in ANY Christmas special before, so why now?)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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