Sunday, July 16, 2017

Doctor Who 10.11: “World Enough and Time”

“We had a pact, me and him. All those stars, we were going to explore them together. But then, he was too busy burning them.”
- The Doctor

Since I found out that John Simm was returning as the Master (and in this episode no less) I’ve been very much looking forward to this episode. I loved him as an adversary for the Doctor but I also liked that they were friends once upon a time. It gives their relationship such a deep history. Before we really dive in to the story of the week, we get our first sort of in media res moment of the Doctor landing the TARDIS and starting to regenerate!

Anyway, we pick up with Missy leading an adventure as a test from the Doctor. He wants to see if she can be good like him. They’ve found a 400-mile long ship trying to get away from the gravitational pull of a black hole. Quite pretty really (the black hole that is). Bill and Nardole are both quite miffed with the Doctor for sending them on this little trip seeing as neither of them trust Missy. She’s having a great time though needling them both about her connection to the Doctor. But as often is the case, things take a nasty turn when one of the ship’s occupants comes in and starts pointing a gun at everyone, demanding to know who is human. A mysterious “them” is coming up the lifts and that only happens if they detect human life signs. The guy thinks if he kills Bill they won’t come. The Doctor pops out of the TARDIS to try and diffuse the situation but Bill gets shot through the middle anyway, leaving a giant gaping hole right through her!

We jump back in time briefly to see the Doctor suggest his plan to let Missy run things (with him observing and keeping tabs) to Bill and Nardole. The Doctor kind of explains to Bill why Missy is so important to him. She’s his oldest friend in the universe and they had a pact when they were children (probably before the Master looked into the Void and went bonkers). Clearly, he misses that friendship and wants to find it again if possible. Bill asks the Doctor to promise that he won’t let Missy get her killed but he can’t promise that (on the premise that she’s human and easily breakable). Cut back to Bill being shot through the middle and some creepy thins step out of the lift and take her away, saying they can repair her. Given their mechanical-like movements and modulated voices, I don’t understand why the Doctor and Missy (at the very least) didn’t put it together that they were some sort of Cybermen.

Given the size of the ship (and some random nonsense about gravity) we learn that the top of the ship where the Doctor, Missy and Nardole reside moves slower timewise than the hospital where Bill finds herself. She’s sort of rescued by this creepy guy that kind of reminded me of a cross between Igor from Frankenstein and a Klingon (in look). But as Bill explores the hospital and finds all these “special” patients in pain, she begins to trust this guy. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the twist regarding this character so I suppose kudos to Moffatt for that but otherwise, I just didn’t get why the Doctor didn’t figure it out sooner!

I did find it kind of disturbing that Bill kept seeing flashes of the Doctor telling her to wait for him (he managed to psychically send her a subconscious message but still, it kind of was jarring to see him just randomly pop up everywhere without warning. It was rather amusing to see Bill and her buddy watch the others at the end of the ship on the TV (it appeared frozen due to the difference in how fast time moved). Eventually, the Doctor, Missy and Nardole get into a lift and head to the other end of the ship. Bill keeps asking how long it will take for them to arrive and her buddy ends up taking her to the operating theater where she gets “converted”. Yeah, this just feels a lot like Dalek Clara from season 7. I mean, I get that Moffatt is running out of new ideas (which is one of the many reasons I’m looking forward to a new showrunner) but come on. I do have to say that the Cybermen aren’t very unique (but at least it wasn’t Daleks again).

By the time the rest of the gang arrives, Bill has already been turned into a Cyberman. The Doctor and Nardole go off and find the operating theater while Missy is left at the computer controls to try and figure out what’s going on. Bill’s creepy friend (who betrayed her) shows up and starts talking to Missy. She’s generally annoyed by his presence as she’s trying to work out what seems so familiar about the whole scenario. She assumed that the ship came from Earth but it turns out that was wrong. It’s from a planet much like Earth that she and the Doctor have (presumably) seen before and just as she figures it out, a Cyberman approaches the Doctor and Nardole. I believe this version of the Cybermen was from the original run of the show which explains the Doctor’s confusion as to why this unit looks brand new. And then, in a heartbreaking moment, he realizes that this unit is Bill. Oh, and the creepy guy turns out to be the Master. How he got there and how he knows Missy is a future regeneration (he says he’s worried about his future) is all very confusing and we better get answers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he’s here and I guess I understand his point about wearing a disguise since he was the former Prime Minister of Britain (I suppose Bill is probably old enough to have remembered Harold Saxon). The look on the Doctor’s face when both versions of his frenemy pop out is a mix of surprise and shock. We are in for one hell of a finale episode.

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