Spoilers Orphan 55 grade and discussion thread

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by The Nth Doctor, Jan 12, 2020.

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How do you rate Orphan 55?

  1. Oh, brilliant!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 9

    1.4%
  3. 8

    8.1%
  4. 7

    6.8%
  5. 6

    21.6%
  6. 5

    16.2%
  7. 4

    8.1%
  8. 3

    8.1%
  9. 2

    5.4%
  10. Rubbish

    24.3%
  1. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He didn't? Well I guess that explains why I liked it so much. Also like having Rose's mom in the episode. I miss that character almost as much as Rose.


    Jason
     
  2. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Just noticed the AI for this episode is out and it's 77, which is the lowest AI of any episode since Love and Monsters. In fact Chibnall Who now has as many <80 episodes as RTD did (though in fairness the three RTD had all came in the first two seasons) Moffat Who only dropped below 80 once.

    If anyone's interested those episodes are:
    Rose- 76
    The End of the World- 76
    Love and Monsters- 76
    Sleep no More- 78
    The Tsuranga Conundrum- 79
    The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos- 79
    Orphan 55- 77

    You can argue that it isn't very objective, no way are Rose and The End of the World two of the worst episodes in the show, and though not on the list Heaven Sent only scored 80, bit it is interesting that the show used to routinely score mid to high 80s when Tennant and Smith were the Doctor. With Capaldi and Whittiker (and in fairness Eccleston) the show skews towards the low 80s.
     
  3. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    No Russell T Davies wrote it. Chibnall didn't write for the show until "42" in Season 3
     
  4. USS Fardell

    USS Fardell Captain Captain

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    Orphan 55
    The third episode of Series 12. Where to start. Is this as messy as Rise of Skywalker? Maybe, maybe not. But the feeling of dissatisfaction is about the same. Certainly is a let down compared to both parts of Spyfall. On to the actual story. Graham has collected coupons for a vacation in Tranquility Spa. It seems that the rest of Team TARDIS has noticed that the Doctor has been in a strange mood (but this isn't developed in this episode.) The coupons form a teleporter, so they are teleported from the TARDIS to the hotel...
    From there the story starts, and we are introduced to the hotel, and the other guests and staff. But something is amiss. And not just Ryan being infected by something from a vending machine (which will become important later). That sequence was certainly done rather well. But then the hotel comes under attack, which is where the plot mess starts. Jumping about from character to character as they react to the crisis. The best part is the Doctor taking charge of the situation, not only rebuilding the ionic membrane (whatever that is), but trying to ensure everyone's safe.
    However one person's missing. “Benni! Benni! Where's my Benni?” This could have been done better. The whole Benni plot seems to be poorly done. Was it the directing, the writing, or both? Something came up wanting. The part where he wants to die was grating. But there's more to this. After they are surrounded by the Drex (the attackers), the group is forced to go underground, where Team TARDIS discover that the planet, Orphan 55 is Earth! This reveal has been done better elsewhere, even in Classic Who.
    Ryan and the young lady, go to the hotel, while the Doctor investigates the Drex, learning they are survivors of a nuclear war that had been caused by climate change induced chaos. Certainly something topical, but more on it below. Still more messiness ahead. The mechanic's child proves more competent than he at using the virus that affected Ryan to allow the teleporter to work properly. That work's a little, but it should have been set up better. And the ending with the Spa CEO and her daughter also seems unnecessary.
    The Doctor's ending monologue was also a little heavy handed. People can be the best of humanity, but they don't need to be preached to. Sigh; 6.75/10.
     
  5. Trinity Gingerbread

    Trinity Gingerbread Time is ticking away, tick, tick, ticking away. Premium Member

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    I gave it a 6.

    There were good bits but there were a few bits I didn't like and that's about it. I don't have an awful lot to say about this one.

    Sleep No More ranks on the same level as Kill The Moon as far as I'm concerned and that is "rubbish level"
     
  6. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Fear Her is still the worst of Nu Who - this one atleast had some good visuals. Sleep No More was OK as a Halloween episode, until the tag scene which makes no sense and logically would be the end of the series (The Doctor lost and all life is transformed into sandmen)
     
  7. Trinity Gingerbread

    Trinity Gingerbread Time is ticking away, tick, tick, ticking away. Premium Member

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    True but it's not a "fixed point" in time so it never happens haha.
     
  8. CuriousCaitian

    CuriousCaitian Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe this is the first time I've changed my vote on an episode, and it wasn't for the better. While watching it had a brisk, urgent, faintly survival-horror-ish feel that was decently engaging, but the more I think about it the less I like it overall.

    For one thing, this episode started in a really bright, almost goofy way, with the teleporting invite, Lady Barf, Ryan working through the hallucinations and the green-haired pair, and then spun to the survival stuff, which jarred. It was also pretty predictable - as soon as I saw the elderly couple I knew one or both of them would be dead by the end - and derivative - I too thought of the Metro games, for example.

    A third death-heavy episode in a row, too, with such a focus on killing the characters you liked, the nicer characters, I was honestly expecting the kid to die. Still, if it keeps the gorehounds here happy... ;)

    And yes, it was very heavy-handed at the end, to the point even I, who would very much like to whack several world 'leaders' hard in the face with an anvil marked "do something, you idiots", thought it a tad much. The generic, one-note mutants didn't exactly help, either.

    I'm really hoping for a true lighter episode this season, for some real tonal variety. As others have alluded, there's a dark, heavy undertone to much of Chibnall Who that weighs it down just a little, starting right with the near-industrial take on the theme. The show could do with being a little lighter on its feet.
     
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  9. Evil Robert

    Evil Robert Admiral Admiral

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    I gotta ask, what is with all the hate for 'Fear Her'?

    It has never been in my Top 10 NuWho, but I never thought it was that bad, and I've never really heard much flack about it (or if I have, I've long forgotten). Either was it was never in my concious with L&M or Sleep no More as one of the most hated episodes.
     
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  10. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Honestly, it's never bothered me that much either. The worst part for it for me was the hokeyness of The Doctor's Olympic Torch run, but even that isn't so bad. Plus, it guest starred NIna Sosanya, who is great in everything I see her in these days.
     
  11. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think this episode might be my least favorite Dr. Who episode I've ever seen, since its inception. I've definitely seen more boring episodes, and I've definitely seen episodes even less well-written (but not many). But, this is the first time I've ever groaned through an episode. As a fan of the show, I can even enjoy the not-so-good episodes. This is the only episode that I wish I could un-watch. Has the idea of "possible earth futures" ever been presented before? How can the Doctor, who has been running back and forth through Earth's history thousands of times, suddenly be taken by surprise and only realize the orphan planet is Earth moments before the others do? And then being hit over the head with the very explicit "Climate Change" warning was the final nail in the coffin of this juvenile story. Like after watching 1 billion animals burn in Australia, I need to be motivated by the thought of humans mutating into CO2 breathing alpha-predator carnivores that can survive centuries with no prey.
     
  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Bold statement. It's not really a good episode, but it's hardly as bad as you're making it sound. The worst part about it was its heavy handed preachy final scene, but even that as bad as it was isn't something I wish I could un-watch.
    Sure, we've seen all kinds of contradictor future Earths over the course of the Doctor Who franchise going back to its beginning. If you're still having trouble with the concept, then look at the future presented here as one which is not a fixed event, meaning it doesn't have to happen and can be changed without damaging the space/time continuum,
     
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  13. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't intend it to be a bold statement. It's just my opinion. Of course "un-watch" is just a word to exaggerate my feeling.

    I'm not having trouble with the concept, as I've seen it in other sci-fi, and there is even scientific theories about the idea. But, for some reason, I'm not recalling alternate futures specifically in Doctor Who. I'm not one who has a great memory and we're talking about some episodes I saw in my youth 40+ years ago. Could you give specific examples where we have seen alternate futures? I do recall the "rebooting" of the entire universe, but the history seemed to mostly replay itself.

    I'd be curious to go back and watch those and compare to this episode. Somehow something about this episode was very "un-who-like" to me. Maybe I'm not identifying the correct reason for my feeling.
     
  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was more thinking along the lines of times where the Doctor has gone into the subjective future from the audience's perspective and its different from how things actually turned out. Like Enemy of the World, is supposed to be mid 2010s, for example, yet here we are 2020 and the world has never been ruled by a dictator named Salamander.

    Certainly there have been other takes where Earth is eventually abandoned and re-populated by someone else. The first four episodes of Trial of a Time Lord, for example. Pyramids of Mars briefly shows an alternate 1980s Earth.
     
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  15. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I will check those soon. It's getting close to the time of year I renew my Britbox subscription.

    So, my problem is a major alternate reality time line that would nullify the other Earth futures the doctor sees in other episodes. If we see a Who-timeline that is different from our timeline, that is different than two different Who-timelines. We also have alternate universes in Who, but to me, that is also different.

    But, if there are any more episodes in this vein to recommend, I'd like to go back and watch them.
     
  16. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To be fair to the writers, Australia being totally on fire wasn't a thing when the ep was filmed. The devastation seen in O55 was different enough to still convey the same scale of the problem, though.

    Not like Thunderbirds Are Go where the "London-based tower is on fire" ep had to be pulled from transmission because of Grenfell.
     
  17. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not trying to be unfair to the writers, but my opinion is that they failed in this episode. Australia is just one example. Basically, anyone who believes in recent climate change as being caused primarily by human activity knows of a wide range of devastating effects across the globe. So, they don't need the extreme preaching. And, those that don't believe in the climate change science are not going to be swayed by this episode.

    But, trying to have a moral to the story is not a problem in itself. It just comes across as a "big fail" in the writing and execution. It's like they are trying to create the "Statue of Liberty on the Planet of the Apes effect", but it is very hard to recreate that after it has already been done. And then after the unimpressive reveal, which should be enough to get the point across, the Doctor has to hit us all over the head with a sermon. And, then the whole concept goes contrary to the normal way the Doctor travels in time because, well this may not actually be what happens. The next time we go to future earth, everything will be like it used to be in previous episodes. And so, the integrity of the cannon is sacrificed for no gain. This is the main reason why I said I would like to un-watch the episode. It's not that I really mind watching a bad show, but I would want this one removed from Doctor Who cannon. Next episode, make this just a bad dream that one of the characters had, because really, that's what the episode was. It's a bad dream story that is not real because the Doctor told us this is not what is really going to happen to planet Earth because humans are amazing and we can fix problems just as well as we can make them. (which is a great moral by the way, but it was preached at the end, instead of shown in the story)

    Going further, the whole episode comes across (to me) as a hodgepodge of borrowed ideas. For example, we have the married couple, where the husband is killed, and then the wife sacrifices herself. Hmm, which Doctor Who episode did I see that in? I was groaning through the episode as I noticed each stolen idea.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  18. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, the ep would probably have been better if the Doctor had theorized and found proof that the Orphan planet was the result of global ecological disaster (with comments from Teh Fam about how Earth might go the same way unless folk change) and the Drex were the mutated survivors of such and THEN, post-escape, had the camera pan over the desolate wasteland to show Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower or some other landmark.
     
  19. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It has been suggested that this might amount to a building theme of the season.

    In "Spyfall" we saw Gallifrey destroyed thanks to the arrogance of its ruling class – note that Rassilon (one of the founders of Time Lord society, resurrected and back in charge again since the Time War) and his cronies were thrown off planet by the Doctor in "Hell Bent", so assuming they didn't return in the meantime, they weren't even on-planet to receive the Master's punishment despite the fact that they are the ones most deserving, while the Shobogans out in the wildlands probably all died.

    Now in "Orphan 55", we see Earth destroyed thanks the arrogance of its ruling class – somebody said that the rich people who had created this environment didn't bother trying to fix the planet before it was too late because they could just leave to go somewhere else, and the less rich and less punishment-worthy were left behind to turn into scientifically implausible rage monsters.

    Two points don't necessarily make a pattern, but the similarities are striking...

    .
     
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  20. Trinity Gingerbread

    Trinity Gingerbread Time is ticking away, tick, tick, ticking away. Premium Member

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    Nup that ending still grates on me. I watched it again and it was shameful how they just are back in the Tardis and hop off onto new adventures, and yes I know it's how it's written but it irks me that they could not have used that to go back pick up those other two people and save them but nup let them die it's not the actual future so fuck that let's go on adventures instead.
     
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