Spoilers Twice Upon a Time grading and discussion thread

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Emh, Dec 24, 2017.


How do you rate Twice Upon a Time?

  1. God bless us, every one! (Fantastic)

  2. Full of Christmas cheer (Very Good)

  3. Not a classic, but jolly good fun (Good)

  4. Not enough Robot Santas (Fair)

  5. Bah humbug! (Terrible)

  1. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2000
    South Pennsyltucky
    My random, unordered thoughts on Danny Pink:

    • Samuel Anderson was great.
    • Danny Pink was an interesting, well-developed character who belonged in an entirely different television series. At times, I felt like Anderson was filming a serious drama about a schoolteacher who was a veteran with PTSD issues on the soundstage next door and wandered over onto the Who set by accident, never breaking character and still acting the script for the drama next door.
    • If Danny hadn't died and they had made a schoolteacher Danny spin-off instead of Class, I'd have watched it and probably enjoyed it.
    • I feel like Danny could have done better than Clara. Series 8 Clara had a tendency to be... unpleasant.
    • It wasn't until "Last Christmas," when we saw how Clara saw Danny and what she was mourning, that I actually believed that she'd ever loved Danny.
  2. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 27, 2002
    The Great Wide Somewhere
    During the monologue I was waiting for a joke about how "yeah, that'll do."
    It seemed like he was running through a variety of possible last words to go out on, but by not putting a pin on it in some way it all just seemed a bit excessive.
  3. captainkirk

    captainkirk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 9, 2008
    South Africa
    It was a line of the Master's from The Deadly Assassin.
  4. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Jul 30, 2005
    Kavala, Greece
    My problem with Danny Pink was how forced he was and moreover, how forced his relationship with Clara was. And it did feel like Moffat was having a fit with militarism and wanted to provoke a conflict for the Twelfth that, ultimately seemed artcficial.

    I've not watched series 8 in a long while, but that's the taste it left me with.
  5. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    May 19, 2005
    Umm....Spinal Tap reference?
  6. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 15, 2002
    Those two points summarize my view of Danny Pink. Plus, throw in the ridiculous attitude that the Doctor had towards him. Add in Clara having to sneak around making it some type of soap. All of that stuff really brought the season down.
    Allyn Gibson likes this.
  7. Photoman15

    Photoman15 Commodore Commodore

    Mar 31, 2001
    The sunny shores of Trenzalore
    Sorry, I only saw Pink as a slightly smarter Mickey. And he was very arrogant towards the Doctor (before the Doctor "picked" on him). Mock saluting, "YES, SIR, SIR".
    And I never liked Clara, even with Eleven. (liked Coleman, though)
  8. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    That theme did pop up in "The Day of the Doctor," which is when it was first retconned into being the War Doctor's theme (or the Doctor's War Theme, rather). It was also an element in the Eleventh Doctor's regeneration (the first one, the "Never Tell Me The Rules" bit, which was itself a new arrangement of the season 4 version of the Doctor's theme).

    I can't speak to Hartnell's era as a whole, but I will note that "The Five Doctors" had a bit where the First Doctor treated Tegan like the help and Five just asked her to humor him.
  9. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Mar 12, 2005
    As well as... which Doctor did she start with???

    Ya gotta watch me! So sharp!
  10. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    May 19, 2005
    Well technically, he was #13 ;)
  11. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Mar 12, 2005
    No, Smith - technically 12, called 11.
  12. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Durham, North Carolina
    Technically 13 because of the Metacrisis, hence the need for more regenerations in "The Time of the Doctor."
    Dimesdan and Allyn Gibson like this.
  13. The Four Doctor

    The Four Doctor Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 29, 2012
    The Doctor forcing Susan to stay on Earth and marry David Campbell is SEXIST not "paternalistic".
  14. maneth

    maneth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 9, 2010
    Brilliant, I loved it. Well, I think Clara's appearance was a bit of a downer for me, she was good to start with but, IMO, outstayed her welcome. She got a good send-off in Face the Raven, all her subsequent appearances were unnecessary I think. All that said, I like Jenna Coleman's work and look forward to more Victoria.

    David Bradley's brilliant as the First Doctor, although I do think this will probably be his last appearance. (A bit of Whovian trivia, the final part of the story The Tenth Planet, which contains the regeneration scene, was thought to be lost, but fortunately the BBC children's show Blue Peter did a DW special that included the scene, and that episode remains in the BBC archives.)

    My husband and I recently watched all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones so far released, so it was very refreshing to see David Bradley and Mark Gatiss play very different characters in DW.
  15. captain crow

    captain crow Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 7, 2009
    sliver dog bone shaped satellite in Earth orbit
    That was rather creepy child bride territory as I believe the character was meant to be around 15 or 16 at the time. I'm surprised no one has tried to retcon her age to be closer to David's or even older due to her being a Time Lord.
  16. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 7, 2011
    That had a lot to like. I don't think it was particulalry good as a Christmas special (which probably needed a bit more going on. This felt quite cheap in places with its small cast, minimal location work and main featured set being the largely made from stock 60's Tardis), but if it had gone out at the end of season 10 as that sort of subverting expectations contemplative finale US shows sometimes do (Buffy season 4 or the final Babylon 5) it would mostly be quite watchable.

    Bradley and Capaldi had great chemistry, Gatiss could do that sort of role in his sleep and was very entertaining (though not really personally bothered about it retconning a previous name for his Great Grandad from the books so I'll be sticking to the intent. Making it a great uncle veers it into Spaceballs "Your cousin's uncle's room-mate territory) and the idea there wasn't really a threat was a nice twist. Though yeah, it was basically a benign version of Missy's plot in Death in Heaven. But then the poor Moff run out of new ideas about two years ago anyway.

    Also, whilst I think revisiting a 51 year old story was insane (opening with a "709 episodes ago" caption of 4:3 black and white feels like it should have been off-putting to casuals), the recreations of the Tenth Planet we did see were stunning. Just a shame most of that was cut out after they'd gone to the effort! I've a feeling the recap was originally going to be all refilmed before they hit on the morph idea as a way of including Bill.

    And Whitaker was fine in her brief scene, though I was mainly glad it was too the point after the lengthy goodbye from 12, I still remember being worn out by Matt Smith going on and on after Tennant's goodbye tour had passed the natural end point of the episode.

    The regeneration itself though felt a bit rubbish, too close to End of Time without being as impressive. I think the final speech itself was also hurt by Murray Gold sounding like he was just slapping stock music over the top of it that never seems to quite relate to what's on screen.

    But the big thing for me, and probably disproportionately I must admit, was the First Doctor as a sexist. Which was just not very true to his original character. Across three years and a 100 odd episodes you can find biggoted stuff representing the time, but it's very much the in the minority for an irascible but likeable character who could be patronising to the young and perhaps humans generally. Hell, there's probably more racism from the character (though still not a lot) and the episode didn't dare touch that (well, apart from the comment about the French. That's the First Doctor who ****ing loved the French and was excited both times he went there), as if sexism is just funnier.

    Now I've had it argued to me that the recreated First Doctor was just being used here to channel and discuss 1960's attitudes. And as an idea I'd not have a problem with that, indeed it'd probably be more Christmas than anything else in the episode. How many people watching were stuck with an Aunt or Uncle that voted Brexit or thinks Nigel Farage deserves that knighthood? Deconstructing that awkward thing of dealing with relatives with antiquated views could have been very interesting.

    But the episode didn't do that. The Bradley Doctor doesn't go on a journey where he learns his views are wrong. He shuts up when he learns Bill sups from the furry cup, but he seems to cheerfully go to his death thinking women should do the cleaning (and Polly having to do domestic stuff comes from Troughton, where she had to make the coffee. Once. Which she then used to kill Cybermen as it was Nescafe Gold Blend) and are very brittle things.

    Worse than that, the 12th Doctor doesn't actually make any arguments against the sexism. He just keeps pulling sitcom "What are you liiiiiiiiiiiiike!" faces (oddly ibncluding when his counterpart is quite reasonably explaining to a First World War soldier that men can be nurses) and going "You can't say that!" without ever coming up with any reason why he shouldn't.

    Compared that to the actual Hartnell era where whenever he went to far in his behaviour his companions would completely rip him apart (Barbara in the Edge of Destruction, Steven in the Massacre and so on).

    We're also clearly supposed to still like the First Doctor, even though someone who kept saying things like that after being repeatedly asked not to is just a dick.

    It feels as if Moffat is so annoyed at the accusations of sexism that are frequently aimed at him (somewhat unfairly IMHO, though I've not seen Sherlock which apparently has some hum-dinger moments in it) that he's snapped and started screaming "BUT LOOK AT THE OLD SHOW!!!!!"

    All he's really leaving himself open to is not having any room to complain come the 2047 episode where the recast 11th Doctor barges in going "Ohhh, very clean Tardis. I guess you've no bad girls with sexy bums about the place then! Now, find me a lesbian to kiss against her will until she has to slap me". It certainly feels a bit rich for the writer who shouted "YOU WILL BE ERASED FROM DOCTOR WHO" at Caroline Skinner to take an era of the show kickstarted by Verity Lambert to task for its sexism.

    Now, compare all this to a film I'm planning to watch tonight as a contrast: Star Trek VI. Which also uses 60's TV icons to explore the inherent bigotry of that generation.

    Now, as I've learnt from this forum, there are Star Trek fans who loath that film (as did Gene Rodenberry) because Kirk and company were never that racist towards Klingons. And there's a point there, even in the films Kirk was prepared to offer his hand to rescue the Klingon bastard who killed his son and the previous movie ended with everyone getting blind drunk with a Klingon crew.

    But it works because the film has a point to make, about how even generally good people can be bigoted without even realising it because of the culture they grew up in and it can be hard for them to adapt as society changes around them. But it is possible to change and become a better person if you keep open to new ideas no matter how old you get. No one has to be a dinosaur.

    Next to that you've got "Women eh! Like glass. Just ignore the fact that I don't actually know I'm turning in to Patrick Troughton yet and by the rules of regeneration this episode is working to for all I know I could be about to become a woman so my attitude to women literally makes no sense whatsoever" and it's just oh **** off.
  17. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Pretty much a classic and is easily the best Christmas episode made to day, by far. Definitely a great story to go out on, for both Capaldi and Moffat.

    Could be argued as both or neither; everyone could see Susan was as much drooling for him but had internal conflict over staying versus leaving. In a word, the Doctor... meddled.

    Didn't care for the 1st Doctor being written so much out of character regarding the sexism, though the same problem applies to the 1st Doctor in "The Five Doctors"; both stories relying on stereotypes based on the day and age Hartnell's era was in. The actual Hartnell era doesn't have the Doctor as overtly sexist. I doubt Verity Lambert would have allowed anything as overt, for which most of her produced episodes exist and provide the actual unfettered proof... yet writers 20 and 54 years later clearly did because casuals don't care for the details and established fans are more likely to scream if the details are wrong, especially where casuals are concerned in the funnest of irony. So it's more the writers that did more to carry Hartnell's off-screen sexism forward and into the show than remembering the differences in the 1st Doctor himself, especially when context is altered from - say - punishing an errant child into something more "18 and over only"? Does the phrase "whoops" apply? (Er, yes...)

    And Christmas was integrated in the best way possible; attributed to a historical event as opposed to slamming us with animated killer robots in Christmas gear or, worse, having Father Xmas himself pay a visit. Wish all the specials since 2005 were as deftly handled...
  18. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Jul 30, 2005
    Kavala, Greece
    I just read a comment from a random forum that Capaldi's speech should've been cut to "... well, except me, of course. Never cruel or cowardly, and never eat pears! Laugh hard, run fast, be kind. Doctor... I let you go."

    Honestly, this feels better, and also accentuates my overall feel of the speech. That the Doctor's remark about his name is a great piece of improv writing by Capaldi, but it feels shoehorned into the speech. I get that its all part of Moffat's meta goodbye, saying that there isn't ever going to be a pay off to the Doctor Who gag, but... all RTD allowed in Ten's goodbye was his unwillingness to leave. We didn't see Ten talk to himself for hours on end. The only Doctor who did was Sixie, and he at least had a decent reason, as he didn't expect to die at that point (from what he knew), and even then he didn't ramble on and on.

    So yeah, I'd be in favor of a reduced end speech, with a different score, too.
    kirk55555 and The Wormhole like this.
  19. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 23, 2003
    Tacoma, Washington
    Damn it! I recorded this at my brother's house and he forgot to tell my sister-in-law,v and she deleted it.:scream:
  20. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Durham, North Carolina
    Who deletes recordings without asking, let alone Doctor Who Christmas specials?! :eek: