The Reign of Terror Unreview

The Reign of Terror. No, not about a scary king but rather a story set in France during the French Revolution, during the period known as the Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 – 28 July 1794). One of France’s most blood-drenched periods. Our story is set in the last few days of this reign. Of terror.

Like a lot of stories from this era of Doctor Who, this story is incomplete. It is missing two episodes which only exist as audio recordings. Luckily, these missing episodes have been animated using the audios, so you won’t miss out too much. Count your lucky stars because some of the missing stories exist purely as audio recordings or as symbols and pictures carved onto the stone walls of prehistoric cave-dwellers.

As was the norm, each episode has a different title. A Land of Fear, Guests of Madame Guillotine, A Change of Identity, The Tyrant of France, A Bargain of Necessity, Prisoners of Conciergerie. Not the most evocative of titles although I do quite like Guests of Madame Guillotine. I am guessing that Madame Guillotine is the owner of a bordello. If we don’t get to see the Doctor being whipped by a buxom old biddy in leather, I will be très disappointed.

The First Doctor along with his granddaughter Susan and her teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright arrive in France, 18th-century France that is. More specifically a wood outside Paris, an area which will be later be turned into Parc Astérix (probably). Our heroes find a nearby farmhouse which is apparently being used as a cache/staging post for counter-revolutionaries. Inside the farmhouse, they find fake papers (some signed by Maximilien Robespierre and Jerry Lewis), clothes, The Fallen Madonna by Van Klomp, onions, baguettes and an elderly old Frenchman who keeps apologetically shrugging his shoulders whenever he is asked a question.

I know you all know this but just in case you have forgotten all those exciting school lessons about the French Revolution, Robespierre was the guy who pressed all the political buttons during this time. He, if you believe the history books, was not a nice guy whatsoever although he did oppose the death penalty and supported the abolition of slavery. The Robespierre that we see here is probably nothing at all like the real one but that is history, I guess. The victors write the history. So while this is based on fact, you should take it with a large pinch of salt because this is based on the historian’s version of history.

Their snooping is interrupted when a couple of the rebels turn up. These are Rouvray and D’Argenson, two of the roughest toughest counter-revo…ah, who am I kidding. These two are not that scary. They look as though they would have problems if a kitten gave them a threatening look. But they do have guns which they pistol-whip the Doctor with. The others they just hold at gunpoint.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, revolutionary soldiers turn up. “I thought this was Parc Astérix?” says one soldier. His friend replies, “Hush, Jean-Paul! Do not speak such things. Robespierre hates it when we allude to the future!” Besides bickering about anachronistic theme parks, they also command the counter-revolutionists to surrender. “Donner sa langue au chat,” shouts one soldier but D’Argenson defiantly calls out “Les carottes sont cuites!”

Rouvray and D’Argenson have their turnips plugged in the siege but not before they can guess that a traitor must have betrayed them. Susan, Barbara and Ian are captured by the soldiers so that they can be taken to Paris and guillotined. Because the Doctor is so tiny and almost invisible, the men don’t see him as they set fire to the house with our grumpy old hero inside. The elderly old Frenchman escapes on his bicycle, shrugging apologetically to the soldiers as he dings his bell at them.

The Doctor doesn’t cop it as expected. He has been saved by a young French boy who was conveniently passing by as the farmhouse burnt down. The Doctor has, what we call nowadays, smoke inhalation. This convenient boy conveniently knows that the Doctor’s companions have been carted off to the Conciergerie Prison in Paris.

Our heroes are sentenced to be executed for being traitors. How three English people can be traitors to a country they weren’t born in is beyond me but anyway, traitors they are. And yes, I know Susan isn’t technically ‘English’ but she has an English accent!

Susan and Barbara are taken to the Conciergerie Prison’s equivalent of cell block H. Ian gets a cell with another prisoner, English like him, called Webster who tells him that there is an English spy called James Stirling who is lurking in the depths of the French government. Webster had been sent to France in order to tell Stirling that he has to return back to Blighty because he has left the gas on (or something to that effect).

Webster tells Ian that it was intended that he should meet up with an intermediary called Jules Renan at a tavern called Le Chien Gris, a place where the patrons literally have a hair of the dog.

Plotting your way in France today takes everything you’ve got

Overthrowing Robespierre, sure would help a lot

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where the Committee of Public Safety doesn’t know your name

Aren’t you glad your head is still attached?

Let’s all go to Le Chien Gris

Where the wine is diluted with pee…

Ahem, you get the picture with that. Le Chien Gris is certainly no Cheers though.

Once Webster expires, head slumping over his dictionary, a stuffy and ever-so-sly government stooge called Lemaitre comes over to Ian’s cell and…

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Lemaitre? But doesn’t that mean ‘the master’? Oh my god, could this be the first appearance of the Doctor’s arch nemesis? No.

…asks Ian what Webster might have said to Ian. Perhaps Lemaitre thinks that spies can’t help but blab their secrets whenever they are about to die. He thought right. Chesterton’s name is taken off the naughty list.

Susan and Barbara are taken to their execution on the dung cart. No joke. When criminals (or people that the government found annoying/inconvenient) were taken to the guillotine, they would be taken in a horse-and-cart which also delivered dung when not carrying soon-to-be-headless people. Just imagine the stink. Pee-ew!

Anyway, Susan and Barbara are being taken to their death. They are crying and calling out to the people lining the streets that the smell isn’t them when two men rescue them. Which is nice. These two men are Jules (who is almost certainly bound to be Jules Renan) and Jean quickly and efficiently bring the ladies back to a safe house. Is it not wondrous that France is so full of conveniently helpful people?

Susan looks a little peaky though. The poop fumes have clearly made her ill. Anxious about her illness, Jules says to her, “Il n’y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat” but she doesn’t understand. He then explains in perfect English that after they smuggle the British airman, Fairfax and Carstairs, out of Café René, they will then endeavour to smuggle the girls back to England. Barbara, however, does not like this. She doesn’t want to leave without the Doctor and Ian whom she secretly thinks is quite dishy. So the two J’s agree to find her chums for her. It is at this point that a man enters the room, lifts his glasses and says, “It is I, Colbert!” It is good old reliable Leon Colbert and he wants to help the girls. How gallant these Frenchies are.

The Doctor, riding his cherry-red 1966 Schwinn Sting-Ray, arrives in Paris where he swaps it for the clothes of a government official. Don’t ask how he does this, he just does.

Now dressed as a Regional Officer of the Province, he hotfoots it to the Conciergerie where he discovers that his friends have gone (Ian having dug his way out of his cell with a teaspoon and a small radish). Lemaitre, not having much to do, frog-marches our hero to see First Deputy Robespierre because, as we all know, leaders love meeting up with random old men pulled off the street. “Ça va chier des bulles!” pleads the Doctor but his words are useless. Kicked out the backdoor, he leaves in a huff.

Ian Chesterton has not been lazy since he escaped the Conciergerie. He has been hunting for Jules Renan who, as I predicted, is the same Jules that is looking after Susan and Barbara.

Barbara takes Susan to the local quack. As a teacher of history, surely she should know better than to take the poor girl to some physician who is more likely to recommend leeches than something that will actually be of some medical use? Happily, this charlatan doesn’t recommend juicy leeches. Unhappily this is because he reports them to the revolutionary police. The swine!

Ian meets up with Leon Colbert. “It is I, Colbert!” he says as armed troops tie the poor teacher to a chair. Colbert is a traitor. Maybe some of these Frenchmen are not so gallant after all?

Colbert tortures Ian with feathers and pictures of soapy kittens but Chesterton does not give anything away, not about Webster or Renan or who he really is. Good ol’ Ian!

Not taking no for an answer, the Doctor has returned to the Conciergerie for some answers which don’t involve the word ‘no’. Lemaitre tells the old man that Robespierre wants to talk to him again. Robespierre may be the Tyrant of France but he obviously has way too much spare time on his hands if he can just faff the day away with a long-haired coffin-dodger.

To be sure that the Doctor doesn’t leave Paris, Lemaitre generously puts him up for the night in one of his finest five-star rat-infested cells. What a nice man.

When Susan and Barbara are brought back in, the Doctor is able to speak to them. Susan is ill however, those poop fumes having knocked her out for six. Fearing for his granddaughter, the Doctor comes up with a cunning plan: let Barbara be released so that she can be followed back to the counter-revolutionists and their escape chain. This is of course a ruse on the Doctor’s part, that is what makes the plan cunning as opposed to merely fiendish.

In the land of the free, in this case France, Jules rescues Ian from the thumb-screws and soapy kitten torture. Leon Colbert is killed during all this, his last words being, “It is I, Colbert….aargh!”

Jules takes Ian to his house where they are both flabbergasted to see Barbara naked on a bed of rose petals. By naked I mean fully clothed, and by bed of rose petals I mean sitting on a chair eating a chunk of cheese. She tells them how the Doctor sprung her release.

Back in Evil Tyrant HQ, Maximilien Robespierre is going off his nut. He thinks that his deputy has eaten all his chocolates and is also plotting behind his back. Paul Barras (Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras) has been a bad deputy apparently. Robespierre reckons that Barras has been siding with the men who want to overthrow him. He is right about the conspiring, not so right about the chocs though.

Robespierre calls in Lemaitre, who has a suspicious brown chocolatey stain around his mouth, and commands him to follow Barras who doing something secret outside the city sometime tomorrow.

Lemaitre returns to the Conciergerie and tells him that he knows that he is an imposter. “I know you are an imposter because you don’t like garlic and you don’t apologetically shrug your shoulders whenever I speak to you, you fraud you!” Lemaitre then uses Susan as a means to blackmail the Doctor into leading him to Jules Renan and the counter-revolutionaries.

When the Doctor and Lemaitre get there, our stuffy non-Delgado official says, “It is I, Stirling!” Everyone choruses, “No, we finished that running gag a few paragraphs back. It wasn’t funny and some people complained that they didn’t get the reference.” Lemaitre is James Stirling! Shocking, right?

Ian finally gets to pass on Webster’s message that Stirling has to report back to England. Stirling is more than happy to do so but he asks Chesterton for more details. Ian searches his memory and five words drop out: Barras. Meeting. The Sinking Ship.

Stirling remembers a chinwag with Robespierre and he twigs that the plot against the First Deputy will take at The Sinking Ship. The plot thickens!

Renan and the school teachers hotfoot it to the tavern where they eavesdrop on Barras and Napoleon Bonaparte. Finally here is a name that people will recognise. These two rapscallions are planning to overthrow Robespierre and fill the whole of France with water slide parks, bowling alleys and ice cream parlours with annoying waiters who make piggy noises. The fiends!

Barras wants Boney to take over the leadership from Robespierre and Boney wants Barras to boot Robespierre out of Evil Tyrant HQ. Boney is a crafty one though, if the plot fails to get Robespierre out, he will deny ever meeting turncoat Barras and will claim instead that he was playing a game of Risk with teenagers from San Dimas.

The next day, Susan is smuggled out of gaol inside a cake and the rebellion against Max Robespierre is afoot. Spongepierre Tyrantpants was socked on the jaw when the filthy counter-revolutionists got hold of him. The ex-tyrant now resides on the Conciergerie where he is awaiting his own execution.

Stirling escapes Paris and gets on the first boat to Blighty. Jules and Jean set up a B&B as they see which way the political winds blow. And what of our heroes? They all return to the TARDIS and leave.

And that is it. End of story and only a few paragraphs until this unreview finishes.

One of my favourite clangers occurs when the Doctor says that London and Paris are 100 miles apart. Erm, really? Over 230 miles more like. No wonder he can’t steer that TARDIS with his poor geographic knowledge!

William Hartnell is pretty good in this. He is seen to be more proactive than he normally is. Although only because his grandaughter has been kidnapped but, hey, at least he is doing something, right?

Carole Ann Ford doesn’t get a whole lot to do here as Susan because of her illness due to dung fumes but she acts well and says her lines well. Your eyes are always on her in whatever scene she is in which is a mark of a good actress.

Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright) gets a little more to do than Carole. This is a good thing. She is an underrated actress to some extent, either being seen as a love-interest for Chesterton or as someone whom looks scared and puzzled. Only a few stories, such as The Aztecs, showed her true potential. This just scratches at the surface of that potential.

William Russell as the hero figure Ian Chesterton. Ah, well, he is the one who plays the lead in many of these early stories because Hartnell was seen as being a little old for heroics (Billy was in his mid-fifties rather surprisingly. He looked and acted much older). I like Chesterton. His character was one which people could rally behind. As much as the show was called Doctor Who, William Russell was more of a lead than Hartnell but that would change when Chesterton left.

So the first visit of the series to France and what a story this is! A lot of people don’t like the historical adventures but I reckon these stories have a lot going for them. The Reign of Terror is a great story which due to some of the episodes being missing, has to be supplemented by animation and sock puppets. This doesn’t work too well but at least you get to see the closest thing to the original footage that you can.

Should you watch this story? Of course you should. As the French say, “Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide!

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Posted in BekHobbes, doctorwho, memories, opinion, review, unreview, whovian, whovians | Leave a comment

I, Jackass

For many years I have striven to hide my intelligence.

In my experience, people seem to mistrust those that are smarter than them.

I should quantify my usage of the word ‘smarter’. It is just the best word that I can think of for the purpose of this blog. It has no connotations to me believing that I am better or superior. To my mind, being intelligent isn’t something that makes you better than anyone else. Being smart is not that much of a good thing. An average intelligence is much better because it gives you, again to my mind, a much more rounded view of the world.

Being smart is something which we all are. IQ levels are just a way of quantifying a certain type of intelligence. But just because you aren’t classified as intelligent, it doesn’t mean that you are not. Intelligence comes in all shapes and forms.

As I was saying, people mistrust intelligence. I have no idea why? Perhaps they sense difference? In schools all over the world, kids get bullied for being smart (they also get bullied for being stupid but that is a different story).

At an early age, I learnt that intelligence was something to be hidden at all costs. Don’t outshine anyone, look like you are ‘trying’, work slower, be less bright, make mistakes.

If I worked at my normal rate, I would be paid out for it in bullying, punishments, the cold shoulder. Things which are anathema to any child. I changed my accent, roughened it, made it as unIrish (I’m not Irish) and unposh (I am not posh either) as possible, made it more Thames estuary in tone.

Some of these self-imposed changes have lasted well into adult life. My accent has basically been screwed over royally. I still make mistakes when I talk to people. I am always aware that to be different is to be noticed and ridiculed, or worst still, to scare.

One of the reasons why I am unloved I think. Nobody loves a smart arse or jackass. I am both these things.

But I am learning to be myself as I grow older. To care less about what people think about me.

I am trying to be better.

But the real problem with intelligence is that I am uncomfortably aware of how lonely I am. Unloved and generally unwanted.

I write often about love and suicide and depression because these are things which whirl through my mind. Every other inch of me is in turmoil.

Being better would ultimately mean not being here.

Posted in awkwardness, BekHobbes, confused, depression, estranged, existence, hope/despair, humanity, loss, love, memories, opinion, questions, reallife, sorrow, suicide | Leave a comment

Gay or Lesbian, Lets Call the Whole Thing Off

Gay, straight, lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual, transgender, oh my!

Or you can divide it into two: straight and hetero-muggle. But unless you want to be slapped by the whole non-straight community, I wouldn’t advise it.

There are plenty of names for whatever gender you think you are. We are in the Age of Aquarius or as the non-hippies like to call it, the Age of Gender Fluidity. To my mind this suggests a pulsating puddle.

I have heard gay men being referred to as being a ‘friend of Dorothy’. This plays on the stereotype that all gay men love Judy Garland. In truth, some are apathetic to the charms of Judy. Others are like “Judy who? We have Lady Gaga now, bitch.”

Walt Whitman coined the term ‘adhesive love’ which suggests a lot of stickiness. This is a man-on-man deal though. Although it would be a better name for lesbians given surface area. Um…

Some folks refer to themselves as being pansexual. To which I say, “here is a brick, have at it.”

Quite.

If you are male, than you can use the term ‘sodomist’ which does what it says on the tin. Or does it? In the Bible, besides all the orcs and hobbits, sodomy could mean anything from male/female castration for slaves to bestiality. The latter being an act frowned upon by all but the most rural of people.

Gay men who like running can be referred to as being pederasts but nowadays this term pertains to older men’s attraction for young men or post-teen boys. So unless you like terrible puns, maybe not.

If you call a lesbian ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’, some don’t like it. They think that both terms only relate to males. But unless these lesbians are from Lesbos, they are on shaky ground with their own term for themselves.

There is a term which relates to lesbianism and to no other form of gender: tribadism. This is a Greek term which lasted a few centuries before self-respecting lesbians started giving each other shifty looks and thought about a more marketable name. The Ladies of Sappho was sadly not chosen.

A Latin version is fricatrice. Which at least sounds better than tribade. Like that though, it comes from the, um, way women rubbed themselves against each other. You can also have confricatrice or if you prefer good old English, you can have ‘rubster’.

According to the Wikipedia:

Lesbian writer Emma Donoghue found that the term lesbian (with its modern meaning) was in use in the English language from at least the 17th century. A 1732 book by William King, The Toast, uses “lesbian loves” and “tribadism” interchangeably : “she loved Women in the same Manner as Men love them; she was a Tribad”.

If nothing else, lesbians could make a TV show called Breaking Tribad.

*cue silence all over the bloggersphere*

Sorry…

Homosexual, the term, was invented in the mid-19th century. Before then, gay people hadn’t been too fussed about labeling themselves. They just did what they did and then enjoyed a snooze. Everyone was happy except the Church and other mumbo-jumbo merchants.

Then you have transgender. Which is a whole different kettle of fish. Nothing wrong with it, or indeed homosexuality, but some people, straight males mainly, don’t like it. Oddly they seem very detailed about the whole way transgender people have sex.

One Twitter troll told me recently that he thinks these transgender folks are “freaks who want to go into female bathrooms and rape little girls” and “Would you want a man in a dress, stubble, 260lbs, in a bathroom with your daughter?” Besides the point that transgender people, and homosexuals, don’t tend to be paedophiles no matter how loudly people try to say that they are, well, can be put down to people’s dislike of difference. It happens, sure, but this is because the person is human and mentally ill rather than born in the wrong body.

Oh, and the trolls and haters claim that being gay or trans is a mental illness because a small teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini-wearing group of ‘doctors’ say it is. The fact that the vast majority don’t refer to it as a mental illness is neither here or there to the bigots.

This is what it all comes down to, the hatred for gay people. Difference. You see this everywhere sadly. How many times have you seen black people referred to as being “inferior”? Despite the fact that black people are better at most of the honky-invented sports. Yes, exactly. Try calling Usain Bolt inferior before challenging him to a race, see how far you’d get before he overtook you.

Are any of these labels important? Some might say so. Does it matter? Ultimately no.

I am demisexual although I don’t call myself this. For details on this, read the blogs under the tag to the right of this blog. As such, all my relationships have been with women who were born as women. Would I ever be in a gay relationship or in one with a woman/man who was born male/female? Maybe. Love is love.

Am I gender fluid because I am open to such things? I was born in February and I am Aquarius. Make of that what you wish…

Posted in BekHobbes, bigotry, ComingOut, confused, Demisexual, demisexuality, existence, humanity, opinion, reallife | Leave a comment

I Bought a Broom

The other day I went to a local shop in order to buy a broom. Yeah, I know, rock’n’roll lifestyle, right?

I go in, do the dance of the seven veils at the girl on the till who looked like she had the head of St John the Baptist on a platter down her top…um…if St John had been a twin. Ahem, and then leave with my purchase. Mischief managed.

So yeah, I bought a broom. I am Mister Cool, right?

Probably not.

Never have I ever felt like such an idiot as when I was carrying a broom over my shoulder through the town centre. Not surprising since everyone stopped and stared at the dog-faced boy with the long-handled brush.

I could have ordered a broom from Amazon but imagine the delivery. Knowing them, I’d receive a box three metres long, one metre wide, and half a forest of brown paper.

This is, of course, if I am lucky. Otherwise Amazon could use a drone to send me my broom. Everybody would think that I’m being visited by an invisible witch or worse it could knock out powerlines. Que horror!

Now, my broom is pretty high-tech. It goes forward, it goes backwards, and sideways too once I’ve mastered and passed the advanced techniques of the broom handling school.

When I’m not using it to bully dust from one side of the room to the other, I plan on using it to pretend I’m Harry Potter playing Quidditch. Happy days!

A broom literally equals hours of fun. Especially if you sing Hard Knock Life while sweeping.

Yeah. Um. That is it.

Posted in BekHobbes, existence, memories, opinion, reallife | Leave a comment

Secret Squirrel’s Avoidance (plus random poem)

Someone recognised me the other day.
Somebody I went to school with, twentyish years ago.
This surprised me because I didn’t recognise him. And because he looked so old. Maybe ten years older than me. Not that I am old. I am young enough to be born in a year where The Clash, Yazoo, Bad Manners and Madness were in the music charts. That ain’t old. Is it old? Nah, I am still young. Youngish. Younger than most.
He called me by my name, my real name. I, very quickly, said my name was James. He looked confused and said sorry. My name isn’t James.
I doffed my straw boater and went on my way, relieved at avoiding a bullet from the past.
You may ask why I denied my own past. No reason really. I just don’t want to be associated with myself. If that makes any sense.
My childhood isn’t something I don’t care to remember or think about. I have spent way too many years coming to terms with it and I want to move on. I have drawn a line in the sand and then pretended that the line doesn’t exist. “What line? This isn’t my line? What is this Earth thing you call ‘a line’?”
This system (“What system? I don’t see a system. These are not the systems you are looking for”) works pretty well. The old-looking guy is the exception that proves the rule.
Perhaps I am ashamed of myself. I have a lot to be ashamed about.

******************

Black Widow

Spinning her webs

Catching some flies.

Black Widow

Spinning her webs

Telling some lies.

Black Widow

Spinning her webs

Eating men like pies.

Black Widow

Spinning her webs

She’s love in disguise.

Black Widow

Repairing her webs

Bloated on flies.

BCHobbes 31/1/17

Posted in avoidance, awkwardness, BekHobbes, confused, depression, estranged, existence, humanity, loss, memories, opinion, poem, poetry, questions, reallife, sorrow | Leave a comment

The Doctor Falls Unreview

The Doctor visits the holodeck. And unlike every holodeck-related Star Trek episode ever, it doesn’t malfunction.

Welcome to The Doctor Falls. His swansong. Kinda.

This story is a continuation of World Enough and Time where the Master creates the Cybermen, turns Bill into a Mondasian Cyberman (hate that term yuck yuck) and Missy does the fandango on both of the Doctor’s hearts. Oh, and Nardole eats Hula-Hoops. All of this is on a Mondasian spaceship. Nice.

Before I go on, may I register my disgust that Matt Lucas continues his bias against Monster Munch? Is he being paid to actively not eat them? Meh.

The story also features, spoilers alert, a guest cameo from someone who is in the coming-up Christmas episode. Yep, that bloke wot voiced Shansheeth Blue in Death of the Doctor. That being in the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. I know what you are thinking. Yes, him! Amazing isn’t it?

You may know this voice artiste as David Bradley who’d previously appeared in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Dinosaurs on a VW Beetle, and Dinosaurs on a Bicycle. Oh, and he appeared as William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time, the Mark Gatiss docudrama which everyone remembers for the cigarette-smoking Mondasian Cyberman.

I made a prediction in my last unreview, several in fact, about how The Doctor Falls would end. Most of them was wrong. Except for one. And that one was probably a no brainer anyway. Below is my predictions and a link to the unreview, just so that you know I’m on the level:

“The Doctor is seen to regenerate at the beginning of the story, yes? Amidst snow. What if he is at the South Pole during the events of The Tenth Planet? Maybe a certain CyberPotts is there too? So theory time! The Doctor crosses his own timeline to find Bill. Bill is near the Snowcap base. He finds her and diverts his regeneration into restoring her humanity. Now either this kills him and Bill becomes the Doctor or they both go their separate ways. In any case, I predict the appearance of the First Doctor. Maybe I should bet money on this?

Second theory: it wasn’t the Doctor who was regenerating. Missy regenerates into a copy of the Doctor. Doctor rides off into sunset. The John Simm Master stamping his feet in frustration.

The second theory will be the one that might be right. Look at the clues. Missy is pretending to be the Doctor. And the Doctor says that of all the people in the universe, Missy is the most like him. Of course this might just be a giant bluff. All this foreshadowing being nothing more than fluff on a needle.”

https://greebohobbes.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/world-enough-and-time-unreview/

Which one was right? Read on and find out. If you already know, read on anyway and try to look surprised.

As usual with the second episode of Moffat-helmed two-parters, this one starts off somewhere completely different. A little different. A hologrammatic rendering of the Welsh countryside on Floor 5707.

A bunch of farmers are attacked each night by the Cyberprototypes of Floor 1056 in a non-gory reenactment of Night of the Living Dead. Luckily none of them are done for copyright infringement since the film was never copyrighted. Small relief for these poor sons of the soil and daughters of the, um, yeah, anyway, they put up with this on a regular basis and stick the prototypes onto wooden crosses to act as scarecrows. Waste not, want not.

A child, possibly auditioning for the musical Annie, is surprised when a shuttlepod pops out of the ground and crashes back down again. From it comes a Cyberman carrying a drunk Doctor.

“I can tak’ all of youse on, ye cybersassenachs!”
“Of course you can!”
“Aye, and dinnae forget it!”

Cue flashback which isn’t really a flashback, and the Doctor awakes on a rooftop, the rooftop of the hospital where Bill lived for ten years.

This not-at-all-a-flashback is preceded by an actual flashback. In black-and-white and with a girl in a red coat so you just know that this is classy. Basically the Masters slapping the Doctor all about the surgery room. Flashback ends.

Missy and the Master are dancing on the rooftops along with Mondasian Cybermen whom are singing Step in Time. You may think that this is cheap reference to Missy’s Mary Poppins fixation and you would be partly right. But the song includes the words  “It’s the master”. Not so cheap after all, eh? I wonder if the Moff knew of this link? Hmmmm…

The Doctor is restrained in a wheelchair and hung upside down by a gibbet. The Master and Missy are gloating over his deaths. Our hero is grateful that none of them witnessed the death caused by falling off an exercise bike.

CyberPotts stands nearby, watching without commenting, doing a sudoku. That tune she is humming is Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms) by The Detroit Emeralds, fact fans.

The Doctor, being the Doctor, did a thing earlier. When Missy knocked him over earlier, in the black-and-white classy flashback, he hacked the Cybermen to give them a new bit of information about what makes a human human. He has told them that now they, the Cybermen, will convert two-hearted beings.

Missy and the Master give each other panicked looks and immediately skedaddle towards the exits so that they can defend themselves from the Cyberhordes.

The Master whips out his laser screwdriver thingie and Missy brings up her umbrella sonic thingie and they proceed to zap splat kapow the Cybermen.

“Ach, it’d be braw if ye knew someone who had defeated armies of Cybermon hundreds o’ times. Aye, that’d be grand!”
“Shut it, grandpa!”

Missy sucker-punches the Master and releases the Doctor. Missy is still torn between good and bad and the Doctor has no idea whether she is AC/DC. Complicated.

Nardole, who’d wandered off to find a packet of Monster Munch (Yay!), has hotwired a shuttlecraft. Now, it looks good here but when we saw it at the beginning of the episode, well, quite frankly it was a load of old pants. Bad CGI. Now it is glorious CGI if it isn’t a physical model. Erm.

Nardole sends down a rope ladder. The Doctor goes to grab it but a random Cyberman electrocutes him, lighting him up like a Christmas tree.

CyberPotts blasts the Cyberman with her gunhead. And yes, Greybeard Whovians, that is a reference to the Target novelisation of The Tenth Planet I think. On the back cover, right? Too lazy to check so y’all have to take it as gospel.

Missy and the unknocked-out Master try to shuttlejack the shuttle but Nardole ain’t having it. Nor is CyberPotts who has gripped the rope ladder in her hand to keep it from taking off.

Which is where the good-looking shuttle becomes a bad-looking shuttle and crashes down into the soil of Floor 1056 where some humans and an extraordinary amount of kiddies are working on a solar farm.

Time is a lot slower here which is either because it is the countryside and there is nothing to do but be bored or it is because this level is nearer the black hole so therefore time is running a little slower.

Nothing to worry about here except for the prototype Cybermen who are too impatient to wait for their fully converted cyberchums.

Two weeks are spent here between the crash and the upcoming Cyberattack. The Doctor recovers slowly but surely. And CyberPotts? Ah, a tragedy there…

Bill now lives in a barn. Not a nice barn but it has an en-suite, pool table and a collection of Enid Blyton novels. Not too shabby. But our Billie is not content. She doesn’t know why people are scared of her. “Is is the afro? It is the afro, ain’t it? I know you guys are jealous but this is just how I roll, yeah? Get used to the afro. The afro is here to stay.”

It isn’t the afro,

It is the fact that she is a Mondasian *shudder* Cyberman with a frickin’ gun in her noggin. Which she doesn’t notice until a child hands her a mirror, little brat, and she sees that while on the positive side she will never need to moisturise, it doesn’t matter because she is a Cyberman!

The girl runs off, mischief managed, and the Doctor, who came in after the girl, reassures her that at least she still has her human brain in charge. Which is why she sees herself as herself rather than the butchered CyberPotts that she is.

This is a neat trick. Can you imagine emotional conversation with a Cyberman who, no insult to Cyberman voice provider Nicholas Briggs, has all the range of a Moog synthesizer falling down a wishing well? No, me neither. And while I am mentioning him, isn’t it about time Nicholas got to do a bit of acting in front of the camera?

CyberPotts is angry. And you wouldn’t like her when she is angry. Her gunhead starts blasting, which blows the barn doors into millions of splintery bits. Nardole, outside and eating more Monster Munch, tells the farmers not to worry. “Just an ickle door explosion, nothing to see here.”

Bill cries and the Doctor wipes it away. Note that this is a weird thing. Cybermen don’t cry although if it were their party, they could if they wanted to. But the weird thing is this, when we previously saw a Cybertear, it was oily. CyberPotts’ is watery. What does this all mean? Did the Master not upgrade her tearducts? Tut-tut, cutting corners, eh?

The Master comes up…

“Hello, gramps. Me and my sexy future self have done that specific thing we are not specifically going to describe at this specific moment in time.”
“Ye have done well.”
The Master turns to CyberPotts.
“Hey, roboknickers. Hows it like in that tinplate cranium of yours? Now, be honest, since I will be a girl next time. How do bras work? Magnets?”
“Master, ye nurk. Dinnae tell us ye forgot that you wore a bra all through that business with the Axons, and the Nestene, the Krankies, and that Azal fella…”
“Shut it!”

The Master stops mocking her when she tells him that he is not upsetting her. If only he could see her tears under her cloth…

Why isn’t her tears soaking through her cloth face?

The Doctor, the Master and Weepy McCyberface  take a walk through the woods. The Doctor starts to regenerate but he stops it by slapping and pinching his ears. Nobody notices.

The Doctor, wondering how a Cyberman can cry, is limping so much that he requires a stick to help him get along. Whatever his injuries are, they must be pretty serious.

CyberPotts is upset that her conditon may not be able to be reversed. But the Doctor reassures her by saying, “With tears, there is hope, dinnae ye ken?” Wise words indeed. Prophetic too.

Wise words over, they come across Missy in the middle of the shoddy forest. She has found a lift hidden via some type of hologrammatic cloaking device. Now, it looks like one of those door marches seen in Star Trek holodeck episodes but this is just a coincidence, how else are they meant to represent a real door in a hologrammatic world?

Missy uses her umbrella to sonic up the lift. Not a good idea but not as bad as her previous attempt to steal Concorde.

The lift comes up along with a Cyberman who is sick and tired of the muzak. When CyberPotts, with the help of the three Time Lords, shoots it dead, I am sure that it thanked them.

Thanks to Missy’s impatience, the Cybernet has been uploaded with their location. The Cybermen will now be coming to get them. Battle is now on the cards. But it isn’t as bad as all that, Nardole has discovered that the floor below has lots and lots of fuel pipes, water pipes, ketchup pipes and many other pipes with similarly burniness inside them. These pipes can be ignited to explode the Cybermen.

Meanwhile the Doctor has a plan. No, not just a plan but a Plan. Find ventilation conduit, evacuate the munchkins to the next solar farm up yonder just so that they can survive a little while longer until the Cybermen reach them again. This is a plan that will probably not work but even if they survive an extra minute, they can do a lot of things in a minute.

The Mr and Mrs Master want to leave and allow the Cybermen to convert themselves silly. All they need to do is go back down to the lowest floor where the Master’s TARDIS is. Next stop: Mar-a-Lago!

The Doctor pleads with them…

“Och, I’m nae tryin’ tae win. I’m nae doin’ this because I want tae beat soomone, because I hate soomone, or because I want tae blame soomone. It’s not because it’s braw. The Tin Vagabond kens it’s not because it’s easy. It’s nae even because it werks because it hardly ever does. I do whit I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind! It’s just that… Just kind. If I run away todae, guid people will die. If I stand an’ fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many as a mickle or a muckle, maybe not fer long. Hey, ye ken, maybe there’s noo point tae any of this at all. But it’s the best I can do. So I’m going tae do it. And I’m going tae stand here doing it until it kills me. And ye’re going tae die too! Some day… And how will that be? Have ye thought about it? What would ye die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.”

Shades of Braveheart I thought.

“Sorry, mate. I am washing my hair that night, sorry,” says the Master applying a final bit of lipstick. “Catch you on the flip side, duckie!”

Missy is torn by her former self and the Doctor but chooses the lesser of two evils. Or should that be the greater of two evils?

Missy and the Master get to where one of the lifts are. All is looking good for their escape but Missy stabs him with a potato peeler.

“Et tu, Missy?”
“Kiss ma umbrella, ye bearded sassenach! I’m going tae rescue the Doctor, marry him, and have lots of babbies with him! And none will have a wee goatee!”
“You devious moo!”
“Ah, shuddup! Now ye’ll be turning into me so ye might want to loosen ye clothes.”

But the Master shoots her with his laser screwdriver, on the top setting ‘Unregenerate’, and wounds her fatally.

Both of them, the same person, stabbed in the back by one another. How poetic.

They laugh. The Master travels down in the lift and following a brief incident on the floor that houses the Mondasian version of Are you Being Served, carries on down to his TARDIS which is disguised as a tin of pineapple chunks. Missy is on her back, dying, and wondering whether she has time to comb her hair before snuffing it.

It is somewhat sad that Missy’s redemption happened without witness. Barring the Master but he isn’t likely to admit to anything.

You’ll note that we don’t see the Master regenerating. So who knows if Missy was telling the truth about this being where he turns into her? I like to think he regenerates into how he looked when Roger Delgado played the part.

The Cybermen cometh. They have upgradeth themselves so now we have the Pete’s World Cybermen and the Neil Gaiman Cybermen togethereth. And then they explodeth as Nardole’s explosive trick smashes them up. The Cybermen retreateth but this is only so they can come up with a different plan. Eth.

The Doctor downloads the location of the conduits from Nardole’s laptop, neatly deleting his browser history at the same time. Goodbye Mondasian Milfs. Sayonara Telosian Trollops and bye bye Pete’s World Perky Women.

He tells Nardole to help everyone leave. He wants to face the Cybermen alone. After a brief moment where they arm wrestle, Nardole admits defeat and leaves. Leaving nothing but a half-eaten bag of Hula-Hoops.

CyberPotts gets to stay because gunhead and she doesn’t want to live as a Cyberlesbian. Especially when there are no other Sappho-loving Cybes.

All the humans have gone. Only the Doctor and CyberPotts remain. They fight their final fight. CyberPotts with her gunhead zapping, kapowing, kasplatting her fellow Cybermen. The Doctor does much the same with his sonic screwdriver and lists the times he defeated them in the past…

“Telos where I sealed ye althe freezer department! Canary Wharf which ye willnae remember ’cause it happened to an alternate set of Cybermon! Voga with the bling guns! Earth, half a dozen times! Planet 14 with the lead pipe in the library! I even beat ye on the Moon with nail varnish! Aye, ye wee numpties!”

But even the Doctor, alone, cannot face the Cybermen without being shot. And he is. Several times.

His body tries to regenerate but he refuses. “Oh no ye don’t!” With those words he ignites all the pipes below. The Cybermen all die. Adios, Doctor. Adios, Cybermen.

On Floor 0512, which looks exactly like the floor they escaped from, Nardole waits for the Doctor. But he isn’t coming. And he has run out of crisps. War is horrific.

Downstairs, it is all a vast wasteland of burnt trees, shattered Cybermen. CyberPotts is still standing though. She finds the Doctor’s body and searches it for some jelly babies but the jelly babies are also dead. Not a good day.

CyberPotts stands there and – poof! – in a cloud of smoke, finds herself as plain old Bill Potts. Human again. Next to her, the Cybersuit falls to the ground.

“Hello, stranger,” says a voice behind her. Bill turns and it is Heather the sentient puddle lesbian from The Pilot. Yay! And all the Whovians punch the air! Well, some of them.

Heather restored Bill. In case you thought it was just a fluke and that Heather just happened to be passing. Oh, and she isn’t human. She is now what Heather is, a lesbian puddle. Which is nice.

Heather, having gnarly spacepuddle superpowers helps Bill to take the Doctor’s body to the TARDIS. Being a pilot, or The Pilot, Heather knows how to fly the TARDIS.

Puddlegirl offers Bill the chance to join her. To explore the universe, time and space, and enjoy lesbian antics to boot. Bill immediately accepts.

Before they leave, Bill cries. A tear drops from her face and lands upon the Doctor. “Where there’s tears, there’s hope.”

The TARDIS lands where World Enough and Time started. An icy plain. Inside the Doctor dreams of his previous companions.

Cue clips! We see..

Rose Tyler from Disobedient Wolf, Martha Jones from Daleks in Milwaukee, Donna Noble from Partners in Aspic, Jack Harkness from Distopia, Madame Vastra from The Undercrackers of the Doctor, Jenny Flint from The Crimson Horror of Fang Rock, Strax from I, Sontaran, Sarah Jane Smith from The Half-inched Earth, Amy Pond from The Possible Astronaut, River Song from The Pandorica Closes, and even Clara Oswald from Last Khristmouse. All from the modern series. Oh, and we also see Adric from Earthshock floating above the Doctor’s head, wailing, “I never knew if I was right, woooooooooo!”

The Doctor leaves because Ghost-Adric is getting on his nerves. The Doctor’s fists decide to regenerate. “Och, no!” And with that he punches the snow until they start behaving themselves. “Pesky fists! I will nae change!”

He hears his words echoed back to him through the snow. he looks up and sees a figure.

“Who are ye? I am the Doctor and I have had all me Monster Munch eaten by a bald sassenach, so I am mighty dangerous!”

The figure comes closer and it is a total shock to nobody but the Doctor. It is the First Doctor and this must be the South Pole where he regenerated. And one of my predictions, most importantly, was right!

“I’m the Doctor. The original you might say. And this is my little friend, Mrs Norris. Say hello to my future self”
“Meow!”
“She likes your hair.”

With that announcement, the episode ends and millions of Whovians tear out their hair in frustration at the wait until Christmas for the resolution of this not-such-a-shock-thanks-to-the-interwebs ending. Not to mention the horrific thought that Nardole and the solar farm Mondasians are ultimately going to be converted no matter how far they travel up the ship.

The Christmas episode will feature the First Doctor as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Miranda Hart as the Ghost of Christmas Future, and the Ghost of Christmas Present? Has to be the Fourth Doctor, doesn’t it?

Random idle thought: I would love it if the First and Twelfth Doctors swapped placed. Capaldi regenerating into Patrick Troughton and Hartnell/Bradley regenerating into Basil Brush. That’d pee off the Greybeard Whovians no end. Boom! Boom!

So… How was the acting? Yeah, it was alright, innit.

Samantha Spiro was celebrated in the days before the episode aired. Who was she playing? What would be her special role? And then the episode airs and she is a female farmer. Not a farmer who raises females but a farmeress. Which is what she does with little scenes scattered here and there which is why her character isn’t mentioned in this unreview. Her name was Hazran. Good acting but I would have expected a meatier role from such an actress of thie calibre. Oh, and Hazran fancies Nardole. Yes, quite. Barking up the wrong tree there.

Matt Lucas was unleashing his secret badass here. At last. No more comedy stooge. Some comedy, a little stoodiness but Nardole. Makes. A. Contribution. Yes, exciting stuff. I liked Nardole but I get the feeling we will not see him again.

John Simm as the evil Master, all beard and sinister chuckle with a dab of mascara. Was he good? Of course. Seemed to be on Bitch Mode for most of the story. Not sure I liked that aaspect but I laughed so something must be working. Probably not the last we will see of him.

Michelle Gomez as the Master who is redeemed (until the next Master who will be all snake pits, poisoned pizzas and replacing the Queen of England with a poodle). Missy’s journey, if I may be pretentious, has ended with her nasty Osgood-killing self now a sarky umbrella-wielding do-gooder. Is this a good thing? Yeah, I’d say so. Loved her in this (I also loved Simm in case you were wondering). As with Simm, I hope that we get to see her again.

Pearl Mackie has also undergone a, plummy pretentious voice, journey. From parentless girl with a fantastic afro to sentient puddle with a fantastic afro. Um. No, really, she has come quite a long way. I think that Bill was the only companion to be so normal, grounded in reality and chips. So much in fact that she makes Rose Tyler look like a walk-on part in Eastenders. Now she is a wanderer in space and time with her girlfriend. Nice work if you can get it.

Stephanie Hyam returns to Doctor Who as the girl who can’t stop dripping. Except that she stop when she is in the TARDIS. Oh well, it is all good. It was great to see her. Especially since the Heather part of the puddle symbiont, if that is what she is, seems in charge now. Good news for Bill Potts. Good acting but slightly Byker Grove.

Peter Capaldi. Brilliant as usual. Great hair as usual. Not sure I can say much about him without it sounding like hero-worship. So in the words of Dylan Thomas…

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That is how Capaldi acted. And I love him all the more for it.

This story also introduces David Bradley as the First Doctor. Some of the Rookie Whovians, the ones unaware that the show started in 1963, thought that David was the new Doctor. Yes, really. Just think about that for a moment. The mind boggles…

Although imagine if David Bradley was the next Doctor? That would be interesting. Imagine all those cosplayers digging their old radiation gloves out of storage; excellent.

I’ve still to be convinced on Bradley. He was fine in the docudrama but he has big boots to fill. Good luck, sir.

So should you watch The Doctor Falls? Yes, why miss out on a good adventure? This is the penultimate story of the Twelfth Doctor and this is where the countdown starts.

Christmas is coming and so is a new Doctor.

Posted in BekHobbes, cybermen, doctorwho, fandom, memories, opinion, questions, reallife, review, unreview, whovian, whovians | Leave a comment

World Enough and Time Unreview

Mondasian Cybermen, Steve Austin, black holes, oh my!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a series of Doctor Who in possession of a finale, must be in want of Cybermen Yup, another finale featuring our favourite cyborgs. No, not the Daleks. Not the Ice Warriors either. Cybermen! As you’d know if you’d paid attention to the second word of this unreview.

World Enough and Time, the penultimate episode of the series. The Doctor is at risk of falling, if we can believe what the title of the next episode claims, and regenerating into Kris Marshall, Miranda Hart, Danger Mouse, Pearl Mackie, Rory Kinnear, Tilda Swinton, Zach Braff, Michelle Gomez, Scrooge McDuck, Actor McActorface… Blah, blah, blah!

The title comes from a Andrew Marvell poem. I could quote it but since every Tom, Dick and Blog will do it, I won’t.

Let me unravel the plot and make it more straight-forward. Ish.

Teaser shows the Doctor, if it is the Doctor, stumbling out of the TARDIS out into the snowy blowiness of outside. Collapsing onto a lamppost, he says, “Nae, nae, nae, ye is my bestest friend ye are. I bloody love ye. *hic* Whit is a lamppost doin’ in the middle of this snowy tundra? Ach, crivens, not Narnia again!” And with that he begins to regenerate…

But this is the future, the Doctor’s probable future. Now, or rather in the future, um, the Doctor has sent Missy to answer a distress call. Bill does not like the idea of this, Missy scares her. Nor does Nardole except for the version of Nardole that the Doctor keeps in his pocket. Don’t ask. We do not mention Pocket Nardole.

The Doctor will be watching to make sure that Missy behaves and doesn’t accidentally hold the universe to ransom. Again.

So…

Ship, TARDIS. TARDIS, ship. Ship, black hole, black hole, ship. Just like that.

Missy erupts from the TARDIS like a snake in a can – BOING! – and introduces herself. “I am Doctor [expletive deleted] Who, mercurial jackanapes whit a TARDIS time machine. It stands fer Transporting A [expletive deleted] Rascal Dimensionally In Style. Aye,” turning to Bill and Nardole, “and these are my wee pets, Frick and Frack, Dick and Dom, Dumb and Dumber or as I like to call them; Comic Relief and Exposition. Now point me to the [expletive deleted] black hole and I will rescue ye or something!”

During this, Bill and Nardole wince. Embarrassing or what?

The Doctor is in the TARDIS, eating Marsh Minnow crisps, and telling Missy how to behave. “Nae shrinking and less insults!”

A blue man arrives.

“Would ye like a fried Mars Bar?”
“Missy! I dinnae offer crispy chocs. Try jelly babies instead!”

The blue man demurs. He has already eaten. Plus he’d rather know which one of them is human. Why? Because something nasty is travelling up in the elevator, something that wants to eat humans?

Bill admits to being human, “Yeah, I’m a human. Why, are you a racialist or something?”

The Doctor pops out like a snake in the can  – BOING! – much to Missy’s disgust. “Ye cannae jist copy me. Find ye own style!”

The Doctor tries to stop the blue man, Jorj, his name is Jorj, from shooting at Bill. He fails. He shoots her. She now looks like she could appear in that 1990s movie Death Becomes Her, ragged hole through her chest. Bye bye, heart,. Bye bye, Bill Potts. Hello, rewatch of Death Becomes Her.

To lose one companion may be seen as being unfortunate, but to lose two smacks of folly. Is this a repeat of Face the Raven? Will the ravens and the crows join forces? “Kar!” “Klara!” “Kar!” “Klara!” What bird will echo Bill’s name down the ages? Pelicans? Puffins? Titpeckers?

The elevator stops. And out comes the, the… surgeons that moisturized Cassandra? They ain’t Cybermen! Boo! Hiss!

“We can rebuild her,” claim the bandaged figures in their Sparky the Piano voices, clearly fans of The Six Million Dollar Man. “Better, stronger, faster wifi connection.”

And they are gone. With Bill.

The Doctor sends Bill a psychic message but. really, he looks like he is trying not to fart.

Anyways, there is a big faff with Jorj and Missy but once they stop wrestling in jello, Jorj mentions how the skeleton crew went down to the boiler room two days ago to throw more puppies into the furnace but haven’t come back. And that loads of life signs have suddenly appeared. “Weevils, it is always weevils,” he moans.

The Doctor explains, with his red pen, how a black hole has weird temporal effects. So the part of the ship where they are is slower than the bottom of the ship. Time passes normally at one end and slooooooooowly at their end.

The bandaged Moog-voiced people are the descendents of the skeleton crew. Why they didn’t bother to come back is a mystery. But what we do know is that they decided to do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel. Voila! Population implosion!

Now, ahem, the people went down to make the engines reverse them from the black hole, yes? But surely the spaceship. 400 miles long, only has a finite amount of fuel. So why haven’t they run out of it in the hundreds of years that they have spent skimming along the black hole? One explanation is that the thrusters are located at the top of the ship and so, while they’ve run out of puppies, the puppies are still in abundance at the top. Does that make any kind of sense?

I am not advocating puppies as fuel by the way. I am making an obscure reference to a three-second scene from The Simpsons twenty or so years ago. Yes, I am that nerdy.

The Doctor shows Jorj a bit of the old Venusian aikido, a bit or Barsoom baritsu and his upped dukes (‘dukes’ being slang for ‘fists’, dear boxing muggles) so that the Doctor, Nardole and not-evil-at-all-nudge-nudge-wink-wink Missy go down in the lift to rescue Bill Potts.

Bill wakes up. Everything is blurry and faintly 1940s with a bit of steampunk thrown in for good measure. Her heart feels a little metallic. A blurry doctor looks at her, then some kind of hermit looks at her. So far, so League of Gentlemen (the comedy series and not the film starring, I think, Jack Hawkins).

When Bill wakes up again, she stumbles off the gurney and makes her way our of the hospital ward. Someone is calling out for help in an electronic voice. It sounds like Daft Punk.

She sees three wards: In, Out, Shake It All About. Interesting thing here is that the signs are in the same font as the white on black TARDIS font. Coincidence?

She finds a cloth-faced patient. His mouth isn’t moving but the word ‘pain’ is coming out of his drip/glowing box. Bill hears noises and ducks behind a curtain.

The hairy hermit enters with a nurse (matron?), and turns down the “Help”. They exit. Come back in. Exit again. Come back in, and exit for good this time.

Bill plays with more of the glowy light drips until the whole ward is shouting “rain”, “spain”, “drain”, “plain” except for one patient who says “Drink! Arse! Feck! Girls!”

The hairy hermit, who is a balding Hagrid lookalike with a dodgy Russian accent and not so tall, makes friends with Bill;

“Hello, I am very pleased to meet you, Billski. My name is Mister Razor.”
“Mister Raz…”
“No, no, niet, don’t bother trying to vork out if my name is an anagramski. Just accept it.”

Mister Razor is the caretaker/caketaker (he likes stealing cakes and cleaning up the evidence of cake thievery). In this hospital, he is the odd one out. Would any hospital employ someone who looks like they keep several disfiguring diseases just in their underwear alone? I think not.

Razor invites Bill to drink tea with him and watch the Doctor on TV. “Yes, I love Doctor Who but I think that the current one is not a patch on the sixth one, niet?”

Of course, the footage is from a security camera and because of the whole time dilation thing, the show proceeds one second every few days. But on the plus side, no commercial breaks.

And so Bill passes days, weeks, months, years in the hospital waiting for the Doctor. Plus she is now the tea lady for the entire hospital. Every now and then she sees an image of the Doctor telling her to wait for him.

A bit later, Razor and Bill go outside into the 1940esque city where the skies are paved with metal with the number 1056 stenciled on the underside, the people are made of meat and metal, and people are dying out. Razor tells Bill that people are being converted so they can survive Operation Exodus.

“Billski, this planski will take our glorious comrades up the liftski to the top of the ship vithout dying on the vay.”
“Why would you die on the way?”
“Ah, black holeski. Niet goodski for human lifespan, would take centuries to go upski.”
“But surely it didn’t take me centuries to go down?”
“Um…”
“Well?”
“Um… Oh, Billski! Lookski! A flying kitten!”

This conversion would also allow them to survive centuries of elevator muzak.

More years pass and Bill finally gets Razor to take her to the elevator but it is all a trap. Bill is to go through total conversion. “Sorry, Billski, was lie.”

The patients, under the control of the doctor, hold Bill down. The doctor pulls something out of his gladstone bag. She protests about the pain that they feel. “Ah, yes, but see this thing here? It will inhibit emotions so you won’t care about the pain of the conversion and your subsequent centuries-long existence,” the doctor reassures her.

“But I will still be in pain!”
“Yes, but it’ll save us a fortune in painkillers.”

The elevator finally arrives without the Doctor, Missy or Nardole looking visibly older. Lying Mister Razor. All that muzak has reduced them into primitive savages. A quick buzz of the sonic screwdriver sorts them all out although Nardole now says “ook” between every word he utters.

The Doctor tells Missy to update his Facebook page while he and Nardole venture off in search of Bill. “Nae pictures of kittens,” he warns her. “Oh, and see whit is goin’ on, aye?”

The Doctor and Nardole make it to the hospital, so the elevator must be quite close, and to a surgery room which is as close to cobwebs as can be without spiders. If that makes any sense. In a word; derelict.

In the room are clothed-faced bodies, the Doctor and Nardole look over these semi-converted patients. All we need now is Doctor Dorian and Turk to complete the ensemble.

Missy, let us not forget this raven-haired minx, the hairy layabout Mister Razor approaches her.

“Hello, darlink!”
“Drokk off, frellface!”

Missy is not impressed. She has finished playing Angry Birds and ha discovered that the ship didn’t come from Earth. It came from Mondas

Mondas, dear Whovian Rookies, is where the Cybermen originated from. No, don’t mention Pete’s World or that Lumic guy, nuh-uh. Mondas is the Cyberhomeworld and also Earth’s twin planet. You know how twins typically have a good one and an evil one, yes? Mondas is the evil one.

Razor snips off Missy’s pigtails and aims a gun at her.

“Ye willnae shoot me, you southern jessie!”
“Niet, I vill notski.. It vould be likeski shooting meski, rightski?”
“Whit are ye jabberin’ aboot, beardboy?”
“Do youski notski rememberski being hereski beforeski?”
“Stop putting ‘-ski’ on the end of nearly every word ye utter, creep!”
“Sorry, love. You may recognise me from my previous job as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but tonight Matthew I will be…”

…and Mister Razor takes off his rubber mask to reveal, in actual fact, that he is Harriet Jones!

“I am Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister!”
“Aye, I know.”

Harriet Jones take off this new rubber mask to reveal a nondescript bald man.

“I would have gotten anyway with it if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!”

After a brief scene where Missy slaps Mister Razor around the room, he takes off the mask to reveal the face of – duh duh DUH! – the Master! The one that wot was that Harold Saxon. Yes, him! Why isn’t his skull flashing on and off, curious. But he has that classic Delgado/Ainley goatee, so all is forgiven.

This would have been a bigger surprise if Mister Razor hadn’t sounded like John Simm doing a cod-Russian accent. Oh, also if ‘Mister Razor’ wasn’t an anagram of ‘Master Sizer’. Which, if anything, proves nothing much besides his identity unless the Master has adopted a stage name for his hip-hop music career.

“I’m M to the A to the S to the T to the E to the R, DJ Master Sizer, woot-woot!”

Yeah, and you thought Missy dabbing was bad enough…

The Master disguised himself so that Bill wouldn’t have recognised him as being ex-PM Harold Saxon by the way. Which speaks volumes about how much he overestimates young people’s interest in politics. Bill might not have known who he was anyway. I suspect it was just an excuse to stick on a disguise.

The Doctor, after pointing his sonic screwdriver all over the shop, opens up a door to reveal a Mondasian Cyberman!

Mondasian Cybermen? Really? Really? Aren’t all Cybermen, barring the ones made by Cybus Industries, Mondasian? No, Telos was more of a 24-hour service station/cemetery than planet of origin. To my mind, Mondasian is what all Cybermen are. Like all Jews are Jewish despite not being born in Jerusalem.

Anyhoo, the Doctor asks the Cyberman where Bill Potts is. The Cybe says, in its Moog-voice, “Bill is dans tous ses états. She waited for you. This Cyberman is Bill Potts. This scene is not ripping off that scene where Rose Tyler’s mother from an alternate world is converted. Honest! And as for a finale copying th the converted Danny Pink scene, I couldn’t possibly comment.”

The Master and Missy sweep into the room like royalty. “Hello, plebs. Basically this is genesis of the Cybermen. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!”

Beneath her mask, Bill Potts cries. And the Master laughs all through the closing credits and ten minutes into the programme afterwards. He likes a good maniacal cackle.

Bosh! The End! Or is it? Another episode to go, the conclusion to the series and the fate of CyberPotts.

So, thoughts…

This is the fourth genesis of the Cybermen if you take into consideration that the spin-offs are all canon. Now, don’t make me punch you. It is all canon! But this origin retcons the Big Finish audio Spare Parts and, thankfully, retcons the Voord evolving into Cybermen origin from The World Shapers (a comicbook story serialised in Doctor Who Magazine, comic fans). The only origin it doesn’t retcon is Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel since that took place in a parrallel universe and, therefore, doesn’t count.

The Doctor is seen to regenerate at the beginning of the story, yes? Amidst snow. What if he is at the South Pole during the events of The Tenth Planet? Maybe a certain CyberPotts is there too? So theory time! The Doctor crosses his own timeline to find Bill. Bill is near the Snowcap base. He finds her and diverts his regeneration into restoring her humanity. Now either this kills him and Bill becomes the Doctor or they both go their separate ways. In any case, I predict the appearance of the First Doctor. Maybe I should bet money on this?

Second theory: it wasn’t the Doctor who was regenerating. Missy regenerates into a copy of the Doctor. Doctor rides off into sunset. The John Simm Master stamping his feet in frustration.

The second theory will be the one that might be right. Look at the clues. Missy is pretending to be the Doctor. And the Doctor says that of all the people in the universe, Missy is the most like him. Of course this might just be a giant bluff. All this foreshadowing being nothing more than fluff on a needle.

World Enough and Time was celebrated as being the first multi-Master story but it isn’t. That was The TV Movie. And that beat this epsiode by one Master if you add the snake Master to the Eric Roberts and the unseen Master at start of story.

Oliver Lansley plays Jorj, blue janitor alien guy. Nuff said. Next!

Alison Lintott as the Nurse is practically an overweight Nurse Ratched. This, I thought, was pretty cool. Not in enough scenes sadly. Oh well…

Paul Brightwell as the surgeon. I liked him. Surprisingly given his lack of scenes. He plays a very good sinister surgeon with excellent bedside manners.

Matt Lucas as Nardole didn’t get to do much in this. I hope that his part will step up a notch for the finale. As such he did not set a foot wrong. Even during the dance number. Loved that umbrella-and-soapy-frog routine. Oh, and he was excellent when he wa eating that Jaffa Cake. Bravo, Matt, bravo!

Peter Capaldi, likewise, didn’t get to do much. He was great buty he wasn’t the real focus of the story. Nay, the focus was on the body horror of the Cybermen and the plight of Bill Potts.

Michelle Gomez excels as the Missy Master. Love her pee-take of the Doctor at the beginning of the story. And as for her claim that ‘Doctor Who’ is his real name, well. Love love loved that. No doubt, some people failed to see the joke but you can’t please everyone.

Pearl Mackie, this is her story. She shines as Bill, the girl who waited. Or should that be woman? Bill is much more adult than Amy Pond in so many ways. The demise of her character, if demise is the right word for someone who is still technically alive. Loved her performance. It had all the gravitas that Amy’s wait didn’t quite achieve. Loved it.

John Simm? Hidden behind a mask. Can’t really speak about his performance other than for what I have already alluded to in the main body of this unreview. Maybe next time…

So should you watch World Enough and Time? Yes. Simple as.

Roll on next week and the finale. Hold on to your hats, we are in for a bumpy ride, pardners!

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