Category Archives: Television

My thoughts on Television episodes

A Day Late Review: Arrow Season 3: “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”

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This week we got to see a little bit of Felicity’s past and a little bit of her dark side.  As always, with my reviews, please be aware of spoilers.  I am assuming you have seen this episode, and are wondering what I thought of it.  If you are looking for a review without spoilers, please look somewhere else.  I don’t want to ruin it for you.  You have been warned.

The Good

We finally get a little depth to Felicity’s character.  She has always been a nice addition to the show, but there was always a little something lacking.  She was just there, no back story, no history, nothing.  Now we know a little bit more about her, and frankly, it is a good thing she is on our side.  She played the bad girl very well, and it was interesting to see the always straight arrow Felicity breaking rules and laws just for fun.  I liked the back story, and it goes a long way to explain why she is so straight arrow now.

The very end was interesting as well.  If you haven’t seen this episode, and you are planning on watching it, please stop reading this right now.  I don’t normally offer an additional spoiler warning, but I am this time because the ending was a shock, at least for me.  Just so you don’t accidentally see the spoiler, here is a picture of one of my favorite comic book covers of all time:

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Now, if you have made it this far, it is by your own choice, so I can’t be held responsible for what you read next.  What the heck?! Did Roy really kill Sara?  Is that really how it went down?  As he was having that dream, I couldn’t believe it, but he was seeing it just like it happened and it showed him as the one who threw the arrows.  That was quite the twist and the cliff hanger.  I can’t wait for the next episode to see if we start getting any answers.  This twist at the end was the best part of the episode.

The Bad

This episode was painfully predictable.  When Felicity’s mom showed up, I knew she had to be roped in with the hacker attacks on the city.  In fact, when the hacker attacks started happening, I knew 2 things:  1. It was Felicity’s super virus, and 2. It was her college boyfriend.  Even when she said he was dead, I still knew it was him.  All the twists and turns were just so painfully obvious, it was almost silly.  I really enjoy Arrow, and I know there is always a little bit of predictability in each episode, maybe more than some might enjoy, but I can usually look past it because I like the show so much.  This episode was just over the top.  I couldn’t ignore it.  The only twist I didn’t see was the one at the very end with Roy. (Again, seriously?!)

The Final Verdict

This episode helps very little to move the story along, and it interrupts Ollie’s Hong Kong story and really, other than the final twist, it doesn’t do a lot to bring us into the next chapter.  Really, all this episode did was provide Felicity with a little depth and back story.  Other than that and Roy murdering Sara, this episode could be skipped, and I don’t think you would be terribly lost.  I don’t think it will be one that I will watch over and over again.  I saw it once, got the shock, now I am ready to move on to the next episode.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it is a little better.

A Day Late Review of “Dark Water”-Doctor Who Series 8

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I don’t normally avoid spoilers when I write these reviews, and this time is no different.  However, I do want to call it out for sure this time.  If you have not watched “Dark Water” yet, please be advised that there will be spoilers in this review.  If you don’t want any of it to be spoiled, then please don’t read the review.  If you have already seen the episode, or the internet has already spoiled it for you, or you simply don’t care, then read on. As always, or at least, as of late, I will not be offering a recap of the episode, but simply, the god, the bad, and the final verdict.

The Good:

We got some questions answered.  Finally.  We know who Missy is.  Some people may not be happy about it, some people (including myself) may have been totally caught off guard, but we now know who she is.  We also got a glimpse of the promised land and how Missy ties into people dying and the afterlife.  Granted, these were only half answered questions, but it gives us hope that maybe answers are forthcoming.  I do realize that this is Moffat we are talking about, and he seems to like to answer his questions by creating more questions, but one can hope right?

Missy is the Master. Major spoiler here. At least it would have been for me, if I were reading this before I saw the episode, but that would actually be impossible to have happen, since it would create a paradox loop.  In another review of this episode, on the web site Stranger Views, the author mentions that the internet blew up with people who knew Missy was the Master.  I am with Mr. Ridley on this one, I had no idea.  I just wasn’t expecting that.  Now that it has happened, I am all for it.  I think it will bring a whole new dimension and dynamic to the Doctor/Master relationship, and I am hoping Missy will be around for a while.  This also puts to rest any lingering questions about whether the Doctor could possibly change genders through regeneration.  Moffat has definitely made that a possibility.

The Bad

All the other surprises, or at least the other big 2.  Danny Pink dies. Right out of the box.  There he goes, dead.  I was shocked.  He was by far the best thing about Clara this series, so it was sad to see him go, even though that is the event that sets this whole story in motion.  Still wish it didn’t have to be this way.  Of course, this is Moffat, so the nonchalance with which he dies should surprise no one, and he could very well be back, since Moffat’s characters rarely stay dead (see Rory, Clara, Sherlock, Moriarty, etc.).

The other big surprise was the cybermen.  Of course none of us had any idea that the skeletons were cybermen. Well, except for all of us who saw the promos.  The only person who was in the dark was the Doctor himself.  Apparently he had not seen the promos or the artwork that came out prior.  Obviously, the cybermen were the worst kept secret ever, in the history of keeping secrets.  Either this was just sloppy on the part of the producers, or this isn’t really the big surprise.  Maybe Missy was the big surprise, but I feel like there is more coming.

I say that, in spite of the fact that this episode almost didn’t end like a two parter.  The only real cliffhanger was whether Danny is going to delete himself or not.  Frankly, not enough to bring me back next week.  I mean, I will be back, but I would have been back regardless of the cliffhanger.  I am just not anticipating or wondering what is going to happen, and I feel like I should be.

The Final Verdict

This was part one of a two-part finale, but it felt like it was front loaded with all the surprises.  What is left for part two?  Will it all just be resolution to the Doctor and Clara relationship?  If so, I will poke my eyes out now.  I don’t think I can sit through an hour of that.  There are still a few questions that need to be answered, like is Missy the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s number?  Personally, I say no.  I don’t see how that would serve her purpose.  Plus, in one of the promos, Clara is saying something about how she never really existed.  What is that all about?  Maybe it will be resolved in the finale.  Or the finale could just be one big set up for the Christmas special, which will be Clara’s last adventure.  Or, it could be that Moffat asks all these questions, and never gives us adequate answers just to mess with us.  I wouldn’t put it past him.

A Day Late Review of “Mummy on the Orient Express”-Doctor Who Series 8

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This episode, where to begin?  This episode was just a lot of fun for me.  I really enjoyed it, more than I have enjoyed Doctor Who in a long time.  It felt like an older new episode, circa David Tennant.  I don’t know why it felt that way for me, but it did, almost like “Voyage of the Damned.”  I suppose it was a similar concept, but with a mummy that appears and only one person can see them.  Anyway, here is my review, containing the good, the bad, and my final verdict.  Beware of spoilers, but I assume you knew that already.

The Good

There was a lot of good this time out in the TARDIS.  I don’t know if one blog post can contain it all, so I will try to sum it up.  First of all, it was a mystery.  I think the Doctor is at his best when he is solving a mystery.  The mystery format just seems to fit his particular skill set quite nicely, so any episode that is a mystery is typically pretty solid to start with.  That might be a broad statement, but just remember, the type of story sets the foundation, and a crummy house can be built on a good foundation, but a good house cannot be built on a crummy foundation.  But, since this episode had nothing to do with houses or foundations we will move on.  It was a decent mystery.  The story flowed well and moved at a good pace.  There was relatively little of the Clara/Doctor drama in this episode, which I think contributed to that good pace.  The episode also had some great nods to Doctors passed, like when he offered the Alien Mythology expert a Jelly Baby, or when he sees the mummy and says, “Are you my mummy?” Not only was that a classic pun, it hails back to “The Empty Child” story from the first series of the reboot.

I enjoyed the supporting actors quite a bit as well.  The chief engineer was great, and the type of companion I think this Doctor both needs and would appreciate.  Speaking of supporting actors and companions, this episode had very little Clara in it.  Yes, she was there, but she played a very small role, which right now was a needed change of pace.  I could not take another episode of drama between the two of them.  While this episode had a little bit of that, it was very little bit of it compared to the last few weeks.

There were also explosions, and deaths and excitement, and in the end, the Doctor solves the mystery and saves all the survivors.  It was a good happy ending.

The Bad

The bad in this episode was the little bit that Clara was in it.  I know it seems like I have been harsh on her the last couple of weeks.  Please understand, i like Clara, I just don’t like Clara and this Doctor together.  I don’t like the recent drama, and I am looking forward to a permanent change in the companion department.  All of Clara’s part revolved around this being their last adventure together.  As they discussed, I began to wonder if Christmas had come early this year to my house.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  Now she has lied to both Danny and the Doctor and she is staying on for few more adventures.  I am begging Steven Moffat (Like he reads my blog), please end our misery.  Bring us a companion that works with this Doctor.

The only other bad in this episode was the way the Doctor reacted to the people that died.  The victims of the mummy.  It was a blatant apathy.  He really did not care.  Somehow, he had worked out that he could not save them, so he simply moved on and that was it.  I could not imagine any of the newer Doctors reacting this way, and this is something I am having to adjust to.  I keep feeling like we need to give him time, and we will begin to understand him better, but it is starting to look like he really doesn’t care at a certain level.

The Final Verdict

This could be the gem of the season.  Go and watch this episode.  And you will probably want to watch it again.  Overall, the bad gets drowned out with the overwhelming good, and the episode shines.  All I have to say about that is that it’s about time.  This should be what we should expect each time out.

A Day Late Review of “Kill the Moon”-Doctor Who Series 8

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We are moving pretty quickly now through series 8.  It feels like it was just yesterday that the series premiered, but here we are on the 7th episode of the series.  How do we feel about this new Doctor thus far?  Do we like him?  Do we not like him?  For me it is kind of hard.  I feel like I am on the fence.  I don’t know whether I like him or not.  Part of me thinks that my issues have to do with him simply being different than the last Doctor.  I felt the same way when Matt Smith took over for David Tennant, but eventually he grew on me and I liked him.  Part of me thinks this is different.  I am beginning to wonder if we are not supposed to like him.  I am beginning to think that Clara certainly does not like him much. Or, maybe, as Danny has implied, she is just over the whole Doctor thing.  In any case, here is the good, the bad, and the final verdict for “Kill the Moon.”

The Good

It’s in space.  I feel like a lot of this season so far has been on Earth, and I like the adventures in space part, not just the time part.  This was a big positive. In the Space adventures, I feel like we can come across some very new and different monsters, which is exciting, and we almost get there with the giant spider creatures in this episode.  For me, the being in space part was just about the only real good in this episode.  As I watched, I thought I enjoyed it, but thinking about it and pondering on it, I don’t think I did.  The only other good thing was the Doctor addressed his new regeneration cycle, and it sounds like it is not limited to just 13 this time around.  He may just regenerate forever.

The Bad

Where to start?  The spider monsters ended up being nothing more than giant bacteria.  The moon ended up being a giant egg for some giant space monster that is the only one of its kind (which begs the question, which came first, the giant space creature or the giant space egg?).  It just seemed a little silly.  I get that a lot of this show can seem pretty silly, but it usually doesn’t when it is played out.  This episode just felt silly, similar to the “Robot of Sherwood” episode, which is the only episode I have not reviewed from this series.  The biggest baddy of this episode was not the giant spider bacteria or the giant space monster that hatches from the moon.  No, the biggest baddy was the drama.  The drama between the Doctor and Clara, and something tells me that it is only going to get worse between now and the Christmas special.  These two obviously don’t like each other, and the rift between them and the continuing issues has made them both into quite unlikeable characters.  Part of me does not like the Doctor for how he treats Clara, and part of me can’t stand Clara for how much she disdains the Doctor.  It is a vicious cycle, and I think the best Christmas present I will get this year is Clara’s departure from the show.  Hopefully, a new companion will work make this Doctor more likable.  It’s called chemistry, and these two don’t have it.

The Final Verdict

This was a rough one.  If you can find a way to skip, I would. I don’t think there was any major plot line that will come back later in the series, except that the Doctor and Clara can’t stand each other, which will resurface again and again until one of them leaves.  I used to really like Clara, and I think I could like this Doctor, but watching this episode helped me realize the problem is not either one individually, but the two of them together.  Make it stop!  I will continue to watch the series, but I am looking forward to the end of the year and something new and different.

A Day Late Review of “The Caretaker”

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Another week and another story from this series of Doctor Who is in the books.  The first thing I want to say about this episode is that I loved the title.  It was nice little nod and wink to Tom Baker’s role as the Caretaker in “Day of the Doctor.”  The second thing is that I was really looking forward to this episode.  Some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who have the Doctor going deep undercover, so I was excited.  Did it live up to my excitement?  Let’s find out.

I have been wondering about the format of my day late reviews.  I don’t think I am going to continue to give a synopsis of the episode.  I am going to assume you either A. Watched it, or B. are going to watch it, so no synopsis.  I am going to give you the good of the episode, the bad, and the final verdict.  All of this, of course, is NOT spoiler free, so be warned. I hope you enjoy the new format.  If not let me know, and maybe we will tweak it again.

The Good

Lots of awkward Doctor/human interactions.  I love the episodes where regular humans interact wight the Doctor and have to try to figure out why he is so strange.  There was plenty of that in this episode, from his interactions with the other teachers, his interrupting Clara’s class to correct her, and finally his interactions with the students.  It was fun.  Capaldi pulls this off as the Doctor.  He is not goofy weird, like Matt Smith, or as smooth as a human like David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston.  His weird is a darker, more disturbing kind of weird.  My favorite example of this is the sign he puts on the caretaker’s door.  It doesn’t say “Keep Out,” it says “Keep Away Humans,’ which is just a really odd thing.

Danny also finally gets more involved in the story.  They have been flirting with this for a while on the show, and it finally happened.  Danny and Clara, on the other hand, have just been flirting.  Danny is smart, brave, good-hearted, and a great compliment to the uncaring Doctor.  IT was exciting to see him get involved.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be long-lived.  I think he will leave the show at the same time Clara does, at least, that is how the story is feeling right now.  Clara is having to choose between Danny and the Doctor more and more each week, and with her dropping the “L” word this week, it looks like she will be picking Danny permanently, and he doesn’t seem too interested in flying off with the Doctor by himself.

I also wonder if we have met the future companion of the Doctor, one of the girls at the school where Danny and Clara teach.  She might make for an interesting companion.  She is a teenage girl, so the romance thing would absolutely not be happening, which is a plus.

One last good bit, we get the first mention of River in this episode, and the way he mentions her, made me wonder if she might be reappearing in future episodes.  Fingers crossed!

The Bad

The bad guy is the bad in this one.  The robot seemed really cool, and dangerous, but ended up not being either of those things.  Really, the episode was about the Doctor meeting Danny and Clara being put squarely in the middle of the two gents, and the robot was just a way to make it happen.  Too bad, lots of potential, hardly any of it realized.

Of course, since we had a robot, and a random death, we see Missy again, and get a hint at who or what she is.  Apparently, at least in some form, she is a deity, and the place where she is looks to be heaven.  It has been hinted at subtly throughout the series, but this time, the dead police officer says “My God…” at one point in the “Promised Land,” and the guy there just responds by letting him know that she is really busy today.  Interesting to see how this all turns out.  She has also referred to the Doctor as her boyfriend, so has the Doctor been seeing God?  Just a little weird for my taste.  We’ll see where it goes.

The Final Verdict

Overall, a pretty watchable episode.  It was funny and entertaining.  IT only hinted at some real action, but did not really deliver, and I could have done without the relationship talk from Danny and Clara.  That being said, any story that has the Doctor pretending to be a regular Joe, I am on board, and would recommend.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.  Worth seeing.

A Day Late Review of Gotham

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Fall is officially here, which means primetime TV is back.  One of the strongest new contenders this year is Gotham. In one of my earlier posts, I referred to Gotham as Batman getting the Smallville treatment.  I watched the premiere last night (thank you Fox Now app on Apple TV), and let me just say I was wrong.  Gotham is so much more than that.  First of all, the quality is leaps and bounds better than what we saw on Smallville.  By quality, I mean that it just looks nicer, the acting is just better, and the writing seems stronger.  Smallville always felt like a teenage soap opera with super heroes thrown in.  Gotham does not feel like that at all.  I think one of the big reasons is the fact that the main character is not Bruce Wayne.  From what I can tell, this is not the story of how Bruce becomes Batman.  No, this is the story of how James Gordon becomes Commissioner Gordon, and how he cleans up the police force in Gotham City. Jim Gordon is the main character, and also happens to be the only good guy in the whole city.  All the cops are corrupt and under Falcone’s thumb.  Gordon, alone, is trying to do the right thing and it gets him in trouble.

Spoilers: Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot.  If that really is a spoiler for you, then obviously, you know nothing about Batman, so chances are you are not going to watch this show, so chances are, it’s still not really a spoiler for you.  This leads to the best scene in the whole episode: Jim Gordon meeting and then comforting the traumatized Bruce Wayne.  It is well shot, well written, and well acted.  This is the moment that endears the viewer to both characters.  That’s a good thing, because the rest of the characters in this show are not endearing at all.  There is nothing likable about Fish Mooney, Oswald, Nigma, Bullock, or Falcone, or anyone else for that matter.  At the end of the episode, I was exhausted, just thinking about how much work Gordon has to do.  It is going to wear him out.  It’s going to wear me out as I watch it each week.

The final verdict for me on this show is a solid thumbs up.  I am not a Batman fan.  I am familiar with the basic story of Batman, I’ve read some of the essential Batman books out there, but I have never cared that much for Batman.  I know, I may the lone geek out there who feels that way, but I have just always felt that for a hero, Batman is just too dark and sinister.  I prefer my heroes to be less dark and sinister.  All that being said,  really enjoyed this show.  I think the big reason why was James Gordon’s character.  He is a good guy.  He is not dark and sinister.  He believes that light can overcome the darkness of Gotham, which makes him a better man than Batman/Bruce Wayne, who thinks the way to go is to fight the darkness with more darkness.  Gordon drives the show, and it feels more like a gritty cop show than a super hero show.  That just seems to work for me.  I would definitely say this is a must watch.

A Day Late Review of “Time Heist”

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When I saw the preview for “Time Heist,” I was pretty sure I was going to hate it.  It just seemed to be par for the course so far with this series of Doctor Who.  The good episodes seem to be alternating with just plain silly episodes.  I enjoyed last week’s quite  bit, so I figured this one would be up there with “The Robot of Sherwood.” Or down there, depending on how you want to look at it. Plus, the whole idea seemed absurd.  I could not wrap my head around the idea that somehow the Doctor and Clara were going to become common bank robbers.  Then I watched this episode, and had to throw all of my initial thoughts out the window.  It was pretty solid.

The basic story is that Clara and the Doctor answer a mysterious phone call to the TARDIS.  The next thing we know, the two of them are sitting in some room holding two memory erasing worms.  They are not alone.  They are with two other people.  Each has had their memories wiped.  Next, the quartet receive a message from a mysterious figure who calls himself “The Architect.” He tells them that they must break into the Bank of Karabraxos, which has never been broken into, and is supposedly impenetrable.  They discover that each of them has special skills to help them with this task and they go through a bunch of obstacles to get to the vault.  One of the toughest obstacles is a creature they call “The Teller,” who is a telepath that can sense guilt.  Once he latches on to people’s minds, he can turn them into soup.  And, we learn, once he has latched on, there is no escaping him.  As they go through each challenge, they find that the Architect has left them some cases with helpful tools or information, like some devices they assume are atomic shredders that will painlessly kill you, as an escape route if necessary.   As they go through the obstacles, they lose the other two members of their group who use the exit strategy instead of allowing the Teller to turn their minds to mush.

In the end, the Doctor and Clara make it into the vault, and find the items on their list.  The last item they need is in the Private Vault.  On their way, they discover that the other two travelers are not dead, but had just been teleported. In the Private Vault they meet Karabraxos herself and convince her to leave the planet before a solar storm destroys everything.  A this point, the whole thing comes together, and the Doctor pieces together what was really going on, with the help of the Teller.  They discover that the Teller is not the last of his species, as they had been led to believe, but there is a female Teller locked up in the private vault.  The Doctor and his crew rescue both Tellers and take them to safety.  The Doctor, with the help of the Teller has remembered that this was the reason they broke into the vault and the bank.  He was the Architect and had planned the whole thing to save these creatures, at the request of Karabraxos from the future.

The story could have been silly, with the whole bank robber angle and monsters and whatever, but it all seemed to work.  It wasn’t silly, it was just plain fun.  There is a little bit of intrigue as you wonder who the Architect is and why he selected these four to rob this impenetrable bank, and when you find out the truth, you feel vindicated because you realize that the Doctor would never really rob a bank.  Plus, the longer this season goes and the more we get to know this new Doctor, the more I like him.  He is odd in his own way, but he is dark and serious too.  I would ever describe him as goofy, but he wouldn’t really fit in around here either.

Overall, it was a fun episode.  I would recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

A Day Late Review of “Listen”

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Well, here we are, the 4th episode of this new Doctor Who series.  Admittedly, this review is actually 2 days late instead of just “a” day late, but that’s kind of the running title for the spot, so I am sticking with it.

I don’t know about most of you, but I have really had some mixed feelings about this series so far.  I didn’t particularly enjoy “Deep Breath,” I loved “Into the Dalek,” and I thought “The Robot of Sherwood” was just beyond silly. Because of this experience so far, I have decided to go into each week with zero expectations, that way I am not disappointed.  I will say, despite my mixed reviews on each episode, I am enjoying the development of Capaldi’s Doctor.  Each week reveals more about this latest regeneration.

I tried to have no expectations for this episode, until I saw this:

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That always grabs my attention, and heightens my expectations.  Plus, it was an ominous one word title, not unlike “Blink,” which I still consider to be one of the best TV episodes ever written.  I was on board at that point, which was good, because the whole meditating on top of the TARDIS thing was just a little weird, but that is becoming the norm for this Doctor.

The episode begins by posing the question: What if we are never alone, what if evolution had produced a creature that was the perfect hider, and it is always there, just listening?  In those moments when we are talking to ourselves, what if we’re not?  The whole opening as he is going through and creating this theory was very interesting, and led to a very interesting premise for the episode, that unfortunately, ended up being rather disappointing.  Granted, it would have been strange to have yet another creature created by Moffat that had something to do with turning your back.  First it was the Angels, if you turn your back or blink, you’re toast (BTW, Colin Baker has a great way to beat the angels he shared at Salt Lake Comic Con: Wink.  Just alternate eyes as you are staring at them). Then it was the Silence, a species we totally forget when we turn our backs on them and can’t see them.  Now there would be the Hiders?  You can’t look at them or see them, but they are always there.  This kind of creature seems to be Moffat’s thing.  Except, the plot twist here was that he didn’t deliver.

Sure, Clara and the Doctor do go back in time and visit their new friend Rupert Pink (I don’t want to spoil his relationship to Danny, if you haven’t seen the episode yet), on the night that he has had a nightmare.  Not just a nightmare, but THE Nightmare, that apparently everyone has had about stepping out of bed, and someone grabbing your ankle from underneath the bed.  Yes, they go back and visit Rupert, and he is scared because he has heard some noises and believes there is something under his bed.  Clara climbs under his bed and he joins her, and they see there is nothing there. And then the bed creaks and there is this on the bed:

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We don’t get to see who or what is under the bedspread.  The creature stays under the bedspread the whole time.  Here the Doctor gives a great speech about fear being a super power.  It really was good, and should be shared with anybody who is afraid.  He then has the three of them turn their backs on the creature, who eventually just leaves.  We never get to see the creature in the episode and no explanation is given.

The Doctor and Clara then go back to the scene of Clara’s dreadful date from earlier, and she tries to patch things up with Danny, but it does not work out, as the Doctor sends in some space man to get Clara back to the TARDIS.  The space man is from 100 years in the future and is actually a time traveller who ended up at the end of time, when nothing is left.  The Doctor believes here he will find the “ghosts” he has been looking for.  He ends up opening the door to the ship they are on, and almost gets sucked out of it.  The space man saves him, but he has been knocked unconscious.  Clara tries to interface telepathically with the TARDIS (something she had done earlier), and they end up some place new.  A farm.  She observes a little boy who is very scared sleeping out in the barn, well not sleeping, but crying mostly.  Two adults come out and they talk about why the boy is out there.  Clara is hiding under the bed.  As the two adults are talking the discuss how he will never make it to the academy to become a Time Lord, and we realize this little boy is the Doctor.

He begins to get out of bed, and Clara, for no apparent reason, reaches out and grabs his ankle, and then tells him it is all a dream, and he just needs to go back to bed.  He does, and then she whispers in his ear about how it is ok to be afraid and that fear is a super power and a constant companion, and that fear can make one kind and gentle, not mean and uncaring.  She even mentions that he will come back to this farm someday when he is very afraid, and we see the War Doctor coming to the farm with the moment, and we learn that the farm has some connection to the Doctor’s childhood.

This episode left us with some interesting questions.  We thought that Clara’s role as the one who keeps saving the Doctor was finished since “The Name of the Doctor,” yet here she is again, meddling in his past.  Will she continue to do this until the end of her run at Christmas?  We also learn that the Doctor is afraid of the dark, which my 7-year-old thought was pretty cool, since he is also afraid of the dark.  The last question we are left with is: What was that thing on the bed?

Overall, this was a watchable episode.  I would say it is  Moffat, but not Empty Child?Doctor Dances or Blink Moffat.  It had quite a few holes, and you’re left wondering why it jumped as much as it did.  It was almost like two episodes that they squeezed into one. Despite that, it was enjoyable.  I f I gave rankings, it would be a 3 out of 5.  Good enough to watch, but not a classic.

A Day Late Review of “Into the Dalek”

So, here we are, episode 2 of series 8.  Episode 2 of Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor.  I was very excited for “Deep Breath” because it meant that new episodes of Doctor Who were starting up again.  It was also what I was expecting as far as the Doctor adjusting to his new regeneration and being all weird.  The first episode of a new Doctor always seems to be like that.  You don’t really get a feel for who he is as a man in the first episode.  At best, you might get a glimpse of it toward the very end.  This was a big reason why I was maybe a little more excited for this episode.  This is where we begin to see who this new Doctor really is.  Not to mention this episode had the word Dalek in it.  Let me just say, before I go any further here, this episode did not disappoint.  Let me also just say that there may be spoilers ahead, so be warned.

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“Into the Dalek” opens in the middle of some battle in space.  Two people, a man and a woman are flying in some small fighter ship and are under heavy fire.  During the fight, the man is killed and it looks like the whole ship is going to be lost with the woman in it.  And then she opens her eyes to find she is in the control room of the TARDIS, and there is the Doctor holding two teas in to-go cups.  They exchange a few words, and here we get to see a little bit about the Doctor’s character.  He is really no-nonsense.  She is upset because the man, apparently her brother, is dead.  The Doctor simply points out that she is not, and she hasn’t thanked him for it.  Just very straight forward.  I kind of liked it.  No apology for not saving her brother, just a statement of the fact that he did save her.  We find out here that her name is Journey Blue, and she demands to be brought to her command ship.  The Doctor obliges.

On the ship, soldiers and the commanding officer are there to meet the TARDIS shortly after it materializes in the ship.  They thank the Doctor for saving Journey’s life, but let him know that due to security protocol, they are still going to have to kill him.  Here Journey points out that he is a “doctor”, and they agree to let him see their patient.  He follows them to a holding area, where he comes face to face with a Dalek.  His first reaction is the same we have seen from all the Doctors, from Eccleston to today.  He wants the Dalek destroyed immediately, and absolutely will not help it.  He is unbending on this, until the Dalek pleads for help and says it must destroy all the Daleks.

The next scene is Clara, returning to school.  Here she meets the new math teacher, Danny Pink, a former soldier himself.  She is immediately taken with him, and why not?  He is a handsome enough young fellow, who also happens not to be the Doctor. (Yay for love stories not involving the companion and the Doctor!)  In addition to learning that Danny was a soldier, we also find out that he has some secrets in his soldiering past, some that he is not very proud of.  He is also absolute rubbish when it comes to talking to women, as Clara is basically begging him to go to a party with her, and he refuses, brushing her off because he says he has some reading to do.  Of course, he returns to his classroom, and recites to the empty desks what he should have said, and of course, Clara is there at the doorway to hear the whole thing.  Good new for Danny in the end, because she still agrees to go and get a drink with him.

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Right after this conversation, Clara goes into her classroom to find the TARDIS there.  Apparently, the Doctor has finally returned with the teas he went to get, leaving her 3 weeks prior in Glasgow.  Typical Doctor.  He drags her along on this adventure and promises to bring her right back before anyone knows she is gone.  They arrive on the ship and wisps her off to see the Dalek.  At this point, the soldiers are asking who she is and we get a definition of what Clara is to this Doctor.  She is his “carer.”  She cares so he doesn’t have to.

To save the Dalek’s life, they are shrunk down and deposited into the Dalek itself.  The rest of the adventure happens inside the Dalek for the Doctor, Clara and a small band of soldiers sent in to make sure the Doctor doesn’t end up being a spy for the Daleks.  While inside, they battle some Dalek antibodies, to little success, and again we see that life may not be as precious to this Doctor as it has been for others.  They ultimately discover what is causing the Dalek to be sick.  His power source is leaking radiation, so the organic part is being poisoned to death by the radiation.  The Doctor seals up the leak.  This fixes the sick part, but it also fixes the malfunction that has made the Dalek “good.”  The Dalek then breaks free for the equipment the humans have attached to it, and then goes to  computer and alerts its ship as to where the humans are.  The invasion force is now on its way to take over the ship and free the captive Dalek.  The Doctor feels vindicated, because he suspected all along that the Dalek was not really good, and he feels like that is exactly whet they have learned here.  Clara points out and helps him realize that what they have really learned is that you can have a good Dalek.

A new plan is set into motion at this point.  The Doctor is going to go off and have a conversation with Rusty, the Dalek.  Clara is going up to the memory vault to find a way to unsupress the memories the Dalek has suppressed.  They are successful.  Clara finds all the suppressed memories and unleashes them on Rusty, who begins to understand that no matter what the Daleks do, life will always prevail.  Also, during this process, the Doctor lets Rusty into his soul.  There Rusty finds life and beauty, but also hatred.  Hatred for all the Daleks.  Rusty latches on to this and decides he must still destroy all the Daleks because he now hates them.  The Doctor is disturbed by the fact that Rusty latches on to that one fact about him.

This was a great episode.  If I had a ranking scale, I would rank this episode toward the top of that scale.  But I don’t, so I won’t.  I will see that I would recommend watching this episode.  If you have already seen it, go back and watch it again.

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A couple of things to mention.  This episode finds the Doctor and Clara having a conversation about whether he is a good man.  It puts the audience in an interesting position because you begin to wonder if he really is a good man.  We take everything he does at face value, but he has seen some dark things in his past.  Can he really be a good man after all of that?  Clara is unsure as well, but finally, at the end of the episode declares that he tries to be a good man, and in some way that is all that really counts.  The other thing to mention is that we see Missy again, and “Heaven” when one of the soldiers dies.  I am interested to find out what ll of this is about, but knowing Moffat, when he finally does reveal who she is and what this place is, it will only raise more questions.

That’s all for now.  Again, I enjoyed this episode.  I think it is a strong episode overall, and would definitely recommend watching it.

A Day Late Review of “Deep Breath”

Well it finally happened.  Something Doctor Who fans have been anticipating for what seemed like forever. Series 8 finally premiered.  We finally got to meet the 12th Doctor and spend more than just a couple of minutes with him and get to know him a little bit.  The question now that it’s all over is, do we want to get to know this Doctor better?

The first thing I noticed while watching this episode is that the opening credits have been upgraded.  I know they change with each Doctor and sometimes during a Doctor’s run, but this time it seemed like they put a little more budget behind the credits.  They were crisper and cleaner, and just a little more “made for HD.”  Overall, visually, I liked them.  The song for the opening credits was updated as well, and this didn’t score well for me.  It was still the same song, essentially, but they tried to vary it enough that it almost didn’t sound the same.  Like having a best friend in grade school, moving away and not seeing them for 20 years.  When you see them again, they look familiar, you can tell it’s them, but they are also very different.  Overall, the changes to the song were not needed and I wasn’t a fan.  Maybe it will grow on me.

I was looking forward to the episode.  Like many fans, i had speculated about what this new Doctor was going to be like, and I couldn’t wait to see it.  I was hoping this episode would begin to answer some questions about the Doctor’s new self.  I forgot that it was being done by Steven Moffat.  He likes asking questions way more than he likes answering them.  Just when you think you might actually get to the bottom of something, you realize it’s all just a tease and there is a lot more to go before getting to the bottom.

Before you go any further, I must warn you there will be spoilers ahead.  This is not a review that comes out just in time for the episode to premier for the public, or just after the episode has aired.  It is a “Day Late” review, so i assume most people who are interested have seen “Deep Breath” by now, but if you haven’t, maybe you have it recorded, or it’s in your download queue, or whatever, then be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.

The episode begins in almost silly fashion.  A dinosaur mysteriously appears in Victorian London.  Nobody knows how it got there.  Enter Moffat’s favorite Doctor Who characters ever, Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.  It seems like these are the only supporting characters Moffat knows how to write, because they keep popping up.  All the time.  Seriously, am I the only one who is beginning to get sick of them?  Maybe I am, and that’s why they keep them around.  In any case, Vastra brilliantly deduces that the dinosaur must have time traveled.  Then Jenny notices it has something in its…excuse me, Vastra does point out, her throat.  She coughs (the dinosaur) and out comes the TARDIS.  The Doctor comes stumbling out followed by Clara and we get the classic modern regeneration episode, where the Doctor has no idea who he is or what’s going on.  He apparently also has a thing for big, sexy dinosaurs.  It’s a good thing they have arrived in Victorian London and that Vastra and Jenny and Strax are there to help Clara through this rough regeneration time.

This whole sequence began to get absurd and strange for me.  I had heard all about how this Doctor was going to be all serious and dark compared to number 11, and this was serious or dark, it was silly and strange.  He kept flirting with this dinosaur and his lack of Doctor like skill was just obnoxious.  The good news is that the episode did get better from here.

Well, not all of it was better.  Clara has seen all the Doctors, 1-11, and even the War Doctor.  This whole idea of regeneration should not be strange to her.  She, out of all the companions ever, should get it.  She has spent time with each of the Doctors, yet she cannot accept that this man is the Doctor.  She saw him regenerate, and she can’t accept it.  The whole episode is her wondering if he is really the Doctor and moping because she just doesn’t know if she knows who the Doctor is anymore.  I just couldn’t buy it.  It takes a call from 11 on her mobile at the end to convince her, and she still hesitated.  It was just confusing to me.

In any case, the dinosaur gets murdered as the Doctor is trying to figure out a way to send her home, while win his night-shirt.  The murder puts him on the case and he begins to investigate, and we begin to see that his Doctor means business.  As he is beginning to investigate, I really started to appreciate this more serious Doctor.  And, we see a moment where he blurs the lines between right and wrong, as he steals a coat from a tramp, using the line “No point in us both being cold.”  He and Clara both reply to an ad to meet for lunch in a specific restaurant.  An add they both believe the other placed in the paper, but neither one did. And as they are both discussing Clara’s egomania, they realize that none of the other diners happen to be people.  They are all robots, and  this restaurant is a front for cyborgs harvesting human parts to power their ships. (Yes, these are the same robots we see in the “Girl in the Fireplace”, and you will get frustrated as the Doctor cannot remember where he has seen it before) Clara and the Doctor get brought into the basement and meet the lead cyborg and discover what is happening.  They head for the door, and the Doctor seemingly leaves Clara behind, to face the cyborgs alone.  She tries to hide among them and escape by not breathing, but eventually gives in and is discovered.  She has a great face off with the lead cyborg and the Doctor ends up being there to save her, hiding as one of the cyborgs.  As the army of robotic men and women descend on the pair, Clara says the magic word, and Vastra, Jenny, and Starx come down from the rafters to save them.  The Doctor and the lead Cyborg break off from the group and have a great back and forth argument.  The Doctor is pleading for the cyborg to end it by jumping from his escape pod, and threatening that he might end it for the machine.  They go back and forth, and it all ends when the lead cyborg ends up dead, having either jumped or been pushed out of the escape pod and landing on a spire that does him through.  We don’t know, and it is left ambiguous, if the Doctor pushed him, adding to the intrigue of this new Doctor.

The cyborg ends up in some paradise, we don’t know what it is with a girl named Missy, who claims to be the Doctors girlfriend.  I didn’t recognize her, so I don’t know who she is, but she seems to know a lot about the Doctor and what he will and won’t do.

By and large, this episode does why it is supposed to.  It introduces the Doctor to the audience as well as his companion and cast of recurring characters.  It also introduces some of the story for this upcoming series.  It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.  We definitely saw that the Doctor has a darker side now, more serious.  We also get confirmation that there will be no flirting with Clara and this new Doctor, which is a plus for me.  Overall, I liked the new Doctor so far.  He isn’t my favorite, but to be fair, he has only been in one episode, so I need to give him some time.  I think this series will be going in a different direction.  A lot of people were saying that this new Doctor would be somewhat similar to Tom Baker, and I can see that a little bit.  Maybe a little like Colin Baker, a little darker, minus the clown suit.  I am interested to see where it goes, and personally can’t wait to watch next week.

What were your thoughts?  Love it? Hate it? Wait and see?  Share them with us in the comments, we would love to hear from you.