[personal profile] morganminstrel
I'm enjoying this new spoiler free format. We'll see how long it lasts.

Right. When I saw the preview for this one, I thought it looked like a cute, light episode. Then I saw the name of the writer attached, and I was left hoping it just wouldn't be terrible. (Cottrell-Boyce was responsible for "In the Forest of the Night," if you don't recall.)

Thankfully, what we got was kind of a cute, light episode. And yes, the technology was magic, but in a Clarke-type way, not in ItFotN's weird "trees make oxygen and it's magic, right?" way. This was by no means hard SF, but it was closer to some vaguely hard SF concepts (microbot builders) than Doctor Who often gets.

The story itself isn't tremendously deep, but it is enjoyable and has a few more twists and turns than I'd expected. And, really, this is the "Bill first goes out into space and time" episode, isn't it? Unlike a few others, most of the episode wasn't specifically about that, but Pearl Mackie did a great job of showing the wonder (and confusion, and concern, and terror) that should accompany someone's first real trip in the TARDIS.

Basically, I liked it. Liked the story, liked the setting, liked the Smile robots, liked some of the concepts. Dug the references buried in there. (Woo, Easter Eggs! And non-Doctor Who ones to boot...)

But it was still, for the most part, a by-the-numbers kind of story--one that most Doctors and Companions probably could have been dropped into. Enjoyable, definitely, but not one to leave a lasting impression. And to talk about its flaws would wind up being spoilers, so...to the comments, everyone! (And yes, I will try to actually participate/answer this week...I'm nowhere as sick as I was last week.)

NEXT WEEK: I'm....pretty sure the Doctor and Bill didn't land in Bristol in 2017. They'd better watch out for..."Thin Ice" by Sarah ("Face the Raven") Dollard!

The Doctor Who Review Depository is down for the moment, due to the move from Livejournal. I'll get it back up and running sometime soon.

Hell Is ...

Date: 2017-04-25 02:35 am (UTC)
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
From: [personal profile] saavedra77
I thought the episode was actually rather dark, under the smilies. I mean, I couldn't help thinking about being one of those colonists left stranded there smiling every waking moment--until they manage to find a way off-world without the 'bots. I felt like there was a "hell is others" theme, here--or, more at, "hell is an out-group." Two dissimilar cultures can coexist only with difficulty, with denial, forgetting, and lying about abuses committed on both sides. The colony looks like a prison, a powder keg. If I were those colonists, I would be anxious to make progress on a rocket to the next place so that I could stop reacting to every stimulus with a smile.

Nonetheless, I will give you, this is a vast improvement on the writer's previous contributions. Although disturbing, the story makes sense--at least, in the way that ST:TOS: Space Seed makes sense. (I wondered why Kirk never sent someone back to check on the progress of his augment colony long before seeing ST:WoK. Then again, we learn in the same movie that Kirk failed to check in on his own son, all those years ...) I wonder whether we'll ever revisit the Emoji Swarm?

At any rate, the season is interesting. I enjoy seeing the universe through Bill Potts' eyes, seeing where her questions and interests take us. I look forward to learning how Capaldi's Doctor got trapped on earth, what's in the vault, how Nardole became his ... keeper?

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morganminstrel

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