Tuesday, 11 July 2017

TV Review No. 65 Doctor Who: World Enough and Time (S10, Ep11)

Strong Points:
Some genuinely tense moments
Great acting
Missy acting as The Doctor
Actually going through with some threats
Simultaneously having a lot happening and nothing at the same time
The Mondasian Cybermen played on more human fears

Weak Points:
The BBC advertisements ruined one of the main surprises
Playing with time is always confusing
Sometimes a bit slow paced

In-depth Review:
This episode sees The Doctor trying to make Missy more like him in the sense that she wants to save people instead of burning them for fun. It's always been slightly unnerving to watch Missy's apparent transformation into a good person as you always have to be aware that it could be all an act or that she will just suddenly change back. John Simm's Doctor was certainly more straightforward to watch...

Having Missy act as The Doctor allowed for many creative 4th Wall breaks and throwbacks to the Doctor Who fandom, including her saying that she was Doctor Who (that's his name isn't it?) and my personal favourite, calling Nardole 'Comic Relief' and Bill 'Exposition'. It also allowed them to be a bit more unPC and subvert slightly the mildly preachy nature of the rest of the season, mainly by calling the blue person (who's race was seen last in Oxygen) a smurf. I'm not saying I disagree with them bringing up present day issues on Doctor Who, but it's always nice to throw a bit of political incorrectness in there as well.

Of course, everything became decidedly less comical when Bill got shot through the stomach (with absolutely no subtlety) in a twist I didn't see coming. They play with guns and death quite a lot in Doctor Who (in case you hadn't notice), even getting Bill to shoot The Doctor in an early episode but that was a blank and this was very real. Weirdly enough, I'm going to commend Moffat for going through with the threat of a shot, instead of it being an accident or Bill 'saving' someone. It felt completely justified and while you always had a thought in the back of your mind that Bill would survive, at least for long enough to say her final goodbyes to The Doctor, it was nice to see Doctor Who taking the risk of killing a character off.

By this point in the episode I'd actually forgotten the Cybermen were the main villains of the episode, otherwise, I might've guessed that Bill would've been saved through technology. After being given a new mechanical heart, Bill decided to start exploring the scary, barely illuminated hospital (as you do) and met up with some 'in progress' Cybermen and one of Moffat's latest creations - a volume button. Not scary at first sure, but turn it up and you start to hear cries for help from these 'Cybermen' and the only way to stop it is to turn the volume down again. Like a painkiller but only for the people around the patient. *shudders*. Anyway, Razor convinces the hospital staff to allow Bill to stay and help him and Razor explains about the who time situation.

While all this had been going on in 'the land down below', a total of around a couple of seconds had passed with The Doctor and Missy in a very Interstellar idea - the closer to the black hole you are, the faster time moves. This means that while The Doctor and Missy in total are only speaking for around ten minutes this episode, Bill watches it for ten years, which is mildly difficult to get your head around but a pretty cool idea all the same.

Due to this time shifting idea, there are a couple of sections which feel quite slow-paced as we are watching a conversation that would normally take two minutes' screen time tops, stretched out into half the episode as we keep checking back with Bill (who weirdly doesn't go mad when stuck with the silent Cybermen and Razor for ten years). This would be fine if the ending didn't suffer slightly from the slow build-up because what an ending.

We had two major reveals at the end, one which was guessable and the other which was spoiled by the biggest antagonist of TV shows - the production company. Yes, John Simm's back as The Master and I think he did pretty well (as expected), especially in the sudden change of emotions from Razor to The Master. Michelle Gomez did great as Missy as well, who gradually realised firstly that there were Cybermen on the ship and that The Master (her previous incarnation in case you didn't know) was there. It was still a pretty great reveal, but just imagine if no-one had known that John Simm was going to be back, and the shock from everyone as it dawns on them! The other reveal was that Bill had been turned into a Cybermen, which had been hinted at going to happen throughout the episode once she'd gotten her metal heart but was still quite emotional. We also had a similar scene to Oswald realising she was a Dalek, with a close-up of Bill's eye crying, into a zoom out of the Cyberman. This crying should prove interesting in the finale for sure.

Conclusion: overall, this episode actually scared me, a first for the season and it would've been even better if casting revelations didn't make up a large percentage of the BBC's advertisement of this season. Onto the finale!

Rating: 90%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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