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Non-spoilery reaction: OMG SQUEEEE!

Also, I adore Bill :-)

And now, the spoilery version


I loved this so freaking much! I can't even express it because it was glorious. It almost made the long, long wait worth it (nothing could entire make up for a year of no episodes, but this came close). I haven't felt this squeeful over a season opener since...The Eleventh Hour.

Just that opening scene made me joyful. The details on the Doctor's desk! Photos of River and Susan. SUSAN. And his little jar of old sonic screwdrivers. I'm sure there are details in that room I'm missing, but those were the things that stood out and somehow reassured me that this was going to be fine, I was going to love it.

And then, Bill! OMG BILL. I love her so much already. I want to know more about her background. Why is she working in a canteen? Why didn't she apply to go to university? Looking at the marks we saw, she's clearly got the brains. What happened? I saw some reviews comparing her to Rose, and I can see it. Both stuck in lives they're not entirely happy in, but they can't think why, and yearning for something more.

But the Doctor didn't take Bill straight out into space. He tutored her. He taught her and opened her mind through knowledge and it was beautiful. That whole montage, showing that he taught her for (by my estimate) a minimum of six months, probably longer. They know each other, they're friends. Or at least, they have a mentor-mentee relationship that I loved. It reminded me of what I always loved about the Seven-Ace relationship.

Was that reference back to Susan at the end deliberate? Is Bill a substitute granddaughter for him?

I also loved the way Bill's sexuality was treated as nothing to get upset by and completely essential to the plot. I'd been afraid it would be one throw-away line that never got referenced again, but no. It's a part of who she is and the entire plot would have been different if she was straight. That made me as happy as anything else, because it was so beautifully done. I loved the Bill/Heather relationship, it felt real. That person you keep running into, keep meeting, that you've got a mutual crush on but never quite manage to get things together at the right time. Of course, generally that person doesn't get swallowed by a shape-shifting space engine oil monster, but this is Doctor Who.

Somehow, they made that beautiful and sad and hopeful, all at once.

I love Bill's curiosity. I love the questions she asks. I love that she knows what genre she's in, she knows the conventions and tropes and recognises them.

I love that she saw the mind-wipe coming and called the Doctor on it.

And I love that they referenced back to what happened at the end of Hell Bent (so I glad I did a rewatch of that yesterday). Seeing the Doctor's sadness that he doesn't remember Clara, all conveyed through a look and a little bit of her musical theme, and that was enough to make him reconsider wiping Bill's memory. He's become a much kinder man than he was when he first regenerated. He may not remember it, but that's Clara's effect on him.

In fact, so much of what I loved was his kindness: his understanding that Bill needed to know and needed permission to learn, gathering the photos of her mum for her, all those little moments of kindness. As a character, he's grown so much from the incredibly rude man we first met. Not that he can't still be rude and abrupt, but he's better at remembering how to people. The Doctor from Deep Breath probably wouldn't have taken Bill under his wing and taught her. This man saw her potential and wanted to nurture it.

I've got so many questions, though. Has he really been teaching at the university for fifty years?

What is inside that vault?

Is the Doctor guarding it, or is he trying to break into it? Who does he really think is coming for it?

Is the vault under the university because he put it there, or because he found it there? What does that mean?

Even Nardole didn't annoy me as much as I expected! Either he's growing on me, or his character is evolving, too.

I'm sure that I've missed a whole ton of things I wanted to talk about, because this episode was so layered and so fun and damn, I've missed squeeing over Doctor Who so much.

How many times is it rational to rewatch the episode this week?
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