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TV Brew: Doctor Who S10 Review Part 1 – Finale and Companions

Well. That happened. 

The Master and Missy and Cyberman Oh My…
Belle
I remember sitting through the episode and being annoyed because the guy Bill was with was familiar and I couldn’t figure out why. Then when he and Missy were in the same room my alarm bells started going off immediately before a bit of dialogue was said. In a season full of odd, nonsensical twists this one was pretty much the only one they pulled off, and I totally called that Missy was going to turn on The Master.

Slewo
Yeah, I am kind of impressed that I didn’t realize John Simm was Mr. Razor till the end. That’s either a testament to how distracted I was or how good his acting is.

Paul
At least now Bill is tied to the first Doctor. Glorious! These Cybermen are the originals from the first regeneration

Slewo
Hah…yeah. Looks like Spare Parts officially got overwritten. Granted, while I am glad that Moffat gave us these Cybermen as a going away gift for Capaldi, he couldn’t really explain very well why Earth has a frelling twin planet with humans on it.

It reminds you why RTD went out of his way to introduce Cybermen from a parallel universe.

Belle
It does make you wonder if there was a thought process behind it or if Moffat just went ‘Frack it, screw previous history!’

Why Bill Potts Was Too Good For This Show and the fate of POC Companions
Paul
I’m more ticked with how Moffat treated Bill. I’m really pissed about that.

Belle
Especially as it seems that The Master has a hard on for physically/mentally assaulting the black companions. Same shite happened with Martha except she didn’t get body snatched. The underlying feel was: if he could’ve raped her he would have, so he settled for emotionally abusing her (and enslaving her family), and that’s gross af.

Slewo
I have to agree, I think Simm’s Master is intentionally written as racist. Glad I’m not the only one who remembers he turned Martha’s family into slaves on the Valiant. Which was both horrifying and made me livid.

Paul
Why is it that the Black companions can barely get a full season when we have to endure 3 years of Amy being inappropriate (at best) around 11 in the presence of her freaking husband?

Belle
Or the Clara is Everything shite, oh and don’t forget the Rose is his one true wuv nonsense, like, frack Romana apparently.

Paul
I hope in a crazy twist, Pearl Mackie becomes 13 because I was seriously going to quit this show if Bill didn’t survive, especially as Moffat kept saying she was dead.

Belle
That would be amazing but I’m not holding my breath as they’ve already cast another white dude as 13, I believe. Frankly, black folks gotta stop stunting for DW because at this point it’s an abusive relationship. It’s a damn shame too because this season was so much better for Pearl Mackie’s presence. Just loads better than a lot of previous seasons because she brought such an interesting dynamic and for them to shite on her like this is infuriating.

Paul
She is the only good thing about this season for me. I hated this season because Bill has been the whipping girl for all of it. Moffat is blind to his assets.

Slewo
Moffat kept torturing Bill every other episode. It was getting to the point it was frustrating: stop teasing us with this, she’s awesome. Such utter idiocy that the first lesbian Doctor Who companion who wasn’t a lizard, or married to a lizard, got maimed and turned into a walking corpse.

Belle
What kills me is, in comparison to so much other media, DW seems stuck in this mindset that POC in general but black women in particular are disposable and less than. Ron pointed out that F**kface (his name for Moffat) is leaving but the damage to the show has been done.

This trend started under Russell T Davies’ run but Moffat really put the final nail in the coffin. Martha is one of my favorite companions of all time but the pattern of the black companion being a punching bag started with Mickey and has increased with each one. On top of that have you noticed that the female companions (especially the black ones) who actually don’t need the Doctor are the ones who get it the worst?

Paul
Mickey was a complete afterthought. I always feel that DW treats interracial relationships like a beacon: ‘WE ARE EDGY! Rose has a black boyfriend, Donna too! We are hip and with the times!’ It always came off as fake at least to me.

Belle
Oh, of course it is. Especially since those characters were either jokes or evil. Mickey was treated like shite, as are the actual grown ass women who are fully formed people. It makes me long for the days of Romana and Sarah Jane. Since the revival almost every female companion needed the Doctor to complete them in some way. Martha and Bill didn’t: they signed on for the adventure but honestly didn’t need the Doctor to be who they were as people; and guess what? They got turned into the punching bags of the show.

Slewo
There is definitely a pattern from Mickey, to Martha, to Danny and now Bill, and you’re right, even RTD did it. He paired off the two black companions who never even knew each other. Then Danny got brutally maimed and turned into a zombie for having the gall to question the Doctor, and the same thing with Bill. Moffat turned them both into Cybermen, he did the same plot point twice.

I get that Moffat was intentionally showing how the Doctor put Bill’s safety at risk because he had to prove Missy turned good but it doesn’t make it less problematic when you killed off a lesbian character and turned her into a corpse machine.

That’s certainly not what happened to Clara and Amy (on-screen anyway, technically Amy is a Cyberman).

Paul
He wasn’t even that upset over Bill. Not like the catastrophe that was Clara.

Slewo
To be fair I think it was because it had just happened and he was trying to figure out how to reverse it and he didn’t figure out until it was too late about the time dilation effect. My point being, I didn’t think that Moffat wrote the Doctor as having less concern so much as he doesn’t realize what he does to black characters. Much less how the first LGBTQ character he used who wasn’t a joke or punchline got brutally slaughtered.

Let’s be real Madame Vastra and Jenny are a joke.

Paul
Literally, they are comic relief

Slewo
Yep: Oh it’s a lizard married to a woman and they’re lesbians!
Ugh.

Belle
I guess the question is, whether or not this can be fixed? Because the history of the new era is saying ‘No’. To me that doesn’t bode well for the long term of the show. Yes, there are people who will stan for Doctor Who no matter what but frankly, the world is changing, people are getting tired of seeing people who look like them relegated to being comic relief or cannon fodder. It’s boring and lazy and shows a lack of growth in the show.

Slewo
That’s all too true I’m sorry to agree. I do think it can be fixed, but the reality is a severe cultural shift is going to be needed. I’m willing to cut Chibnall some slack since he’s incoming and even Moffat to some degree changed over time. Not in the way I’d have liked, but he’s picked up… something anyway.

Belle
Overall, the finale was a mixed bag: wonderfully acted and paced but hamstrung but a lot of poorly thought out decisions regarding the characters overall and a groundbreaking character (for this show anyway) in general.
3 out of 5 Sonic Screwdrivers.

Paul
Bill. Bill was this season for me and Ms. Mackie was a revelation. I can’t wait to see her in everything. The rest of the season was honestly a disappointment for me. I love Capaldi but I actually found myself getting annoyed by his crusty old guy bit.
3 “tracking device” tears out of 5

Slewo
Yeah, I’m in general agreement here. Bill injected a great deal of new blood both as a character and thanks to Pearl Mackie’s acting. While the story itself isn’t new (remember The Girl Who Waited?) the mechanics take a different meaning when applied to a character like this. The episode itself showed a great deal of craft, it all just feels so misapplied, which sums up the worst aspects of Moffat’s run for my money.
3 Conversion Rooms out of 5

–*Continued in: TV Brew: Doctor Who S10 Review Part 2 – New Directions?*–

About belleburr (251 Articles)
Actor, writer, singer

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