Doctor Who – Smile

There was a Jessica Jones ep called Smile, wasn’t there? I ASSUME THAT BODES WELL. (it did not bode as well as I thought it might, alas.)

  • I do love it every time the Doctor admits he stole the TARDIS. I don’t know why. It just delights me. Much like the Doctor OH SO DELICATELY trying to impress his new friend.
  • SADLY, this adorable scene was interrupted by a knocking a Nardole. I think given my feeling of disappointment at his arrival, I can assume I am not yet taken with Nardole.
  • WHY IS RANI’S MUM ON AN ALIEN PLANET?
  • “Got to keep smiling.” Is this going to have Happiness Patrol vibes then? I like HP. Yes, even the Kandyman. Indeed, *especially* the Kandyman.
  • Okay, that was lolariously gruesome. BONES. BONES EVERYWHERE.
  • “As a result of the thing.” I LOVE IT WHEN WRITERS AREN’T AFRAID TO USE THE WORD THING. It is a great word. (You may blame Frank Herbert for this preference.)
  • I am not sure how I feel about bloody emojis. BUT it is a very cute robot. I would not mind a robot like that, provided it didn’t try to kill me.
  • PEOPLE FERTILISER EW. That one always creeps me out. OH THE SKULLS AGAIN WHY WITH THE SKULLS.
  • “There’s a giant smiley abbatoir over there and I’m having this really childish impulse to blow it up. ” ILU DOCTOR YOU ARE THE BEST.
  • “Is there a Scotland in space?” “There’re all over the place demanding independence form every planet they land on.” Ah, I will miss the Scottish agenda.
  • The human population being evacuated and frozen onna spaceship, we had that in The Ark in Space. OH AND THE FIRST PERSON TO WAKE UP IS THE FIRST MED TECH JUST LIKE IN ARK. That is a delightful bit of future history continuity.
  • I think this episode might work a lot better for someone who hasn’t watched an excessive amount of Doctor Who. As in, I can see it is a lovely follow-up to The Pilot by introducing viewers to more of who the Doctor is and what he does and the way he does it, but it is less interesting if you’re the sort of person who appreciates an Ark in Space first medtech reference.
  • They are LOVELY, don’t get me wrong, I just want more story, or more stuff that isn’t “this is what Doctor Who is all about”. DAMMIT SHOW, CATER FOR NICHE FANNISH INTERESTS MOAR.
  • So, it’s technology RUN AMOCK, technology designedto make life easier. OH THAT EVIL EASY LIFE MAKING TECHNOLOGY. HMMM. If only we all just left our computers and phones and went back to horse-ploughs and sixteen hour work days and subsistence farming and fresh air WOULDN’T WE ALL BE SO MUCH HAPPIER AND NOT FERTILISER??
  • (Yes, I am not at one with the plots where it’s all technology’s fault, if only we hadn’t relied on it so much. On the other hand, if it’s a mad computer who thinks it’s a god, I’m totally behind that.)
  • I’m also thinking fondly of how good almost all of the quarian and the geth conflict in Mass Effect was. Because as a man vs machine plot goes this is very ho hum.
  • I do like the zappy guns though.
  • Yeah, it’s just messy. SORRY EPISODE I WANT TO LOVE YOU. But it’s like spooky killer robots (yay!) and the Doctor’s first instinct is blow it up (fine with this – it’s not like he hasn’t met robot killers before and essentially exploded them) but oh no, people there, who are now waking up and decide to kill the killer robots, but they are actually sentient (somehow? are they? what definition of sentience are we using here? how do you know they are sentient, suddenly? what is the evidence?) but they still want to kill all humans (helpfully) and so the Doctor wipes their memories, despite them being sentient. And now they are still sentient, but benign? Right, well, that seems totally crisp and clean plotwise and doesn’t make me think at all that this might not be quite as well thought through as The Measure of a Man (SO HELP ME GOD, I’ve just unfavourably compared a Doctor Who episode to a bloody Data episode of TNG. I hate myself).
  • Actually, I’ll make it even worse. Forgetting about a crime doesn’t absolve one of it, obviously. And while the Doctor’s suggestion is certainly pragmatic, it lacks appreciation of the damage done, and the psychological fallout that will affect the human colonists. Or, to put it another way, there’s this episode of Babylon 5, Passing Through Gethsemane, that explores this aspect of the episode’s messiness more thoroughly and interestingly. Bloody BABYLON 5. (I mean, I like it, but I’m not happy suggesting it did something better than Doctor Who under any circumstances.)  (This is why it’s a problem that there’s no thought given to the robots development of sentience – are they responsible for the deaths or not? Were they slaves to their programming or could they make reasoned choices, even if those choices were made based on inhuman rationality? If they were sentient, why could they not be reasoned with? And if they were unable to override their programming, what is the criteria that makes them sentient?)
  • I mean, I don’t know, maybe I’m being too hard on it. (I’m not.) But it’s taking a very old sci-fi idea for the plot and being leaden and confused with it. What makes the episode work is that it’s essentially a two-hander with the Doctor and Bill. And all that stuff is perfectly decent, and it looks fantastic.
  • HEFFALUMP!!!!

SUPER looking for to next week’s for that is Sarah Dollard’s historical and it will surely SURELY be amazing. This week’s alas, was not so flail for me, I give it five emojis out of ten.

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – Smile

  1. Pete Galey says:

    Blimey, this is the Liz equivalent of a “WORST EPISODE EVER!!” rant! I pretty much agree with it though. (BTW there is talk of an Orange meetup in June if you like / are available)

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