• A Brilliant Review! I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with most things.
    My problems with it was that it seemed like that know one knew about there
    disappearances, the government or MI5 didn’t do anything, Why didn’t someone just go in the base and download the people back?

    I’d give it a 7 or 8/10. A good episode but not brilliant.

    • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

      One of the problem I had with it was that it seemed like that know one knew about there disappearances, the government or MI5 didn’t do anything, Why didn’t someone just go in the base and download the people back?

      Miss Kizlet can hack people as long as there’s a Spoonhead nearby. That includes MI5 and the government.

  • It’s a delight to see that you’re back with your insightful reviews. And this was a really great one.

    I actually agree with the majority of points you have raised, but these negatives didn’t exactly deter from my over-all enjoyment of the episode. That’s probably because I’ve decided not to look too much into things. By looking deeper into some episodes – I begin to dislike them…

    The ones that I deem proper negatives of the episode were Clara’s characterisation and the uneven pace. Because as you said – the pace never slowed down enough for her character to be fleshed out and I didn’t like her similarities to River and Amy. I’d probably rate this episode an 8/10.

    Fantastic review though. It’s too bad that even this episode penned by Moffat hasn’t impressed you, because to me; it is his best post Day of the Moon. (Which says quite a bit about his writing – considering I only rate it an 8/10).

  • daanwjanssen

    I see the point of the plotholes etc., but why should the introduction of a companion always have the same construction, as you suggested, why can’t Claras introduction be different from Rose’s or Donnas, the fact that you did not like it as much, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

  • Stargazer0118

    Very insightful review. You raise some interesting points like the idea that Moffat is more style than substance, which I tend to agree lately. I’m still now sure what to think, I did enjoy the episode, it was entertaining and it looked great, but it was so fast. Definitely need to see it again to be sure how to feel about it. I’ll still keep watching, love the character too much. Let’s hope the story arc and characterizations get better…

  • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

    As it stands, I’ve only watched the episode once, so I’m not ready to fully assess your review yet. However:

    The plane incident was a well-shot sequence by director Colm McCarthy (the segue between the TARDIS interior and the plane) but it felt like an extraneous intrusion within the story; an event lacking consequence; superficially tense

    The plane almost hits her house. And all plane crashes that are averted are lacking in consequence, but that does not make them superficially tense.

    • That’s… not really what he meant.

      • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

        Then what he did mean?

  • TheRingsOfParkinson

    The companion should be written within their introduction in such a way that they actively assist the Doctor during the climax

    How did Amy and Rory help the doctor in The eleventh hour ??? Or in TIA ??? They don’t always have to help.
    Clara doesn’t have to prove herself, as the doctor already is interested in her, because she, well… DIED 2 TIMES ALREADY???? Surely that is enough for the doctor???

    • Amy still helped the Doctor in The Eleventh Hour working based on his prompts, using her own intelligence/competence, to clear out the hospital in the build-up to the showdown with Prisoner Zero. Rory wasn’t even a companion until The Vampires of Venice so your argument is invalid there. If there was any doubt of Amy’s innate ability, it was proven in The Beast Below. The Impossible Astronaut is not their introduction for the obvious reason they have been established to the audience beforehand.

      And, yes, Clara does have to prove herself. You can’t just say: “She’s a mystery. Deal with it.” There has to be something more. The Doctor, perhaps, might be interested in her; but the point of the introduction is to establish the companion as a surrogate for the casual viewer; Clara should not be exempt from that. If she is to be seen as an independent character – i.e. as the companion – she needs to prove herself as an independent character; using her own innate skills and knowledge that make her identifiable to the audience. Maybe it’s just me; maybe I want a more traditionalist way of things when it comes to the companion. Hey, if you’re fine with the way things are, by all means. You’re missing the point, though: it might be enough for the Doctor, but it’s not enough to say, objectively, why she should be the companion. But, hey, if you’re content with it, by all means.

      • TheRingsOfParkinson

        Clara was the one who found out where they was in London, if she never found out where they were , the doctor might have never knew where they were.

        • Not true, he could tell they were in London, but he could not get a fix on their exact location. Also, with Ms. Kizlet, I think she had been a puppet of TGI since she was a little girl.

          • TheRingsOfParkinson

            Clara was the one to find their EXACT location, she was the one who found they was at the shard floor 53. She was the one who hacked their webcams, took a picture and traced it by Facebook. She was the one who told doctor this so he can go get them.

      • Dalekium

        Could a point be made perhaps that Clara in some sense has already proven herself/been introduced to the audience by the method you’ve suggested because of her appearances in ‘Asylum’ and ‘Snowmen’? But I suppose it might depend on how you view Clara, either as the same person but somehow reincarnated or fresh, independent incarnations.

        I think I actually preferred Victorian Clara because she is given the element of duplicity as part of her character and not an addition from being with the Doctor, which intrigued me, most prominently because it presented Clara as intelligent without necessarily being a genius, something that Moffat likes to replicate with cookie-cutter precision.

        I don’t know really. It’s 20 past midnight and I’m not thinking in a straight line. I hope some of this makes sense.

  • Excellent review as ever, Adam; I can see the time and effort that’s gone into this.

    I pretty much agree, this time around. I admit to falling slightly into the initial trap of fan-hype, as my score’s gone down now from an 8/10 to a 7/10. Some parts (mostly the parts you highlighted) were admirable; Miss Kizlet was a pleasure to watch (I can see the murdering employees inspiration stemming from City of Death). Clara had a decent start, and I seem to have an awful lot in common with her (as for computer skills – I can safely say it takes me a while on a lot of fronts, though I am good in some areas, which I think most people are these days). That’s good, because it means I can empathize with/relate to her, but it also means that if she acts irrationally (i.e. “Come back tomorrow” – why would you want to wait a day when you could see all of time and space?), it particularly piques me.
    It was better than
    Asylum of the Daleks or The Angels Take Manhattan, anyhow, but still not The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below or A Christmas Carol quality.

    • Thanks, David. I’m glad you enjoyed/identify with her character. Moffat, again, eludes the fact simplicity can hugely benefit his writing. I didn’t like the fact she is given these incredible hacking skills like that; they might come in use later, but I stated my reasons above for disliking the decision. Why she hadn’t mastered basic computing skills baffles me. Video editing as you do is quite different from checking if your computer’s connected to the Internet.

      I agree with your final statement; but for me, at times there’s not much difference in anything Moffat writes these days.

      • I understand your point, but then, we don’t know her past; perhaps she was brought up without computers for another reason (as I was – my parents wanted me to have imagination and so didn’t introduce computers until much later on – in my experience, rightfully so), and as the next episode opens up with us visiting various parts of her past, we’ll probably discover that. And if she’s in a house that has Wi-Fi and she’s used to using a cable connection, it’s a different system. But I understand your point; Moffat seemed to be implying that she didn’t know a thing about computers.

        I liked the fact he returned to London, but I was hoping for some kind of realism. The problem is, we’ll never see how the public reacted; man going up the side of the Shard on a motorbike, people dying all over the world, strange symbols on the Wi-Fi – I’m betting it’ll never even be referenced again.

  • TardisAkhaten

    Sorry I didn’t leave a comment yesterday when I read your review Adam, I needed time to re-watch the episode again so I could see your points in context; and I have to say I find myself agreeing with most of them.

    Whilst I initially did enjoy Jenna Louise’s portrayal of Clara in this episode, the more I watched it the more I started questioning why she was even needed in the story at all; other than to further the mysteries behind her that have already been established in Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen. You can go as far as to say that episode could have been a companion lite episode, as you could have easily substituted Clara’s role in defeating The Great Intelligence with the Doctor.

    I also, like you and Clint, started noticing that some of the plot elements within this story were just blatant rehashes of previous stories written by Moffat himself.

    However it is still an enjoyable opener, and I am open minded for the rest of this series. I am hoping Clara improves as a character as the series progresses. I am inclined to agree with your score that you gave the episode though. This was an excellently written review; and I think this is one of the only times I have agreed with you! XD

  • Pdurston

    Assuming Clara hails from a working/middle-class background, with a good education, proximity to technology and social media as she does, and her purported intellect, she hasn’t mastered basic computing skills? I find that somewhat implausible.

    This irked me a lot, actually. Clara resembles a sociable person – even the type who uses a computer frequently for social networking. I found that improbable as well. And I also agree on the point of rehashed plot elements too. But other than that, I actually enjoyed this mid-series opening. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was a good return to form. On second viewing, I didn’t find it as impressive as I did on my first but nonetheless; I still found it highly enjoyable and entertaining. I’d probably change my rating from 8 to 7.5/10, going by the fact that there’s areas that could have been improved.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Adam. I look forward to what you have to say alongside John in the 2nd Opinion article.

    • TheBellsofSaintDAB

      Yeah, me too.

    • Additi

      I see your point, however I do know people from middle class backgrounds, and quite young, who have no interest and little knowledge of computers! Rare, possibly, but they do exist.

      • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

        Likewise. And Clara is 4 years older than those I know.

    • I can easily say I agree with you there. Upon my initial viewing I rated it 9/10, but that was due to the fan-hype. I immediately re-watched it afterwards and then I rated it 8/10. Now it stands at 7.5/10.

      It has happened quite often with these recent episodes that I love them initially, but when I re-watch it – my enjoyment of it decreases. I was hoping this episode would be different, but it seems not.

  • TheLastAirbender

    The Doctor wasn’t mourning Clara, he was going to a quiet place to have think about it (young Clara said something along those lines in the prequel).

    • Adam didn’t say that either. He just found The Doctor’s behaviour implausible.

  • Agreed. I liked Clara more this time than in the Snowmen, but I was unimpressed. I liked Amy’s strength and Donna’s passion. Clara just seems shallow so far. And the plane scene frustrated me as well. I realize this might seem nit-picky, but Clara never dropped or spilled her coffee? Really? The Doctor definitely needs to calm down and stop acting like a love sick boy. Let him be the smart, dark Doctor we have seen before.

    • The coffe mug annoyed me as well. I thought at one point it disappeared only to reappear. Must watch again and find out.

  • mwanderson

    Why can’t the woman in the shop be Kate Stewart? There’s no mention the woman works in the shop so of the female protagonists we have on offer it could very well be her…

    • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

      Why would she be working in a shop and why would she have the number? In Kate’s timeline, The Power of Three is after this.

  • Harry Jewell

    This review is great.
    You made some excellent points, but personally I would of given this episode an 8/10, but hey, you have your views and I have my views.

  • Missing Dr. Who and Angry PK-S

    As ever Adam, your reviews are fluent, well done and interesting.

    I actually read your critique before watching the episode and I thought you were being a smidge cynical but now I’ve seen it, I understand your points completely.

    To be a good reviewer, you must examine minute details and plot points. You scrutinise scenes I thought were fine.

    I take back what I said earlier, you really are a fantastic reviewer and I am so glad you are the one to doing them.

  • The ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐ Hurricane

    Right then, just watched it for the second time, here we go:

    “Third times’ the charm” the old adage goes, and although this was by far the most likeable ‘introductory’ performance delivered by Jenna-Louise Coleman, Steven Moffat continues to undermine himself. Not once has he successfully invested me in his recent ‘object of mystery’. This, I’m inclined to suggest, is attributed, in part, to his broader portrayal of pivotal female characters of late: they inherently must possess a surface-layer of quirkiness and/or eccentricity to them. I’ve grown increasingly apathetic towards his central female characters. They are less well-rounded individuals, and more an insipid formulaic choice. (Contrast with minor characters like Lorna Bucket from A Good Man Goes to War, or Darla from Asylum of the Daleks. They’re innocent, well-written personas: victims of brutal circumstance who elicit pathos because their ordinariness (young, impressionable girl who voyages to meet her ‘idol’; and devoted mother to her daughter, respectively), compounded by their premature deaths (in Lorna’s case, never actualising her full potential), make them an identifiable viewpoint for the audience.)

    Eccentric – A person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behaviour.

    Quirky – Characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits

    Neither of these apply to Clara, unless being slightly cynical and not running out on the people you care about are to be treated as such.

    Unfortunately, any attempt at realism is strained by several factors. Firstly: Clara is stated to be “very clever. But no computing skills.” Assuming Clara hails from a working/middle-class background, with a good education, proximity to technology and social media as she does, and her purported intellect, she hasn’t mastered basic computing skills? I find that somewhat implausible. Furthermore, Clara does not assist the Doctor in saving the day through any innate talent or aptitude of her own. Rather, she is granted prodigious hacking skills after her consciousness is temporarily transferred into the villain’s Wi-Fi snare.

    While your cynicism in this case is entirely fair, Clara may have simply had her internet sorted out for her, or she may have previously been using a wired connection, so was unfamiliar with Wi-Fi. As for that last point, I disagree: you could transfer a lot of information and skills to someone, but it takes a person of intelligence to know what to do with said skills and information; Clara takes to it like a duck to water.

    The episode failed to convince me why Clara is so special, other than her creation is a jigsaw-puzzle in progress. The companion should be written within their introduction in such a way that they actively assist the Doctor during the climax – for example: saving his life (Rose, Smith and Jones); providing him with the resource to foil the villain’s machinations (Partners in Crime) – through an innate competence/talent of their own. This strengthens the foundational bond between the character and audience; the underlying factor of their ordinariness contrasting with the extraordinary world they now find themselves in, and how they process this disconnect from the everyday, whilst growing to trust the Doctor. By bestowing Clara with these miraculous hacking skills, it feels like a betrayal of that bond; racing through the plot, rather than taking time to flesh out any meaningful insight into her innate abilities.

    Whilst I don’t mean to be rude or harsh, the impression I get from this paragraph (particularly the bolded part) is ‘this doesn’t conform to my personal ideas of what a companion must do in their introduction, thus it is inherently wrong’. Given the resolutions of Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen are largely down to incarnations of Clara, she doesn’t need to prove herself yet again. In any case, she does prove herself: it’s mostly due to Clara’s lateral thinking that the villains are tracked down.

    By her third appearance, there’s been a dearth of hints to further our speculation. Why does she exist? Has she been engineered for an arcane purpose? Understandably, certain details must remain undisclosed at present, but if you’re going to establish a mystery, with significant ramifications, there needs to be a foundation to the mystery that justifies your reasoning to the audience – an insight into why she exists, ‘splintered’ throughout time – provided within the character’s introduction.

    Regarding the first part, we do know now that modern day Clara is both a hacker and a nanny. This intrigues me, Also, she’s not ticked off the ages of 16 and 23 for whatever reason. Regarding the bolded part, again, why? Neil Gaiman has said there is no one way to tell a story, and I am inclined to agree.

    I’m chagrined with Moffat’s characterisation of the Doctor. Not only does the Doctor behave illogically (why would he assume present-day Clara would recognise him?), but he shifts between obsessive maniac (that it borders on absurdity) and hyperactive child.

    Because she said ‘Run you clever boy and remember’? That’s a pretty good indicator given what’s gone before. He’s maybe a bit obsessive, with good reason. If the last two times you met a person, they died, you’d be keen to make sure they didn’t do it again. Hyperactive child is a bit of an over-exaggeration as well.

    But so consumed by an unfounded mystery pertaining to one woman, that’s he retreated to a 13th century monastery, with a painting of her?

    Firstly, unfounded doesn’t make sense in that context, it only would if there wasn’t actually an established mystery. And? He’s taking the advice Clara gave him in the prequel. He doesn’t want to travel on his own, Amy told him not to travel alone and he wanted Clara to travel with him. So, he’s going to great pains to recruit her before he goes traveling again.

    I’m also nonplussed by Moffat’s intimation that the Doctor – who we’ve been led to believe has eradicated any vestige of his existence, from every database, throughout spacetime; an act which, presumably, entails navigating sosphisicated alien computer systems,

    Not necessarily. It could have involved an update to the virus he gave Mickey in World War Three that he said would ‘delete all memory of him’.

    It presents an obstacle for the sole purpose of demonstrating Clara’s newfound esoteric skills, undermining both the account of the Doctor’s genius, and employing his tired formulaic technique of yet another female who outsmarts the Doctor.

    Clara doesn’t actually hack beyond the Doctor, she uses the inroads the Doctor has already made in the system to take mugshots of the workers. I prefer to think of it as thinking along a different track to the Doctor rather than outsmarting him. It’s not something the Doctor couldn’t have come up with.

    Miss Kizlet was an inventive setup, if unremarkable

    While this isn’t a contradiction necessarily, the description of Miss Kizlet being an inventive setup while being unremarkable (‘not particularly interesting or surprising’) is particularly odd as inventive implies that something has been invented well.

    The plane incident was a well-shot sequence by director Colm McCarthy (the segue between the TARDIS interior and the plane) but it felt like an extraneous intrusion within the story; an event lacking consequence; superficially tense (similar to the opening sequence from The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe).

    An event designed to kill one of the protagonists by crashing a plane in their neighbourhood…doesn’t kill the protagonist or crash the plane. Exactly what consequence were you expecting? It is in no way similar to TDTWATW’s opening sequence.

    Better review than your last, some strange choices still going on. 9/10 for me.