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What's with the name?

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Recap

Doctor Who Recap: Cold War


If this week’s episode of Doctor Who can be summed up in a way familiar to fans of the show, it’d be the “mid-season” episode. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that it does nothing to establish, conclude, or advance the overall plot of the season. What it does do is bring back a long lost classic Who baddie and make a spiritual homage to Alien, except with way, way less overtly phallic imagery.

Well, I said this episode owes a lot to Alien, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we open with the crew of a pressurized ship in a hostile environment and far from home. It’s a Russian sub running a nuclear missile launch drill near the North Pole in 1983. Although, if you initially assumed it was a British submarine, you could be forgiven, seeing as how everybody is speaking with a British accent. This will eventually be lamp-shaded as an effect of the TARDIS’ translation thingy (even though the TARDIS is not present for the majority of the episode): the Russians think the Doctor and Clara are speaking flawless Russian, Clara hears everybody speaking English (The Doctor hears Gallifreyan, perhaps? Man, has it ever been established that the Doctor can speak English or has it been the TARDIS this WHOLE TIME?). Nevertheless, though I welcome this convention for the Doctor and Clara (I’m looking at you, “The Rings of Akhaten”), I wish it had been presented to the audience differently. Frankly, we already have a cinema convention for “though this dialogue is in English we are to understand that these characters are speaking different languages,” and that’s an applicable foreign accent (actually there are a lot of ways to do this that would have been less initially confusing, choosing any one of them would have been nice).

Although, the more I think about this the more I wonder whether this is just a confusion I had as an American. Did this seem less confusing across the pond? Feel free to let us all know in comments.

Anyway! The drill scene establishes that this is a sub with a pacifist captain (Zhukov), a hot headed “first mate” of some sort (Lieutenant Stepashin), and even a nutty professor, Grisenko, who loves British New Wave rock. They’ve been up in the Arctic drilling samples to find oil, and uncovered an unusual specimen. “What is it, Mammoth?” “…Probably.” That’s not ominous at all! Especially now that an unfortunate sailor (who I’m just going to think of as “Intern”) gets impatient with not knowing what that clearly not a mammoth at all shape is in the ice and thawing it out. Poor Intern. You’re the just-before-the-main-credits-shock.

And here’s where I paused to imagine what an Alien/Doctor Who crossover would be like, and concluded that I’d already pretty much seen it, and it was “The Waters of Mars.”

When we come back after the break the sub is in a bad way, sinking fast to a depth at which it will implode. Which is precisely when the TARDIS shows up, apparently intending to arrive in Las Vegas, but the poor thing keeps taking that bad right at Albuquerque. Unlike other Who episodes that usually have at least one moment of the companion pointing out the to Doctor just how terrible of the time pilot he is, this one pretty much skips it. Man, Clara really does take this stuff in stride. Which is good, because just as soon as the Doctor gets Captain Zhukov to steer the sub onto a rock outcropping that will keep it from embarking on an emplodey self destruct, the sub lurches and the TARDIS disappears, without so much as a “VWORP, BITCHES, I’M OUTIE.”

Clara winds up in a chivalrously offered military jacket to cover her “I was expecting Nevada” dress, and the Doctor and Captain Zhukov begin agressive negotiations about who he and Clara are and what they’re doing here. You know, the usual. The argument is interrupted by the arrival of the Ice Warrior, and my favorite line of the episode, which goes to the Doctor: “I’m always serious, with days off.” Our Ice Warrior is informed that he’s been frozen for five thousand years, and identifies himself as Grand Marshal Skaldak. We are informed, by the Doctor’s reaction, that this is bad for some reason. Then somebody electrocutes Skaldak. The Doctor also thinks this is bad, and he tells Captain Zhukov to have him restrained.

The Doctor explains that Skaldak is “the greatest hero the proud Martian race has ever produced,” and if they hadn’t injured him, they might have been able to interact without bloodshed, but now Skaldak is culturally honor-bound to consider himself at war with the crew. The situation might still be saved by clever negotiation, however, and the Doctor and Captain Zhukov get into an argument over which of them will do the actual negotiating. The Captain, accepting readily that the Doctor is a vastly advanced alien time traveler, tells him he is too valuable to their survival to risk his life. Lieutenant Stepashin thinks the Doctor and Clara are spies, storms off when the Captain insists they can be trusted. Clara volunteers, the Doctor gets very unhappy about this idea, and then thankfully we just cut right to Clara walking into the room where Skaldak has been chained up.

Skaldak has taken the interim time to begin sending an SOS to his Martian descendants that the Doctor assured him were out there in the universe. Through Clara, the Doctor tries to talk Skaldak out of bringing the might of the Ice Warriors down on them, and now that we get to hear a bunch of Skaldak’s voice I’d just like to get it on record that whatever combo of voice acting and sound editing is going on here, it’s really working. That is a good villain voice. Skaldak is very angry at everyone and on top of that is having some serious cryogenic angst (maybe Steve Rogers or Phillip Fry could sit down and talk with him) about his family, including a daughter, having been dead for thousands of years.

And that’s when we find out that Skaldak’s armor is actually empty and he’s been sneaking around the room the whole time, looking for a way to sneak around the ship and get some idea of what humanity is really made of (pretty much literally). It’s definitely time for Clara to get out of there, and as soon as she opens the door, Skaldak xenomorph-speeds down the hall past everybody else, and loses them in the submarine’s passageways. He’s turned off his SOS signal. He thinks the Doctor was lying about the Ice Warriors still being around. He’s got nothing left to lose. And he’s on a Russian nuclear submarine in the middle of the Cold War.

Which is right about the point where the Doctor says that infamous phrase: “It couldn’t be any worse,” and Skaldak starts going full grab-you-out-of-the-darkness-and-eat-you on isolated members of the submarine’s crew. I’ll give him this over xenomorphs: at least he has the courtesy to burst out of no one’s chest but that of his own armor. While, Captain Zhukov gives a Captain Speech about stopping Skaldak from getting nukes while Skaldak grabs Lieutenant Stepashin, who attempts to put the smooth talk on him about an alliance between them and just so happens to in the process give Skaldak a lovingly precise description of mutually assured destruction, which seals the deal on the Ice Warrior’s plans. Now it’s not just the crew that know he could destroy humanity with one fired missile, it’s Skaldak too.

Clara wants to know why they should be worried about a nuclear apocalypse when she’s from from the future and knows that it didn’t happen. The Doctor tells her “history’s in flux, it can be changed. Rewritten.” Man, I miss the days of “this is a fixed point in history.” The Doctor suggests splitting up and systematically searching the submarine, you know, the thing that happens right before things become irrevocably bad in every horror movie.

And so we get two concurrent scenes: a couple of crewmen getting xenomorphed by Skaldak, and Clara and the nutty Professor Grisenko chatting nervously as the Doctor goes somewhere else because plot. The Professor sings songs to stay brave, but Clara isn’t into it. Skaldak makes “forensic studies” of the crewmen, I suppose because he wants to know what a nuclear bomb is going to do to them? Or just to make Clara very scared. “This all got very real,” she tells the kindly Grisenko, and has the “are we gonna make it” conversation with him, which sets off all my “character with low life expectancy alarms.” Unsurprisingly, Skaldak comes after them next. He attempts to grab Clara as the professor is looking at her, in contrast with every grab from behind on an unwatched person he’s made so far, and so the Professor understandably unloads a couple bullets in him. Skaldak releases Clara and then he just grabs Grisenko instead, monologuing about how he has nothing left except his revenge.

The Doctor and the Captain’s group arrives and muddles things with yelling and brandished weapons, at which point Skaldak’s armor arrives, having been summoned by his sonic signal, breaking its chains, and robot-ing over to his location. He releases the Professor, gets back in his armor, and begins to interface with the nuclear launch systems of the submarine. The Doctor begins talking him down, but they wind up in their own state of mutually assured destruction: if Skaldak tries to launch the nuke, the Doctor will use the sonic screwdriver to blow up the sub. (I’m sorry, sonic screwdriver, for implying last week that 90% of what you do is open doors. Please don’t blow me up.) Mutually assured destruction. Of a sort. At this point Clara gets in on the negotiations, bringing up Skaldak’s long lost family. He finally shows a moment of empathy, and then…

The submarine is gripped by some kind of an alien beam and brought to the surface! It’s Skaldak’s people, so yaaaay? Not really. Skaldak gets teleported right out and nobody’s sure if they’ve convinced him not to blow up the human race, except now with advanced technology. Will Skaldak show mercy?To drive home the tension, Clara finally starts singing to keep her spirits up (the song is “Hungry Like the Wolf,” so, Bad Wolf conspiracy theorists, start your engines). Then Skaldak unarms the missile. Hooray! Humanity is saved!

Since the sub is at the surface, Captain Zhukov, the Doctor and Clara go up for a sight see around the ice, which made me laugh because we’re in the Arctic and Clara and the Doctor are dressed for Las Vegas. Sure, go out without your coats, guys. Just don’t lick the submarine. Or touch it with your bare hands. Clara finally asks about where the TARDIS is and the Doctor confesses that he’s been tinkering with her. This could be intended as a reference to some of the TARDIS difficulties that have been cropping up this season, or just a joke. “I reset the hostile action displacement system.” But it’s alright, now that they’re safe, the TARDIS will come back for them. Except that in true TARDIS style, it’s rematerialized at the South Pole. The Doctor asks Captain Zhukov if he and Clara can have a lift there, and everybody laughs like it’s the end of an after school special but I’m actually interested in how this is going to resolve. And then the episode ends, so we might never find out.

This is the closest thing we’ve had to a standard episode all season. You could have swapped any companion in here, really (I don’t mean this pejoratively, there are a lot of episodes that fit that bill). But I still feel like I don’t have a handle on Clara’s personality. She’s just… companion-y. This episode doesn’t even establish whether she’s travelling full time with the Doctor now or still going on “day trips.” But this is perhaps an unfair judgement to level on what’s only the third episode of the season. On the other hand, perhaps this episode would have been better placed later on, when we know Clara a bit better, so we didn’t wind up craving more info on her.

I think part of why I a bit detached from Clara might be withdrawal from Rory and Amy, and by that I don’t mean that we’re all pining for them or that I particularly miss them more than any other former companion. But it’s worth pointing out that for about two seasons in total we’ve had two companions, where most episodes, particularly the memorable ones, were ones that evolved or involved their relationship in its various stages of existing, ending, reuniting (0r dying, or forgetting, or aging). This extra nexus of character interaction added a nice extra layer of emotional complexity to the show that’s missing now, where all we’ve got is the Doctor being Doctor-y and Clara being companion-y. In fact, most companions have shown up on the show with a host of new secondary characters. Rose had her mum and Mickey, Martha had a family, Donna had her mum and Wilf, Amy had Rory. I don’t think we’ve seen the entirety of Clara’s character yet, and I hope that when we do, it injects some of that complexity back in, and maybe even ads some supporting cast.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.bakeroliver Jill Baker Oliver

    I was ok with the translation thing as it has been explained to each and every companion in the new series, including having Donna attempt to speak Latin to the ancient Romans and having them hear Gaelic.

    Which means that the Doctor probably doesn’t speak English, come to think of it.

  • Kay B

    Am I the only one who feels like these episodes have been rehashes of episodes before?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1545222389 Franziska Batten Zaunig

    The strong English accent was just as confusing here in Britain!

  • VitisLio

    I agree that there was no advancing of the plot, but I think what they were trying to emphasize was Clara doing the daughter negotiating thing. She’s the one saving the Doctor. Again. Like in Asylum of Daleks, like in Rings of akhaten…

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    I’m trying to figure out why some episodes grab me and some just don’t. I was so uninterested in this one I couldn’t be bothered to read the recap. I LOVED Rings of Akhenaten, way more than the quality of the story probably deserved, and yet this one barely registered. I liked the return of the Ice Warriors – just watched Seeds of Death for a little preview, and I think they did a great job of both honoring and updating the original costume. It looked great. I actually liked the Alien and Hunt for Red October nods. But the Clara/Doctor stuff was downright boring. The supporting cast was flatter than cardboard-cutout. Is it all in the details? Is this an objectively mediocre episode? Or do I just like space panorama and epic music better than sunken Russian submarines? Was Clara objectively more interesting in last week’s episode, or did motherless Clara giving up the most important leaf in history just tug me harder than ‘okay, whatever’ Clara taking an alien in stride?

    It’s a mystery.

  • Anonymous

    Episode nitpicks, star-rated for your pleasure:

    -Bringing back an Old-Who alien: 5/5
    -Retconning their biology to basically be Daleks: 1/5
    -Plot to handwringing-monologue ratio: 5/1
    -Clara needed the cold war explained to her: A 20-something in 2013?

  • Sare Gardner

    Am I nuts? Last week I was asking why the Tardis translator wasn’t working on Akhaten, and this week my boyfriend, roommate, and this article all want to know why everyone is speaking English when the Tardis is not there.

    I swear I remember an episode where Rose got pissed when the Doctor explained to her that she could understand everyone because the Tardis had activated something in her brain and she wanted to know what right The Doctor or the Tardis had to mess around in her brain. Yeah, the accent was confusing, but I swear that happened. Or maybe I dreamed it.

    As for Clara, I was really relieved when The Doctor told her not to follow her and she said okay and he said I mean it and she said, fine, I’m staying here and he looked slightly befuddled for just a second. Is it wrong for me to hope that The Doctor will realize this isn’t the same spitfire genius Clara he’s been looking for?

  • http://twitter.com/webbot15 Daniel Luke

    The ‘Russian’ didn’t bother me too much at all. But then again when I think Soviet Subs, I think Sean Connery in ‘Hunt for Red October’.

    And in terms of the episode, there always seems to be three episode tropes that every new (main) companion goes through.

    1) Meet the Doctor! Present day Earth in Peril. (Bells of St John, 11th Hour, Partners in Crime, Smith and Jones)
    2) In Space! Companion steps up (Rings of Akhaten, Beast Below, Planet of the Ood, Gridlock)
    3) History Time! Earth’s past, with a twist (Victory of the Daleks, Cold War, Fires of Pompeii, The Shakespeare Code)

    (ep titles are for Amelia, Clara, Donna and Martha respectively)

    It’s a great way to a) introduce the new companion to the spectrum of what they’re in for. They leanr about aliens, fixed points and ‘flux’, TARDIS quirks and pretty much all the wibbly wobbly stuff. , and b) Let’s we, the audience, experience how the companion will react to this spectrum. It’s Companion calibration 101. Also, notive how over these first three eps (of Clara) the writers are establishing some new ‘rules’ surrounding the TARDIS. It feels like we’re being told what to expect from her for the foreseeable future. (Doesn’t like Clara, Not flown into battle, susceptibility to BAIL)

  • Sare Gardner

    No, but I’ve decided to believe that it’s all the fault of the 50th Anniversary and they’ll get on track again as soon as they get it out of their system.

  • http://twitter.com/fortyseven Fortyseven

    Post-Pond(s), the show has become about as interesting and exciting as The Doctor’s new wardrobe choice. We were presented with this great mystery at the outset, but all that excitement and momentum from the Dalek asylum ep and Victorian Clara is completely drained away. Hell, I could almost forgive these uneventful rehashes if they somehow tied into exploring Clara’s mystery. They still MAY in some clever, unnoticed way, but as a viewer right now, I’m not seeing it.

    Side note: it feels like such a waste having David Warner in this episode. They called him a professor, but he might as well have been an old janitor.

  • Anonymous

    “The Doctor hears Gallifreyan, perhaps? Man, has it ever been established that the Doctor can speak English or has it been the TARDIS this WHOLE TIME?”

    Actually, it’s been address that when a companion attempts to speak a foreign language not their own to a foreign person, it comes out in thie home tongue, so the other person can’t understand it – See Donna in Fires of Pompeii – she ends up speaking Welsh when she tries to say “veni vidi vici”.

    There have been numerous cases of The Doctor actually speaking in a foreign language (speaking Chinese to the prisoner in Talons of Weng-Chiang, for example) and speaking to aliens in their language (Speaking Old Martian to the Flood in Waters of Mars and the various times he spoke Judoon)

    So it’s fair to assume that The Doctor CAN speak English, and other (all?) various languages. One can presume that he can override the translation circuits if needed. Perhaps if he wants to tell someone secretly, so he speak in thier native tongue, and the other people in the area hear that tongue and not the translated speech.

    Some languages are not translated; Baby, for example, and Horse. But The Doctor speaks both. Following up from last week, it’s possible that some languages are too simple (or too complex in the case of Baby), or too different from other languages to get translated.

    There may be enough for an article here…

  • http://twitter.com/fortyseven Fortyseven

    And the new opening theme — every time I hear it the thought “who sat on the theme song” pops into my head. Unpleasantly muffled. Blah.

  • Anonymous

    You can say almost every story is similar to another if you try hard enough. Alien, The Thing, Cold War, God Complex, are all iterations of the “Haunted House” standard story type – monster of monsters in an enclosed structure, picking off people one by one. Science fiction versions of that story usually has the one guy who tries to tries to reason with the creature, or even side with it.

    The trick is how well the one you’re watching does with the basic structure. This one uses it well.

  • http://twitter.com/fortyseven Fortyseven

    I’m a bit concerned that the TARDIS was in Antarctica the whole time. Should the translation thing really be working from that far away? :P

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    five billion languages, he claims.
    I have had the thought at times that an automatic translator could be ultimately crippling. If you rely on it too much, and suddenly it doesn’t work, where does that leave you? Never having had the opportunity to learn the language around you, since it’s always just been translated?
    Not a problem for a Time Lord, but an interesting question.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no retcon at all – the Ice Warrior suit has always been biomechanical in nature. The change to a more organic look was for fear that a cyborg race had already been done in the Cybermen, and they didn’t want to appear to be repetitive. Different members of the race have different suits – the Ice Lords from the Peladon stories wear a more ceremonial suit, not as much armor.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    The Ponds weren’t actually that interesting either. Very few of Moffat’s episodes have grabbed me the way the majority of Davies’ did. No idea why…

  • Anonymous

    The Christmas Invasion showed that The Doctor is an important part of the translation matrix – with him out of action, it wasn’t functioning. There’s been many situations where the TARDIS was out of commission (half the Pertwee era, for example) or not anyplace nearby, and the system still functioned.

    The real answer always boils down to “it works because (and when) it’s dramatically necessary to do so”, but it’s fun to try and see how fair they’ve been keeping to the rules.

  • Aaron C.

    The episode you’re thinking of is “End of the World.” The Doctor tells Rose that the TARDIS gets in your head and translates. We’re never really told how long the TARDIS’ translation matrix’s range is (at least that I know of). Possibly, after it gets in your head with the needed language, it can be further away and still function.

  • http://twitter.com/fortyseven Fortyseven

    Fair enough. That’s basically the (sad) route I go when all else fails. I always hope for an in-universe explanation, though. :/

  • Sabrina

    Just to complete your list: They also did this present/future/past routine with Rose – twice! Rose/The End of the World/The Unquiet Dead in S1 and The Christmas Invasion/New Earth/Tooth and Claw in S2 – though the latter would be to introduce the new Doctor instead of the companion.

  • Sabrina

    You are not alone. Though I did like the Doctor/Clara interaction the episode left me with an overwhelming feeling of “meh”. It’s an okay episode but it didn’t really grab me.

  • Anonymous

    True, but the spindly arms/movement/empty suit reveal seemed to indicate that its body shape was non-humanoid not proportional to the suit, and the basic shape is mostly technology. Which was a little disappointing because hey, that’s the Daleks’ shtick.

    Come to think of it, my recollection of unsuited Ice Warriors in the comics looked basically like Madam Vastra. Perhaps they were trying to distinguish them from Silurians? They do have A Budget now, after all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lynda-Bowen/1676002712 Lynda Bowen

    There was a lovely bit of comic timing when the pointy hands came from the ceiling just as the characters said “Alien”. And there were a couple of plot points lifted from “Das Boot” but that’s the way of submarine films. At least it was better than last week’s debacle.

  • Anonymous

    I seem to recall that past companions have *kept* the translation matrix even after leaving the TARDIS, in at least some of the expanded universe novels. However, I can’t offhand seem to recall which novel this was shown in.

    Regardless, if we accept that as canon it implies that once embedded, the translation matrix is independent of distance/time. I just assume that in terms of distance/separation it works on the same principle as the superphones Doc has given some recent companions, which ignore time/distance/roaming charges.

    In other words, that the TARDIS is basically giving companions access to all the languages Doc knows regardless of distance in time/space/whatever, as long as he’s able/aware to provide the necessary database. (See: Christmas Invasion, as you mention.)

  • Anonymous

    If I remember right, didn’t we only ever see *female* Ice Warriors unsuited in the comics? But yes, they had a sort of vaguely Silurian crest, though they didn’t have a nose and had large, wider-set eyes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.coombs.3 Danielle Coombs

    I’ve read some, but not all the other comments, so forgive me if I repeat something someone else said:
    The dramatic conventions of portraying foreign speech whilst actually speaking English may be slightly different for the US. Over here, we had 10 years of ‘Allo ‘Allo on tv and now indicating that the entire cast is speaking in Russian really, by adding a Russian accent is seen as very low rent :p The standard generally is to hear natural or equivalent English accents.
    [fangurrl]The voice of the Ice Warrior was the always wonderful Nick Briggs. He’s the same man behind the Dalek voices, the cybermen and another alien I think, but can’t bring to mind.
    He’s also narrated several (and written one) Doctor Who audio books. They’re excellent. It’s like having a full cast audio play. His Tenth Doctor voice in particular is really impressive!
    And talking of full cast audioplays… Don’t know if you peeps have come across Big Finish Audios at all? Original full cast audio plays, mainly Doctor Who, also some other stuff (Stargate, dark shadows, some of their own character sets). The Doctor Who plays are all Classic Doctor Who and feature original cast members where still possible, so Tom Baker, Syl McCoy, Peter Davison, Colin baker and Paul McGann all have storylines. They’ve been doing it since before the 2005 relaunch of the TV show.
    They’re really, really good fun and I have discovered a love of some of the doctors that I wasnt so keen on beforehand.
    Nick Briggs is currently the driving force behind Big Finish. [/fangurrl]

  • Anonymous

    I’m having this reaction to the entire Doctor/Clara relationship thus far…”meh”. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s just not working for me. Maybe it’s just the last couple of episodes – because Bells of Saint John was pretty good, and I figured my perceived lack of chemistry between the two of them was probably Amy/Rory withdrawal. Seriously though, I’m hoping it’s just me, and that something will happen in the coming episodes that will “wow” me.

  • Sabrina

    I find them rather cute together but that’s probably not saying much and I certainly won’t be able to put together a coherent argument to persuade you. But overall I’m intrigued enough to keep watching and hope for the best.

  • Anonymous

    I’m definitely intrigued enough about who or what she is to keep watching (not that the thought of not watching ever entered my head), but I’m getting those same feelings about them as I did with 10 and Martha – they never really “clicked” for me but I kept watching and generally liked how the season turned out. Either way, it would only probably take a single great episode or even a single great moment in an episode to completely change my feelings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.klingel Rebecca Klingel

    In The Angels Take Manhattan Rory is able to translate chinese on pottery. River says “The gift of the Tardis. It hangs around.”
    No one mentioned it, but did anyone see the Doctor’s face when Clara hugged him at the end of the episode? He was NOT into it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.adkins.77 Brian Adkins

    The Doctor speak everything including “baby.” ;-)
    I enjoyed this because it was a stand alone episode. Simple and to the point. Plenty of action and humor.Even using some old fashioned horror techniques to get by and worked just as,if not more, effectively as the high priced CGI stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.adkins.77 Brian Adkins

    That’s what I’m thinking as well. Each Clara -the Dalek one,the Christmas one,this one,etc(?) are all different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.adkins.77 Brian Adkins

    Felt the same way with the STAR TREK t.v. shows and just gave up. lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.adkins.77 Brian Adkins

    You take that back! You take that back right now! lol

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Clara also apparently didn’t know how the internet/wifi worked in ep 1 so….IDK what the writers are doing with this gap of knowledge about ‘things most people in 2013 know about’

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    …And then Davos Seaworth took his nuclear submarine and went looking for Melisandre.

    I think Lieutenant Stepashin was supposed to be the Soviet Protocol Officer (if that’s the right title).

  • http://bittersweetfountain.blogspot.com/ Bittersweet Fountain

    I still can’t get over the fact that they expect me to believe a 24yo wouldn’t know how wifi works. Has Clara been living in a box? This is basic computer literacy 101, and while I could believe an older person might struggle with it, I cannot believe a 24yo would. I am 26. I have never met a person near my age who doesn’t know how to log onto wifi. Honestly, it tainted the entire episode and its tainted Clara, because I now have to assume she is in fact not very intelligent. And I have to wonder how she graduated high school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kassandra.ferguson Kassandra Ferguson

    My theory with the translation matrix is that you hear British accents, because that’s the default expectation of the companion who the TARDIS is translating for. That’s also why when you meet people who speak English, because the TARDIS doesn’t have to translate, you hear their accents (American accents, Welsh accents, Scottish accents, etc.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

    I thought once you’ve been in the Tardis at all the translation matrix is imprinted on you forever. Rory could still read Chinese even though he wasn’t even in the same year as the Tardis. Amy had been taken off the ship for a whole year and could still read that peace of knitting that showed that Melody Pond/River Song were the same person.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

    Rory could read Chinese even though he was in 1930 and the Tardis was in 2012.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

    The Doctor is married

  • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

    BOOOOOOOO Amy and Rory were awesome!
    I will agree with Fortyseven that Clara isn’t as cool as I thought she’d be in the Asylum and Xmas episodes. She could have been the Watson to the Doctor’s Holmes. But aside from the mystery of modern Clara there isn’t that much going on moment to moment. It would have been interesting seeing the Doctor take on someone who was potentially as smart as capable as himself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

    I had seriously Pond withdrawal during the Xmas episode. But the Doctor/Clara interaction there was way better than the version we have now.

  • BirdBot

    Haha, I also was too blinded by my thoughts of “Oh hey! The Onion Knight and Edmyure (Brutus) Tully are friends! Oh and hello Master Control Program!” to even think about what language they were speaking.