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  • 5 months later... hate to say it because of how it sounds (and in some ways is), but this was the most invested I've been in a WHO episode since the Capaldi era. I loved it. For one thing the plot was clear, easy to understand and uncomplicated. I completely lost track of what was going on in Flux. This was a simple bad guy story. The Master might've been the most OTT since Anthony Ainley, but I still think Sasha Dawan does a killer performance. Loved EVERYTHING with the...JNT era characters, I'll say.

The only thing I wish is that they closed the door on Yaz's feelings for the Doctor, which the last episode made a point to bring up. Maybe her meeting Teagan and Ace changed her mind about it.

But Jodie's regen was sad and beautiful, and as a Tennant simp I got *SO* excited to see what happens next.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reposting this here from another Message Board regarding autopsy thoughts on the Whitaker/Chibnall run (from what I've seen, which is roughly half): 

I can't speak to the whole of her era because, for the first time, I didn't watch half of it. I saw her first ep, and wished she had a bit more of a scary, taking command moment that both Smith and Capaldi did (even Tennant pretty much pwns the moment he steps out of the TARDIS in The Christmas Invasion).

Now I watched all of Broadchurch well before she was cast, so I was familiar with Jodie Whitaker and Chris Chibnall and didn't think there was really anything to worry.

But while in the end I liked Jodie Whitaker and was truly sorry to see her go, I think a previous poster has a point that she seemed to be too much of a passive Doctor. It reminds me of how people describe Peter Davison's 5th Doctor, too often he's getting captured and does little to initiate an escape. Whitaker, in the episodes I've watched, has never been given a badass moment. Now I'm not someone who buys into the whole Longbarrow, "The Doctor is God" McCoy/Matt Smith era Galaxy Chad that some people see them to be...but I do want moments where I point to the television and shout "THAT'S THE GDMN DOCTOR". Whitaker never had those moments.

Is it because she's a woman? IDK...I really want to know what Chibnall and the writers were thinking in approaching that element to the character. Were they aware of some of the previous Doctors' more toxic traits and trying to move away from that?

But I did get a frustrating sense that the 13th Doctor recalled too much of Tennant and Smith for me to totally enjoy it. But when Spyfall happened, I saw I lot more potential manifest. Her performance in that is great, and she comes the closest in part 2 to what I was looking for in confronting the Master. "Let them go...then you can have me." Her reaction when he commands her to kneel, almost like a "Are you serious?" look on her face, was really cool. It felt like Jodie's acting coming through.

But really, more than anything she did, I think the problem really was the writing and direction. I liked Flux when it started out, but I didn't have a clue WTH was going on by the end. We also really didn't get a lot of signature emotional moments that defined Modern Who. Moments that just lay on the screen and allow the actors to act. It felt too fast paced, too clinical at times.

I mean, even if the Doctor and Yaz weren't going to get together in the end, Yaz's feelings should've been properly addressed. RTD and Moffat would've never, ever just let that hang, and why deny Mandip Gill a chance to really shine? She had a terrifically acted reaction to seeing the Doctor's regenerating hand at the end, but why does she leave? Do we even see that conversation? A lot of really obvious stuff was just tossed aside. The fanservice did carry that last episode, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I still loved it the best out of the era, but there was still some needlessly frustrating things that went on, indicative of the era.
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I enjoyed the episode okay, the fanservice worked on me (Ace is my favorite Classic companion, and she had a great showing in this), but it definitely was not the best of the era to me. I loved the episodes of the Whittaker/Chibnall run when it was focused on a single thing (as opposed to the Davies and Moffat eras that thrived on a kitchen sink approach and a subversive approach, respectively). Demons of the Punjab for its focus on empathy. Village of the Angels just wants to scare the hell out of you. Eve of the Daleks was just a fun run-around (literally).

Jodie Whittaker is the Henry Cavill of Doctors, I'd say. You see them candidly and they're just perfect for the role, but the portrayal they got saddled with seems to want to drain them of their natural charisma (down to Cavill having a natural S-curl that they slicked back). Whittaker can be quirky and charming in a natural way and she has a great sense of style. Seriously, any press appearance has her looking more exciting and Doctor-ish than any shot of Thirteen. I know Whittaker had input on her costume, but it just feels unfinished, it should've had one more element to it (like the scarf in Resolution). That sounds superficial, but the Doctor is larger than life, and they've made her mundane.

I wouldn't say there weren't big, badass Doctor moments, but they fall flat compared to her predecessors. Her "hello, I'm the Doctor" line from The Woman Who Fell to Earth does not compare to Smith's. At all. Her defining moment for me is the "love is a form of hope" speech from Demons of the Punjab.

I don't even know what her defining trait is, other than trying to be nice but failing (her not trying to comfort Graham when he admits his cancer fears and just letting Yaz be the one to comfort Dan after he has his near-death scare). She could've been the DIY Doctor like her debut promised (the goggles really should've been a part of her outfit like an anime character), it would've been fun to have her come up with some new gadget every other episode to resolve the problem.

Side note: He did a great job as the Master (in this episode especially) but I wonder how Sacha Dhawan would've done as the Doctor. I feel like he would've been a better fit for the tone Chibnall was going for.

I don't want to give Chibnall shit, I feel like the whole era was being pushed and pulled by outside forces (mostly the BBC and fan reactions, with the pandemic for Flux and beyond). I feel like Thirteen was similarly compromised, she never got to stand out, possibly in fear of public outcry, hence her being more of a reheated Tenth/Eleventh Doctor.

It's not a total miss for the era, when it landed for me, I really liked it. My favorites were:

  1. Demons of the Punjab - A really moving episode for me. Rosa didn't resonate for me despite meaning really well, and Witchfinders was a draft away from being fantastic, but this was a fantastic historical. 
  2. Eve of the Daleks - Fun and snappy as hell. I don't know if the writing holds up (Nick being a creepy obsessive is just a weird choice, the acting really saves him) but it's just energetic in a way the era hadn't really been. The Daleks are so much fun here, it feels like a modernization of Hartnell era Daleks. Sarah was wonderfully charismatic, as well.
  3. Resolution - This was badass. It's common fan wisdom that one Dalek is much scarier than a whole host of them, but it really is true. Lin was great, she should've been a companion.
  4. Village of the Angels - Professor Eustacius Jericho is a fantastic character, and I'm glad he got to stay on. The Weeping Angels were really well-done here, the sketchy Angel on fire is one of the coolest visuals the show has done.
  5. Spyfall Part 1 - The second part falls apart for me, but this is like Eve in that the show has a pulse, it's really exciting. Dhawan is great, too.
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