Who: “Doctor Who” airs on cable TV, specifically on BBC America; the show is currently on hiatus.
What: “Doctor Who,” the long-running British science fiction show about an alien time and space traveler who gallivants across the universe with companions in an effort to save people and/or history and/or the universe itself. The synopsis changes from Doctor to Doctor, but the above statement pretty much encapsulates all of them.
When: Series 9 premiered on September 19, 2015, at 9:00 PM on BBC America. The finale of the season was the Christmas Special, which aired on December 25, 2015, at 9:00 PM on BBC America.
Where: The show is set literally everywhere in the whole universe at any given time, though not without the Doctor’s ship, the TARDIS, and some face of the man who pilots it.
Why: Once upon a time (no, not that show), friends of mine said precisely this: “Why aren’t you watching Doctor Who?! It’s science fiction, it’s British, it’s everything you love (short of vampires)! Watch it! Do it!” I started with the 2005 pilot of “Rose” and kept right on chugging. Now, I’m a fully converted Whovian, with an obsessive eye to both past, as in Classic, Who and the future incarnations of the “Madman in a Box;” I’ve joined friends who are Whovians in their own right for another discussion “around the water cooler.”
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
Welcome to a new season of Doctor Who! With another full season under our belts, our “Who” panel of Kristen, Sarah, Nick, Amanda, and Chief Couch Potato Kylie reconvened to discuss all things series 9: the stellar and interstellar as well as the parts that should really be exterminated. We have many diverse thoughts about what we saw, including the return of Davros, the guest appearance of Maisie Williams, the departure of Jenna Coleman’s companion Clara Oswald, and the return of Alex Kingston’s River Song, Mrs. The Doctor herself.
How about you? Give our latest Doctor Who recap rundown a listen, and tell us what you think in the comments. Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, and expectations for Peter Capaldi’s next and likely final season as the enigmatic Doctor? Who do you want to see as the next companion? Can Alex Kingston come back for more? What do you want? What did you like? What did you hate? Tell us! Tell them!
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1) Is Tasha Lem really River Song? I mean, she knows how to fly the TARDIS, is inexplicably flirtatious with the Doctor, and they didn’t fail to mention the Doctor’s marriage to River, never fully resolved. She may have died at some point – but did the Time Lords save her too?
Answer: Still a question! Tasha has not returned for Capaldi’s tenure as of yet…but River came back as River! Maybe we should give up on Tasha; I mean, it’s been a while, but the reappearance of River was such a breath of fresh air. Listen to the podcast for the panel’s reactions!
2) Will Gallifrey reemerge?
Answer: It did! It did! Well, it emerged. Actually, it’s not clear if the Doctor discovered Gallifrey in its pocket universe, or if Gallifrey is back this side of the crack in the wall. We were left with many questions. Scroll to the New Questions section to read what those are, and listen to the podcast for more.
3) Is Missy (Michelle Gomez) really Missy? Or, is she something or someone else? Nick suspects she is not who she is claiming to be, but Kristen disagrees (listen to the podcast).
Answer: Kristen may be right. Missy still seems to be Missy, the female incarnation of the Master. In fact, after the first two episodes of the series, she disappeared. Where did she go? That’s the real question.
2) Did Missy really die at the end of the eighth season? She says in the premiere that people like her don’t die…so then, where did she go? And where did she get what looks to be a vortex manipulator like Captain Jack’s?
Answer: She’s apparently very alive, though we did not see how she was able to transport herself or where she got the device that allows her to do it. She’s also disappeared, which seems like a bigger question/problem.
3) How does the Doctor go back in time to even meet Davros to begin with? When in his timeline does he meet Davros?
Answer: It is not clear when in the Doctor’s timeline he finds Davros, except that it seems to happen after he meets Davros in the first two episodes of the season. Davros is definitely a child at that point, so it’s definitely Davros’ past. The implication is that the Doctor shows Davros compassion in the hopes that Davros will learn and remember the same impulse. Yet, the episodes also tell us that Davros has compassion only when it relates to his Dalek creations and only insofar as they supply him with his life force, as they are interconnected.
4) Where is Davros from? Where is the Doctor when he first meets Davros as a young child?
Answer: This question was not answered. Maybe Skaro is implied, but it’s never stated, and it’s not a lingering question at this point because Davros and the Daleks were only a focal point during the first two episodes of the season.
5) What is the old Davros’ aim, other than to destroy the Doctor? He seems to have an even greater purpose afoot.
Answer: He wanted to sucker the Doctor into lending him some regeneration energy, which healed the ailing Dalek master. Davros’ long con involved appealing to the Doctor’s compassion, his perceived weakness, by attempting to demonstrate compassion himself, in addition to regret over his actions in life. As it turns out, Davros should be up for an Academy Award (or a BAFTA). The Doctor plugged himself into Davros’ contraption to give him a Time Lord-aided boost of healing regeneration energy, but then Davros moved to suck the rest of it out, until Missy stepped in to save her frienemy, the Doctor.
6) Where did the Daleks take Clara and Missy? We assume they are not exterminated.
Answer: The Daleks took them nowhere. Missy transported Clara and herself outside, saving them both from the approaching tin cans. Missy created what she considered to be a crackerjack plan to get them admission back in to save the Doctor by plopping Clara inside a Dalek, which set up a missed opportunity for continuity (listen to the podcast).
7) How will Clara be written off the series? Will they kill off a companion? Will she reunite with Danny Pink in another dimension, one in which he never became a Cyberman, for a happily ever after ending?
Answer: It seems Clara is “Thelma” to Me’s (Maisie Williams) “Louise.” Clara initially died, in self-sacrifice to save another, but the Doctor’s compassion and caring about Clara caused him to live billions of years inside his Gallifreyan confession dial, only to burst out and use Time Lord technology to freeze Clara in time and bring her to the end of the universe. It was somewhat confusing, but in the end, she and Me flew off in a diner that worked like a TARDIS. Wibbly wobbly and timey wimey, I shouldn’t wonder.
8) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be? Do we dare to hope that it’s River? When is she coming back?
Answer: River came back during the Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song.” And it was magical! The Doctor’s new companion has yet to be announced, though the entire panel wishes for River to return. Or Donna Noble (Catherine Tate).
9) It’s been foretold that Osgood is coming back. How? Why?
Answer: Osgood came back in two middle-of-the-season episodes concerning the Zygons. As it turns out, she did not really die but was secreted away by UNIT, monitoring the covert population of Zygons currently residing on Earth with her Zygon partner who wears her face as of the anniversary special. When the Zygons faced a rebellion force within its own population, Osgood revealed herself (and all of her Doctor fangirl-ness) once again.
10) Other aliens will make appearances, including the reappearance of the Zygons, reintroduced in the 50th anniversary special. How will they reemerge?
Answer: Ever since they came through the Gallifreyan paintings in the 50th, they’ve secretly taken up normal, human lives and lived as humans, monitored by UNIT. Unfortunately, not all Zygons liked the arrangement, and some of them started to rebel, with the intent of becoming an invasion force that overtook humans as well as human-sympathizers among the Zygons. Until the Doctor intervened, that is.
11) Is Missy in league with the Daleks?
Answer: No, but she likes to play them as much as she likes to play everyone else.
12) Does Peter Capaldi really play the guitar? All reports seem to say yes.
Answer: That’s really Peter playing, and he did it a few more times throughout the season.
13) What are the “Hand Bombs,” as Sarah believed they are called in the podcast? How are they important?
Answer: Apparently, they are not important at all because they were really only used to creepy effect in the premiere and then were forgotten. I guess we don’t really care about them. That seemed to happened quite a bit this season.
14) What other villains and creatures might we see from Classic Who this year?
Answer: From the Classics? No one really. We saw Daleks, a bratty immortal Viking girl, zombie ghosts from Neptune, Zygons, a creepy grim reaper like thing, a Shade, and Time Lords of Gallifrey. We also spotted glimpses of Cybermen, Ood, and Weeping Angels, but they weren’t acting villainous at the time.
15) Who is Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) playing in upcoming episodes? Nick thinks it might be companion and Time Lady Rumana from Four’s term. Others are predicting she is Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter first introduced with William Hartnell. Maybe she’s someone all new…but who?
Answer: She played a Viking girl named Isheilde, who was very good at fishing. When her Viking village was invaded by aliens, which managed to fatally wound Ishielde, the Doctor intervened and placed some Time Lord technology inside of her that allowed her to be truly immortal. After living for millennia, she retitled herself “Me, Just Me.” She was plucky, bratty, and fun, though the podcast panel had mixed reviews about her…
1) Is Gallifrey really back? How is it back? Is it only in existence at the end of the universe, where the Doctor met Me and Clara? Or, is the confession dial some sort of inter-dimensional gateway? Where is Gallifrey in current times and in current universes? We need clarification.
2) Where did Missy go? Will she be back?
3) Can we see more of the Doctor’s most recent 24-year date with River Song? The Christmas Special was universally the panel’s favorite episode.
4) Who will the Doctor’s new companion be?
5) Stephen Moffat has announced that he will step down as show-runner after Series 10, and Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall will take his place. Unofficially, Peter Capaldi has suggested that Series 10 will also be his last as the Doctor. Who could possibly be the new Doctor? Feels too soon, doesn’t it?
6) In the season premiere two-parter, when Davros tricked the Doctor into dosing him with regeneration energy, did that incident affect the Doctor in any way? How many extra regeneration cycles does the Doctor have right now?
The podcast panel’s reactions were varied and diverse in response to Series 9. Some struggled with this season more, while others liked it better than Series 8. Some panelists felt the writing was choppy and inconsistent with frequent missed opportunities for continuity with past seasons of the Doctor (why couldn’t Clara have stayed in the Dalek until the end of her life?). Most of the panelists were happy to see Jenna Coleman’s time expire on the series, though there were very mixed reactions about the means and method of her departure. There were also mixed feelings about Maisie Williams’ stint on the show. The panel was more comfortable with Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, but the adjustment has not been without its lumps and bumps. The entire panel hopes that the Christmas Special is not the last we’ll see of River Song and secretly or not so secretly hopes for Catherine Tate to somehow return as Donna Noble someday…still. Either way, the entire panel, the moderator and yours truly included, will wait patiently…Series 10 is not slated to premiere until Spring 2017, with only a Christmas Special to tide us over in the meantime. Plus, Netflix and Hulu lost the rights to air the new series and the classic series, respectively, while it seems that Amazon Prime was able to pick up the new series. It’s wibbly wobbly and timey wimey in the Doctor Whoniverse as we speak!
Doctor Who won’t return next until the next Christmas special airs on December 25, 2016, the podcast panel will not reconvene until after that special. It’s a long time to wait…how will we survive? I know! You can listen to other CPU! podcast episodes in the meantime. Until then! 😉