“I’ve lost track of what’s actually happening”: Series 11 according to Time and Relative Dimensions in Shitposting

Jodie_Whittaker_cropped

Image Credit: Photoblogger79 (CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Image Description: Jodie Whittaker holding a glass of water sitting on a sofa

By Georgia Harper

In the previous issue of Tides of Time, I wrote about liveblogging an assortment of Doctor Who episodes for the loosely Oxford-based Facebook group Time and Relative Dimensions in Shitposting. The poll-based system for choosing episodes was left to one side in late 2018 when, for a wonderful yet all-too-brief period, there was a new episode to liveblog every single week.

So what did the TARDIShitposting comments sections think of Series 11 as it happened? Here’s a summary…

The Woman Who Fell To Earth (broadcast 7th October, liveblogged 8th October)

The Thirteenth Doctor’s full debut was largely well-received and praised for the show’s new look visually and musically (the latter of which would become a running theme!) as well as for Jodie Whittaker’s performance, with her introduction described as “surely the best entrance for a post-regeneration story ever.” For me, this re-watch was more focused on the emotional pull than critique, and “Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor and the world is a wonderful place” crops up in my comments several times! There was also much enthusiasm for the portrayal of Ryan’s dyspraxia (and relief that he wasn’t magically able to ride a bike at the end of the episode); Graham’s disparaging remarks led one commenter to describe him as “a bit of a dick”, resulting in a few correct predictions that Graham and Ryan’s relationship would develop as a series theme.

One of the main criticisms of the episode was the fairly limited role of Yaz; I said at the time “I’m sure that will change over the course of the series”, but perhaps I was being a little too optimistic. There was also much discussion over Grace being “fridged” to further the plot (“her death is literally the origin story for the two male companions”) and the predictability of her death “because she’s pretty clearly in an equal position to the rest of the TARDIS team yet clearly didn’t stick around.” It was also noted that Grace was referred to in promotional material as a recurring character, for reasons we were yet to find out…

Debates over the Thirteenth Doctor’s morality had already begun, particularly around her treatment of Karl – some found the final confrontation “rushed” and that the Doctor “really could have done without… telling off [Karl] for pushing the alien who was going to kill him and had killed others”, while others praised the episode for “[bringing] the Doctor’s morality into question” and highlighting that “Dr. Who’s morals [are] slightly different to our own”. Discussion also included the already long-running debate over new showrunner Chris Chibnall’s writing – while one commenter noted “how nice it is to have actual characters and not one-liner machines” in contrast to Steven Moffat’s era, another replied that “Chibnall’s too far on the other side of the spectrum at times” and the new companions “need a bit more characterisation.” Finally, an honourable mention for one of the most popular comments: “DRUNK SALAD MAN: A COMPANION TRUE.”

The Ghost Monument (broadcast 14th October, liveblogged 17th October)

While there was generally less enthusiasm for The Ghost Monument than TWWFTE, we particularly enjoyed the TARDIS reveal and visual aspects more widely: “This episode struck me as an ‘excuse to show off the new look’ episode, and it does that brilliantly.” Praise was also given for the Doctor using Venusian Aikido in “a clear reference to the past that also doesn’t matter very much for new viewers” and being a rare example of “female characters bragging about how smart they are.”

However, many agreed that the episode was let down by the apparent threats – “Oh no, it’s… some fabric!” “SniperBots! How imaginative!” Some argued that this was exacerbated further by following another underwhelming villain: “Evil Clothes. And ummm… a guy with teeth on his face. Daleks smaleks, amirite?” Other criticisms focused on a plot which “seems to wrap up very suddenly” and the use of Ryan’s viewpoint for the second time running: “it might also be nice for the others to get a turn.”

There was also some discussion around the potentially foreshadowing mentions of the Stenza (“STORY ARC, DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN”) and the mysterious Timeless Child (“STORY ARC TWO, DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN”). Of course, we’re still no closer to finding out who or what the Timeless Child is, and while it could be argued that Tim Shaw’s return in the series finale qualifies the Stenza as a series arc, there was no mention made of them in the intervening seven episodes.

Rosa (broadcast 21st October, liveblogged 24th October)

There wasn’t so much discussion around the Rosa liveblog, primarily because its sensitive and powerful depiction of racism in 1950s America was so universally well-received. Details such as the diner scene highlighted the dangers of even “simple things like sitting down with friends and discussing what just happened and next plans”, which many of us take for granted. There was also praise for “how the episode handles the complex question of where Yaz ‘fits’ in a two-recognised-segregated-races society” and acknowledgement through the conversation between Yaz and Ryan that racism is still embedded in today’s culture. The TARDIS-based epilogue was an opportunity to show “not just how Rosa Parks is recognised, but the sacrifices she had to make and how life was still a struggle after her protest.”

Criticisms of Rosa were minor, from historical accuracy (Rosa Parks’ bus protest was planned rather than spontaneous) to the lack of reaction to the TARDIS reaching “1955, Montgomery, Alabama”, though this could be explained as “the first time they’ve left the TARDIS” and being “yet to develop the mentality that’s required.” While we had seen criticism elsewhere that Krasko was underdeveloped, it was agreed that “that’s kind of how it should be” because “further development might lead some to try and excuse his white supremacism” and “the real villain in this story is ‘racism’.” Elsewhere, there was speculation over the “Did you just accidentally pay me a compliment?” line which was read by some as setting up romantic tension between Yaz and Ryan; ultimately, this did not materialise. In fact, it was the discussion about the first female Doctor being “put in a position where she is still very much within the privileged/oppressor group” which turned out to be more relevant later…

Arachnids in the UK (broadcast 28th October, liveblogged 2nd November)

Again, there wasn’t so much discussion around this one – perhaps everyone was saving themselves for The Great The Tsuranga Conundrum Discourse? Praise for this episode was largely within the “Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor and the world is a wonderful place” category, as well as the introduction to Yaz’s family, the “BEAUTIFUL” new time vortex, and Ryan’s unexpected shadow-puppet skills.

On the other hand, Arachnids in the UK was widely criticised for its hasty ending, in which Jack Robertson – who we referred to as “Not-Trump” throughout – faced no consequences for his actions. It was argued that this “could be a deliberate attempt to offer a satirical critique by showing how villains aren’t always held accountable for their actions”, but “in practice, it just feels like a really abrupt ending where they forgot to show any closure” and “makes the Doctor look like a terrible apathetic person who can’t be bothered even to try bringing Robertson to justice.” Also, what about the spider left in that Sheffield flat, held back only by a line of vinegar? According to one commenter: “As long as it pays the rent at the end of every month, I’m sure nobody will mind.”

A few of the comments I made while liveblogging Arachnids are more interesting to look back on in hindsight – as well as the first use of “big fan of the music”, which I’d make a point of repeating in every Series 11 liveblog from this point, I also remarked on lines potentially setting up both Yaz and Ryan and Yaz and the Doctor, neither of which came to fruition. With Yaz telling her family she was only going to the shops, I hoped to see her “return home several episodes later, but a few minutes later in real time, in different clothes, without bread.” I’m still a little annoyed this didn’t happen!

The Tsuranga Conundrum (broadcast 4th November, liveblogged 7th November)

This was… an interesting one. While I personally enjoyed The Tsuranga Conundrum, most of the group emphatically did not, and had spent the three days between broadcast and liveblog elaborating on this in the WhoSoc-affiliated An Unearthly Chat. Criticism focused on an array of plot jumps and inconsistencies which soon built up, from the mine opening which is “never given any context at all”, to Astos’ unnecessary death (“WHY DOES HE GO IN THE POD”), to “the sonic miraculously recovering as soon as it’s needed.” And what was the conundrum supposed to be again? The Pting’s development was also considered erratic; as it was “shown to be generally destructive and kind of vicious… destroying an entire space fleet”, it was argued, “the twist that it’s misunderstood and only wants to feed on energy specifically comes out of nowhere.”

Nevertheless, “after several days of ‘the Pting is very absent’”, I was “very much surprised by how much Pting I’m seeing.” It was also noted that the episode was “better paced than a few other episodes this series, allowing time for an actual ending where they get rid of the threat properly.” Primarily, though, my main defence of Tsuranga was repeated variants of “Don’t Hate On This Wholesome Content”, having particularly enjoyed the Doctor’s explanation of anti-matter and the generous sprinkling of remarks about hope and “light in dark times”, particularly “as someone who bloody loves Doctor-as-hope and also jumps to worst conclusions always and low-key can’t stop thinking about the world ending.”

Again, discussion noted that Yaz remained underused, “being reduced to asking the questions so one of the other characters can have even more development.” I reacted to the mention of her police uniform camera with “well, that’s Yaz’s development for the episode”, and in hindsight I’m wondering if that was a little unfair; in general, reading back, we as a group seemed to use lines developing Yaz as a springboard to laugh at her underdevelopment! Yaz’s mimicking of Siobhan Chamberlain was also noted as “another attempt to develop Yaz… as a Sporty Person” or, as one commenter put it, “how to develop characters without actually giving them dialogue.”

So why did the episode initially get such a severe slating? One commenter replied that the negative reaction is “partly because we’re now halfway through the series, and people are getting tired of episodes that are OK but still flawed”, while another argued that fans are more critical “since it’s following in the footsteps of a strong series opener, a scenic journey which culminates in the new TARDIS interior, the hugely important Rosa, and an enjoyable B-movie-style romp.” Very different opinions, same ultimate outcome.

Demons of the Punjab (broadcast 11th November, liveblogged 17th November)

Back to a much more positive reception this week as Demons of the Punjab shone a spotlight on an often overlooked area of history: “For a lot of people, this will be the first they’ve really heard about the Partition, because Euro-centric history lessons etc.” It was noted that the episode’s Remembrance Sunday broadcast meant it was “particularly powerful for wars and unnecessary losses that are often forgotten to be represented” and the episode was praised for the “bold” decision to “criticise the British Empire during the one month of the year where criticising Britain’s past is considered particularly taboo”. While the usual circles online were bemoaning an approach they deemed too “politically correct”, we “really [didn’t] see how this more educational side of Doctor Who is being seen as a bad thing”; commenters noted that “the fact the show is being more educational is a huge draw” and “Moffat already used up all the ideas for timey-wimey stuff, a change in focus was desperately needed.”

The few minor criticisms of this episode again revolved around Yaz’s characterisation; even in her “inner thoughts exposition scene… Graham does all the talking for some reason.” It was also noted that “Ryan might be a bit annoyed that Yaz gets to see HER nan” and that “it’s weird how Grace didn’t seem to get a mention this week, considering the subject matter”, although “maybe shoehorning in continuity might have slowed down the episode’s pace.” This discussion led to some predictions around “a scene where the Doctor takes Graham back to meet Grace one last time” being “the most likely way this series is going to end”, with others pointing out that “Graham is in remission from cancer… I do wonder if it could come back” and “this is the second episode running where he’s defended someone keeping a sad secret from their family.”

There was also speculation over whether Umbreen “ever realised that her granddaughter travelled back in time to see her during her youth”, with the final scene in which Yaz shows off her henna tattoo from the wedding taken as an unspoken confirmation. One commenter would “like to think she secretly does know, but will never tell anyone”, although “the ambiguous ending feels better, with this left unsaid between the two.” Perhaps it’s something to follow up in Series 12…

Kerblam! (broadcast 18th November, liveblogged 22nd November)

Two hundred and three comments. Fasten your seatbelts…

Let’s start with the positives. There was praise for the killer bubble wrap (“VERY Doctor Who, the fez-based introduction (“I love this system of brief references to the past which don’t actually relate to the main plot so don’t interfere with new viewers’ understanding”) and in particular the conveyor belt chase scene (“RYAN REMEMBERS HE’S DYSPRAXIC!”). There was acknowledgement of previous criticisms being addressed, with Yaz “actually getting to use her police training for once” and “the TARDIS interior getting a little bit more use.” I particularly enjoyed the line “In the meantime, why not consider a personal mindful moment?” in the closing scenes: “a nice critique of the ‘WE CARE ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH!’ initiatives that do nothing about the conditions that lead to the mental health problems in the first place.” That concludes the purely positive comments for this liveblog.

Watching Kerblam! a second time made it a very different episode: “even if you leave the political yikes aside, it’s building up to something” – a satirical Amazon critique – “that it doesn’t deliver on.” As one commenter noted, details such as Yaz being rebuked for talking on the job “make the whole thing really weird… Kerblam! is clearly a terrible place to work, but in the end, the solution is to get *more* humans doing these unpleasant and dehumanising jobs?” Similarly, while Slade’s mistreatment of the workers “helps to set up a red herring… this also makes it harder to believe that Slade can help make Kerblam! better.” My main criticism was that the episode “pushes the whole ‘technology can do repetitive jobs’ vs ‘we currently need jobs to survive’ thing, and yet they never quite get to ‘maybe think about why we need jobs to survive even though we don’t need people to do those jobs anymore’” – for me, the issue “isn’t that it’s pro-capitalist so much as it doesn’t even consider that options other than capitalism exist.” The end result of a sentient corporation fighting back is, well, “pretty yikes.” Perhaps, as one person suggested, it would have been “much improved if Judy was the mastermind behind the whole operation, driven to these measures by Slade looking down on her as merely ‘head of people’”?

Elsewhere, what on broadcast could be considered an “adorable awkward cringeworthy meet-cute scene” between Charlie and Kira was pointed out to be “less adorable the second time as Charlie is plotting the mass murder of innocents… I was pretty uncomfortable with the ‘woman’s love could or should have redeemed male mass murderer’ trope.” Kira was then, of course, “fridged to further the villain’s manpain”, culminating in a final confrontation where “the undervalued worker is somehow the bad guy… how can this possibly look bad?” Indeed, with a “theme this series of villains getting away”, it’s rather unfortunate “that Charlie is the one that dies.” As one commenter put it, “the episode tries to criticise both Amazon/corporations AND extremists/terrorists, and ends up not really succeeding in either.”

All of which leads to the main thing I remember about this liveblog: while others were complaining about the Doctor Who fandom shutting down debate (read: sexism), we were busy squabbling over a plural. The much-quoted line “The systems aren’t the problem” being repeatedly misquoted as “The system isn’t the problem” had become a particular source of irritation for me: “This is the closest the episode comes to getting it right… the ‘systems’ refer to technology, and technology alone isn’t the problem – people exploiting technology is the problem, and a society where people need jobs despite technology is the problem.” As one commenter highlighted, though, this is really a moot point anyway; the Kerblam! system had just murdered Kira, and “it’s a bit of a dick move to suggest there’s nothing wrong with the system which literally killed an innocent woman to try and make a point.” Moving swiftly on…

The Witchfinders (broadcast 25th November, liveblogged 29th November)

As well as being mercifully lighter on the comments section than Kerblam!, this episode was also much better received. The liveblog itself was something of a quote-along, with praise also for “everything you ever wanted from Alan-Cumming-as-King-James”. This was also “the first episode to make the Doctor’s gender plot-relevant… a risky move but done well”, with this theme being played out not just through the Doctor being tried as a witch but through subtleties such as Willa’s aspiration to become a doctor.

One of the main criticisms was, as ever, “Graham hogging a lot of the companion time”; by this point, I was “starting to think three companions just doesn’t work in the shorter New Who format.” There was also reference to some earlier An Unearthly Chat discussion about the Doctor comparing the Old Testament used by King James to justify witch hunts to the “twist in the sequel, love thy neighbour”: “‘Old Testament violent, New Testament forgiving’ is a pretty common anti-Semitic trope, and as was pointed out earlier, ‘love thy neighbour’ is from Leviticus anyway…” Later, the reveal of the Morax was considered rushed: “I genuinely looked at my watch, and at one point worried the blackout was a Sleep-No-More style bad ending.”

The Morax themselves caused some debate; while some found them to be “reduced to generic snarl-a-lot-and-try-to-take-over-the-world monsters” following the reveal, others appreciated this given that “this season was lacking the traditional campy fun of generic monsters”. It was noted that the Doctor’s disdain at James killing the Morax queen “would have worked quite well if it hadn’t already been done multiple times this series”; one commenter pointed out that “James is using what happened to justify his prior actions of persecuting innocent humans” whereas “the outrage about kicking Tim Shaw and shooting the spider is just clumsy writing”, while another argued this was “another challenge to the Doctor’s authority and her personal way of resolving crises.” Indeed, the non-interference principle behind much of the Series 11 discourse is finally addressed in this episode, which according to one commenter “marks a crucial character moment in which 13 takes direct action against injustice, instead of being a traveller who occasionally helps others out.”

Above all, though, the main talking point in this liveblog was my complete inability to register flirting – by James towards Ryan, for example – until it’s pointed out to me. Re-watching with the benefit of having seen social media reactions, though, I had “no earthly idea how I missed it.” Cue lots of shouting at myself, jokes about how anyone wishing to date me should use a neon sign, and lots of over-analysis of that pricker James kept bringing out. Somewhere amongst all that, though, was a serious point; in a series where “LGBT representation across the spectrum” (Matt Strevens) turned out to be “two dead wives, a pregnant man who doesn’t really count because that’s how his species works, and James”, James was the first gay character in the series to survive his episode. Although praising Alan Cumming’s performance, one commenter noted that “James I’s homosexuality being played for laughs maybe isn’t great in the wider context of Series 11’s representation”, with a need for “more positive diversity in representation there to balance it. This isn’t the first time the issue will crop up…

It Takes You Away (broadcast 2nd December, liveblogged 8th December)

Another largely positive reaction for this episode, and again with particular praise for aspects of the Doctor’s characterisation; one commenter described the scene in which she casually tasted soil as “eccentric and alien without being uncomfortable to be around unlike previous efforts at being eccentric and alien.” The surprise return of Grace was “handled well… as far as bringing back a dead character goes” and came with a few early clues to her true identity: “Grace not immediately prioritising Ryan means she’s not Grace.” There was also lots of enthusiasm for the Solitract’s frog form, which we described as “less weird than a lot of things in Who and “as much as it’s funny and memeable, it also contains genuine feels.”

One of the main criticisms of this episode focused on the Doctor’s “inelegant info dump” in explaining the Solitract, with Yaz’s response that she’s “literally never heard the word before” cited as an example of “pretty much how this series introduces its aliens.” It was argued that throughout this series “we rarely see the Doctor learning or discovering things… either they know something already, or the information is delivered in an inelegant dump of exposition.” Another problem that became a talking point was with directorial decisions which often made following the story more difficult; I missed the Solitract mirroring entirely the first time round while others “thought it was unusual lighting” and following earlier discussion on Twitter, it was pointed out that Hanne’s Arctic Monkeys T-shirt “isn’t visible at all in the immediate scene before Yaz notes it” and before that is “dark enough that I doubt most people would have seen it.” As one commenter explains, this is “the first in an episode-wide pattern where we rely on dialogue to tell us about things we really ought to be shown before they become immediately relevant to the plot – see also the rats, the balloon, and arguably the two plates.”

It Takes You Away was also notable for including a blind character, Hanne, played by blind actress Ellie Wallwork. While Wallwork and Hanne were overwhelmingly praised, there was also some discussion of the merits of the producers “talking about how important it is… when meanwhile the regular disabled character in this series is played by an abled actor.” It should be said that those commenters who mentioned their own dyspraxia really didn’t mind either way, with an eventual consensus that “non-disabled actors playing disabilities is most offensive in the case where the disability is obvious all the time.” Relatedly, there was some discussion over whether Hanne’s immediate rejection of the Solitract’s projection of Trine is a reflection of the “problematic disability-as-superpower” trope, with commenters alternatively interpreting this as “Hanne being a critical thinker” and “because Mirror Trine is based on her Dad’s memory, rather than the real deal.”

Finally, I was “genuinely surprised they resolved The Grandad Arc” in this episode, because it “otherwise would have been the one certainty we have about the finale.” One commenter predicted that this “100% means one of them dies (probably Graham because if it’s Ryan then Graham’s arc is just grief)”, with another noting rumours that “as well as continuing The Chase, Bradley Walsh will be presenting a chat show for ITV next year, and I think it’s impossible that he could do a full season of Doctor Who as well.” I mean, technically, they were right about Bradley Walsh not being in a series of Doctor Who this year…

The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (broadcast 9th December, liveblogged 15th December)

Safe to say, the official Series 11 finale did not go down so well. To start on a positive note, there was a fair amount of quoting along, with Graham’s rebuke to Ryan that Grace “would want to be alive” described as “a rare Chibnall line worth quoting.” I appreciated the episode’s attempts to “acknowledge the inconsistency” of the Doctor’s morality around weapons: “It’s worth noting that previous Doctors have been inconsistent too and perhaps haven’t been criticised so much for it.” Even the return of Tim Shaw garnered some praise, with “the final confrontation between Graham and T’zim Sha… done really well” and one commenter arguing that they “can’t see ‘it’s ONLY Tim Shaw’ being such a problem ten years from now… we’ve had so many finales that depended on the Daleks, Cybermen or Master.”

In general, though, reaction to Battle was largely negative. After the trailer highlighted nine distress signals, I expected “a lot more frantic running around and saving everyone, rather than just Mark Addy being confused on a spaceship”, and there was particular disappointment that “they really build up the psychotropic waves and then do nothing with them.” Tim Shaw returned “to the shock and surprise of no-one” and (save for the Ux), he was again alone: “Given how big a deal the Stenza apparently are, it would have been nice to see more of them.” Again, there was criticism of Yaz being underutilised, with “her main contribution [being] to have a second neural blocker for the Doctor to use”, and the Doctor once again describing her TARDIS as a “ghost monument” felt jarring to some: “Honestly, that just felt like ‘whoops, it’s the finale, better shove in a ton of continuity references so this feels epic’.” Towards the second half of the episode, “the Doctor notes that all life on the stolen planets would have been destroyed, then there’s a big deal made about the planets being saved” and “a big deal is made about the risk of taking off the neural balancers, until absolutely nothing happened with it.” The end result? “I have to say I’ve lost track of what’s actually happening.”

Elsewhere, Graham’s sudden desire for revenge against Tim Shaw became a talking point; I “liked the plot overall” but found “the set-up… really clunky – he takes the person most likely to angrily disagree with him to one side and is completely honest without being remorseful.” As one commenter noted, “this goes nowhere… Graham and the Doctor are separated for most of the episode, so we don’t see her trying to stop him or change his mind.” There was also discussion about how this episode fits into “the general theme of the Doctor letting the villains get away” this series, with Tim Shaw thanking the Doctor; one commenter pointed out that “the Doctor being called out for not taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions is something which comes up often in series finales, such as The Parting of the Ways and Journey’s End, while another criticised “how the Doctor responds to Tim Shaw’s rhetoric… it felt like she was trying to dodge responsibility.” In short, I think we were generally relieved that Battle wouldn’t really be the last episode after all…

Resolution (broadcast 1st January, liveblogged 6th January)

Last but not least, the New Year’s Day special (which I’m counting here because it was broadcast within weeks of the main series ending) received a rather mixed reception. The use of Daleks beyond their usual casing was a particular highlight; although there was criticism of the CGI (“I think we had better Kaled mutants in Genesis and Resurrection), the reveal of the Dalek on Lin’s back was described as “brilliant… at the time I was worried this would be *instead of* a full encased Dalek, but now I can appreciate it a bit more.” One commenter pointed out this scene “reminded me a lot of the recent Venom film” but “the Dalek in this episode is almost more intimidating out of its shell than in one.” Later, there was praise for “the Dalek forging its own casing in parallel with the Doctor forging her new sonic in TWWFTE, with the final confrontation “really showing what we’ve been missing with no recurring monsters in Series 11.” Elsewhere, Nicholas Briggs’ voice acting was “on fire” and the café scene with Ryan confronting his long-absent father Aaron was “the most underrated scene of the episode.”

On the other hand, Resolution was criticised for its “crammed in” ending (“it felt like they were trying to force a resolution to the Ryan’s Dad arc… it seemed quite unearned”) and lack of opening titles (“not having Jodie Whittaker’s name in the time vortex opening of her first festive story AND Dalek story seems wrong”). This was exacerbated by the idea that the time was instead filled by “the scariest monster in Series 11: the conversation joke”, in which a random family despaired at the loss of internet connection because they might have to talk to each other. As one commenter put it: “Just think, we didn’t have a title sequence so we could make time for… that.” It was also pointed out that security guard Richard “comes out as gay then immediately dies – an unfortunate pattern throughout the series”, and there were further unfortunate implications in Mitch texting Lin straight after saying goodbye: “Immediately texting ‘still thinking about you’ seconds after seeing someone who he’s not even in a relationship with is bad enough, but she already communicated that she wanted space.”

A particular talking point was the call centre scene, which I “took to be a joke about call centres and bureaucracy, and had to have the Brexit connections explained to me later”; it was argued that “it’s also just not a very funny joke, based on tiresome and somewhat sexist stereotypes about useless call centre workers.” The wider panic about UNIT being “killed off” was downplayed: “This is an easily undone development, and I was pleasantly surprised they were mentioned at all in this not-focusing-on-old-things era.” There was also some debate about the comedic elements, in particular the Doctor having apparently grown an extra head at a party; while some “really wish that for Resolution they’d stop with all the jokey-ness, to emphasise the threat levels”, others highlighted that “this Doctor’s got a habit of being even jokier when she’s threatened.”

Lastly, this final liveblog of the series provided an opportunity to wrap up some of the ongoing discussions about how the three companions are used or, as the case may be, under-used. After some confusion about “why Graham suddenly lives in Sheffield after getting a train home FROM there in TWWFTE, one commenter highlighted this as an example of “one of the broader issues with this series – the companions’ home lives aren’t explored fully, and this leaves me uncertain as to whether they’re travelling with the Doctor full-time, or if it’s just a part-time deal.” Elsewhere, it was noted that the fallout from Lin’s criminal actions while under Dalek control “would have been a nice opportunity for more Yaz”, with several people noting that “not tying Yaz into the police stuff feels like a massive missed opportunity here.”

As you might expect, it seems that if there’s one thing that Time and Relative Dimensions in Shitposting agrees on, it’s that Yasmin Khan deserves more attention!

Tides 43 is, at time of publication, available to buy through this link

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