The second part of this two-parter was exciting! Will the Doctor violate his principals against changing the future? What could make him do that, if anything? Apparently, Clara can.
I was sad to see O’Donnell become a Fisher King victim – I really liked her! She was a fan of the Doctor’s, LOVED the Tardis, and once dangled a colleague out a window. How could you not love a girl like that? And time travel didn’t make her vomit. Frankly, she would have made a GREAT companion. But NOOO! Kill off the good ones.
Albus Prentis, the Tivolian undertaker, was another great character (seen earlier in The God Complex – thanks to John Hudson for that info). Gleefully reciting the info about their masters and their enslavement, offering to let the Doctor enslave him and even suggesting that he had a selection of items to oppress him with – who wanted to see what those items were? <raises hand>
And the Fisher King? That was one scary monster. What a great look they developed for him! But there was one odd moment- when Bennett and the Doctor were hiding in that small room, the Fisher King just kind of glided past the window. We saw him later, actually walking, so the gliding bit was weird. But Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot, recorded the great growls and roars of the Fisher King – how great was that! Check out the video put out on the official Doctor Who Facebook page.
Where were they? If you read spy novels, like I do, you’d know that Russia created a series of “American” towns to train their sleeper agents, and this seems to have been the reverse – a “Russian” town, complete with nesting doll figurines, to train American agents. Long abandoned, hidden behind a large dam… and when the Doctor broke the dam, it became the lake that Pritchard’s company acquired the mining rights to.
But the theme for these two episodes, particularly this second one – love and what you’ll do for it. The Doctor was willing to change the future, if he had to, to make sure that Clara wasn’t a Fisher King victim. Bennett discovered the sorrow of not expressing his love until too late, and fortunately passed that lesson along to Lunn. And we saw that Clara is beginning to heal from the loss of Danny Pink. But her dependence on the Doctor shows that she’s got a ways to go.
We saw a little more of the rock n roll Doctor – which I’m loving! Here’s the opening titles from this episode.
And now, for your reading pleasure, all of the quotey quotes.
Doctor: So there’s this man. He has a time machine. Up and down history he goes, zip zip zip zip zip. Getting into scrapes. Another thing he has is a passion for the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. And one day he thinks, What good is having a time machine if you don’t meet your heroes? So off he goes, to 18th century Germany. But he can’t find Beethoven anywhere. No one’s heard of him, not even his family. They don’t have any idea who the time traveler is talking about. Beethoven literally doesn’t exist. This didn’t happen, by the way. I’ve met Beethoven. Nice chap. Very intense. Loved to arm wrestle. No, this is called The Bootstrap Paradox. Google it. The time traveler panics. He can’t bear the thought of a world without the music of Beethoven. Luckily, he brought all of his Beethoven sheet music for Ludwig to sign. So he copies out all the concertos, and the symphonies, and he gets them published. He becomes Beethoven. And history continues with barely a feather ruffled. My question is this. Who puts those notes and phrases together? Who really composed Beethoven’s Fifth? bum bum da bum, bum bum da bum.
Doctor: Where’s Bennett? We need to get going.
O’Donnell: He’s still throwing up. One small step for man, one giant HOOAH!
Doctor: Time travel does that sometimes.
Doctor: You seem to know a lot about me.
O’Donnell: I used to be military intelligence. I got demoted for dangling a colleague out the window.
Doctor: In anger?
O’Donnell: Is there another way to dangle someone out the window?
O’Donnell: IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! How can it be bigger on the inside, Bennett? OK, let’s go.
Doctor: This isn’t just any spaceship. It’s a hearse.
Prentis: Our city has a sign saying “If you occupied us, you’d be home by now.”
Doctor: What are you doing here?
Prentis: Oh yes. This is the Fisher King. He and his armies invaded and enslaved us for 10 glorious years. Until we were liberated by the Arcetenians. But thank the god, soon we irritated them and they enslaved us too. HAAA!
Bennett: First proper alien, and he’s an idiot.
Prentis: And now, in accordance with Arcetenian custom, I’ve come to bury him on a barren, savage outpost.
O’Donnell: You mean the town.
Doctor: He means the planet.
Prentis: Although, at the risk of starting a bidding war, you could enslave me. In the ship I have directions to my planet, and a selection of items to choose from that you could oppress me with.
Lunn: Cass thinks he’s saying something different from the others. He’s saying Moran…Pritchard…apprentice – no, Prentis… O’Donnell… Clara…Doctor…Bennett…Cass. It’s just a list of all our names. And when he finishes he just goes back to the beginning again, over and over. That’s it.
Clara: Another ghost has appeared.
Doctor: What, who? Has someone died?
Clara: Doctor, it’s you. Are you OK?
Doctor: Yes, Well, currently.
Doctor: This is no potential future. This is the future. It’s already happened. The proof is right there in front of you. I have to die.
Clara: No, you can change things.
Doctor: I can’t. Even the tiniest change, the ramifications could be catastrophic. Could spread carnage and chaos across the universe like ripples on a pond. Oh well, good I’ve got an ace. It’s regeneration, it’s a bit of a clerical error anyway. You’ve got to go some time.
Doctor: Listen to me. We all have to face death eventually, be it ours or someone elses.
Clara: I’m not ready yet. I don’t want to think about that, not yet.
Doctor: I can’t change what’s already happened. There are rules.
Clara: So break them! And anyway, you owe me. You’ve made yourself essential to me.You’ve given me something else to… be. And you can’t do that and then die. It’s not fair. No. Doctor, I don’t care about your rules, or your bloody survival skills. If you love me, in any way, you’ll come back.
Doctor: So, ghost me, you’ve got a better view than me, how do I look? Any signs of trauma, any scars, any clue how I die?
Doctor: Doctor! It’s an honor. I’ve always been a huge admirer. This is a delight. Finally, someone worth talking to. So, firstly, why are you here?
Doctor: Come on. Oh, not you, O’Donnell. Someone needs to stay and mind the shop. What if Clara calls?
O’Donnell: The last bloke who said something like that to me got dangled out of a window.
Bennett: Maybe the doctor’s right. Maybe it’s best if you stay here.
O’Donnell: Never going to happen. Seriously, have you two met me?
Doctor: This isn’t about saving me. I’m a dead man walking. I’m changing history to save Clara.
Doctor: Big day for you. Time travel – twice.
Doctor: No. Nononono. We’ve moved half an hour backwards. I’m locked in my own time stream. The Tardis won’t let me leave.
Bennett: Prentis! He’s still alive.
Doctor: No. he’s just not dead yet,and we don’t tell him.
Bennett: Yeah but he’s right there…
Doctor: However that sentence ends, no, we can’t. Save him, and you want to save O’Donnell. You can’t cheat time. I just tried. You can’t just go back and cut off tragedy at the root. Because you find yourself talking to somebody you just saw dead on a slab. You don’t tell him, you understand? We don’t have that right.
Cass (through Lunn): She said to ask you whether traveling with the Doctor changed you. Or were you always happy to put other people’s lives at risk.
Clara: It taught me to do what has to be done.
Doctor: I need more time. It’s too soon. I haven’t saved her yet. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. I’ve got no choice now, I have to face the Fisher King.
Doctor: I’ve come from the future. I’ve seen the chaos you’ve caused, the bloodshed.
Fisher King: Tell me what you have seen.
Doctor: Ghosts. Souls wrenched from the dead. Repeating directions to this spot, over and over.
Fisher King: How many ghosts do I create?
Doctor: Four that I know of, maybe 5 by now. Probably more since I left.
Fisher King: My ghosts will make more ghosts. Enough to bring an armada. Enough to wake me from my sleep.
Doctor: What will happen when your people arrive?
Fisher King: They will drain the oceans. And put the humans in chains.
Doctor: This world is protected, by me.
Fisher King: Yes. One man, lost in time. The seed of their destruction is already sown. They will die. The message will be sent. My people will come. And you will do nothing to stop it, Time Lord. Time Lords. Cowardly vain curators who suddenly remembered they had teeth and became the most war-like race in the galaxy. But you, YOU! You are curious. You see words too and can hear them tick inside you. But you are still locked in your history, still slavishly protecting time. Willing to die rather than change a word of the future. You will be a strong beacon. How many ghosts can I make of you?
Doctor: You have a lot in common with the Tivolians. You’d both do anything to survive. They’ll surrender to anyone,You will hijack other people’s souls and turn them into electromagnetic projections. The will to endure, that refusal to ever cease. It’s extraordinary. And it makes a fellow think! Because you know what, if all I have to survive is tweak the future a bit, what’s stopping me? Oh yeah yeah yeah! The ripple effect! Maybe it will mean that the universe will be ruled by cats or something in the future. But the way I see it, even a ghastly future is better than no future at all. You robbed those people of their deaths. Made them nothing more than a message in a bottle. You violated something more important than time. You bent the rules of life and death. So I’m putting things straight. Here. Now. This is where your story ends.
Fisher King: There is nothing you can do.
Doctor: I’ve already done it. The words are gone. The future I saw, none of that will happen now. The message will never contaminate my friends. No one will die, no one is coming to save you. That’s the thing about knowing you’re going to die. You’ve got nothing left to lose.
Doctor: Don’t kiss me. Morning breath.
Clara: So what was it, your ghost?
Doctor: A hologram. Like the one we made of you to lure the ghosts into the Faraday cage. With a soupçon of artificial intelligence, and a few prerecorded phrases from me, all beamed from the sonic glasses. As soon as you brought me and the chamber onboard, it connected with the base’s wifi, and Bob’s your uncle for the ghost Doctor.
Doctor: That’s it! I’ve erased the memory of the writing. But you might find that you’ve lost a couple of other memories too, like, people you went to school with, previous addresses, or how to drink liquids.
Bennett: What will I do now?
Doctor: I don’t understand.
Clara: I do. You keep going. You have to. Take it from me, there is a whole lot out there. A galaxy, a life. What would O’Donnell have wanted?
Bennett: Lunn, will you translate something to Cass for me? Tell her you’re in love with her and that you always have been. Tell her there’s no point in wasting time. Things happen, and it’s too late. Tell her I wish that someone had given me that advice.
Doctor: Here’s the thing – the messages my ghost gave, they weren’t for you. They were for me. Every single one after you was random. But you being the next name, that’s what made me confront the Fisher King.
Clara: And saying “the chamber will open”?
Doctor: That was me, telling me to to get inside and when to set it for.
Doctor: Except that’s not why I said them. I programmed my ghost to say them because that’s what my ghost had said. And the only reason I created my ghost hologram in the first place was because I saw it here. I was reverse engineering the narrative.
Clara: OK, that’s still pretty smart.
Doctor: You do not understand. When did I first have those ideas?
Clara: But it must have been… while we’re…
Doctor: Exactly. Who composed Beethoven’s Fifth?
Some fun questions we’d like the answers now to, please, from RadioTimes.com
The Bootstrap Paradox, from RadioTimes.com (and you can bet I’m totally grabbing this for my Continuum review)
Follow me on Twitter: @ErinConrad2 and @threeifbyspace
Like us on Facebook or Subscribe to get instant notice of new posts
Share this article using our Social Share buttons above!