Doctor Who Podcast: June Thomas and Mac Rogers Recap Episode 4

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Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM
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The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4 

A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."

Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi as The Doctor.

Photo courtesy Ray Burmiston/BBC Worldwide

September 15, 2014: In this week’s Slate Doctor Who podcast, Mac Rogers and June Thomas recap Episode Four, “Listen."

For more info on how to subscribe to the Slate Plus podcast feed, go here.

You can find previous episodes in the playlist below, or further down this page.

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Here’s the rotating cast of Slate-sters who will help you recap future episodes:

Phil Plait, Slate’s Bad Astronomer:

June Thomas, Slate culture critic and editor of Outward:

“As a child in England I disdained Doctor Who and his Daleks, and in the years since the reboot, I've been a drop-in viewer, checking out episodes that get good word-of-mouth without making any effort to watch them all. I'm of the view that Doctor Who is one of the most emo shows on television, so I'm keen to see how Peter Capaldi, who specializes in harsh, abrasive characters, handles the Doctor's emotional side.”

Mac Rogers, a Brooklyn-based playwright, producer and copywriter who marshaled Slate’s Season 7 TV Club coverage of Doctor Who:

Doctor Who is in my blood. I started watching Tom Baker reruns at 11 p.m. on PBS at age 8. I’m a science fiction playwright today because of Doctor Who. I’m obviously excited about Capaldi, but also about the production team’s stated intent to move to a more horror-inspired aesthetic this year.” 

Laura Helmuth, Slate’s science and health editor:

“I love the goofy, funny side of Doctor Who, but I’m looking forward to what’s supposed to be a darker season. When the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, announced that he would leave the show, I rounded up the reasons why the 12th Doctor should be a woman. I’m disappointed that we’ve got another He-Doctor, but Peter Capaldi seems like a great choice (for a man).”

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Episode One: August 27, 2014

140825_PLUS_DrWhoEp1
Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 1, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

Photo courtesy BBC Worldwide

This week we’re excited to launch a Slate Doctor Who podcast for Slate Plus members.

Here's the transcript for Episode One of the podcast: 

Phil Plait: This is the Slate Plus Doctor Who podcast for episode 1 of season 8 starring Peter Capaldi. I am Phil Plait in Boulder, Colorado, and I am joined by June Thomas, who is Slate’s culture critic and editor of Outward.

June Thomas: Hey Phil, I’m very excited to do this today.

Plait: Hey, me too, because I love Doctor Who.

Thomas: And I am “meh” about Doctor Who, but I’m very curious about him, and I do like talking about the show.

Plait: What makes you “meh” about Doctor Who? Because I am an outspoken fanboy for this show.

Thomas: And I love that. I actually, one of the things I really like about Doctor Who is that it does have these really dedicated fanboys and fangirls, and I know some of them, and they’re all wonderful people. And in a way I wish I could be a little bit more fangirl-ish about it, but I just, I’m just not a sci-fi person and I don’t really care so much about the timey-wimey stuff that has been particularly strong in the past couple of years. But I do like—and really enjoy—the emotional episodes. I think it’s one of the most emo shows on television and it’s one of the shows that is best at making me cry. It doesn’t do it every episode, it certainly didn’t do it this episode, but oh my, there have been some amazingly moving episodes of this show. And so I always have a soft spot for it for that reason. But we didn’t have much crying in this episode. Did you cry?

Plait: No, although there were some moments with Clara where she is wrestling with her own internal emotions and we can get to that, especially where—and by the way, we are going to be discussing the first episode, so if you haven’t seen it yet: spoilers, honey, honey, sweetie. Wow, so there goes my Doctor Who cred, right out the TARDIS door. Yeah, when Clara is standing with all the robots in the space ship and she has to hold her breath and they focus in on her eyes and a tear wells up and I was just like “Wow.” It wasn’t sort of the feeling it would make me cry, but it was very emotional, it was very well done, very tight, and I was kind of on the edge of my seat. But it wasn’t like, for example, when Rose is locked into the alternate universe, and they show her on one side of the wall and David Tennant’s Doctor on the other, which was sort of gut-wrenching.

Thomas: Absolutely.

Plait: Oh my gosh. So I’m with you there, and I have to say, since the show started again back in 2005, they’ve played up a lot more of the emotions. The show was always sort of set up as a children’s show, or a young adult show if you’d like, and when I was a kid, in face, young adult science fiction didn’t have a lot of deep characterization necessarily. But as the genre has matured, normal human foibles, emotions and other personality aspects have been thrown into this, sometimes very well. It’s the same thing with the Doctor, we’re seeing playing more toward emotions instead of just the monster of the week, which I quite enjoy.

Thomas: Right, and I think these episodes where a new Doctor is introduced are always tricky because people’s expectations are so high, there’s a lot of change to manage, there’s just very high expectations on a whole lot of fronts. We’re expecting a good adventure, because you’re probably going to get more people than usual watching, you’re expecting that emotional component because there’s change and people do recognize that the incarnation has changed, it’s not something that they don’t see, which I suppose theoretically it could be. So there’s just a lot of moving parts to manage, and I don’t know, for me this episode was a little flat. Although, again, that might have been about expectations because as soon as I saw it was called “Deep Breath” and it was written by Steven Moffat, I had these expectations “Oh my god, it’s going to be like ‘Blink!’” I felt like that was a kind of conscious echo and that’s one of the all-time great episodes, and I don’t think—I’ve not seen them all by any means, but even compared to the ones I’ve seen—this was not an all-time great episode. Unless you care to contradict me on that.

Plait: No, I wouldn’t say overall it would be in my top five. I think there were some very strong scenes in it. There was some interesting things, as I was watching it and taking notes—which is not something I usually do, but since we’re doing a podcast, I figured I better pay attention—there was a lot of interwoven inside jokes. There were many layers to this, there were callbacks to things that were happening. For example, because of course the dinosaur is talking and the Doctor can speak dinosaur, which is, I thought one of the sillier aspects. But OK, there’s a little bit of silliness, and he’s saying out loud what the dinosaur is saying as it’s roaring in the background and I’m thinking “OK, you know, he’s half asleep, is he confessing something? Or is he translating?” and then Clara actually says “Are you translating?” and the fact is we’re not exactly sure at first, or I wasn’t sure at first, and it could go both ways. And then later on it actually says when they’re standing there together at the end of the episode, he says “You look at me, but you can’t see me,” which is a direct callback to what the dinosaur was basically seeing right before it burst into flame. And the idea of the Doctor, this new Doctor—and of course, we’re always invested in a Doctor, and then when it changes it’s very difficult, they have to deal with that— and now we’ve got not just somebody who is different, but somebody who is twice the age of the previous Doctor. He’s now 2,000 years old, surprise! We jump from 900 to 1,200 with Matt Smith, now there’s another 800 years we have to deal with at some point. So he’s older by face and by chronological age, so I think that’s all very interesting. And he’s kind of a dinosaur, I kind of got that impression that maybe there was a metaphor going on here. And I actually kind of enjoyed all of that, but it sounds like you didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did.

Thomas: I felt like it was just a little heavy-handed, or just done a little too much. Again, just the challenges that a show like this, a new Doctor, a regeneration episode, there’s just such a high bar and I just felt like it was a little bit flabby with a lot of repetition of you know, OK, he’s lost, well people being lost, like people being drunk, is something that’s kind of interesting in small doses. If you’re not drunk too, then it’s not that fascinating. And when he, when we first saw him and he really was very confused and Madame Vastra told Clara that she should be more patient, and I guess she was also telling us that we should be more patient, but I just, I wanted, I don’t know. Not being a fan, and actually I suppose, missing a lot of callbacks, because there is, I know for sure that there are things that are said in Doctor Who that I just don’t get because I haven’t seen all the episodes, I haven’t studied them. But I kind of, it felt just a little bit flabby to me. And I know that all the business between Clara and the Doctor and all this discussion of flirtation and you know, he’s not her boyfriend, I know that that’s been something, that’s been a matter of discussion and debate within the Whovian community, but a little too much time was spent on it for my taste, and the things that do interest me, again, as somebody who’s not interested in the sci-fi aspects but the emotionality, I did kind of like that there was this question of, is Doctor Who mad? Has he lost his mind? Is he lost in the ruins of his mind? Does he have Alzheimer’s, which is something that clearly he doesn’t, but it’s something that River Song has kind of suggested, that he understands her, he knows her, he recognizes her less every time he sees her, because they are going in opposite directions, but in this world, in the world that you and I live in, that it feels like a reference to Alzheimer’s. So I liked it, but I just felt it went on a bit too much. I wanted a tighter episode.

Plait: I see, I see where you’re coming from, and I disagree. But that may be the difference between my really loving the show and your coming in just as a sort of interested viewer, maybe that’s underplaying your stance. But in fact if you go back to, for instance when Tom Baker, his first episode after he regenerates from Jon Pertwee, he was kind of stumbling around and very random and weird. When he regenerates into Peter Davidson, Peter Davidson basically goes into a coma. The TARDIS cloister bell goes off, they put him inside something called a Zero Room where he can become stable or whatever, and he’s sort of in and out, very erratic that whole episode. The same thing happened with David Tennant, he literally sleeps through almost the entire episode. So there’s a long history of this, I think Peter Capaldi was more active in this episode than the Doctor usually is after a regeneration. Although, again, very erratic. And because the show has focused so much on romance with the companions, starting with Rose, and then Martha’s unrequited love, and then Amy, there was a lot of back and forth when she would talk about the man she loves, and you would always find out it was Rory. But still, that was always there, over all these years, I think spending some time going through that and saying, “No, this is not really what’s going on.” And for him to claim that it was his fault, when he says, “Clara, I’m not your boyfriend,” and she says, “I never said you were,” and he said, “Oh, I wasn’t referring to your mistake.” And I had to think about that for a second, I was like “Oh, he meant him!” He was flattering himself, I really enjoy that. Had it been spread out over two episodes, I agree with you there, I think that could have been better. On the other hand, I suspect their wanting to get this out of the way for the fans and everything so that they can get down to business, whatever that’s going to be, although there were lots of things implied at the end of the episode that we’ll have to see what happens over what is it, 10 more episodes that is the series, which is a lot.

Thomas: Yes, it is. I’m sure you’re absolutely right. I mean, again, the demands that are put on the showrunners and the creators and the writers of Doctor Who are immense, and you know, they have to service these different kinds of viewers. I imagine that the number one audience that they have to please are the fanboys and girls, but they also have to, you know, keep these casual viewers like me a little bit invested, we don’t matter quite so much. And it’s just an almost impossible task. Let me ask you though, what about the, I know one of the things I think you said earlier, the enemy of the week or the monster of the week, these monsters felt to me to be pretty lame. What were they, the clockwork people?

Plait: Right.

Thomas: It just didn’t feel, it was nothing scary about them, even though there was a chance that Clara and even Madame Vastra and Jenny, they could have died had they not held their breath. But I don’t know, I wasn’t feared of these people, they just seemed not the strongest of foes.

Plait: You’re right, and don’t forget Strax. I love Strax. They use him exactly the right amount. If they were to focus an episode on him, it wouldn’t be very good, but I love him calling Clara a boy and all that, it just, I think his complete cluelessness is never not funny as long as they keep it in small doses. I agree with you, I think that the head robot was menacing, but not to the point of something as really distressing as something like the weeping angels or the Daleks, I got back and forth on this with my wife. I actually find the Daleks to be kind of fun, although the Cybermen are who really get me. There’s something about, you know, the Daleks just want to kill you, but the Cybermen take your brain out and strip you of all your emotions and there’s something about that that really gets to me. In this case, eh, you know. But they were tying it into the earlier episode with the Madame de Pompadour and all of that, and I thought that that was OK, I would have liked a stronger enemy, but I think in this case, it’s another aspect of we have a lot going on, if we had a super strong enemy in this, it would be hard to delve into the relationship with Clara and the Doctor.

Thomas: Yeah, and again, I’m sure that for people who are superfans, they would never, ever say, “Well I wish this episode were shorter,” that just never would be said.

Plait: True.

Thomas: Even in an hour, 45 minutes, there’s a lot to get in, and if we had an enemy that required a lot of time to be understood or to fight against, then it really would be a challenge.

Plait: Yeah, especially introducing something new and having to trace what it all is, as opposed to, “Oh, these are clockwork robots, I bet this is from that episode, ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’” which immediately gets the viewer lined up with what’s going on. So I actually quite like that. Although they start with the T-Rex, that is the opening, the cold open, the tyrannosaur is actually roaring, and I thought “Oh, are we back to ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’?” and then they changed that around, so there was that sort of callback, and I have to say too, at the end when the Doctor and Clara are on the TARDIS and she looks at him, and the expression on her face—she is good. I like her acting a lot. And she looks at him and says “I’m so, so sorry, but I just don’t know who you are.” The “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” is a David Tennant line that he said many, many times whenever he wound up having to do something he didn’t want to do like kill an enemy. And again, the Doctor saying, when he’s battling the robot saying, “It’s not in my programming to murder.” Well, we know he exceeds his programming sometimes.

Thomas: That was one of those lines where, as an outsider, you sometimes think “Now that’s either a callback or something new,” which, of course, everything sort of is I guess. Then he says “One of us is lying.” And I’m still not quite sure who it is, but I’m presuming it’s the Doctor who was lying?

Plait: I’m guessing it was, I’m guessing it was him who pushed that guy. And it’s very curious and he falls to his death and is impaled on a giant clock. And I thought, “That’s got to be on purpose, he’s a clockwork, and that’s basically what killed him.” Fine, you know, not all of this was subtle necessarily. And I had to laugh when the Doctor was Scottish. At first, I thought it was just a tweak at David Tennant, who is Scottish and did a British accent. Now we’ve got Peter Capaldi doing the Scottish accent. Then later when they’re strapped to their chairs, and Clara’s very short, and her feet, her legs aren’t quite long enough to reach the sonic screwdriver, which has fallen to the ground and the Doctor makes some comment about “I wish Amy were here,” because Karen Gillan is very tall, has very long legs. And I laughed, and then I thought for a minute, Amy was Scottish. Well, in the old Doctor Who back in the ‘80s, Tom Baker was traveling with another Time Lord, and she was able to regenerate any way she wanted, she could make herself look any way she wanted. And it’s just implied that he can’t for whatever reason. Well here we go in this episode and Vastra is saying, well Madame Vastra implies that he regenerated last time as a young man to be accepted. So maybe subconsciously he can control his regeneration a bit, so now we have to ask, “Why is he older?” Well, he’s dropped his veil, he doesn’t need to be accepted anymore. He’s willing to show his 2,000 year old face, he has a Scottish accent because of his bond with Amy. Then there is this interesting thing which Peter Capaldi, the actor, played a character in “The Fires of Pompeii,” an earlier episode, which coincidentally, weirdly had Karen Gillan in it as one of the maidens, the psychic maidens who were breathing the fumes from the volcano and maybe that’s why. And he says his face looks like he’s seen it before. So I have to assume they’re implying all this, which is really kind of interesting. We’re delving even more into what’s going on with the regeneration and knowing Steven Moffat, hopefully that will get woven into the later plots that we’ll see coming up in the rest of the season.

Thomas: Well, Phil, you are just blowing my mind here. And it makes me wish there was some kind of like pop up version of Doctor Who where outsiders like myself could see these references somehow, and I think it would help. You know, in a show that’s been going on this long, a show that’s been going on 50 years, although I know there were some fallow years, it just feels too intimidating to really catch up, so I’ve done a little bit. You know, I ask my friends who were very keen to like “OK, what episodes will I like, what should I watch?” and I’ve maybe watched 20. But that leaves hundreds, literally, that I haven’t watched. And you’re making me wish that I had made more of an effort. Can I just ask you one more question about callbacks, because—

Plait: You’ve wasted your life—

Thomas: No—

Plait: Not watching this show. Yeah, absolutely, go ahead.

Thomas: So I could tell that something quite profound was happening at the end, when the leader of the clockwork people had been sent to paradise, which was his wish, that seemed to be something that he had achieved, and there he was, with someone who seemed to know the Doctor very well, Missy. And she wasn’t River Song—

Plait: No, I don’t think so.

Thomas: So do you know who she is?

Plait: No.

Thomas: Well, I presume she was the woman on the end of the computer helpline, but that didn’t really help me.

Plait: We’re not sure about that. And that has been a mystery, who Clara was talking to who gave her the number for the Doctor. There are a couple of other things like that. I don’t know. Maybe she’s the leader of the Silent Church. Maybe she’s somebody that we don’t know at all. It could be any number of things. I actually don’t like to fret too much over that, I assume that will be unveiled over time. I do sometimes like leaping ahead a few minutes in a plot and thinking “Oh, I wonder if they’re going to do this or that, I’m actually I’m not a person who likes spoilers, I’ve actually managed to avoid spoilers for this and all other episodes and I think part of that is trying not to predict too much about what’s going to happen. I kind of prefer to just watch the show and go along for the ride. I enjoy that more.

Thomas: I was thinking that everybody who really knows the show would have gone, “Aha!” and it was just—

Plait: I don’t think so. I think they were like “Oh, who’s this?” And now, I’ve avoided all the chat rooms, but I’m sure there’s wild speculation. It’s the 14th Doctor finally being a woman or something. I don’t know. But every now and again, what I’ve noticed is, for example in the first series there were references to Bad Wolf, starting from the very first episode, which gets tied all together at the end of that particular series. And there were other things with the other Doctors that were thrown in you find out were important later. And so I kind of was thinking about that, and the only thing I saw that was out of place in this episode was that in the front of the restaurant, Mancini’s, there were a pair of obelisk, like a pair of Egyptian obelisks, and I thought “What are those doing there?” Then you find out these robots have been buried under London for a long time, and I thought “Oh, maybe they’ve been buried under there for 5,000 years! Then we find out no, they’ve been buried under there for millions of years. So I have to wonder if those obelisks are going to come in later or if I’m just seeing things. I don’t know.

Thomas: Oh, god, my mind is completely blown.

Plait: And well see, the point that you’re making earlier is that what I’ve been surprised about with these new shows is how many people are watching it and have no history with this at all, did not watch the older shows, and yet are still into it. And I think they’ve done a decent job, I have to assume, that since so many people are watching it, of introducing all this ridiculous stuff, and still showing us things from the original run. Like the Silurians, Madame Vastra is a Silurian, and that’s an old foe of the Doctor’s from the 19-whatevers. A lot of these, the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Sontaran, these are all from the old series. They’re easily reintroduced, but there’s other things too that are coming in that I’m quite pleased to see, and make me want to clap my hands because I’m 13 years old again watching the show. It makes me very happy.

Thomas: I’m sure that would make them very happy to hear that, too. And probably that people like me who only know 20 episodes and really prefer the standalone episodes, or to believe that they’re watching a standalone episode, not just feel like “Ah, there’s so much going on that I just don’t understand.” They should just feel good about the work that they’re doing.

Plait: I’m going to throw this out to you, since you are editor for Outward, something that popped up yesterday, and it was a bit of a spoiler for me, but it wasn’t a big deal, somebody mentioned that the BBC was getting a lot of complaints from people about the kiss. And it wasn’t even a kiss, but Madame Vastra and Jenny, they’re married, they’re in love. We have known this for years. They say this the whole episode, they’re married, and yes, she’s a lizard, but people were complaining about this same-sex kiss. And I found that to be fascinating, because here is an actress, clearly a woman, you can tell from the shape of her face, she’s got the cues that even though she’s under a lot of makeup, she’s a woman. Of course, she speaks like a woman and it clearly in the show is a female, and people are all complaining about the same-sex kiss, and I’m thinking, “You’re not concerned about the bestiality aspects of this?” This woman’s a lizard, she comes from 65 million years ago, we don’t know how, either, right? I don’t think it’s ever been explained how she’s in modern times, if she’s a time traveler or if she’s woken up prematurely from the other Silurians who were buried underground, that was established in an earlier episode. Did you have any feelings about this?

Thomas: Well, I find it very interesting to hear that the kiss is what upset people because to me it is kind of amazing that this relationship is very much defended. It’s not just some casual, oh yeah, they’re married, I mean they mention it over and over, every time I see an episode with those two, I know that they’re in a love relationship, they’re romantically involved. And it is wonderful that they just keep mentioning that. And again in this episode, Jenny at some point somebody said, well you like her, and she said “No, I don’t like her, I love her!” And they are very flirtatious, Madame Vastra had Jenny sort of posing in a slightly sexy way and then it turned out it was all sort of just a form of titillation.

Plait: Right, slightly sexy.

Thomas: Yes.

Plait: Slightly.

Thomas: It was funny and I just really like that relationship, and I like that Jenny gets kind of chafed at having to play her ladies maid so that they can sort of pass in that society in Victorian England. So I enjoy all of that, and I think that, again, for a show that’s kind of for kids, that’s very, I don’t know if brave is the right word, but it’s great, it’s wonderful. And then the kiss, as you say it wasn’t really a kiss even, Madame Vastra, being a lizard, is able to hold air in her lungs and she was merely sharing it with Jenny as you would with anyone that you care for. So it wasn’t a kiss, although I have to say, I did find it slightly titillating, so I suppose, because I knew that they really were two women, so I just thought it was wonderful, but it’s crazy to me that’s what people are complaining about. I do think that’s an amazing thing that Doctor Who is doing, and it’s nice to know that you do too.

Plait: Oh, I agree. Well, the show has been very, I guess progressive would be the word, ever since it started up in 2005, especially in the David Tennant episodes where you have Captain Jack Harkness, who clearly he’s an omnisexual, he’s man, woman, alien, I’m not even sure, I think he said “I believe this species reproduces by budding,” and he still is breathing heavy over that. And there have been openly gay characters, and the Doctor even got, as David Tennant was dying basically, he was basically traveling and meeting old companions, he set up Captain Jack with an earlier male person from one of the Christmas specials. So the show has been very straightforward about that. There’s also been a lot of, and I hate to use this word, but interracial relationships. And I’m so trained to think of it this way, but African-American, of course, they’re not American, they’re British. So let’s just say black and white, that makes it easy enough. So you have a black person dating a white person, it was Mickey and Rose and there has been a lot of that all through the show. And it’s not commented on, they just do it. In this case, and I have to wonder with Madame Vastra and Jenny, if they keep saying this not because they’re both women, but because one of them is a lizard, and it’s kind of funny to think of it as in the show you have to deal with this, but also as a viewer you have to deal with this and what’s fascinating to me is the actress, and I meant to look her up and find out what she really looks like under all that makeup, but again she has these features which we identify as being feminine, even under all that makeup. And one of the things that I was just discussing with a friend of mine recently was how will we actually recognize aliens in real life, if we go to another planet. They may be so different we don’t even recognize them. Well, aliens in TV and movies, they’re always people in makeup, and now that makeup has gotten good enough, you can actually plaster a lot of goo and stuff on someone’s face, but you still have the eyes and mouth be very expressive, we can read emotions and so these aliens are still relatable to us, maybe even more now than they were 30 years ago when the makeup was worse. So now we, it’s much easier to see that this is a woman, and I find that whole dichotomy fascinating, it’s like are they doing this because it’s a same-sex couple or are they doing this because, you know they’re both Earth-ians, the Silurians are from Earth, but they’re 60, 70 million years ago. I just enjoy, I just sit back and smile thinking how do you deal with this as writer, and I quite enjoy all of that.

Thomas: Agreed. I’ll just respond to what you said with I agree completely. That’s one of the things that I really enjoy.

Plait: So overall, I feel that I think Peter Capaldi is fantastic, I thought he slipped right into the role, being sort of lost for a while and then in the fight scene with the head robot, he was very much in control, very much the Doctor. It wasn’t so much about strength, although they point that out, but there wasn’t like a big fight, there was a standoff, it became a battle of wits and just saying, “Hey, you know how this is going to end.” And that was it. Which is a very Doctor-ish thing. So I liked all that. I liked the exploration of Clara being a little bit narcissistic and controlling, I am going to be very interested in seeing where they play that, because her character has been, as many companions are, just a foil for the Doctor. They’re so important to the universe, and it turns out it’s because they wind up saving the Doctor at a key moment. I’d actually like to see the companions being more than that, so I kind of like where that’s going. I love Vastra and Jenny, I’d love to see a spin-off with them, I love the little dash of Strax every now and again, “For the glory of the Sontaran empire!” The robots: eh, but it was a callback. The regeneration I liked, opening credits, not so much.

Thomas: No, no.

Plait: One of the things I loved was when they started the series up again, the music became very classical, orchestral, and I listened to it, I like it. But this time it was kind of tinny and weird.

Thomas: Yeah, I agree. And I don’t know if we got all of those bits of clockwork because of the enemy that we’re going to get this episode, because I don’t think you continually—

Plait: Right, I think that was more he’s traveling through time as well as space. We’ve already seen the vortex as like a wormhole, and now they’re saying no, we are time traveling, so let’s do it this way. I’m guessing.

Thomas: No, makes sense.

Plait: So overall, I agree with you, this was maybe not in the top five episodes, but you know, we got Peter Capaldi in there, so I’m guessing we’re going to see some pretty good stuff from him. Overall, I really liked it. There were only a handful of episodes I actively disliked. This one I think was certainly above average, just not in the best.

Thomas: Interesting. Well, the more we’ve talked, the more I’m sort of feeling that maybe I’m just being a little bit of a sort of complaining Nelly. I am very excited about Peter Capaldi, I feel like even though I was a little frustrated with this, his vacillating since you’ve kind of placed it in context for me, I’m more enthusiastic, I kind of understand it a bit more. There were some moments I mean I just love him as an actor, and I have complete faith in his ability to sort of register lots of different emotions and different tones and I liked it when Clara needed him and knew that he would be there and he was, and that was a lovely moment.

Plait: Oh, it really was.

Thomas: So overall, I am, I mean I’ll certainly be watching again, I’ll keep watching. I feel that he’s an actor I’m much more interested in than these, than anyone since Christopher Eccleston, who, like me, is an Northerner, so I had to watch him.

Plait: Well, every planet has a North. That was one of my favorite lines from the first series: “Why does he have an accent? Well, every planet has a North!”

Thomas: That’s fantastic. So I want to see what he does with this, so I’ll definitely be watching. I felt it was a little bit flabby, but you’ve brought me around so I’m looking forward to the other episodes that are still to come.

Plait: Well fantastic. I know, terrible Christopher Eccleston impersonation there. Alonsy and Geronimo, we’ll have to find out what Peter Capaldi’s catchphrase is going to be, but appropriately enough, this is the first Slate Plus Doctor Who podcast for the first new episode of season 8 of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi. This is Phil Plait and June Thomas thank you so much for being on here with me.

Thomas: Thank you for having me, I look forward to returning some day soon.

Plait: Me too and I cannot wait for the rest of this season. Thanks everyone. 

----

Episode Two: September 3, 2014

This week, Mac Rogers joins Phil Plait to recap Episode Two, "Into the Dalek."

----

Episode Three: September 7, 2014 

Courtesy of Adrian Rogers/BBC/BBC Worldwide 2014
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Tom Riley as Robin and Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

Courtesy of Adrian Rogers/BBC/BBC Worldwide 2014

In this week’s Slate Doctor Who podcast, Laura Helmuth joins Phil Plait to recap Episode Three, “Robot of Sherwood."

September 3, 2014: This week, Mac Rogers joins Phil Plait to recap Episode Two, "Into the Dalek."

 

September 3, 2014: This week, Mac Rogers joins Phil Plait to recap Episode Two, "Into the Dalek."

 

September 3, 2014: This week, Mac Rogers joins Phil Plait to recap Episode Two, "Into the Dalek."

 

TODAY IN SLATE

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The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

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Happy Constitution Day!

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The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

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