I definitely agree, but like, even mild reflection on certain points made me pretty unimpressed with the episode. I think on reflection the biggest issues for me were:
- Changing the Doctor from just a Time Lord who went rogue, to a Super Special Space Baby of Unique Specialness is a downgrade, and quite a big one. It’s a far less interesting situation and a really played-out one in terms of SF tropes. And I’m just terrified about the plot lines it is likely to create. Also sidenote but Ruth is WAY cooler than 13. Can we just have her? The Master being the Timeless Child would have been vastly more compelling, too.
- The whole “smash the toy” attitude to Gallifrey was really weird, and I think unhelpful to the show longer-term. It just seemed really Boomer to me.
Do they though? I’m an oldWho fan and I don’t need people to fuck around with deep cuts into oldWho lore or reference super-obscure continuity errors (thanks Morbius). That doesn’t really please me a lot. I mean K-9 or Romana would but I’m a simple soul and they’re not deep cuts.
All they really need to do is not fuck up spectacularly with weird lore changes and maybe just stop murdering Gallifrey for like, a while? Like maybe it could come back for like more than one season and one episode before being murdered?
Than Chibnall or RTD? Nah. Those guys are like top 0.1% Who experts. Though yeah compared to an entire internet of fans people will find errors. But I think people don’t really focus on those oldWho lore issues. I mean, RTD knowingly ran roughshod over them. Chibnall’s problem is that he just assumes the audiences agrees with and likes what he’s doing, and makes zero attempt to bring them with him. Even in his good episodes he relies entirely on the audience inherently agreeing with him, rather than convincing them (something both RTD and Moffat were quite good at).
I don’t think it’s either. I don’t think it’s that he doesn’t think the Doctor should be a hero, because he’s got very non-heroic companions (like, even Yaz makes Ace look like, er… Ace Rimmer), and because:
He just gave the Doctor a ridiculously special super-hero-style background. Instead of being the Time Lord who disagreed with their people and ran off into time, the Doctor is now basically Superman, backstory-wise (which makes Tecteun Lex Luthor I guess, and thus the fan theory that Tecteun = Rassilon mildly more likely).
And I think we actually got weird proof that it’s not conventional sexism in the form of:
Ruth, who is a Doctor, and a woman, and black, and um clearly significantly more awesome than well, yeah, maybe most/all nuWho Doctors, soz boys and girl. I’m just sad she’s not the current Doctor.
What I think it actually is, is just that he’s really bad at writing heroism. I mean, I can’t think of any well-written heroism or even all that much heroism at all in this series of the last. He seems to know one heroic trope - “The Heroic Suicide”, which like, is such a 12-year-old-boy’s idea of heroism. That doesn’t mean he can’t write a good episode, just it can’t really revolve around the Doctor behaving like they have for the oh, I dunno, last 50 years, because can’t write that.
One of my friends said that, in his opinion, basically Chibnall has a very narrow and specific idea of what makes the Doctor cool, and what the Doctor can do (apparently this is evidenced in previous Chibnall-written episodes, before he was in charge), and it doesn’t match up with that of Who fans, nu or old. That may be true.