Doctor Who (40) 14:05: Dot and Bubble.

nixie

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Thought we had moved away from the preachy scripts but I don't think we ever will. OK it wasn't as in your face as they were previously. Lyndsay was a spoilt brat, we seen that all the way through and even more so with how casually she sacrificed Ricky. The whole planet was full of the entitled brats. I didn't like the ending and the implied reason why they wouldn't accept the Doctor's offer.
 
WTF did I just watch ?

They not only 'phoned this one in, but left far more questions than answers, even before leaving the Doctor as a complete irrelevance.
 
Awesome episode. A not so subtle take on social media and a more sublte take on racism. Kept me wrong footed to the end. I did like... no I loved the ending. A Doctor moment, his frustration in still caring for these people who didn't want to be help or even deserved perhaps, was superb.
 
Hmm...in two minds about this one.

The grumpy old man in me says "quite right...bloody kids should get their noses out of their phones and pay attention to the real world". So I quite liked the concept (although it was a bit "Black Mirror")

On the other hand it was a bit too preachy.

I could accept that
were killing alphabetical order - in a "computer logic" way

I could also accept that without her bubble the girl did not know what to do or where to go, but...
being unable to walk?! No, too much of a stretch.

Nice (so to speak) bit at the end when the girl
betrayed the boy, but since she knew everything about him thanks to the "net", surely the AI devices did also and so knew his real name? Mistake there I think.

And no real explanation of what had happened on the Homeworld.

And I also didn't like the ending - their reasoning was just illogical (and out of character).

Which sounds like a negative review but on the whole I thought it was OK.
 
the preachy scripts...
Actually, I thought it began much like some kind of rejected script from Black Mirror, with the usual Dr. Who silliness obviously, like walking into lamp posts.
being unable to walk?
I can accept they would have difficulty with directions, but they walked perfectly okay within their bubble.

Anyway, I didn't really think much of it at all until it took the dark and unexpected turn later, and I like that change in step, even if it did leave a lot of questions without answers.
how casually she sacrificed Ricky
It was either her or him, but she'd made out how wonderful Ricky was, and I think, of all the inhabitants of that world, he was most capable of survival outside of it. He certainly wouldn't have turned down the Doctor's offer. She proved herself to be shallow and dim-witted.
surely the AI devices did also and so knew his real name?
They ought to have, and she was too stupid to have discovered anything they hadn't already fed to her. I wondered at first why they had chosen to contact her when some of her 'friends' seemed more open to alternative ideas, but the explanation for that came with the alphabetically ordered list.
I didn't like the ending and the implied reason why they wouldn't accept the Doctor's offer.
a more subtle take on racism
At first I thought the "Racism is Stupid" message only worked because of the colour of the Doctor's skin (and that every inhabitant was white, rich, 18-30-year-olds.) Except that on reflection, two things show this was the message: Lindy being surprised that the Doctor and Ruby could be in the same room together, and Lindy saying that she thought the Doctor that she blocked, just looked "the same" as the Doctor who had hacked the block.

However, it could easily have worked as other analogies (without getting too political) where people facing some obvious choices prefer to believe in lies because they want to believe in an ideology whether that fits with the facts or not. It could also have been symbolic of how some people react to scientists who are alarmed and warn about Climate Change. Anyway, whatever it was it is a case of Darwinism in action!
no real explanation of what had happened on the Homeworld.
The AIs destroyed the Homeworld first. The Doctor and Ruby had already spoken about "Mummy" and Ricky confirmed she was dead, so her appearance in the Bubble was a Deep Fake created by the AIs.
 
At first I thought the "Racism is Stupid" message only worked because of the colour of the Doctor's skin (and that every inhabitant was white, rich, 18-30-year-olds.) Except that on reflection, two things show this was the message: Lindy being surprised that the Doctor and Ruby could be in the same room together, and Lindy saying that she thought the Doctor that she blocked, just looked "the same" as the Doctor who had hacked the block.

However, it could easily have worked as other analogies (without getting too political) where people facing some obvious choices prefer to believe in lies because they want to believe in an ideology whether that fits with the facts or not. It could also have been symbolic of how some people react to scientists who are alarmed and warn about Climate Change. Anyway, whatever it was it is a case of Darwinism in action!

This I feel there is a broader subtext at play and why, for me it works so well as an episode.
Those who don’t hold our views are stupid, those who look different are not worth our time, we distrust each other. Ruby becomes the Doctor’s mask in order to get Lindy to question what is happening and even then it is hard for her. We can say it is her racism or that these are people not of her social class but we are often like that ourselves. We dislike old people, we dismiss young people, we argue about gender, we scorn those on social security and those that don’t have the education we may have had. In short we know better and everyone else is stupid. We saw that in COVID with vax vs anti-vax polarising opinion, we see it with climate change and AI, we see it with the gender debate. This I think is the broader issue the episode is asking us to question.

The other side of it is that of following blindly what we are presented with and told. Turn left, turn right, do I need to pee? A not so subtle comment on our reliance on SAT-NAV perhaps but still a valid one. Ricky September is the opposite and the contrast is stark. He is like the Doctor (almost thought he was at one point) he doesn’t follow he questions and sees beyond what he is shown. His betrayal by Lindy and her subsequent lack of remorse was shocking. We don’t see what happens to the survivors but we know that their arrogance is leading them to their doom. Question what lies outside the bubble. Question all pre-conceptions is what this episode may be telling us.
 
Agree with you @Dave about it feeling like a Black Mirror episode. I was also on the fence @Matteo about elements of it. I liked how it went out of its way to project how vacuous and shallow future generations might become when reliant on trivial social matters. At the same time, all it exceeded in achieving was making a frustrating, annoying episode about characters you probably would prefer the Doctor hadn't saved. I didn't buy the ending, though. The characters hadn't earned any warmth from the Doctor. It again underlines that there is too much emotion from Ncuti's version of the character, too many extremes. I said to my wife and son at the end, "imagine that had been Capaldi's Doctor at the end... What would he have said?" "Okay, bye then, pudding brains!" That would have been a far more dramatic ending with Clara (I mean Ruby) arguing that these are still people that need saving. It would have been an interesting opportunity for Ruby to see the other side of the Doctor. But I guess we are not going to get anything non-PC from this incarnation. It will all be safe, positive emotion.

Also, what was with the blatant racism of the Doctor being the only black character. I didn't get that? I didn't get that they were sort of implying they couldn't trust him because he was black, but not saying it. I also couldn't understand WHY there would be no black people or non-white people in that future. But then if they were going to make it a 'thing', then why not reference it? In the end, there were just no non-white people and it was not really referenced. Strange.

A step back from the previous 2 episodes, I think.
 
Agree with you @Dave about it feeling like a Black Mirror episode. I was also on the fence @Matteo about elements of it. I liked how it went out of its way to project how vacuous and shallow future generations might become when reliant on trivial social matters. At the same time, all it exceeded in achieving was making a frustrating, annoying episode about characters you probably would prefer the Doctor hadn't saved. I didn't buy the ending, though. The characters hadn't earned any warmth from the Doctor. It again underlines that there is too much emotion from Ncuti's version of the character, too many extremes. I said to my wife and son at the end, "imagine that had been Capaldi's Doctor at the end... What would he have said?" "Okay, bye then, pudding brains!" That would have been a far more dramatic ending with Clara (I mean Ruby) arguing that these are still people that need saving. It would have been an interesting opportunity for Ruby to see the other side of the Doctor. But I guess we are not going to get anything non-PC from this incarnation. It will all be safe, positive emotion.

Also, what was with the blatant racism of the Doctor being the only black character. I didn't get that? I didn't get that they were sort of implying they couldn't trust him because he was black, but not saying it. I also couldn't understand WHY there would be no black people or non-white people in that future. But then if they were going to make it a 'thing', then why not reference it? In the end, there were just no non-white people and it was not really referenced. Strange.

A step back from the previous 2 episodes, I think.
I feel the racism makes more sense if you consider this is the far future, and they still have an all-white population. For there to be an all-white population, the colonists must have made the conscious choice to avoid having black people along for the ride, and Lindy and her friends are the descendants of those people. They would have been raised on the horror stories of integration and multiculturalism and - horror of horrors - mixed marriages!

I must admit, I struggled a lot with this episode. I basically hated everyone apart from Ruby and the Doctor, and Ricky when he proved he had hidden depths, and felt very conflicted when it was revealed the AI was killing everyone. I even asked Mrs MT if it was wrong that I was rooting for the AI. Then Lindy throws Ricky under the bus, and even thought it was a horrible moment, at least I knew then that I wasn't supposed to be synpathising with this character.

I thought Ncuti's acting when the Finetimians rejected him was powerful, and showed so much about the Doctor. He learns in the hardest possible way that these people aren't worth his time, but he knows these people aren't safe yet, that they're one mushroom omelette away from an extinction event, and he still wants to save their lives.
 

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