Doctor Who - S12 E07 - "Can You Hear Me?" - 02/9/2020

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by kdmorse, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD


    I'd say it was another fairly forgettable* episode. Not bad, nothing to complain about really (which is always a plus). But also, less than I had hoped for - especially with only three episodes left this season.

    * So forgettable in fact, I forgot to create a thread after I watched it. I didn't remember until I saw discussion continuing in the previous episode thread.
  2. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    Although that reminds me, I watched a UK airing (due to my dissatisfaction with BBCA's airings on Comcast).

    Did the US airing end with a blurb during the closing credits about who to get a list of support organizations for mental health issues like the UK one did?

    I mean, the fact that it was clearly an 'issue of the week' episode was subtle enough that it didn't bother me. Slapping a big red banner on the end to a BBC Action Line about getting help, was not subtle...

    (Or were they worried about people like me, dissapointed in the episode, needing someone to call because of it ;) )
  3. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    Almost two seasons (series) in, I feel like I still barely know this Doctor or her companions. Not really knowing the companions is bad enough, but when we can't even really get a handle on the Doctor by this point, there's something seriously wrong. I mean, other than being a female, I can't really point to any one thing about Whittaker's Doctor as being unique to her Doctor. Everything about her is just characteristics that are, more or less, common to most or all of the Doctors.

    And as for the companions... they're just sort of... there. I mean, they've given them all back stories and all... but from week to week, they're all very flat and uninteresting. They're all just sort of... there. There's one common trait that literally all modern era companions have had - a spark of joy, an enthusiasm that lets us, the viewer, get enthusiastic about the show. There's literally no spark to any of these companions. They're dull people, and barely seem interested in continuing to travel with the Doctor.

    (It doesn't help things any when the Doctor *says* that the companions are "her fam," but frankly, seems to treat them as just useful things rather than having any kind of actual connection to them. Take the conclusion of this week's episode for instance, where she literally can't come up with a single thing to say to show any sense of connection with Graham.)

    This leads us to a problem with this week's episode: too many players. We barely know our main protagonists, and now the episode introduces Ryan's mate and this random girl from Aleppo into the mix. The Aleppo girl seemed to only be there to have an excuse for the Doctor to leave Sheffield briefly, and then to have an epiphany (off-screen of course) so the Doctor would be able to use the girl's imaginary monster against Zellin and Rakaya.

    This was another "message" episode, but to effectively deliver the "message," it depended on me caring about the protagonists and the state of their mental health... but I don't really know the main protagonists, and I literally just met Ryan's mate and this girl from Aleppo. So the "message" fell utterly flat for me.

    The other issue with this episode was pacing, probably because it was trying to do too much with too many people. As a case in point, what seemed like the main plot of the episode was abruptly resolved... but then we still had 10 minutes left over at the end, where the protagonists all dealt with their issues, none of which I cared one bit about.

    I'm honestly on the fence over whether to bail on the show until there's a new Doctor and new showrunner. No offense intended to Jodie Whittaker... I don't think it's her fault, it's entirely Chibnall's, but the damage has been done to Jodie's Doctor, and I don't think that even if there was a new showrunnner that they could rehabilitate it. Chibnall's Doctor Who is simply not a fun show to watch anymore.
    tim1724 likes this.
  4. cheesesteak

    cheesesteak Meh. TCF Club

    Jul 24, 2003
    15 mins...
    Some Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who. Although this episode was average, it's still a lot better than the half season or so when Amy was so miserable that I prayed for her to get transported into a black hole.

    My biggest problem with this season is that there's very little continuity between episodes. My problem with this episode is that The Doctor encountered actual gods. They could have been season long Big Bads but alas, they were really stupid gods.

    I've been watching Who since the mid '70s and I can't remember so many civilians getting TARDIS rides. So much for rules of first contact with pre-modern cultures.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    jeetkunedo likes this.
  5. trainman

    trainman Nice to see you

    Jan 29, 2001


    As they usually do, BBC America squeezed the closing credits into a tiny little box in one corner of the screen and ran a promo in the rest of the screen. I didn't see if they showed anything after those credits, but I would guess not.

    I've seen U.S. networks display suicide prevention hotline information at the end of a TV show episode that involves suicide (Syfy, for one, has done this with episodes of "The Magicians"), but I haven't really seen that for general mental health issues.
    tim1724 likes this.
  6. nirisahn

    nirisahn Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Nov 19, 2005
    Denver area
    I have to agree with @LoadStar. The writing the last two seasons has been terrible. I just can't connect to Jodi's Doctor or the companions, and the storylines have left a lot to be desired. This episode really fell flat for me. I keep waiting for it to get better, but it doesn't.
    tim1724 likes this.
  7. tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    Temple City, CA
    I like the cast (although I wish Whittaker wasn’t just copying Tennant so much) but the writing is so bad they don’t have much to work with.

    Also the directors of most of these episodes don’t really seem to know how to put an episode together. I really wish Chibnall had kept some of the writers and directors from previous seasons. (Bring back Rachel Talalay!)

    At least the Judoon episode was pretty good. Although that was mostly just gimmicky fan service.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  8. eddyj

    eddyj Señor Member TCF Club

    Jun 20, 2002
    South Florida
    I think having so many companions just dilutes the "part" of the companion, so we never get to bond with any of them.
    Tony_T, kaszeta and pgogborn like this.
  9. pgogborn

    pgogborn Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2002

    I think it also makes the Doctor seem more preachy than previous Doctors because she ends up delivering lines to the camera instead of having a conversation with a companion.

    In times of danger she has used the line "stand behind me" a couple of times - I think that would work a tad better if a single companion was able to take cover immediately behind her instead of four companions being in an exposed line behind her.
  10. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2014
    Southern CT
    Yeah. The young black guy ( don't even know his name) has a friend? Who cares? Was it a boyfriend? Maybe. Talk about not caring about the we gotta deal with tertiary characters? I like this Doctor but as has been said...nothing is really getting me interested.
  11. lambertman

    lambertman Chris Lambert, man

    Dec 20, 2002
    I don't ever want the show to go away, but I would like it to be consistently better. It's just....fine, and has been for a while now (reaching back to Smith/Coleman era IMO). There have been scattered high points (just this year, the premiere was fun and Fugitive of the Judoon was EPIC - and hey, why did we just completely drop that terrific storyline? Hoping the season finale revisits), but the rest has just been something to watch/sit through. And yes, too preachy, even though I agree with the sentiments therein.

    Agree on the companions. Three is too many, and none of them really have the personality to fill the role solo - they're all too low-key. I feel like they brought in Bradley Walsh just to try to tamp down the expected sexist reactions to Jodie - and that didn't work anyway, so let him get back to focusing on his game shows. Punt Yaz and Ryan too and let's get a new wide-eyed youngster in the box.
    Craigbob likes this.
  12. Tony_T

    Tony_T Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2017
    Friends, not companions ;)

    But, my favorite friends companions are still the Amy/Rory duo.
    tim1724 likes this.
  13. pgogborn

    pgogborn Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2002
    Or Fam ;)
  14. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    Oct 17, 2000
    I have no problem with the Whittaker Doctor, the number of companions, the particular companions, or really, any aspect of the principle.

    I think the trouble comes entirely from the execution. Chibnall seems to have interesting ideas, but he just isn't able to pull them off.
  15. sushikitten


    Jan 27, 2005
    I feel like most of the eps would be better if they were stretched out into multi-arc episodes. Not that I want TO BE CONTINUED but something so it doesn't all feel so rushed.
    jeetkunedo and tim1724 like this.
  16. cbrrider

    cbrrider Active Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Looks like they are setting up the exit of the current fam with the we're getting older and missing out on our lives while traveling with the Doctor trope. This would not be a bad thing. None of the current companions are particularly likable.
  17. Gerryex

    Gerryex Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    Land O...
    I have to agree 100%. I've been watching the Dr since way back to the classic Drs (Patrick Troutin, Jon Pertwe, Tom Baker, etc.) and always enjoyed them. As one poster said some Dr Who is better than no Dr Who. But I just can't warm up to the last two seasons. I agree it's not the Dr actress - I like her here and in Broadchurch. It's just the show runners who can't produce a compelling episode.

    tim1724 likes this.
  18. pteronaut

    pteronaut Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Even if that is not the plan, the writers might be setting the groundwork for the possibility that it may soon happen.

    Tosin Cole (Ryan) has landed a role in the coming AMC series '61st Street', so might not be available for the next season.
    Mandip Gil (Yaz) has a role in a movie "Snapshot Wedding", still in pre-production.
  19. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    Oct 17, 2000
    Although the short seasons do not preclude the cast having other work between seasons...
    tim1724 likes this.
  20. cstelter

    cstelter Active Member

    Mar 17, 2002
    Mankato, MN
    I think three can work, but one has to then be a bit more "on par" with the Doctor. Amy/Rory/River, worked for me, but River was always on par with the Doctor. Even in its very first year they had Barbara, Ian, and Susan, but Susan was far more on par with the Doctor. Tegan, Nyssa, & Adrick again had Nyssa far more advanced and closer to the Doctor (and Adrick as well in some ways).

    I agree that 3 similar "nitwit earthlings" doesn't really fly. Companions need to be daring and unusually adept at something IMO to be compelling. IMO Yaz is the only one that comes close, but she pales in comparison to Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, or Clara. Some of the best scenes are where the companions do something very clever and/or unexpected to the point that even the Doctor is impressed. I mean, Sally Sparrow (who only had one brief scene with Tennant) or the companion for the Titanic in space episode were far more compelling as a companion than these three combined. Write compelling companions and it makes all the difference in the world, one, two or even three.
    Craigbob and tim1724 like this.

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