Although I’ve had my fair share of criticism towards series 11, I did enjoy about four or five episodes out of ten, so I gave it more than a fair shot.
Is it perfect? Nope, is it the worst? Nope, just in-between, neither here nor there, half-way up the stairs is the stair where it sits. Neither up nor down, neither in the nursery or in the town
That’s enough Jim Henson analogies.
I went into the New Year knowing the big cliffhanger in advance, unlike some fans, and thus my expectation was tempered. Would I have been blown away by the big reveal had I not known? I believe I would have sussed it out pretty quickly given the actor and alias he was going under wasn’t credited in the Radio Times, I’d have smelt a rat.
Was this episode good, and does it warrant a fanedit? Yes and hell yes, but as you’ll find here I only cut two things, as I enjoyed the full thing for the most part, never finding it dull and eager to see more of everyone. Only real complaints I have are the script needed a bit of a punch-up to sharpen the dialogue, and there wasn’t much of Doc and Graham together as they had to share screentime with Sascha Dawan. Still, there were a few scraps here and there that I used for a few fanfics, all centred on ‘shipping Thirteen and Graham.
So what did I alter? Come on, what do you think? The “upgrade” line of course. Men and women are equal, not one gender is superior to the other.
And lastly, the cliffhanger now comes directly after The Doctor is transported away and we crash into credits on the shot of the plane hurtling to it’s apparaent doom, taking the companions with it.
You’ll probably see the official release of this on FE.Org sometime in November 2020, but if you can’t wait that long, I have a try-out TX version to hold you over until then
Soaring across the skies of the heavy traffic junctions of Kledbal, Blue Transit was caught in a precarious situation. And the passengers hadn’t even tipped its pilot yet.
Colby screamed into the com-link attached to his helmet, desperate to hear a voice on the other end, his hands trembled as he tried to maintain his grip on the ship’s steering wheel.
“Red W, this is Blue Transit, I repeat, this is Blue Transit…its Colby, they’re overwhelming us, I need a clear as path as you light for us”
To maintain vital communication with Red W, there had to be a clear visual, something made impossible by dreary and murky clouds forming in front of him, making it not just difficult to see, but difficult to speed up the acceleration of the ship as he feared he might crash into Red W.
“I thought you said the skies were clear Doc”
“I can’t predict the forecast Graham, I’m not a weather person” said The Doctor.
“Yeah, well it’s a bit murky now, all those drones flying overhead emitting that flaky smoke” Graham pointed out.
“Sorry, are you telling me these conditions are deliberate?” asked Colby in a state of panic.
“Hey, you’ve got a good eye there Graham” The Doctor observed.
“It must be the work of the Kilaters, part of their protests” Colby explained
“Oh protests? Me and Grace did a few of those. All peaceful. Frankly she only went for the free cups of Nescafe they passed out on their tidier breaks” Graham admitted.
“Everything is under control, I assure you, and Red W will light the path” Colby assured his passengers.
“You’ve put a lot of faith in Red W, but how do you think they’re coping right now? They may need someone in front of their path to light their way”
“It’s so much easier where they are, it should be” Colby replied, desperation in his voice, almost needy. He depended on a clearer path.
“Well, we are not over there are we? But I bet you want to be, so own it, and take us high up. Go on”
Colby was hesitant.
“I’ve never broken tradition before”
“That’s what the Kilaters are probably counting on, they want to change the world around them because it’s inflexible, kept in the same corner, don’t just sit in that corner, kick away at it ’till you break down the barriers it forms a part of. Everyone on every world, be it your own or one alien to you, has moments where they refuse to sit well over there and light their own way home, showing everyone how big and brave they were for doing it all by themselves”
Colby pulled up, the gravity of the high altitude pushing his gums back over his teeth, but he preserved and Blue Transit soon rode clear of the fog, flying over Red W and making a beeline for home.
“You’d make a class substitute for Frizzle on the magic school bus someday Doc”
“River rode it, she said it was rubbish” The Doctor replied.
I know I posted an “alternative part fourteen” to Trial of a Time Lord earlier in the month on here (since deleted), but I wasn’t satisfied at all with how it turned out so it’s back in the workshop. In the meantime, here’s an alternative part thirteen, with all references to Peri surviving removed, as well as the revelation the Valeyard is a manifestation of the Doctor’s darker side…now he’s simply a future incarnation of The Doctor
Discussing this episode on Doctor Who forum “The Hive” got me excited about the potential of tweaking the ending of this episode so that Rose doesn’t resurrect Jack Harkness and there’s no foreshadowing of a regeneration before Eccelston begins his farewell speech.
I was able to pull it off by grabbing a line Eccelston says shortly after Rose says “I bring life” and bring it around to just before she says that line (which then led to a shot of Jack coming to life), the line worked really well and segued neatly into the rest of the scene.
Another tricky part was editing out Jack approaching the TARDIS just before it dematerialised, I had to time the take off just right, and then cut to the interiors, also removing some of Rose’s dialogue so the tone was more sombre, with Rose confused and The Doctor preparing for the end.
(Spoilers for “Mistress of Chaos Part Three” From Doctor Who Magazine#545)
I would like to give a big THANK YOU hug to Doctor Who Magazine comic strip writer Scott Gray for his hard work on the comic strip adventure story “Mistress of Chaos”, not only for the gripping adventure, but for the absolutely spell-binding moment of vulnerability between The Doctor and Graham that inspired this piece. You are a gift to our cause Mr. Gray!
She once contemplated whether or not she was a good man.
Her pal at the time told her she didn’t know.
After a while, upon given an army tailored for destruction as a birthday present, she declared she was not one. She was an idiot.
Maybe this is what this was.
The mark of Idiocy.
She and Graham had discovered The Herald, a powerful alien entity in The Doctor’s image, a creature they had encountered before in Bohemia during the 17th Century. It had escaped the Catastrophea, a dimension of perpetual disorder, The Doctor and her friends had sent it back.
Now, trapped in a logic cube with Berraka Dogbolter, they found the Herald being tortured. Its screams would scar any normal being.
The Doctor wouldn’t stand for it. She couldn’t.
Were The Doctor’s attempts to cut through the noise to settle The Herald courage on display? Or bull-headed stubbornness? A willing defiance and denial of danger to always ensure the right deed was done?
Graham had warned her, he asked if she was being wise, reminding her the last time they met her, she almost swallowed the planet whole.
The Doctor’s response was quick and all too overconfident. The rationale was simple, if they could overcome the danger once, they could do so again.
She could not stand to see someone tortured, even a former enemy.
She should have been wiser than this, now was no time to play the fool.
Someone had told her that once before, in her fifth incarnation, after too many people had died that day.
But that’s who she chose to be, that’s what she was defining herself as, a foolhardy go lucky, confident woman who relied too much on her own wisdom.
She reached out to the tortured Herald calmly; it identified her as “little mirror”, a commentary on its connection to The Doctor, as the real deal assured it she could ease its pain.
And then that pain opted to share itself with her.
The Herald’s mind opened to her, pouring into her like blood from an open wound, a transfusion of memories, faces, friends and rivals of old. River, Sarah Jane, Ian, Barbara, Susan, Jaime, Missy.
Regrets and romance, feelings and ferocity, every emotion the Doctor tried to let sleep in her mind had awoken.
She realised to her horror that the Herald was not just a creature that had patterned itself on her body to use as a template, it had absorbed everything that made her who she was. Mind, body, and possible soul.
The Herald was her.
Graham was right, she had not been a wise one this day. And now the truth frightened her. It chilled her to the bone.
In her state of vulnerability, her mind cast back to earlier, to how they had found the Herald in the first place, to the man whose very instincts picked up on the Herald’s cries for help and who had led the expedition down the tunnels to the torture chamber that contained her.
That man was her beloved Graham O’Brien.
Even when it wasn’t exactly her, he could distinctly hear the echo in her image, it’s cries, and he could lock on to it and find his way to it.
He could always find his way to her.
In an attempt to do good, she had overlooked the negative traits she had within herself, traits that compelled to splinter the Herald, she saw what a fool she had been to try and tame herself.
But Graham? Graham could ease her pain, a part of her contemplated having him ease the Herald, but she dared not risk exposing him to such turmoil.
As she explained what the Herald was to him, the vulnerability overtook her, and she held on to him, gripped him tightly, her warm delicate features grazing against his own, her arms wrapped tenderly around him, she felt safe. Terrified and sad, but content where she was.
For as long as she held him, she was in a wise place, a good place.
And in his grasp, she needn’t fear any future.
Author’s Note: Ok, this probably isn’t going to go the way it’s conveyed in the series twelve trailer, but a desperate ‘shipper can dream can’t they? Enjoy.
The TARDIS’ radiant emerald yellow light diminished and the central column gently came to a halt, the whole of the interior almost drowning in pitch blackness were not for a vibrant blue light.
The Doctor’s back came very close to leaning against one of the columns, her head was titled back, and her right hand was clenched, as if she were trying to draw enough strength to physically attack an unknown force that was driving her to an intense discomfort.
As a child, she had ran away from the untempered schism, as an elder with the temperament of a child, he had stolen away a ship and took his granddaughter to the stars. She was fearless in that instant.
When the time came to let her grandchild go, she had no fear there either
In thwarting the terrors of Mondas, she had faced the first of many deaths with just as much bravery.
This was an altogether different feeling.
This was a different kind of fear, a fear that rivalled the one forged in the caverns of Metabelis III.
A fear she wasn’t sure she could conquer.
Her face was a complicated jigsaw, changing expression to match the unease in which the anxiety had swept over her.
She felt an ache in the pit of her stomach, she felt a tremble in her hand, sensations of pain that only drove her to distraction, and set her on course for confusion.
There was anger and resentment towards this feeling, there needed to be a counter emotion, a strong show of force, an urge to resist and reject that fear, but it was proving a trying task.
Yaz couldn’t know, Ryan couldn’t know, she needed to hold it together for them, and for one other in particular.
That significant other soon walked into the room, whistling a few Broadway show tunes to himself.
“Hey Doc, what’s with the lights being out in here? We’re almost ready for supper…good on Ryan for paying, I’m skint. We could do with a few egg and ham sarnies from Greggs’, something to chew on while on the go, y’know?”
The Doctor didn’t dare turn around; she didn’t want to subject him to her pain when he was in such jubilant spirits.
But he could sense the disquiet in her soul, and he gently perched himself down where she sat and, seeing that she was now trembling, leaned over and placed a hand over her shoulder.
“What’s the matter Doc?”
The Doctor gently slid over to her side, leaning her head gently on Graham’s shoulder.
“Something’s coming for me…I can feel it” she whispered to him.
The two lay there, precious minutes ticking by, minutes that could be spent reassuring Yaz and Ryan that things were OK and they could go out for sandwiches.
The Doctor’s fears hadn’t left her, but she knew the courageous man providing her warmth in the uninviting darkness, both inner and outer, would never leave her either.
She could feel it.