Post by The Doctor
I will never give out perfect scores unless the episode is excpetional.
My own score would be a lot lower than 9.
As usual with Steven Moffat these days, that was very clever but full of
holes. I think the production team needs an official Devil's Advocate,
someone whose job is to say: "Brilliant idea, Steven, but there are some
problems with it: this, this and this. Can you find a plausible way to
work around them?"
First problem: the teleport technology used to bring the Doctor to the
castle is said by the Doctor to be limited to a range of one lightyear.
That's fundamental, as it allows the Doctor to know what the sky looks
like at the present time and hence to determine how far in the future he
is. From that he is able to work out that when he dies he must be
brought back to life using a back-up recording that his captors must
have made. But where within one lightyear could his prison possibly be?
It seems that it would have to be on a planet or moon somewhere in our
solar system. A force field could perhaps keep in a breathable
atmosphere, but it would have to be close enough to the sun to have a
proper night and day, its gravity would have to be not much less than
Earth's (judging by the speed at which the Doctor's trinket dropped),
and the atmosphere would have to be transparent. I'm not sure that
there's anywhere other than Earth itself meeting those criteria, and not
even Earth would do so after a billion years had passed. Then at the end
of the episode he is teleported again and seemingly finds himself on
Gallifrey, if I've interpreted it correctly. OK, maybe this was a
different sort of teleport device, not limited to one lightyear in
range. I wouldn't normally try to analyse a Who episode in such hard SF
terms, but by using a hard SF idea this episode invited that.
Second problem: Apparently the Veil instantly knows when the Doctor has
made a true confession. It has to, as its creators must know that he is
quite capable of lying. And since the Doctor does not try to lie to it,
he must believe that it will know if he lies. How can it do that, unless
his captors have access to all his memories (which he more or less
concedes they do when he refers to the prison having things that
particularly scare him)? If they have all his memories, which they could
surely access by scanning the back-up on disk that they've made of him,
then why do they need him to confess? They should know all about the
mysterious Hybrid and who it is. (If it's the Doctor himself, I do hope
they aren't going to revive the "Doctor has a mother from Earth" idea.)
I also have a problem with the whole idea of being able to recreate the
Doctor perfectly from a back-up. (Talking of confessions: that the
Doctor originally left Gallifrey because of fear rather than boredom is
interesting. I wonder what he feared.)
Third problem: Could even the Time Lords keep this operation running for
over a billion years? Even their creations can't be immune to entropy. I
wish a more believable time-span such as 5,000 years had been chosen.
Fourth and biggest problem: Surely the Time Lords must have installed
some sort of monitoring system in their prison, even if its operation is
fully automated? They know how resourceful the Doctor is. With a billion
years to work out what is going on, they should surely have realised
that the Doctor wasn't punching the adamantine shield out of pure pique.
Even if they didn't, they should surely have been able to detect the
increasing level of damage to it.
I suppose if the episode could provoke such a lot of thought on my part,
then it must have been better than I at first thought! The big reveal at
the end didn't come as a great surprise. Only the Time Lords combine
such a high level of technology with such a high level of sadism!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to next week, when it seems we'll get to
meet a lot more characters than just the Doctor, his imagined Clara, and
"Honest criticism is hard to take,
particularly from a relative, a friend,
an acquaintance, or a stranger." Franklin P Jones