I doubt anyone out there was expecting the Doctor's ghostification. Freaky, right?
Are we truly dealing with ghosts though? And what's in the suspended animation chamber? Don't be shy, we would really love to hear your theories in the comments below. Also, how do you feel about these two part episodes?
Join TV Fanatics Kathleen Wiedel, Carissa Pavlica, Hank Otero and our good pal Tom Gardiner from threeifbyspace.net as we chat about Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3 in this week's Round Table discussion...
Clearly the Doctor's not about to regenerate in Episode 3. If not "ghosts," what are we dealing with?
Kathleen: That's a good question. For the moment, I'm going with alien technology that harnesses life energy in order to operate, either by design or desperation.
Carissa: Another fakeout like the Dalek's beaming Clara and Missy into the desert, of course. It's funny, though, that on a show which has alternate universes and time travel, The Doctor has never seen a simple little ghost.
Tom: I'm leaning toward an alternate universe scenario of some sort. The reason I say that is the reluctance of the TARDIS to be anywhere near the "ghosts" or the spaceship that was found. In the 2006 2-parter "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel" the TARDIS ends up in a parallel universe and loses all power. The Doctor has to use some of his regeneration energy to charge a power cell to get the ship working again. Being a sentient ship, the possibility of ending up in an alternate universe where your power source becomes useless would certainly be a reason to resist.
This is a stretch, but what if this alternate universe had laws of physics somewhat different from our own that caused anything from our universe to look markedly different? Maybe this "living beacon" being created with beings from our universe is the only way for creatures from that reality to communicate back and they need sentient creatures from the transmission's destination in order to be heard? Naturally, with different laws of physics, there will be some glitches, hence the black eyes and near catatonic chanting.
This would explain how the Doctor gets out of his "situation" in the next episode.
Hank: I was thinking it was some kind alien tech as Kathleen mentioned. However, that wouldn't explain (or help) the Doctor's predicament. I love the alternate universe explanation Tom, you totally sold me on it. Now, I can't imagine it being anything else.
Why exactly was the TARDIS unhappy? Why could she not decipher the alien glyphs?
Kathleen: This isn't the first time the TARDIS hasn't translated text for our heroes. The instance that springs to mind is Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 8, "The Impossible Planet." In that instance, the words wouldn't translate because they were "impossibly old." I suspect the TARDIS isn't happy because of the whole ghost-hijacking-transmitter thing that's going on coupled with the fact that she's spread across all space and time and can see the danger that the Doctor's in (cue ghostification!).
Carissa: Maybe she's unhappy because she knows Clara's being reckless and will ultimately walk into her own death and wants to try to keep her from doing that. After all, she's got a history, of sorts, with the girl, much like the other Doctors. Honestly, I got nuttin'.
Tom: If my answer to question #1 is anywhere near the mark, that would also answer this question. As Kathleen has pointed out, there have been instances where the TARDIS couldn't translate a language. Language from a completely different universe would qualify as un-translatable, I think.
Hank: Like Carissa, I thought the unhappiness had something to do with Clara's recklessness. However, since it was the Doctor that "died" at the end perhaps that's why she was worried. Honestly, Tom's answer is much better than anything I can come up with haha
Is Clara suddenly behaving a bit recklessly? Do you think this is a hint at her ultimate doom?
Kathleen: She certainly doesn't seem to show too much concern for her personal safety, does she? This may be a reaction to the tragic demise of Danny Pink last season - and she wouldn't mind being reunited with him in death.
Carissa: To make us wince at her practically every action, expecting it to be her last? I really wish they had kept mum about Jenna Coleman's departure, as it would have made the season a lot more entertaining as a whole.
Tom: I have to agree with Kathleen with regard to Clara's behavior. Danny's departure was sad, but we really haven't seen Clara grieve the way you'd expect from someone who's just lost the person they loved most in the world. I think her desire to dive into danger and adventure is partly a way to distract her from dealing with the grief and partly a desire to join Danny.
I don't think it's been established with 100% certainty that Clara's departure will come in the form of her death, and with Moffat nothing is certain until it's been shown on screen. With the announcement of the new spin-off series "Class" set at Coal Hill School, I would absolutely love it if we'd get a surprise announcement that Jenna Coleman will be headlining.
Many will disagree with this statement, but of all the companions, I feel like Jenna Coleman's Clara Oswald is the one who could carry on the Sarah Jane legacy and fight alien threats with the help of some smart and snarky school kids. It ain't gonna happen, but I'd be filled with high quality squee for weeks if it did. And I really like high-quality squee.
Hank: I love that idea Tom, of Clara teaching on the spin-off series "Class." From interviews, it really seems like Jenna is moving on from the Whoniverse though. I'm with Carissa, I probably wouldn't even be questioning Clara's behavior if I didn't know Jenna Coleman's leaving. The thought she's behaving this recklessly to join Danny in death never even occurred to me.
What's inside the suspended animation chamber? Is its contents connected to the flood?
Kathleen: Whatever it is, it can't possibly be good news. I have a sneaking suspicion that the dam was broken and the place flooded to keep that thing from being opened...
Carissa: Maybe it's very exciting and good indeed, and it will be a thrilling change of pace. Haha. I agree with Katie. There is a reason the place was flooded, and it will likely have to do with that animation chamber.
Tom: I'm sure it's not filled with fluffy and cute Adipose just waiting to give you a smile and a hug. I'd think it had to be the pilot of the ship, and based on the whole "the more dead people it has, the stronger the beacon" the flood could've been an attempt by said other-universe entity to boost the signal with many bodies.
Hank: I've seen photos for the next installment, so I'm assuming it's the alien pilot taking a nap in there. The theory that the valley was intentionally flooded to keep him in suspended animation makes total sense. Does the crew somehow manage to open it in the present? I can't wait to find out. Waiting a week stinks... ugh!
How do you feel about these two-parters? If you could, would you watch Episodes 3 & 4 back to back?
Kathleen: It's a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, two-parters give you an extra forty-two minutes to tell the story. On the other, viewers have to wait a week to see the whole story, which can be a bit frustrating depending on how the first half ended. I would totally watch the two back to back if they aired the same night.
Carissa: Not a fan. Especially not back to back to back to back, because right after these two will follow two more, in which I believe we wave goodbye to Clara. If they want to make the series a set of two-hour installments, then make it so dammit. As an aside, did anyone else laugh out loud when The Doctor attempted to use sign language and subsequently asked they bring in a set of flags to assist? I had to watch twice. Absurdly funny.
Tom: I'm with Kathleen on watching a full two hours in one sitting. There are very few shows I don't enjoy more when I binge watch and cliffhangers are even worse than commercials. Commercials are over with in about three minutes, cliffhangers take seven damned days! That said, I think the writers are taking full advantage of these two part stories, at least so far, and really keeping the episodes full of entertaining moments. The stories haven't felt like anything's been stretched out and there is little, if any, filler, so I am enjoying them more than I'd expected.
Hank: I would definitely watch the two-parters back to back. As TV Fanatics, we watch an insane amount of television and it's easy to lose track of a story within the span of a week. I agree with Tom though, these episodes haven't felt like fillers to me. I'm just extremely impatient I guess. By the way, I read somewhere they were considering less episodes for Doctor Who and making them feature length. More along the lines of the Sherlock model. I think I'd prefer waiting a week, thank years between seasons.
Are you as anxious for part 2 as we are? Here's the promo for Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 4.