Brigid Downey

October 17, 2018

Jodie Whittaker: The New Doctor | Plot

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So, yesterday I talked about the new characters in the season premiere of season 11 of Doctor Who. Today, I’m talking about plot, because this is a writing (and books and lifestyle) blog, so I’m breaking down the writing choices made in this episode.

Spoilers for “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” below.

First, my biggest pet peeve with the plot of this episode was not seeing the doctor for the whole first quarter of the episode. We get nearly 20 min of a 90 min episode of just companion backstory… and a Youtube video. Let me tangent for a minute- I felt the Youtube video was so odd and felt forced. From someone who watches a lot of Youtube (and knows a few booktubers, shameless shout out to my friend Mandi Lynn) this wasn’t a Youtube video. It didn’t feel like one, it felt like if someone tried to tell their life’s story in a reality show confession room take… which is awkward even in reality shows!

That combined with the long span of time for companion exposition (which really wasn’t much exposition, see my post on characters) left me tuning out about five minutes in. See, this was almost cheap. Everyone and their mom knew this is the first female Doctor, everyone wants the first look at Whittaker as the Doctor, but they draw it out and make you wait 20 mins to get to her. Combine that with characters we don’t know or care about yet, and it’s very boring.

My next big issue was what seems like a lot of people’s big issue… the villain. I’m sorry, those teeth were nauseating in a way we really don’t expect from Doctor Who antagonists. As fans of the show, we’ve had slime monsters that absorb people, little cute monsters made of actual human fat, and don’t get me started on the grossness of the Slitheen! The teeth monster crossed a line from whimsical yuckiness to full-on horror movie (props to that makeup artist though!) that we’re not used to as fans.

Not to say that Doctor Who episodes are never dark. Peter Capaldi had a few episodes with dark themes and they’re some of my favorite from his era! I’m not saying they can’t be scary, either. Again, “Blink” and “The Silence in the Library” are my two favorite Doctor Who Episodes of all time… and they’re also the ones that scare me the most! I’m pointing out that this time is different. It’s still whimsical, still the “madman in a blue box” feel to it that this episode really lacked.

Overall, I thought Jodie Whittaker was absolutely fantastic! I loved the way she made her own sonic, I adore her Doctor outfit (I’m thinking all sorts of cosplay ideas!), and I think she’s fun, quirky, and overall adorable as the Doctor! As many people have pointed out, the first episode with a new Doctor is always hard, because the new actor has to get into their rhythm and find out what their Doctor is going to be like. However, Whittaker is already KILLING IT with her charm and talent and holding her own against the brilliant actors who came before her!

My issues were mostly in the writing, and I really hope Chibnall catches his stride soon, because the way I see it now the writing isn’t doing the actors, the story, or the beloved show any justice.

Well, that’s my two sense, but I’d love to hear what you think! Tell me about your thoughts on Jodie Whittaker, on Chibnall as a writer, the tooth monster, the characters, or anything else! Let me know in the comments down below!

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