Jun. 4th, 2017 09:16 am
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] purplecat
I really liked Extremis even though I think, as a story, it is a lot less well constructed than either Knock! Knock! or Oxygen.

Structurally I felt the two plots (the Veritas plot and the Missy plot) did not have a great deal to do with each other. There was some attempt to thematically link them but this felt like Moffat wanted the mid-season episode to be the reveal about what was in the vault but then somehow lacked the energy or interest to build an entire story around that and so came up with a half hour plot that could kick off what DWM seem to be referring to as "The Monk Trilogy". If I thought the Monk trilogy was more integral to the season conception as a whole, I would say the episode's problem was trying to fit two arcs into one episode but I get the impression the "Monk" trilogy was more accidental in the way it arose than that. Secondly the Veritas plot lurches from comedy Pope moments, to secret vaults under the Vatican, to Cern in a series of events that are tonally rather too diverse.

However, there was lots I really, really liked here. I liked the "it is all a simulation" idea even though The Matrix annoys me intensely, possibly because, at least to me, it didn't seem to think it was being as novel and clever as The Matrix did. Also The Matrix's humans as batteries idea is really stupid. I also like the fact that, unlike many it-was-all-a-dream/alternate-reality type plots in SF, this one was allowed to have meaning back in the "real world" of the show. I liked the pseudo-random numbers idea for all a sophisticated computer simulation probably wouldn't work like that, but it made a neat plot point out of something that is close enough to an actual-fact about computing to please me. I liked the fact that the person in the vault is the obvious person in the vault (I note this isn't the first time Moffat has done this, River Song turned out to be the Doctor's Wife which was the obvious inference from her behaviour in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead). I, once again, liked the interactions of Bill and Nardole.

I had a number of nit-picks about the episode - why isn't the Doctor using OCR? would people really commit suicide? - but I've listened to a few podcasts since and have been interested to see several justifications for these. The Doctor doesn't use OCR on the Veritas until he is somewhere he can't be overheard (because he doesn't want to risk the life of anyone else - not that that explains what is going on in Pyramid a the End of the World) and although the Vatican has inferred that everyone who reads the Veritas commits suicide - the fact that Bill, on learning the secret, is deleted from the simulation by a monk means that all the people who read the Veritas and simply went missing may not have killed themselves. This may be an episode who's internal consistency actually holds up better on a re-watch.

After two episodes I felt were well-constructed but ultimately a little unambitious, I liked an episode which might have been rather messier but had a lot of interesting ideas baked into it and which executed what is, let's face it, a fairly standard SF trope without falling into some of the pitfalls of that trope.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-04 10:03 pm (UTC)
londonkds: (bitch please (nostalgia))
From: [personal profile] londonkds
I heard somewhere that the Wachowskis' idea in The Matrix actually was the more sensible "the machines are using the humans' unused brain capacity for extra computation power" idea, but the executives thought that it was too hard for the average viewer to understand.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-05 07:43 am (UTC)
ewx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ewx
I've always preferred that idea. I think it'd have been really easy to implement - Morpheus would finish his exposition holding an IC as a prop instead of a battery.


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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