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The military industrial complex doesn’t stand a chance against the power of dad in this bottle episode

“Have you done your teeth?” asks literally named father John Fancis Vater as he blindly walks through a war-torn planet. No, he’s not just paying little attention, he’s a casualty of war and has been blinded in combat. So why would he be asking about dental hygiene? Because it’s bring your daughter to work week and what kind of father would forget his duties while he’s dying out on a battlefield?

Of course, death isn’t certain for all warriors blinded by the atrocities of war, so why do things seem so bleak for John and the other soldier guiding him? Because this war is all about the “bang for your buck” rather than “bang, bang you’re dead” and the capitalist forces at work don’t take kindly to soldiers that are slacking in the killing machine department. And there are Ambulances on the prowl.

Ambulances, you say, surely they’ll patch ol’ Johnny boy up and he’ll be fine and dandy from now on? Well, no, they’ll run the numbers and decide he’s not worth the resources and turn him into a death canister. War’s a bitch, am I right? Also Doc is there and he’s just stepped on a mine, so that’s the rest of this nail biting, tear squirting bottle episode. Unless you count all the anti-religious sentiment, the repetitive dialog, the repetitive dialog and the repetitive dialog.

Here's what we think of N182 Boom

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

3.0

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.3

Here's what we think of N182 Boom

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

3.0

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.3

Here's what you think 6 Responses to “N182 Boom”
  1. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks
    So Moffat has returned…well it’s better than his last one so that’s a plus.
    I…don’t feel this is strongest. It’s overall good, but not top level. We have the return of the Anglican marines from Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, and Villengard was first mentioned in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances as the place Jack got his squareness gun and that the Doctor had blown it up. Also returning from that latter story is the plot element of a malfunctioning ambulance being behind everything.
    Interesting to see the next companion’s actress in action. I’ll be interested to hear how they tie this appearance in.
    So, Ncuti was great, Millie good but I’m not sure of the writing for Ruby. She’s becoming the Impossible Girl Mark 2 and my opinion of that plot thread from series 7 isn’t good at all.
    I wasn’t sure of the child actor.
    My initial rating (complied the day after viewing which was two days after broadcast, late for me) is 3.0/5 Fleshly Fleshlights

    Cheers
    Kieren

  2. Aiden in America

    I’ve overall been enjoying RTD2 so far, although the shine is a little off from just how excited I was when the Star Beast dropped. But in general, one thing I’ve always liked about RTD and Moffat as writers was their ability to keep the episode moving at a relentless pace with very little fat. Sometimes I wished that the core concept of the story got more time to be explored, but at least the episodes were always exciting to watch. That was why I liked that this story was kept so simple and focused. I always liked the landmine scene from Episode One of Genesis of the Daleks, and this was pretty much that scene taken to its logical conclusion. It was appropriately stressful through the whole runtime, and Ncuti and Millie did a very good job selling it. They’ve been great so far. This has also been Susan Twist’s largest role so far, and she’s great too. I’m excited for when they reveal what’s going on with her.

    From, Aidan in America

  3. Adam Smart

    Hi Who Back When Gang!

    It’s the return of Grand Moff Steven! Yay! 😊
    I was very much looking forward to this episode – Steven Moffat’s era as show runner is by a country mile my favourite of New Who (with Matt Smith as my favourite New Who Doctor and Peter Capaldi as my second favourite).
    Thankfully, this episode more than met my expectations! Bloody hell, that was excellent!

    UPS:
    • The dialogue – Steven Moffat’s style of dialogue writing (at least when it comes to Doctor Who) always sings to me and has a great flow and rhythm, especially sardonic jokes and quips from the Doctor and companions. This episode definitely carried on that tradition and I just felt straight away from the dialogue that it was a Moffat script, not a RTD one.
    • The tension and atmosphere was electrifying. Being set in mostly one location and with a small cast kept the dramatic focus throughout.
    • The Doctor was brilliant in this episode! Definitely Ncuti Gatwa’s best performance to date and probably Millie Gibson’s as well.
    • On that note, everyone was great in this episode – the relationship between Splice and her (mostly dead) father was particularly well portrayed.
    • On that note, Mundy’s actress (Varada Sethu) is set to play the next companion in Series 15 – will she be connected to Mundy in some way?
    • The callbacks to Moffat’s previous Doctor Who work. Villengarde and the Anglican Marines being the obvious ones but I also enjoyed the reference to the story of the Moon and the President’s Wife from Capaldi’s time, and most of all the line “I will be popping in every now and then. Fish fingers and custard is my favourite”. Aww…
    • The use of “Thoughts and Prayers” as a benevolent yet ominous message from the deadly Ambulances.
    • The added complication of the Doctor having to rein in his emotions lest the landmine detonate, such as when Ruby is shot.
    • The conclusion was a mixture of love conquers all and rebooting the system, but I didn’t mind it, it was satisfying enough to me.
    • Best line of dialogue –
    “Great name, Mundy Flynn. You should marry Ruby. Then you’d be Mundy Sunday. Go on, get married, I’d laugh every day.”

    DOWNS:
    • Sorry, there’s nothing today unless I resort to nit-picking!

    Best episode of the series so far. Much more to my taste in Doctor Who than the last two episodes. Probably (for me) the best episode of Doctor Who since Capaldi left.

    RATING:
    Excellent – a triumphant return to Who from Moffat!

    4.3 Smelted Canisters of Human Paste

    P.S. – Great news – it’s been confirmed that Steven Moffat wrote this year’s Christmas Special, not RTD. At least one episode from Moffat to come. Hooray!

    Take care!

  4. Kyle Rath | @sinistersprspy

    War. War never changes. Not at these prices. Welcome to Father’s Day 2: Ecumenical Boom-a-loo.

    In Steven Moffats long awaited return to Doctor Who, The Doctor and Ruby must keep a city bus traveling at more than 50 MPH while standing completely still.

    Set in a dazzling spacescape on a senseless muddy, foggy rock, the Doctor runs like a clever boy, remembers songs from his youth in the Gallifreyan Piccolo Orchestra, while the Churchy Ruby Sunday and the Clerical Mundy Flynn shoot their shots in the “Best Companion in a Supporting Role” contest.

    Rounding out the cast are a redshirt Rory-esque love interest named “Song” who gets just enough development to fill screen time, an irresponsibly absent father figure named, well, “Father”, and another orphan girl, just in case the underlying theme wasn’t clear enough. And of course, Susan Twist, this time, pretending to be a Doctor herself. Or several of them. Or all of them. She’s taking the Robots to Villengard.

    Amid the hommages to another frantically babbling Time Lord, Moffat reminds us why he is actually really good at concept episodic writing in Doctor Who, even if the “AI with a Heart of Gold” climax falls a bit within the customary percentage of hand wavery. It’s a fun roller coaster in the best sense, and dips ever so slightly into that well of momentary emotional weight and deeper context, Phil Larkin quote and all.

    Although I’m not sure it needed a literal “Boom. Mic Drop”.

    4.2 Sharp Scratches out of 5. Anyone else happen to notice that Nurse Twists green scanner lines look a lot like the thing that scans the TARDIS in UNIT from the first season trailer?

  5. Vamshi

    hi gang, hope it’s all going well! here’s my review of boom.

    i love the feeling of waiting every week knowing a doctor who episode is going to come out – this decade, that feeling has been rarer than ever before. this week was DEFINITELY worth the wait!

    likes:
    – a steven moffat episode!!!! and boy do you feel it – the snappy dialogue, the beautiful setting, the “thoughts and prayers…” – very “donna noble has left the library”, and the tension was PALPABLE the whole episode
    – it’s been so long since we’ve been thrust into the action and had to figure out the context from clues as opposed to the doctor expositing everything to us at the start of the episode
    – the references!!! fish custard, mud people, villengard, the troughton recorder song, the clerics that are not fools, etc
    – nice to see some hard sci-fi again like with the lights around the mine – with RTD shifting into fantasy with the logic “it’s all nonsense anyway”, it started to feel like giving up
    – ncuti and millie get to shine a lot with the pared down cast, and i like varada so far
    – once again i’m really into this snowy overarching plot – these scenes ALWAYS get me excited

    not-so-likes:
    – the ending wasn’t great – you built up all this tension with a rubbish resolution that happens off-screen in a computer and no amount of the doctor speech-explaining what happened can make up for that
    – that whole love story wasn’t the worst but its timing was truly awful
    – i’m getting the feeling that the writers don’t really know how to write for ncuti yet – the entire personality is coming from the actor himself (and he’s doing a great job) but they haven’t nailed down the script
    – FAITH…ugh – get some consistency! moffat’s scripts hate religion, chibnall’s respect their diversity and rtd constantly positions the doctor as god, and it would be nice to just choose one

    whatever flaws there were, i had an honestly brilliant experience this episode – i think this is one i might show to people to introduce them to the show. instantly up there for me! 4.7/5
    but wait, are we seriously supposed to believe they’ve been travelling for seven months and this is her first alien planet?

    – vamshi

  6. Izaak

    Steven Moffat is back, and he’s trapped the Doctor once again in an impossible situation. Trapped on a smart mine with no chance of escape, can the Doctor save Ruby, stop the war, and somehow survive? Somehow, yes?

    I really enjoyed the set up, and the opening act, but the more people turned up the messier it got. The super dangerous minefield quickly fills with soldiers, children, and robot ambulances all running and falling around without hitting anything. There’s too many “remember the Moffat era?” References, and the ending feels more like a chance situation more than the Doctor doing anything clever. I do like the war machine Ambulances, though.

    I’m watching these episodes after a wait, with a vague awareness of how the episodes are received as a whole, and the internet was calling this the great return to gold standard doctor who masterpieces of the Moffat era. Perhaps I set my expectations too high, but I finished this one feeling like it was…OK. An interesting concept, but I felt myself zoning out towards the end. 2.8

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