Reviewed By: ANTI-RAD
Review Date: 10/16/18 11:30 pm
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The first two episodes should be noted for what they are: a subversive and hardcore symbolic statement of promoting and delivering a complex, highly symbolic and metaphorical statement on homosexuality, as a reflection of producer/writers agenda and TOTALLY INAPPRORIATE FOR DOCTOR WHO AND A FAMILY SHOW FOR 40 YEARS.
This is not a social commentary or socially universally relatable theme. It's total subversion and perversion, at minimum, in theme or questionable for what is traditionally classified as a children's show. Is ignorance and illiteracy on part of the status quo public an excuse to excuse the actual writing or show? The evidence is all here.
In order to understand this, you have to look at  the characters (not the companions but everyone else - the companions only deflect from the symbolism and current theme discussed here; they are reserved for another umbrella theme (at least) that will play out during season)  The incredible amount of concrete symbolism and metaphors in the first two episodes that qualify as an arc, ending in the newly regenerated Doctor becoming one with her Tardis.
Here's my two cents. As a disclaimer, I am pretty much firmly in the classic series aesthetic and visioning on Doctor Who, which the (formerly and more appropriately labeled) new, contemporary series "Doctor Who 2005" deviates from basically.
That said, I did enjoy a couple handfuls from Tennant and Smith's run before the plot and story arcs became too convoluted and poor in my opinion, plus poor identity politics, etc forward.
I understand after initial viewing for entertainment, the majority of people will not recognize or think about the symbolism, theme and writer/show's message. But it is important. And if one looks a little deeper and thinks about what they have viewed (like any proper mature and literate adult, at least), within the first two episodes, certain strong images and themes crawl forward as if out of a slime---WORSE THAN THE GREEN DEATH! I won't delve into all themes, as there are a couple, but throughout this and my next review, I will expose the main theme, a real problem and very nasty.
[EDIT AFTER REVIEW OF SECOND EPISODE] There are overt subversive/perverse sexualization as well as identity politics at-play (but you'll have watch both first two episodes and then read both my reviews in order to understand clear themes and imagery). This is not the fault of any actors, whom are fantastic but rather the writer for presenting sexualized symbolic imagery and a very nasty adult and fringe, agenda theme to a traditional family/children show. Evidence below in this review followed by a final episode 11.2 review.
The use of the literal 'human target,' in this episode, which is simultaneously the same target for both the monsterous alien and the monsterous writer to use as an object of exploitation for sinister purposes and subversive theme.
Besides the statements above, in superficial, plot/acting terms, the cast and actor talent was very good. Below are listed main problematic areas both superficial, entertainment-wise and also in regard its highly disturbing, appalling and inappropriate theme or manufacture.
The plot of the villain (a ridiculously stupid one) hunting some demoralized pitiful white male of absolutely no consequence (and naturally privileged working for his dad's company) was absurd and insultingly racist and bigoted if you think about the setup of the casting and then its dumping on the one white 'audience age' male.
I found the alien disturbing, the writer disturbing. As an educated person in film and literary writing, I understand symbolism and intent. The alien was a character who was a killer who takes teeth from his victims as trophies and then implants them into his face.
This scene and imagery is inarguably one if not the most jarring, disturbing and graphically memorable scenes of the debut episode, let alone the first two episodes. It is a major scene and one that any viewer will instantly recall and remember the most. It is a strong scene, probably not suitable for small children yet designed to emblazon it into viewers memory and remember this is a traditional kids show by legacy) and the underlying basis of the theme to unravel over the course of the next couple episodes.
There is clearly a Freudian subtext here, likely from the writer's own plagued subconscience or otherwise:
Teeth used in this context (and certainly the age of writer indicates his likely awareness, subconsciously or consciously) is commonly known and identified in psychology dating back to Freud and used in literature/film since as symbolically referencing and generally referring to sex, anxiety or generally sexual repression.
Here is typical summary,
"According to the classical Freudian interpretation, teeth falling in dreams are considered symbols of castration and fear regarding the male genitalia. For men as well as women, such dreams could relate to anxiety about sexuality or sexual interaction with a partner.
Beyond this literal sexual and psychoanalytical analysis, this symbol can be interpreted as a representation of the fear of being deprived of your personal power. As an extension, common interpretations revolve around the idea of powerlessness, aggression, and concern about your safety."
I thought the alien after its unmasking was gross, disturbing and thus the common Freudian symbolism naturally sprung to mind, and I found it out-of-place of conventional or at least traditional Doctor Who pandering to more an action/horror movie sensibility in aesthetic. Doctor Who was usually not so overtly violent or aggressive in a sense. For example, you can look at many classic Doctor Who monsters and they clearly represent a symbol or metaphor. So what does this monster/alien represent. Yep, exactly what I just stated! Here we have a horror movie killer alien with a disturbing character and a really stupid premise.
Overall, it was actually predictable after the viewer suddenly finds out, minus rationality or decent choice of writer, that the demoralized, "alien"-ated white male schlub is the target of the (symbolically sexually repressed) killer alien. Interesting. REFER TO FREUDIAN DEFINITION (potential model for writer, or simply a twisted subconsciousness perverse nightmare from the mind of a creep, the bounty hunter and demoralised white young male elements of the writer's own ego)...
And then naturally we come to the conclusion-action sequence:
More, symbolism, note how this all cascades and absolutely was written and structured (literally and figuratively!) Two cranes = two phallic aka penises almost touching.
Casting was generally fine. The companions were good actors. The grandma super-hero bit was pretty dumb and totally unrealistic, but to no fault of the actress who did a good job with what she was given.
My impression of Jodie Whittaker was that she was a sort of amalgamation of-of-sorts leaning towards a 7th/10th Doctor with a few notes of even 5/6th Doctors in the far background. Naturally Whittaker has to find a way to relate her being a female Doctor and a Doctor in general to the former Doctors, so I understand this. Yet her personality as her own Doctor was largely still yet to be defined by end of episode. Not a major problem though. Being an attractive woman and as an actress one could tell that she was interested in the role, so it was hard not to like her, which I am fine with and simply would hope she can get good, intelligent material that embodied intellect and science-fiction rather than modern day action triteness.
After watching this debut episode I cannot help but think of the grave blunder, in my opinion, of relying on one writer to carry and define the season, especially if this episode was any indication. I think the show would be better, written and framed as adventures like classic era Doctor Who and with different writers and standalone story arcs, not a larger season convoluted arc [But I guess that would be too much work]. This episode shows a standalone, but I am making perhaps a rash assumption that it will devolve into a typical season long arc based on the mention of ONE writer? I hope this is not the case. I have no idea why a season wouldn't be broken up into several stories, offering a better chance of hit-or-miss, instead of one big probably miss. (How pessimistic is that!! :) Just a thought.
THE TWIN (MORAL) DILEMMA
At the end of the day, cast is fine, writing is the major concern. In fact, after writing these reviews, I think I will call it quits on principle, unless the show gets a new writer/writers. There is clearly something wrong, unethical and quite frank wrong-headed here.. I do not like people or things masque(e)rading as a family or childrens show that have zero integrity and seek to harm or thrust poor idealogies on them or general public viewership --- symbolically, in a subsconscious adult literary manner, or otherwise. I have nothing but contempt for people who seek to propagandize, exploit or harm the elderly, pet animals, or children.
I hope viewers get no politics, identity politics OR WORSE subconscious symbolic nightmares like this with dumb and predictable aliens and action sequences! But, in fact after viewing the next episode, I think it is too late.
I have been a fan of Doctor Who for 40 years and I personally identify with Doctor Who for the characterization of intelligent, curious (meaning not sexuality or violence), and non-violent characters as well as simply universally accessible imaginative stories.
Pandering to an already culturally brain-dead public demanding bigoted politics or topical perspectives, dumb-downed action and violence is simply a bad direction in my opinion --- this episode was not a deal-breaker but only strictly due to the likability of Whittaker as the Doctor.
As a sidenote, in the past of Doctor Who had several very intelligent companions (whom also happened to be women) - brainiacs like Zoe, Liz and the two Romanas. In my view, purely for benefit of the show or direction I would have taken, the new Doctor should be at least noticeably and obviously intelligent as such a companion. I appreciate super-intelligent women, and as far as characters, ones that are geared towards logic, intellect, neutrality and relating to wisdom---wait, sound like the timeless and contiguous character of the Doctor??
ENTER SONIC SCREW-DRIVER
Making a sonic screwdriver out of a fricking spoon, defying logic and without common-sense, appropriate materials at hand does not make an intelligent Doctor by default. It turns the whole affair, along with it deviant plot and alien character, a farce and one based on what really shouldn't be seen as smart in any sense.
Sorry, Sheffield Steel and a spoon doesn't really justify the making of a super-advanced piece of technological equipment out of a common mechanics shop. Makes zero sense and is impossible. In past Doctor Who eras, the Doctor would have 100% had his "toolbox" aka Tardis to manufacture one. This exactly what I am talking about when I say "dumb-downed" - this reflects current Doctor Who and direction being polar opposite of its establishing show about intelligence (along with practicality, sources, basic morality, universal truths, logic) defeating stupidity. But I understand this latter point is only possible depending on the writers, producers and creators possessing these traits themselves in order for such concepts to translate and manifest.
Is the new sonic screwdriver the ultimate symbol for non-rationally, one that denies scientific or common sense, in order to really sell new Doctor Who Barbie dolls and cheap merchandise? The integrity of the whole show and motive is really in question here: is it to produce good Doctor, benevolent stories or just make money, super-corporate BBC-style and then to propagate identity (and hard adult sex) politics to children? Because this is what is happening in reality - with plenty of proof right in the episodes.
The episode was watchable, but barely and nothing to return to, yet again not a total deal-breaker in my initial viewing for base entertainment as at least it was more-or-less a standalone introduction. Too bad, later I realized and connected the dots to pass a verdict that this is in fact DE-BASED entertainment and based on the first two episodes, not one that I will support further unless new writing is employed. Trust is lost at this point, out of gate.
The highly concerning element here is the writer: the obvious and nasty warped symbolism and theme. Not impressed in a positive way but in a highly negative manner. The cast were fine.