Which confuses me, because I'm not a fan of the franchise, like you guys are: I could give a shit. So comparing this episode to any episode, of any Doctor, makes no sense to me. This episode, like any episode of any show, could be awesome. Instead, it is shitty. No reference to other writers or actors or eras there. Quality is implicit. Judge on the merits, not on your love of the franchise or writer or actors involved. They'll still be around. And no, there's not a rule or quota that every show should suck every now and then. "Fear Her" should not exist. This episode should not exist, in its current form. It should be five episodes. There's a whole season contained in this episode, if you wanted to do it right.
But so if I blow off the seriously nasty and deranged tedium that comes out of that, that also means I don't get to own any of the affection and encouragement and strength I've been lucky enough to receive -- before this fucking recaplet shook someone's world to its foundation -- or when I apologized for its faults, earning backlash from a whole other part of the population, because it's all just response to pretty simple input. Validate the fandom: Get a cookie. Point out that the show and the fandom are occasionally exactly what the rest of the world says they are: No cookie. We don't drink the sand because we're thirsty, we drink the sand because we don't know the difference. If I get basement-dweller blowback for taking it seriously, and LARP-dork blowback for not taking it seriously, then the solution is to stop caring altogether. The recaps can only improve. And if you are loving this season, based on two episodes, I'm so happy to hear it, because that means you are happy, and I approve of joy and want more of it in the world. But for me? Man, if I did love this show, I'd just be heartbroken this week.
The Starship UK floats in a nebula, cardboard buildings blinking like the Tonight Show backdrop: Kent, Surrey, Devon. Inside, little kids are lining up at the end of a class day, going one by one past a robot voice giving them praise for their schoolwork. One little ginger kid drags his feet and finally steps up to the robot voice, which is a fortune-teller sort of creepy box like Zoltan, with a smiling cracked man's face inside smiling: "Bad boy, Timmy. Zero," it says, flipping its face around to show an angrier one.
Timmy shivers and stares, and out in the hall his older friend tells him not to get on the "vator" having received a zero: He'll get sent "below." He's confronted by some sort of monk with a winding key around his neck, and the music gets very excited as the friend says she'll wait for him, taking the long way instead of the elevator.