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Project Who: No 263
Project Who: #263 Emojibot

The Emojibots...and their wee little killers...

Project Who-50: doctorry.deviantart.com/galler…
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I can't lie - I was predisposed to love this episode. David Suchet is one of my all time favourite actors (and, let's be honest, the definitive Poirot), with an ability to break free from the obvious stereotype which is to his credit. Creepy old house and David Suchet in Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi. It's difficult to imagine how this could fail to deliver.



And of course, it didn't. Suchet was absolutely wonderful, crafting a fascinatingly creepy character who appeared and disappeared in the house like a ghost. For a while I thought that that was what he was, until we got the revelation there were secret passages and elevators. Bill's line about him not Suchet's character not being wood was a wonderful "it's been staring you in hte face" moment. In short, the episode could have relied on Suchet's performance and it would have been outstanding.



But we have the continuing relationship with the Doctor and Bill which is developing very nicely. I like the fact Bill wants a part of her life separate to the Doctor, but equally I like the fact that's becoming impossible. And of course there's Nardole and the Vault...



What is in that Vault? Knowing that the Simm Master is going to return, it's tempting to think that it's him in the Vault (I mean, who else would play the piano and enjoy Mexican food?), though it could be the Gomez Master as well. Or a Cyberman...At this point, I'm not entirely sure to be honest. I thought I had an idea, but last night changed that, so the mystery has returned. We don't have long until we find out the truth, but Moffat has crafted an excellent arc this season, and one that is really driving the show along nicely.



Now of course, there were other cast members in the show, and for a little bit it felt like a new episode of Class - in fact, part of me thinks they should have taken the opportunity to have Bill be a friend of Ram's or April's, though given how Class ended, I suppose that would have created more questions that may never be answered. The characters were nice enough, but obviously we didn't know enough about them to be seriously invested in their survival, and neither did Bill, which presented a little bit of an issue. Given everything that's happened, and the whole Heather thing, I'm surprised she wasn't a little more concerned about the missing Pavel, but on the other hand, she was trying to keep this part of her life free from TARDIS complications...



Bill Anderson, I think, was perhaps the genuine star of this episode. His direction was very good, creating a suitably sinister atmosphere which permeated throughout the episode. The appearance of Eliza was handled particularly well (I must admit I'm curious to know whether she was a CGI or prosthetic creation).



So, obviously, I loved it. Four episodes in, and I'm being swept along by this season. It feels like it's naturally developed from the previous two seasons, giving us a Doctor that has genuinely made a character journey. When the Doctor spoke of regeneration, there was something in Capaldi's performance that clearly hinted of things to come, and whilst people may have not taken to Capaldi's Doctor initially, I do feel that Moffat and Capaldi have given us a Doctor that is genuinely different to anything we've seen before - be it classic or new Who - and when he's gone, we're gonna miss what we had in a big way.
Frank Cottrell-Boyce's last entry to the Doctor Who canon (yeah, I said it), was the somewhat uninspiring "Forest of the Dead", which wasn't inherently bad, it was just a bit dull. Also, it sort of stretched the credibility factor a little (I'll accept a lot, but forests dissipating into fairy dust was a tough one to reconcile). This time round, he's improved. Unfortunately, it comes after an episode that was pretty amazing, and as such...



Again, there's nothing particularly wrong with the episode delivered. It's not a particularly original concept; the idea of a group of robots misunderstanding a human emotion and killing everyone because of it is a staple of science fiction, really. The use of emojibots is actually quite clever, though it does sometimes come across as having been written by someone who hasn't kept up with emojis on the whole. The yellow smiley face has evolved into such a huge variety of expressions, that the one's we got seemed a little limited - being able to explain the plot of movies with emojis has become a great game online; with the emojibots you'd struggle to explain a fairytale.



And this is probably my biggest gripe about the episode, because there seems to be a fundamental problem with the emojibots. They can convey emotions, and these include sad faces, teary faces and crying faces. So why, exactly, do they - and the Vardi -  not understand grief? At its basic level they must understand sadness, otherwise why have an emoji for it? Indeed, they must understand sadness in order to rectify it. The Doctor says no one every thought of the happiness as a thing, but that's clearly not the case. It seems a bizarre leap for a robot to decide they can't solve the problem so just get rid of it; surely they would just try harder to solve the problem, even if they do think differently. They are programmed to create happiness after all...



Putting aside this annoying obstacle, the rest of the episode is largely quite good. For the most part it's a two-hander between the Doctor and Bill, with both Capaldi and Mackie giving it all they've got and once again showing just how good this new TARDIS team. Matt Lucas gets only a short appearance at the beginning of the episode, but it's fun to see the Doctor with a snooty butler, and it provides a sharp relief for just how much the twelfth Doctor has actually changed from the acerbic traveller he was two seasons ago.



Direction and set design were also on point this week; Lawrence Gough clearly has a firm handle on how to direct Doctor Who, while Michael Pickwoad doesn't appear to be running out of fresh ideas for the series. Indeed, the location for this episode was particularly good and was very different to anything that had gone before (I'm quite fascinated to know where it was filmed, actually, as the field also gave the episode a substantially different feel).



And yet, I can't honestly say I was really fired up by "Smile". Perhaps I was expecting something a little more language based, rather than a fairly traditional sort of plot that I've seen before, and maybe that's my own fault for having false expectations. Either way, next week seems far more interesting storywise than this weeks.
I can't lie - I was predisposed to love this episode. David Suchet is one of my all time favourite actors (and, let's be honest, the definitive Poirot), with an ability to break free from the obvious stereotype which is to his credit. Creepy old house and David Suchet in Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi. It's difficult to imagine how this could fail to deliver.



And of course, it didn't. Suchet was absolutely wonderful, crafting a fascinatingly creepy character who appeared and disappeared in the house like a ghost. For a while I thought that that was what he was, until we got the revelation there were secret passages and elevators. Bill's line about him not Suchet's character not being wood was a wonderful "it's been staring you in hte face" moment. In short, the episode could have relied on Suchet's performance and it would have been outstanding.



But we have the continuing relationship with the Doctor and Bill which is developing very nicely. I like the fact Bill wants a part of her life separate to the Doctor, but equally I like the fact that's becoming impossible. And of course there's Nardole and the Vault...



What is in that Vault? Knowing that the Simm Master is going to return, it's tempting to think that it's him in the Vault (I mean, who else would play the piano and enjoy Mexican food?), though it could be the Gomez Master as well. Or a Cyberman...At this point, I'm not entirely sure to be honest. I thought I had an idea, but last night changed that, so the mystery has returned. We don't have long until we find out the truth, but Moffat has crafted an excellent arc this season, and one that is really driving the show along nicely.



Now of course, there were other cast members in the show, and for a little bit it felt like a new episode of Class - in fact, part of me thinks they should have taken the opportunity to have Bill be a friend of Ram's or April's, though given how Class ended, I suppose that would have created more questions that may never be answered. The characters were nice enough, but obviously we didn't know enough about them to be seriously invested in their survival, and neither did Bill, which presented a little bit of an issue. Given everything that's happened, and the whole Heather thing, I'm surprised she wasn't a little more concerned about the missing Pavel, but on the other hand, she was trying to keep this part of her life free from TARDIS complications...



Bill Anderson, I think, was perhaps the genuine star of this episode. His direction was very good, creating a suitably sinister atmosphere which permeated throughout the episode. The appearance of Eliza was handled particularly well (I must admit I'm curious to know whether she was a CGI or prosthetic creation).



So, obviously, I loved it. Four episodes in, and I'm being swept along by this season. It feels like it's naturally developed from the previous two seasons, giving us a Doctor that has genuinely made a character journey. When the Doctor spoke of regeneration, there was something in Capaldi's performance that clearly hinted of things to come, and whilst people may have not taken to Capaldi's Doctor initially, I do feel that Moffat and Capaldi have given us a Doctor that is genuinely different to anything we've seen before - be it classic or new Who - and when he's gone, we're gonna miss what we had in a big way.

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DoctorRy
Ryan Alcock
Australia
What can I say about me? Uh...
husband, father, actor, writer, artist, geek, counsellor, friend, lover, appreciator, fanboy, guru, fashionista, blogger

...to start...

Current Residence: Deception Bay
Favourite genre of music: All...except country
Favourite style of art: Stuff that looks good...
Operating System: Microsoft Vista...so sue me...
MP3 player of choice: iPod Video
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:icondoctorry:
DoctorRy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016
Thank you :D
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BurnedSmackdown Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
:)
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Destroyer77 Featured By Owner May 30, 2016
Happy Birthday!

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:icondoctorry:
DoctorRy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016
Thanks so much :) Very kind :D
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RD-DD1843 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2015
Thanks for the llama badge.
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RD-DD1843 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015
Like your series on Bond, Pink Panther and others.
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:icondoctorry:
DoctorRy Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2015
Thanks :) I really appreciate it :D
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DavidJHitchcock Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015   General Artist
Thank you very much for the fave on Daleks! I!
:)
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WereWolf39 Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
happy birthday!
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:icondoctorry:
DoctorRy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
Thank you muchly :)
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