Episode Discussion: Dot and Bubble

This thread contains open SPOILERS for the episode Dot and Bubble, and any previous episodes. Please only discuss this episode here, use the other threads for discussions about future episodes.

Fifth episode of this season is “Dot and Bubble”! If you want to discuss the others, head to their respective threads.

There’s a trailer here:

This’ll be posted a few hours before the episode, so you can speculate and such before it comes out here. You can reference earlier episodes, but the main discussion in this thread should be for Dot and Bubble.

The episodes should be on iPlayer and Disney+ at midnight BST, or 4 pm PST/7 pm EST in the US.

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@SweetAIBelle I think you may have used the wrong TARDIS Guide link :slightly_smiling_face:


Well, it had bubbles in it…

Alright, suppose I should switch the placeholder out. :k9:


Here’s the Disney+ link for the Guide: Disney+ | Video Player


So, Dot and Bubble. That was… interesting. I like the whole social media/glued to our tech social commentary. I was a little less enthused with the anti-rich themes. That said, it was a good episode, if a bit Doctor-lite. This felt a little more like Love and Monsters and Blink in its brand of Doctor-lite than last week. It also felt almost like Barbie in a way. Like a Doctor Who meets Barbie meets Social Media taken to its extremes. I thought the main actress playing Lindy was excellent, she did great at playing the airhead influencer, but also did well with the more subtle and emotional scenes. I’m very interested to see where all these Susan Twist cameos are headed, and next week will be interesting if for no other reason than we get something not penned by RTD.


I??? Do not know how I feel about this?? I feel more confused about how I feel about this than I did 73 Yards lol


Welp, I am not so sure how to feel about this Episode, so rather than having any cohesive thoughts, I will just start my ramble. I must say I am glad RTD isn’t doing the old hits and is fairly experimental, nothing worked for me (devils chord was one that I wish I could love as many others did, but sadly that was not the case, anyway back to D&B). I will say visually wise I still enjoy it through and through, one thing I can almost always praise in this Series of Who the Directing is pretty solid or even amazing (73 Yards is a prime example). Here it’s also quite good. I enjoyed the costume and dig the Slug Creatures quite a lot.

The big one with this is here is pretty much the Commentary, I was already a bit nervous how RTD would handle it. Some of his more wonky lines in like the Giggle went this route and while I think TV or Film can explore it, everytime I hear something has a social media commentary in it, I am like “Oh no”. This one I am not quite sure how to feel, for once I will say I like how it’s definitely more than just “Social media bad” as many lazy commentaries would go, still I still have to articulate a lot of my thoughts on it. In terms of Lindy, I enjoyed the Performance, I think the Actress did a stellar job and I like how she is written in some ways. Like the fact that the more time we spend with her, the more moments she has where I felt something was off with her. As always, Millie did an excellent job and Ncuti was quite wonderful. I feel like one thing I am not quite sure is the tone, I enjoyed the more campy moments such as when that Goth Kid suddenly got eaten by the Slug Creature or the Slapstick, but I am not quite sure if the episode could handle all the tone shifts. At some moments it felt very campy, at some others it didnt. Not to say that campy cant be a bit darker, I mean looking at a serial as paradise towers, it has its darker undertones, as well ideas but I feel like that one handles it maybe a bit better. Again I am very conflicted with this Episode, there are aspects I enjoyed and some, where I am pretty mixed on it. I appreciate the ambition for sure, but I am not sure if it fully worked. Probably will rewatch it before I can give a proper Opinion on it, then a pretty non-cohesive ramble.


For sure, I could not agree more - that drastic tone shift in the middle when wassisface September died was so startlingly jarring my friend and I watching both just went oh huh???

The actress of Lindy was absolutely phenomenal and I loved all the design and stuff. I guess I just feel how people did last week about 73 Yards - I have more questions about the society than were provided. And I think that a little was the point - this very much felt like a Thinking About It episode. As I just said to my friend, I suppose it’s trying to make you reflect on how group mentality works and how hostility towards outsiders hurts everyone.

I think I enjoyed it. I think I have to think more about it. This is definitely the first ep all series that I’ve felt absolutely compelled to rewatch.


Yeah, I get that! Honestly I feel like going by the reactions I see for this one, this seems to be a love it/hate it episode, for me personally? I am not quite sure where I stand on that, I think I enjoyed it? But there are still so many aspects I am not quite sure about. Especially the tone shift was jarring looking back, I probably said it already a few times, but I am not quite keen on RTD’s campy writing, sometimes it works for me, many times it doesn’t. I just kinda wish it came naturally and not a bit out of the blue. But yeah, definitely one I have to give another watch to properly say something on it.


100%, I’m surprised that all the reactions I’m seeing are hard ‘I loved it!!!’ because like you, I’m feeling very generally positive but definitely need to mull it over a little more to solidify my opinions.


I liked it! It was weird in a good way! I had fun with it for the most part, wish we could’ve seen more Doctor & Ruby though. The ending with Ncuti was amazing. I’m partially conflicted by it but I have to say, there’s not much that jumps out at me as something I didn’t like. I just liked it!


I get more and more attached to this ep every minute down the way. It’s better than 73 Yards for me, especially the ending. I hate all the bright colours and their too-clean city but it’s kinda the point.


I was expecting not to like this episode beforehand, but I was actually really enjoying it until the moment when Lindy threw Ricky under the bus and everything else she did after that. I couldn’t believe that we (& the Doctor & Ruby) had been rooting for such a horrible person all this time!

Once again we didn’t get to see much of the Doctor & Ruby, although Millie in particular really owned it whenever she was onscreen.

I just find the episodes this season so random - there’s no cohesion in storyline, tone or genre whatsoever.


Coming out of a long hibernation mostly to say that I need to eat a lot of the bad words I have said about Russell T Davies in the run up to this season. Between 73 Yards and this, I don’t want to call this series an instant classic, but these are two of the best modern Doctor Who episodes made in years.

This is how you make a Doctor-lite episode in 2024. This is Russell operating inside his wheelhouse - this is the man who made Children of Earth taking a knife to the guts of society, but also managing to cradle it tenderly in his arms. This is a masterpiece of duality; the moments where Lindy hugs for the first time, or literally has to learn to walk, these are all things that inspire tremendous empathy. It’s not tonally undercut by the reveal that she’s a massive racist. We’re not supposed to identify, we’re supposed to feel sorry for her, and it works.

We’re supposed to feel like The Doctor feels at the end of the episode. Ncuti’s speech, “I don’t care what you think, I am going to try and save your lives if you let me, just let me!” (paraphrasing) is such a tremendous “I am The Doctor” moment and I really hope it doesn’t get slept on just because he’s going to go “Full Capaldi” in the next Christmas special.

Between this and 73 Yards I’m pretty gobsmacked with the dedication to storytelling, and the lack of punch pulling. Is it sometimes unsubtle? Yes, but when were we expecting subtlety from RTD? Except he also does manage it, in the way he characterizes The Doctor.

This is a classic Hartnell/Troughton era weird science story. What with the protag in full Polly regalia the entire time, a society predicated on shipping their young off to a colony, except the colony is all dead, there are aliens and no one will listen, etc, etc, all the hallmarks of a classic late 60s story where Troughton solves the problem by inventing LSD, then fucks off and leaves all the attractive young hippies to solve the problem. And then, like clockwork, the Doctor Who nerds come along and say “well, they’d probably actually all die? Doesn’t The Doctor leave an awful lot of terrible things in his wake?”, not to mention the Toymaker drilling that into him in his last incarnation.

So at the end of this very 60s story, where there’s the moment when they can leave and let them fend for themselves and inevitably die, he changes. This is where the “I’m doing therapy in reverse” thing pays off for me, because he actively chooses to be better than he was. His TARDIS IS bigger on the inside. He can take them all if he wants to. And he actually offers.

And they tell him no. And the subtle work being done throughout to tell you that this society has more wrong to it than slugs and social media hits you like a punch in the gut. It’s the same moment Jodie got in The Witchfinders, really. When you think or maybe want Russell to shy away from the fact that the Doctor is a Black man now, and that there’s a very significant chance any spacefaring society derived from human culture could be extremely racist, they don’t. They make it the crux of this entire ending. The Doctor is rejected.

And he asks them again. And they still tell him no. This is as bleak as it gets but also is a perfect moment, mid season, for this Doctor to have. It shows the change, but it also reminds him and us that the universe is unkind, maybe there’s more wrong here than he can fix, no matter how hard he tries.

And yes, next week it’s bird people. But the stories are maturing week on week, the show looks as visually enthralling as it ever has, the directing is fantastic. But I am happy to have been proven wrong by Doctor Who this past fortnight. Thank God for it, truly.


Wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this one right after watching other than it was a bit of a downer, but once the actual meaning of that final scene hit me it really cemented itself as something special.

I love how the basic plot has the structure of a story about how social media is bad and people would be better off returning to nature, which is the kind of boomer take people were dreading from it, but actually subverts it into something much more cutthroat. Lindy and the other characters think they’ve just gone in this life-changing journey that’s changed their perspective, but they’re actually still in the same spot as before, being awful people who haven’t learned their lesson.

On that note, the racism angle was extremely powerful. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realise that’s what they were going for at first, which probably speaks more about my own privilege. I just assumed they didn’t want to go because the Doctor was not from Finetime or not rich, but for the actual reason to be something so apalling makes it extremely impactful, and something that couldn’t be done with any previous lead actor. Speaking of which, this has to be Gatwa’s best performance so far. His Doctor has been portrayed as being particularly sensitive, so it’s only fitting that his defining moment isn’t some grand epic speech, but a sheer display of raw despair and frustration over an evil that just can’t be defeated. Very brave scene, definitely one that will be remembered for a very long time.

While the ending does carry the whole thing, I did enjoy the rest of the episode before that. To me it worked both on a surface level, a story about a girl being rescued by the Doctor and Ruby, and in hindsight, knowing all the ways this framework gets turned on its head. It does have some issues - I’m mainly confused by aspects like why the slugs were necessary in the first place and how the planet even functions when the Homeworld has already been decimated, as well as underwhelmed at how the big mystery about the killing order just boiled down to their names - but overall I find myself liking it more the more I think about it, which is always a good sign.

Didn’t mean to ramble so much, so in the end what I’m trying to say is this: Ricky September is the breakout character of the season and deserved better.


Does that make Ricky September this generation’s “Pex Lives!”?


If it makes you feel any better, black guy over here. I also didn’t realize at first that they were going the racism angle and thought it was just because the Doctor wasn’t rich and was not from Finetime. My dad actually found out first before me and my mom because of a piece of dialogue I never caught. I actually feel kind of ashamed for not realizing at first but hey we live and learn. And knowing it now makes the ending that much appalling and bleak.


Ricky September is absolutely the Pex of this story, and in keeping with RTD, his off-screen headshot was exactly the sort of horrible end I knew he was going to come to. I was not expecting the context of the horrible end and I think it’s going to be the thing that sticks with me for quite a while. When I think about it, the moment where she basically offers him up to save her own life, and then almost instantly rationalizes it into her worldview is as sickening an indictment of humanity as those moments in Children of Earth where they talk about using school league tables to determine which children get taken away. It’s nasty television; everyone thinks that the Black Mirror episode this pulls from is Nosedive, but it’s really Shut Up And Dance. This is easily into VNA territory, and feels like a very real progression from the 7/Ace stories that were pushing these sorts of boundaries (not often successfully, but still doing it) in the 90s.


The alphabetical order thing is probably the clumsiest part of the narrative, and I do think it’s simply there to serve in what is basically the first of a few third act rug-pulls. It’s forgivable to me because it serves the story, and as we’re already suspending a bit of disbelief because we’re in a format screw, the edges are a bit smoother. Same thing with the pretty rapid deus-ex-machina of the evil AI - this story could have maybe done with an extra ten for just a little bit of worldbuilding, but there again there’s a chance you lose so much of the frantic claustrophobic pace of the storytelling.


Alright I’ve watched it, I though it was pretty good. First half felt very “down with the kids” “damn kids always on they phones”, second half was much more interesting. My main thing is Torchwood did it better, looking at Moderation and Doomscroll for the whole social media thing.