Oh, the history of that! Our intrepid adventurers not only end up in America in episode 3 of season 11 of Doctor Who, but land on the eve of one of the most important events of the civil rights movement, the Rosa Parks bus protest.
There has been much speculation that our thirteenth doctor should remember the first doctor, played by William Hartnell from 1963 to 1965. With similar work done by David Bradley in the regeneration adventure of Twelfth to thirteenth, Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 14, no It was hard to see the signs.
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Even the trio of Compañeros is a tip of the hat for the first incarnation of El Doctor. The First Doctor traveled with his granddaughter and two school teachers and his adventures often took them to historical events, an educational by-product for children attached to the show.
Which brings us to the thirteenth doctor and HIS fellow trio in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, meeting Rosa Parks in person.
For those of you who have not paid attention, Fellow Ryan is BLACK and the brazen, institutionalized and widely accepted racism of the time he receives it in Montgomery is incredibly hard to see.
Specifically, Ryan is slapped by a white man and threatened with lynching for daring to return a glove to the man's wife. Ryan and Yaz also stand out as undesirable in a restaurant, although Ryan handles it with some ingenuity.
Waitress: We do not serve blacks.
Ryan: Well, because I do not eat them.
It's an episode of extreme highs and lows for Ryan. When he follows Rosa Parks to get more information, she lets him serve coffee at the meeting that takes place in his house. There, he shakes hands with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the staring look on his face is simply amazing.
Incidentally, we have not seen evidence of Ryan's chronic clumsiness since it was introduced in episode 1 of season 11 of Doctor Who. I predict that it will eventually be important and it is good that it is not its defining characteristic, but I was actually anticipating that I would spill coffee on Dr. King.
Ryan can even hit the bad guy with an alien weapon. It's not a doctor-approved tactic, of course, but Ryan is starting to become a first-class personality.
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(Honestly, I'm surprised that there's no more follow-up by The Doctor on the unauthorized use of the temporary displacement weapon given its great anti-gun stance in episode 2 of season 11 of Doctor Who, but that could happen later).
At the same time, his discussion with Yaz about the state of the world they come from drives the fact that racism is still a problem today. Yaz pushes a more optimistic outlook though.
Now I can be a police officer because people like Rosa Parks fought those battles for me. For us. And in fifty-three years, they will have a black president as leader. Who knows where they will be fifty years later? That is the appropriate change.
Graham and Yaz are also proving to be amazingly effective Partners. Graham's practical approach is refreshing, although the generation gap between him and the other two is much played by the comic effect.
I appreciate that everyone has bought this adventure and I really love that Graham asks the questions I ask while I watch. For example, when they checked into the motel, I wondered, as Graham did, why they were not going back to T.A.R.D.I.S.
Also, after being expelled from the restaurant, I wondered if they had eaten anything since the landing. Graham clarified that too. His pragmatism is a joy for detractors like me.
Graham: We'll stop somewhere else to eat, will not we?
The doctor: There's no time, Graham!
Graham: Have you noticed that that happens a lot? I need regular food.
A good bad is always exciting to contemplate. Krasko is about 7/10 in that respect. He is smart and incredibly motivated by his racism (?). He has planned his "story push" well, leaving the team in almost every turn. It also has a menacing aspect of the first category.
Lose marks for being a TERRIBLE shot with your temporary scroll weapon. And what about climbing the gas tank when I was chasing the team? It's not as if they were so well hidden where they were.
Maybe, was he positioning himself to cover the fact that he could not hurt them? The same with appearing on Rosa's way home. So many factors lurking and creep, but there is no real reason to be there.
Of course, he brings many toys and things to the table. Not only does it carry the temporary scroll weapon but it uses a vortex manipulator like Captain Jack Harkness (SQUEEE!).
In addition, the Doctor calls attention to the tattoos on his wrist, which identify him as an inmate of Stormcage Prison (where River Song was also imprisoned). That gives him the opportunity to brag about his crimes.
The doctor: what were you [in prison] for first?
Krasko: If I tell you, I could color your vision of me. Was young. No one was injured. Well, some people were killed. A few hundred people, a thousand tops. Two thousand.
What is not answered at all (especially because Ryan catches him in the past) is how an interstellar sociopath comes to look at the American civil rights movement as the beginning of his problems. Your thoughts on this would be very welcome. I am perplexed.
Historically, the villain of this story is James Blake, or "Blake the Serpent," as Grace used to call him, the bus driver who called Rosa's police when she did not give up her seat.
His representation here is brilliant without being brutal. As a driver, he is clear about the letter of the law he is holding, but what really impressed me was the fact that he immediately abandoned his fishing vacation to drive again when he learned that the blacks were going to organize a sit-down on his bus that night.
That, my friends, is a committed racist.
And it's not like I'm alone. Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, does nothing to attract the sensibilities of a modern audience. The script does not throw punches. Quite literal.
From the man who attacks Ryan, the pub staff, to Office Mason, the attitudes expressed and the actions taken by the citizens they meet are the product of racism in its most unbridled and unbridled state.
In contrast to her cowardly hatred and ignorance, Rosa Parks is courageous in her convictions and strengthened by her belief in education and example.
Education makes you unstoppable.
There's a lot to pay attention to when you see Doctor Who online. The writers continually build clues for the final conflict of the season while throwing the Easter eggs for the classic whovians. There is simply a lot to do and the pace does not stop at all.
Meanwhile, it is clear that they are not afraid to change things a bit. Not only did the premiere have no introduction at all, but "Rosa" ends without the traditional music of Doctor Who, which is a marked change of routine.
In contrast, "Rise Up" by Andra Day plays in the background, since Rosa Parks is arrested and taken off the bus and then plays with the credits as well (after the little history lesson of the Doctor).
How is this new style of Doctor Who sitting with you? Are the changes refreshing or annoying?
Do we expect more Stenza scams or do you think Krasko will be joining our team soon? And, on a controversial note, did Ryan just "cry" to Krasko with that movement or what?
Diana Keng He is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.