Ah, Extremis. You were certainly the most devise episode of Series 10 to date. But all that matters here is what I think. After all, it’s my site and you chose to come here. So, what was my take on Extremis?
I loved it.
That could be all I wrote, as that sums it up. I didn’t find it too difficult to follow, I thought the writing was decent and the performances were great. It was dark. Doctor Who does well when it’s dark, especially when Peter Capaldi is the Doctor. The Pope scenes were humorous and then you get the existential crisis at the end. Are we all just in a simulation? There’s only one way to find out. Think of a number.
Statistically, maybe one of you will be freaked out. You should be. You’re not real. As for the rest of you, well done. You are real, but I might not be. Who knows? If you’d have told me before this series started that midway through (can you believe it?) that Nardole “dies”, I would have probably been rather happy; but I wasn’t. Matt Lucas yet again shows he’s a great actor, and he brings Nardole to life brilliantly.
Then there was Missy. Michelle Gomez gave my favourite performance of the evil Mistress to date; even though we only saw her briefly in the flashbacks. I can’t tell yet (I’m sure we’ll work it out in the future episodes) whether or not Missy was genuinely terrified of being killed, or whether it was all a ruse. That is how you act. I know I shouldn’t trust Missy as a character; but Michelle’s performance made me question my own judgement. It was phenomenal.
What surprised me the most though, was the public reaction. Now, I know that Doctor Who has its fair share of divisive episodes, and you can normally tell straight away which ones they’d be. Think of Hell Bent, Kill The Moon and Love & Monsters. They are divisive episodes. I was genuinely surprised by how divisive Extremis was though. It seemed online that people either loved it (like me) or hated it. Now, I’m never one to say that someone’s opinion is wrong; but I’ve yet to see a single person in the middle. There’s nobody saying online that Extremis was an ‘okay’ episode. Which is odd. And I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s because we’re all part of a simulation. We’ve been programmed to have extreme opinions on this episode. You have to either love it or hate it. Maybe it was intended to be divisive. Maybe that was the whole point. See if this can start a war within the fandom. The Pro-Extremis against the Extremis-Protesters. What if that was the plan all along? What even is real anymore?
That’s one question I was left wondering, how much of Doctor Who has been a simulation run by the Monks? What if Extremis was just a simulation in which they realised they’re in a simulation whilst still in a greater simulation? What if the universe in which Doctor Who is real is shown on TV to us as part of our simulation to make us realise that we’ve been watching, and also are, in a simulation?
You can’t think too much about these things though. It’s probably just Steven Moffat’s writing.
Before I go this week, think of one more number.
See you next week at The Pyramid At The End of The World…
Thanks to Stuart Manning for allowing me to use his poster at the top of this article; if you want to see more of Stuart’s amazing work, click here.