Perhaps it isn’t fair to compare Lilith Limited’s Allison Road to Hideo Kojima’s P.T. and the Silent Hills game that could have been, but the parallels are there. From vengeful white-clad ghost onryōwomen, locked doors, a ruined sense of domesticity, a slow building of dread and suspense, eerie radio broadcasts, to even so far as referencing “Dad was such a drag” there is definitely some overlap between Allison Road‘s prototype gameplay and the late and lamented Silent Hills demo.
Credit: Playthrough by TacticVisionz.
However, the comparison ends there. Whereas P.T. was a demo with a closed reality of cyclical torment that slowly reveals its gruesome and surreal nature, Allison Road is an upcoming game with a house filled with a first-person voice-over perspective, some Christian iconography, odd noises becoming more frequent, a property you can survey from the outside, and eventually mysteries you can explore during the day … if the horrors of the night do not destroy you first.
But while Allison Road might have started off as a small fan project by Chris Kesler and eventually the endeavour of the expanded team Lilith Limited, its prototype gameplay has taken the YouTube Let’s Play community by storm and become a green-lit phenomenon on Steam.
And now Allison Road‘s path has branched out into a Kickstarter Campaign. While Silent Hills would have been on the PlayStation 4, Allison Road is planned to be on PlayStation, XboxOne, Mac, Linux, and PC: while having an Occulus Rift interface. Kickstarter rewards include designing a scare for the game, and a standalone Lucid Dream PC game set in the Allison Road universe.
Currently the Kickstarter Campaign is receiving a massive amount of support and rewards are disappearing fast. It is hoped by Lilith Limited that their nightmare will commence in 2016.
Let’s say we are still playing a game called Doctor Who. It’s to be expected that in a game between The Doctor, Missy, and Davros that the rules will change constantly, but imagine that both “The Magician’s Apprentice” and the more recent “Witch’s Familiar” share a one-word thesis statement.
What is that word?
Before we answer that, and realize why that is the correct answer, let’s look at what we might have gotten wrong. The conceit of “The Magician’s Apprentice” was that Davros was still in a nihilistic mood from “Journey’s End.” He already knew he was dying, there seemed to be nothing he could do about it, and it looked like it was going to be a case of “If I go down, I am taking you with me, along with my stupid, disobedient children.”
In retrospect, it might have also seemed clear that The Doctor symbolized the magician — who appeared out of nowhere on Skaro in the past to abandon a young Davros to Handmines — and that Davros was the apprentice to the ultimate sleight of hand and disappearing act of The Doctor. The act of abandonment and helplessness was changed by Davros into the creation of the ultimate survival of the strongest lifeforms that were fully dependable: on exterminating the hell out of you.
Some of this makes sense and you would totally be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Steven Moffat attempted to lead us to: that Davros would force the magician of The Doctor to complete his disappearing act and help him go back in time to kill him as a child and destroy The Doctor’s own sense of compassion.
But there is something to be said about super-villains. The best super-villains are those with two qualities: complexity and, strangely enough, optimism. Most super-villains have a plan: even and especially when they are near defeat. It’s kind of like being a magician, or the apprentice to one. There is always something up your sleeve: which is even more incredible when you’re Davros and you only have one cybernetic arm left.
Now let’s bring Clara and Missy into the act. I know that a day or so before “The Witch’s Familiar” I remembered that Missy and Clara both have vortex manipulators. It explains a lot. So of course neither of them were dead. Right now I’m just going to say: if this episode will be remembered for anything aside from the compelling and uncomfortably poignant dialogue between The Doctor and Davros, it will be for the pure psychological torture porn situations in which Missy puts Clara.
This is literal. We start off the episode seeing Clara hanging upside down from a rope on a desolate tree while Missy is sharpening a long stick. Of course, Missy isn’t going to make it that easy. I will give you several guesses as to who the witch and who the familiar are in this dynamic. Clara doesn’t so much need Missy to help her rescue The Doctor so much as survive the horrors of the Dalek City itself. Missy explains the situation and lets Clara come to her own conclusions, but she doesn’t make it easy for her. But whereas The Doctor might have a tough love attitude with Clara at times, and still quite a lot of leeway, we are always reminded of that scene in “The Magician’s Apprentice” where Missy compares Clara to a pet.
Missy manipulates Clara. She threatens her in an almost playful manner. She comes up with plans and makes Clara do all of the dirty work. You can see Missy’s utter disdain, and amusement at hanging Clara from a tree, tossing her into the Dalek City Sewer, the psychological game of turning her back to a stake-wielding Clara only to remind her of her powerlessness and disarm her with ease, and then making her sit in Dalek armour after killing its original host, and always leaving Clara wondering if and when she is going to turn her over the Daleks.
This last act of Missy’s is especially terrifying when you remember “Asylum of the Daleks” where one aspect of Clara, Oswin, was turned into a Dalek. If this Clara has any of Oswin’s memories, you can imagine her reliving that lost life over and again.
Clara is even more of a plot device in this episode and somehow loses more agency than before under Missy’s seemingly arbitrary but ultimately meticulous cruelty. It almost makes up for The Doctor, yet again, trying to convince us that right now Clara is his “be all and end all”: and the most important person in the show.
So here we have a magician who is drawn into the act of his inadvertent apprentice, and a witch manipulating her familiar into her own scheme. These dynamics will overlap in final acts against The Doctor.
The backdrop is excellent as well. We are shown more about Dalek physiology and the differences between the Cybermen that interact with their systems through the repression of emotion, and the Daleks that express their power through anger and hatred. There has always been something poetic about how the Daleks speak and Moffat has Missy explain this in an extremely clever and disturbing manner. I mean, who knew “I love you” in the Dalek language meant something along the lines of “Exterminate exterminate.” But the Dalek Sewers are even more beautiful, in a horrific way. Daleks don’t consume enough to make a lot of waste. However, they have to put their dead somewhere. There is just one thing … Daleks are extremely hard to kill, and they do not die of old age. Imagine vast underground chambers where dying and rotting Daleks merge together into dark filth filled with pain, helplessness, and nothing but their own hate. It’s the literal foundation of Dalek society.
But then we travel above the Sewers and back to the top. You might find it kind of sad just how the interaction between The Doctor and Davros actually goes.
After The Doctor steals Davros’ chair — and you realize that Davros pretty much has no legs, or an arm and you get the lovely spectacle of seeing his metal spine sticking out of his torso — we get another “Genesis of The Daleks” moment where Davros tells The Doctor that he has been keeping himself alive through wires and tubes that connect him to all the Dalek race and entices him to destroy them.
And then we have the greatest feat of the episode. Whereas seeing the usually self-sanctimonious Clara humbled constantly is nice (there isn’t even a Shut Up Clara Mini-Game in this entire episode), Moffat actually manages to make us … feel sorry for Davros.
Oh it’s true. We know that Davros is most likely planning something, and he is, but you realize that everything he is saying to The Doctor is absolutely true from his perspective. Davros really did want to save his own race. He saved them by his own standards. He wanted to live so that he could further aid them in surviving and thriving. What is really touching in a weird kind of way is seeing the rapport between these age-old enemies: and Davros accepting his own mortality is reminiscent of The Face of Boe dying. It makes you want Davros to die this episode: for an entirely different reason. And look: it turns out he still has his eyes after all … and he’s crying.
But he probably stole those eyes from someone else because, what a surprise, he tricks The Doctor and tries to use his regeneration energy to make his Daleks more powerful: and keep himself alive. It is kind of a let down to be honest. Here we had a story that could have been quite poignant: with an antagonist that actually shows some humanity before he dies, or perhaps just wants The Doctor to give him a mercy kill.
I mean, it’s pretty horrible to be Davros when you think about it: the terrible will that drove him through all that pain and torment — by others and his own hand — to create a legacy that has tried to destroy him so many times. Or at the very least there was that hint of Davros getting his ultimate moral revenge.
But as I said before, super-villains have to be generally optimistic — read: ambitious — and Davros and his treachery makes sense for what he is.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only heavy-handed villainous final act. After Missy actually rescues The Doctor — and hilariously pokes Davros in his one eye — she tries to trick The Doctor into killing Clara: who is still trapped in her Dalek armour and can only say “I’m a Dalek” and “exterminate.” Or so it seems.
And here is where things get interesting. Aside from the fact that Davros is, in The Doctor’s own words, “a moron” for not realizing that regeneration energy would affect the rotting Daleks in the Sewers — “The Sewers are revolting” being one of the best lines in this entire episode — Missy’s long and elaborate story about how she tried to save Clara from “the Dalek” would trip so many alarm bells in The Doctor’s mind that even the TARDIS crashing would be more subtle. Surely Missy understood that The Doctor knew she was more of a liar than he is and is far less trustworthy.
But here is where the game reaches its most important point. Remember the beginning of this article: how I asked you if you were going to find a one-word thesis statement for this two-part season’s opener, what would it be?
Daleks have a limited vocabulary. Aside from the Cult of Skaro, only one other Dalek said a word that was an anathema to its existence: such as when the Dalek in “Dalek” asked The Doctor for “pity.”
Clara, through her Dalek armour, asked for “mercy.”
And there it is. “Mercy.” How is that even possible for a Dalek to say without throwing up a little bit in its non-existent orifice of a mouth? But that word is the thesis of both “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar.” It is The Doctor’s greatest strength.
Cue in the timey-wimey. That’s right. It turns out Sexy didn’t die. TARDISes apparently have the ability to disperse into scattered molecules. So Sexy takes The Doctor back in time: back to where he abandoned a small child. He then destroys those mines with the gun he cobbled together and takes little lord Davros back home to, most likely, his fascist and warmongering family.
At the beginning of “The Witch’s Familiar,” Davros laments that all Daleks have a genetic defect of “respect” towards their creator. But it seems as though they have another “defect” as well. And now we know why.
Then consider Missy. Missy, after The Doctor realizes Clara is in that Dalek armour, reminds him that there are friends in enemies and vice-versa. Then she leaves. She must have known that the Daleks knew that word: mercy. She just made both The Doctor, and in particular Clara, work and suffer for it.
So there we go now. Davros and Missy are most likely still alive: and scheming. Clara becomes the plot device that resolves another episode yet again and inspires The Doctor to perhaps subliminally influence Davros into placing some compassion into the Daleks. We even get to see more tantalizing hints as to what The Doctor’s and Missy’s previous lives on Gallifrey might have been like while not spoiling the rest of their character development. And The Doctor continues to possess one power greater than Time Lord regeneration. One magic word.
It always seemed clear, at least to many Five Nights at Freddy’s fans, that Scott Cawthon was not finished with Five Nights at Freddy’s even after stating that his fourth gamewould be the last in the franchise. Yet what has always been striking was the fact that while the premise of the games was that the animatronics of Bonnie, Chica, Foxy, Freddy and friends were possessed by the spirits of dead children, the animatronics themselves seemed to have personalities and history beyond just being haunted.
When you also consider how much time Scott Cawthon put into designing these animatronics and their toy selves, it isn’t really surprising that he wanted to create a new game like FNAF World.
The main indication that FNAF World was going happen was through Cawthon’s constant website updates. Cawthon’s fanbase got to watch as his page changed from a thank you tribute with all of its motley antagonists, into a shinier version of its former self replete with new additions and cartoon “Adventure” character makeovers.
It was during this transition, from horror into fantasy, that Cawthon informed his fans on Steam of his intentions to make FNAF World as a role-playing game: in which all of the animatronics, formerly nightmarish enemies, will become its player characters.
This transformation from Five Nights at Freddy’s horror into FNAF World‘s adventure is not unlike watching Disney create cartoons from the grisly nature of early folklore. Still, early Disney always had a dark and adult sensibility and with Scott Cawthon’s storytelling abilities, FNAF World will have its own intriguing story premise.
Imagine an opening to a television program about time-travel for which you have been waiting. There have been hints as to what to expect but, given the nature of Doctor Who, it never starts the way you think it will. “The Prologue” actually wasn’t part of this episode, but its own minisode leading to “The Magician’s Apprentice.”
There is a plane up ahead that wouldn’t be out of place in World War I. There is also a man with a bow and arrow. You wonder if this is going to start on some other world or time: with Vikings on spaceships or something to that effect. Well, you got the first two parts right. It does take place in another space and time. Then you see a child. At first you think it might be Maisie Williams showing us her new role. But it isn’t Maisie Williams. It is a boy: a young, dirty, terrified boy.
It is at this point, if you’ve been following the rumours about the opening two-part story arc of Season Nine, that you know. You just know who it is.
This child is surrounded by what seems to be Handmines: most likely genetically engineered creatures created to drag people underground to their deaths. You’d be forgiven if you mistook them for your typical Weeping Angel fare. You know: the ones that like to hide under snow or dirt and grab you: stealing away the moments of your life. But no: these Handmines seem to just plain outright kill you.
It’s a good thing that The Doctor came to rescue this poor, scared child from these monsters that just dragged the archer soldier to his death, right? Only …
Think about your Whoniverse lore. Think about a world where archaic weaponry exists side by side with generations of different technology. Think about a world that has been at war for a thousand years. It’d be easy to make the mistake of not recognizing this world after so long and seeing how it — and its denizens — were portrayed in the Fourth Doctor’s run. I mean, they are all supposed to be heartless, evil, Spencerian fascists right? Certainly not ones that would take the time to save a child.
The Doctor asks the child what world this is, and the child doesn’t understand. As far as he knows, this is the only world in existence. The Kaled people, along with their enemies the Thals thought they were basically the centre of the universe before, millennia later, the First Doctor came and disabused their descendants of that notion.
But the code that unlocks the first level of this game is just one word. Just one name.
It’s hard to recognize him. He’s young. He still has his eyes, his arms, and his legs. There is no cunning or twistedness in him: just fear, and The Doctor’s imperative.
He must survive.
Of course, The Doctor realizes the implications of this and he stands there, in horror, trying to decide what he will do.
Now we go forward. Colony Sarff, a being made of multiple snakes, is searching for The Doctor on behalf of Davros. I mean, why wouldn’t he use Daleks or Dalek agents and this strange composite snake person instead might be beyond all of us, but there the dramatic effect to consider. As it turns out, Davros is dying. I mean, since the last time you saw Davros in “Journey’s End”:
But hey: when has death stopped Doctor Who villains in a mythological struggle with their nemesis anyway? But no. It seems legitimate. Davros has seen better days … ages and ages ago, but he does seem pretty physically ill. He knows the best way to find The Doctor is to get to his friends.
The Doctor has a funny notion of friendship. I mean, aside from Missy — who, blithely makes us aware of the obvious that she isn’t dead either (again, when do Doctor Who villains actually permanently die) — there’s also Clara and her priorities to consider. But one thing at a time.
All ships freeze above the Earth: threatening to fall on nuclear power plants. Is this Davros’ work? No. It’s too crude and almost insane. Actually it is insane and we all know who likes to be insane. UNIT contacts Clara because they can’t get to The Doctor. However, they do have a Doctor channel that he has forgotten about and … someone is contacting them through it.
Hmm … Someone has knowledge of UNIT having a Doctor channel. Who has dealt with UNIT before? Who knows the Gallifreyan calculations to access it? Who has been both an ally and captive of UNIT? Who is insane?
Honestly, here is the part in a Doctor Who episode when what I like to call the Shut Up Clara Mini-Game comes into play. I mean, here she is contacted by UNIT to find The Doctor but instead has to meet Missy. Usually, what I like to call the Shut Up Clara Mini-Game happens when Clara berates The Doctor for something petty, has a temper-tantrum, has no idea what’s going on, and generally makes the situation all about her. But strangely Clara is rather subdued in this scene with Missy: probably because Missy is threatening to kill people, is killing people, cost Danny Pink his life a second time, and she’s kind of flabbergasted as to why The Doctor would send that strange disk — that turns out to be his last will and testament — from “The Prologue” to Missy instead of her.
I’m not going to lie: having Missy compare Clara to a pet was pretty much the sickest burn rivaling the holocausts that she was threatening over the Earth. But together they figure out where The Doctor is: leading to a Vortex manipulator of Missy’s and the next scene.
And what an absolutely bad ass scene it is. The Doctor is in medieval times and facing a long-suffering warrior on an empty tank and with a guitar. No one in the battling arena of that time seems to actually care about that, as per a lack of a Temporal Prime Directive or a stereotypical “It’s a Demon!” response. And hey: it’s one of the few times we see Mr. Cantankerous actually having fun.
Of course the two women were being followed and Colony Sarff tracks them down. It’s funny. What do you think would truly disturb The Doctor? A threat from a monster made of snakes? Seeing Missy again? Knowing that Davros and the Daleks are probably coming for him?
No. What disturbs The Doctor is a sonic screwdriver: an ancient one handed to him by Colony Sarff.
It might have registered even before this what just happened between a young boy named Davros and a flabbergasted Twelfth Doctor. Of course, The Doctor wasn’t going to kill a poor defenseless child: even if one day he’d grow up to be an omnicidal psychopath. But he also knows that if he helped him survive the Handmines, he would go on to fulfill his future of horror and genocide. So what does The Doctor do?
He does what he does best. After initially telling Davros what amounts to the idea that he must survive at all costs, and then realizing who he is dealing with … The Doctor runs. The Doctor abandons a small, scared little boy — not unlike himself at that age if he had grown up in a Thousand Year War — to his own devices: with the screwdriver he threw to him to help communicate with him … before he knew he was talking to a boy who would become a monster.
“Hey Davros. Actually, there are worse things than death. See you later … or rather, I hope I won’t.”
Imagine what that does to someone who had already grown up in a multi-generational war. Imagine what seeing a soldier trying to reassure and rescue you being dragged down to his death would do to you. Imagine someone who promises to save you and then leaves you to die: telling you beforehand to survive at all costs.
Suddenly, all the books that dealt with Davros’ past are swept away: leaving us with his new dynamic with The Doctor. Davros made the Daleks and, as Davros likes to point out, The Doctor made his Companions. But now we see that The Doctor essentially made Davros as well.
Remember how the First Doctor was basically responsible for releasing the Daleks on the Universe by his insatiable curiosity: essentially causing them to come across the Time Lords and eventually start the Last Great Time War? Well now we really know that The Doctor screwed up. A lot.
The ending of “The Magician’s Apprentice” pulls even less punches than the beginning. It doesn’t fuck around. We do get one Shut Up Clara Mini-Game: where she berates him for lying to her about knowing Missy wasn’t dead — and considering her his best friend over her — but it’s kind of halfhearted and she does have something of a point, only offset by hoping to continue their conversation and therefore let The Doctor survive.
But Davros has no intention of killing The Doctor. No. It’s unclear why Davros forgot about having a sonic screwdriver or seeing a mysterious man disappear in front of him. Perhaps dying makes him remember things. If so, he should probably recall his whole existence as Davros has died. A lot. And he’s supposed to be a genius level scientist who created an entire advanced race and he can’t clone himself a new body?
Potential plot-holes aside, such as Missy having trouble dying and always having a crazy backup plan, let’s play that game I promised you at the beginning.
Imagine you are a child left to die thousands of years ago and grew up in war. You see how fallible everyone is who vows to protect you or help save you. You are crippled and twisted during this war. You begin to think that people would safer in tanks and without the illusions of weak emotions such as love or compassion. One day, you encounter your worst enemy and he defeats you time and again: until you remember he was the one that left you to die at the very beginning.
The replaying the time of when he was the Fourth Doctor on Skaro is delicious enough. So what do you do when you realize you are now, finally, dying?
You kidnap The Doctor’s friends. You get The Doctor to you. You make him watch as your Daleks kill the person who is jealous over you being his arch-nemesis, the Impossible Girl that he’ll now never be able to play Shut Up Clara with again and … worse … Your Daleks kill his oldest companion.
You destroy the TARDIS. You kill Sexy.
So, what do you do now? Do you kill The Doctor in his moment of despair? Do you kill him before you die? Oh no. No, see, that is too easy. Instead, you give him a choice. You offer to let him play a game. You are already dying. Your creations have already rendered you obsolete. You have taken everything from The Doctor now. You give him an offer.
You see, The Doctor always prides himself on his sense of compassion. You always saw that as his undoing. Now, you have made him see that. Or perhaps deep down you are punishing him for what you think is cowardice that day on Skaro. You offer him a way to change the fate of his friends. Your replayed conversation with him for all those years ago, from “Genesis of the Daleks” is no accident. You make sure he hears his words to Sarah Jane Smith from so long ago.
You already know he feels guilty for abandoning you to the Handmines and to time. What a better revenge than to make your old self-righteous nemesis betray and destroy his own ideals to kill a child in order to save those he loves. You’ve methodically taken away his best enemy, his Companion, and his TARDIS. He has already given up on his sonic screwdriver. Slowly and carefully, you are attempting to obliterate everything that The Doctor is: to prepare him for this last warped mission that is your revenge. The fact is, either way, you win. And either way, The Doctor loses.
You thought that your final victory was the destruction of reality itself. But, truthfully, it is the obliteration of your enemy’s own reality — his thoughts and beliefs — by his own hand that is a triumph greater than any monster you have ever created.
Like “Deep Breath” last season, “The Magician’s Apprentice” doesn’t pull any punches. We will just have to see if it can continue its own sense of momentum next time in “The Witch’s Familiar.”
I’m going to be honest: I’m glad that this is Clara Oswald’s last season on Doctor Who.
Last year, I went into a great amount of detail as to why I thought Clara Oswin Oswald Didn’t Have to be an Impossible Girl. Here we had a character who started off with a lot of spunk in “Asylum of the Daleks” as Oswin, and a clever governess between Victorian social strata in “The Snowmen.” We had the mystery of just how a human individual could appear in different time lines and planets as different incarnations of the same person.
The ingredients were all there in creating a fascinating Companion for The Doctor. Either Oswin or Victorian Clara might have made for some excellent long-term character interaction. Instead, what we got was a plot device: someone “born to save The Doctor” who later develops a tremendous sense of self-entitlement, and a propensity towards lying and outright hypocrisy.
Seriously, I was kind of hoping that after her betrayal in “Dark Water” The Doctor would remember he could snap his fingers, open the TARDIS, and leave Clara behind on the lava planet.
But what is worse in a lot of ways is that Moffat, and the writers he directed in his show-running capacity, seemed to do this in order to represent Clara as a reflection — and then a mirror darkly — of The Doctor even as they attempted to create for her a shambles of a personal life.
In all honesty, the character of Clara Oswald should have had her ending in “Last Christmas”: in that last denouement mirroring “The Time of The Doctor” where it is she, this time, who is old and dying and The Doctor is now young again and helping her with her party favour. Even in “Listen” and “Last Christmas,” some of Clara’s strongest episodes as a character she is still only seen as important in relation to The Doctor. But in “Last Christmas,” there was this sense of finality. We had seen Clara span space and time. But now her seeing old and tired, leaving a full life behind her in a situation that is a fixed point in time, would have been a bittersweet ending that might have made up for a lot.
Indeed, “Last Christmas” was supposed to be Clara’s last episode before Jenna Coleman decided to stay on for another season.
Instead, that touching scene was rendered into another Inception-level hallucination of the dream crabs and The Doctor and Clara go off to have another tortured series of adventures. You could almost feel Steven Moffat giving detractors of Clara the finger at that point: teasing that moment and then taking it away.
It’s not fair to say that Clara is the only example of bad writing from Season Eight. Certainly, The Doctor himself suffered from this malady, but it was always in relation to the forced relationship that Moffat made between him and Clara and, up until now, didn’t seem all that inclined to change.
It was not unlike reading an otherwise excellent story with a recurrent, discordant, and obnoxious grammar mistake that the author claims is there for creative or dramatic effect: something like a narrative Jar Jar Binks.
But now Jenna Coleman is leaving sometime during the Ninth Season of Doctor Who and this leaves us with so many questions. Could the end of Clara Oswald’s time on the TARDIS have something to do with Missy calling her “Clara, my Clara,” her maneuvering to unite her and The Doctor, and the name of the second episode of the two-part opening story “The Witch’s Familiar?” Certainly, it would explain a lot: if it’s not just another contrived red herring and if her fate in “The Magician’s Apprentice” is only temporary.
Nevertheless, Jenna Coleman is moving on to her new role as Queen Victoria in the new drama series Victoria and I wish her well: just as I wish for Clara Oswin Oswald — the excellent Companion that could have been — to finally rest in peace.
Karn. The planet of Karn is the home to the Sisterhood of Karn. More recently, it was the site of the minisode “Night of the Doctor,” where we got to see the transformation of the Eighth Doctor into the War Doctor and the beginning of his entry into the Last Great Time War. However, Karn and The Doctor have an older shared history: from his time combating the renegade Time Lord Morbius as the Fourth Doctor and the introduction of the Sacred Flame and the Elixir of Life.
What is also interesting to note is that the Sisterhood of Karn are biologically Gallifreyan. In fact, not only do they possess the Elixir of Life that can at least temporarily restore life, but they create potions and processes that aid in helping a Time Lord regenerate. According to the New Adventures novel Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible they are a remnant of the Pythia’s power: the original prophetic leader of an ancient matriarchal Gallifrey.
It could have been assumed, at least in how they were only portrayed in “Night of the Doctor” in the new Doctor Whos series, that Karn had perished with Gallifrey in the Time War but it also makes sense that they did not. The fact is, when The Doctor mentioned he had been the last of the Time Lords, he could have only been referring to Gallifrey and its ruling class. He never actually said he was the last of the Gallifreyans. Gallifreyans become Time Lords, but not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords and the Sisters of Karn are something else entirely: even if they are related in a biological sense.
Of course, this could be a moot point as due to the actions of The Doctor and all his past incarnations, Gallifrey was seemingly saved. Perhaps this could be applied to its erstwhile allies such as the Sisterhood of Karn as well. In any case, here in this Prologue we have an interesting situation.
Who is this person who has a history with The Doctor, and is attempting to use his servants to find him? Who is this “creature” that The Doctor owes nothing to? Well, it most likely isn’t Missy as Missy identifies with the female gender pronoun and the only minions she has are those she subverts or creates for twisted and zany purposes.
However, there might be another clue.
Who is The Doctor’s other arch-nemesis? Who has had, and still yet may retain, servants to seek him out? Who had a very long and storied association with him? Who could, at this point in his existence, be classified as “a creature?” And who is this person that he can identify with: someone who creates agents through circumstance almost as much as he has?
There had been leaks and rumours that Davros will be returning to Doctor Who. I mean, many believed that he had died before, so what is stopping him from coming back now. But there is more. One particular rumour states that The Doctor will be meeting Davros before his injuries, perhaps as a younger man … or a child. It always seems to return to that idea from “Genesis of The Daleks”: to that quandary of destroying an evil before it at least overtly becomes evil. And, as The Doctor proclaims in “The Prologue” sometimes “an enemy is a friend that you don’t know yet.”
I mean, if it is Davros he is pretty well beyond any form of redemption and some things are very much fixed points in time. Davros will create the Daleks. He will be one of The Doctor’s greatest and most ingenious enemies. But, then again, this might not be about Davros at all. This could be someone else entirely: someone we know or someone that we are about to meet.
As for the object The Doctor gave the Sister Ohila … who knows? Your guess is as good as mine. Doctor Who and its protagonist Mr. Cantankerous returns this September 19.
Let me be clear on the matter. It’s not because they were necessarily the younger sibling stuck with being Player Two on their Famicom or Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s not because they’ve felt second best throughout most of the entirety of their lives, or feel like they are only talked about in relation to a “better person:” to the point of their last name being the first name of said before.
I’m not talking about Luigi in the original games or even the newer adventures that have been released in recent years: particularly in The Year of Luigi.
No, I think that most of the people who can relate to Luigi have played Super Mario Brothers 2.
Yes, I know. Super Mario Brothers 2 is problematic. I mean, in addition to it only being a single-player game for the multiple choice of characters at your disposal, it is also goes in and out of being Doki Doki Panic: the intended Mario sequel, made into its own game, and whose bones made the game we all know and love from the late 1980s.
And in this game we have another problematic character. For the first time we see that Luigi is different from Mario! He is not just Mario with a green hat and shirt under blue overalls. He is taller and thinner. And he even jumps higher than his brother.
For the jumping alone, Luigi should be superior to Mario. The problem in the problematic here, however, is one simple fact: much like my green-feathered budgie, Luigi sometimes has troubles when he attempts to land.
It’s true. He jumps magnificently in the air only for his feet to spin under him in a slapstick cartoonish fashion. This is especially annoying when you try to aim for a platform: which might as well be made of ice due to the fact that Luigi is too busy spasmodically moving up and descending.
I know I’ve been frustrated many times in attempting to control Luigi’s jumps: just for him to scuttle or slide off a platform or a brick. It can be downright infuriating.
But imagine what it’s like to be Luigi. Mario doesn’t jump as high as you, but he is a more dependable jumper and lander (for the most part). He is consistent. He gets the job done. People generally like him a lot more. And it all seems so effortless. It’s as though its all innate: all natural to him.
Yet you, Luigi, know you can jump high –higher than anyone else in the game — but you have to work at it. You have to think it out, and you become self-conscious of that process. Maybe you have more energy to expend than Mario. Perhaps you are so afraid of potential danger that you have to channel that frenetic energy somehow, or you’re excited, or that is just how you move under scrutiny. Or maybe you wish you could glide more like Princess Peach.
Maybe you like to imagine that you can fly.
And it only gets worse when someone is frustrated with you or draws attention to you when you attempt to jump under orders. Some might find it right on hilarious. And few people, if they only see you in one video game — in Super Mario Brothers 2 — will ever truly appreciate your jump. All they will see is how you struggle, and fail, and fall.
That is why I think some people like Luigi better: not because he’s perfect, or even good. But because they are Luigi: and they don’t get the luxury of a curtained stage with a Player Select Screen.
The following contains fan speculation and possible spoilers. Reader discretion is advised.
It’s been a confusing time for older Star Wars fans: or at least an older fan like myself. Imagine two time lines: one you knew, and one that is still forming; The latter is overwriting the former while you still remember it. Legends series and the new Star Wars Expanding Universe aside, it’s also intriguing to watch LucasFilm and Disney at work in fleshing out the mythos using only the six films, the CGI Clone Wars and Rebels series, and the new comics and novels.
But what I’d like to take a look at today are the Knights of Ren.
For something that we’ve heard a lot about, we don’t know very much else. One potential element of confusion is considered that the Knights of Ren are either working for, or are an extension of the First Order: a galactic organization created from the remnants of the Empire and its own ideologies. But what are the Knights of Ren?
So let’s make an experiment. Let’s see if we can construct a plausible story as to what the Knights are from the revised Star Wars continuity. It might be hard for some veteran Expanded Universe fanatics and even I expect to make some errors along the way due to some of my own lack of familiarity, but it could be fun and it might shed some light on this new and infernal venture into Star Wars villainy.
Perhaps in order to know about the Knights of Ren, we need to review what we know about the Sith. We know that by The Phantom Menance that the Sith had supposedly been extinct for a thousand years. In addition, we are told by the end of that film that there are only two Sith at one given time: a Master and an Apprentice. So we could assume that with Palpatine and Darth Vader’s deaths at the end of Return of the Jedi that the Sith are not coming back.
Of course there is that age-old adage about assumptions, the fact that the Sith were thought to be dead before, Count Dooku’s training of Asaji Ventress (and that training bout with the unfortunately named and created Savage Oppress), treachery being the way of the Sith, and that the new continuity may retcon any mention of the fact that the Sith were once more than two. But for now, this isn’t about the Sith, even though it may well be definitely related to their actions.
Think about what we know about the Empire now. It was created and controlled by the Sith Master and Apprentice. However, it also had Force-sensitive agents. Rebels makes this very clear with the introduction of the Inquisitor: that and the fact that there are more of them. Inquisitors seem to be dark side acolytes or adepts created to hunt down Jedi fugitives, other Force-sensitives, and generally anyone trying to ruin the Empire’s day in any real way.
Inquisitors wouldn’t violate the Sith Rule of Two as they are not Sith, but rather agents and minions that serve the Sith. This is no new idea. All you have to do is look back further at The Clone Wars and see Dooku and Ventress. Palpatine knew about Ventress as a dark side agent and had no issue with her: provided that she wasn’t being trained as a Sith apprentice. I mean, she was — supposedly — but again we are looking at treachery being the way of the Sith.
The point is that Darth Sidious and Darth Vader died: leaving the Empire in a very precarious and potentially lethal situation. So what happened to all of those Inquisitors?
I mean, some of them might have died. Certainly hunting Jedi and displeasing Darth Vader could be death sentences in and of themselves. Perhaps some of the people that accompanied Palpatine onto the Second Death Star, sinister robed beings that they were in Return of the Jedi, were more than just close political advisors and retainers. And just what were Palpatine’s plans for the galaxy once Luke and the Rebellion were dealt with?
Aside from some sanctioned experiments from outside sources as some of the Darth Vader comics delve into, I think there is the Clone Wars “Children of The Force” episode to consider. While its execution seemed really unseemly to me at the time, as a fan of the Old Expanded Universe, Palpatine securing Jedi information on Force-sensitive children throughout the galaxy makes a certain level of sense. He apparently wanted to make an army of “Sith spies” from the kidnapped children. This plan failed, but the mentality was still there.
The theory that I would like to make is that the Inquisitors were the next step in Palpatine’s regime: to create a dark side leadership over the Empire and sentience. It’d be similar to how he was operating in the now defunct — for good or ill depending on what fan you talk with — Dark Empire comics series. But he and Vader died before anything like this could become completely commonplace: and before the last of the Jedi could be purged or turned.
But these Inquisitors, if there were any left by Return of the Jedi, probably weren’t all dead. While the remnants of the Empire maintained their control over various sectors, became warlords, defected to the power of the Alliance, or entered into civil turmoil I also doubt these remaining Inquisitors would remain idle.
Imagine it. They always knew about the Sith and the potential that they could receive further training one day from either Vader or Palpatine. Then both of them are gone before one can succeed the other through the usual method of betrayal. Then their Empire, the one they’ve been serving and enforcing, begins to collapse in on itself. Three decades pass and despite their efforts Luke Skywalker seems to be bringing back the Jedi Knights to help the New Republic, or at least is training his family members to oppose them. This is the man who killed both their Masters seemingly at the same time. What do they do?
They help found the First Order. The former Inquisitors have the resources they gathered over the years to pool into this Order along with many disaffected Imperial soldiers and politicians. Maybe they appeal to Humanocentricism. J.J. Abrams himself mentioned that his team modeled the First Order after the idea of what if former Nazis reorganized themselves in collaboration in Argentina.
Supreme Commander Snoke of the First Order, who is said to be a powerful figure in the dark side of the Force, may well be a surviving Inquisitor or a potent successor to an Inquisitor. I imagine he or his predecessors would have seen the threat of the Jedi and realized they needed something to counter it. The Sith seem to be destroyed. But they never lacked for followers. So the Supreme Commander creates the Knights of Ren: an organization of dark side Force-sensitives to fight against the Jedi Knights.
Again it is more fan theory assumption but think about it in another way. Whatever the Knights of Ren are, J.J. Abrams and his team have a lot of pressure on them. They are expected to return to the magic of what the Star Wars Old Trilogy meant to so many people. Even the special effects of the film seem to be minimizing reliance on CGI: being hand-made and material props instead. They are going back to the basics, and wouldn’t be interesting if Abrams and his team even went so far as to look at The Star Wars Rough Draft and were inspired by the Knights of the Sith: those that fought the prototypical Jedi-Bendu?
Of course, LucasFilm also hasn’t ruled out incorporating other elements of the Old Expanded Universe into the new continuity either, so the Knights of Ren could have many different inspirations: whoever or whatever they are.
But they are interesting: in that while Abrams has stated they are not Sith, they have a similar naming ritual. Instead of their title becoming a prefix like Darth, Ren becomes their new surname: with perhaps a new first name as well. So my thoughts are that the Knights of Ren are an order of dark side adepts that work for the First Order and under Supreme Commander Snoke: if the fact that Kylo Ren working under him is of any indication.
Yet what of Kylo Ren. Well we have been presented with the idea that Kylo Ren will be the main antagonist of The Force Awakens: or at least a visible one. He has created his own strange cross-guard lightsaber and he is very obsessed with Darth Vader. Perhaps his obsession is original to him, though if we go with the theory that the Knights of Ren are the successors to the Inquisitors, who were given partial training in the dark side by the Sith, the Knights might also be dedicated to finding any Sith lore they can get their hands on: to further their own training and power. Who knows: maybe one of them wants to become the next Dark Lord.
However, it is possible that Kylo Ren’s interest might be more … personal. I just find it fascinating how there are theories that he is the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo. Yet there is also another interesting point to consider. There is also Luke Skywalker. There are rumours that Luke went into exile and that the events of The Force Awakens begin to bring him out of it. But if Luke was in exile, why would he be? I’m obviously not saying that Kylo Ren is Luke, as it wouldn’t be in character and Kylo is portrayed to be a much younger man.
I do think the problem is the importance that George Lucas placed on Anakin Skywalker as the Chosen One and being genetically the most powerful Force sensitive in the Prequel Trilogy. In this way, it kind of undermines any attempt to make someone not related to the Skywalker bloodline a potentially powerful Jedi or dark side user in their own right. However, I could be wrong. Perhaps Abrams has his own ideas and we might get more plot twists than we know what to do with.
Many people in the Star Wars galaxy believed that the Sith had been extinct for a millennium. Many more believed the Jedi had been extinct for almost two decades. But if there is one thing that hasn’t changed about Star Wars, it’s the following. Whether it is about family, ideology, philosophy, or war Star Wars has always been about legacy: and I want to see how this legacy is going to play itself out.
Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s series has taken Internet imagination by storm this past year or so. There has been so much speculation as to what is going on in the story line. For games where you must survive five (or so) nights against stained and rusting animatronics trying to stuff your frail little fleshy body into a suit filled with pistons and wires — if not worse — it has a very complicated plot that is spread across narrative fragments of 8-bit mini-games (often only accessible when after you die), newspaper clippings in the background, easter-eggs in the games, and even code on Scott Cawthon’s own website.
It’s insane: in a very good and deliciously evil way. Much like this cupcake.
All of the games have been talked about and analyzed: from gaming journalism sites, to professional YouTubers and Let’s Players, and all over Reddit forums. It is also no exaggeration to say that the series has its own dedicated community of fans: many of them attempting to dissect the game as if they are playing a warped and twisted totenkinder version of Halliday’s Easter Egg in Ready Player One. But one particular Five Nights at Freddy’s Game is getting a lot of attention right now.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: supposedly the final game of the series.
The fact is, Scott Cawthon could have ended the series with Five Nights at Freddy’s 3: where the fate of the murderer of all the children that he, might have, stuffed into the animatronics at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria was finally revealed. But Scott couldn’t leave it at that. Each game reveals a part of the puzzle, of the story, that we didn’t know about before. And everyone is scrambling to figure out the significance of what happened in Five Nights at Freddy’s 4.
This is all the more poignant due to the fact that Scott Cawthon went on on record as stating that while the community fanbase seemed to have solved most of the mysteries in the previous three games, they still didn’t get everything in Five Nights at Freddy’s 4. He then rubbed some salt in the wound by saying that the October 31 update for the game will not include the opening of the locked box included at the completion of the game’s Night 7.
So aside from an obligatory Challenge Accepted meme across the Internet, I have my own theory with regards to the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: and what the game may have really been about.
The issue is taking details literally. Here is what I think happened. People went onto Scott Cawthon’s website and saw the source code for his page while waiting for Five Nights at Freddy’s 4. They looked at the source code and saw the number 87 repeated over and again in chains. 87 was believed by many to refer to the Bite of 1987 in the game’s lore: where apparently an animatronic bit off the entire half of some poor unfortunate’s frontal lobe.
There were no other details provided aside from that and so, when people saw 87 in the code of Scott’s page many people believed Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 would either be set during that time, or would at least explain what happened via some mini-games.
And it seemed so clear cut. The game even ended, initially, after Night 5 with an 8-bit rendering of the crying child protagonist getting his head chomped down — seemingly by accident — by the Golden Freddy animatronic: know known by some to be the original Fredbear and possibly the first animatronic in that franchise. We thought we saw the Bite of 87 in action and the events that led up to it.
But some things just didn’t add up. The YouTuber MatPat, in his two Game Theory videos on the matter, explained that the game itself — which seems to take place in the nightmares of that comatose child’s mind after his bite — had inconsistencies if he had been the victim of the bite. For starters, missing his frontal lobe would have affected his fear responses and even his subconscious perceptions. And there is also that fact the person who lost their frontal lobe, according to FNAF lore, actually survived while this child does not.
And then there is that fact that if you find an Easter egg following Night 3, you will realize that there is a cartoon playing on the crying child’s television that is Fredbear and Friends: with the date of 1983, not 1987.
Yet here is the thing. At one point, before Scott changed his webpage to create a chain of nightmarish animatronics asking, “Was it me?” and seemingly referring to which of them caused the Bite of 87 — a major point of contention in the FNAF Community — he had an image of Freddy Fazbear’s top hat lying by itself on the stage: making it unclear as to whether or not he would continue the series past the third game.
Musicians like the singing animatronics aren’t the only ones that perform on stages, however. Stage magicians also perform on stage. They traditionally wear top hats, and they are known for their misdirection and slight of hand.
Scott Cawthon is no less an entertainer of that caliber. Mostly everyone was so distracted by the idea that they might be seeing the Bite of 87 unfold and the mystery of whodunnit finally solved that other possibilities were not as prevalent.
Look at it this way. In the first Five Nights at Freddy’s game, Scott added an update after being asked about the Bite of 87 so often. There is a Custom Night menu where you can program the difficulty level of the animatronics that you are dealing with. If you type in 1-9-8-7, Golden Freddy will automatically appear and “crash” the game. Many took it to be that Golden Freddy caused the Bite, while others thought that Scott was just trolling them after being harassed about this question for so long.
But what if the code chain of 87 in on his webpage was actually there to tell everyone that Golden Freddy was central to Five Nights at Freddy’s 4? And what if that reoccurring question “Was it me?” in all the subsequent images that followed on the same page had nothing to do with the Bite of 87 at all? 87 was a red herring, or at least a way to make you possibly more aware of Golden Freddy: of Fredbear.
What if the real question wasn’t who made the Bite of 87, or how? What if the real question is which spirit was impetus in making the events in all of Five Nights at Freddy’s possible?
MatPat and other YouTuber theorists believe that the crying child in the fourth game becomes the Puppet: the animatronic who reanimates the spirits of four other dead children into their current animatronic forms in all the games. But he doesn’t rule out that the crying child also becomes Golden Freddy: that in terms of the story it would be much more satisfying given what happened in the third game.
Here is my understanding of the situation. In the second game, we see a child get murdered outside of what might be the first Fredbear’s Family Diner: and he becomes the Puppet. Then years later Fredbear’s expands into a chain of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzerias. We see the crying child in 1983 get tormented by his older brother in a Foxy mask, and also the fact that he is deeply terrified of Fazbear’s: as if he saw something happen in there he shouldn’t have. On his birthday, his brother and friends stuff his head into the Fredbear animatronic and it accidentally chomps down on him. The Puppet, sensing a kinship with another tormented child who didn’t even get to enjoy his last birthday, takes action. He doesn’t have his body, but he makes the child is first attempt to restore life: and makes him into a Golden Freddy ghost as that was how he had been fatally wounded and rendered comatose.
Then the murders of the children start to happen. Everyone thought that the Puppet was reanimating the children through the animatronics of Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, and Foxy to get revenge on their murderer. But if you play the secret mini-game in Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, you have the opportunity to set the spirits of those children free. If you are successful you get a final scene where children wearing the Puppet, Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy masks give a cake to another child in a Golden Freddy mask. Then they pass on.
Scott Cawthon used to create Christian games before he set out on his adventure into horror. One central tenet of Christianity is redemption. Perhaps, when it comes down to it — though not in a purely transparent C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia fashion — the question of “Was it me?” was really which animatronic’s spirit motivated the Puppet to set everything into action: that it was more than vengeance or blood lust but an actual need to set things right. And it would only be fitting that Golden Freddy, possibly made after Fredbear the first animatronic, would be so integral in beginning and ending the series.
There are a lot more details I haven’t gone into of course, but I will leave that in more capable hands. We may never know what is in that locked box, of it is as simple as whether or not the Puppet or Golden Freddy started all of this. But remember: the narrative above the box, and in Scott’s Steam message didn’t say that the secret would never be revealed. The text above the box reads: “Perhaps some things are best left forgotten, for now,” while Scott himself states, “maybe some things are best left forgotten, forever.”
Based on the fact that Scott Cawthon has released the Five Nights At Freddy’s series relatively more quickly than most people expected, while releasing the fourth game earlier than his originally stated Halloween date, and his history of playing with assumptions, I think he is kind of a tease and I take everything he says with a grain of salt. I would not be surprised if there is more to this story one way or another.
And now, more than ever, I am looking forward to Halloween.
So we’ve been following the adventures of Mr. Cantankerous, my pet name for the Twelfth Doctor, for a little while now and I know that I’ve always wondered just how his wife, Professor River Song, would handle him. I mean, we know she tends to pop up at the most unlikeliest of times but it wasn’t certain as to whether or not she would return after her appearance as a holographic psychic ghost in “The Name of the Doctor.”
Well, it turns out that we might get those questions answered after all. Alex Kingston is returning to her familiar role for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. Of course, with the obligatory Who out of the way, we have to deal with the elements of What and How. What is going to happen in this episode. And how is River Song going to come back?
I mean, we know that hers and The Doctor’s time lines are generally parallel. He is seeing her from the supposed end of her biological life to the very beginning, and then all the Timey-Wimey, wibbly-wobbly in-between that would make The War Doctor weep about his midlives crises.
Almost any scenario could be possible at this point. She could appear as a psychic ghost in The Doctor’s head again, that much is true. They could run into each other in between encounters with monsters and other time lines, with her not knowing about his new incarnation as she’d still be with Eleven. But there is also the possibility that with being downloaded into the Library she has amassed all of its knowledge and simply waited and managed to create a new physical body for herself ala re-evolution.
I am just as curious to see what this Doctor Who Christmas Special will be about. I’d love to see her totally put Clara in her place with regards to The Doctor, or outright punch Missy in the face for messing with him. Maybe they will all have a tea party on the TARDIS together. And perhaps somewhere in there, River Song might help Mr. Cantankerous find Gallifrey or, at the very least, see how cantankerous he can remain around her?
I don’t know about all of you, but even at the end of summer I actually look forward to Christmas now.