THE END OF THE WORLD

The End of the WorldSue: Are you going to moan all the way through this episode as well, Neil?
Me: I’ll try not to. Although I was in a terrible mood the first time I saw this because Christopher Eccleston had just quit the show and I thought the sky was caving in.
Sue: Little did you know they were about to cast the best Doctor Who ever, eh?
Me: (Weeping) No comment.

Rose wants to visit the future, which means the Doctor has to pump the TARDIS controls like a lunatic.

Sue: That’s a bit sexual. Imagine William Hartnell or Jon Pertwee doing that. Actually, on second thoughts, don’t.

When Rose steps out of the TARDIS, she can’t believe her eyes.

Sue: Oh, look – a ventilator grille.

The End of the WorldIt’s actually an observation window with the blinds down. You see, the Doctor wants Rose to witness the end of the world.

Sue: Couldn’t they have gone to Barcelona instead? I mean, is it just me or is this a bit depressing for a first date?
Me: This isn’t a date, Sue.
Sue: Of course it isn’t, Neil. Have you forgotten what kind of Doctor Who we’re watching now? Get used to it.

Our heroes have materialised on Platform One.

Sue: It looks like the sort of thing Luke Skywalker should be hanging off.

The Doctor tells Rose that Earth only has twenty minutes left before it’s roasted to a crisp.

Sue: Seriously, though, this is a lousy place to take a date. It’s almost psychotic. He is so out of practice, it’s ridiculous.

The Platform’s Steward demands to know who they are.

Sue: Are the Blue Man Group providing the entertainment before the Earth blows up? Are they the warm-up act?

The Doctor explains their unauthorised presence with the help of some psychic paper. As the Doctor says, it saves a lot of time.

Sue: Yeah, they’d usually spend a whole episode being locked up and protesting their innocence. That saved at least 25 minutes in old series money. And it’s such a simple idea, too.

The hall is suddenly filled with tiny blue functionaries.

Sue: Has the Steward brought his kids in to work with him? Couldn’t he find a babysitter?

The seemingly endless parade of alien VIPs reminds Sue of Babylon 5 and Star Wars. And in a good way.

The End of the WorldSue: They’ve thrown some money at this episode, haven’t they? I’m surprised the BBC could actually remember how to do stuff like this. Oh look, there’s the Face of Boe.
Me: AKA Captain Jack.
Sue: Oh God, I’d completely forgotten about that. Is that actually true, though? Because you’d think he would say something if he was Captain Jack. Or he’d try to shag something. If he still can, that is… Oh what am I saying? He looks nothing like Captain Jack! He didn’t even wink at the Doctor, so it can’t be him. Stop laughing, Neil.

The Moxx of Balhoon spits in Rose’s face. For some reason, the colour for aliens in new Doctor Who is blue. I don’t know why that is, it just is.

Sue: Why are the Doctor and Rose receiving all these gifts from the aliens, anyway? They’ve basically gate crashed a birthday party and now they’re stealing all the presents.

The last VIP to arrive isn’t even an alien – it’s Cassandra, the last living human.

Sue: You wouldn’t want to stand behind her when the Earth blows up. You wouldn’t see a bloody thing.

Cassandra has brought her iPod with her, which explains why the Doctor is suddenly bopping away to ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell.

Sue: Jesus! The Doctor dances almost as badly as you do, Neil. Seriously: Worst. Date. Ever.

Rose bumps into an alien plumber named Rafallo.

Sue: I love how it’s suddenly dawned on Rose that she’s hitched a ride with a total stranger. You have to admit, it is a bit dodgy. Has she asked about the sleeping arrangements on the TARDIS yet?

Rafallo is killed by some metallic spider-like creatures.

The End of the WorldSue: That was pretty scary, actually. And I really liked her, too, so that’s a bit shit. I don’t know why the Face of Boe would need hot water, though. Has he brought a massive flannel with him?
Me: (Shaking my fist) Barrowman!

Rose wants to know a little more about the man she’s agreed to travel with. At which point he basically accuses her of being ‘a bit racist’.

Sue: He really needs to work on his chat-up lines. This isn’t going well at all. If I were him, I’d turn into David Tennant sharpish.

The Doctor puts Rose’s mind at ease when he lets her phone her mum back on Earth.

Sue: Aww, that was really sweet.
Me: Yeah, now she can make sure her mum has recorded Hollyoaks when she’s facing certain death on an alien planet. Or Cardiff. The next thing you know, he’ll be letting his companions hold down full-time jobs between adventures!

The Platform’s Steward is fried to death when a four-legged creature presses a button on his console that causes his window’s sun filter to retract.

Sue: Just press another button! There must be another button for raising it again! Don’t just sit there! Press something! Oh, too late.

The End of the WorldSue completely misses the Moxx of Balhoon’s reference to a ‘Bad Wolf scenario’, but Rose can’t possibly hear him either, and she’s the one who’s supposed to be listening out for that sort of thing. So there. Anyway, the Doctor decides to join forces with a sentient tree named Jabe, who mistakes Rose for a prostitute.

Sue: Charming.
Me: Her bark is worse than her bite. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Please put the cushion down.

Rose mocks Cassandra’s decision to take plastic surgery to the nth degree.

Sue: She’s got a nerve.
Me: What do you mean?
Sue: Well, Rose has plastic surgery later on, doesn’t she? That’s why she can’t speak properly when she comes back in a David Tennant episode.
Me: I’m pretty sure that was due to cold weather.
Sue: Yeah, it probably reacted badly with her surgery.

When Jabe tells the Doctor she knows who he is, the Time Lord sheds a tear.

Sue: One day, he’ll look back at this and laugh. The daft sod.

The End of the WorldThe Doctor and Jabe find themselves in Platform One’s air conditioning system.

Sue: Oh look, it’s Doctor Who‘s biggest fan.

Cue Britney Spears.

Sue: What did you think when you first saw this, Neil? I seem to remember you were mortified.
Me: Well, Britney Spears definitely wasn’t on the list of things I wanted to see in Doctor Who when it came back, but neither was Billie Piper, so what do I know? And it’s not as if Russell will go on to make a habit of it. And it’s a very nice song. Yeah, it’s fine.
Sue: It’s more than fine. I love it.

There then follows a very exciting scene where the Doctor has to stop his latest companion from being slowly roasted to death. And then, when the Doctor tells Rose to stay put, she zings back: “Where am I going to go? Ipswich?”

Sue: Why Ipswich?
Me: Ah, I’m glad you asked me that, Sue. You see, what happened is –
Sue: Never mind. I’m watching this. Shut up.

The prime suspects for Platform One’s sabotage are the mysterious Adherents of the Repeated Meme.

The End of the WorldMe: I wrote an academic paper about these monsters, once.
Sue: Is that supposed to be a joke?
Me: The university didn’t even include it in that year’s RAE (Research Assessment Exercise). It was a complete waste of time.
Sue: I could have told you that before you started writing it! I mean what can you possibly say about them? They look evil, they sound evil and they do evil things. And?
Me: Well, you see, they represent –
Sue: Shut up. I’m watching this.

It turns out that Cassandra is this episode’s Big Bad.

Sue: This doesn’t really make that much sense to me. Why is she doing this again? It seems a bit random.

It’s left to the Doctor and Jabe to save the day. If only Platform One’s restore switch wasn’t on the other side of the bloody air conditioning system!

Me: You’d think RTD had a problem with fans.
Sue: It’s all gone a bit Indiana Jones. Who designed this place? How the hell did this get past the Health and Safety stage?

Jabe holds down a thoroughly pointless breaker lever while the Doctor leaps between the blades.

Sue: Stop fannying around!

She wasn’t even trying to be funny when she said that. Anyway, Jabe suddenly bursts into flame and the fans speed up!

Sue: That relationship was never going to end well. They never would have copped-off. Just think of the splinters.

After an exceptionally tense slow-motion countdown, the Doctor steps through the final gap between the blades and resets the system. Phew.

Sue: That was absolutely brilliant. Completely stupid but brilliant.

The End of the WorldThe Doctor brings Cassandra back to Platform One to face justice. And then he stands back and watches her die. Horribly.

Sue: Wow. He doesn’t piss about, does he? And Rose asked him to help her, too. I’d forgotten this Doctor could be a bastard. He’s damaged goods. And a shit date.

The charred remains of planet Earth float past an observation window while the Doctor and Rose look on.

Sue: That was a bit full-on for her first trip in the TARDIS.
Me: Your planet has been destroyed, and everybody you ever loved is dead. So where do you wanna go next? Auschwitz?
Sue: I can’t believe the Doctor decided to take her there. It’s not as if he didn’t have a choice because his TARDIS wasn’t working properly. Maybe he wanted to see if she could handle it. The last thing he needs is another Tegan moaning at him all the bloody time.

The Doctor takes Rose back to Earth in the 21st century, and then he drops another bombshell: he’s the lone survivor of a terrible war.

The End of the WorldSue: He’s completely wrong about that, though, isn’t he? The Master is still out there, and the Time Lords aren’t really dead, either. He stuck them in a hole in space for safe keeping. At least I think that’s what he did.
Me: Does it ruin the drama for you, knowing what happened at the end of the Time War?
Sue: Not really. He still thinks he did it, I suppose. Although I don’t understand why he thinks he did it if he didn’t actually do it; I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. Oh, I don’t know. It makes me want to give him a big slap. And then a cuddle. It’s complicated.

 

The Score

Sue: I enjoyed that, but it wasn’t as good as last week. The plot was a bit silly, and I didn’t really understand what Cassandra was trying to do, if I’m really honest. It seemed a bit rushed at the end. The effects were great, though. And I loved the scene with the chips. I could murder some chips.

8/10

 

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Comments

  1. Emby2  April 2, 2015

    Every time Sue says “Shut up, I’m watching this”, I imagine the two of you re-enacting that scene from The Krotons.

    “All right, there’s no need to shout! Now go away and don’t fuss me. No, come back. What’s this? It’s all right, I know. Right, fire away. I’m ready.”

  2. Paul Morris  April 2, 2015

    8/10 is extremely generous. I’d give it 1/10, and that would be generous!

    • Nick Mays  April 3, 2015

      This one I’d give 8/10, or possibly 8.5/10. When I first watched it I was impressed by the aliens and the special effects, but I still wasn’t that impressed by Eccleston. I think he began to grow on me at about ‘Dalek’.

      At this stage I thought “it’s similar but it feels different this time.” Sorry! It just slipped out… 😉

  3. sev  April 2, 2015

    Why Ipswich? I need to know now! It’s where I’m from lol

    • Nick Mays  April 3, 2015

      Have you seen ‘Deliverance’? That was the implication … although I think RTD had got Suffolk and Norfolk a bit mixed up…

      “I hear banjos! Keep paddling!”

  4. Andrew T Smith  April 2, 2015

    I remember watching you deliver that academic paper. Ten years ago? This blog is now officially depressing.

    • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2015

      Oh shut up. You’re still a wee bairn.

  5. Simon Fox  April 2, 2015

    I remember the publicity at the time made such a big thing about the Moxx of Balhoon that I was a bit confused as to why they killed him off. In hindsight, they were actually saying, LOOK WE CAN DO ALIENS!

  6. Lorcan  April 2, 2015

    I just started laughing so loudly at the moxx spits in Rose’s face but I can’t tell why!

  7. charles_yo  April 2, 2015

    But this is where I would start to see RTD’s strengths: some brilliant character moments tied together by stuff that… doens’t always tie together well.

    The ending bit with the chips? Brilliant. One of my favorite emo moments of the first couple of years of the returned Doctor Who. it really sends home, for a time traveller, that things are always Shroedinger: both dead and alive all at once. The series hadn’t done it quite so well on such a human moment before, having the effects to scale up and then scale way back to the most basic human level possible.

    It was a season that showed that they were really trying hard to figure out how to make this Doctor Who monster. And its clearly an interesting journey.

  8. Anniew  April 2, 2015

    I’m not sure about the episode – or any by Russell T – but I’d give Sue’s commentary a 10 .

  9. Joe Gallagher  April 2, 2015

    Oh my goodness! I’ve just spent the last week reading through this whole blog, suffice to say I’m buying the books at the weekend! This was so lovely! The best blog I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read many!) But still! It’s had me giggling like an idiot for a good week! And Sue does make the occasional good point, however I do think I side with Neil now that you’re doing the new series! Thanks a bunch guys! I was very sad when I was getting on to reading the review of the TV movie because I thought you’d be finished! I think I’ve used enough exclamation marks now.

    But seriously guys, it’s been lovely to read this nonsense, but there is one thing I’m burning to know, what was the course you lectured on Neil? It sounds surprisingly interesting!

  10. Nathan  April 2, 2015

    Ipswich – it’s a line from Dark Season isn’t it?

    I can’t be bothered to check, but someone once told me Rose drops the F bomb in the line “Stop ****ing about” when she is trapped on the observation deck.

    • Nick Mays  April 2, 2015

      I think it was MUCKING about… 😉

      • Nathan  April 2, 2015

        This is why I refuse to check these things 😉

  11. Bridget  April 2, 2015

    Wait, wasn’t Glen Allen coming back this week?

  12. TheCurseOfFenwicks  April 2, 2015

    “He didn’t even wink at the Doctor, so it can’t be him.”

    Well, that’s that theory definitively proven wrong!

    Also, a research paper on The Adherents of the Repeated Meme? I may be the overanalysing type but I’m not sure I could even think up a paragraph to write on them…

  13. Nick Mays  April 2, 2015

    So many great lines from Sue, but for me these two tie for best:

    “Your planet has been destroyed, and everybody you ever loved is dead. So where do you wanna go next? Auschwitz?”

    “That relationship was never going to end well. They never would have copped-off. Just think of the splinters.”

    • Dan  April 2, 2015

      Definitely the second for best lines from Sue, because the first was uttered by Neil!

      • Dan  April 2, 2015

        Gosh I like this avatar. It’s a melted grill element that looks like a special effect Tesla event. That oven is long gone now.

  14. Frankymole  April 2, 2015

    I *think* Cassandra’s plot was some kind of financial scam, taking over the other guest’s companies or insurance policies or summat – to cover her gigantic cosmetic surgery or moisturiser bill. Or maybe she’s just a Professor Zaroff tribute act being mad for mad’s sake!

    • Andy Luke  April 3, 2015

      That’s it. Her moves are economic war, and she invited solicitors and bankers into her trap so their competitors might turn a blind eye when she took her damages case to them.

      I wasn’t quite sure how Jabe Tree ended up there, until I considered how paper was being re-valued in 2005, and perhaps re-valued again in the year ‘5.5/apple/26’. And sure the platform has wood furnishings all over the place.

      • Frankymole  April 6, 2015

        Jabe may have had nostalgia for the planet her species’ ancestors originated on. Interesting there were no Silurians/”Earth Reptiles” – or Martians for that matter – maybe they evolved into gas clouds or something (or Monoids).

        • Nick Mays  April 6, 2015

          Maybe they were to embarassed to show up after the Moff’s re-working of them.

  15. BWT  April 2, 2015

    This was worth reading just for Sue’s comments about the Doctor fannying about with his biggest fan. 🙂

    The missus and I both loved this one first time around. We also watched it again, this time with our boys – and still enjoyed it.

    10/10 for us. Considerably less so for “Rose”. So there. 😛

  16. John Callaghan  April 3, 2015

    Great stuff, as ever.

    Will your Repeated Meme text be an extra in one of your books?

  17. Jason M.  April 3, 2015

    “Oh, look, it’s Doctor Who’s biggest fan” — I think Sue deserves a cushion for that one …

  18. Andy Luke  April 3, 2015

    Poor Rose. She spends most of this episode in a hyper-anxiety attack, bar two minutes were she gets to give the Doctor a good slabbering. I love that her phone is basic that would now cost £1.99 if sold; one of a few instances of the show being dated to it’s strengths.

    She’s very disrespectful to Cassandra. What does Rose know of C’s history outside of 700 operations? Well, she’s gender-reassigned, an aged survivor of a dying planet, the O’Brien makes her roots possibly Irish, granted perhaps high class.

    Then, I suppose Rose was fairly terrified. This Doctor’s a really shite host! No ‘Come with me if you want to see kittens, I have a bottle of wine and some Van Morrisson’, it’s all roomful of creepies and dead star family and the date is copping off with exotic hairdo and…oh, there’s a great moment where Eccy and Jabe are exploring the atmosphere tunnels and he turns his head past hers and says, northernly, “Fair dos, that’s a great bit of hair conditioning”

    Anyway, beneath all the niceness here, what he leaves Rose (and viewers) alone to, is inadvertently…well, torture. Where’s empathy? What a prick, as Micky or Rory might say, what an unbelievable prick. Very un-doctorly. Thematically, future echoes of the recent Clara-as-Doctor thing.

    • Andy Luke  April 8, 2015

      I think he meant air conditioning, but her hair’s punk!

  19. Stevie the Kid  April 3, 2015

    Greetings from Western America! This blog is a quite nice approach to watching a TV series. I’ve never seen a blog done in quite this way before.

    Retro TV has been showing the majority of the Classic Doctor Who episodes lately, starting last August. I discovered this blog around the same time I started watching and so I’ve been following along. After I finish watching a story, I read to see what score Sue gave it. Right now we’re in the middle of “The Keeper of Traken”.

    It’s also cool that you’re covering the Eccleston Era now. He was the first doctor I saw, but I think the Second Doctor is my favorite, just edging out the Fourth. Have yet to see 5-7 & 8’s movie though.

    I remember this episode. Kind of an odd premise – a depressing event to attend, though in a way it makes sense, since inside he was a very depressed man. The script was kind of all over the place though. 4/10 IMO.

  20. Sean Alexander  April 3, 2015

    A week after hating Rose – and just days after falling out with Neil about it and accepting that Eccleston was already an ‘ex-Doctor’ – this had me at the opening teaser. It’s certainly not perfect, but there’s a breadth and emotional depth that will soon become the touchstones of new Who. The alien budget seems a bit wasted now, and the poor old Moxx gets grilled before he’s hardly spat at anyone, but Eccleston and Piper are cooking on gas now (Eccleston’s single tear at remembering the Time War is still the moment I was sold with him as THE Doctor). Looking back it’s clear that the ninth Doctor trusts Rose so much already that he wants to show her what happened to his planet and people by showing her the ultimate fate of the Earth come 5 billion. Yes, as a first date it’s a bit like taking the new girlfriend to your late wife’s grave, but this is a damaged Doctor who will only get worse before he gets better. And for that alone it makes both emotional and thematic sense.

    • Nick Mays  April 3, 2015

      The Doctor is behaving a bit like Travis Bickford on a date, isn’t he?

      • Nick Mays  April 3, 2015

        BICKLE! I meant Travis Bickle! 😀

        • Sean Alexander  April 3, 2015

          Bickford or Bickle, you certainly have a point. Though I’m not sure the image of a mohicanned Eccleston staring in a mirror post-regeneration and asking “You talkin’ to me?” whilst continuously drawing the sonic from his War Doctor holster is one even the most hardened of fan fictions ta would contemplate

  21. Antti Björklund  April 3, 2015

    I think you got Billie’s operation wrong, Sue. It was dental surgery, not a plastic surgery, if I recall correctly.

    • Nick Mays  April 3, 2015

      Yesh, you;re right, although for shome reashon the Producshun team denied it at the time! Ash if we wouldn’t notish!

  22. Dave Sanders  April 3, 2015

    Unquestionably the best (or least-worst if you’re feeling spiteful) of the New Earth trilogy, RTD wisely at this early sage doesn’t try to push his own envelope, but in a way that allows him to have his own cake and eat it; an apocalypse defined in broad strokes that affects a limited number of people in a confined space. He doesn’t have to fill in any great world-building gaps yet or contrive any reasons for background events, and leaves him free to develop the part he’s always best at; concentrating on the human side with genuinely likeable characters, most of whom have charisma and personality – it’s almost showing off that the ‘twist’ deliberately points at the only ones who don’t have any.

    All this would be worthless though if there wasn’t a confident and unified production team to back it up, happy to brainstorm ideas off each other without different departments treating it like a contest. If you want to picture how it could have gone terribly wrong, imagine Richard Martin at the helm, or the General Election being called early as happened with Warriors Of The Deep. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  23. Richard Lyth  April 3, 2015

    This episode was obviously an attempt to show that Doctor Who could compete with the big-budget American SF shows, and it certainly works, with the visuals still looking very impressive ten years later. The plot seems secondary to all the spectacle, but the relationship between Rose and the Doctor makes up for it. Interesting to see some more adult material making it past the censors, with Jabe calling Rose a prostitute and Camilla’s guts splattering all over the place – they were obviously still working out the tone of the show, and I guess it balances out the burping bins and farting aliens in other episodes.

  24. KatieC  April 4, 2015

    The end of The End of the World couldn’t come soon enough for me, 4/10

  25. Stuart D  April 4, 2015

    I was really disappointed with this episode at the time. The plot made no sense, some of the moments were downright daft-so the Doctor can just walk through spinning metal now can he?! What did impress me were the high production values-it was as though the BBC wanted to show off its brand new series(!!) and what it could do-. and Mr. Eccleston’s stellar performance

    • Andy Luke  April 4, 2015

      Crossing the corridor of spinning metal wasn’t so daft on re-watch, because paying close attention, the trick is done with a blip of Doctor-vision, like Matt Smith in The Eleventh Hour.

      Of the corridors of spinning metal, they seem arranged, by games programmer Matthew Smith in Manic Miner.

    • Emby2  April 5, 2015

      “so the Doctor can just walk through spinning metal now can he?!”

      I thought it fairly straightforwardly evident that the Doctor made himself so “in tune” with the spinning of the blade that he could judge within a millisecond when the gap between the blades would be.

      • Frankymole  April 13, 2015

        Perhaps his blade-walking was a skill learnt from his guru, Cho Je (K’Anpo) who after all could float into the lab in “Spiders”. The Doctor learnt other skills from “a space time mystic in the Quantocks” like getting Sarah to not need air (“Zygons”) and vortex-walking and going through the TARDIS shell (“Shada”).

  26. Derek Handley  April 5, 2015

    I had a tough week. Lovely to have this new post AND my copy of “The Miserable Git” to relax with this weekend.

    I never fully enjoyed this episode because I felt the director didn’t maintain a good sense of tension. The dramatic scenes always seemed too long – particularly the bit with the giant fans – but I really appreciated the design, the aliens and the ideas.

    Favorite quotes: “Are the Blue Man Group providing the entertainment before the Earth blows up?”

    “Maybe he wanted to see if she could handle it. The last thing he needs is another Tegan moaning at him all the bloody time.”

  27. Whoahoop  April 8, 2015

    After feeling disappointed with Rose, probably because I struggled with the pace making me summarise it as something like “Whoosh, bang, it’s over”, this episode seemed to be better paced (for me) and had a number of touches that I liked: The blue skinned aliens, the whole variety of aliens and a come-uppance for the villain that said to me that this Doctor took no prisoners.
    8/10 is fair enough

    • Wholahoop  April 8, 2015

      Oh for an edit button!!!!

  28. Flynn Sullivan  April 9, 2015

    Awww… I thought her favourite was Patrick Troughton.

    • Neil Perryman  April 9, 2015

      If you go by her scores, Sue’s favourite Doctor is actually Jon Pertwee. Go figure.

      • encyclops  April 10, 2015

        Pertwee is everyone’s guilty pleasure. That era’s influence not only on the rest of classic Who but most especially on the new series is incalculable, but it’s just not cool to admit it.

        • Nick Mays  April 10, 2015

          I’m certainly not guilty about Pertwee being “my” Doctor. Let’s not forget that the BBC were going to axe Dr Who after Trroughton left, because it was too expensive to make, especially in colour. Pertwee’s first season was very much “on trial” (sound familiar?). And because Mr P proved popular as the new Doctor, the show was saved. It was during JP’s tenure that the show achieved “cult” status. I know people bang on about Tom Baker being the definitive Doctor, but we all owe a lot to the “pompous Tory”.

          And as I think I mentioned previously, much as Sue has fine working class, left-wing credentials, the Doctor was supposed to be pompous and over bearing, partly due to frustration at being grounded by the Time Lords, but still with a strong moral sense of justice. And being a Tory doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person… not that the Doctor has any truck with politicians of any hue.

          Right, off me soapbox. I think it’s election fever… 😉

  29. encyclops  April 10, 2015

    The music felt a bit pandering to me at the time (whereas now it just looks like glorious RTD hedonism, and more power to him), but everything else scored — Doctor Who does Hitchhiker’s Guide. I don’t think there’s ever been an episode since that was this much fun with so much color and spectacle and joy — and it’s about the end of the world. That’s RTD in a nutshell and I wish he’d done more like it.