Argh apologies all for the delay in getting this one up. Ben did his bit but I had some sad news about a friend and didn’t touch anything writing or blogging related for a full fortnight. Also, let’s be honest. We all know this Dalek…
Tag: Doctor who
Boy do I enjoy these historical throw-back episodes. I didn’t remember how this one panned out to be honest, though I remembered it dealt with the colour of Martha’s skin early on in and was pretty funny. Ben and I had a blast watching this one!
The Pre-Title Sequence
Maureen: Some witches! First rate cackling after a rather violent death! A witch who reminds me vaguely of The Master’s wife, Lucy Saxon, and it turns out, was in Casino Royale for a couple of seconds. What’s not to enjoy?
Ben: This whole sequence was giving me strong BBC Merlin vibes, to be honest. It’s very supernatural entity of the week, and it culminated in a good evil laugh, which I appreciate. The question is, how will they make it sci-fi …
Ben: Martha continues to be so inquisitive! The Doctor may not appreciate her curiosity at how everything works, but I love her and her keen scientific mind. She does have a point about the causality of time and the butterfly effect … And she continues to have witty comebacks for every occasion! Her joke about getting sectioned for telling people she’d met Shakespeare, for one.
Maureen: I’m pleasantly surprised by how funny Martha is. It’s not something I’d remembered about her run at all. I also lol’d at the sectioning comment. I like her innate toughness too. She’s completely unfazed by sewerage everywhere, citing her experiences in A and E as good training for the situation she’s found herself in, for example. I also laughed at Martha’s enteprising nature when she finds herself able to get her hands on an original Shakespeare play.
Martha: We can sell it when we get home and make a mint!
Then there’s the odd Shakespeare/Martha shipping in-show, because this episode is having a ball and wants you to have one too!
Ben: Yeah, wow when Shakespeare calls Martha … well a lot of words that I’m impressed the BBC let the scriptwriter include.
Maureen: I thought it was pretty funny later when Martha said she couldn’t bring herself to kiss Shakespeare because of his bad breath. This chick takes no shit and gives no fucks. I forgot just how likeable Martha is.
Ben: The scene with Martha and The Doctor in bed was painful to watch, with poor Martha getting her crush squished in one blow. Ahh well, better to get it out of your system early so you can enjoy your adventures through space and time.
Maureen: I really wish the Rose spectre had been laid to rest around this point. Alas, it haunts all of the RTD era. My comment was, ‘no moon-eyes Martha. Bed-sharing is lame.’ And The Doctor claiming Rose would know exactly what to do and how to comfort can fuck right off.
Ben: Now, Martha doesn’t do a great deal in the last half or so of the episode except sit back and enjoy the ride, but she does get to contribute at critical moments (again with the CPR, expelliarmus, etc etc) and generally have a good time. And! She get’s compared to a summer’s day. Now that’s a story worth getting sectioned over.
Maureen: I loved the Harry Potter episode. It dates the episode, but in a fun way for this millennial who grew up waiting for each new book to come out.
Martha: It’s a bit Harry Potter!
Ten: Aw, you wait till Book Seven. I cried all night.
Final thing I want to say: Martha’s tats are damn hot. Bite me.
Ben: I did quite enjoy how much the Doctor was having the time of his life showing off for Martha, giving her the Doctor Who special and all that. Although it wouldn’t be a Doctor Who special without everything going wrong in the first 10 minutes. It’s just as Martha said, you shouldn’t meet your idols, and there’s no reason why Shakespeare would be exempt from that rule given his swarmy racism.
Maureen: Yes, though I liked that the scriptwriter (I think this one was Gareth Edwards?) was brave enough to mess with the Shakespeare deification. It’s a risk, but I think it pays off. Shakespeare doesn’t feel overly liberated and a-historical here.
Ben: Yeah, and he does quickly redeem himself, seeing through The Doctor’s psychic paper for one. Then, with a drowning on dry land the mystery is properly afoot, and The Doctor is in his element. Investigating ensures, to the detriment of Martha’s romantic overtures. But! Shakespeare got enough flirting in for everyone. The Doctor’s confrontations with the Carrionites were very Merlin, with the naming and the rhyming and all that jazz. And that brings us to the final confrontation! It was all very over the top, with a tornado of evil witches and their laughter, with a dramatic final sonnet to undo what was done, and to top it all off, a JK Rowling reference. End scene, cue applause, off with his head and all that. Maureen has informed me that the bit with Queen Liz was only properly explained quite recently in an episode I haven’t yet seen, I am quite curious to see what he could have done to deserve such a warm welcome.
Maureen: How the fuck did you not see the 50th anniversary, Ben? HOW? Anyway, I feel like The Doctor and Martha didn’t actually do a lot this episode to solve the alien of the week problem. The focus was more on light froth fun (which I was down with) and then revelations thick and fast towards the end. In addition to the J.K references, I kind of liked the trip to Bethlam. It reminded me of Sweeney Todd, and anyone who knows anything about me knows how much I love that musical.
In other news, I liked The Doctor being a bad TARDIS driver reference too.
Martha: Isn’t there a driver’s test?
Ten: Yeah. I failed it.
Oh, River Song. I can’t wait for your later zingers.
Ten got to be quite funny again this episode with his introduction as ‘Sir Doctor of TARDIS’ and Martha of ‘Freedonia’ where black skin and tight clothes aren’t blinked at (we can dream). Also, in a repeat of Eccleston in his period piece episode with Dickens, the many times Ten ‘inspires’ Shakespeare with his own lines.
The Alien of the Week
Maureen: These Carronites were pretty nasty critters. I counted the body count at three about ten minutes into the episode!
Ben: It’s an uncommon episode where the aliens are so heavily featured in the pre-title sequence, that’s for sure! Right from the get-go you know they’re Bad News and that they also have Unknown Powers they can bring to bear at the blink of an eye (although this is really just making me nostalgic for BBC Merlin again). The death of the head play person was well done, honestly, I found it pretty horrific. Drowning on dry land, what a way to go. Anywho, they continue to speak in rhyme and cast magic with abandon to further the plot while the Doctor does his investigating. Turns out they’ve been planning this for quite some time! Putting little ideas in the architect’s head while he was sleeping. And then, with their name comes their history, a species older than time, locked away by the Immortals, using the power of words to break once again into this reality. It’s a great fantasy storyline, that’s for sure. And they got a great fantasy ending too! With their spell cut off by Shakespeare they all ended up trapped in their crystal ball for all eternity.
Maureen: Sometimes The Doctor can be unbearably cruel, but this time, I think the Carronites, despite their lonely last of our kind attempt to win The Doctor over, deserved his ire. To be trapped screaming in the TARDIS for all eternity though? So harsh. It is a great fantasy storyline, Ben, but unfortunately, this is where the episode falls apart a bit for me. It went too far into fantasy for believability to hold. I didn’t really buy those witches as aliens. They looked and acted like, well, witches.
Ben: This episode can most accurately be described as a fun romp of an adventure. The aliens this week were very much magical and non-sciencey. I know The Doctor uses that quote about any sufficiently advanced technology looking like magic, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. The lead witch lady even refers to it as magic herself! Still, the three wicked witches were really fun to watch. On top of the witches, just having Shakespeare around as a character was good fun, and all the jokes referencing his works or the theatre were well done. In the end, I really enjoyed this episode, but it loses points for being an episode of the wrong show (and also some clunky acting at moments). I’m going to give it a 7/10.
Maureen: I’m the same as Ben. I really enjoyed the episode’s ride and the light-hearted laughter-filled romp the scriptwriter achieved, but it isn’t as good to my mind as Gatiss’ The Unquiet Dead in terms of moving character and drama forward. I also feel like the plot went for frothiness over substance so that Martha and Ten didn’t always feel that necessary to the story. I did enjoy this more than last week’s episode however, so I’m going with a solid 8/10 inky stars.
Wow, it took me an age to get started on reviewing this odd beast of a Christmas special in which plastic santas make a come back and Donna Noble makes her debut entrance. Every time I re-watch, I oscillate wildly between enjoying the experience and…
Wow. All the feels. And I say that as someone who doesn’t ship Rose/Ten. I guess time has made me kinder to this finale. Also, sorry for the blogging delay, but t’was the silly season.
Ben: As is usual with these two-parters, the pre-title sequence was a recap of the previous episode, ending with the ominous words from Rose of the excellent eyebrows – “this is how I die.” Onwards!
Maureen: Much drama! Also, clever cop out that doesn’t feel like a cheat, RTD!
Ben: Rose pulls some excellent stunts when facing down the Daleks – standing up to them and name-dropping the Time War in the process. That did take nerve. She was pretty badass when she dropped the bombshell that not only is The Doctor in the building, but that she met and killed the Dalek Emperor!
Maureen: This was probably my favourite part of the episode. Rose did have courage and backbone. Too often she allowed herself to be defined by her relationship with The Doctor instead of her own strengths which is why she grew to annoy me as a companion. Still, didn’t mind her here. I also dug her in this exchange:
Dalek: Which of you is least important?
Rose: No. We don’t work that way.
Though I have to admit, the Daleks sucking the Torchwood lackey’s brain cells to kill him was not a sight for the kiddies (or for me. How scary!)
Ben: Of course, there’s the obligatory awkward conversation between her and Mickey who’s acting more like Ricky. Though that does turn out to be a rather juicy conversation – Rose correctly deducts that they need time energy to activate the Genesis Ark, and Mickey foreshadows an important feature of the time travel devices – they can only carry one person. Rose doesn’t do much more until the end of the episode, and I honestly wasn’t prepared for how traumatic that ended up being. It’s a lot to get thrown on you in one hit – The Doctor’s saving the day and part of the plan is you leaving and never existing in the same reality as the Doctor ever again. I mean, The Doctor has been her life for two years or so, but even then she chose The Doctor over her own mum! That’s young love for you. I’m sure inkashlings will have better words for this part, I’m no good with the emotional stuff 😛
Maureen: I have such a weird relationship with this ending. I alternate between love and hate every few years. I like that Rose is stubborn and determined in her youth and she foregoes safety for love. Back in the parallel universe I don’t mind the goodbye scene, even if I was like ‘omg hurry up and spit it out, Ten. Are you trying to while away precious seconds?’ I actually think my irritation with the Rose thing is because of what came after in terms of her continued impact on story and The Doctor’s relationships with his new companions. I wish she’d been left on that beach to discover her abilities with Torchwood, tragic but able, courageous and wise about aliens, her future left to the viewer’s imaginations and the show able to move on. Alas, that’s not what happened so I’ll move on …
Ben: Billie Piper sure did pull out all the stops when it came to the emotional scenes at the end of this episode. Talk about an emotional gut punch! There were some powerful, swoon-worthy lines said about collapsing universes and not caring if it meant they could be together. And of course, their goodbye happened in Bad Wolf Bay. Even re-watching this scene to write the review has me tearing up, the way Rose’s last words to the Doctor end up being her declaration of love for him. Oof.
Maureen: I shed a tear this re-watch. I cannot deny it. Billie Piper is a brilliant actress, which certainly helps, and I think one of her strengths are these kind of high melodrama scenes.
Ben: On to Jackie. She had a rough time of things. First she doesn’t know what’s happened to Rose and then she faces being turned into a cyberman. Even worse, she sees the Torchwood lady getting turned into a cyberman too!
Maureen: I’ve never listed it in order before, but by jove Ben, you’re right. I wonder how much therapy Jackie needs now? In the parallel universe is she like Katniss in the conclusion of The Hunger Games? Is it Pete that talks her through the nightmares when she can’t sleep? Someone write the fic!
Ben: YEAH AND THEN AFTER ALL OF THAT she sees her husband basically return from the dead! It was a very sweet moment, that reunion. It’s really nice to see the development to Jackie’s character. When we first met her, she was a bit of a caricature. But she gets something of a happy ending! The Tyler’s reunited again, with another Tyler on the way!
Maureen: I think Jackie came into her own in the second part of this season and surprisingly, it was Love and Monsters that helped me to understand her behavior the most. When she says to Pete she never loved anyone but him it’s true in its way. She may have had one night stands with men, but they meant nothing to her beyond the physical. I think Jackie has changed with Rose away and Pete dead. She nagged too much. She shouted too much. She cared about the superficial too much, but it was to try to fill the emptiness within. Perhaps adventures with The Doctor and Rose have helped her to get some priorities sorted. I also love the symmetry of Pete dying in our world and Jackie dying in Pete’s world and I too found their reunion sweet.
Ben: In a different move for The Doctor … for a big part of this episode he’s just a spectator! First, he’s held captive by the cybermen, and then after he’s rescued from them, he’s taken back to Parallel Earth! Back on Earth II we get the low down on how the cybermen made their way over to Earth thanks to Pete Tyler – plus the interesting little easter egg that Harriet Jones is the President in this reality. And then! Then we’re off to the races!
Maureen: Yes, you’re right, but I think this was a general tool of RTD when he wrote finale’s anyway. He did like to throw the kitchen sink aka every guest star and big threat and reference into his finales which by necessity meant character’s had to take turns to take a backseat. Sometimes the RTD approach worked and sometimes it didn’t. I think it was fine this finale.
Ben: Hmmm. About halfway through the episode, The Doctor makes alliances with Cybermen and tries to get Earth II Pete Tyler to rescue Jackie even though she’s not his Jackie. Anyways, The Doctor serves some sick burns to the Daleks before attempting to drop a cyberman augmented trap on their heads. Shame it didn’t quite work out.
Maureen: Haha there were so many Doctor and Rose Dalek directed sick burns. Those two were on fire! Also, plus points to RTD for fitting in some humorous Ten/Rose banter.
Ten: How are ya?
Rose: Oh, so so.
Rose: Which one’s shiver?
Ten: I’m shake.
Ben: And then we get to The Doctor’s master plan. Tricky, this void stuff, although I’m not entirely sure how the Daleks who were trapped inside the Genesis Ark got covered in it. Surely Time Lord technology isn’t that leaky. But still, it’s a good plan, and I’m being nit-picky.
Maureen: I gave up on following whys and wherefores and enjoyed the character stuff. I have a theory about TV drama actually. I think you can break plot rules, or you can break established characterizations or you can break with tone, but not all at the same time and two is pushing it. I’m also more forgiving of plot when the script has something true to say about character. So basically, I didn’t care about the plot mcguffin get out of jail reasoning because I was enjoying the character stuff too much to care.
Ben: The Doctor should have seen Rose being non-compliant from a mile off re his plan to tackle the Daleks alone. I mean he’s traveled with her for two years or so by this point! I understand he’s doing it for noble reasons, but still.
Maureen: Yeah, it was kinda funny how easy it was for Rose to reverse that plan. Like, did The Doctor and Rose’s family seriously think she wouldn’t press the button and go straight back? She isn’t stupid.
The Alien of the Week
Ben: Cybermen AND Daleks! The shark has truly been jumped this week. For starters, how did the cyberman broadcast their face/background to all frequencies of the world without a camera? And like, the first time we see a Dalek, it downloaded all of the internet through a computer terminal, surely they could have done that instead of sucking the information out of the brain of a Torchwood agent.
Maureen: Ah, Ben, how do you think of these things? They never occur to me till you point them out.
Ben: The stand off between the Cybermen and the Daleks was pretty hilarious/petty.
Dalek: This is not war. This is pest control.
Dalek: You are better at dying.
And, it turns out these Daleks are of the Cult of Skaro! I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds impressive. And, thanks to Mickey touching it, the Genesis Ark was successfully activated! Anywho, we now we have all out war happening between the Daleks and the Cybermen, with all Cybermen units converging on Torchwood Tower. Which, considering how slowly they walk, is not really a threat the Daleks need to concern themselves with. And then, the grand reveal. The Time Lord technology that is the Genesis Ark? It’s a prison ship housing millions of Daleks. The wonders of Time Lord science. It’s a shame they didn’t get to enjoy their freedom long, on account of the Doctor opening a doorway to the Void and them all getting sucked in. But at least one of the Dalek’s of Skaro managed to sneakily temporal shift their way out of danger, living to fight another day.
Maureen: I love the concept of a Dalek cult. I wonder if Big Finish did something with this? Probably. PS: I found the Daleks scary when they killed Torchwood man, but the cyberman weren’t bad either. The bit where Torchwood’s leader repeats, “I did my duty,” over and over as they rewire her is really disturbing because the process is left up to your imagination. Poor Jackie having to watch! Like I said, so much therapy needed. And it was so sad when cyberman Torchwood leader repeats later, “I did my duty,” as a tear falls from her cyberman groove eye. I reckon if I’d been younger when this came out, I’d have been behind my sofa.
Ben: This was an excellent follow through from the previous episode. It had highs, lows, funny bits, sad bits. Everything you want in a Doctor Who episode, in fact! And! It redeemed the absolute wreck that was the two-parter that introduced the Cybermen. I was truly devastated to see Rose go in the end. Her and The Doctor had great chemistry. It’s a shame it never worked when they tried to introduce a third companion (with the exception of Captain Jack Harkness), but I guess they’re jealous lovers. But I digress. Their goodbye scene left me a wreck, only for the appearance of Donna Noble to whiplash me back to reality. In the end, I think I’ll give this a 10/10. Onwards to the Christmas Special!
Maureen: I’ll probably change my mind a year later, but I did enjoy this a lot this time around. It’s not this finale’s fault that Rose grew to outstay her welcome and that her ghost haunted the show to its detriment. Also, interesting thing. Someone was talking to me the other day about how New Doctor Who is way more fantasy than it is sci-fi and I agree with that, but I often see Eleven as fantasy archetype territory, rather than Ten. The whole dream sequence and final goodbye was something out of a fairy story. 10/10 inky stars
Just a quick note before this review to let people know I’m overseas for a month so will a) miss the first female Doctor’s debut and won’t be able to live blog my reaction and b) The series two re-watch stops till I get back…