Tag: Doctor who

Doctor Who Re-Watch: Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks

Doctor Who Re-Watch: Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks

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…

Doctor Who Re-watch: Gridlock

Doctor Who Re-watch: Gridlock

Ah Gridlock, the intense traffic jam episode with bonus Face of Boe, how I’ve always enjoyed you! Really, this season is quite good!!! Fair warning re this review: Ben got a bit carried away with his write-up and was so enthusiastic, I let him dominate…

Doctor Who Re-watch: The Shakespeare Code

Doctor Who Re-watch: The Shakespeare Code

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 …

The shakespeare code

The Companion

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.

The Doctor

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Doctor Who Re-watch: Smith and Jones

Doctor Who Re-watch: Smith and Jones

And it begins. The Martha Jones series. Back in my teen years, this was where I hit the height of my RTD era Who obsession. I don’t like Doctor Jesus in Last of the Time Lords, but otherwise, I think this was RTD’s strongest run…

Doctor Who Re-watch: The Runaway Bride

Doctor Who Re-watch: The Runaway Bride

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…

Doctor Who Rewatch: Doomsday

Doctor Who Rewatch: Doomsday

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.

Pre-Title Sequence

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!

doomsday

The Companion/s

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.

The Doctor

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.

And:

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.

And

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.

Final Thoughts

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

Doctor Who Re-Watch: Army of Ghosts

Doctor Who Re-Watch: Army of Ghosts

Well, what can I say? As an angst riddled teen I loved this finale. Then I re-watched in my uni years and found the whole thing irritating melodrama. Then, um, Ben and I re-watched and well, I kind of like, enjoyed this first part of…

Doctor Who Re-watch: Fear Her

Doctor Who Re-watch: Fear Her

This is weird. My memory told me Love and Monsters and this episode were the two worst Doctor Who episodes of the RTD era. My memory has lied in a happy accident. Or maybe it’s just I really am not feeling the Thirteenth Doc so…

Doctor Who Re-watch: Love and Monsters

Doctor Who Re-watch: Love and Monsters

Before I get into this review a quick note on why no episode by episode reviews of Series 11 starring the thirteenth Doctor. Here’s the honest truth: I love Jodie, I don’t mind the visuals or the almost X Files vibe the show has going for it, but alas, I can’t stand how plain dull the writing is. I’ll do an overall series write-up, but not episode by episode. Sorry if people were holding out for it, but I’m not keen on trashing every single episode week after week.

So, we’re up to the infamous Love and Monsters. When this episode first aired, I hated it with a fiery passion. I thought the character drama was boring, Moaning Myrtle was annoying, the comedy misguided and the alien of the week pants. The last part still holds true, but actually, I quite enjoyed this re-watch. Yes, even Shirley Henderson. This episode is deliberately experimental in a way that RTD often wasn’t, pushing the envelope of what an episode could be and establishing the Doctor lite genre. It also served as a pretty nifty metaphor for fandom. I timed where the story jumped the shark and it was at exactly 30 minutes in, so we’re not even talking a lot of bad episode.

LINDA_Love_Monsters

The Pre-Title Sequence

Ben: This was a bit of a weird way to start what is admittedly a very weird episode. The first non-Doctor/companion centric episode, in fact! I wonder what David Tennant and Billie Piper did with the time off …

Maureen: Put their feet up, Ben!

Ben: Also, I would have liked the title sequence to have been pushed back a bit, and started right after the Doctor pauses, looks at Elton and says, “Don’t I know you?” But that’s just nit picking on my part.

Maureen: To be honest, I really liked the opening. I usually identify Marc Warren as a guy who plays the seedy villain in hard-hitting dramas or as Teatime in Hogfather so it was nice to see him get to play a socially awkward nice guy and do comedy. Maybe I’m reading too much into the opening, but I thought the Elton chasing after the TARDIS scenes were meant to play on audience expectations. Normally, Marc Warren is a villain so we assume he will be this episode. Except he isn’t. From the beginning there’s a note of farce about the proceedings which establishes this will be a different kind of Who episode (Rose/Ten chasing an alien up and down a corridor with a bucket and Ten talking to the alien like it’s a pet). Also, I kind of like Elton talking to the audience through his video camera. He’s endearing in the same way Rory was.

The Companions Who Never Were

Ben: Elton is a pretty loveable goof with a ~mysterious past~ with the Doctor, having encountered him in his house when he was 4 when a shadow escaped from the Howling Halls and killed his mum. And since then he’s borne witness to a few other of the Doctor’s Earth based adventures, in a nice little call back to seasons past.

Maureen: So many callbacks! The plastic Nestine in Rose, the Slitheen invasion in Aliens of London/WW3 and then the Sycarax invasion of The Christmas Invasion. There’s even references to Torchwood and Bad Wolf. Also, the whole Elton past thing … I wonder if Moffat was inspired a little by it with Amy Pond. Maybe I just see reflections of The Eleventh Hour in everything, but it reminded me.

Ben: I don’t really have much else to say about Elton. He was a relatable lens through which we got to experience this episode, and he was dumb and sweet.

Maureen: He was incredibly likeable. I had a huge grin on my face when he danced around the room to ELO on camera and cracked jokes about being different to Elton John. I also thought his romance with Ursula (until the shitty end) was very sweet in a Richard Curtis kind of way. He was under-confident, awkward, shy and a bit of a coward too, but kind and gentle and good too underneath it all. I’m kind of sad he didn’t get a two-parter.

Ben: Perhaps my favourite scene of the episode was the scene in the laundromat where Elton attempts to make contact with Jackie and finds himself way out of his depth.

Maureen: I liked this Elton scene a lot too, but it wasn’t my favourite. My favourite would be him realising the Doctor conspiracy stuff has made him lose sight of what matters and what’s moral and tells Jackie he’s going to order them both a pizza and watch TV with Jackie, “just mates.” In fact, all of the Jackie Tyler scenes were solid gold.

Ben: Elton’s way of asking out Ursula left something to be desired, but at least he realised his feelings and acted on them finally. There was passion behind that proposition that he and Ursula grab some Chinese.

Maureen: Just quickly on Ursula, I kind of liked her too. She started off so damn awkward (check out the bench scene where she sits at an angle that positions her body away from Elton even as she’s talking to him and her shy little smiles) and then I just love her and LINDA and their little band and then when she loses her temper at Victor. OK, so she wimped out on hurting the alien when she shouldn’t have, but I kind of enjoy Henderson doing mad. She’s just so slight and small, but has this crazy voice. It works for her.

Ben: I also love Elton’s hell of a speech at the end of the episode about how The Doctor brings death and destruction to those in their orbit, which was a nice little bit of foreshadowing of what’s to come in the finale.

Maureen: I liked his final quote too. I’m sure Rose used something similar before. (Any commentators, please feel free to confirm me right or wrong with the particular episode.)

Elton: When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all … grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.

That’s the kind of hopeful, life affirming Who quote I love!!!

Ben: Jackie Tyler also had some great moments of characterisation this episode. It was really refreshing to see her living her life sans Rose or The Doctor. You get a real glimpse of a lonely mother, forever waiting for her daughter to return to her. It was really humanising, and you see in her a person who just craves company (“I can’t stand the quiet”) and the human touch, just like everyone does.

Maureen: Jackie Tyler has never really worked properly for me as a character. She too often descends into the ‘has been whore’ stereotype women always get lumped in (alongside virgin and crone tropes) and it annoys me. I didn’t understand the point of these Love and Monsters scenes as a teenager, but now I can understand their significance. They show why Jackie tries to fill her life with a string of men. Because she’s so lonely and feels so inadequate and so, so scared.

Ben: Yeah, my heart really broke for her when, after talking to Rose on the phone, she discovers the photo of Rose in Elton’s jacket and she realises Elton is being kind to her not for herself, but because of her connection with The Doctor. And then she gives this amazing speech about how the people who get left behind get hard, because it’s hard to be abandoned. I mean, couldn’t Rose have brought her mum along for an adventure or two? Jackie has a point!

Maureen: God my heart broke when Jackie she used to have a mate called Mickey who used to do all her handy man work.

The Alien of the Week

Ben: The alien this week, Mr Victor the Absorbaloff from planet Clom was, well, he was a choice. I get what they were going for but … he was definitely the weakest part of the episode.

Maureen: Just an FYI, Ben, this alien was designed by a ten year old as part of a Blue Peter competition so the fault doesn’t entirely lie with RTD and co.

Ben: True and I’m not sure what I would have done differently with the alien of the episode to keep the story/ideas they were trying to explore, but I feel like the alien was the result of no one saying no in the writer’s room. And what was the point of the Slitheen reference?

Maureen: I feel like perhaps this should have been a two-parter. There was thirty minutes of set-up and about ten minutes to reveal the alien threat and deal with it. Everything felt rushed and silly in the denouement.

Ben: At least the alien’s motives were sound with him wanting to absorb The Doctor to experience his life and existence through the power of digestion. But why did he only have the faces of the members of LINDA? Were they his first ever victims? I feel like he needed a bit more of a back story, or something.

Maureen: I found it odd that LINDA didn’t get more suspicious with all of their members vanishing one by one on flimsy pretexts and why they didn’t arc up sooner with Victor being so mean. Also, the denouement where The Doctor saves Ursula as a concrete slab to be Elton’s blow job on tap can go die in a fiery hole of sexism. Which is what that writing was.

Fandom Meta

Ben: The whole story of LINDA (that name is so dumb) is something of a metaphor for fandom, with passion for a thing bringing people together.

Maureen: Oiii, Ben. I liked the LINDA name. It was funny.

Ben: LINDA evolves from a conspiracy Doctor group to a community about genuine friendship. People have different reasons for joining LINDA and they go way beyond The Doctor. For Bridget, it was escaping the reality of her missing daughter, for Bliss it was a way to explore her artistic side. For Elton and Ursula, a way to make “proper mates.” And then, it becomes it’s own thing, almost a family of sorts.

Maureen: God, I love LINDA cooking meals and forming a band and listening to Mr Skinner read his novel. That’s my best experiences of fandom right there.

Ben: The arrival of Victor stretches the metaphor a bit, but I interpret him as the embodiment of toxic fandom.

Maureen: I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. RTD is known for his on the nose satire. Also, for his involvement in Who fandom before becoming show runner.

Ben: With Victor’s arrival, LINDA becomes all work and no play. Gone is the food and the jam sessions, and instead they’ve been put to work hunting The Doctor.

Elton: Better get to work.
Ursula: I’ve never thought of it as work before.

And then one by one LINDA was dispatched as Victor or ‘toxic fandom’ absorbs each and every member bar Elton. The only way toxic fandom endures is by sucking people in to the point where they can’t leave. There’s something to be said about the way that Victor treats the members of LINDA like garbage, and it’s not until they stand up to him that the tides start to change. Each of the members of LINDA was charming in their own way, and I would have loved to have had more time with each of them.

Maureen: I agree. They were all sweet and good and innocent.

Final Thoughts

Ben: I’m not sure if the scene with The Doctor and Rose chasing/being chased by the alien at the start of the episode was supposed to be comedic, but I found it rather dumb. I had this same experience multiple times in the episode, of the tone feeling a bit off. Like when Elton’s computer blew up because the internet was going into meltdown about theories on the spaceship? Was that supposed to be a humorous recreation, or what actually happened? Anyway, I digress. About 70% of the episode was quite good, and then right at the end it completely jumps the shark. Ursula’s fate was particularly egregious. I feel like if they’d had another episode to properly explore the backstories and lives of the members of LINDA, and maybe had another go at the alien/ending they could have ended up with a truly fantastic episode. As it is, I’m going to give it 7/10.

Maureen: I agree with most of what you say, Ben. Sometimes the tone felt wrong and the alien of the week didn’t work given the denouement RTD went with. Also, have I mentioned before how much I loathe Ursula’s fate? Let me go again: it’s really, really, really fucking sexist. But then, for thirty minutes this was a sweet, funny, experimental look at what running into The Doctor does to people and how he brings them together which made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So I’m also giving this odd beast 7/10 inky stars.

Doctor Who Rewatch: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

Doctor Who Rewatch: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

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…