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«104 »
Which non-Power of the Daleks story would you like to see an episode found from?
This poll is closed.
Marco Polo 36 20.69%
The Myth Makers 10 5.75%
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve 45 25.86%
The Savages 2 1.15%
The Smugglers 2 1.15%
The Highlanders 45 25.86%
The Macra Terror 21 12.07%
Fury from the Deep 13 7.47%
Total: 174 votes
[Edit Poll (moderators only)]

  • Locked thread
Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Cerv posted:

hi this is the doctor who thread come on in

The 60s stuff has aged surprisingly well, and the 80s stuff ALWAYS looked awful!

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Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


For all that Vervoids does suck, that effects shot at the end of episode 2 is something I remember being quite impressive.

Plus, Honour Blackman is cool in it.

Rochallor
Apr 22, 2010


Cerv posted:

hi this is the doctor who thread come on in

You expect 70s Doctor Who to look like a butt. The first couple series of the revival have no such excuse, Series 1 in particular.

Honestly, it is pretty remarkable how the revival has come from the days of Vaseline to become one of the best looking genre shows on TV.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


It was deliberately made to look like a soap to attract people in

CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.

Counterpoint - the Hinchcliffe era of the late 70's was loving AMAZING from a visual standpoint. The Masque of Mandragora easily has the best looking scenery and costumes in the show's history.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

Fancy.


Trin Tragula posted:

How can you have been 13 in 2004 and still old enough to remember The Demon Headmaster? I was barely old enough to remember the Demon Headmaster and I'm an entire school older than you.

MrL_JaKiri posted:

Final series aired in '98, so 7 years old. Reasonable enough, I remember TV series from when I was seven (eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucky...d_the_Toad_Wars - well, 8 for that one)

Quite. It left an impression.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!


Once Doctor Who left the mid 70s or so, the wheels fell off the cart. Before that point, while you would have absolute garbage looking things, generally it looked Fine Enough. Nothing else on TV looked that much better, even if they had giant budgets.

After that point, other shows skyrocketed in terms of budget and what they could DO with that budget, while Who mostly staid the same, looking worse and worse and worse as time went on.


Also, Toxx don't read this if you wander in here-





The next episode is going to break Toxx's heart. If I have a good gauge on how he's going to react to Clara not only being back, but Immortal and time traveling with Game of Thrones girl, it's going to hurt him.

Hell Bound is just such a disappointment to follow up Heaven Sent.

2house2fly
Nov 14, 2012

You did a super job wrapping things up! And I'm not just saying that because I have to!

I think he's going to be spitting mad about it if he really didn't see something like it coming, but then maybe he learned from Rory that if someone dies halfway through the series the writers might have plans.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!


2house2fly posted:

I think he's going to be spitting mad about it if he really didn't see something like it coming, but then maybe he learned from Rory that if someone dies halfway through the series the writers might have plans.

I get the strong feeling from his review of Heaven Sent that he REALLY thinks she's dead.

I mean I hoped she was too, but yeah. Way to cheapen your own work again Moffat. Please stop that.

Organza Quiz
Nov 7, 2009



I just hope it doesn't make him quit so close to him reaching the Christmas special.

Picklepuss
Jul 12, 2002



CobiWann posted:

Counterpoint - the Hinchcliffe era of the late 70's was loving AMAZING from a visual standpoint. The Masque of Mandragora easily has the best looking scenery and costumes in the show's history.
Don't forget the jungle setting in Planet of Evil.

NieR Occomata
Jan 18, 2009


Burkion posted:

Hell Bound is just such a disappointment to follow up Heaven Sent.

Mmm, nah.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!



Get to work on the review word monkey

howe_sam
Mar 7, 2013

Creepy little garbage eaters

Burkion posted:

I mean I hoped she was too, but yeah. Way to cheapen your own work again Moffat. Please stop that.

He's just setting the table for those audio dramas the rest of you nerds love.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!


howe_sam posted:

He's just setting the table for those audio dramas the rest of you nerds love.

Wrong person to quote on that.

I'm not a fan of those.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

Coach Bloodbutt
Default Status: POOPING



Colin Baker does not approve of this discussion.

Rochallor
Apr 22, 2010


CobiWann posted:

Counterpoint - the Hinchcliffe era of the late 70's was loving AMAZING from a visual standpoint. The Masque of Mandragora easily has the best looking scenery and costumes in the show's history.

Oh, absolutely, the costuming and set design of that era is fantastic. I'm talking more about things like camerawork and editing, which is obviously dated. Which you'd expect. Whereas Series 1 is airing the same time as, say, Lost, or even something like Heroes, and looks painfully dated.

I do love, though, that the swamp in Planet of Evil is basically at the level of a big budget sci-fi movie, and then in 80 Empire Strikes Back comes along and kneecaps it with basically the best set of all time with Dagobah.

Barry Foster
Dec 24, 2007

Brush your teeth.


Rhyno posted:

Colin Baker does not approve of this discussion.

But I'm joining this discussion, and I approve of Colin Baker.

Like, a lot.

MrL_JaKiri posted:

It was deliberately made to look like a soap to attract people in

Is this true? Where did you pick it up? Is it in The Writer's Tale? I've not read that in years, so maybe I've forgotten.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?




For me, The Girl Who Died's failure comes from its inability to set a consistent tone, undermining both the comedy AND dramatic aspects it strives (too) hard for. In trying to serve two masters it serves none, and the end result is a disappointing episode that wastes Maisie Williams in the first of her several appearances to come this season. To make things worse, the comedy is not funny and the drama is not particularly dramatic. Such things are subjective of course and I can only ever truly speak for myself, but watching this I found the humor to be strained and trying far too hard, while the drama just fell flat or felt unearned/forced. The real shame of it is that this episode was written by Jamie Mathieson, who wrote two of the absolute best episodes of season 8 in Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline, so I was expecting so much more than what I got.

http://i.imgur.com/JE3B4HV.gifv

This "off" feeling comes right from the opening as we join the Doctor and Clara in medias res, with Clara free-floating in space with a spider in her space-suit, while the Doctor is under fire from a number of warships. A neat piece of editing resolves this situation, and the Doctor and Clara step out of the TARDIS after landing only to find themselves immediately taken prisoner by vikings. Taken to their village on a two day journey, they arrive and the Doctor immediately suffers a strange sense of premonition when he sees Ashildr, the daughter of one of the villagers. Attempting to pull the old "I'm a God!" routine to escape, the Doctor claims to be Odin only for the actual thing to seemingly show up, a giant face in the sky appearing and laying claim to the mightiest warriors of the village to do them the honor of dining with him in Valhalla. When Clara spots Ashildr has the broken remains of the Doctor's sonic shades, she attempts to show her how to use them to break her own chains (the Doctor slipped his easily enough) only for the two of them to be teleported away themselves by "Odin".

In "Valhalla", the warriors are vaporized but Clara and Ashildr are spared, and Clara quickly grasps that they were spared because of their use of advanced technology (the sonic shades and Clara's spacesuit), guessing that "Odin" and his warriors are aliens themselves who are concerned because Clara's technology is beyond even them. Thinking on her feet, Clara attempts to convince Odin to release them only for Ashildr to get the wrong end of the stick and start throwing out threats herself, which goads Odin to agree to battle. Clara and Ashildr are returned to the village, where they deliver the news that Odin and his warriors will return in a day's time to do battle with them, which means the village will be utterly destroyed.



As far as a set-up goes it's fine - it establishes not only the threat but the philosophy and character of the aliens, creates a conflict to be resolved, and gives a reason for the Doctor and Clara to stick around (despite the former's protests) - the villagers are in peril from galactic bullies, he needs to help them. But right from the beginning the uneven tone has been present and it just continues on throughout the episode. It goes from "wacky" comedy to heartfelt speeches to musings on war, death and cowardice and the whole thing is just a big mess that doesn't fit well together at all. One moment the Doctor is waving a yo-yo about, the next he's translating the oddly poetic lamentations of a baby, the next he's fiercely arguing the futility of standing to fight a superior foe, the next he's playing sped-up footage of his humiliated enemy running from an Am-Dram prop set to Benny Hill music. What is the episode supposed to be? A think-piece on the price of honor and the power of imagination over brute force? A wacky comedy about goofballs in over their head who somehow come together to defeat the bad guys? Broad slapstick or thought-provoking drama?

The baby speech in particular is terrible, though Capaldi does the absolute best he can to elevate the material. What the baby "says" isn't bad at all, the words are actually fairly poetic.... it's just that the whole concept is just ridiculous. I've never liked the whole "the Doctor can speak baby!" thing because it took what should have been a one-off silly comment by the Doctor not meant to be taken serious to a running gag (and not a particularly good one) intended to showcase the initial division and growing acceptance between Craig and his baby in Closing Time to this nonsensical revelation that apparently babies are constantly waxing poetic about life in general. If you buy into it, it's probably great, but I'm prejudiced against the idea from the get-go and it just leaves me cold no matter how good Capaldi's performance may be (and believe me, it's very good).

After the obligatory "everything goes wrong and ain't it wacky!" scenes of the Doctor's ragtag group of wannabe warriors loving everything up, a heart-to-heart with Clara reminds him that he's going about things the wrong way - at Clara's behest he's been attempting to teach them how to fight, but he's never been a fighter and he doesn't resolve things by planning out battles and wars. She's the one who reminds him of this, she asked him to help them, and by that she meant she wanted him to do what he always does - figure out a way to win against impossible odds. This scene and the one that follows it include two of the best lines in the episode, not just by virtue of everything else being worse, but because they're genuinely strong bits of dialogue that give the Doctor the perspective he needs.

Clara posted:

You always miss it, right up until the last minute. So put down your sword, stop playing soldier and look for it. Start winning, Doctor. It's what you're good at.

Ashildr posted:

I've always been different. All my life I've known that. The girls all thought I was a boy. The boys all said I was just a girl. My head is always full of stories. I know I'm strange. Everyone knows I'm strange. But here I'm loved. You tell me to run to save my life. I tell you that leaving this place would be death itself.

The Doctor's revelation comes shortly after his conversations with Clara and Ashildr. When the latter talks about her love of her home and is comforted by her father, the Doctor is reminded of the parent/child bond "expressed" by the baby he translated for. Hearing that baby crying and learning that her father the blacksmith is taking her to see the "fish" that calm her, he realizes the significance of "fire in the water" from her poetry.... this Viking village that as far as I know is nowhere near their habitat has a number of electric eels by a remarkable coincidence!

http://i.imgur.com/6JuwAcu.gifv
I don't know if they're naturally found in viking territory or not, but this feels like an incredibly contrived "solution" to me.

Regardless, the Doctor figures out a way to defeat the Mire (Odin's aliens are apparently amongst the most feared warriors in the galaxy.... that's it, just the one galaxy, kinda low-rent compared to the Daleks really) not through force of arms but through trickery. They'll lure the Mire in, electrocute some soldiers, de-helmet others with magnetized anvils, and then use Ashildr's storytelling (and the barest suggestion of psychic ability?) to convince them they're under attack not from a lovely prop but an actual serpent. It works of course, with the Mire running in terror and Odin blackmailed by the video footage, told to leave and stay away or else have their mighty reputation destroyed by uploading the video to the Galactic Hub. Why the Mire didn't just blast the village from orbit once back in their spaceship is unclear, and they end up coming across as a massive waste of a very cool visual look, both in terms of their armor and their actual physical form.



With the Mire chased off and the villagers victorious, the celebrations are cut short by the realization that Ashildr's use of the Mire helmet to transmit visual messages directly to them was too much for her frail human body to handle. She has died, the only casualty of the battle, and the Doctor is despondent because there is nothing he can do about it. For all his efforts (and they did work after all) somebody still died, and it was one person aside from Clara he felt the strongest connection with. As Clara attempts to reason with him, he delivers one of the other surprisingly great lines that pepper this uneven episode, and one that has special significance with the knowledge of where the season was going.

The Doctor posted:

I don't mean the war. I'll lose any war you like. I'm sick of losing people. Look at you, with your eyes, and your never giving up, and your anger, and your kindness. One day, the memory of that will hurt so much that I won't be able to breathe, and I'll do what I always do. I'll get in my box and I'll run and I'll run, in case all the pain ever catches up. And every place I go, it will be there.

But these great lines don't save an episode, they just stand as little islands among the nonsense. Which makes the scene that follows feel so out of place, so unearned. Clara tells him there is nothing he can do about Ashildr's death and he snaps back that he can do anything but doesn't (shades of the Fisher King's accusation in the previous episode) because he's not supposed to... and then gasps as he comes to a sudden realization. Flashing back to both Deep Breath and The Fires of Pompeii, the Doctor remembers his confused familiarity about his new face, and the way he once saved a family who were meant to die, purely because his greatest companion Donna Noble begged him to. Why did he subconsciously choose the face of Caecilus? To remind him that as the Doctor, he is meant to save people. And so with a roar of defiance to anybody (Time Lords? The Universe itself?) who means to stop him, he decides to take action. It's not quite on the level of what he did in Waters of Mars where he arrogantly proclaimed himself the Time Lord Victorious, but he co-opts a piece of Mire medical technology and redesigns it for use on human beings. Using it on Ashildr, he restores her to life and then - already feeling sheepish - quickly makes an exit along with Clara, leaving behind a spare Mire device for Ashildr to give to somebody else. Why? Because he's basically made her immortal, and immortality isn't living forever, it's everybody else dying. So if she ever meets somebody she couldn't bear to lose, he has given her a way to make sure she never will. It's an obvious allusion to Clara, who he already mentioned he can't bear the thought of losing (again, important for what is to come) but he's already realized that he may have made a terrible mistake.

So ends a bizarre episode, an absolute mess of an episode. Unable to decide if it wanted to be comedy or drama, throwing in massively important character moments that don't mesh with anything else going on around it, wasting an interesting visual on utterly unimpressive bad guys (they're basically dudes looking for some powdered human horn to increase their vitality) and taxing Peter Capaldi's efforts to sell the dialogue written for him. There are very good moments, but they are surrounded by too much dreck, and things like Clara's successful emulation of the Doctor's ability to talk his way out of situations get overshadowed by electric eels and wacky cutaway gags. Given who the writer was, this was doubly disappointing because his previous two stories were so good - even if you consider it was co-written by Moffat, it's a surprise it's such a mess because they're both very, very, very good at writing Doctor Who.

For all that though, I absolutely adore the final scene and think it is a remarkable piece of visual storytelling AND acting. As the camera pans around Ashildr while time zooms past leaving her untouched, we get both a sense of the timespan she now suffers through and the personal changes she experiences across that time period. From wonder and joy to concern/horror to just empty, dull indifference.

http://i.imgur.com/h3x3A1c.gifv

Or maybe she just watched the final cut of the episode....

Fil5000
Jun 23, 2003

HOLD ON GUYS I'M POSTING ABOUT INTERNET ROBOTS


Barry Foster posted:

But I'm joining this discussion, and I approve of Colin Baker.

Like, a lot.


I do too, I just don't like many of his TV episodes.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Fil5000 posted:

I do too, I just don't like many of his TV episodes.

Colin Baker's account located.

Fil5000
Jun 23, 2003

HOLD ON GUYS I'M POSTING ABOUT INTERNET ROBOTS


Jerusalem posted:

Colin Baker's account located.

Man, I wish I could get paid to make audio recordings of stuff I did thirty years ago. Sadly no one wants to pay to listen to a grown man playing with Transformers.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Fil5000 posted:

Man, I wish I could get paid to make audio recordings of stuff I did thirty years ago. Sadly no one wants to pay to listen to a grown man playing with Transformers.

Kinkshaming will get you everywhere.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


Barry Foster posted:

Is this true? Where did you pick it up? Is it in The Writer's Tale? I've not read that in years, so maybe I've forgotten.

It's in T For Television, I think.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


Which you can currently get from Amazon for a mere £500

CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.

Fil5000 posted:

Man, I wish I could get paid to make audio recordings of stuff I did thirty years ago. Sadly no one wants to pay to listen to a grown man playing with Transformers.

I thought about doing audio reviews for my audio reviews for a brief moment in time.

Then I decided that was a bridge too far. I'll leave it to the professionals.

And I agree with you about The Girl Who Died, Jerusalem. There are a couple of moments that don’t quite click – a Viking village with electric eels? The village suddenly being able to craft and put together all kinds of weird crafts and puppets (it reminded me of the “we can sew” line from Three Amigos!)? The Doctor translating the baby’s cries as a moment of dramatic tension? They don’t mean much in the long run, but it’s enough to keep this story from attaining the lofty heights of Mathieson’s earlier stories.

adhuin posted:

I would watch you doing Youtube-reviews of the audios.

You really, really, really don't want me to do that. I look like Oliver Platt on camera and sound like Katy Manning on the microphone.

CobiWann fucked around with this message at Mar 17, 2016 around 13:21

adhuin
Sep 15, 2008

Sobriety blows

I would watch you doing Youtube-reviews of the audios.

egon_beeblebrox
Feb 29, 2008

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.



CobiWann posted:

I look like Oliver Platt on camera and sound like Katy Manning on the microphone.

Same.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


I have a very soothing voice by all accounts

Cerv
Sep 14, 2004

This is a silly post with little news value.

Jerusalem posted:

The 60s stuff has aged surprisingly well, and the 80s stuff ALWAYS looked awful!

Some of it yeah

Cerv fucked around with this message at Mar 17, 2016 around 21:11

DoctorWhat
Nov 18, 2011

Someone call the Chancellery Guard. Commander Maxil's out of uniform. AGAIN.

Now come on, that looks GREAT! It just doesn't look real.

Picklepuss
Jul 12, 2002



DoctorWhat posted:

Now come on, that looks GREAT! It just doesn't look real.
That's true, in its own surreal way The Web Planet is as wonderfully strange as Le Voyage dans la Lune (which I first watched to Pink Floyd's "Echoes" courtesy of Night Tracks).

CommonShore
Jun 6, 2014




The Web Planet is a loving weird story

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

Fancy.


I don't know. I heard for ages how bad "The Web Planet" was, but then I went and watched it and ended up quite enjoying it.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

Ask me about my calm and reasonable opinions on cycling!

I am in no way a zealot about cycling!

Cycling helmets are ABSOLUTE HARAM!


Their reach exceeded their grasp by a country mile. It's terrible but you can see how it could be great, unlike something like The Twin Dilemma

Astroman
Apr 8, 2001


Jerusalem posted:

For all that though, I absolutely adore the final scene and think it is a remarkable piece of visual storytelling AND acting. As the camera pans around Ashildr while time zooms past leaving her untouched, we get both a sense of the timespan she now suffers through and the personal changes she experiences across that time period. From wonder and joy to concern/horror to just empty, dull indifference.

http://i.imgur.com/h3x3A1c.gifv

How anyone could watch this and say "oh, she's just not a good actor" is just

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible

Best thing about Web Planet is the Doctor's utter disdain for the Animus. "Lower that hair dryer thing!"

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?




The Woman Who Lived is better than The Girl Who Died but that's not really saying anything, because most anything would be. It's not a particularly great episode in its own right, but what it has going for it that "part 1" of this story did not is that it's relatively consistent in its tone from start to finish. Yeah there are moments of comedy (including a stand-up routine of gallows humor) but the general dark tone remains throughout, telling the story of the woman who resulted from the stymied death of a girl over 800 years earlier. Ashildr (Me) is bitter, hollow and has lost all perspective of humanity, leading to strong moments of spitting debate between her and Doctor over the life he cursed her with and how shortsighted his "gift" to her was. There's the strong core of a potential excellent episode there, hobbled by the one consistent thing that has plagued Doctor Who from the first episode of the revival (and the vast majority of the Classic series) - there ALWAYS has to be a monster/alien shoved in there, even if it gets in the way of the actual story.

The Doctor arrives in England in the 17th Century tracking a piece of alien technology that should not be there. Along the way he stumbles into a highway robbery by a rogue who calls himself "The Knightmare". With the robbery botched and the victims escaping, the Doctor and the Knightmare engage in an argument over whose fault it is, only for the Highwayman's voice to suddenly change from male to female. The Knightmare is actually Lady Me, the respected local noblewoman who in turn is actually the functionally immortal Ashildr, former viking villager who helped humiliate the Mire in the previous story. To the Doctor's horror he discovers she has forgotten her own name, can barely remember the village and people who she once proclaimed to be her entire life. To HER horror, she discovers that the Doctor just bumped into her by accident and wasn't actually coming to get her off the by now far too small planet. But she convinces him to return to her estate, where she lives alone with nothing but an elderly servant and what sounds like a VERY big cat. She recounts some aspects of her life, ranging from adventurous to agonizing - she has been a queen, a soldier, a wife, a mother and a widow among her many, many, many "lives".



For Ashildr, nothing is impossible because everything is simply a matter of time, the one commodity she has a seemingly endless supply of. But while thousands of hours of training can make her deadly competent in any variety of tasks, she knows better than anyone the limitations of her own mind. The average life expectancy is low by our modern standards, and for her it is the blink of an eye. Generations come and go, and she fills shelf after shelf with journals detailing her life as it goes on uninterrupted by the decades and centuries.... but she can barely remember any of it beyond the now detached writings of what might as well have been an entirely different person. She remembers intellectually the grief of losing her husband and children, but it is only because she has written of that grief in her book that she "remembers" it is something to be avoided again. There are other painful memories she has torn out completely so they will be lost to time when she forgets, but even the great moments of happiness and joy are little more than text in a book, stories she can read and even thrill to, but nothing that touches her personally anymore. See enough death, lose enough people, over a long enough period of time you'll just become numb to it. And that is what has happened to "Me", so old now that she has ceased to identify herself by anything other than the pronoun, because as her lives come and go it is always "me" who is left standing when all is said and done. Ashildr is dead, that Queen is dead, that soldier is dead, that mother is dead, that wife is dead, only Me remains.

And it's when the story explores this concept that it is at its strongest, and had it simply been 45 minutes of Me and the Doctor arguing about age and time detaching you from (for want of a better term) humanity then I'd probably consider this a really drat good episode. But that's not what we get, and the story suffers for it. Between Me trying to force the Doctor to accept that eventually Clara will die or he'll run away and leave her behind like he leaves everybody else, and the Doctor trying to force Me to accept not only her moral responsibility but also her inherent humanity.... there's a lot of utter nonsense. A LOT of utter nonsense.

http://i.imgur.com/qBSH3ZI.gifv


After breaking into the home of the Knightmare's would-be victims, the Doctor and Me locate the alien technology he was trying to find - an amulet called The Eye of Hades. Returning to Me's home after almost getting caught in the act, they're waylaid by another rogue named Sam Swift who has a bone to pick with the Knightmare for poaching his territory. When Me quickly gets the upper hand and is forced to spare Swift's life when the Doctor threatens to become her enemy, they return to the estate where they meet K-Mart Ron Perlman. He has been working secretly with Me all this time, because he has promised her the one thing that the Doctor continually refuses to give her - a ticket off the planet into the galaxy, where she can encounter all new experiences after 800 years of being restricted to various parts of Europe. Not just new planets, but new technologies, new forms of life, new everything. For Me, it is all she wants, while the Doctor fears it both because he thinks she isn't ready for it, and because he is still alarmed over the potential tidal wave on time he may have unleashed by creating her (and also because of that hamfisted HYBRID thing so (deliberately, but even so) clumsily jammed into the season.

His name is Leandro ( again), a castaway/exile trapped on Earth who wants to return to his own time and space. He feels so awkwardly slotted into the story, there for two reasons - to meet the seemingly iron-clad quota of a monster-of-the-week in every episode, and also to provide the catalyst for Me's rediscovery of her own humanity. The make-up effects are fine I guess, but he just feels so out of place, and the decision to make him a fire-breather is awful, particularly in its execution. Trying to wrap my head around the Leandro/Me partnership is so bizarre, because apparently it consists of him sitting out in the trees on cold English nights, sitting spookily in shadows during robberies, and then just casually strolling out and exposing himself to the villagers when it feels like it is time for the obligatory "everybody is in trouble!" moment. He really adds nothing to the story, he isn't even a good parallel for Me because he's just as mortal as anybody else and is basically doing nothing but the same basic con the likes of Me and Sam Swift have probably pulled themselves many times. The idea is supposed to be they both have a shared contempt for the sanctity of human life, that both are dedicated to the ideas of the ends justifying the means. But while Me feels more like a petulant child showing off how edgy she is to her dad, Leandro just feels like an rear end in a top hat pulling horrible poo poo for its own sake.

The one touch of humanity that Me showed to this point was in keeping around her elderly servant, but it turns out that this was simply so she could kill him in order to power The Eye of Hades to open the portal back to Leandro's homeworld. When a couple of soldiers bizarrely burst into the house allegedly to warn her that the Knightmare has been seen in the area, they also inform her that Sam Swift has been caught and is soon to be hung, so she quips to the Doctor that now they can use a death that was going to happen anyway. Leaving the Doctor guarded by the soldiers, she and Leandro head off to use The Eye of Hades on Swift. In one of the better humorous moments, the Doctor attempts to bribe the soldiers with Me's vast fortune collected over the centuries, learns that they consider £20 a fortune and offers them a whopping £30 in order to secure his freedom. Rushing to prevent Swift's execution, he becomes part of a double act as Swift does his best to delay his own execution by keeping the crowd laughing, while Me and Leandro attempt to goad the crowd into a blood frenzy so Swift will be killed. The Doctor convinces the executioner that Swift has been pardened by Cromwell himself thanks to his psychic paper, but since he himself is now considered the Knightmare's accomplice a cry goes up for HIM to be executed in Swift's place.



Having had enough of waiting, Me just shoves The Eye of Hades into Swift's chest, draining his life energy and opening the portal to Leandro's world (the Doctor delivers a TERRIBLE line about purple being the color of death). Of course it's all a trap, an obvious one at that, as Leandro's plan wasn't to return to his own world but to conquer this one. Spaceships begin massing at the portal and shooting through it into the panicked villagers. The entire thing becomes a rushed mess, as Leandro bounds about chasing villagers and Me has a far too abrupt change of heart, her dialogue painfully written as she gasps out that now she realizes that she still cares for people. The Doctor, completely inappropriately for the situation, grins and congratulates her on rediscovering her humanity, and then has her use the second Mire piece to offset the Eye of Hades. Me had always resisted using it, both to spare somebody else the pain she suffers as well as out of a conviction that people come and go and so she could only ever rely on the one constant in her life - herself. The portal shuts down, the writer remembers that Leandro is still around so he turns into dust as punishment from his allies on the other side of the portal (wait, what?), and all the villagers celebrate Swift being alive, apparently forgetting their own recent terror and the unexplained portal, fireballs and fire-breathing lion-man.

In the local pub, the Doctor and Me discuss the happy Sam's status - maybe he'll be immortal like her, maybe cancelling out The Eye of Hades will have burnt it out and just leave him to live out an ordinary lifespan. He sheepishly admits he's just completely speculating, much to Me's amusement, and she explains her own decision on what direction to now take. Frequent comments during the episode had alluded to her knowing more about the Doctor than she should have, indicating either she has been feverishly researching him as time passed or that a third party has been feeding her information. Whatever the case, the next time we see her she will have made a partnership with people who know the Doctor intimately (even if they don't understand him), but the one thing she knows now is that the Doctor constantly moves on from those he travels with once their journeys are over either by choice or forced by death. Me knows better than anyone what it means to be "abandoned" by the Doctor, and so she will use the vast time at her disposal to keep an eye on those he leaves behind, to make sure they don't end up bitter and alone like she did for so long. They part ways, the Doctor rejoining Clara (she was taking some of her students to a Tae Kwon Do class or something, a lame explanation for a companion-light episode) where once again he finds himself forced to consider what for him has become unthinkable - eventually he and her will part ways, either by choice or by circumstances beyond either of their control. This reminder comes when a photo she shows him of her and a student is revealed to have Me standing in the background watching.

http://i.imgur.com/5ZJ3ED6.gifv
It's in moments like the above where the episode shines, and of course they all help add pieces to the puzzle that will be solved by the end of the season. This episode was written by Catherine Tregenna, perhaps best known to Who fans as a writer on RTD's spin-off "adult" series Torchwood, and it was extremely well received in the press. I don't think it's a great episode by any stretch, nor even really what I would call a good one - it's consistent and its got a ton of potential, but I don't think it is realized. The thing is, I think a lot of the issues I have with it and that detract from the overall episode are things that were probably beyond her control. There's an alien threat in there because Doctor Who basically seems beholden to ALWAYS have an alien threat. Leandro's fire-breathing is awful but is that really the writer's fault? The only place I feel like the writing really falls down is Me's sudden conversion from,"Numb and bitter" to "frantic and emotional". At it's core, there is a lot of really interesting potential in this episode but there's just so much getting in the way of it. The idea of two (functional) immortals arguing and debating on how they should act and react in regards to mortals and their place in their lives is really fascinating and I would have gladly watched an episode devoted to nothing but that. As it is, nothing ever really calms down enough to let that core shine through, we don't even get a quiet moment like we did in Utopia where the 10th Doctor and Jack discuss Jack's immortality, his desire for death and his fears about time passing him by. Mark this one down as stymied potential, much like Me herself seems to be after 800 long years bearing down on her enthusiasm.

I will say this though, compared to what was to come next, this episode is a goddamn masterpiece.

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


Anyone in the thread going to Regeneration 2 this weekend? I'll only be able to do Saturday, but would love to try for goon meetup.

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CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.

After The War posted:

Anyone in the thread going to Regeneration 2 this weekend? I'll only be able to do Saturday, but would love to try for goon meetup.

I'm not this year. Wife really wanted to go to Chicago Comicon and AwesomeCon.

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