2/21/08

Thursday Thirteen: NuWho Season Three

Those of you who remain free of the "Doctor Who" trap have probably tired of my run-downs, but I have my fingers in my ears. *I'mnotlistening!*

Donna and the Doctor0. "The Runaway Bride": I didn't mind Catherine Tate at the start of Season Three because she doesn't have designs on the Doctor. I was still missing Rose, so Donna's platonic shouting seemed a perfect fit. Whether the shouting will come to wear on my nerves remains to be seen. However, I did like her line about how the Doctor should find someone to travel with because he doesn't know when to stop. It's true. Without Rose, he became even more fatalistic. "I used to have so much mercy," he said in Season Two's "School Reunion." This episode shows how far he's fallen without Rose around to soothe his harsh judgments.

1. "Smith and Jones": Apparently the writers named the space police rhino things "Judoon" and grouped them into "platoons" and set the episode on "the moon" because "oon" is the most difficult sound for a Scotsman to say with an English accent. David Tennant does an amazing and--I've been listening--darn near flawless English accent, both RP and Estuary. But that's just mean. No need to make it so hard on him! Oh, the episode was kinda crap. I like Martha now, but the whole "I must kiss you to imprint you with alien DNA" thing was just ridiculous. He could've rubbed his hand on her. Or kissed her forehead. Silly.

Martha and the Doctor2. "The Shakespeare Code": If "Doctor Who" does anything well, it mythologizes the best parts of Englishness. Season One's "The Doctor Dances" is practically a love poem to the hearty souls who survived the Blitz. "Torchwood" has made reference to Operation Pied Piper child evacuees from London. Here, they make Shakespeare the cleverest man ever. No mere poet, he sees Martha and the Doctor for what they are, then proceeds to give even the Doctor a run for his intellectual money. I don't mind. Loves me some Shakespeare.

3. "Gridlock": This episode is even better if you've a) seen "Father Ted"--it's Father Dougal wearing a cat face!--or b) know the secret behind the Face if Boe's identity. Then it's really, really sweet. But I really enjoyed this episode. The worldbuilding was actually quite solid in such a short time, and the metaphors for the rat race of life are plentiful. Nice.

4. "Daleks in Manhattan": Oh, for fuck's sake, as Keven would say. Dreadful.

5. "Evolution of the Daleks": And part two got worse.

The Doctor and the Joneses6. "The Lazarus Experiment": Freema Agyeman (Martha) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (her sister, Tish) look a lot alike. I kept noticing that because they shared a number of screen shots together. The special effects were good, but I think Martha and Tish would have serious hearing problems at the end. I stood near the organ during a performance in the Bath Cathedral and my ears rang for an hour afterward.

7. "42": Pretty good. I love the whole Event Horizon style scenario, much like last season's "The Impossible Planet," but then again, I think Event Horizon is a deeply flawed but seriously under-appreciated flick. The tension of having to make it to the front of the ship through multiple airlocks worked well, aside from the obvious friggin' airship design flaw that went into creating that plot device. Still, a nice one.

8. "Human Nature": About this time, I was starting to develop feelings for Martha. Not Rose-level feelings. But any black woman who willingly goes to 1913 and works as a servant for three months, solely to keep the man she loves (in an unrequited way) safe from harm, is a strong, made-of-awesome woman in my book. Keven and I were pathetic enough to pause the show to read all the pages of the Journal of Impossible Things. Rose's entry? "Walking away... always walking away." *sniffs*

This one was packed full o' stars. Jessica Hynes from "Spaced" took some getting used to in this serious role, and why didn't I find Harry Lloyd (Will Scarlet from the new "Robin Hood" series) annoying? He was actually charismatic as the de facto leader of the Family of Blood. And can Thomas Sangster (the cute kid from Love, Actually) survive having been a child star? We'll see.

9. "Family of Blood": Part two, and I still find David Tennant amazing. His entire demeanor changed when playing John Smith. He could just stand there, silent, and I'd be able to tell whether he was Smith or the Doctor. The finale is fantastic, and Tennant's emotion as Smith has to choose suicide--that fear and anger and disappointment--just tore out my heart. Aside from the obvious and rather annoying plot device of "who has the pocketwatch," this was the best two-parter of the season.

10. "Blink": Frickin' fantastic. I love Carey Mulligan. Normally the "Doctor Lite" episodes, as they're called, annoy the crap out of me. "Love and Monsters" anyone? But this one took that deficit of Doctorness and played it beautifully. His few scenes are eerie and funny, and again Martha proves her awesomeness. She has that line about how, being stuck in 1969, she has to work in a shop to support the Doctor. The girl's a trooper. Absolutely fantastic.

The TARDIS Trio and the Professor11. "Utopia": Yay!! Captain Jack!! Every time he woke up he was flirting with someone new. Brilliant. And Derek Jacobi was creeeeepy. No surprise there. Has the man ever failed to creep me out? But the highlight of the episode, the first of the three-part finale, was the interaction between Jack and the Doctor, made new because it's Tennant this time, not Eccleston.
Jack: Last thing I remember, back when I was mortal, I was facing three Daleks. Death by extermination. Then I came back to life. What happened?
The Doctor: Rose.
Jack: I thought you'd sent her back home.
The Doctor: She came back. Opened up the heart of the TARDIS and absorbed the time vortex itself.
Jack: What does that mean, exactly?
The Doctor: No one's ever meant to have that power. If a Time Lord did that he'd become a god, a vengeful god. But she was human. Everything she did was so human. She brought you back to life, but she couldn't control it. She brought you back forever. That's something, I suppose. The final act of the Time War was life.
Jack: Do you think she could change me back?
The Doctor: I took the power out of her. She's gone, Jack. She's not just living on a parallel world. She's trapped there. The walls have closed.
Jack: I'm sorry.
The Doctor: Yeah.
Jack: I went back to her estate in the Nineties, just once or twice, watched her growing up. Never said hello--time lines and all that.
12. "The Sound of Drums": It has "middle part" syndrome. I don't remember specifics because it blends into the overall story. John Simm as the Master was charming like a snake. Kept reminding me of Tony Blair...

The Doctor and the Master13. "Last of the Time Lords": Again, Martha plays superhero. She friggin' walks the Earth--and I can only think of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction when I say those words--in order to save the whole of humanity. As much as I loved Rose, I really don't see her being able to pull that off. As for the episode, we'll just skip the horror that was the "everybody all together now" finale and focus on the Doctor's despair as the Master dies. Very nice. Poor dude.

Bring on Season Four, Catherine Tate and all!

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