1. A town called Topical
How extraordinary that the TARDIS crew should be heading off to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, this week of all weeks. Were they on their way to get some ideas for sugar skull tattoo designs?
2. A town called Meh
I don’t know about you, but for me cowboys and the Wild West aren’t interesting enough in themselves that you can just drop the Doctor and a Terminator into the genre and hope for the best. And sure, murky moral quandaries around war criminals can be interesting, but, you know, I’ve already seen all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And don’t even mention the Bechdel test. No, it wasn’t for me this week. Still it was nice to hear The Stolen Earth‘s Hanging On The Tablaphone rescored for banjo.
3. A town called Dolittle
I am excited though to see we really are running with the idea first introduced a couple of years ago that the Doctor can talk to animals. Always a much underused ability of Wonder Woman’s in her tv series I felt, and it could make Doctor Who a very different show. Talking transgender horses brings us one step closer to Tom Baker’s talking cabbage companion idea. I’m all for it.
4. A town called Narrative Distancing
Does anyone have any grasp on what Amy and Rory’s Doctor/life balance is any more? Do they go about their normal lives with the Doctor dropping in occasionally as the last two weeks have told us, or are they travelling with him so much that ‘Our friends are going to start noticing that we’re ageing faster than them’ as Amy said this week? It’s so inconsistent that it makes it difficult to care, and caring about it right now would be good.
(More questions: Did they wave a cathartic goodbye to the ordinary world and leave Earth for good on their wedding night, or were they suddenly living at home again at the start of The Impossible Astronaut? Did the Doctor say goodbye to them so finally in The God Complex that he actively avoided bumping into them in a Colchester department store, or did he go on to pop up in their house every other week since then? All of the above adds up to none of the above, emotionally.)
5. A town called EGG!
Yes, this year’s secret recurring element was back again. Oh it’s all very well Den Of Geek coming up with clever and entirely plausible theories about flickering lightbulbs, my money’s still on the eggs. In my mind we’re now building up to a final confrontation on the Fields of Trenzalore between a horde of Tythonian ambassadors and a cluster of Chimeron babies. My mind, ladies and gentlemen. My mind.
1. Stripes on a companion
No couple should ever wear the same pattern. Even if one’s covered it up slightly and they’re not planning to leave the house. Further stripes for Rory came in the form of a Doctor lip-lock. I’d completely forgotten about the old RTD house rule that all companions had to get a snog at some point. Although I think they might have left Adam Mitchell out. Oops!
2. Entire childhood on a SINGLE Saturday night
The dinosaurs looked great. Doctor Who’s got a long history of trying to put them on screen and results have been… variable. It depends how bothered about the quality of special effects you are of course; personally I’m very fond of the Plasticine 1974 ones.
When I think of everything I was obsessed with as a kid I think of robots, dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, spaceships, spiders… and here they all were in one place! How fitting that Rupert Graves was in it then – the sight of him in a certain scene in 1987’s Maurice was pretty much the point at which my childhood ended.
3. Plot functions on a spreadsheet
But much as the shopping list approach to populating a story set the tone for a decent romp – and I’d happily see Nefertiti back in the show every week – it wore painfully thin towards the end. You see right through the casual ‘Thought we might need a gang!’ shtick when it turns out each new member of the group has a characteristic specifically required as a plot function. It just so happened that to finish the story there needed to be a big game hunter, someone who was related to someone else and a powerful, iconic historical figure. I don’t like it when they show their working.
4. EGGS ON A NEST
EGGS! Did they think we wouldn’t notice? There they were, right out where everyone could see. Nice big ones. Eggs! Say what you like about the ongoing theme of the Doctor’s anonymity or the developing dynamic of his relationship with his companions, clearly eggs are this year’s Bad Wolf/Torchwood/Mr Saxon repeated meme thing. Watch out for the eggs!
5. Passive-aggressive arsehole on the wrong show
Dinosaurs On A Spaceship starts so promisingly – lots of sparkling dialogue and fast-moving fun. But it all grinds to a crunching halt halfway through as the Doctor enters Solomon’s Chamber of Exposition. I’m reminded of 1983’s Mawdryn Undead, another story in which the Doctor gets stuck on a pre-programmed spaceship with an injured, passive-aggressive bore. And then Solomon goes and makes that comment to Nefertiti about ‘breaking her in’. It’s not every week the Doctor has to stand by and listen to someone announce they’re going to rape one of his friends. I’m not sure it should happen at all. It was a horribly misjudged line, only equalled in tonal dissonance by the Doctor sending Solomon off to be killed at the end while making jokes about it. I’m not sure Chris Chibnall gets the spirit of Doctor Who at all.
I’d like to end this post on a positive note by expressing my love for the Indian Space Agency and the fixtures, fittings, people and uniforms therein
1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT OF THE DALEKS
You know when you get on a bus and everyone’s just stuck with inertia standing around near the front so that you can’t get to the stairs or the seats at the back? Or, worse, when you don’t get on a bus because it doesn’t even stop because of chumps like that blocking the downstairs, even though the upper deck is half empty? It looks like Dalek buses would be a dream. Look how neatly they’ve filed into their little rows, filling them up right to the end so there’s room for everyone. Subtract love and add anger all you like if it makes for smoother bus journeys.
2. NEW DO OF THE DALEKS
Rory’s ‘done a Professor Green’, and very nice too.
3. SKulls of the daleks
What with the Vashta Nerada, last year’s pit of flesh-eating skulls and now these animated skeletons with Dalek eyestalks it looks like Steven Moffat’s got a real boner for bone. It’s a confident series that introduces something so creepy and visually exciting and then has them on screen for less than a minute. Still, toys will be available I’m sure.
4. FETISHwear of the daleks
Seriously, where did the Daleks pick up these strapped-up, dead-eyed fellas from? I think that bus I mentioned earlier was headed to Vauxhall on a Saturday night. In Amy’s lovely Daleks-as-people delirium the collective Dalek consciousness is very vanilla – all dinner suits and little ballerina girls. So it’s interesting to think they dress up their lackeys with a view to vicarious pleasures of a stronger kind.
5. SOUFFLé OF THE DALEKS
I love that the entire dramatic denouement, and presumably Oswin’s year-long compulsive soufflé making, all hinged on a pun on the word ‘eggs’. So if an egg obsession is a sign of potential Dalek invasion from the subconscious, let’s keep a close eye on: the Great British Bake Off contestants, Edith Massey in Pink Flamingos and, er, ahem, anyone writing a blog that seems to feature them just a little too much.
Posted in Reviews
Tagged amy pond, buses, daleks, doctor who, eggs, great british bake off, mary berry, matt smith, oswin oswald, professor green, rory williams, telly