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April 3rd, 2007


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09:11 am - Hooray for Doctor Who S3!
Oh, Doctor Who is here! Doctor Who is here! Hurray, hurray, Doctor Who is gonna fix it! Let's have a spoiler-FILLED almost-snarky talk about the first episode of S3! Which I liked! Hurray!



Oh so nice to watch the opening credits again. Oh so nice to see Londoners freak out when some crazy-ass space-like-thing happens right on the banks of the Thames. No wonder Torchwood's based in in Wales near England; apparently London is the source and/or target of every single extra-terrestrial problem on the planet. Cybermen show up? Hey, look, they're invading the London Eye! Alien invasion? Oh no, they just crashed into Big Ben! Vampiric alien hiding out? Of course she'll find a hospital in London. At least the X-Files ventured into locales beyond Prince George County.

I immediately liked Martha Jones. For one, she's not as hyper as Rose, for two, she's smart and inquisitive and blessed with enough self-preservation instincts to not go off grabbing zeppelin lines when left alone for five minutes, for three, she's not chav, for four, she doesn't have a crazy family situa-- oh, wait, scratch that one. You could already tell, though, that once Martha joins up with the Doctor, her family is going to seriously fall apart, and we're due for more introspective "What does it mean when a companion leaves with the Doctor?" themes. And you can tell the Doctor was testing her what with the hospital balcony on the moon and all. Checking out her reaction to the situation, how she was taking it more with fascination and wonder than most people, who immediately started freaking out (well, honestly, if you were suddenly teleported on the moon with no explanation and no idea of what the hell was going on, wouldn't you freak?) And then we get this: "We might die." "We might not." Oh, Martha. I don't wanna go fanboy, but oh, that was great. I think at that point the Doctor knew he'd found a new companion, no matter what he meant at the end about "one trip only as a thank-you."

Speaking of crazy shit happening in hospitals, would it have hurt ANYBODY to have shown Guy Secretan, Martin Dear or Alan Statham running about in panic with the crowd? Huh? Not even one ginger surgeon with a lion's mane acting coolly disaffected by the whole situation? Okay, the physician who said "We come from Earth" kinda not really looked like Boyce, if you squinted and crossed your eyes a little, but he didn't have a box with a dead daddy longlegs in it and he wasn't harassing the pompous doctor who was harassing Martha and the others.

The Judoon were awesome. RHINO VOGON COPS IN SPAAAAACE! I don't know why, but I seem to have been intrigued by bureaucratic law enforcers who don't give a toss what happens once their interests have been taken care of. (Ahem: "That's not the Galactic Patrol's concern, ma'am.") I also liked how only the lead Judoon gets to take his helmet off, so they didn't have to spend a fortune on a platoon of talking rhino heads. And giving Martha compensation for nearly executing her was oh so Brazil. "This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt."

PLOT HOLE #1: Okay, so the Judoon scan you, pronounce you Human, and mark your hand with an X so you can't get a drink at the bar without doing some serious scrubbing in the bathroom beforehand. So if the Doctor wanted to avoid detection, why didn't he just grab a convenient magic marker and draw an X on his hand? It almost worked for Granny Plasmavore ("Look! I've already been scanned!") until Martha convinced the Judoon to scan her again, just for kicks.

Oh, Granny Plasmavore. I really wanted to dislike her because she walked the thin line between really psychotic and stupidly campy (like the TV Lady in The Idiot's Lantern) but fortunately she stayed on the psychotic end of things, even when she fell into the classic Before I Kill You, Let Me Explain My Grand Plan Down To The Last Detail To You trap. But who could resist? David Tennant played the Ignorant Human Postman-With-Bunions Rube role to her in fine, fine, fine form. "We're on the moon! And there's space rhinos! I mean, rhinos from space!" I loved that bit. He does such a lovely job of it.

Speaking of Tennant, oh, he's bringing manic Eccleston back in fine form, but he looks far better doing it, and with crazy rooster hair besides. I liked his blue suit and red Chucks, and his special Gettin' Rid Of Radiation Dance (and who among us hasn't had to do that one from time to time?) Though honestly, for one brief moment, when he mentioned he had to do something to expel all the radiation he'd absorbed, I seriously thought Russell "I Like Aliens Who Make Bodily Function Noises" Davies was setting us up for a Doctor fart joke. And if that had happened, I would have started a collection to fly over to Cardiff with a ballpeen hammer.

And the music! Again, way too bombastically loud. The rule on this show seems to be PLAY DRAMATIC MUSIC VERY DRAMATICALLY AND SHOUTY LOUD when SOMETHING DRAMATIC happens, then pot it down slightly while the characters speak, then BRING IT UP EVEN LOUDER AGAIN over the visuals. This was most obvious in the scene where the Doctor and Martha are on the balcony watching the Judoon land.

DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN!
dun dun "Spaceships are landing!" dun dun dun "The Judoon!"
DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN!!

PLOT HOLE #2: Martha says "You can't go through time." The Doctor says "Oh yeah?" and hops in the TARDIS, whoosh-wheezes away, whoosh-wheezes back, and hey presto, he's brought Martha's tie with him, the one he nicked at the beginning of the episode. So what? In the temporal sense of things, that's linear. He nicked the tie in the past and gave it back in the future. I mean, for all we know, he could have had it stashed in the TARDIS all along since that morning.

A better bit of proof would have been for the Doctor to have given the tie to Martha at the beginning of the episode, and then, when asked to prove he could travel thru time, taken it away from her in the alley and whoosh-wheezed away and back... but that opens up too many temporal cans o' worms. But if Bill and Ted could get out of a predicament by promising they'd return later on to rig up a trap involving trash cans with WYLD STALLYNS written on them...

I feel real bad for any investigators who were poking through the hole-in-ground where the hospital used to be when the hospital was suddenly materialized back in its place. Oops, sorry guys, we just landed a hospital on your head.

I also loved the line about how you can't mess with the preordained events of time... except for cheap tricks.

PLOT HOLE #3: Wouldn't there be, oh, ginormous gaping wounds when Granny Plasmavore sticks her Bendy Straw Of Death into someone for a drink -- especially, say, the Doctor? Did he immediately find a Band-Aid afterwards? Or are we supposed to believe this is some sort of "magic" straw? ("Genius At Work" t-shirt donned and at the ready, sir!)

Oh, and the hospital official, the victim of Granny Plasmavore, being named Stoker? Oh ho ho ho, RTD, you do get a clever cookie for that one, especially since you didn't actually BEAT THE REFERENCE INTO OUR HEADS. I think he was only named once or twice during the entire episode. That's the key to clever references. You make them once or twice, then let the audience get it. You may run the risk of it being a two-percenter, but the two percent who get it feel mighty satisfied.

I'm sure glad we got the "kiss" out of the way with the very first episode of a new companion's arc, so we NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER have to deal with a Doctor-falling-in-love story EVER again. Right? Boy howdy, am I ever relieved! Now if Martha will just stick to her "I'll stick to my own species" oath, we'll be fine and dandy like sugar candy and can focus on flyin' round thru space and time having fun fightin' Daleks and other alien or paranormal menaces rather than having the Doctor simply rebounding with the first smart human girl he sees. Did I mention I really dislike love stories involving the Doctor, no matter how moist he makes a sizeable percentage of the fan base?

As Lou Reed said, "What good is rain that falls up?" Didn't quite catch the meaning of that, but it was a lovely visual and just the right kind of weird touch that works in this show.

Was it just me, or did Martha discover the TARDIS in a similar back alley that Rose had? The Doctor musing "Bigger on the inside? o rly?" was absolutely lovely, especially after the eighteen back-and-forth cuts of Martha running in and out of the thing, and according to Doctor Who Confidential, Tennant pretty much ad-libbed that and they ran with it.

I really liked this episode. It was a very strong start to the third series, was a lot of fun, had a neat story, and set up several bits of foreshadowing ("Vote for Saxon") that may compete to be this season's BAD WOLF. I wonder how many will be red herrings, if any. It would be great for the audience to remain guessing.

So next week, it's Shakespeare time and something tells me Dame Judi Dench won't be popping in at the end for a regina ex machina ending. I hope it's along the lines of the Dickens episode and not, say, the Victorian werewolf episode.

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:campion7
Date:April 3rd, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
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All right! All right! I'll make the time to watch it! :)
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From:kalibex
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC)
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TSK, TSK!
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From:giantfightbot
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
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In addition to the TARDIS-inna-back-alley moment, there was a little shout-out to the first Eccleston episode when the Doctor grabbed Martha's hand and shouted "Run!"

I would be a little curious how the hospital had enough closed windows to be air-tight on the moon, but I should probably not think about that too much.

I for one am really tired of hearing about Rose and can we pine after Ace or Peri or somebody else instead now thanks?
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
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I would be a little curious how the hospital had enough closed windows to be air-tight on the moon, but I should probably not think about that too much.

That was explained; the Doctor threw the pebble off the balcony and discovered the hospital was surrounded by a force field which kept the air in. Additionally, the Judoon phased through the force field when they trooped on in.

Still, it was nice to see that the entire oxygen supply in the hospital was measured by One Oxygen Gauge which we kept cutting to at dramatic moments.
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From:giantfightbot
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
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Ah, I missed that part as I only caught the last 3/4 of the episode.

That must have been one hell of an oxygen mask to not only provide enough for one patient but the whole hospital. (I won't even get into the buildup of CO2...)

For the preview, am I the only one who thought for a brief moment that it was Kenneth Branaugh as Shakespeare? Or possibly Ewan MacGregor.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:April 3rd, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
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The nice thing was the business with the force field it was actually a point of characterization-the Doctor knew Martha was a smart cookie because she figured out something besides the windows had to be holding the air in.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:April 3rd, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
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I hope you'll all imagine that that sentence was properly constructed.
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From:kalibex
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
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Dude, was the Doc's tie, not Martha's.....
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
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Whoa, then I was missing something.

He grabs it from her while she's on multi-family-callwaiting in the crowd, right?

...or did he give it to her? o.O


I CLAIM DISTRACTION BECAUSE AT THAT TIME IN THE EPISODE I WAS BUSY FIGHTING FOR RELAXING BED SPACE WITH 20 POUNDS OF FURRY DEADWEIGHT
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From:joenotcharles
Date:April 3rd, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
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At the beginning he walks in front of Martha, pulls his own tie off over his head, dangles it in front of her and says, "See? Like that!"

At the end he steps into the TARDIS, it vanishes and reappears, and when he comes back out he's holding his tie instead of wearing it. So yeah, it really proves nothing except that he has a machine that can vanish and reappear, and somebody that looks just like him was walking around earlier. (Martha'd even told him, "You took your tie off," so he could have faked the whole demonstration at the end entirely off what he was told if he had to.)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 3rd, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
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Ah ha. That makes a bit more sense. I must have missed that line. I did see something about a tie, and Martha's line when checking Mr. Smith's vital signs. The rest of the opening was spent trying to convince 20 pounds of deadweight that he really wanted to snooze on the side of the bed and not the middle.
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From:sanspoof
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Awright, I'll download it and check it out.
Agreed that the Doctor shouldn't be such a simp going around falling for his companions. Pretty sick of that myself.
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From:saint_buddha
Date:April 3rd, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
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I've never really thought Rose as a chav. Her mom is borderline chav but as a family they aren't really that trashy.
(Deleted comment)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 3rd, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
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To be honest, I haven't heard of any such rumor, and I'd hate to spoil a whole season whilst spoiling just one single episode, but huh.
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From:rhinoplastique
Date:April 4th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
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This season was never in question, but there had been rumors he was going to leave midway through season 4. Robert Carlyle and a few other guys were even mentioned as potential replacements. Just within the past week, however, the UK press has reported that Tennant's re-signed for a full third season.
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From:matildabj
Date:April 4th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
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Hello. Came across this entry randomly, through being a Ten/nant fan. Enjoyed your review muchly, you put into words precisely why Martha is so much better than Rose.

Cheers.

Except that Torchwood's in Wales, not England :)
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 4th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
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Except that Torchwood's in Wales, not England :)

Sergeant Retcon!
"Right here, sir, where I've been all along, sir!"
Were you aware that Torchwood was in Wales?
"Of course, sir, that's what it says in your post!"
Thank you, Sergeant Retcon, you may go no-- Sergeant Retcon?
[User Picture]
From:matildabj
Date:April 4th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
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OK, I'm definitely missing something here (never really have been entirely sure of the exact meaning of 'retcon'), but I still think it was a good review.

*wanders off, a little mystified*
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From:derspatchel
Date:April 4th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Retroactive continuity is an odd duck. It's often used to change events in the past to reflect new elements in the current story canon, or to explain what were previously plot holes. Some of it is "Oh, it was all just a dream!" -- the TV series Dallas explained an entire season away that way. There was a Dirty Harry parody show called "Sledge Hammer!" whose first season ended with the title character inadvertently setting off a nuclear bomb while trying to disarm it. The writers made this fatalistic move because the show hadn't been doing so well in the ratings, and they were certain they'd be cancelled. However, the show was renewed for a second season, but how can you write yourself out of a nuclear cataclysm? Easy: they opened with a title card that read "The events of this season took place before that horrible nuclear explosion!"

Red Dwarf pulled a similar trick in Series 3, with a quickly-scrolling Star Wars crawl to explain why Kryten was suddenly back aboard Red Dwarf and with a new face to boot, and why Lister's twins (who were born at the end of Season 2) were no longer around.

And of course, in Star Wars, we've got Boba Fett, eaten by the Sarlaac Pit in Return of the Jedi, but being such a popular fellow, comes back for further adventures in book and graphic novel form. Er, but how? Oh, uh, like, his jetpacks flew him out, or the Sarlaac Pit didn't like the taste of him, or maybe he blasted his way out with his super blaster, or I don't know, he just got OUT, okay?

(It's like an exasperated parent trying to explain bedtime story plot holes to an inquisitive six-year-old. Well, honey, it was a magic picnic basket...)

At any rate, I'm glad you liked the review. :)
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From:matildabj
Date:April 4th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
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"Retroactive continuity", thank you! *light dawns all over the place* And such a full and entertaining explanation, too.

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