Doctor Who

Spoilers are here. You should click on another article if you want to, but haven't yet managed to, see the Doctor Who from the 28th June 2008 (BBC1) "The Stolen Earth".

I don't think I'm spoiling much to say that Torchwood, Davros, Rose, Daleks, Martha, Unit and Sarah Jane all make an appearance - this paragraph is by way of padding to allow people who have read this far without seeing the episode to stop....

'The Stolen Earth' started pretty much as most Doctor Who stuff starts. Thing happens - it's just that this time the Earth Gets Stolen (who'd have guessed?)

It's taken into a pocket of time (insert mumbo-jumbo) 1 second into the future - out of sync with the rest of the universe. Yep. Okay.... The reason for this is something to do with Daleks.

Davros re-appears, Harriet Jones re-appears and (insert mumbo-jumbo-sub-wave-network) gets all the companions together on screen - Torchwood, Sarah-Jane, Martha ("who's she?" says Rose) - Rose can watch but not be seen by the others. In a bit of technical wizardry (insert more mumbo-jumbo) they ring the doctor and this allows him to find the Earth. Harriet's sendoff is good - the slightly odd-ball flashing of the ID card pays off.

So far, visually good, but the plot is as thin as a thin thing spread thinly.... lots of 'stuff' and 'things' but no glue holding it all together.

Then there is Davros.

Davros is awesome, exactly as you remember him, only you remembered him wrongly - when you see the seventies Davrii (like the word) the prosthetics are not a patch on modern Davros. He's true to the memory of Davros past, not the actuality of Davros past. The acting under the latex for Davros is spot on.

The Doctor Lands, Rose calls "control" and is transported to his location (but conveniently some distance off - which allows for some "Rose! Doctor!" running action (okay, they don't call at each other, but eyeballs were rolling from behind our sofa, we were dreading a big kissy scene...)

But then.... but then.....

A dalek appears, and without by your leave, without warnings, he shoots - he scores - the doc goes down. Jack, having conveniently gotten his teleport device working by entering an ultra-secure two digit code (trial and error beyond the ability of Jack, obviously), appears and destroys the dalek allowing a tender scene with Rose.

The tenth doctor is taken to the tardis where the inevitable happens, orange glows occur and the regeneration begins.

Crikey - they kept that quiet. I knew Tennant probably was on his last series, but I pegged it for the final episode, or possibly a Christmas special. I do hope that next episode we don't have the Doctor spending too long sleeping things off...

So, in summary:

The bad: The long build up, with little explanation or obvious coherence (at the time) - stuff just happening.... and the mumbo jumbo of the subnet and the phone calls (if you get millions of phones to dial one number you don't boost signals, you jam exchanges!). The bees?! Why couldn't jack take Yanto and Gwen a few hundred miles on a device that previously took three people much further? Gwen on the tardis would have been interesting.

The good: Davros. The surprise regeneration. The running scene which could have easily gone into 'the bad' being saved by a Dalek. The judoon - I've gotta love those guys - it points to a Judoon vs Dalek showdown! Bernard Cribbens and a paintball gun.

The hope: That Davros is merely defeated and not killed - there are only so many times you can pull him back from certain death (especially as we've been on "last dalek" more than once already). That the new doctor gets a good run out. That they really keep a lid on the Who of the new doctor until the next Who... and that it isn't John Simm (he's a past incarnation of the Master - and like Davros, he should have been able to escape to menace another day).... and that the new Who is simply Good.

Overall, it was a good little episode, but there were a few too many 'deux ex machina' in there for my taste - that didn't stop me enjoying the episode though (basically everything from Davros' conversation with the Doctor was gold)

Assuming all is as it appears, this will be doctor number 11. There are only 12 regenerations (13 doctors), unless they either end the series, conveniently forget about the limit, or 'do a master' and find some way for the doctor to reset his clock.

At the current rate of doctor changes, that's still about a decade to go, and that assumes that auntie beeb doesn't feel it has run its course by then.

Was it implied that River Song had met David Tennant's doctor, or was it that she has simply seen later incarnations (plural) and hence wasn't surprised by a new face? She said he was younger than she had ever seen him - so perhaps David Tennant is to spend some time running around with some aging make-up?

I hope that they don't find some way to keep Tennant going (e.g. Donna giving up her life force for him).

Hmm, they are one second ahead of time, and there's also that hand in a jar which an earlier shot seemed to labour to include, and as denofgeek pointed out, there was a mention again of Donna's back.... but they can't pull that trick twice and make it work, can they? Right now, not having a full blown regeneration would feel like they were cheating...

I've a bad feeling about that.... and David Tennant is listed on digiguide for next week...

Who knows? The BBC have kept a tight lid on next week. Good. Let's hope that they can break the "tune in next time" habit too once Moffat takes over....

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