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Quid quo pro(fessor)

June 18, 2007

I was all set to hate Saturday’s Dr Who. As the opening credits rolled, after the first few seconds of drama, I said to Mr Badger, “Well, this is going to be shit, then isn’t it?” How wrong I was.

The first half was pretty dire though. It was just a Ghosts Of Mars rehash – a warped species of Man with sharpened teeth and piercings, hissing and grunting – Mr Badger commented that at least it was good to know that, at the end of the universe, trillions of years from now, English is the dominant language. (Lazy RTD!) I did like that we’d returned to the adopted home of Dr Who though – a quarry. Even in my newbie status I smiled fondly at that.

But why oh why oh why do we return to Cardiff every time the Doc needs to refuel? Isn’t there a rift in time anywhere or any time else in the universe? As soon as the Doc said, “Cardiff,” in the opening scene, I thought, “Budget!” Not that I have anything against he city (I lived there for a year, it’s a wondrous place), but can we not just go somewhere else? Or if we are to constantly revisit the place, do we *have* to be in the Bay? Always? There are other (very lovely) parts of the city, you know. And yes, I suppose it was so that Jack could cling on, because that’s where he’s based, but couldn’t Jack be somewhere else in the city when it happened? Maybe getting a loaf and a pint of milk at Tescos?

Chantho got on my tits after two minutes – no wonder the Professor was so keen to get rid of her. It made me wonder about language in sci fi though and how easily one can mess it up. Throughout the genre there have been alien races who speak English and those who speak it in different ways to us Earth dwellers. Yoda’s topsy turvy syntax is one effective example, and although it has the potential to be annoying, it has never been so – not to me at least. But Chantho’s “Chan… tho” was clumsy and I just wasn’t sure what the point was.

In a Through The Keyhole type way, the clues to the ‘twist’ were there, but either because I had avoided spoilers or maybe because I’m just thick, I wasn’t expecting the final outcome. There I was, sitting on the sofa thinking, “Oooh, Derek Jacobi would make an excellent Doctor,” when – Bam! – he recognises the TARDIS. Bam! He’s got a pocket watch! Bam! He’s going on and on about Time. Bam! He’s the mother feckin Master and has made off with the blue wooden box! Oh (time) lordy. I suppose if I’d done my homework, it was obvious. Jacobi had played the Master in the online adventure in 2003 after all…

And isn’t Simm just superb? Part of me wishes they’d left Jacobi in the role and then got Simm in for the next incarnation. But I don’t suppose anyone is quite ready to give up David Tennant just yet, and I’m thinking we’ll need an older Doctor after this one.

All the way through I wasn’t sure what role Jack was to play in all this. Was it a way to get a nice link to Who when Torchwood does finally lurch back on our screens? Or was he there just to help Martha hold the door closed at the closing scene, I’m not sure. But what a horrendous radiation faux pas – if Jack (being the walking undead as he is) is the only man who can go into a room of radiation and set off some tubey type things to power the space ship (still with me?) then why does he casually open the door to said room when the Doctor is standing in the hall way? Hello? Lazy, lazy, lazy…

But apart from those clunks, it was a great set up to the final two eps, which I’m hoping with be as kick as as this series has (mostly) been. Coupla tips for RTD for next time though:

> I know most writers are inspired by the shows they watch and like to occasionally nod to them to show their appreciation, but perhaps you could demonstrate that inspiration a tad more subtly next time.
> More Moffat please. In fact, just get him to write the whole thing next time, yeah?

And here’s a gratiutous Tennant shot

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Clair permalink
    June 18, 2007 10:55 am

    Lovely blokey interaction betwek the Doc and Jack – typical men to have a real conversation when they’re facing the end of the world!

  2. Paul permalink
    June 18, 2007 12:06 pm

    I wished they’d kept Jacobi too. He has 3 minutes to ‘be’ The Master and he was fking awesome!

    Simm will, I’m sure, be good too but he was a little too ‘wacky’ for my liking in the last few minutes. I’ll let him off though if he’s superb in the final two episodes.

    Jack’s intro was shite and the whole clinging to the TARDIS idea was bullpats. Not helped by a poorly realised effect. Having said that, I love Jack to bits and it was great to get the dynamic back. I honestly believe he should be a companion for a whole season. Three in the TARDIS isn’t crowded – and it might help get RTD over this whole “companion has to fancy Doctor” thing. It was boring with Rose, its deeply tiresome now.

    Essentially, this episode was designed to re-introduce Jack and introduce The Master. So for me, the last 15 minutes were SUPERB.

  3. Badger Madge permalink
    June 18, 2007 1:06 pm

    Yes I’m bored with that too Paul. I’m also fed to the back teeth of Rose being mentioned (or referred to) every gad damned episode. I know she had to be this ep to fill Jack in, but Jesus Christ, can we move on now? PLEASE?

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