I am very sorry. Those of you who are not watching Dr Who are probably experiencing the same right now, as we reach the end of the season. It was The Stolen Earth yesterday. It's only going to get worse this week, you know. And for the weekend afterwards. And the week after that. So, The Stolen Earth: Is it terrible that I laughed a fair bit? That I enjoyed it but there was also inappropriate laughter?
I just can't take the DRAH-MAH! seriously when it's like that. For Midnight and Turn Left, I was completely there but there was no there *there* in TSE. It was 70% set-up and ominous foreshadowing; 10% obscure yet satisfying continuity references; 10% putting right the things that pissed people off in Series 1-3 and 10% actual new plot.
This episode didn't really do anything.
They're only forgiven for the lack of substantial plot development beyond "oooh, look, everyone's here and looking pretty sex-ay!" if next week is a belter and we get more Catherine Tate. I am easy to please that way.
So it turns out that this icon 'ere is not out of character Donna but instead yenta!Donna, which actually I didn't mind because that's what you do with your mates, isn't it? If you think there's someone they miss terribly, you nudge them in that direction and then smile because they are happy. It was a genuinely lovely moment, when she says "why don't you ask her yourself"; the reactions of both principals are marvellous.
But then there's that running shot and it's just too long and too cheesy, with the swoopy, gloopy soundtrack. Then Unexpected Dalek is Unexpected and Exterminatey and it's all DRAHMAH and ANGSTY STRINGS OF DOOM and I use ASSCAPS because this was the filmic equivalent of ASSCAPS. There was no need to overplay their hand that way. Whether we like it or not, we know it's epic, we don't need to be booted in the head and shouted at to believe it.
So... Guns spied in Acts 1-4.11 that were fired/ are to be fired in Act 4.12 + 4.13:
• Donna Noble does not know the rules of telly skience fiction, wherein if you say you are ordinary and nothing special EVEN if you have 100wpm shorthand -- which I have, btw, 100wpm teeline thankyouverymuch and it's really bloody difficult -- you are therefore not ordinary-and-nothing-special. Particularly when lots of people say you're "something new". That heartbeat was suggestive of timelordery, and I see from the trailer that Donna is alone, in the Tardis. Could that be the pay-off to the scene at the start of 4.04 when she's piloting the Tardis. Perhaps when it is doing a Luke Skywalker down that hole in what I assume is a dalek base station. I don't think Donna is fobwatched, I don't know what to think.
The heartbeat motif reappeared in the music, very faintly when we saw Gwen sitting on the sofa and after that. I guess we still need to know what Rose knows about Donna -- why she tried to fetch her back from the parallel universe. The sweet young thing at the Shadow Proclamation says "I am sorry for your loss". What if she means "I am sorry that you will be lost"? It's not grammatically wrong. ::batshits away to self:: *ANYway*, she was completely marvellous, as usual, from reminding the doctor about the bees to pleading with him when he was stuck outside the Medusa Cascade
Donna also says "we're in the Tardis; we're safe". How much do you want to bet that turns out not to be true next week?
• Harriet Jones. How marvellous was it that she stood her ground, did not recant her previous position, but helped save the world. (I am assuming she will, given that this is not Battlestar Galactica and does not feel the need to break its audience's spirit on a regular basis). We did not see her die, which is usually a red flag but the way they cut it off suggests that she won't necessarily be "harvested" and turn evil. The Mr Copper Foundation shoutout to VotD was oddness.
• Beeees. Alien bees (Melissa? Seriously. How nice that they live on an aptly named planet) The references paid off. See also: Medusa Cascade, Shadow Proclamation. While we're here, why is the Shadow Proclamation theologically based? The "holy writ"? "God save you?" What's that about? Did it just sound good, like the Nightmare Child, or Raxacoricofallipatorius?
• Continuity with the Original Flavour: CaLufrax (Key to Time! Is this a clue?); Dalek Invasion of Earth shout-out, Genesis refs...
• Hand inna jar was back, very pointedly. With its links to regenerations and so on, and references to "the threefold man", does this mean we're going to get three doctors of some kind? DO NOT WANT proper regeneration. Much as I like to mock Tennant for his scenery mastication, the man can act and I find it adorable how much of a fanboy he is and how much affection and understanding he has for it. I will be about ready for him to shift after the specials -- I don't ever want it to turn into just a job -- but I think he's been brilliant. So yes. Three time lords maybe? A Tennant split three ways? Three Threepointthreeants (I know, I'm sorry) Don't care as long as one of 'em isn't evil. Speaking of which...
• Dalek Caan. I had assumed that Davros was in league with the robots from the Smash commercial given the trailer, but no, it turns out that the Daleks have their own mad seer. If only I could have understood everything he said.
• "My vision is not impaired!" I loved Wilf with his paintgun, even as it closed off yet another Dalek weakness, just as Remembrance did all those years again. This development didn't quite have the same Holy Shit Quotient as Remembrance but it was grand nevertheless. I loved Wilf, full-stop. I have done all year. Of course he voted for Harriet Jones, who was, I bet any money, old Labour. You never go wrong if you turn left.
• Torchwood. Back, and flirty, funny and a little bit rubbish as usual. Though I could have lived without Ianto laughing like a nutter at Paul O'Grady, who is a nasty piece of work. (And not that funny.) Ianto and Gwen were adorable and I liked that they mentioned Tosh and Owen when they decided to fight. It also had the effect of allowing all the audience to hear their internal RTD cackle and say "remember, we might kill ANYONE! Bwah ha ha etc" Jack is pretty cheerful about leaving his kids though.
• Martha! Promoted, awesome as ever, in possession of the the Osterhagen Key: presumably a chameleon-circuited reset button. I also laughed inappropriately when Rose went all jealous of Martha. Is that verybadwrong of me? Rose was at least more similar to the Rose we left, in good ways and bad ways. I am ready to see her storyline resolved [/understatement]
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Other things I liked:
• New Davros was creepier than any incarnation since Genesis. Julian Bleach was marvellously creepy. Apparently Davros's aim is now just to destroy everything. Presumably using the perfect 27 planets to create a crucible which puts out energy doing something or other. I think it's great that they're going to leave the option of undoing the timewar for Moff, it would seem, though I would happy to see a lot less of the daleks in the next couple of years. They're sort of dull. Yawn. One time could they not be in pursuit of intergalactic domination but instead seeking the reason why frappucinos always taste like cack? Or the reason the Pigeon Detectives sell any records? Both of these are great mysteries of our times
• Sarah Jane, Sarah Jane, how are you so fabulous? With your Genesis of the Daleks-related PTSD and your fierce, prickly, protectiveness. Though you should really just drive at the daleks, even if you are in a limited edition mint green sports car.
Anyway, this didn't do much but I reserve my meh in case next week doesn't work :::pleasedonotsuckpleasedonotsuckpleased
P.S. Also, I used to be narked that everything Earth-set was in London or Cardiff. Now they're not just set in London, they're set in this tiny little bit of west London -- Ealing and Chiswick, for Pete's sake. Neither of them a million miles from effing Perivale. There are other parts of *London* you know, never mind the rest of the country.