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Saturday, June 21, 2008
And That's How You Start A Finale!
If you'll pardon the expression, scrim~my~nim~jim!

Yet another new planet!

And it's not often I say that. Well, actually, I say it quite a bit when I'm watching DOCTOR WHO. Before I continue I will strongly suggest, nay urge you to stop reading this review of tonight's episode, TURN LEFT, if you have not yet seen it (waiting for the BBC3 repeat are you?) I will refer to plot details that will ruin this mesmeric tale and its trouser~tightening last couple of minutes. So, in short, if you haven't seen it - stop reading! Don't even go to the last paragraph!

Insert YOKO ONO gag here.

Right. Blimey. I guess I'll get the 'bad' stuff out of the way first and there were really only two things that bugged me. First up, was the beetle (or whatever it was) on DONNA'S back. Not very convincing at all I'm afraid and it did look laughable when it fell off. Plastic and robotic. A rare miss from the production team and even GRAEME "The Guv'nor" HARPER remarked on the commentary that he wasn't sure about it. Should have shot less of it if you ask me (which you didn't but I'm saying anyway). Secondly, the maid pointing at Donna. What was that all about? It very nearly ruined an intensely dramatic scene. Check the pic below, all that was missing was her cackling manically.

J'accuse!

Before I continue I am going to address what some fans/idiots will call 'plot~holes' and I'm going to go on a tangent too so watch out the tangent~wary! Might take a couple of paragraphs. It annoys me immensely when sci~fi/fantasy fans can accept traits of their genre (here in WHO we have time~traveling and a guy who can change his entire body - not to mentioned the physics of the TARDIS itself) and yet try to pick, what they deem as, holes in a plot. These numb~nuts want to apply rules to a genre that exists because it abandons the notion of the everyday (not always of course) and thrives on the 'new'.

Happy Christmas Everybody!

Why do I mention this here? Some fans will have you believe that there are plot~holes in TURN LEFT. These 'people', and I use the term lightly, think they're being clever by referencing previously established events that show them to be knowledgeable about DOCTOR WHO. What it does, in fact, is two things. Firstly, and this is in general, it shows they don't have the capacity to imagine that these events can also be changed if circumstances dictate. Secondly, and this is specific to this episode, it actually demonstrates that these 'fans' weren't actually paying attention and belies the fact that they aren't watching THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES. What am I talking about?

Hhmm, cuddle~time?

'Fans' will ask why the Carrionite or the Dalek invasion, as seen in THE SHAKESPEARE CODE and the DALEKS IN MANHATTAN two~parter respectively, aren't referenced or make an impact in the episode. Lesson time. THE DOCTOR explains to Donna that time fixes itself around the anomaly, here the time~eating insect. He also, crucially, adds that it was part of the "Trickster's brigade". Now geeks like me know exactly what this means and how it plays a part in this story. For those who don't know, the Trickster appeared in the excellent story WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SARAH JANE? and in this story we learn that he and his minions had battling monsters/aliens away from Earth. Tah~dah! But, you don't really need that info as it is quite permissible that some other event stopped these invasions - it's sci~fi/fantasy, use your imaginations.

Teeth!

If you are going to pick flaws, what about Rose? How does she travel through the parallel worlds? I suspect that, and some other unanswered questions, will be addressed in the finale. So, in a nutshell, 'fans' why don't you eff off and do some research before you show yourselves up to be nerds of the lowest order. There, I'm done ranting. Crikey, that took longer than I thought.

Smooch~a~rino!

While we're mentioning the spin~offs, it was nice to hear the TORCHWOOD team get a mention but sad to see MARTHA and SARAH JANE, along with MARIA and CLYDE (both from her 'Adventures'), being all deaded 'n' that. Sniff. Other geekoid things to look out for? "Causal nexus" got name~checked, first heard in LOGOPOLIS (another story with parts of the universe disappearing), disappearing bees/planets and Sarah Jane was reported to have worked for the Metropolitan magazine; as stated in her first story, THE TIME WARRIOR.

Nooooooooooo!

Another nod to the aforementioned Logopolis was the CLOISTER BELL, which made a dramatic appearance at the denouement. I've always been a fan of the noise it makes, very eerie. It provided the crescendo to the climax which invoked similar emotions/hysteria to that of UTOPIA. My nuts almost fell off when Donna said BAD WOLF. No, really. Another master~stroke from RTD who certainly knows how to 'throw' to a finale: he delivers a grimly depressing tale (not in a bad way); slips us a faux happy ending; teases us with info about Donna's true nature; and then clunks over the noggin with Bad Wolf. Brilliant.

It's gone to penalties, again!

The tale itself I felt was superbly clever, not the conceit but how it plays out. It's a tale as old as time as they say and has been told many, many times. So full credit to RTD for making it so, I was gonna say fresh but that's not the right word. Vital. There we go. We revisit (or reassess) London in the wake (pun intended) of the events of THE RUNAWAY BRIDE where hard times start hitting and this continues as the Titanic, from VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, destroys the city and leaves Britain in upheaval. This means that the ADIPOSE, from PARTNERS IN CRIME, aren't hatched in the UK but, in the US (perhaps the more believable birth place of them). And this had a knock~on effect too 'cos they cannot help the UK.

Hanky time... sniff...

Supreme brain~power points for pointing out that, due to the UK's predicament, there wasn't much petrol in the country and so ATMOS, as seen in THE SONTARAN STRATAGEM, affected other countries more. Bigger, and more adult, points to the production crew for remembering to keep the words Bad Wolf on the TARDIS door when we saw it from the inside (yes, I am a geek - I did notice). See the picture below, for example.

Well done production crew!

I used the word adult there and that neatly describes the tone of Turn Left. Apart from the grittyness and the it's grim up North feel of Leeds, including the events that took place therein, the actors should be given warm cuddles for their performances. BERNARD "Tear Inducer" CRIBBINS, as always, played Wilf to perfection - notably in the scene where the Colasantos leave for the camp. It's quite horrible; Donna (going back to her roots of ignoring everything around her) doesn't realise what's happening whilst Mr Colasanto puts on a brave face. Full marks to JOSEPH "We Forgive You For Appearing In A2A" LONG who brought vivacity and sadness to such a brief character.

He's sad 'cos he's off to film the second series of ASHES TO ASHES.

That scene, in particular, got your humble blogger wiping away some salty discharge from his eyes. Very powerful indeed. JACQUELINE KING also delivered some measured actoring. From battle~axe/nasty cow to a downtrodden woman bereft of life; quite a contrast and most emotive. BILLIE P was back and did her job and it was odd to see her act like the Doctor in parts. Some commentators seem to have a problem with her voice which, I must say, I did not. I did, however, feel that her teeth seem to have embiggened since her last appearance.

Cheer up luv, I'm sure you'll get a part in EASTENDERS

Of course, the episode belonged to CATHY T and no mistake. We got it all from torturous temp to saviour of the world/universe. Not a bad fifty minute shift there Cath. I will highlight her switch in the 'Circle Of Mirrors' (a new BBC ident anyone?) from happy heroine to trapped prisoner with the realisation she was going to die setting in. Another hanky moment. Well, I say hanky. I just wipe them away with my hands.

Moving in for a smooch...

The direction was tight (sometimes literally) throughout and portrayed the bleakness with a, erm, bleakness? Well, you get the idea with that. Top marks and glittery gold stars all round for creating such a tense denouement (not to forget the preceding heartbreaking story) that smacked my gob with a beguiling tenacity. Who would have thought the Bad Wolf would have come back to bite us? And what a bite.

Finally, some girl~on~girl action!

'Til the next time,
C.

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posted by Cameron McEwan at 8:58 pm -
6 Comments:
  • At 4:21 pm, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    Should have been a scorpion with its stinger stuck in Donna's spine.

    R!

     
  • At 8:44 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    Ouch!


    I think they should have slimed it up a bit more. Hide the plastic look of it.

     
  • At 12:29 am, Blogger FRANK said…

    As ever Cameron a great review and I 'm a sucker for the photo captions. They make me chuckle. I thought it was quite honestly the best episode of the series so far. RTD is on a home run by the looks of things and the trailer for 'The Stolen Earth' seems to support this theory.

    Agree with you on the bloomin' beetle, or Ringo as it's affectionately been named in fan circles, and it just looked...well...fake. Needed a much more organic feel to it. Slime dripping off it and a bit more movement to suggest it wasn't some sort of puppet perhaps might have saved us the embarassment! But, like that infamous 'Weng Chiang' rat it didn't spoil the story.

    Till next time.

     
  • At 12:33 am, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    Is Rose sticking her tongue in Donna's ear or is that just me?

     
  • At 10:19 am, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    FRANK

    Thank you, doing the captions usually take the longest to write!

    Having watched the story a few times now it really does stand up and the dramatic moments - the Colasantos 'eviction', the 'Circle Of Mirrors' and that ending - are just as powerful. Still wiping away those damn tears!

    RTD has delivered two consecutive stories that couldn't be any more different yet are probably some of his best. And, as you say, 'Ringo' (can't say I'm fond of that name, I lurve his drummin') doesn't spoil the story at all.

     
  • At 10:24 am, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    RICH

    You have given me something very real and meaningful to think about.

    And for that, I thank you....

    How will I survive next week's episode? It's battle of the DOCTOR WHO totty!
    FREEMA! (in New York I notice.....)
    GWEN!!
    CATHY T!!!
    LIZZY S!!!!

     
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