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Sunday, June 08, 2008
Just When You Thought Someone Was Going To Die In A Steven Moffat Story...
Yet again, everybody lives!

Maybe she should be playing HAMLET?

Yup, in an amusing moment during the latest DOCTOR WHO episode commentary, featuring RTD, STEVEN MOFFAT and THE DOCTOR himself, Davey T realised that Stevey M doesn't like to kill people in his stories but then added there was "old Billie" who died "from old age." RTD quickly shushed him but, of course, DT was actually referring to Billy from BLINK and not the returning pop starlet. I will admit my ears did prick up at that point in their conversation thinking he'd just dropped a clunker of a spoiler. For the 'record', SM did add that people do die from natural causes in his tales. Apparently the plot of his first story (to be broadcast in 2010, I assume) involves death.


So to his latest episode, FOREST OF THE DEAD - part two to SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY. I'll be utterly honest (not that I ever lie here) and admit I was slightly disappointed with this installment. Slightly. And I cannot really put my finger on exactly why. All the excellent attributes from the first part existed here so it should have been as good. But during the story I found myself wanting more and certainly by the ending I felt unsatisfied. Don't get me wrong, it was still brilliant but not the masterpiece I was expecting.

Looks like she'll need a trip to the emergency room after this...

Of course, judging like that is ridiculous. Not everything is a masterpiece, the world is full of things that are enjoyable if average. But FOTD was not average. Not at all. But, the revelations of the computer and the girl weren't totally unexpected. What was unexpected was the VASHTA NERADA and their disappearance from the story. Their threat was quickly diminished. While I'm on the negatives, the ending was bit long and got a tad RETURN OF THE KING~ish. The idea of never dying doesn't appeal to me either. Especially when it's just to keep a young girl amused for the rest of eternity.

He's bored 'cos she's just sacrificed herself. No sexy~time for you!

THE DOCTOR'S reaction to ANITA being killed was overplayed (though excellently acted by DT); he didn't have much interaction with her yet he claimed she was his 'friend' and he got all upset. This wasn't helped by the fact that the actress playing her delivered an incredibly flat performance and I, for one, didn't engage with her character at all. That moment also provided another niggling issue, namely the Vashta Nerada (thousands, millions of them) all being able to get their psychic abilities together (in a matter of seconds) and talk to the Doctor. Those little guys also managed to read pretty quickly (in the biggest library in the universe remember) to discover who he was.

Take two sonics into the shower?

More? Too much sonic though it was quite pertinent to the story. And that brings me to my last gripe. Although it was a nice idea to turn the relationship between RIVER SONG and The Doc around, from her being the keeper of the 'spoilers' (that word got annoying too) to him being the one who would know her destiny (albeit in their future), I felt it was quite similar to the trick used in TIME CRASH. A future Doc relies on his memories of a younger Doc to save the situation.

Nice PJs!

Still, these points aside, it was a terrific story. So let's look at the positives, and there's a few. The performances of DAVEY T and ALEX KINGSTON were spot on but top marks and very adult points go to CATHY T for her part. She certainly got the most juiciest role to play and got to show off her arsenal (though she does seem to cry, like, in every episode) of actor~ing styles. Donna and her journey in the virtual world (comically referred to as Cyber Space - I mean, we stopped calling it that back in '01, will it make a comeback in the 51st Century?) was fascinating and the most compelling element of FOTD.

Nice face!

Her domestic bliss was expertly juxtaposed, using televisual grammar, with the creepy return of MISS EVANGELISTA. Ironically, considering the nature of this story, this was something I knew about having seen a picture of the playground scene some months ago. Damn my eyes! Anyway, we got a saddening 'pay~off' when LEE returned in the Library but was unable to speak in time to attract Donna. I think we all went "Awww" at that moment.

Typical cheap Stevey M 'monster'.

EUROS LYN showed us why he's gonna be back a lot more in the future for WHO (they let that slip in the commentary) with supreme style creating and sustaining two very different worlds. Gold stars to the CG guys and gals again. Particularly pleasing on the pupils was the scene where The Doc dodged the Suit Creatures and fell into the cityscape (see below).

"Don't you open that Trap Door!"

So, despite the gripes I have (and there seems to be a lot looking at what I've typed), as a story Stevey M has delivered a tale with great scope and, as always, lots of neat ideas (if just simply repeated from his past glories). Almost everything about the two~parter was utterly memorable and intriguing but it ain't perfect. Though, I'll take slightly less than perfect any day if it's as good as this.

Hhmm, that sky looks familiar.. Thoros-Beta anyone?

'Til the next time,

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posted by Cameron McEwan at 5:03 pm -
  • At 10:38 am, Blogger Graeme McKay said…

    A wee bit that niggled me after this episode finished...

    If River Song was the Doctors companion/friend/girlfriend/wife/TimeLady (or even a future re-generation of DW himself)... how did he ever get around to meeting her if she now only exists in the virtual world (cyberspace !?!) of the Libraries central hard-drive/memory core ...

  • At 10:57 am, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    To quote BLINK, "Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey".

    I assumed that he travels to the point in time when she existed as real entity. He knows all along (in his future) what's gonna happen to her which is maybe why he trusts her so much.

    This, of course, sets up a paradox a la TIME CRASH and THE DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER.
    Not to mention Back To the Future II!

    And to quote HITCHHIKERS GUIDE, this is, of course, impossible...

  • At 5:46 pm, Blogger joy said…

    THANK you. I thought I was the only one to notice that Donna seems to cry in every single episode. Brilliantly, of course, but still.

    A really good two-parter, but not the best. ITA about the too-quick wrap-up of the VN - it was like they ran out of time.

    I probably enjoyed listening to the three fanboys' commentary more than anything. And, I can't remember which one chastised DT for overthinking the snapping the TARDIS door open...but, that's my MO for the whole show - not to overthink the timey wimey stuff. (Has to be, otherwise I'll drive myself nuts.)

    Oh! And thanks for the link to joy magnetism!

  • At 8:09 pm, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    Best DOCTOR WHO two parter ever. PACKED.


  • At 7:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The only bit that confused me was river song's message to the doctor. Was it just coincidence that his tenth regeneration picked it up?

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