So, Jack's sacrificial redemptive blah di blah moment for the season happens in 27AD. Which is 33 years (Jesus's alleged age at the crucifixion) after 6 BC (one of the more likely actual-birth-years for Jesus). But I refuse to take this too seriously: we know they read the Internet, they're just fucking with us. The fact that he apparently has no psychological scars from the whole thing I shall attribute to poor writing and move on. (I do feel the need to point out that it's a complete ripoff of how the Doctor got home at the end of Sleep of Reason [possibly the best of the Trix EDAs IMO], though.)
As for Captain John, I believe the Kaiser Chiefs wrote a song about him: you know, the one that goes "Woobie, woobie, woobie, woobie".
If it was the books, I'd assume that the creatures that tortured Jack's brother (how do we spell his name, anyway?) were the Daleks going unnamed for not-wanting-to-pay-the-Nation-estate reasons. But as it is, I suppose they're just being left unspecified. The fact that their interest was in finding the undying Jack makes it a nice closed time loop though. (Also: Jack's brother's acting -- just bad, or deliberate attempt at doing a family resemblance with JB?)
Meanwhile, Owen got trapped in a room that no one can ever go into to rescue him, thus satisfactorily removing his undying self from the board and also vaguely redeeming himself. Still don't really care, I'm afraid, though the use of the Weevil King thing while still refusing to explain it was fun. What annoyed me most about the Turnmill section of the plot, to be honest, was the fact that NO NUCLEAR REACTOR IN THE WORLD HAS EVER BEEN BUILT LIKE THIS. They are always, always designed so that in the event of a catastrophic power failure the chain reaction STOPS.
It would have been trivially easy for them to make the reactor a deliberate target of the sabotage. OK, the universe does have a history of well dodgy power projects (qv the entirety of the UNIT years and most of Tom and SJ's Earthbound stories) but still.</skience rant>
Also, I am very annoyed that Tosh is dead. Verily, she was the best of them and they never had a clue what to do with her. I am particularly annoyed that a fairly large chunk of her final time on screen was wasted on clearing up the lingering non-question of her appearance in Aliens of London. Luckily, Ianto has grown on me massively, Rhys even makes me like Gwen occasionally, and Spoiler and Spoiler are supposedly around next season, so I'm not going to give up watching or anything (oh, OK, let's face it, I'm far too much of a hardcore fan to ever stop watching), but I would enjoy S3 a whole lot more if it had Tosh in it.
I enjoyed about 90% of Partners in Crime. It wasn't 10/10 A+++ would buy again great, or anything, but it was a perfectly serviceable Rusty runaround. The "plot" is very obviously the result of one of his flick-through-Heat-magazine-and-find-som
I couldn't quite see past Catherine Tate to Donna this time, which is a pity as Billie and Kylie both proved completely undistracting from their roles for me and I did manage it with Donna by the end of Runaway Bride, but I'm sure I'll get there in time. I like her grandad LOTS. Her mother was the most irritating companion-mum yet but never mind, we have come to expect this now. All the stuff with Donna being Doctor-like was nice, and the constantly missing each other stuff, while not as funny as it clearly thought it was, worked quite well.
In isolation, the Martha mentions made me happy that they seem to be on board with at least some of the problems there, but I'm withholding judgement until she turns up in person.
Anyway, as I said, 90% of it was fun. Unfortunately, a lot of the 10% that pissed me off was the stuff that related to ongoing plotlines and ongoing problems, which does not bode well. The Doctor's little "message to the Internet: no shipping here, kthxbai" speech was infuriating. I don't know whether I'd find it so out of place if I didn't know what it was there for, but as it is I wanted to throw things at the screen at that moment (you don't get to tell us what to think, Rusty; and nor do you, Chris "we didn't mean Owen to be a rapist, so you're not allowed to think he is" Chibnall).
More irritating than that was this year's "not everyone's got what it takes to be a companion, so it's OK to take the piss out of them" character in the shape of the Observer correspondent who spent most of the ep tied up. What makes this even more irritating than usual is that we've not just got a situation where there's no real evidence of uselessness, we've got quite a lot of evidence of extreme competence. She's ahead of the Doctor and Donna in figuring out the plot, she isn't fazed by the intimidation or all the alien stuff, and if the Doctor had actually bothered with her for two seconds she'd have owned everyone in sight. If Donna hadn't been there, she would have been the pseudocompanion for this story for sure. (I wish I wasn't bothered by the fact that she's a black woman, but I am. This month, SFX's lettercol tells off someone who points out the relative mortality rates for such characters in TW and it made my blood boil because Cardiff are so wonderfully "colour blind". But then they also give Dave Sim a pass as "anti-feminist" rather than "misogynistic". *headdesk*)
And, oh look, there's Rose! Now, first of all: I managed not to be spoiled for this, and it did have me going "OMG!" in the good way. It was surprising and genuinely exciting on first watching. So well done there, some combination of Cardiff's news management and my self-control. But on reflection, I cannot help but think that what we're shown does not bode well.
Objection the First: together with the way the ep treats the discussion of Rose and Martha with Donna, this fairly firmly establishes the companion hierarchy with Rose at the top of it; the chippers have canon on their side, etc. etc. I cannot bring myself to be too upset about this, as it's just canon confirmation of what we've known Rusty really thinks for ages now. Doctor Who the lovely thing about the mad alien with his mad box that takes you to any adventure anywhere and anywhen is bigger than any one Doctor, companion, production team or even medium, the irreducible core that makes me love it is always there, blah blah blah blah blah. This too shall pass.
Objection the Second: grand tragedy in SF/fantasy plotlines only works if you trust the author to play by the rules they've made. Setting up a technobabble-mediated situation that results in the separation of the two people who are BFF/OTPtruelove/whatever only works if you're completely sure that you're not going to come back and solve it with Moar Technobabble. In particular, when you use your closest-thing-we-have-to-an-authority character to pronounce on the absolute impossibility of Moar Technobabble, it makes them a complete dick if they turn out to be wrong, because it turns out they could have just Tried Harder. Now, this will all be OK if it turns out there is a terrible, terrible cost, even if it's not quite the one the Doctor said (mad spec: Spoiler Villain is the person helping Rose and it's all to get back at the Doctor?), but if it's just The Even Subtler Knife then fuckit. The thing is, Rusty's always pulled plot devices out of his arse to do whatever he feels like (deadlock seal!), and seems to think this is perfectly valid. So I'm not very hopeful here.
Objection the Third and Strongest: I like Rose. Really, I do. Which is why I'm not pleased that her character development has apparently stalled at crying on the beach. Even if the whole idea of her trying to cross back didn't signpost it massively, the mournful way she looked at the situation at the end of the episode there suggests that she has pretty much definitely failed to have that fantastic life that the Doctor urged her to. Now, OK, refusing to accept a horrible situation is admirable in some ways, but reunited family including dead Dad, material comfort and kickass job does not equal "horrible situation". The whole thing has a skeevy sense of "OTP4eva >> any other considerations at all" that I hate hate hate hate.
On the other hand, Rusty has handled things that I was worried about well before (like bringing back the Master), so I'm not giving up hope that he hasn't got something planned that will undercut all of those objections.
Oh, and sod Jack, I am still holding out for Bonnie in the background next week.