Lurky McLurklurk (ionlylurkhere) wrote,
Lurky McLurklurk

Mike Yates was a HERO!

Overall, that did it for me in spades. Oh wow. I'm a sucker for a good what-if and a good post-apocalypse, so a post-apocalyptic WI was always going to push my buttons. Donna and her family were fantastic throughout the whole thing as everything fell apart around them; even in the early stages when there was a risk of Donna slipping back to being Just Another Catherine Tate Character, she was always convincing, and Bernard Cribbins was bloody brilliant. Wilf is the best of them, trufax. I still don't like Donna's mum (but then you're not supposed to, she's the least sympathetic version yet of RTD's Companion Mother archetype) but her ongoing stunned disbelief was very convincing.

On the other hand, acting-wise: Oh, dear. Billie has forgotten how to do Rose, hasn't she? She was starting to remember by the end, so hopefully it'll be OK for the next two, but ... umm, yeah. It was just weird. It sounded like she needed a Strepsil for a good 60% of it. (This is the sort of thing that makes me think I should stay even further away from behind the scenes stuff than I do. If I hadn't read that Billie felt like she'd forgotten how [aaaages ago, the first time "Rose returns" was mooted by the tabloids] and had been watched old eps [more recently] I would probably have handwaved it as the result of everything that's happened to her.)

I started off being a little bit annoyed that things went to hell so quickly without the Doctor around, and the series' reliance on contemporary Earth settings is pointed up by the sheer volume of crises involving it in just two years of screentime (and that's before we consider all the stuff that SJS and Torchwood dealt with without killing themselves), but then I remembered all the lovely stuff in Sympathy for the Devil (for those of you who don't know, it's a Big Finish Unbound based on the premise of the David Warner Third Doctor turning up thirty years later than the Jon Pertwee one did in the main timeline; I know that sounds fanwanky but it is in fact brilliant) about how much harder UNIT had it and all the consequences, so I got over it (Nick Courtney's delivery of the line I put as the subject is bloody brilliant, so 'tis). But then I started getting annoyed again, because in the new series context it's got a big dose of the Floaty Tinkerbells attached to it, which the episode makes even more explicit with Rose and Donna's conversation about how being with the Doctor helped them be brilliant. It seems no one in this universe can make anything of themselves without being touched by a Time Lord (even recurring non-companion characters tend to have to get the Doctor's seal of approval or otherwise -- witness how Harriet's fortunes vary depending on whether he's giving it the "Golden Age" stuff or the "don't you think she looks tired?"), and the human race as a whole is doomed without him -- not very indomitable, really, is it? But, er, yeah, post-apocalypse does it for me big time so I don't really care that much.

(I want post-apocalytpic Freema nu-Survivors now, dammit. Why should I have to wait? This Bonekickers thing looks it could be entertaining in a completely daft way but ...)

As well as the revisiting of how the new series would have gone without the Doctor, there were also some lovely old-canon touches. I particularly squeed at the mention of Metropolitan in the bit about Sarah. And as far as I'm concerned, the circle of mirrors is one of those "RTD provides a fix for a weird thing in old canon" like the regeneration grace period being a possible explanation for Romana's shenanigans in Destiny, this time explaining Maxtible's time machine from Evil. Turns out the mirrors were redirecting chronon energy all along. Obviously. (Shame they couldn't have worked in some sort of link between chronon energy and static electricity, but we're 90% of the way there.) I'm sure there was another one that I've forgotten. Will have to watch again.

Anyway, Donna used the Evil of the Daleks reference to fix the timeline by chucking herself under a truck, thus making her the hardcore version of Pete Tyler. Of course, unlike Father's Day, this all made sense rather than being a magic handwave with nonsensical monsters, and actually gave you a tiny bit of space to have a response to the events on screen rather than sledgehammering you with constant reminders of what you were supposed to be thinking, and therefore it is much betterer. But I do love putting right what once went wrong, yes I do. (Quantum Leap, how I miss you.) This episode pushed so many of my buttons, actually, it's quite insane.

A whole bunch of anvils dropped around the place here that don't really seem to follow from anything we've had before, with the Doctor suddenly announcing that Donna is too coincidental for her own good (which is BS, "I met you twice!" being about as shocking as Lethbridge-Stewart being involved in The Web of Fear and The Invasion), and Rose going on about anomalous readings from her separate from the beetley ones. And then Bad Wolf at the end, which I thought was really well done (but NOT the most shocking thing ever, whichever spoiler hound described it as such); I particularly liked the redone police box wording. (And it reinforces my belief that the planting of the words was always to do with the TARDIS's telepathic circuitry, because that struck me as "everything is being translated into the same two words".) And the Cloister Bell always does it for me. But I want some good explanations of how this all ties together next week.

Aaand ... I'm sorry to say it was still quite squicky on the race front for me in places. I don't know whether I'm becoming hypersensitised, but it struck me that both Chantho the fortune teller woman in league with the beetle{*} and the maid in the Christmas hotel were exoticised in a very OTT way (the maid is slightly less troubling than she would have been otherwise, given that we also had Donna's friend earlier and the soldier later doing the same sort of thing, but the bit where her speaking in a language we can't understand is supposed to make it more frightening is bothersome). And I think the stereotypical Italian character who is quite happily referred to as "Mussolini" by the main character without any sort of judgement becoming the victim of the fascist post-apocalyptic regime sums up RTD's problem with all this perfectly: he knows what he's against, but he's completely clueless when it comes to making sure he does positive portrayals. Rusty is just a soul whose intentions are good, but he is going to keep being misunderstood if he carries on like this. If good intentions were enough, it wouldn't be the road to hell that was paved with them.

{*} And, oh dear, planet of Chinese people. Aliens what are really other cultures in disguise is a looooong tradition in SF, but the fact that the continuity announcer assumed it was the "Far East" in his little intro suggests you really haven't done enough work. Reminded me quite a lot of Firefly in its way.

Oh. Oh god. That heartbeat-y sequence of single shots thing I normally find a bit contrived, but given what it was of ... ooh, yes please, on toast. This is going to be awesome, and, I suspect, simultaneously cracktastic and properly brilliant. I've been saying on and off for a good while now that new Who is very comics-y in its overall approach, and this big finale bringing in everyone from the other shows is just like a big summer crossover. And it's even a plot involving all the different parallel realities under threat. We are definitely looking at DW's very own Crisis on Infinite Earths here. (Do you know what I really, really want, incidentally? That red Dalek to actually be from the Cushingverse. That would be brilliant. With a claw and everything. Please?)
Tags: doctor who, ep reaction

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