Monday, May 30, 2011

"The Doctor's Wife" Season 6 Episode 4

Finally, I am writing about this episode! Of course, I am re-watching it in order to write this. Of all of episodes of the new season, this one was for me one of the strangest, but it also answers some long-standing issues about the series.

We start in a junkyard, there are three humans, Auntie, Uncle and Idris, and an Ood called Nephew, and Idris is about to get their brains sucked out. Shift to the TARDIS. A knock on the door in flight reveals a flying glowing cube. The Doctor utters a line that exemplifies something that is starting to bother me about this series of Doctor Who. When have we ever known the Doctor to say something like "Come here you scrumptious little beauty"? The Doctor's got mail? It is a Time Lord emergency messaging system. It is reminiscent of the cube assembled by the Second Doctor to ask for help from the Time Lords with returning combatants to their rightful times and places in "The War Games." The Doctor takes this to mean that there is a living Time Lord out there called The Corsair and he has to pilot the TARDIS out of the universe to get there, accomplishing this by jettisoning parts of the interior of the TARDIS, again harkening back to a classic episode, "Castrovalva," in which they jettisoned parts of the TARDIS to escape the Big Bang. Suddenly Idris awakens and she is overflowing with energy ... actually, it looks like the start of a regeneration scene. Cue the annoying Amy intro ...

They are on a junk planet outside the Universe. Well, they are in a pocket universe Think of it as a little soap bubble clinging to the side of a big soap bubble, the Doctor says. The Doctor is assaulted by Idris, first kissed, then bitten. She calls him a thief, saying that he has stolen her. The Doctor repairs the communication ball of the Ood, and he suddenly hears the voices of Time Lords in trouble. The Doctor demands to find out who else is there, believing there are multiple Time Lords on the planet.

In a cage, Idris is wondering about herself, and the asteroid they are on turns out to be sentient. The Asteroid tells the Doctor that there have been many Time Lords and Travelers on the planet and that he fixes people when they come to visit him. The woman who is known as "Auntie" touches Amy and the Doctor notices that she has two different hands. The Doctor sends Amy to the TARDIS for his screwdriver, and then when she calls him, he uses his screwdriver to lock them in. The Doctor finds a cabinet containing multiple cubes, the final messages of many Time Lords. He confronts Uncle and Auntie, pointing out that Uncle is made of of spare body parts, and the arm of Autie is the arm of The Corsair, revealing that the people there were created by patching the body parts of others together. The Doctor confronts Idris as a green fog envelops the TARDIS.

He talks to Idris, and she says that that she is the TARDIS. She tells the Doctor about how they first left Gallifrey, and she reveals that as much as he stole the TARDIS, the TARDIS stole him. Now we enter the strangeness of this episode. One of the newer ideas in the new series is that the TARDIS is alive. In the classic series, the TARDIS is just a machine, but now they are living sentient things. The shift was first explained that the TARDIS has a telepathic field that gets into your head and translates alien languages ("Rose"), and he eventually explains that the TARDIS is alive ("Boom Town"). In "The Impossible Planet" the Doctor indicates that TARDISes are grown, not built. The Living memory o the TARDIS was removed and placed in the body of a human woman so that House could feed on the TARDIS. In the TARDIS, the cloister bell is ringing, and Amy and Rory are still trapped inside as the TARDIS dematerializes and heads for the rift back into the universe proper. House speaks to them asking why he shouldn't just kill them. Auntie and Uncle die, and TARDIS-woman is also dying. He asks her name, and she tells him that he calls her "Sexy." Rory and Amy attempt to explain to house why they should be allowed to live. The Doctor heads out into the junkyard and starts scavenging TARDIS parts to build a working TARDIS console to go after the TARDIS and Amy and Rory.

House is tormenting Amy and Rory, and the Doctor and "Sexy" start arguing. He accuses her of being unreliable, never taking him where he wanted to go, but she replies that she always took him where he needed to go. This explains why the TARDIS's steering never quite worked properly in the early series, with the steering growing more and more reliable as the series progressed. Amy and Rory are being tormented by House, and Amy is made to believe that she has abandoned Rory for two thousand years. "Sexy" reveals that she wanted to see the universe so she "stole a Time Lord" and the Doctor was the only one crazy enough to run off with her. She powers the console for him and they dematerialize in a ball of energy and she sends a telepathic message to Rory to go to one of the old control rooms. "Sexy" reveals that she archived each control room, and that she has about thirty of them now (ala the secondary console room from season 14 in the Tom Baker era). House seems to primarily take pleasure in tormenting Amy through psychic attacks. In the TARDIS corridors, Amy and Rory encounter Nephew, the Ood from the Asteroid.

In the Vortex, the Doctor calls Idris "you sexy thing" and she asks if that is her name, and he responds that it is. They enter the other control room, which happens to be the Ninth and Tenth Doctor era control room, which had been destroyed in the regeneration from David Tenant to Matt Smith. You know, it would have been nice to see an old school console room in this scene, but they were never really big enough for something big like this to happen. The Doctor tries to convince House not to kill them and tells him to delete rooms, and House deletes the control room they are in, causing them to be instantly transported to the main control room due to a failsafe mechanism that protects the TARDIS's passengers. The body of Idris dies and the matrix, the soul of the TARDIS is freed in the control room, and she re-takes control of the TARDIS, defeating House. She appears as an apparition and says her last words to the Doctor telling him she has found the word she has wanted to say to him the whole episode, the word being "hello".

The Doctor installs a firewall around the Matrix to protect her form future attacks. Rory tells the Doctor that at the end, she kept repeating to Rory that "the only water in the forest is the River" and that they would need to know that soon. He tells Amy and Rory he would make them a new bedroom since the House deleted all the bedrooms. Amy requests that they not have bunk beds in their new room, but the Doctor replies that bunk beds are cool, because they are a bed with a ladder. Amy and Rory head off to their new room, and the Doctor talks to the TARDIS hoping she hears and understands him, and she responds by throwing a lever for him. The TARDIS flies off and the Doctor runs around the console room like a happy madman.

So the Doctor's wife is ... the TARDIS. What do they say about men and their toys? We also get a little more of a glimpse of the dichotomy of the TARDIS as both a machine and a living, sentient thing. It is almost enough to make your head spin...

Well, until next week, when we have the second part of "The Rebel Flesh".

Monday, May 23, 2011

Emilie says hi!

First I would like to send a big thanks to Jim for letting me post on his blog. Thanks Jim!!

As I was sitting and watching the new episode, I was thinking to myself "Not again with that new opening!!!" I'm sorry but it just doesn't work for me. I'm old school. But I do like the new logo ( want that on a jacket, just what I need another jacket lol). But now I'm doing what Jim tells me "I didn't ask for how the clock works, just what time it is" lol.

So as I was saying......I was watching the new episode and as I heard Buzzer (Marshall Lancaster) voice, I know that I saw him in something took me a few sec. to remember, but I remembered, He played on Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes as Chris Skelton. Now some of you Doctor Who fans may remember that the new Master (John Simm) also was on Life On Mars as Sam (great show!!) I do hope that they bring John back as the Master, I really like him.

So I know that Jim said a lot of cool things on this one so I won't go into a lot of stuff. I just want to say a couple of things that I thought was kinda cool. First, when I saw the Doctor with the "Flesh" I was thinking 'how much do you want to bet that they are going to make a second Doctor". Then when I saw the lips saying trust me I know that there would be one. The CGI is getting really good, but you would think that they could do better then a snow globe for the Doctor checking the storm. I mean really!! Couldn't they come up with something a lot better.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"The Rebel Flesh" S6Ep5

Before we begin this week's blog, I actually DID watch "The Doctor's Wife" last week, but it was cuddle time on the couch for Emilie and I, so I didn't blog while watching it, and I always meant to go back and re-watch it and blog it, but I still haven't gotten around to that, so I hope to do so this week. I have also invited Emilie and my friend Katrina to join me as bloggers here. Emilie is a fan from the Jon Pertwee days, and Katrina has just started watching Doctor Who in the past three weeks and I figured she would be a great addition to the blogging team here with a fresh view of the show and fresh ideas. I am looking forward to their contributions! Now, on with this week's blog!

We open with a fly-in shot of ... is that Alcatraz? Where are Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage? Ooh, big threatening tank ... and what do they do? They open it of course. Like the Doctor, I really love the human race. Oops, someone is soup. Hello Amy Intro. I know, I know ... Steven Moffat believes the show is being watched by more new viewers than people who know what the heck is going on, but still.

Darts in the console room ... and the Doctor is STILL obsessing about Amy's pregnancy/non-pregnancy. The TARDIS s caught in the vortex ... I really like the fact that they can make with the really great vortex CGI in the new series. Dusty Springfield playing in a monastery... how novel. Aw, come on .... spears? Ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka! Now I am starting to notice that Matt Smith is sorta channeling Sylvester McCoy with his characterization ... kind of the roaming expert who manipulates the people he meets: "show me your critical systems", "which ones?", "you know which ones."

A tub of "flesh", made by taking a "weaving". Kind of reminds me of the novel "Lungbarrow" just a little bit. OK, the Doctor monitors a solar storm with a snow globe?!?!?! Huh???? The solar storm effects are great. And of course, the Doctor runs off to prevent tragedy, and what happens? He gets zapped, and acid starts to eat away at the TARDIS (actually the dirt beneath the TARDIS as the TARDIS Shouldn't be affected by the acid).

Wakey, wakey! Everyone got knocked about by the solar storm. Rory is just pissing me off. Dress him in a red shirt and kill him off already. The gangers are all alive, now they are seeking to figure out their "lives". Matt Smith is both old and young at the same time. He is young, but he has really old-looking eyes. Jennifer barfs flesh into the wash-basin ... and then she does the head on a snake thing ... I am thinking T-3000 from Terminator 2, here.

The Doctor figures out that the boss is a ganger instead of the real person. Ganger Jennifer seems to have taken a shine to Rory. Everyone is splitting up ... I thought Rory was a believer in the Doctor's cardinal rule: "don't wander off." Now he goes off and follows ganger Jennifer around. Dummy. Rory starts to really show how dumb he can be, getting roped in by ganger Jennifer.

LOL, the Doctor walks into a puddle of acid and finds the TARDIS buried almost to the signal light. Aww, come on ... show us what he sneezed up ... betcha he is a ganger too. The half-formed gangers remind me of Odo on Deep Space Nine. Hate to tell ya Rory, you are far luckier than Amy is! You know, seeing a ganger do a full-on exorcist twist was rather disturbing. Rory brings ganger Jen to Amy, and we now have an interesting twinge of jealousy from Amy ... the girl who ran off on her wedding night to travel with and hit on the Doctor. And why is it that the Doctor seems to be taking the ganger's side?

Sacred life? The storm causing the gangers to become independent life forms is an example of "sacred life"? The setting up of the simple binary equation of two sides, "us and them" is pretty simple. And of course, now we have a ganger of the Doctor starting to wander around. And of course, the ganger workers have the acid suits and they want to deal with the human crew. Doctor versus Doctor as the credits roll. We have to wait two weeks for the conclusion! Damn.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

Off we go on another adventure in time and space. Looks like a pirate episode. didn't Johnny Depp already do this? Pirates marked in the hand? OK, so this has a siren ... so that is a little different. And of course, who shows up on the ship, the Doctor and his companions, having followed a distress call to the pirate ship.

Blech! The Amy intro is back! please, please, please get rid of that ghastly thing! The Doctor walking the plank is ... well, interesting. Amy the swordswoman ... umm ... yeah, that isn't at all over the top. The siren is summoned by blood, and she is ... wow! Oooh, and she doesn't like competition.

A pirate starts to bleed, and the Siren shows up and touches them and they go POOF! They head into the magazine to avoid water, realizing that the Siren uses water as a conduit, and they find the Captain's son Toby stowing away on the ship. The Doctor and the Captain head off to the TARDIS, and while they are gone, the Captain's son finds out that his father is a pirate, and cuts one of the crew, giving him the Black Spot. The TARDIS goes all wonky and dematerializes without the Doctor aboard.

The Doctor and the Captain come across Maligan, and they realize that the Siren springs from reflections. They toss all the treasure overboard, and everyone takes refuge in the magazine. The Captain and Toby talk, but they fall short of the father/son talk they need to have. Amy sees a woman behind a sliding panel. The Doctor and the Captain talk on the deck about traveling and loneliness. A storm blows in, and when Toby discovers the crown wrapped up in the captain's cloak, and the Siren comes and takes Toby. Rory gets knocked overboard, and the Doctor releases the Siren to try to save him. Then, hoping that they would survive being taken by her, the Doctor, Amy and the Captain all injure themselves and allow the Siren to take them in the hopes of reasoning with her.

They awake and find themselves on a spaceship trapped in a temporal rift, occupying the expect same place as the pirate ship, and they realize that the alien ship is the source of the distress call. They find the crew and they find the TARDIS on the alien ship. they realize that the black spot is a tissue sample, and the Siren turns out to be an automated doctor. Amy convinces the Siren to allow her to tend to Rory, whom the Siren has been sustaining after his near drowning.

Rory convinces Amy to resuscitate him, and the Doctor talks to the Captain about turning the ship loose, and the Captain elects to stay aboard. Amy performs CPR on Rory, and just as she is giving up, he regains consciousness. The Caption takes over the new ship, and he and his crew strike out amongst the stars. Back on the TARDIS, The Door is once again looking at the results of the medical scan as it bounces back and forth between saying the results of her pregnancy test are positive and negative.

Can't wait for the next episode!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I need a TARDIS DVD Cabinet!

So I, like many Doctor Who fans, am a fan of the original series as well as the new series. This leads me to spend large amounts of money obtaining the DVDs from the original series and of course, all of the DVDs of the current series as they are released.

Currently I have 90 of the classic series DVDs (88 if you don't count the two "Lost in Time" DVDs of partial stories from the Hartnell and Troughton eras). I also have all of the current series DVDs with the exception of Dreamland (as of Series 5 I switched over to bluray). Each payday of the school year I buy another DVD or box set.

Needless to say, the DVD shelf I have my Doctor Who stuff on is rather full, and it is almost time to get a new one to keep all of my Doctor Who stuff together. I have seen various plans online for DVD cabinets that look like the TARDIS. I am not that adept at woodworking, but it sounds like it would be a hoot of a project. Here is the project that I think is the coolest.

So as I was looking at the DVD collection today, I was thinking about the various formats that the show has had. Many of the newest fans of Doctor Who have no frame of reference about the original series. They know it happened ... oh, some time way back before special effects were invented. Many have never seen even a single episode, nor are they familiar with the storytelling style of the original series, so for those of you who are "newbies," here is a quick primer for you.

The original concept of the series was serialization. In other words, a group of half-hour episodes would tell a single story. The length of each serial was different, but the most common number of episodes in a seiral is four. The highest is 12 (14 if you count "The Trial of a Time Lord," the Sixth Doctor's second season, but most fans don't really acknowledge that as a single serial since it was designed to be individual episodes which were strung together with extra material). Each episode had it's own cliffhanger, which was then resolved in the next week's episode. In the early days, the show ran every week for about 40 weeks of the year. When the Third Doctor took the screen, the show was shortened down to 26 episodes per year. When the Sixth Doctor took over, they dropped the show down to 14 episodes. The new series of course, dropped the serialized format, and simply ran 13 shows per year (plus an annual Christmas special). The only deviation from this of course was the specials that took the place of the 2009 season.

Which format was best? Well, for modern viewers with modern TV watching habits, the new format is best. After all, my latest episode is still sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched and blogged about. Back in the day, people literally would be at home watching the TV in a rather ritualistic way ... always the same show at the same time. Nowadays, we watch what we want when we can, which in our busy world is a great thing.

Look for my review and comments about last week's episode, "The Curse of the Black Spot" tomorrow, and until then, don't break any of the laws of time, okay?