Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"42"

Highly derivative. That is about the best thing I can say about this episode. With a title like “42,” I was expecting a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy homage. Instead the episode was an homage to 24 (42 backwards) as a real time adventure. In that regard, it was successful. There was real tension there. But the episode felt to closely like last season’s “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit” right down to the last element. The sets, the space walk, the crewmembers being possessed and using a gravelly demonic whisper, desprately seeking a power source to revive the ship, falling into the sun, and even the captain reminded me of ida Scott from the two parter. I liked it best the firt time around. Here it was pretty much meh.

The TARDIS materializes on a ship rained of power that will crash into a sun in 42 minutes. The Doctor springs into action to get the auxiliary engines online. Before he can do that, a crewmember becomes possessed by something and begins killing off the others one by one. In the interim, Martha gets locked in an escape pod and jettisoned, forcing the Doctor to take a space walk in the middle of the disaster to save her. Meanwhile the rest of the crew is divided between trying to restart the engine and playing cat and mouse with now two possessed crew members. The Doctor discovers the sun is a living organism and is angry that part of it is being used as a power source. The Doctor returns want the sun wants and the ship is able to escape before impact.

I was not thrilled with the main story here. Mostly it was because o how much I liked “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.” “42” seemed like a cheap attempt to copy its success which clearly fell short. I did enjoy the side bit about Mr. Saxon using Martha’s mother to spy on her. The running theme of Mr. Saxon as Prime Minister is more more sinister and thrilling than searching for Bad Wolf or Torchwood references as we have had to do in the last two seasons. The Doctor also gives Martha a TARDIS key, solidifying her role asa companion. Nice touches, but overall a dud.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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