Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who=="The Family of Blood"

Fantastic payoff to a fantastic set up last week. I think this was easily the best episode of the updated series. It was everything you want a Doctor Who installment to be. It was a lavish historical piece packed with a formidable enemy, brutal action sequences, and some of the finest emotional scenes since Christopher Eccleston headed for the greener pastures of American super hero schlock like Heroes My only gripe is how badly the young actor playing Jeremy chewed up th scenery. This kid makes William Shatner look understated. But truthfully, he was not overacting enough to ruin this one for me.

We begin right at the cliffhanger. The Family is demanding John Smith change back to the Doctor, but he has no clue what they are talking about. Martha turns the tables in away I never could imagine Rose doing (Freema Agyeman is head and shoulders above Billie Piper, folks.) allowing everyone to escape the dance hall. The cadets make a stand against the Family and their scarecrow army in a particularly over the top montage set to a boys choir singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I might have been miffed at such a thing if I ha not spent three years at a fundamentalist Christian university and discover “Prince of Peace” is one of the more overlooked of Jesus’ descriptions. Anyway, the Family demands Smith give himself up. He escapes with Martha and his lady friend to a safe house while the Family ransacks the school.

Timothy has realized the importance of the watch and heads off to the safe house in order to give it back to Smith. He can sense all about the Time Lord by holding the watch. But smith does not want to change back. He likes his normal life and further, does not think the doctor is an enviable person to be. The dramatic turn for Tennant was great. He is in tears for a bit there. Not playing the jester or overdoing it. Genuine tears for the lonely existence he must resume. It takes some convincing, but it works even after a moving montage in which he sees what his life would be like if he stayed as Smith. Hint: it is a happy one.

But he does open the watch and becomes the Doctor again. He disposes of the family in the most chilling, brutal of ways. Ironically, he gave each the immortality they craved. He and Martha reunite after his lady friend rejects his offer of traveling with him. John smith is dead to her. Timothy goes on with his life, surviving the First world War and seeing the Doctor and Martha at a memorial remembrance for his fallen comrades far into the future. If you did not get misty eyed at that, you have no heart.

I am thinking in light of these two epiodes more Doctor Who novels should be adapted into scripts.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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