Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who--"Love & Monsters"

“Love & Monsters” was horrible. It was so awful in so many ways, I want--no, I feel compelled to splash my remaining eye with holy water to cleanse it. I feel like I should travel to poorest spots of Africa to deworm starving orphans to make amends for wasting 45 minutes of my life watching it. If I were a minx, I’d kill my children right now in a panic. Pray for my soul, dear readers.

There was a contest among UK children to design the monster featured in this episode. I thought that was a neat idea. It was evidently a popular one as well--they received 43,000 entries. While I am under no illusions he shifted through all 43,000, star david Tennant was one of the judges to select the winner, which I thought was classy for some odd reason. Maybe because I can’t picture many American actors doing that sort of thing. I can imagine the winner--and loads of other young kids sitting down to watch this travesty of a show. Farting alien last season was one thing. This…this was something else. Unspeakable.

The episode begins in flashback with a young, lonely guy named Elton seemingly stumbles across the TARDIS He hears a commotion inside the building next door and enters. The noise is coming from behind a door. He opens it to find some sort of alien behind it the Doctor appears behind the alien dangling a bit of raw meat in front of the alien to distract it. Evidently the critter is akin to a dog. Rose comes running with a blue bucket full of something and splashes the critter. The Doctor tells he had the wrong bucket an has just made things worse. The doctor, Rose, and the alen then proceed to have a Benny Hill style chase through the hallways. Seriously. I was humming “Yakety Sax” the whole time. That was the second most fun I had watching the episode behing bumping my knee on the desk. The tables are turned when Rose appears with the right bucket and chases the alien for a while. The doctor suddenly stops and looks at Elton with some recognition. When he asks if he has met him before, Elton runs away.

Turns out, he has. The doctor was in his home when Elton was three or four years old. That was not his only encounter with the Doctor. Elton is seen as being incidental in past episodes featuring the Autons, the Slitheen, and the Sycorax. While searching online for info about the Doctor, he stumbles across a blog featuring a recent picture of him. Elton meets the blogger, a girl named Ursula, and they become friends and eventually part of a group of people who have encountered the Doctor before. At first they meet weekly to discuss their experiences with the Doctor. Later it becomes more of a social thing as they share food and each other’s talents. The Doctor is all but forgotten until one night a strange man named Victor Kennedy visits their club with new clues about the Doctor.

He takes over the group handing them a picture of Rose Tyler and instructing them to find her. In London. A city of 10 million people. Elton finds an old woman who recognizes the picture, then he inadvertently finds Jackie. If you though the ninth Doctor was lecherous around the young ones, you ought to see Jackie in action. She doesn’t even know Elton’s last name, but she flaunts her underwear in front of him at the laudramat. Frankly, I could have lived a full and happy life without seeing that. She invites him to her home as a frequent handyman just so she can watch his…well, you know. Jackie is lonely with Rose gone and she seems to have taken a major shine to Elton. She spills a drink on his shirt so he’ll have to take it off. Elton goes in the bathroom to dry off and there is very obvious implication he plans to put the moves on Jackie once he gets out. I pause to let my dry heaves pass. Once he leaves the bathroom--shirtless, remember--Jackie has been on the phone with Rose and realizes she was about to take advantage of Elton. She apologizes, visibly upset. Elton offers to go get a pizza and bring it back, just as friends. Jackie agrees, but when he returns, she is furious at him. She found the picture of rose in his pocket and surmised he was only after the Doctor. He assurs her that is what he wanted, but he likes her and wants to be friends. She’ll have none of it.

Elton returns to Kennedy and tells him he won’t go along with the search for the Doctor anymore. He doesn’t want to use Jackie Tyler, this isn’t fun anymore, and he really just wans to date Ursula from now on. Elton assures Kennedy he can’t be alone in that. Half the group has never come back to meetings. Elton, Ursula, and Mr. Skinner decide to leave but Kennedy stops Skinner. One of the missing is a woman he had the hots for and Skinner offers to help track her down. Skinner agrees to stay. Elton and Ursula are down the street when she realizes she left her cell phone. They go back for it and find a ghastly sight. Kennedy is a fat, gelatinous alien that has absorbed the other members of the group. One o them is the alien’s butt. Why they needed to throw that in is beyond me. Their faces are sticking out of its body and can still think and speak. Ursula tries to force the creature to release her friends, but winds up absorbed as well. She urges Elton to un for his life, whih he does.

The Abzorbaloff (I kid thee not) gives chase and corners Elton. Without Ursula, he has no reason to live. Just then the TARDIS appears. Rose steps out angrily andscolds Elton for upsetting her mother without paying the alien any attention. Which reminds me of a joke I heard recently about Katherine Harris. She’s the only prson in the world who can stand next to Hitler and people would ask, “Who’s the b*tch?” That has absolutely nothing to do with Doctor Who, but I want something entertaining to appear in this review. The Abzorbamoff reveals his master plan: he was looking for the Doctor so he could absorb all his experience and take over his home planet. The Doctor casually instructs the faces the Abzorbamoff absorbed to pull away as best they can. They do, throwing the alien off balance. The Doctor instructs Elton to snatch the walking stick away from the alien and break it. He does so and the alien falls apart and is absored into the ground. All of the people inside him are killed. Elton is distraught and rose tries to comfort him even though she just traveled across time and space to rip his lungs out and turn them into a bowtie.

The Doctor sits with him and recalls where he mt Elton before. When he was a child, the doctor pursued a Shadow into his house and stopped it, but not before Elton’s mother was killed. In a flashback we see some “home movie” memories of Elton’s mother who looked a lot like Jackie Tyler, which makes the whole middle part of the episode all that much creepier. The Doctor decides to do Elton one last favor. He dislodges the concrte slab on which Ursula was smooshed and reconstructs her head as best he can. Elton keeps the thinking, speaking, disembodied head as a companion with him and it is implied that not only will Ursula never age this way, but she and Elton have a sex life. The first idea is incredibly. Why wouldn’t the Doctor think it would be humane to let Ursula die rather than live that way? The sex bit…that’s just unnecessarily disturbing.

The only thing I thought was somewhat neat about “Love & Monsters” was the use of snippets from the X-Files theme whenever Kennedy appeared. That was a nice touch as I already caught twinges of Elton’s little group as being like the Lone Gunmen. The Abzorbamoff seemed at times like a direct parody of Fat B*st*rd from the Austin Powers movies, even down to the exaggerated accent. Seven years ago that might have been a humorous homage. Today it is just pitiful. So are the uncomfortable sexual situations throughout the episode. Riddle me this: why is elton happy at the end? He says life is great although his passing association with the Doctor has killed the two most impotant people in his life. Oh, for joy! For joy! We get another foreshadowing of roe's impending doom as well, although i am beginning to doubt they will kill her off. It sounds like she'll feel a need to stay with her Jackie instead. I don't know at this point.

This was simply terrible from start to finish, especially after the really good preceding installments. How can this episode and “Tooth & Claw” or “The Parting of the Ways” come from the same mind? It boggles mine. It’s feast or famine with Russell T. Davies.

Rating: * (out of 5--and I'm being generous.)

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