Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Stolen Earth"

It seems like I whine every single time I watch the first part of a two part episode because I always find a lot of set up without enough pay off to get me excited about seeing the conclusion. I think “army of ghosts” way back in the second season was the last time that happened, mainly because I did not have a hunch there was going to be some big Star Trekesque reset button returning everything back to normal for the conclusion. I will confess there will probably be one here, but I am not fretting about that just yet. This was one of the most thrilling episodes of the season.

The title was kept secret in order to protect the overall theme of the season. Earth is eventually transported along with 26 other planets, several mentioned along the way this season, to a distant region of space. Earth is literally transported out from under the TARDIS, leaving the doctor to seek help from the mysterious Shadow Proclamation we have heard so much about, but have never seen up until now.

Meanwhile, the earth falls under a massive attack by the newly created Dalek race. Rose shows up to help and discovers Donna Noble’s family. A Dalek land invasion is busy rounding up Londoners, but with Rose’s help, they escape. UNIT has its hands full as the Daleks destroy the Valiant and level New York. Torchwood cannot do much, either until former Prime Minister Harriet Jones finds a way to assemble all the doctor’s past companions in an effort to contact him. They are oblivious to Rose’s presence on earth.

The Doctor follows some obscure, clunky clues (The missing bees were aliens returning home to avoid being taken with Earth) to make it to the Medusa Cascade. There, he is at a loss as to what to do next when he gets his companions’ call. He follows the signal to the missing earth. Rose was able to listen in, but not communicate with the rest. It was a sad moment as she looked so sad at being left out and hurt when she realized she had been quickly replaced by Martha Jones.

The Daleks trace the communication and locate the signals on Earth. Soldiers are dispatched to Harriett Jones’ hideaway, the Torchwood Hub, and Sarah Jane Smith’s home. Davros finally reveals himself to the Doctor. He was saved from the Time War by Dalek Caan. While the time War was supposedly locked in time, Caan made it at the cost of his sanity. Thecritter is a even more blubbering mess than most actual Daleks. Davros reveals he has recreated the dalek race with some of his own genetic material to fulfill his ultimate plan.

The Doctor makes it to Earth. The London streets are in shambles, but in the distance, he finally sees rose. They run towards one another happily, but their reunion is cut short when a Dalek shots him. Captain jack appears and destroys it. He, Rose, and Donna help the doctor back into the TARDIs where he apparently begins to regenerate. Thus with have a fourfold cliffhanger with Harriet Jones captured or killed, Sarah Jane about to be killed, and Gwen and Ianto under attack at the Torchwood Hub.

They packed in an awful lot here. The Doctor’s severed hand was shown subtly bubbling in an early scene. It has only done so when another Time Lord has been present. Perhaps donna does have something to do with it. This was the first time I got a good look at her ring. It could very well be the Master’s ring some anonymous woman picked up in “The Last of the Time Lords.” I did note someone from the Shadow Proclamation told her there was still something on her back.

Caan predicted the most loyal companion was going to der. Most everyone is expecting donna to kick the bucket, but “most loyal” sounds more likely Rose. Then again, jack has been waiting for the doctor to return since 1899. That is some loyalty, too. It would be a real cop out, though, considering his immortality would make his death anticlimactic.

I had fears the make up job and davros would not be all that great, but I was happy with the result. He was every bit as scary as I remember him from when I was a little tyke way too young to be watching something like Davros do his thing. But even he could not top Caan. His crazy ramblings and jittery appearance gave me the heebie jeebies. I find squids creepy to begin with, anyway.

I am looking forward to the conclusion. I seriously doubt the regeneration is legitimate, but would that not be a real kick in the butt if a new actor shows up as the eleventh Doctor next week? It would not preclude David Tennant from starring in the four specials next year. No one has said they were not untold tales of the past. In fact, we only know for certain the Cybermen appear in the Christmas Special. Still, I cannot imagine RTD could keep a new Doctor under wraps. There was a special emphasis on Ten’s right hand, the regenerated one to replacethe severed one. The severed hand must play into the conclusion. Two Tens, perhaps?

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

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