Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"Utopia"

Here we ave the first episode of the first trilogy for the revived Doctor Who series. I have to admit it was pretty run of the mill, Russell T. Davies filler right up until the final ten or so minutes. Then it became an anticipation for the next two episodes. That said, I have little to no attachment for the original series, so when an archrival of the Doctor appears, I have no sense of history. The Daleks I was familiar with. I like the new Cybermen much better than the old. They are at least less laughable than the odd tinfoil and bucket with eye holes cut out Cybermen of old. So while I abticipate the return of the Master being cool, I have no iea what his character is all about. Bear that in mind as I critique what is going on.

Like I said, the first good while here felt like filler. The TARDIS returns to Cardiff to refuel on the rift.. Capt. Jack Harkness hitches along for the ride. As fans of Torchwood know, he has been waiting for the Doctor a long time. But the reunion is not a happy one. The TARDIS is literally repulsed by Jack and travels to the end of the universe trying to get rid of him. It does not work. Even the Doctor is apprehensive at being this far out. All of reality is in its death throes at this point. The TARDIS crew wind up chased by a group o cannibals or vampires or something like that. It is not made very clear. They find refuge in a gated city with a scientist named Professor Yana and hundreds of refugees. They are the last surviving humans in the universe.

Yana ha been building a rocket with which he plans to take every survivor to a near mythical utopia. He ha heard a repeated message to come there. He has also heard voicesand drums in his own head his entire life. More on that in a minute. Yana cannot get the rocket to work until the Doctor and his handy dandy soni screwdriver show up. That thing is becoming too much of a crutch for stories, by the way. I am tempted to say lose it for good and find some way the Doctor can never build another. Now that the rocket works, the people escape, leaving Yana, who feels he is too old to start again on Utopia, behind.

Yan has a pocket watch just like the one the Doctor held his essence in during “Human Nature/The Family of Blood.” Martha recognizes the markings even if Yana does not. He is a Time Lord in disguise. As she runs off to tell the Doctor, Yana opens the watch. He is not just a Time Lord. He is the Master. It dawns on the Doctor that he has not found a frienly Time Lord, but one of his greatest enemies. The Master shuts down all the cities defenses allowing the cannibal vampire whatsises to attack. He steals the Doctor’s TARDISand strands the Doctor, Martha, and Jack in the future to be eaten or have their blood sucked or whatever it is those critters are supposed to do. The Master returns to Earth in the present dat as Harold Saxon, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Somehow or another, he uses that as a stepping stone to take over the world. But that is astory for next week.

We finally learn what we hd been watching Torchwood to discover, but to no avail. The doctor knew Jack was alive after “The Parting of the Ways” y dumped him because of his new immortality. Jack uses his time displacer to travel back to the21st century, but missed his shot. He actually wound up in 1869 and had to live his life up until the moment he clung onto the TARDIS this episode. So nowwe know how he fought in World War I. The two also discussed Rose. The Doctor mournfully so. Martha rolled her eyes the entire time, saying exactly what I think a lot of fans are: get over the chav already. Martha is had and shoulders better.

Watch this episode for the last ten minutes or so. The first 35 mean next to nothing. We do not even know if Utopia exists, much less if it is worth going to. But the return of the Master was cool even if he is either completely changed and old school fans hate it, or he is doig the same old shenanigans and it is just new to me. Next week appears to be thestory of his rise to power without nary an appearance by our TARDIs heroes. It still looks cool.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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