Sunday, June 22, 2008

If you thought last year's squee after the end of 'Utopia' was loud.... A "Turn Left" review of Doctor Who

... Fuck me.

Sorry. That wasn't a request. Just, wow. I mean... what...!!!!???

Okay.... for those who have to wait, get you behind the lines.

I'm going to give you space to get away.

Ya gone yet?

Two Words. Don't read them unless you have seen the episode.

Bad Wolf.

Seriously, how much did you lose it then? Watching Tennant's reaction of complete and horrified agony and delight combined, didn't you just dig your fingers into your palms? Didn't you just yelp?

I'm rather fond of Stuart Ian Burns' reviews for Behind the Sofa, not least because even in the moments when others were at the height of their hysterical mocking of the new series (and I mean that as both critical and yet still hilariously funny), SIB stuck with expressing his pure delight with what the series was doing back on our screens for a new generation.

SIB's comments on last night's episode were glorious: prefaced with a recollection from his past of a chance not taken, it was an appropriate structure to introduce a review of this particular episode.
Then I watched …

Doctor Who: Turn Left

… or more specifically the climax, and my brain exploded.

Oh yes, as soon as Donna said those two magic words, I began shouting, ‘Aaaah! Aaaah! Aaaaah! Bad Wolf! Bad Wolf!’ You know that video of those two girls on the couch during the reappearance of the Master last year that turned up on You Tube?* That was me. I shouted so hard, I actually began to get chest pains, and believe that if I hadn’t calmed down in time for the trailer, through which I mostly just tittered, there might have been a puddle of something which rhymes with squee on the floor. I don’t remember being this excited during the old series when I was a child. Not even when Tom turned to Peter or it was revealed that Bertie Bassett was a wrongen after all.

In other words, don’t expect anything much from me on the subject of this episode, no great insights or moments of inspiration. The critical parts of my opinion organ are currently splattered all over the cushions and beginning to smell. At this point if I was asked to review the new Coldplay album, I’d probably give it five stars, write ‘well cool’ underneath and eat another chocolate chip cookie. Excitement makes me want to snack it seems. I’m listening to a Pussycat Dolls cd as I write, for goodness sake.

Helen Lisette was on the phone as the credits rolled off screen, shrieking "FUCKING HELL!!!" Poor Chrissie is stuck away from the TV but I can well imagine her reaction will be pretty similar.

So what of the episode as a whole? Well, MediumRob praised its darkness and I have to say that was something I really liked about it too. Brilliant as well when you think how Rusty's reported tone for the series was that it would be lighter. Heck, you would almost think he deliberately fibs to us about the direction of things just to mess with our heads? What's that you say? Hmmm...

Whether you loved Rose, were ambivalent about her, or felt that by Doomsday it had been time for her to move on, this was her proper return episode. Yet it was actually much more about Donna, and what a showcase for her to recap the more airhead shouty figure of The Runaway Bride as well as eventually move back towards being the figure she turned into when travelling with the Doctor.

There were some beautiful cross-references - ahead of the motherload of all crossovers for the finale - and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. It's a pity that there were a few oddly placed notes in the episode (not sure that it's fair to credit the Doctor with defeating the Master since that was heavily dependant on Martha I seem to recall - SEE UPDATE BELOW), and the labour camps scene was a tad heavy handed even though Cribbins played a blinder in that. The beetle too was a bit 'meh' - the Metebilis spiders were way more freaky. Minor quibbles. There was too much happening and too many wonderful moments of acting to really care -- and the ending was just a brilliant moment. Cloister bell? I shrieked.

I'm keeping a moderate profile over the coming weeks as we move to the finale, not least because I will be OUT ON THE NIGHT OF THE FINALE.


But life goes on. Just maybe not for much longer for heroic Donna.

UPDATE (Monday 23 June): Doh, my bad as I realised at 4am this morning. The reference to the Doctor saving the world from the Master came in the Confidential, not the episode. Which makes sense as obviously there was no trip to Utopia with Martha etc etc....

* In case you have forgotten...


Jane Henry said...

Lots of squeeing from me too. Specially when Donna said Bad Wolf. I was like BAD WOLF??? How brilliant is that????? I;ve squeed so much I've seen it twice...

Jane Henry said...

PS Squee What a great word!!!

Tom said...

"not sure that it's fair to credit the Doctor with defeating the Master"

Not sure what you're getting at here. Why the reference to the Master?

Andrew said...

Just saw it. Wooooo! It was indeed an excellent ending. Tried not to watch too much of the preview (scrabbling for remote) but saw the Torchwood crew, and am absurdly excited :-)

MediumRob said...

"not sure that it's fair to credit the Doctor with defeating the Master"

I echo the Master querying. There were no Saxon references because Martha never woke the Master up from his slumber in the future.

I'm still cursing the man who changed his Facebook profile message to read "is chanting BAD WOLF" before I had a chance to watch the episode. There should be some etiquette about spoilers in such things...

JoeinVegas said...

OH, now you really have me waiting, and several weeks too! We are just in the middle of the library.

Anonymous said...

Two words: clip show.