Friday, 8 November 2013

The Runaway Bride, Smith and Jones & The Shakespeare Code

The Runaway Bride

Catherine Tate and the Doctor

So, Rose is gone and before the Doctor can say ‘I heart you’, there’s a new woman in the TARDIS, dressed up for a wedding. HER wedding. Yes, it’s star of the Catherine Tate show, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, the runaway bride (incidentally the title of the 2006 Christmas special). Actually, she hasn’t run away at all, she’s full of Huon particles which draw her suddenly to the TARDIS in one of the many plot issues this story faces.

We have a giant spider-thing with a lisp and a comic turn, a seriously moronic to the point of being unbelievable bride-groom Lance (played by Don Gilet), the return of pilot fish and killer Christmas trees just because it’s Christmas, and the highlight of the episode (aside from Tennant being separated from Piper) is this amazing chase down an expressway by the Doctor in the TARDIS. Now that’s the sort of thing that they could never have afforded to do back in the classic series, and it’s pretty impressive.
The Doctor’s all mopey about Rose, which is to be expected but golly I hope it doesn’t continue for too long, cause it’s gonna get old mighty quick. Donna Noble is a bolshy, opinionated and written to be stupid ginger who is pretty hard to take at times and not exactly endearing to the audience. Thank goodness this is only a one-off and she won’t be returning!
The Doctor flushes the spiders down a big plug-hole, fitting I guess although he doesn’t call himself on it which I was expecting. It’s light-hearted and a bit of fun really, not great and perhaps a little long, but enjoyable none-the-less.

Smith and Jones

Martha Jones (Freema Ageyman) centre.
The weekly blood-sucking villain

The third series begins with an introduction episode for Martha Jones, played by Freema Ageyman. Interestingly she played a small role in ‘Army of Ghosts’ before being deaded, no doubt that’s what caught the eye of Russel T Davies. She makes a good start here and kudos for Davies for going with an African-British companion for the first time EVER, not only that she’s studying to become a doctor and has wealthy parents. A whole bunch of stereotypes zapped in one episode!
A Judoon gets to work.
It’s a very solid, fun episode with strange alien creatures that look like rhinos and a hospital taking a ride to the moon with rain that falls up. We get a little look into Martha’s life via her sister, brother, mother and father, although we don’t go as deep as with Rose. Martha seems pretty enamoured with the doctor which could be an issue…
It goes to show you don’t have to have a universe-ending scenario for a successful episode of Doctor Who.
Martha's sister, Tish (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
This has a woman assimilating human blood in her system, hiding from the Judoon (rhino creatures) in a hospital. Martha makes a good start by restarting the Doctor’s hearts and saving his life, apparently his lack of blood wasn’t that much of an issue after he had been drained.
I’m not sure there’s much else to say on this one, it’s rather very good.

The Shakespeare Code

The Globe Theatre.

This little gem was again highly enjoyable. Martha is a breath of fresh air from Rose, and of course we have William Shakespeare in this one making it already a memorable little tale. Now, it’s far from perfect and a little hard to understand. We seem to have an idea for an alien race mixed up strangely with witchcraft, which is all a little odd.
The head witch, Lilith (Christina Cole)
The idea that these creatures, Carrionites, find a certain power in the word is a great little idea, but then they were also made witches which muddies the waters. We even see one flying on a broomstick. It’s a bit like the vampires in ‘Curse of Fenric’, not sure of just how essential they were to the story.
Shakspeare (Dean Lennox Kelly)
Anyhoo, there’s a lot to like for the Shakespeare fans and Doctor Who fans, such as myself. There are a number of little Shakspeare ‘in-jokes’ if you will which are quite endearing, even if perhaps they do number just a few too many. To basically end with Martha rejecting Shakespeare because of his breath is very funny though. It’s interesting and probably a good thing that Martha’s skin-colour was mentioned but the reactions of that time period was not concentrated on (to people of African descent), as they could have made a whole episode around that issue.
This is purely a fun episode, not one to be taken all too seriously, and one that can be enjoyed on a number of levels. So is it a bit silly to have three witches as the main protagonists? Maybe. Maybe not. Doctor Who is allowed to be silly at times if it tells a good story, and this one does.


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