Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doctor Who Week: The Story Thus Far - Part 2

You should really just go and watch the last 213 episodes of Doctor Who if you’ve got the time. Which you probably don’t since the new season starts tomorrow (see countdown to the right); unless you happen to live in a blue box. At the very least you should watch last season, but if you can’t manage that here’s a (not so) quick summary:
Continued from yesterday's post...
Which is where Series 6 (Season 32 if you’re keeping track) starts: the newly-refurbished Doctor is careening through the London sky in his newly-demolished TARDIS, leaking flames, smoke and (Time) Lord knows what else all over the place. The TARDIS comes to a crashing halt behind the house of a little girl named Amelia Pond. Being nearly fearless, she runs out of her house and watches as a man pops out of the blue box that has just ruined her gardening shed. He demands apples, so the nearly fearless little girl brings him into the kitchen and gives him an apple. The Doctor takes a bite, spits it out and says he hates apples.

Much like Doctor Ten’s elaboration on the mechanics of regeneration, Doctor Eleven gives us a look at Post-Regeneration weirdness that we haven’t really seen before. The Doctor usually regenerates in the midst of some sort of crisis. Ten had to duel an evil alien warlord before he could even change out of his jammies; for instance. So we got a nice sequence of Doctor Eleven trying to find a food his new palate could tolerate. And fish and custard was it.
The Doctor took note of little Amelia Pond’s lack of fear, but also noticed the big crack in the wall of her room. And the complete lack of authority figures that probably should have been aware of the strange man being fed in the kitchen.
I should mention the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver. It is a tool that can do anything except the most useful things it could possibly do. For example; it can open any door except the one that must remain locked for the sake of the story. It can disable any alien weaponry unless the situation calls for the Doctor’s life to really be in peril this time. If you know what I mean.
So the Doctor uses his Sonic Screwdriver to scan the crack and find out as much information about it as the plot will allow. Doctor Eleven has a new thing where he looks at the side of the Screwdriver after using it, as though reading information. I like this a lot, especially since there is no screen or anything on the props and diagrams I have seen of this (or any other) Sonic Screwdriver.
And the crack says, “Prisoner Zero has escaped.”
Naturally the Doctor then uses his nigh-omnipotent device to open the crack even wider. You must understand that he would have done this regardless of what the Screwdriver told him. That’s who the Doctor is and how he gets into so much trouble all the time. He actually went years without even using a Sonic Screwdriver – just diving headlong into peril without any scans or anything because we all knew that’s what he was going to do anyway. Once the crack opens a giant eyeball pops into view, says “Prisoner Zero has escaped.” Again ( a neat trick for something that is – as I mentioned – all eyeball) and a thing that looks like Tinkerbell flies out, past Amelia and the Doctor and into the house.
And then the TARDIS cloister bell starts sounding (which is almost always a Very Bad Thing; or at the least Very Important) and the Doctor flips out and hops back into the TARDIS; promising fearless Amelia Pond that he will be back in five minutes. The TARDIS does its dematerializing thing.
Another thing you should know that fearless Amelia Pond did not is that the Doctor is never back in five minutes. And since Amelia Pond did not know this, she ran upstairs and packed her little girl suitcase and went back outside to the demolished gardening shed to await the Doctor’s return.
And return he does, materializing next to a somewhat suspiciously whole gardening shed. Our hero exits the TARDIS – obviously panicked – and rushes into the house, calling out for Amelia Pond the whole way. In the back door, through the kitchen, up the stairs and straight into a frying pan.
Doctor Eleven awakens to the sight of what is, quite frankly, one of the hottest police officers I’ve ever seen. Only she isn’t a police officer – she’s a Kiss-O-Gram deliverer and she’s also Amelia Pond all grown up. The Doctor doesn’t get all that info up front, but you do because it makes things easier and I’ve already gone too long in my quick summary of this season premiere.
It turns out that the Doctor is about eleven years, three-hundred-sixty-four days, eleven hours and fifty-five minutes later than he intended to be. And now cuffed to a radiator.
He tells grown-up Amelia Pond (now Amy) that she’s in great danger and that the danger is in a room she hasn’t been aware of for the past twelve years because it has a Douglas-Adamsey “Perception Filter” around it. And then she sees the door and proves her worthiness to be the Doctor’s new companion by promptly walking into the room where she finds the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver sitting on a table all covered in Prisoner Zero goop. The Doctor is still cuffed at this point, so he’s all, “Get out of there, miss!” (he still doesn’t know she’s fearless Amelia Pond) and she’s all, “Yeah, maybe you’re right – it’s kind of icky in here…” and then a huge, toothy worm/piranha thing dangling from the ceiling drops down to say, “Booga, booga!”
Amy decides that maybe she really didn’t need to see the room so badly, after all and goes to ask the Doctor what’s up.
It turns out Prisoner Zero is a shape shifter that’s been taking the forms of local coma patients. The only person that’s noticed anything funny is a nurse named Rory (more on him later) that works with the coma patients.
The giant eyeball is either the Atraxi or the vessel of the Atraxi – I’m not too clear on that. And neither is anybody else when said eyeball shows up over the Earth and states it is going to burn the whole planet if Prisoner Zero can’t be located. So the Doctor and Amy have something like twenty minutes to find Prisoner Zero and go, “Hey! He’s over here!”
After a fun-filled romp through the London suburb (I’m assuming here based on the TARDIS’ flight pattern... okay – crash pattern) our heroes plus Rory end up in the hospital confronting a lady and her two creepy kids that is actually Prisoner Zero (that may seem like terrible grammar but it is correct), who says, “The Pandorica will open. Silence will fall.” This is Important. Then, with the help of a wanker and the greatest minds in the world the Doctor exposes the escaped convict to its jailers and save the day.
The Atraxi threatened Earth. And the Doctor don’t play that shit.
In one of the greatest scenes in the history of Doctor Who (seriously), Doctor Eleven tells the Atraxi to get their asses (eyeballs) back to the roof of the hospital and that he’s got some words for them. He puts his signature getup together from clothes pilfered during the trip to the roof and then proceeds to lay the verbal smackdown on the aliens.
And then the TARDIS key starts glowing to indicate that repairs are complete so the Doctor rushes back to Amelia Pond’s backyard, hops in and dematerializes without a word.
But this time the Doctor comes right back, although not exactly right back because it’s two years later but at least it isn’t twelve, right? So patient Amy Pond is only a little furious and agrees to go flying through space in time with the Time Lord.
One last thing you should know: The Doctor is absolutely a madman with a blue box.
This is clearly the case because the next time we see him he’s dangling Amy Pond – still dressed only in her nightgown – out the door of the TARDIS into outer space. Not in a “AAAAH! I CAN’T BREATHE IN SPACE!” way but in a “Ooh, look how pretty everything is from the safety of the TARDIS’ life-support forcefield thingy!” way. So our very kind, very old, very lonely hero is maybe not so lonely anymore.
After Amy’s little space walk, the TARDIS materializes on board a giant spaceship which is actually the United Kingdom floating through space because, you know – Doctor Who.
The Doctor gives Amy a big lecture about how they must not interfere or act overtly in any era they visit, then promptly exits the TARDIS to find out why a little girl is crying and try to save the universe. Again. Okay, well – not the universe. More like Space UK. Or SpUK (pronounced “sPyoo-kay”). And the Doctor doesn’t actually do it this time around; Pond does. Because there’s a big mystery about SpUK and what it actually is and why people disappear and what exactly they’re all voting to not know.
The little girl is crying because her friend disobeyed the supervisory “Smilers” that are all over the interior of SpUK. The Smilers are like Zoltar from Big except with crazy devil heads. They’re Mr.Sin creepy. Some straight-up Robert Holmes shit. And if you don’t heed the Smilers, you disappear.
The Doctor manages to figure out the deep, dark secret of SpUK with the help of several glasses of water and a lady who turns out to be the distant ancestor of the Queens of England. Pond figures out SpUK’s deep, dark secret by watching a government-authored instructional video. The secret is that SpUK is seated on the back of the last star whale, an ancient species of benign, massive, space-faring creatures. The dark part comes in when it is revealed that the SpUK government has cut open large portions of the star whale’s skull and jammed electrodes into its brain to keep it moving. Oh, and that anybody who votes against things gets fed to the star whale. Including kids who disobey Smilers.
Pond recognizes the horror here and knows that the Doctor will have to make a terrible decision if he finds out and he is too old, kind and lonely to have to deal with that sort of thing so she opts to forget but records a message to herself that she must prevent the Doctor from finding out.
Another thing you should know about the Doctor: you are never, ever, under any circumstances going to prevent him from finding out. He’s like your parents x 1,000,000. I guarantee he’ll clear up this whole River Song thing this season (more on her later).
Anyway, the Doctor finds out and immediately heads down to the bowels of SpUK to take care of business. He can’t abide the star whale being tortured, but he also can’t sentence the citizens of SpUK to death by releasing the star whale, so he reprograms the torture computer to basically lobotomize the whale. There is an awful lot of angst and sadness and emotional turmoil in this scene to the point where you may get a little misty while it’s going on. I didn’t or anything; I’m just saying you might.
So the Doctor is all set to carry out the procedure when Pond notices a bunch of the kids hanging out near one of the Star whale’s clawed tentacles (which doesn’t seem like a good place for anybody to hang out) seemingly having a good time and obviously not having been eaten. She puts things together and grabs the Queen and makes her hit the button that releases the star whale. Everybody is immensely pissed off by this, thinking that Pond pretty much just executed Britain.
But then they all realize that the star whale is still there and SpUK is actually moving faster than it was before and Pond explains that the star whale is old and kind and lonely and intentionally came to Earth to help out because that’s what old, kind, lonely people do; right, Doctor?
As the TARDIS dematerializes, we see the Mysterious Space Crack from Pond’s room. Spoooky…
And then Winston Churchill calls on the Emergency TARDIS Phone.

Continued tomorrow...
Until next time, stay creepy

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