Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finally, Doctor Who!

I've been jonesing bad for The Doctor, but my crazy mixed-up schedule has kept me from him for too long. Well, I'm catching up now, and none too soon. If i'd known how much I was going to enjoy Amy's Choice, I'd have been hating myself even more the last couple weeks.

I was going to watch these back to back, but I just finished Amy's Choice and it feels like the ending of the arc, so I'm going to review, then go to the next episode:

So we open on an idyllic country cottage, where a pregnant Amy is bak...umm, pregnant? Yes, Amy is pregnant, and Rory is an extra in a 1980's Dexy's Midnight Runners video. The TARDIS shows up, and The Doctor comes out to reminisce about all the fun they had five years ago. Some creepy old people are about, and then they all fall asleep.

And wake up in the TARDIS. ? They all had the same dream, then the same birds are chirping, and they wake up back in the quaint village? Buh? Okay, so something odd is definitely going on, but nothing for Amy to choose from yet (just kidding, we all know she's going to choose Rory or The Doctor by the end of the hour, let's watch). The Doctor starts by interrogating some very old people, only they can summon the birdsong? They wake back up in the TARDIS, and there's another guy. The Dreamlord. You can't touch him, only see and hear him as he taunts our heroes and sets up the rules for the episode.

As an aside, I love this kind of stuff in my sci-fi. Star Trek did it well with The Squire of Gothis and all the Q episodes. Godlike entity, sets up a situation, clearly defined rules...and go. In this case, one world is a dream, one is reality, and they must choose one. They will face deadly peril in both worlds, but by allowing the peril in the dream to overtake them, they will survive and win the game, and valuable prizes shall be theirs for the taking. The Dreamlord gets all meta on the Doctor, calling him out for being all dashing and floppy haired and an "intergalactic wag". Loved that term. Anyway, it seems like the TARDIS world is the obvious real world, so the sci-fi twist would be to make the pregnant world the real world. Or both. Or neither.

Anyway, after some mucking about, we finally get to the real choice, Amy's choice between the dreamy Doctor, or good old dependable Rory (ponytail optional). Oh, right, and the mortal dangers. Behind Door #1 we have the TARDIS out of power and drifting towards a "cold star". Behind Curtain #2, an army of old people with aliens living inside them who can shoot poo gas out of the eyes in their mouths and turn people to dust. Back in the icy TARDIS, the Dreamlord (who looooooves taunting), sends The Doctor and Rory away so he and Amy can have a chat. After all, it is her choice. He offers her the chance to stay with him and be his Companion...of Dreams? I guess. She trusts the Doctor and knows that he tells her everything. The Dreamlord scoffs and asks "What's his name?".

Back in the village of old people, The Doctor is locked in a meat freezer for protection, and Rory has dragged a sleeping (and huge, I forgot about the several jokes about Amy's size in this episode) Amy upstairs. The Doctor swips a VW bus, saves a few villagers, then heads over to Rory and Amy's place. Rory takes the dramatic step of cutting off his ponytail and has a nice moment with Amy before the Doctor crashes in through the window. Rory takes a shot to the side and slowwwwwly turns to dust. Amy realizes that she does love Rory, and whether this world is a dream or not, she doesn't want to be in a world without him. Amy and the Doctor head back down to the VW, crash it into the house, and

wake up back in the TARDIS. All is well, Amy loves Rory and the TARDIS works again. So the Doctor blows it up.

You see, the Dreamlord can't affect the physical world, so how could he stop down the TARDIS? It's all explained as such: Crystalline psychic pollen got in the time widgets, sent them all into a dreamstate, and the Doctor's dark side manifested itself as the Dreamlord. Of course. Well, that was kind of a ball-kick of an ending. At least we got the important issue settled, even if it did feel a little more Holodeck than Q by the end.

Oh my, The Hungry Earth is another two-parter. Well, i've got some time, let's dig into it.

A Doctor-less intro gives us a drilling team in Wales, 2020. They're drilling to 21,000 kilometers, further than anyone has ever drilled before. Some kid's dad takes over the night shift, and gets swallowed up into the ground.

The Doctor has promised Rio, but delivered a gray countryside. Amy is not happy. Also, they see themselves waving at themselves. Wonder if that will come back. Rory heads back to the TARDIS to return Amy's engagement ring to a safe place, while Amy follows The Doctor to a big drilling thingy, which Rio most decidedly does not have. Inside the drill control room, more holes open in the ground, and begin to swallow up an old guy. Amy stops to help him, gets sucked into a hole herself, and despite the best efforts of the Doctor (in full-on "I'm going to get you out of this" mode), she is swallowed up by the patch of ground. Rory, meanwhile, has been mistaken for an officer and led to a graveyard where bodies have been disappearing out of the ground. Spooky. Rory and the Doctor finally meet up, and Rory is not happy about the loss of Amy. The Doctor does a little "You've all got to do exactly what I say" speechifying, and they set about creating a defense against whatever is coming up from the bowels of the Earth (oh, and has dropped a forcefield around them too). They crowd into the church (which has the worst stuck door ever...and can't even be soniced. "That is rubbish", says Rory), but the dyslexic Sherlock Holmes kid is still outside. He is taken, but the Doctor uses cool sunglasses to track down and capture one of the lizard people (cold-blooded, so he uses a fire extinguisher and the refrigerated back of a meals on wheels truck). he interrogates the captive, who turns out to be a descendant of the first species on Earth, lizard people! They considered the drill an attack, and the warrior caste feels the urge to wipe out the apes and take the planet back. The Doctor is all about brokering a peace, and gives another stirring speech, this one to convince them not to hurt the prisoner/hostage until he can go into the Earth and negotiate.

Basically, this episode was setting a lot of stuff on the table, and then paying it off next episode. We've got the old guy and his weird green veins (from being tongue-stabbed by a lizard), the mom who has a nice collection of improvised weapons, the weird kid, the scientist who hitched a ride with the Doctor, Amy and the kid's dad (who was dissected while still alive...oww), and finally...was that really Amy and Rory waving to them?

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