Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Doctor Who: The Awakening

Part One

“You must stop these war games!”

It’s Polly James! And it’s the seventeenth century, apparently! Oh, it isn’t. It’s some war games. That sounds a bit familiar.

The TARDIS lands in England, in 1984, with all three TARDISeers wearing the same clothes they had on last story. For once the TARDIS has ended up where it was supposed to. And yet, by an incredible coincidence, there are bizarre and sci-fi tinged goings-on, er, going on. The war games are getting out of hand, the slightly doolally Sir George (the mighty Denis Lill!) refuses to allow anyone to enter or leave the village, and Tegan’s plot convenience-friendly grandfather’s gone missing. Oh, and some bloke from yer actual 1643 has turned up, complete with comedy Mummerset accent.

Hang on, that village square looks familiar- could this have been filmed in the same place as The Android Invasion?

For all the talk of the mysterious legend of the Malus, the threat here is so evidently low-level and human that I started to wonder why no one just simply used the prominent red phone box in the village square to call the police. But then the Doctor goes inside the church and starts explaining things- the Malus came down in a space ship! Some of his stuff came from the Tinclavic mines on Raaga! (Hello to The Visitation!) He’s, er, awakening!

Polly James becomes quite possibly the first person on Doctor Who to scream in the perfect pitch to lead into the closing titles. Oh, and said closing titles show her character’s full name to be Jane Hampden, a nice little reference to her probable ancestor John from this Civil War themed tale.

Part Two

“I’m being bullied, coerced, forced against my will.”

So, Turlough’s captured, and bumps right into Tegan’s grandad. How convenient.

Tegan looks, er, different in her May Queen outfit. I think at long last she’s wearing something which looks even worse than that air hostess uniform. Oh, and she’s going to be burnt at the stake. How nice.

I must admit the Malus looks good. And threatening too- after all, the Doctor is forced to allow three people he’s just met, in the form of Jane, the Colonel and Will, into the TARDIS and he never ever does that these days.

It all seems to end rather slowly, with the Doctor destroying the Malus by means of some technological hokum while he holds Sir George at bay while talking at him. And then there really are loads of people in the TARDIS. How very characteristic of its era. We finish up with a debate on the relative merits of ale and tea, which are without doubt the two finest liquids in the known universe. With the exception of a nice glass of red, obviously.

Well, that all looked very nice, but not a lot happened really. The plot was very slight and not a lot happened character-wise. This seems pretty much the epitome of 3/5. Come to think of it, none of the two-parters have particularly impressed me much aside from The Rescue, and that only worked because it was basically a character piece.

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