Monday, 29 March 2010
Doctor Who: Smith and Jones
“You’re quite a funny man. And yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness.”
There’s no pre-credits sequence here, which tells us something: this is a relaunch for the show, a chance for new viewers to jump aboard. It’s doing a very similar job to Rose, but with the benefit of two years’ experience it’s much more assured.
The Doctor starts the story travelling alone, although the rawness of his feelings over Rose suggests this hasn’t been for long. I liked the Benjamin Franklin namedrop, which reminded me of the early Hartnells. You can tell the Marathon’s been going for a while as I’m actually getting nostalgic for earlier bits of it…
The central idea behind the story- a hospital on the moon- is utterly fantastic, and the plot works perfectly here. Oh, and the Judoon are great. And all this is all the more impressive considering that this story has a big job to do in introducing Martha. This job is done magnificently, although the early scene of Martha being phone by her entire family in succession felt a bit too obviously crowbarred in. Best of all, Freema is fabulous. Although I should declare an interest at this point: I have a bit of a thing for the lovely Freema.
Martha spends much of the story more or less auditioning for the role of TARDISeer; she impresses the Doctor with her calm acceptance of the situation, her intelligent questions about the oxygen, and her logical acceptance that the only possible explanation is extraterrestrials. Best of all, of course, she comes up with the Planet Zovirax quip. And of course there’s the kiss, which sets up the whole unrequited feelings arc.
The whole thing’s very funny, too, and although Remembrance of the Daleks was probably better it’s the most well-judged season opener possibly since Terror of the Zygons, and that’s a long time. I love the compensation joke, and the Doctor pretending to be an ordinary bloke.
We get a bit of season arc stuff before the very end as the mysterious Mr Saxon gets a verbal mention, and his posters are seen outside just as in Captain Jack Harkness. But the end is great; scenes introducing companions to the TARDIS are always fun, and this is one of the best. I love the Doctor mouthing the words from behind Martha’s back as she exclaims that “It’s bigger on the inside!” And almost as good is the Doctor’s quip about interfering in established events being “strictly forbidden, except for cheap tricks”, which is made even funnier by the distant sound of spinning from Mr Blinovitch’s grave.
Of course, it’s made very clear that the Doctor in no way fancies Martha. And she’s aboard for only one trip, definitely. He’d rather n his own. Well, that’s that then.
Not one of those episodes that hog the limelight, as it has a job to do. But this is great, and I see no earthly reason why it shouldn’t get a 5/5.