Monday, April 13, 2009

nu who: planet of the dead


Yay! My Who fix that I know will last all of about six and a half minutes before I start feining like woah. I mean, they throw me this delicious little bone, and then I have to wait until November, knowing that the last story is a two parter that will have a month—A MONTH—between parts.

But I digress.

Planet of the Dead starts out with a robbery and a Torchwood-ish escape-and-chase. Lady Christina-who-is-not-the-Bionic-Woman-and-is-cooler-anyway hops on a giant red bus to escape the cops, and our lovely Doctor waltzes in and introduces himself and his new hobby: following tears in reality. (I hope this hobby sticks around. Really, it’s so random and will be so useful for future stories if the right writer gets his /her/ it’s grubby hands on it) This one goes wonky and the bus falls through into Dubai where once a thriving society lived.

The Doctor is great in this one, sparkling and sparky and chattery and fun as all hell—and a little more honest then he’s been lately: he says at one point ‘the worse it is, the more I love it’, which just about sums up the entirety of the Doctor’s best traits, and in the end, he tells Christina to bugger off because he isn’t having any more companions. He’s finally gotten tired of losing them. (This is brilliant. Think how weird he’s going to be without anyone to reign him in! Think how dark and closed off he’ll be when he meets his first real companion as 11!) He’s gripy when no one’s paying attention to him, he’s genius when he needs to be, he’s absolutely batty, he talks to aliens in their own language, and he doesn’t quite tell people what he’s doing, and he has the most gloriously insane expressions through the whole thing, and it’s just wonderful. I’ve missed my Doctor so much, and I’m so glad this fresh story has the Doctor exactly how I love him. The Next Doctor was fun, but it was melancholy also; this one holds off the darkening until the end when the psychic sets up the plot for the rest of my love’s run: The darkness is returning, his song is ending like the Ood said, and when it comes, whatever it is, it’ll knock four times. Ominous!

And Christina is fun. I wasn’t all that thrilled with Bionic Woman, so I was a bit ick about her casting, but she’s fine. Strong, mysterious, cheeky, clever enough to keep up with the Doctor, confident and self-sufficient. She’s the sort of companion the Doctor needs—one who can keep up and have as much fun as he does as the world falls down around him. And he tells her no. Beautiful. Maybe he’s finally getting over his codependency issues, even if he is replacing them with a fear of intimacy. Ha! Our Doctor’s just a different sort of basketcase now.

I’d heard that the story was silly, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. Maybe my standards just aren’t as nonsilly as others, but I found it pretty tight and well-put-together, even if they didn’t really deal with the fact that an entire planet was dusted. Or that the neat creepy bug-aliens (at least one of which had definite weevil body language and is probably the same actor) we very conveniently gobbled and gone. Or that UNIT was sort of a sideline that didn’t really need to be there and could as easily have been Torchwood or the usual cops, who must be getting used to this crazy by now. But I was glad to see them, and the nuBrig (who’s a captain) was appropriately badass, and Malcom is just lovely and so Welsh I could die.

Dear Moff: here’s a spinoff about a royal jewel thief in a flying bus for you. Also, here’s a lovely mad scientist who loves the Doctor like the very best fan; keep him around.

So! Next time, we’ve got a space station, which I always do love and get so little of in nu Who. And there’s people screaming and running down corridors, good good. As to be expected. And there’s water. On Mars. That seems to take over / come out of people. And it may or may not be an anagram for War of the Master, which would just make my year.

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