Sunday, May 31, 2009

nu who redux: fires of pompeii and planet of the ood

You know, one of the best things about rewatching a whole season of the wonderfulness that is Nu Who, is you can see how they start the threads really early. I mean, right here in Fires, we've got 'she's returning' and we've got 'there's something on your back' and we've got warnings that the end is near, there's a missing planet, they mention the Medusa Cascade. And we've got the new companion, though at this time, she wasn't even in the running, because my-future-husband hadn't announced he was leaving yet.

This was a fun episode. This whole season is more fun than poor Marfa's previous season. The Doctor takes Donna to Rome... only his aim is off again, and it's Pompeii, about twelve hours before the word Volcano is invented. I love the translation discussion-- and I love that if they actually speak in the language, the Tardis gets glitchy, and they sound Welsh to the listeners (and I think they should play with the idea that the Tardis translates-- sometimes inconsistently-- more often. Think how much fun it would be if the Doctor suddenly isn't speaking English because even though he can, he relies on the Tardis to translate whatever the hell Gallifreyan sounds like into English when he's there...).

I digress. Poor Donna gets pushed into the captured-companion role, but she fights all the way and the Doctor saves her, of course. What I really like about this ep is how Donna fights everything-- the Doctor says it's a Fixed Point, there's nothing he can do about it, and Donna disagrees, keeps disagreeing until they find an excuse for something to be done, and then disagrees more when he's gone all hard-hearted and wants to just leave. But she knows, as we know, that the Doctor isn't like that, and she reminds him of who he is just enough to make a little bit of difference. Which is what the Doctor is all about.

I don't know what's up with the caption on this picture. The Beeb is weird sometimes.

So here we go on Donna's first off-planet adventure. She's so excited that we can hardly understand what she's saying-- and then it's a glacier world with a secret slave trade. I feel bad that she's in the Whoverse after everything has gone to darkness and sadness, but I'm glad it's her, because she fights and she finds the silver lining and she tries to change things. Good on her.

The Ood are... problematic. They're creepy in the face, but we're supposed to see them as something ordinary and not at all gross. They live to serve, but that's because we lobotomized them. They're supposed to be harmless, but both times we saw them, they were being mentally manipulated by stronger minds... But they're also really cool. They share consciousness and sing to eachother across the galaxies. They're not really individuals, I'd guess, though it isn't explicitly said so-- the Ood Brain would be the actual entity, and they are it's eyes and ears and hands in the universe. And that's cool. 

And maybe their low level telepathy translates into something of psychicness-- they are the first to bring up the Doctor's song ending, and it's not the last time we hear it. H thinks Ood Sigma will be a big part of 10's Final Story, since they keep saying everyone is coming back, and I think maybe that's true. There's alot of weight on that Ood's words in this ep.

I like that Donna is adapting quickly; her first sight of an alien is an Ood lying bleeding in the snow, and she gets over it very quickly. She refuses to treat them like slaves, and she even works to actively free them. And she reminds the Doctor that this is what he does. Because after all the sadness and screaming of the last series, he needs it. Maybe that's why he keeps getting younger? It's to counteract the natural hardening and darkening of a very old soul? But at this rate, Doctor 12 will be, like, sixteen, and Doctor 13 will be in second grade...

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