When Doctor Who Needs Medicine

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DOCTOR WHO IS BACK, YOU GUYS! I’ll keep this post spoiler free, but I do want to say that I think Peter Capaldi is killing it so far (in a good way), and I’m excited to see what’s up for the rest of the season.

Doctor Who is generally pretty awesome, but like any show, it’s not perfect. For every riveting, exciting, scary episode, there’s one that leaves you feeling flat, perplexed, or generally unsatisfied. For every Blink or Girl in the Fireplace, there’s a boring Dalek episode or a mediocre Christmas special. Generally, I think the good episodes far outweigh the bad ones. There are a lot of really solid episodes between the extremes of amazing and kind of crappy, and even the dullest, most ridiculous episodes have some nice moments in them. So while I’m going to go ahead and point out some episodes that deserve constructive criticism, know that I’m doing it with the greatest affection for a show that I really do love.

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Aliens of London/World War III

My main issue with this story is the Slitheen. How am I supposed to take them seriously as a threatening crime family when they look like giant baby alien clichés? I should be frightened of characters who go to the lengths of staging a nuclear threat just so they can blow up the Earth for scrap, but I’m not. I just think they’re stupid. Also I’m not saying a well-timed flatulence joke can’t be funny, but I think that kind of thing works best when used sparingly.

On the other hand, some of this episode’s points of redemption are:

-Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, future Prime Minister.

-Tosh from Torchwood is in it, which makes for a cool crossover down the line.

-This is one of the first times the Doctor expresses how important Rose is to him. (“I could save everyone but lose you.”)

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Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks

I imagine one of the production meetings went like this:Daleks in Manhattan 1

“So what are we thinking for the human-Dalek hybrid?”

“An exposed brain-dome and phallic face tentacles.”

“Pardon?”

“Phallic. Face. Tentacles.”Daleks in Manhattan 2

Apart from that giant design misstep, these episodes are generally a mess. There’s some weak explanation about how the Daleks escaped the Time War that doesn’t really make sense. There’s the Daleks’ plan to cross themselves with humans that doesn’t really make sense. And there’s some cockamamie plot point about a lightning rod that doesn’t really make sense. Just…what is even going on here?

Points of redemption:

-Hugh Quarshie’s performance as Solomon.

-The song Tallulah performs is really catchy.

 

The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky

I know you’re not supposed to like Luke Rattigan because he’s a bad guy, but even so he’s really really annoying. The Sontarans are annoying too. I quite like them in small doses (I think Strax is funny, for example), but two episodes of them in a row is a lot to handle. I also don’t find them particularly threatening, which is an important quality for a nemesis to have.

Points of redemption:

-MARTHA’S BACK! HURRAY!

-Everyone’s favorite companion grandpa, Wilf, makes an appearance too!

-Even if I don’t love them, it’s pretty cool when the show brings back creatures from the old series.

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Victory of the Daleks

Ugh, more Daleks. I know they’re the Doctor’s worst enemy and that they’re iconic in British pop culture history and that they’re written to be terrifying space bigots who murder all in their path, but every time I hear their annoying electronic screaming voices I just can’t take them seriously, no matter how convincing the reactions of the characters around them. Being set during World War II, this episode could have made some really poignant comparisons between the Daleks and the Nazis, but instead we just got ridiculous plastic rainbow Daleks. This episode was so boring, I don’t even really remember the plot.

Points of redemption:

-Ian McNeice as Churchill.

-That’s all I can think of.

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Wedding of River Song 1

The Wedding of River Song

I loved season 6. I loved the Silence and the human Tardis and the goo people and the creepy dolls and the minotaur and old Amy and the return of the Doctor’s buddy Craig and the Melody Pond plot line. Most of all, I loved the mystery of it all. We were building up to a really amazing reveal of the season’s underlying conundrums. I even re-watched the whole season before the finale aired to look extra hard for clues and to take notes.

And then we were served the steaming pile of anti-climactic garbage that was The Wedding of River Song. Despite all of time and space happening at once in this episode, nothing happened in this episode. Yeah, we found out how the Doctor survived, but we knew he survived somehow, so there was nothing at stake. And most of us had figured it out on our own anyway.

Points of redemption:

-Amy letting Madam Kovarian have it.

-Ummm…………..

Wedding of River Song 2


Cold War 3

Cold War

This is another one where I was so bored I don’t even remember what happened. The Cold War is one of my favorite periods to learn about/favorite settings for films, so this episode was really a let down. But really, I can’t remember what happened. I know there was an Ice Warrior in it…

Points of redemption:

-Clara proving herself a worthy companion during her confrontation with the Ice Warrior.

-Again, it’s interesting to see the series rekindle old monsters.

-Davos Seaworth is in it.

Cold War 2

At the end of the day, I love and appreciate Doctor Who in all its cheesy, ridiculous, fantastic glory. The quality of the writing may wax and wain, sometimes on a weekly basis, but as long as the heart of the show remains about exploration, courage, and trying your best to do the right thing, I’ll stick with it. The show’s spirit makes it easier to take the brilliant with the crummy. Besides, if every episode were as creepy and good as Midnight or Hide, I’d never sleep.

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