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Huzzah! The Finnish nutters won Eurovision. I wonder if that means everybody's going to copy them next year - that would be most amusing. I approve of orcs and things playing proper rock-n-roll style. I was supporting Finland and Malta, and they came first and last. I think I should get a *special* prize.

It seems I disagree with everyone else about Who again. I thought this one was...pretty dodgy. I'd given the last one the benefit of the doubt on some bad plotting in case it turned out to be set-up stuff for a clever resolution, but...no. Bullet points:

- Cliffhanger resolution was shocking. In the bad way. "I have here this Plot Device (any other Fforde fans watching?) which can KILL YOU ALL!" Yeah, OK. Very good. And it didn't even mean losing its charge - if using it had meant that the Doctor was throwing away ten years of his life, and would then have to use another ten to start up the Tardis again, it would have explained far better why he hesitated so damn long.

- Possibly the best line of the episode - "This is the slowest getaway I've ever seen!" It's nice when somebody comments on all the standing around having Emotions that this Who shoehorns into its action scenes.

- I thought 90% of the dialogue was terrible. It was unnatural, over-expository, overdramatic, and too obviously about things the writer wanted in the episode rather than what the characters would actually be saying and thinking in those situations.

- Exterminating whole races was Bad last year. Why's it suddenly OK this year? Even in New Earth, the New humans were seen as a development, real people to be protected and suppported and celebrated. Especially after we found out that the reason the Cybermen aren't "human" was not something intrinsic to the upgrade, but an emotional inhibitor. Nine would have found a way to release the inhibitor gently and make them proper-humans-in-metal-suits who would guard the Earth, or something. I miss Nine.

- For characters to develop they have to learn from the past. I'm talking to you, Rose. Gah. And the Doctor should have stopped her, if going to her parents was really that dangerous. The shippers say he loves her so he gives her whatever she begs for with her puppy-dog eyes, but if he really loved her he would stop herself constantly knowingly chucking herself into danger.

- I think I'd have liked the eps a lot more if Jackie and Pete hadn't been in them at all. It seemed just one too many huge coincidences, to have happened to go to an alternate world where they're some of the most important people in London *and* crucial to the Evil Plot that the Doctor and co are trying to stop. The only reason it had to be them was so that RTD could revisit Father's Day and have lots of Big Emotional Stuff, which there's far too much of this series and which is beginning to ring embarrassingly false. Last series took the emotions from the plot, whereas this series shoehorns them in sort of adjacent to the plot.

- The whole scene where they're running round London away from the Cybermen while the Cybermen sort of ambled around looking completely disinterested - what was that about? They didn't seem to be chasing the Doctor and co at all, until they popped up to kill Ricky.

- I do like Mickey's arc, and I think it makes a lot of sense for him to stay in the Cyberverse. He can be a proper hero there, which he IS, rather than a forgotten adjunct to the annoyingly cliquey couple thing of Doctor/Rose. I wouldn't go adventuring with people who obviously care so much more about each other than me that I'll constantly be put in danger because of it, danger I'm not equipped to deal with because *they're the experts*. You're meant to be able to trust your Companions. If he stayed with them, I could see him dying offscreen while they had an Emotional Chat. He's far better off with Jake and his gran. And I liked how he's going to stay Mickey rather than replacing Ricky. He's so much more adult and sensible than, say, Rose. Ohhh, and I loved "I saved the world in a Big Yellow Truck."

- I feel a bit sorry for our-world Jackie, though - Mickey was the only person she could talk to about the Doctor and Rose, and they seemed to be providing a lot of support for each other. I suppose she didn't have him when he was off in the Tardis, but still, it's harsh. And while the Doctor's "He's gone home" line was very clever and emotionally true, they should be telling her the bloody truth.

- I was quite pleased that they made CyberJackie, and didn't save her. Could see a mile off they were going to kill Mrs Moore (would Ricky and Jake still be calling her Mrs Moore? REALLY?), and it seemed a bit of a waste. And the whole thing about her opening up to the Doctor about her background was completely contrived. Hated that. Getting a bit sick of the "poor lonely doctor" thing, too, even if it is all foreshadowing. To borrow a word from Television Without Pity's Angel recaps (I think), it's all getting a bit anvilicious. Bad Wolf was subtle, and Nine used to show his emotions rather than telling everyone and their dog about them. This episode, they might as well have put up a board saying "Emotions Are Important" for 45 minutes.

- The Cybermen Death Scene was just funny. Sorry. And one minute the doctor was like "Taking out the emotional inhibitors will make them insane", then it's "maybe it'll kill some of them", and then "Oh, look, they're all writhing around like am-dram students, and now their heads are exploding". Huh? And it was while he still seemed to think it'd make them insane that he decided to take out the inhibitors, which just baffled me - does insane Cybermen really sound like a good thing to you?

- Why did Lumic get himself a whole cybernetic wheelchair thing made when as a Cyberman he'd obviously be able to walk? What was in all the tubes? Cybermen only seem to have the brains and some shredded bits of skin from their ex-lives, so why did he need medicine?

- A lot of the jokes seemed squarely aimed at eight-year-olds, or else to disguise stupid plot points, or both - like the transmitter having a big label on it.

- Uh, more good things. I didn't dislike this ep as much as this rant makes out. (This was a very long, geeky rant. I apologise.) The direction was good, pacing was OK - I thought it was a bit slow, but then I hated all the stopping to Have Emotions. The Cyberman workshop was cool. Pete running away from Rose's revelation - he'd had quite a day, he wasn't exactly going to fall happily into her arms. The Doctor realising he'd underestimated Mickey and supporting him was nice, while Rose thinking of his departure purely in terms of herself was at least in character for this season. Mickey should have left her a long time ago - she's always treated him like crap.

I'm going to re-watch, and will probably find more bits I like then. I think I was mostly disappointed in the episode, because last week's could have been a competent enough opener to a two-parter, but Age Of Steel undercut it, I felt. And because it's the mid-season two-parter, I can't help but compare it to Empty Child/ Doctor Dances, and it suffers horribly from that comparison. It just doesn't seem in the same league.

Oops, that got a bit long.

Comments

( 7 comments — Comment )
momentsmusicaux
May. 21st, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
The running around London just seemed silly.

And I spotted a plot problem! There were two mentions of Torchwood last week -- but it was founded by Queen Vic as a result of encountering the Doctor in our universe. No Doctor in the other universe (we presume), so how did Torchwood get there?
Oh, and you don't kill the guards, but simply leave them on the roof of a factory that's about to explode?
And yeah, bit of a rubbish Plot Device.
redatt
May. 21st, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
(Haven't seen the latest episode.)

I'm not sure I'd see that as a plot problem. It could still have been founded by Queen Victoria as result of encountering the 'werewolf' alien, depending upon how that whole thing played out in the alternate universe. Or it could have been founded by someone else, after an incident at Torchwood that eventually lead to the destruction of the Royal family and the establishment of a Republic ;o)
tanngrisnir
May. 21st, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Why did Lumic get himself a whole cybernetic wheelchair thing made when as a Cyberman he'd obviously be able to walk? What was in all the tubes?

I took it that this was the alternate universe’s version of the Cybercontroller’s recharging unit from “Tomb of the Cybermen.”
dave_t_lurker
May. 21st, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yes.
You've hit the nail squarely on the head. That episode sucked (on the whole) and you've given all the reasons why.

The cliffhanger resolution especially annoyed me, far too contrived and fortunate.

I do hope this series improves. While not terrible, this series is not living up to the standards set by the last series.
davidcook
May. 21st, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Exterminating whole races was Bad last year. Why's it suddenly OK this year?

See also one of the Dalek episodes from ... ummm ... Tom Baker era, I think (but I could be wrong!), where he refuses to blow up a laboratory where the Dalek race will be created, because it'd be genocide (might be Genesis of the Daleks, but with my memory it could be anything :-) ).

The Cybermen Death Scene was just funny. Sorry.

It was rather silly - I'm sure there's an opportunity here for LJ icons with a caption something like "Dance like a Cyberman".
arborophile
May. 22nd, 2006 10:44 am (UTC)
The cliffhanger..surely he was keeping that as a last resort..knowing if damaged, would be stuck there, without a Tardis!
Think lot of the humour was there to counter all darkness[mass murder, sudden death, talking to dead people, etc]
Was exp[ecting Jackie to go Cyber..not much difference there, eh!
gwinniegirl
May. 22nd, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
I must say I enjoyed it...then again I don't look deeply into it at all. :-)
Liked cyber Jackie! LOL!
( 7 comments — Comment )

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