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Doctor Who 4.07 The Unicorn And The Wasp

Ha. As many people have pointed out, that was utter crack, but I liked it anyway. Probably because I was a HUGE Christie fan in my teenage years.


I'd have preferred a serious story, or at least not camp British farce, but since that's what we got, at least it was done well. My serious misgiving was how well it would come across to people who haven't read Christie, since most of what I liked was related to my Christie knowledge.

Firstly, this was an absolutely spot-on parody. The Cluedo gag might have seemed obvious and cheap, but really it was far more Christie than Cluedo. The flashbacks, the fact that everyone had a motive and a secret, the watch smashed at the time of death, the partially burned note, the footprints and bent flowers, things being thrown out of a window, the setting itself, the secret child, all the characters (reverend, butler, thief, lord and lady), and especially the big denouement, where Agatha gets them all together to deliver the Poirot monologue which will seem to accuse everyone before finally getting to the point.

It was continuity porn again, too. We had another glimpse of the framing story from Blink in the Doctor's flashback, where he was running around with a bow and arrows. We had the Doctor saying "No, no, don't do that" when Donna tried to put on an accent to fit in, like Rose in Tooth And Claw. We had the reference to Charles Dickens in a ghost story at Christmas. We had the running "joke" of Christie getting her ideas from Donna, as Shakespeare did from the Doctor. (Not such a fan of that one. And they TOTALLY SPOILED Murder on the Orient Express. Usually books that old are out of spoiler territory, but nooooo!) I suppose the Companion Kiss for Applied Phlebotinum and Trailer Tease reasons is a running gag now, too. And we had both Gay Agenda and Anti-Religion Rant, too.

Since I just seem to be making lists tonight, here are the Agatha Christie book titles I spotted being used as dialogue:
Cat Amongst The Pigeons
Dead Man's Folly
They Do It With Mirrors
Cards On The Table
Sparkling Cyanide
Endless Night
Crooked House
Taken At The Flood
Death Comes At The End
And then of course we had Death In The Clouds, Murder On The Orient Express and The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd all directly referenced.

I do like the Doctor's alphabetical filing system in a bunch of trunks, but I'm going to assume they're bigger on the inside, otherwise he doesn't have nearly enough books. (Oh, God. How many books could I buy if I had bigger-on-the-inside bookshelves?! Mind you, laerad was theorising the other day that my living room might now be attached to L-Space via its library corner.) Also, it makes me unaccountably sad that I have a different edition of Death In The Clouds to the one shown. I very much doubt that people will still be publishing Fontana paperbacks in the year five billion, but what do I know?

Also, I've just realised the repeated "Carry on!" ("We're British!") was a double joke - first it reminded me of the "Keep Calm And Carry On" wartime posters and modern memorabilia, but also, they're *telling us* it's practically a Carry On film. (I nearly typed "Carry On movie" there, but that's just wrong.)

Next week: the first of a two-parter written by Stephen Moffat, directed by Euros Lyn, set in a library. If they managed to screw up that combination, there is no hope for us.

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( 24 comments — Comment )
blue_condition
May. 17th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
You missed "Why didn't they ask...." "...Heavens!"

(well, 'Evans' in AC's book ;))


One day I shall have to photograph my shelves. I think your fear of collapsing into L-Space will abate.
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
I think my brain must have protected me from that. Argh.

Also, it's not fear, it's anticipation :D
loveandgarbage
May. 17th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
And of course DT was The Man in the Brown Suit ;-)

And I thought I caught a Nemesis in there.

Scott
myfirstkitchen
May. 17th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, Nemesis was in the "clips of title references" bit on Confidential :)
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I tend not to watch the Confidentials because RTD tends to cause feelings of rage and despair :S Can you remember any others I missed?
myfirstkitchen
May. 17th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
I think you got it, to be honest with you. RTD is quite slappable on it, I agree, though he did make it clear that the Vespiform were the monster of the week because of his disappointment that Death In The Clouds wasn't about a giant wasp.
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
It is disappointing, I suppose, yes. Heh.
loveandgarbage
May. 17th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
Was putting two little folk to bed at that point so I can claim ignorance ;-)

Scott
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Ha, yes! And Nemesis does ring a bell.
loveandgarbage
May. 17th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
And The Secret Adversary was there, The Moving Finger (DT pointing during the Poirot gathers all the suspects scene), Appointment with Death, and a very nice "N or M" when reading the bit from the birth certificate. I guess a repeat viewing will show a few more.
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Argh! I thought I'd heard "N or M", but couldn't remember when, and thought it was implausible. I'm quite impressed with the sheer number of these!
white_hart
May. 17th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
I don't know it it was actually said out loud, but I think The Body in the Library has to count as a referenced title!
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Doh, I can't believe I forgot that one!
sovietkiki
May. 17th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
It was continuity porn again, too. We had another glimpse of the framing story from Blink in the Doctor's flashback, where he was running around with a bow and arrows.

I totally missed that! Wow, you're good fan! XD

I loved the episode. Pure Christie crack. A+
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice it, I stole it off doctorwho. The bow and arrow did make something click vaguely in my head, but I read the comm before I figured out what, heh. Plus I was too busy watching for book titles.
glamhag
May. 17th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Not next week... next week is Eurovision.
pickwick
May. 17th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
Doh, yes, I knew that, I think. I just hadn't connected it in my head to next week, even though I'm subtitling the semi-finals, and going to a Eurovision party...
blue_condition
May. 18th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Who did the 6 O'Clock News on Friday and got Barnes Wallis wrong (Barnes Wallace?! - have these people never READ The Dam Busters?) ;)
pickwick
May. 18th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Voice recognition software! And it sounds like they hadn't known in advance that Barnes Wallis would be mentioned (I don't even know if that's a person or a town!) so they hadn't macro'd the spelling of it :D
momentsmusicaux
May. 18th, 2008 08:29 am (UTC)
N or M
Death Comes *As* The End ;)

Strangely they didn't say The Body in the Library.
pickwick
May. 18th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Doh, yes.

And I watched the Confidential later on last night, and apparently they DID say "the body in the library". Donna, I think.
luckykaa
May. 18th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. Carry on up the Khyber reference. Didn't spot that and although I'm not totally certain it was deliberate.
pickwick
May. 18th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Heh, yes, I'm starting to think I'm inventing references because they can't have put THIS many in, surely.
dibsy
May. 19th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Murder at the vicarage. It was the punch line to the whole episode.
( 24 comments — Comment )

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