Rose: 'I was attacked by a pencil scribble?'
thing I've found particularly frustrating this season is the show's
general lack of consistency. How many times have we seen a potentially
good storyline ruined by either poorly judged dialogue or a badly
realised villain, or great characterisation nullified by poor
storytelling? The thing that really irks me is, it doesn't have to be
this way. They are
capable of getting it right. 'School Reunion' and 'The Girl in the
Fireplace' are proof positive they can crank out a good story—but
they've so rarely hit the mark this season. Which is a shame for Billie and David, because they deserve better scripts than
Some of the characterisation I
thought serviceable. The Doctor in particular, apart from some supposedly comedic moments, had a decent episode. He came across as funny,
compassionate, reasonable, playful, mysterious, heroic—in fact, all
the things we come to know and love about him these past 12 weeks. I
even laughed when he whooped with delight as he lit the Olympic flame.
(I know, I know... absolutely feeble, but it made me smile. I can't tell
my face what to do, it just does as it pleases.)
And there was much to like about the Isolus. I
liked the idea of them being spores, travelling through space, creating
fantasy worlds and filling them with captured humans. I liked too the
idea of their ionic power being able to transform living people into
drawings and vice versa. And for once we got a 'villain' that wasn't intent upon
taking over the world. In fact, their predicament pretty
much mirrored the Doctor's. Of course, travelling with the Doctor is an
essentially voluntary occupation—unlike the Isolus, whose preferred
method of recruitment was kidnap—but they're immature beings, so let's
not judge them too harshly.
But visually, everything
about this episode looked horrendous. Where did the visual effects
budget go? Did someone spend it on pies or something? Or did they blow it all on 'The
Impossible Planet' and 'The Satan Pit'? Did they seriously give us a
scribble monster? And a crap looking scribble monster at that. It was
just some... scribble!
Plus, the story itself threw up
so many questions, that about half way through, I had to switch off my
brain. On being freed from his virtual prison, would Dale really have
just started playing football again? Would the previously imprisoned
throngs at the Olympic stadium, on reappearing, just continue to wave
flags as if nothing had happened? Chloe seemed to suggest that Dale was
sad in his virtual world, yet on returning, he seemed completely
unfazed by the experience. Was the memory expunged from his mind or
something? And where did that street-lining, torch-cheering crowd come
from? They seemed to spring from nowhere and then disappear back into
nowhere as soon as they became surplus to requirement. And seriously, is
the Olympic torch really love? Is it? Or is it just a stick with a
flame at the end?
The episode also bore some stark
similarities to 'The Idiot's Lantern'. It's almost as if Graham and
Gatiss were given the same plot outline—the Doctor and Rose land in suburbia; people are going missing; they knock on doors to ask questions, but no one wants to let them in; something's going on
upstairs; the father figure has an abusive personality; people are
being turned into pictures; and in the end, an invisible alien is to
blame. Is any of this sounding familiar yet?
Despite the nonsense, they did throw in some decent intrigue at the end.
A few episodes ago, the Doctor was adamant that the Beast was wrong
about Rose dying in battle, yet this week he looked far less sure of
himself. It's looking more and more like the Doctor's going to be proved
wrong again. And we're going to lose Rose.
—This episode replaced a script originally penned by Stephen Fry. I
would dearly have loved to see that episode. Fry's one funny guy.
—Why do faked news reports never sound realistic? Even Huw Edwards (an
actual newsreader) failed to inject any realism into the proceedings.
—Fingers on lips? Even Billie looked embarrassed at that one.
—The Doctor called Rose 'Lewis', a character from the popular (now defunct) detective show Inspector Morse.
—Lucky for Rose she didn't hit the Isolus spaceship with her pick-axe. What are the chances?
—What was the Cookie Monster doing in the wardrobe?
—Huw Edwards can be heard mentioning Torchwood in the background.
Doctor: 'Only seems like yesterday a few naked blokes were tossing a discus
about, wrestling with each other in the sand, as the crowds stood around
baying. No, wait a minute, that was Club Med.'
Doctor: 'Nobody else in this entire galaxy has ever even bothered to make edible ball bearings. Genius!'
Rose: (to the cat) 'Oh, aren't you a beautiful boy!'
Doctor: 'Thanks! I'm experimenting with back-combing.'
Doctor: 'I'm not really a cat person. Once you've been threatened by one in a nun's wimple, it kind of takes the joy out of it.'
Doctor: 'We need to find the source of that power. Find the source and you will
find whatever has taken to stealing children and fluffy animals.'
Doctor: 'I was a dad once.'
Rose: 'What did you say?'
Kel: 'You just took a council axe from a council van, and now you're digging
up a council road! I'm reporting you to the council!'
Rose: 'Who's going to hold his hand now?'
Rose: 'You know what? They keep on trying to split us up, but they never ever will.'
Doctor: 'Never say 'never ever'.'
Rose: 'Nah, we'll always be okay, you and me. Don't you reckon, Doctor?'
Doctor: 'Something in the air. Something coming.'
Doctor: 'A storm's approaching.'