Friday, 13 March 2009

Doctor Who: The Long Game

Adam: 'It's going to take a better man than me to get in between you two'.

Okay, well that was pretty blunt. Clearly, it's now obvious to all and sundry that something is developing between Rose and the Doctor. Adam can see it, the Dalek last week could see it, Jackie knows it, and even Rose looked distinctly unfazed at the thought of there being something less than platonic about her relationship with the Doctor. Maybe next week they should just be done with it and have someone singing 'Rose and the Doctor sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.'

Last week, the Doctor seemed less than enthusiastic about taking Adam along with them, yet this week saw him priming Rose with future facts, which she then used to dazzle a bewildered Adam. Clearly, the Doctor doesn't see Adam as a credible romantic threat. At least, he didn't. The Doctor has a habit of treating those he dislikes like they're idiots. Take Mickey for, example—when was the last time you heard the Doctor say anything positive about him? As the episode progressed, however, Adam started to elicit a similarly negative response. Green eyed monster, anyone?

Russell T. Davies revealed in Doctor Who Magazine that the script for 'The Long Game' was originally submitted to the BBC in the early 80's—only to be rejected. That would be around the Peter Davison/Colin Baker era—which probably explains why it felt like an episode of Classic Who. It also felt like a very average episode. The idea of the press sowing misinformation to further someone's devilish agenda would probably have fared better in the 80's—back when the idea hadn't been done to death a thousand times. Obviously some thought went into shortening the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe's name to Max—no doubt to remind us of Robert Maxwell—but it still felt like a dated attempt at satire.

Adam also felt dreadfully underused. In 'Dalek', we were informed of his genius—albeit by Adam himself, so maybe he and the Doctor aren't too dissimilar after all, both clearly possessing enormous egos—but we never got to see him do anything particularly clever. All he did was attempt to send future secrets back to his mum's answering machine. That seems more greedy than genius-y. Adam also notched up the unenviable distinction of being the first person ever (if memory serves me correct) to have his TARDIS travel privileges revoked. Nice one, Adam.

Simon Pegg (who I'm a fan of from Spaced and his various movie outings) chipped in with an enjoyable performance as The Editor. True, he couldn't pronounce 'Jagrafess' to save his life, instead calling him the Mighty Jagrafress of the Holy Hadrajassic Maxaraddenfoe (instead of the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe), but I can't pronounce it either—so I won't hold it against him. I was a little disappointed, however, with Tamsin Greig's contribution. They should have given her more to do. One half-arsed American Express quip ('That'll do nicely'), and catching some congealed vomit in a bowl, doesn't make for a particularly memorable cameo.

Whinging aside, Eccleston and Piper shone as usual. They've really grown into their roles these past few weeks—I actually see them as the Doctor and Rose now, rather than just Billie and Chris—and the inclusion of Adam as part-time companion gave the episode a different vibe, with Adam taking on the role of newcomer, and the Doctor and Rose functioning as hosts. I do like the idea of a second companion—it takes me back to the days of Jamie McCrimmon—but Adam was such a wet fish that I wasn't at all sad to see him go. Will he ever come back? Meh!

Other Thoughts:

—Why was this episode called 'The Long Game'? Not an easy question to answer based on episode content alone. I think it relates to something said in the season finale, so I guess I'll comment on it then—if I remember.

—Why do people have to be dead to work on floor 500? Because of the cold? Because dead men tell no tales? And why did the hot air have to be pushed down through the building? Why not up and out?

—Our 'Bad Wolf' reference of the week: one of the broadcast channels was called Bad Wolf TV.


Rose: 'So all the people on earth are like, slaves?'
The Editor: 'Well now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's been enslaved?'
Doctor: 'Yes!'
The Editor: 'Oh, I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm going to get?'
Doctor: 'Yes!'
The Editor: 'You're no fun.'

Doctor: 'He's your boyfriend.'
Rose: 'Not any more.'

Doctor: 'Time travel's like visiting Paris. You can't just read the guidebook. You got to throw yourself in. Eat the food, use the wrong verb, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers. Or is that just me?'

Cathica: 'Okay, so ladies and gentlemen, multisex, undecided or robot...'

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