Monday, 24 August 2009

Doctor Who: Turn Left

Fortune Teller: 'Turn right and never meet that man. Turn right and change the world.'

Choices change lives. Even seemingly insignificant decisions can alter our lives irrevocably, and tonight Donna was faced with a relatively small dilemma. Should she turn left, or should she turn right? 'Turn Left' explores the would-be consequences of her turning right.

In the alternate timeline that was created, Martha and Sarah Jane were dead, Buckingham Palace had been destroyed by a plummeting Titanic, ATMOS was slowly poisoning the earth's populace, and the staff and patients of the Royal Hope Hospital never made it back from the moon alive (with the exception of Dr Morgenstern) as a result of the Doctor not being there to save them. Because there was no one there to restrain him, he died fighting the Racnoss. As a result, the world is now without its protector.

When I first saw the alien of the week, my initial thoughts were 'Oh, please God, spare us the ignominy'. The time-munching beetle looked like one of those novelty backpacks you see kids wearing to school. Definitely not the show's finest hour. Russell T. Davies explained in Doctor Who Confidential that 'Turn Left' was a low budget episode, and at times, it showed. Thankfully, the story itself more than made up for the low-tech alienage. And let's face it, we've seen worse. Wirrn grubs, anyone? Pee-yew!!

Since this was a Doctor-lite episode, Tennant was only on-screen briefly, but in contrast to previous years, instead of it being companion-lite too, Donna was given the starring role. Predictably, she had a pretty rough time of it. Sylvia was utterly horrible to her. Being told that you'll never amount to anything must be soul destroying, and the sad thing is, I think Donna believed it. Which made it all the more poignant when Donna sacrificed herself to save the Doctor. Not that Sylvia would ever know her 'useless' daughter's great deed. I'm still not sure why Sylvia is so hard on her. Is it just grief over her husband's death? Whatever the reason, I didn't enjoy seeing Donna being mentally beaten down like that.

It was impossible not to like Rocco. He was one of life's optimists. He also made Donna and her family welcome, despite their cramped living conditions. In truth, their situation was intolerable, yet he still faced up to the prospect of captivity with a smile on his face. Of course, it was all fake. Both Rocco and Wilfred knew the probable fate which awaited his family, so it was harrowing to watch them being driven away, and sad to see Wilfred so helpless—doomed to stand by and watch history repeat itself.

I enjoyed seeing Rose again. I grew tired of her in season two, but season three didn't benefit from her departure as much as it should've. And Rose works well as a returning companion. At least her character now has direction. But what was up with Billie Piper's accent? One minute it was fine, the next she sounded as though she had a lisp, and at other times she seemed to drop the accent altogether. According to Doctor Who Confidential, Billie had problems remembering how to play Rose, so maybe that explains an accent in flux.

But dodgy accents aside, Rose's return was suitably mysterious and I look forwards to seeing how her story pans out. A reunion with the Doctor seems inevitable. The question is: how's it all going to end?

Other Thoughts:

—If Donna had never met the Doctor, would the Doctor ever have met the Racnoss and been killed by it? Wasn't him meeting the Racnoss a result of him meeting Donna?

—The actress who played the fortune teller, Chipo Chung (no, I'm not making her name up,) also played the character Chantho in season three episode 'Utopia'. Thankfully, she was far less annoying in this episode.

—A free reading for gingers? Nice.

—Awful northern stereotyping! I don't live far from Leeds and I don't own a whippet. Of course, I'm allergic to dogs, otherwise I would -- whippets are awesome. As are flat caps and scrofula. [/sarcasm]

—Another reference to missing bees.

—It was sad to see the TARDIS with the Doctor dead. It looked so dark inside, derelict almost. Rose said it was dying, and that's exactly how it looked.

—'The Trickster' was a reference to a character from the Sarah Jane Adventures.


Alice: 'There's something on your back.'

Sylvia: 'At least you got the hole punch. And a raffle ticket.'

Donna: 'Pop your clogs and and go feed whippets.'

Sylvia: 'Even the bees are missing. You don't see bumblebees any more.'

Rose: 'I think you dream about him sometimes. It's a man in a suit. Tall thin man. Great hair. Some really great hair.'

Donna: 'I'm nothing special. I'm a temp.'
Rose: 'Donna, you're the most important woman in all of creation.'

Donna: 'If I change things, I don't die. That's right, isn't it?'
Rose: 'I'm sorry.'

Donna: 'Doctor, what is it? What's Bad Wolf?'
Doctor: 'It's the end of the Universe.'

No comments: