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Apr 15, 2006

A Cat-Astrophe?

I'm always worried about writing a review so soon after transmission. Hindsight can often rear its ugly head and make fools of the best of us, but I'm going to go with gut reactions and be damned with the consequences. This was a so-so episode - as first episodes go. It hasn't got to compete with particularly 'fried gold' stuff (and no I haven't forgotten The Christmas Invasion) - Robot was not typical of the Baker era and the less said about The Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani, the better.

Like cramming for an exam, this episode tried to fit too much in and the final result was inevitably a third (or should that be turd). It reminded me a lot of The End of the World (Cassandra and the Face of Bo being the obivious links) with its array of briefly glimpsed why-bother-aliens and Rose being left to roam around an 'alien' installation. There was just too much going on, that the whole never felt like the sum of its parts. The cats looked great, my appetite was whet for more, but it just didn't deliver. The episode decided to focus on the bland, vain/veiny and frankly awful Cassandra, whose moment of redemption is quickly undermined by her desire to find form again, to exploit her servant and die with dignity (by telling herself how beautiful she looked). This was a very egotistical episode. The Doctor is, for the time being, a very confident almost egotistical character - "I'm the Doctor" being taken to its logical and literal conclusion. I just hope this is a way of building him up just to knock him down when he realises that he has helped create the Cybermen (look I'm searching for arcs OK).

This was a show piece episode, a bit of fun, but stretched too far (yes there is a pun there if we consider Cassandra's fate). The body swapping got very tedious - thanks Billie we know you can act, very quickly. The zombies were poorly realised (they were more sinister in their Matrix-style coffins (or should that read Cybermen tomb-like chambers), before we saw them. They seemed a cheap thrill and pale in comparison to The Empty Child 'zombies'.

There were some great visuals in this show and they seemed to buckle under the weight of trying to maintain any interest in RTD's dreadfully light-weight and dare I say tedious story. I really hope he gets busy with other writing projects for season three. Look I'm not being Judas here - thanks Russell, you brought back (with love) my favourite show, but more often than not your stories are poor. Still, the episode was timely, with its religious references to Gods, healing the sick and not looking back, I almost remembered that it's Easter weekend. Next they'll be showing people coming back from the...

Anyway moving swiftly on, the second episode looks great and the push the red button preview gave me goosebumps. Roll on the other writers. Oh and David, you were fantastic.

2/5

Comments

"realises that he has helped create the Cybermen"

Have we listened to Big Finish's 5th Doc "Spare Parts"? If not, you need to. And before anyone panics, these aren't the rubbish later-years Cybermen, these are the full-on Tenth Planet/Tombs of- creepy-voiced Cybermen. You can nearly hear Peter Davison soiling himself when he runs into a Cyber-Mountie.

I believe that Marc Platt actually gets a credit on this episode...

I have but I have this feeling RTD will still try to do a Bad Wolf on us and tie his pretty daisy chain through each episode.

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