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Sep 30, 2006

Serendipity-doo-da!

Warning: this episode may induce incidents of manly crying.

The Green Death Part 6

Everyone’s going fungus-mad in this final episode: the Brig’s chomping it down like it’s a Sunday roast, the Doctor finds it’s both a cure to the maggot menace and Professor Jones’ nasty case of CSO and Jo finally realises what a fun-guy (sorry!) her new-found beau could be if she lets him take her up the Amazon (let’s not go there again, shall we…)

It’s a tale of two maggots in this final instalment. One’s flown the coup and turned into a beautiful hybrid of lepidoptera and BBC visual effects department, whilst the other’s been going all super-size-me on the fungus (with typically obese-culture results).

Meanwhile BOSS has become that oh-so rare form of mad super-computer that sings to itself in the shower. With Stevens now its pawn in bringing total devastation to the valleys (perhaps no bad thing, given the evident in-breeding amongst much of its populace) the mad-micro-chipped-monstrosity is deciding the time is nigh to perform some sort of request show for sixteenth century composers. Later, it will even set up the world’s first human/computer ventriloquism act - think Roger de Corsey and Metal Mickey in some obscene parody of Saturday night entertainment. I mean how bloody evil is that?

think Roger de Corsey and Metal Mickey in some obscene parody of Saturday night entertainment

And as though the show has finally remembered its sixties’ remit for ‘edutainment’, this week Doctor Who is brought to you by the word ‘serendipity’. Such happy accidents (at least the ones not leading to council estate teenage pregnancies) are all the Doctor needs to cook up a cure to both Jones’ snotty-looking fever and the whole problem of discarded condoms across the length and breadth of Llanfairfach. Still, at least we should be grateful that all that used rubber should be preventing any more happy accidents; though if the solution is the sight of the Doctor and Benton chucking fungus at the poor, drashig-faced creatures like so much discarded dung then we can only be thankful that more of them didn’t make it airborne.

On which note, that fly is not exactly of Cronenberg standards, is it? I’m not sure what is more unintentionally hilarious: Benton calling out ‘here, kitty kitty’ to the hapless pupae; the Doctor cowering from one of Barry Letts’ notoriously ropey pieces of CSO; or the toreador-esque way in which Pertwee’s cape brings the beast down to earth with a fibreglass crunch.. No, wait a minute - it’s got to be the Brigadier’s reaction to the fungus’ effect: ‘They’re dying like…well…like maggots’, he somehow manages to keep a straight face saying. Priceless.

Having dealt with the environmental aspect, the Doctor and UNIT make haste to Global Chemicals where, with a bit of persuasion, Stevens finally does the decent thing and gets all Wrath of Khan with his nutty-as-squirrel-shit superior. And as though it goes without saying, everyone manages to avoid the resultant cataclysmic meltdown by hiding behind one of UNIT’s sturdy, Teflon-coated jeeps. They really don’t make ‘em like that any more, do they?

Stevens finally does the decent thing and gets all Wrath of Khan with his nutty-as-squirrel-shit superior

So far, so final episode of the season jollity. But Jo’s got a bombshell to drop (and no, it’s not one of those ‘happy accidents’ we mentioned earlier). Apparently the temptation of having the Professor take her up the Amazon (no sniggering, please) has proven too much and she somehow even agrees to marry the perv without being properly asked first. The Doctor’s reaction - ‘I do believe I’m going to be wanted on the telephone’ - isn’t exactly straight out of the text-book of pissed-off, dumped pseudo-boyfriends either (especially as he seems to make little or no attempt to back up his telephonic claims). So as the UNIT regulars - as though knowing their days are now clearly numbered - dance their way into the summer recess, Pertwee does the decent thing and leaves quietly with nary a tear in his eye (unless you’re reading the Target novelization that is). No fanfare, no high-octane emotion, no beach, no gate-crashing cameo by Mollie Sugden. Just poignant. And perfect.

But he’s really gonna regret leaving her that crystal.

(The Bumper Book of Made-Up ‘Doctor Who Facts’ has this to say about (sob) The Green Death 6: Russell T Davies attempted to ape the emotional impact of Jo’s leaving scene by having the crew on ‘Doomsday’ scrunch onions in their eyes whilst simultaneously watching the ritualistic slaughter of cute kittens and shouting ‘CRY, DAMN YOU!!!’ through a loud-hailer at them)

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