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Apr 23, 2007

No-one South Of Heaven's Gonna Treat You Finer

That was better.  It made a little more sense that last week and still managed to be exciting and gripping.  So I was happier.

I was a little worried (Which is not a Dalek concept, apparently) when Lazlo was accosted by the pig monster in the pre-credits, but it picked up once the Doctor and Martha appeared.  I especially liked the fact that the Beeb splashed out on the royalties for a couple of proper tunes.  I mean you can’t have a shot of New York without Gershwin in the background now can you?

I thought that the digital effects were particularly impressive throughout this whole episode.  I didn’t mention this last week, what with being too busy trying to understand what the hell was going on, but they were very good last week too.  All the backdrops of New York looked spot on (in as much as I’m any expert on the sky line of 1930’s New York) and it all just blended perfectly.

That’ll be the ones with the snouts and dubious personal habits, then.

The make up wasn’t quite so smooth ‘though.  I really didn’t like thePigs pig slave things.  Although I assume that their masks were cheaper to make than the Judoon masks, as we saw them in larger groups than just the one.  I just couldn’t look at Lazlo (post ‘pigification’) without thinking of the classic Pigsy from Monkey.  Perhaps that was some kind of homage that I just missed.

In fact, why pigs at all?  If the Daleks were just looking for a bit of muscle and a few hands to work all those pesky handles, why not just wipe their victims memories and make them compliant slaves who could be seen on the streets without causing mass panic?

And why did the pig slaves (who were a bit of a step down from Ogrons don’t you think?) all wear exactly the same outfit?  Was it so the Daleks could redilly recognise who was working for them?  That’ll be the ones with the snouts and dubious personal habits, then.  And anyway, if they were kidnapped from Hooverville, wouldn’t they just be wearing whatever clothes they were taken in?  Where did the Daleks find such a large amount of cloth and who made all the outfits?  Did they perhaps pick up Betsy Ross on their trip through American history?  At least Mr Diagoras was still wearing his suit once he became the Human-Dalek.  It would have been a bit of a squeeze to fit a changing room inside Dalek Sek, too.

Now I might have missed something here, but what were the ‘Etheric beam locators’, or Dalek bumps if you prefer, for exactly and why did they need to be placed at the top of the tower with such urgency?  According to my Technical Manual these bumps are called ‘Sense Globes’ and they apparently "react to changes in external conditions and relay data on temperature, humidity, movement and the presence of animal life to the control chamber for analysis".  That’s where the Dalek lives by the way, in the control chamber.  So the only reason I can see for these things to be fitted would be if the Daleks wanted some kind of thermometer rigged up to see what the weather was like.

Here’s a clue – At 1,453 feet up it’s going to be damn cold!  And any animal life is going to be a bird or maybe Spiderman in his thermal Spidey suit.

Speaking of things that made very little sense.

It just seems like an odd thing for them to be so concerned about.  They could just open a window or pop out onto the observation deck if they needed to know that badly.Another_doctor_kiss

I know it helped move the plot along, but why was there a Dalek amoeba thing just sitting around in the  sewer?  The Doctor was nowhere near a lab and somehow I don’t imagine that one of the pig men happened to be carrying a tray of blobs around for one to conveniently ooze off onto the floor to be discovered.  That just made very little sense.

Speaking of things that made very little sense.  What was the thinking behind Dalek Sek’s little plan there?  He wants to improve the Dalek races chances of survival by turning himself and, assumedly the other three Daleks, into some kind of human/Dalek hybrid.  How is this going to work out?  There are millions of humans and only four Daleks.  This is because the humans weren’t invited to the great Time War that wiped out almost the entire Dalek race.  It has nothing to do with the humans being better at surviving and more to do with the fact that they don’t keep annoying the Doctor.

a squid in a sharp suit with a New Yorker’s attitude.

And how exactly does he plan to regain his supremacy, now?  Whereas before he was a kick ass killing machine with regenerative powers, a force field, a hugely powerful gun and the ability to fly now he’s a squid in a sharp suit with a New Yorker’s attitude.  Which, thinking about it, may actually be enough.

I can only assume that next week will bring some new super power that will make the masses cower before him, instead of just pointing and laughing.

I know that I’m not exactly keen on this whole “let’s keep brining back the bad guys” idea, but if you do insist on making the Daleks live on all the time I hope that the next lot we meet are going to be pepper pots again.  You can’t just destroy forty years of iconic baddieness just for a quick cliff hanger.

Are we to assume that this is the same Pictionary playing Daleks Sek and Thay that we met in Torchwood Towers at the end of Season Two?  I know that Sek ran away with his “emergency temporal shift” trick, but did that automatically take the other three with him?  Perhaps the names Sek and Thay are just very common on Skaro.  Are they perhaps the equivalent of Smith and Jones within the Cult of Skaro?

There was more of the supposed Gay agenda to this week when, after being reunited, the Doctor told both Martha and Frankie that they could kiss him later, if they wished. I’m actually not to bothered about this new trend.  I know it causes a degree of ill will amongst fans, but I think that it’s in keeping with the new attitude that has been prevalent in the show pretty much since it came back. It ties in with the real Captain Jack’s attitude (the one from Doctor Who, not his boring twin from Torchwood) to sex which obviously the Doctor would have picked up on too.  He’s been around more than Jack and so would have encountered and enjoyed a similar perspective on the whole thing.

As coincidence would have it, there’s a current thread on the Empire movie forum (In the Off Topic section, naturally) that addresses this same subject (It can be found here, if you’re interested).  Now admittedly it appears that female ‘experimentation’ is more acceptable than male, but it shows that times are changing and when we get to Jack’s era we may well be more flexible, as it were.  I imagine that it would help.

Anyway, he’s into musical theatre

I think Martha (or should I say Freema) did very well again this week.  I did like the business with the lipstick when she was talking to Tallulah, it just seemed so natural.  Two girlies having a chat about men and she just picks up the lippy and tries it out to see if it’s her colour.  It just felt right, like ladies would do when they were bonding.  I have to say that I really do think that Martha’s just going to get better and batter as time progresses.  She’s a bit bright, too, isn’t she?  I couldn’t tell you when the Wall Street crash happened, but she knew the year straight off.  She’s a bright lass.

Except I do wish she’d get over this crush she’s got on the Doctor.  Eventually, these romantic feelings should wear off and be replaced by a much more solid friendship.  Please stop mooning over the man – He’s not capable of returning your love/lust.  Anyway, he’s into musical theatre.  I have to say that I did chuckle when Tallulah said that.

Stayting with Tallulah for one more moment.  Did she never think it was odd that there was a manhole cover in the theatre?  I admit that I’ve not been backstage in that many off Broadway theatres, but is it common to have sewer access in your dressing room?  Although, if you think about it, things would have been much easier for the Phantom of the Opera if he’d thought of it.

One last thought.  The Daleks have been to the Empire State Building before.  Or should I say will go Pigs_and_cothere again?  During The Chase, Doctor One and Co popped by briefly whilst being chased through time and space by the Daleks.  According to Peter Purvis the year was 1966 which makes it thirty odd years later than the events unfolding at the moment (if you know what I mean).  Would this mean that the Dalek bumps/Sense Globes/Etheric Beam Locators were still be there and if so, why didn’t the Daleks of 1966 mention them at all?

I know that in ‘reality’ they didn’t mention them because nobody had written about them being up there for another forty years, but it’ll be interesting to see if somebody remembers to take them down to avoid that sort of thing cropping up.

Anyway, roll on next week.  I avoided the “Next Week” spoiler as the nice man warned me about it, so I have no idea what’s going to happen.  I do wonder if there’s going to be some kind of confrontation with the Doctor at some point though…

Comments

Generally I don't have a problem with the gay thing either, except that I suspect it's put in these days more to annoy "online fandom" than for the benefit of the plot/characters. Maybe that can be in the next Tachynews, "RTD blames gay agenda on online fandom".

I also hope that Martha having a crush on the Doctor goes away. How many RTD companions haven't actually fancied the Doctor? I think Mickey is the only one as Rose, Captain Jack, nu-Sarah Jane and now Martha all did. And perhaps K-9 was humping the Doctor's leg out of shot?

Too true. Hopefully the series will finally grow out of the it-has-to-have-a-romantic-hero ghetto and, well, grow up!

"As coincidence would have it, there’s a current thread on the Empire movie forum (In the Off Topic section, naturally) that addresses this same subject (It can be found here, if you’re interested). "

Interesting second post on that thread. I took the "kiss me as well" (or whatever it was) line to mean that the Doc doesn't favour either option, as the implications mean nothing to him!

Firstly, good review, Jon. Though I think the pig-things looked great; must've been quite frightening for younger members of the audience. Secondly, if RTD is injecting gayness into the plots merely to annoy fandom, then good for him! It's about time. Thirdly, how could any travelling companion not have a crush on this particular incarnation of the Doctor?! I mean, it would be so unreal if that were to happen.

I don't think Martha is going to have any clue that the Doctor won't...well, I'll say PROBABLY won't reciprocate her feelings. She's only been with him for 3 trips by this point after all.

Didn't that "Dalek ameoba thing" look awfully like a Rutan? I don't suppose it was made of frozen swarfega this time, would have made a hell of a mess of the Doctors pocket. Is there more classic series name dropping in this season than before? I mean we've already had the Eternals and the Great Vampire mentioned I think.

Too true. Hopefully the series will finally grow out of the it-has-to-have-a-romantic-hero ghetto and, well, grow up!

--------------------------------------------

Oh the irony, someone asking a programme primarily aimed at children to grow up - maybe you should take your own advice and well .... grow up!

I too hope that this romantic subplot between Martha & the Doctor is knocked on the head. Otherwise it's going to turn into a rehash of the Doctor/Rose relationship. There was nothing wrong with that originally but it's over now, let's move on. Martha was described as a companion who would have a different relationship with the Doctor than Rose did but all she seems to do so far is moon over the Doctor.

"Oh the irony, someone asking a programme primarily aimed at children to grow up - maybe you should take your own advice and well .... grow up!"

You do know this doesn't make sense? I was talking about something kids don't even care about. Unless this is just a "SHUTUPSHUTSHUTUP" post in disguise....

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