Tag Archives: doctor who series 7

Mr. Weasley, Nefetiti, & Lestrade—oh my! “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” is a fun adventure, with a hint of ominousity…

Well, this was a good one! “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” was more for the laughs and joy of space travel than for any real plot development. The Doctor is informed that a spaceship is headed towards Earth and must turn its course, or risk losing the cargo inside. If the ship does not change its course, then missiles will be launched to stop it.

So, the Doctor recruits Queen Nefetiti (feisty and independent, I loved her!), John Riddell (a game hunter from 1912), & the Ponds—accidentally bringing along Rory’s father, Brian—and parks the TARDIS in the what appears to be an empty spaceship. Until they hear a thud! thud! The valuable cargo? Dinosaurs!

Unfortunately, the computer system transports the Doctor, Rory, & Brian, and after a little scuttle with some pterodactyls, they run into two rusty robots (voiced by David Mitchell, who I figured out by his wonderful whine, & Robert Webb). The robots, bickering along the way, takes them to their leader (couldn’t resist that one…neither could the Doctor!), Solomon, who overheard the Doctor’s name and thinks he is a real doctor. Solomon’s legs are damaged and he tells the Doctor how his ship crashed into the one they are on now. A phone call from Amy tells the Doctor that the ship was built for the Silurians to start a new life but there are no bodies found. Solomon reveals that he killed them all, and stole their dinosaurs to make a profit.

Except now he needs the Doctor’s help to escape. The ship is still heading for Earth and the missiles are unfortunately launched. But the Doctor won’t let him get away with the dinosaurs, nor does he want the spaceship to be blown into smithereens. What to do?

Well, it all got a bit complicated. Solomon demands for Nefetiti in exchange for the dinosaurs. The Doctor of course says no, but Nefetiti chooses to go to save the rest. The Doctor magnetizes Solomon’s ship so it’s unable to leave, while he has Rory & Brian fly the larger spaceship as far away from Earth as possible. Since the missiles are following the signal of the Silurian ship, the Doctor decides to switch signals with Solomon. Nefetiti knocks Solomon down and escapes with the Doctor. Everyone is safe—except Solomon, who begs for his life and is refused. The missiles latch onto the signal on Solomon’s ship and makes impact.

It’s important to remember that though the Doctor does not condone violence, he does not shy from it. He is a man who will give others an option, but if they refuse to take it, he will do what is necessary for the greater good. The Time War only ended when he committed genocide against his own people and the Daleks. Violence is always his last resort.

Now that the bad guys are gone, it’s time for dinosaur drop off! Except the Ponds ask to go home, just for a few months, and we see the Doctor’s face try to hide the hurt. Brian makes a request to see his home planet while sipping a hot drink, and it’s such a beautiful moment that is clouded by the knowledge that the Ponds will one day leave the TARDIS for good.

The Doctor hadn’t realized when he picked up Amy & Rory (and Brian) that it had been ten months since they last saw him. He made so many friends in various places and time periods, he didn’t notice how much time had actually passed. In the midst of switching the signals of the ships, the Doctor and Amy have a little catch-up. He asks her about her job, but she gave it up—she never knows when he’s coming, so she ends up just waiting for him.

“I just worry there’ll come a time when you never turn up, that something will have happened to you, and I’ll still be waiting. Never knowing.”

The Doctor assures her he’s not going anywhere. “You’ll be the death of me,” he jokes. “Or vice versa,” Amy quips. The reality of her statement shocks him; it’s the reason why he tried to stop traveling with them in the first place back in “The God Complex.” I mean, if there’s any reason to watch this episode, besides the wacky stuff Matt Smith can do with his face, it is for this moment. We know the Ponds are leaving him this series, but we still don’t know how or why. River Song hasn’t been mentioned yet, which is a bit odd since she is the Pond’s only child and the Doctor’s wife. It doesn’t even look like she’ll be in the next episode, which is a Western (not a fan of that genre) and the Doctor is wearing one of his silly hats.

If one thing’s for sure, the story arc for this series is the disconnection between the Doctor and the Ponds. The times they see him are getting farther and farther apart. Amy is unable to settle down in her life with Rory because she is in a constant state of waiting—something she has been doing since she was seven years old. The longer they stay together—the Doctor & Amy—the more they depend on each other. No matter what he told her in “The God Complex,” she still sees the Doctor as her hero and he sees Amy as that little girl who believed in him.

Next week’s episode is called “A Town Called Mercy.”

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TV TO-WATCH LIST

I love the Fall TV season! There’s the excitement of new shows & old favorites returning. Plus, it’s cardigan weather. I love cardigan weather.

Usually I get into shows either after multiple seasons have passed or they are already off-air. Very rarely do I start a show from its humble beginnings. I either lose interest (Glee) or get freaked out (Supernatural…that Bloody Mary episode was a bit too much for me). However, this year I shall be watching two new shows—FOX’s The Mindy Project & CBS’s Elementary.

Returning shows I will be watching include The Office (but thank God this is the last season!), Community (nervous, but hopeful), Parks & Recreation, Doctor Who, and The Hour. I still have to figure out some premiere dates, but I believe Miranda & Luther are being filmed at the moment or at least in some stage of production.

That being said, I hope to catch up or begin to watch other shows. This past summer, I marathoned Arrested Development, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, 30 Rock, Downton Abbey, & Scrubs (still watching). Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands.

But there are a bunch of shows out there I either never gave a chance or ever heard of—I want that to change. All recommendations are welcomed! If there’s a favorite show of yours that is underrated or off-air but still exhilarating to watch, please let me know. Even if it’s a show I’ve already seen, I would be glad to do rewatchs and write up what I think about the stories and characters now.

If you have a show you’d like to recommend, leave a comment & I’ll look into it!

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“Soufflés? Against the Daleks?” The Oncoming Storm blows us away with yet another great series opener!

Wow. This feels like a new Who. In a good way.

In this first episode of the series, we see a marriage fall apart, the Daleks finally return, & the Doctor is no longer the most feared being in all the cosmos. Steven Moffat resets Doctor Who so our favorite Timelord can truly fall into the shadows and not carry the burden of the universe on his shoulders.

The episode opens on Skaro, the Dalek home planet, where the Doctor meets a woman called Darla in secret who claims she needs his help in rescuing her daughter from a Dalek prison camp. The Doctor is suspicious, and rightly so—this is a trap, the woman is a humanoid Dalek puppet, & he is transported to the Parliament of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Ponds are in the process of signing papers for a divorce, but there is no immediate explanation. The first shots we see of Amy are in a photoshoot, with the words “HATE,” then “LOVE” written on her knuckles. Rory brings the papers to sign, barely even looking at her as Amy asks with a hint of excitement, “And then we’re not married?”

After watching their relationship grow and become the perfect image of love, it’s disturbing to see Amy’s indifference towards Rory. But no time to ponder; Amy & Rory are also abducted by humanoid Daleks, & are transported to the Parliament.

They aren’t killed on the spot, which is confusing to both our heroes & us. But here’s the real mind-boggler, when the Doctor’s arch-enemies plead: “Save the Daleks!”

The Daleks have a planet called Asylum, where they keep the Daleks that have gone mad. The planet serves as an image of beauty, where hatred can exist and be admired. The Doctor is disgusted by this, which leads to a haunting line from the Daleks to him:

“Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you.”

Talk about a slap on the face. In fact, the Daleks now have a special word for the Doctor: Predator. Looks like River Song was right all along at Demon’s Run:

“You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the Universe, did you ever think you’d become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name. ‘Doctor.’ The word for healer and wise man throughout the Universe. We get that word from you, you know. If you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word Doctor means “Mighty Warrior.” How far you’ve come.”

While the Daleks love their Asylum, they have received a transmission from a ship that crashed there over a year ago from a woman named Oswin Oswald, who is (surprise!) played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. She is the only apparent survivor of her mission, fighting the Daleks outside her ship with her intelligence & knack for making burnt soufflés. Amused, the Doctor is immediately charmed by Oswin, although he does question where she gets her milk. Her crashed ship leaves the planet vulnerable, as it most likely knocked some of the force field down. This leaves the threat of escaped inmates to wander the universe, something even a sane Dalek fears.

So it’s settled: the Doctor will go into the Asylum, deactivate the force field which prevents the Daleks from destroying the planet, & then try to return to the TARDIS (which is inside the Parliament, where they most likely will be killed on the spot after completing their mission). The Doctor, Rory, & Amy are each given a bracelet which would protect them from turning into a humanoid Dalek while on the planet. But Rory questions why he & Amy even need to go on the mission.

“It is known the Doctor requires companions.”

At least the Daleks get it, too.

The Doctor & Amy get separated from Rory once they land in Asylum. A man who seems to have also survived the crash takes them into the ship, buried within the planet. His fellow crew mates are dead, and the man is confused at first. But then he remembers he died as well and turns into a humanoid Dalek. Even the dead bodies are humanoid Daleks, and they chase the Doctor & Amy further into the ship. Oswin helps them escape by hacking the system on the planet, but not before Amy loses her bracelet. The process is slow, but she starts to lose some short-term memories.

Rory, meanwhile, finds himself in a room with dormant Daleks. However, due to curiosity & clumsy behavior, he wakes them all up.

Amy’s not having much luck either—she starts hallucinating that the Daleks are people and almost gets killed by them. The Doctor taunts one of the Daleks that has no firepower, and turns it into reverse. The Dalek self-destructs and takes the rest of the fleet with it. Rory hears the “boom!” and rejoins the Doctor and Amy, the latter who is now going in and out of consciousness.

Oswin comments on Amy’s slow conversion: “Do you know how you make someone into a Dalek? Subtract love, add anger. Doesn’t she seem a bit too angry to you?”

Angry, yes. In fact, Amy’s behavior seems quite odd in this episode. More on this later.

With Oswin’s expert knowledge & natural brilliance, they all come up with a plan that’ll shut down the force field with enough time for them to escape. Oswin could do it from where she is—in the cockpit of her spaceship—but she wants the Doctor, her “Chin Boy,” to come get her first.

Rory: This place is crawling with Daleks.
Oswin: Yeah. Kind of why I’m anxious to leave.

The Doctor takes off to rescue Oswin, leaving Rory & Amy finally alone. Suddenly, the episode is no longer about life or death, planets and aliens, but about these two people the audience has watched fall in love, & prove that love over and over again. The boy and girl who waited. What went wrong?

Rory gets straight to it: He will take off his bracelet and put it on Amy, because the process of turning into a humanoid Dalek would be slower on him. Why?

“Amy, basic fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me. Which today is good news because it might just save both of our lives.”

I like that this is addressed, because for so long we’ve seen Rory be the guy who has always been in love with Amy before she even realized she loved him back. We know he has proved himself, by waiting for her for 2,000 years and for fighting at Demon’s Run. Rory has always loved Amy, but also fears he may not be enough for her.

What he doesn’t count on, though, is Amy becoming furious with him.

Amy: Don’t you dare say that to me. Don’t you ever dare.
Rory: Amy, you kicked me out!
Amy: You want kids, you have always wanted kids. Ever since you were a kid. And I can’t have them!
Rory: I know.
Amy: Whatever they did to me at Demon’s Run, I can’t ever give you children. I didn’t kick you out. I gave you up.
Rory: Baby, I don’t—
Amy: So don’t you dare talk to me about waiting outside a box because that is nothing, Rory, nothing! Compared to giving you up.

Infertility. A delicate subject, especially in a “children’s show”. But what is done beautifully in this scene is revealing the insecurities of both Rory & Amy. They love each other so much, but also feel like they don’t deserve the other. The callback to waiting for 2,000 years is not a competition for Rory, but an illustration of his love for his wife. In the same way, Amy gave up her marriage with Rory so that he could have what he always wanted—a nice family life full of kids and happiness. Rory knows she cannot have children, but he didn’t leave her. He loves Amy for being Amy. She kicked him out because she felt guilty for being able to have kids, and she knew he wouldn’t leave unless she made him. This explains the hostility she had in the beginning of the episode towards Rory and why once he left, she was miserable. Amy has always protected herself by pushing the people she loves out. Ending her marriage was an act of selflessness, just like Rory obliging to it because he believed that is what she truly wanted.

Realizing they both still loved each other, Rory demands she takes his bracelet and Amy, because she doesn’t want him to die either, absolutely refuses. They stop arguing when they discover that Amy already has a bracelet on her wrist—it’s the Doctor’s.

Oswin guides the Doctor through the ship to reach her. He must first pass through intensive care, where the Daleks who survived him are kept. Despite being silent for years, the Daleks recognize the Doctor as “Predator” and break loose from their chains. (Security in this place seems quite lax.) The door to Oswin won’t open and the Daleks start closing in. It’s frightening to watch the Doctor so scared, and it begs the audience to remember that this man does not travel with a weapon; just his mind & a sonic screwdriver. He’s immensely vulnerable, as he is in this moment, begging for Oswin’s help.

And help does come. Oswin, the hacking genius that she is, deletes all files pertaining to the Doctor. The Daleks on the ship forget who he is and the doors open. The Doctor is finally able to get Oswin out of the ship she has lived in for a year.

Just one problem. Oswin isn’t who she says she is.

In a horrifying twist of events, the Doctors asks Oswin if it feels real. Oswin is confused; she doesn’t understand why he won’t just come closer. She wants to get out.

Unfortunately, she won’t be able to. After Oswin’s ship crashed, the Daleks recognized her genius. Instead of turning her into a humanoid Dalek, like the rest of the crew, they did a full conversion—Oswin was a Dalek. The experience was so traumatic that she invented a dream world for herself, one that involved making soufflés & running around the ship’s cockpit in human form.

The revelation is devastating to Oswin as well, and her Dalek-self takes over to exterminate the Doctor. But then she stops herself. She is not Dalek. She is human. And there is only one thing left to do.

She tells the Doctor to run.

The Doctor: What did you say?
Oswin: I’m taking down the force field The Daleks above have begun their attack. Run!
The Doctor: Oswin, are you—
Oswin: I am Oswin Oswald. I fought the Daleks and I am human. Remember me.
The Doctor: Thank you.

The Doctor runs back to Rory and Amy, divorce papers forgotten, and the three of them teleport back to the Dalek Parliament as Asylum is destroyed. With pin-point accuracy, the Doctor teleports them inside the TARDIS, but he still can’t resist a little taunt at his arch-enemies.

Unfortunately for him, they do not recognize him.

The Doctor: Well it’s me. You know me. The Doctor. The Oncoming Storm. The Predator.
Darla: Titles are not meaningful in this context. Doctor who?

Ah, there it is. Oswin didn’t just delete the Doctor from Asylum’s database, but rather from all the Daleks. With a large grin, the Doctor is gleeful at the idea of absolute anonymity.

“Fellas, you’re never gonna stop asking.”

Well? What did you think? For me, this is exactly the kind of series premiere I was hoping for: filled with excitement, fun, character development, & an advancement in the Doctor Who mythology.

And what a brilliant performance by Jenna-Louise Coleman! Now that her character of Oswin has died off, it’ll be interesting to see how she will be introduced as Clara, the Doctor’s new companion, in the Christmas Special. But based simply on this one episode, without a single on-screen interaction with Matt Smith, their chemistry is still electric. She is able to keep up with, even exceed, his banter and adds a spark to the dynamic. Yes, it will be sad to have the Ponds leave, but having a new actress onboard will be refreshing.

This Saturday promises dinosaurs, Mr. Weasley, & Queen Nefertiti! Keep an eye out for the new design in the credits!

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DOCTOR WHO IS BACK! “Asylum of the Daleks” premieres tonight!

The best thing about most Doctor Who episode titles is that they sound like they belong to epic films! Maybe that’s credit to the rich mythology the show has established for the nearly fifty years.

And this is it…series 7 premieres tonight in the U.S. at 9pm on BBC America!

I hope you have been able to catch “Pond Life,” the web-mini-series the BBC has aired over the last five days. While the first four are fun and humorous as the Doctor tries to get in touch with the Ponds on the appropriate timeline, the final fifth episode is a cliffhanger which leads into “Asylum of the Daleks”.

Matt Smith has said in a recent interview that fans should rewatch “The Eleventh Hour,” the first appearance of the Eleventh Doctor and Amy, as everything comes full circle with the departure of the Ponds in their final series on Doctor Who.

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“Come along, Pond!” Doctor Who series 7 premieres this Saturday!

Finally, after a long wait, “Doctor Who” will return this Saturday at 9pm on BBC America!

Series 6 was definitely chaotic, but it also explored the devastating consequences of traveling too much with the Doctor. For a Timelord “cursed” to live forever, is it fair that he must give up his friends in order to save them? This question has come up time after time, companion after companion; a life with the Doctor does not last very long.

With this final series with the Ponds, and a promised death of a main character, waiting for the premiere is both exciting and absolutely dreadful. After seeing how happy the Doctor has become with his new family & knowing how much loss he has already experienced, the evitable tragedy of the “Doctor Who” saga is that no matter how many lives the Doctor saves, he still cannot save them all. He may help people reach their potential—as he has done with Sarah Jane, Mickey Smith, Donna Noble, and many others—but he cannot change their fate.

We root for the Doctor because, despite this overwhelming truth, he still soldiers on; he continues to do whatever it takes to inspire, educate, care, and love those he meets on his travels. The bad days don’t stop him from trying to give someone else a better one.

Perhaps Sarah Jane says it best: “The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends.”

(“Doctor Who” series 7 teaser trailer)

Watch BBC America’s marathon of “Doctor Who” on Sept. 1, as it leads up to the new series premiere at 9/8pm central.

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