by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Doctor Who”

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "A Good Man Goes To War"

Posted 11 June 2011 in by Catriona

In this cold little side dimension in which Doctor Who doesn’t clash with a birthday party, Nick and I and our entire peanut gallery are all set to live-blog the last episode of Doctor Who for this mini-season.

Heather’s doing an Izzy Stradlin-style guitar solo at the moment, without the guitar. But we’ll start, shall we?

HEATHER: Are we going to have that really [redacted] intro? Because I hate that.

Previously, Amy is not Amy. That’s really the only important thing.

Elsewhere, at Demon’s Run, Amy has an adorable baby girl, called Melody Pond. She tells Melody that this isn’t a time for lies.

HEATHER: It’s a time for breastfeeding.

Amy tells Melody to be very very brave, but not as brave as they’ll need to be, because there’s someone coming.

Elsewhere, the Cybermen are not happy.

AMY: There’s a man who’s never going to let us down. And not even an army can get in his way.

But an army comes for Melody right then.

The Cybermen are still not happy.

AMY: He’s the last of his kind. He looks young, but he’s lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. And whereever they take you, Melody, however scared you are, I promise you, you won’t ever be alone. Because this man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better as the Last Centurion.

Rory confronts the Cybermen, saying he has a message from the Doctor and a question from him.

The question?

RORY: Where is my wife?

The Cybermen want to know what the Doctor’s message is, and some cyber-ships blow up.

RORY: Do you want me to repeat the question?
HEATHER: He’s a little bit sexy when he does that.
ME: So it’s not just me!
HEATHER: Oh no. Lesbian peanut gallery gives the thumbs up to Rory.

Elsewhere, two members of the waiting army are praising the Doctor and wondering about the creepy headless monks. A cute girl Marine from the Gamma forests can explain that, though. Apparently, the monks believe the head is the seat of doubt and the heart is the seat of faith, so they follow their hearts. That’s all “headless” means.

The Marines all introduce themselves.

MARINE: We’re the thin-fat, gay-married Anglican Marines. Why would we need names as well?

The fat Marine has to head off for his conversion training with the monks, while the thin Marine asks how the Gamma-girl Marine knew the Doctor already.

FAT MARINE: What’s in the little boxes?

The boxes are about the right side for a head.

MICHELLE: No!
HEATHER: He’s gay, honey. He has to die.
MICHELLE: The gay ones always die.

Elsewhere (again), we’re in Victorian London, where someone has just killed Jack the Ripper.

MAID: How did you find him?
SILURIAN: Stringy. But tasty all the same. I won’t be needing dinner.

Silurian-Victorian female detective? Awesome.

Of course, she has a TARDIS in her drawing room, which doesn’t come as the shock to her it would be to me. Then again, I don’t have a drawing room.

Elsewhere elsewhere, there’s a Sontaran nurse (a nurse? Really?) helping in the American Revolutionary War of the future.

Or something.

Apparently, his working as a nurse is a penance imposed by the Doctor. So when the TARDIS arrives, he leaves happily.

In Stormcage, River is coming back to her cell, in what looks like Victorian dress. She tells them to turn off the alarm, because she’s breaking back in. And then Rory turns up.

River says it’s her birthday, and the Doctor has taken her ice-skating on the Thames in 1814. (But that’s not particularly Regency dress. Looks like they raided the Charles Dickens adaptation wardrobe again.)

Rory says he’s come from the Doctor, too.

RIVER: Yes, but from a different point in time.
RORY: Unless there’s two of them.
RIVER: No, that’s a whole different birthday.

Rory wants River to come with him, but she says she can’t. She can’t be with the Doctor at the battle of Demon’s Run until the very end, because this is the day he finds out who she really is.

MICHELLE: Who is she?

Elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere, the blue chappie who sold River Song her time-wrist-thingy is closing up business, knowing what’s coming. The eye-patch woman says that they’ve waited a month and the Doctor’s done nothing. But the blue chappie says that the Doctor’s been calling in favours. And god help them. And the people who owe the Doctor favours.

He asks if they know why their asteroid is called Demon’s Run.

BLUE CHAPPIE: A very old saying. The oldest. “Demons run when a good man goes to war.”

And then the Doctor comes for the blue chappie, despite his protests.

The cynical army chappie whose name I don’t know is rousing his troops, while Amy watches from her prison window. As she watches, the Gamma-girl Marine comes in. She should be at the parade, but she’s brought Amy a prayer leaf, on which she’s embroidered Melody’s name.

AMY: Can I borrow your gun?
GIRL MARINE: Why?
AMY: Because I’ve got a feeling you’re going to keep talking.

They compare Doctor memories, and Amy tell the Gamma girl to make sure she’s on the right side when the Doctor gets here. Not for Amy’s sake: for the Gamma girl’s sake.

The Marines are doing that “Boo-yah!” thing that Marines do.

Their commander says that the Marines should wonder why the headless monks are called “headless.” He says it’s time to see what they’ve sacrificed for faith.

MICHELLE: Their heads?
ME: Yes, but you’re not supposed to know that.

Sure enough, they don’t have heads. That’s foul.

Except for the last one, because he’s the Doctor.

DOCTOR: Hello, everyone. Guess who? Please. Point a gun at me if it helps you relax. You’re only human.

The commander tells the Doctor to relax and the Doctor starts counting down.

DOCTOR: Amelia Pond! Get your coat!

The Doctor’s disappeared at some point while I wasn’t paying attention, and the panicked Marines start shooting the monks, who start shooting back.

The eye-patch woman thinks that this is a good time to leave.

The Silurian detective and her maidservant (Jenny) are taking control of the station’s communications.

MAIDSERVANT: Clever, isn’t he?
SILURIAN: And rather attractive.
MAIDSERVANT: You do realise he’s a man, don’t you?
SILURIAN: Mammals. They all look alike.

The commander is still trying to bring his troops under control.

COLONEL: I’m discharging my weapon pack.
HEATHER: Is that what you call it?

Meanwhile, the Marines (they’re the Clerics, actually, from the earlier episode with the stone angels, but I didn’t have time to note that) are chanting, “We are not fools.”

The Gamma-girl goes running off, only to find the Doctor’s discarded robe.

HEATHER: Oh. I was hoping she’d turn out to be the lesbian.

The jets (they’re not jets, I know) from the Winston Churchill episode turn up and shoot the asteroid. We all groan, because we hated that the first time. Then Rory stops the eye-patch woman from getting on her ship (with the help of some eighteenth-century pirates), the Gamma-girl Marine shrugs off her weapons pack, and the Doctor tells the commander to give the order to run away.

He wants people to call the commander “Colonel Runaway”, so that people know what happens when they try to get to the Doctor through the people he loves.

The eye-patch woman, escorted in by Silurians, says that the anger of good men is not a worry, because good men have too many rules.

DOCTOR: Good men don’t need rules. Today’s not the day to find out why I have so many.

Elsewhere (elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere), Rory turns up to rescue Amy, and he’s holding Melody.

Amy’s happy to see a crying Roman carrying a baby.

DOCTOR: Hello, Melody Pond.
RORY: Melody Williams.
AMY: Melody Williams is a geography teacher. Melody Pond, now she’s a super-hero.

There’s gratuitous hugging.

DOCTOR: Really, you should call her “Mummy” and not “Big Milk Thing.”
AMY: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: I speak baby.
AMY: No, you don’t.

Everyone’s happily reunited at the TARDIS, except Melody who won’t stop crying. (There’s some nice dialogue from Amy there that I didn’t have time to transcribe.)

After the Sontaran claims to produce impressive amounts of breast milk, thanks to gene splicing, the Doctor comes out with an old cradle, and Amy tries to get him to talk about his own family.

During some impressive hugging, the Doctor explains that Amy must have been taken some time before America, and that she’s been simultaneously on the TARDIS and at Demon’s Run.

After a bad fake-out about the Doctor being Melody’s father (when he means that the cradle is his old cradle), the Doctor heads off to find out what they’ve found in the computer systems.

The Silurian wants to know if Melody is human, because she has Time Lord DNA. That’s what they’ve found in the computer systems.

The Gamma-girl, who’s been captured by the Sontaran, is trying to convince them all that this is genuinely a trap.

The Doctor is surprised that Melody has Time Lord DNA, but the Silurian says that Time Lords became Time Lords after billions and billions of years’ exposure to the Time Vortex.

MICHELLE: This is so, like, queer, and polyamorous, and stuff.

The Silurian wants to know if Melody could have been conceived in flight.

DOCTOR: No, no: impossible. It’s all running-about sexy-fish-vampire stuff.

Then he remembers that the first time these two were together on the TARDIS (when Rory wasn’t dead, plastic, or in another reality) was on their wedding night.

I can’t really follow all the stuff about DNA, the Doctor, cooking your own Time Lord, and so forth. Let’s discuss it in the comments, shall we?

The eye-patch woman, coming up on the comms to speak to the Doctor from a distance, says that the child is hope: hope in the long, bitter war against the Doctor.

Did I mention that the headless monks don’t register as life-forms, so they’ve stayed behind to spring a trap?

They’re singing the “attack prayer”.

HEATHER: See, they are Enigma!

Melody and Amy go into hiding, while centurion-Rory heads out to fight. The blue chappie thinks he can talk some reason into the headless monks, but that noise definitely sounded like someone’s head being struck off with a sword.

The Doctor, still speaking to the eye-patch woman, says that he’ll never let her get near Melody again.

But the eye-patch woman says that fooling the Doctor once was a joy, but fooling him twice, in exactly the same way, is a privilege.

Over a furious battle, River’s voice recounts the old proverb about Demon’s Run, and Melody collapses into flesh.

She was an avatar all along.

By the time the Doctor bursts in to reveal this, the battle is over, and not everyone is still standing. The Sontaran, for example, is dying.

SONTARAN: It’s all right. I had a good life. I’m nearly twelve.

Amy is nearly catatonic, and the Doctor has no idea how to apologise for this. Amy knows it’s not his fault, but she’s still devastated.

And elsewhere, the cute Gamma-girl Marine, Lorna (don’t correct my spelling: it was that Silurian’s pronunciation), is also dying.

The Doctor thanks her for helping his friends.

She sys they’ve met before, but he probably doesn’t remember.

DOCTOR: Of course I remember. I remember everyone. Hey: we ran. You and me. Didn’t we run, Lorna?

She dies.

DOCTOR: Who was she?
SILURIAN: I don’t know. But she was very brave.
DOCTOR: They’re always brave. They’re always brave.

And then River turns up.

But the Doctor is furious.

DOCTOR: Where the hell were you? Every time you’ve asked me for help, I was there. Where the hell were you today?

But River’s having none of it. She tells the Doctor that he’s become something that he should never have become. And she comes back to a nice point that I missed earlier, where Lorna could only understand the word “Doctor” to mean “mighty warrior.” It’s a good point.

(There’s also the question of whether this contradicts River’s rapturous description of “her” Doctor in her original two-parter, where she thought the Tenth Doctor was but a pale imitation. Or was that perhaps not quite so rapturous as I remember?)

But River comes back to the idea that all this is coming out of fear of the Doctor.

HEATHER: Everything’s so intense!
MICHELLE: And thanks for the info-dump. That was really useful.

River’s distracted by the cot, but the Doctor wants to know who she is. And she says she’s telling him, but we can’t see what she’s showing him. He seems quite delighted by it, though, in a gangly schoolboy way.

(Seriously, I can’t even imagine being married to the Doctor—as I assume River is—when he’s in this kind of mode. It would be like marrying a first-form Etonian schoolboy.)

He heads off in the TARDIS, telling River to get them all home.

And Amy’s furious to be kept out of the loop. She wants to know—at gunpoint, if necessary—what River told the Doctor.

River says that the TARDIS translation circuits take a while with written text, which is why we’re only now seeing that the prayer leaf reads, in the language of the Gamma Forest, “River Song.”

Because they don’t have a word for “pond.”

Because the only water in the forest is the river, just as the TARDIS told us back in “The Doctor’s Wife.”

And that’s it for three months. Have at it in the comments!

Doctor Who: "A Good Man Goes to War" Spoiler Discussion Post

Posted 4 June 2011 in by Catriona

As with the end of season four, when we were all really cranky and wanted to talk about Donna’s lobotomy before the ABC aired the episode, I’m thinking a spoiler thread about the mid-season finale of season six might come in handy here.

It’s just an idea I had …

I think I might be right …

So, keep the spoilers in the comments below.

Anyone who’s keeping themselves free of spoilers, ‘ware the comments thread.

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "The Almost People"

Posted 4 June 2011 in by Catriona

Moderately late for the live-blogging after spending the day at a belated 40th birthday party (which was flooded out in January).

So I can’t guarantee the coherence of this live-blogging, but, eh—what’s new?

I’m not going to live-blog the previouslies, because I think we all remember those. Gangers, acid, monasteries, etc.

So now we have a ganger Doctor, but he doesn’t seem to be coping well. Our Doctor says that the flesh is struggling to cope with the past regenerations. That would explain why he just offered us a jelly baby. But he seems a bit violent and hysterical. I don’t trust red-rimmed eyes.

Credits.

Oh, Amy-Pond voiceover. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways, when I have a minute.

We come back from the credits where we left off: the ganger Doctor isn’t coping and the rest are barricading the room. But the gangers have stopped banging on the doors, which isn’t a good sign.

Except, of course, that the factory mines acid. Which, as it turns out, is a really good thing if you need to get through a locked door.

But now the ganger Doctor has calmed down a bit, been interrogated by our Doctor, and now the two are BFFs.

But they are wearing different shoes, which will no doubt come in handy at some point and not be at all confusing.

Our Doctor points out that there are conduits running under the floors, so they all manage to escape before the gangers break in. One of the gangers has a splitting headache, which I’m sure is relevant.

Elsewhere, ganger Jennifer is painting circles of flesh on the walls, and being quietly stalked by Rory.

Our Doctor wants to scan for Rory and Jennifer. But the main thing is to get above the choky gas that’s being caused by an interaction between acid and the stone walls. They head for the evac tower.

But the gangers know that they’re heading for the evac tower, because ganger Cleaves points out that they are, after all, the same people.

Jimmy and ganger Jimmy both reminisce about their son, whose birthday it is. But ganger Jennifer bursts in, saying she remembers the suppressed memories of their previous lives, all those creations and deaths. The other gangers don’t remember their previous lives, but ganger Jennifer does, and now she’s talking about revolution.

That was a bit quick, wasn’t it? Leaping from desire to live to full-blooded, bloody revolution in about half an hour?

In the evac tower, the Doctors are working together to fix the computers, and insisting that they’re both the Doctor. But Amy is showing an oddly xenophobic streak, saying that “being almost the Doctor is pretty damn impressive” but that one of them is definitely the real, proper, here-first Doctor.

Power comes up, and Amy wants to scan for Rory. But Cleaves’s first step is to call the mainland. She wants to be evacuated from the mainland, and the gangers to be wiped out. She also attaches a codeword to future messages, but types it, so that the listening gangers can’t hear.

Elsewhere, Jennifer is trying to operate some technology with her hand print, but they won’t recognise her as an authorised user.

The Doctor sets up a delayed phone call, while Amy goes wandering off towards a stone wall—which slides open to show the eyepatch woman, and then slides shut again. This time, she’s willing to talk to the Doctor about it. The Doctor says that it’s a time memory, like a mirage, and nothing to worry about. But the ganger Doctor, in the foreground, definitely looks worried.

And, indeed, he runs out of the room, and Amy follows him. She apologises for calling the ganger Doctor “almost the Doctor”, but says that she’s been through so much with the Doctor. And she tells him that she might have seen the Doctor die. The ganger Doctor asks why, and Amy says that he invited them to see his death.

But the ganger Doctor doesn’t mean why did she see the Doctor die. He means why do the gangers have to die over and over? And he slams Amy up against the wall as he rants about this.

Amy runs, but the ganger Doctor, bursting back into the room, says that he’s connected to the flesh (our Doctor felt it, too, but not as strongly). He can feel what they feel and what they want.

The end result of this is that the ganger Doctor is isolated on a barrel in the corner, even though our Doctor says that he is him and so on.

Rory finds Jennifer, but there are two Jennifers, which makes things a bit tricky.

RORY: So one of you is human, and one of you I’ve sat with and talked with.

He’s a such a sweetheart, Rory.

He says that the Doctor wants the gangers to live, and he’s with the Doctor all the way.

But the Jennifers fight, and one (the one that’s not limping) falls into a pool of acid, and melts into a puddle of flesh.

In the evac tower, they spot Rory and Jennifer heading towards the thermostatic chamber, and send someone out to find them.

DOCTOR: Am I crazy, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well, you did once plug your brain into the core of a planet to halt its orbit and win a bet.

In the thermostatic chamber, Jennifer gets Rory to turn the machine on.

JENNIFER: It’s this wheel. It’s just too strong for a girl to turn. Are you feeling strong?
RORY: I’ll break out the big guns.

And he makes an adorable bicep-flexing gesture. Say again: such a sweetheart.

She uses Rory’s hand to get a the machine to recognise a human user.

Hmmm.

Of course, the machine has actually turned off all the cooling vents, so that the entire island is now sitting on litres and litres of boiling acid.

That can’t be good.

Elsewhere, the gangers have guessed Cleaves’s codeword, and Cleaves has an inoperable blood clot in her brain. The gangers re-route the rescue shuttle.

In a locked (or formerly locked) room, deep underground, Rory and Jennifer find a room full of discarded flesh, left to rot still conscious, because it was faulty.

That is actually pretty cold.

On their rescue mission, the ganger Doctor and Buzzer find Jennifer—human Jennifer—who slips into death just as they find her. She’s been lying out in the cold for hours and hours, waiting for someone to find her.

Poor Jennifer.

And who’s with Rory?

Buzzer knocks the Doctor on the head, and leaves him to lie in the yard.

The others, running for the thermostat room and safety, pass the wall that ganger Jennifer was marking with circles of flesh earlier, to find the wall peppered with eyeballs—accusing eyeballs.

Ganger Jennifer, speaking to the discarded flesh, finds Buzzer and kills him in another slightly unconvincing special effect.

But the main group meet up with Rory, who says that Jennifer has a way out of the monastery, a tunnel that isn’t on the schematics.

The gangers find the injured ganger Doctor, and take him under their wing.

He says that they should call him John Smith.

Rory and Jennifer lock the main group into a secure room. Rory isn’t happy about this, but Jennifer tells him a story that the ganger Jennifer originally told him. She flashes ganger eyes at him, and drags him off, over Amy’s insistence that he should open the door again.

Rory’s completely furious that Jennifer’s dead and that the ganger Jennifer created (and killed) another ganger Jennifer just to gain his confidence.

Jennifer’s preaching revolution again, and Nick wonders how the gangers know that this is the ganger Doctor. Perhaps because they left him in the yard with a bump on his head?

The group locked in the secure room are facing an exploding tank of acid, any minute now.

The Doctor’s delayed phone call (which I can’t remember mentioning before, but I might have) comes through: it’s to Jimmy’s son. And since ganger Jimmy is there, he gets to have a cheery birthday phone call with his son. But he doesn’t—he runs off to rescue actual proper Jimmy. And ganger Cleaves tells ganger Dickens to drain the acid pit in whatever room the others are in.

Jennifer, though, says she’ll take revenge on humanity with or without the others, and storms off in the middle of the Doctor’s heartwarming speech about the other, non-revenge options.

Ganger Jimmy gets there just in time to see Jimmy take a litre of acid to the sternum. Since the acid has “reached his heart”, there’s nothing they can do to save him. But he still has time to make a long, dying speech, and pass his son (and wife, presumably. Ew.) over to his ganger’s keeping.

Is that really how hearts work? Or, for that matter, acid?

The annoying child is still on the phone when the others come back to the main dining room, so ganger Jimmy—who is now the only Jimmy—has time to have a lovely birthday conversation with his new son.

Now they need to move, says the Doctor.

And it’s true that ganger Jennifer—who is now the only Jennifer, of course—is a bit hysterical and, well, monstrous now.

I have a bit of a problem with this monster, and it’s not just because, once again, the special effects aren’t very convincing. But I don’t really have time—in fact, Dickens died while I was typing that I didn’t have any time to discuss it.

Everyone discusses who will stay behind to hold the door shut, while the TARDIS (which has just dropped through the roof) dematerialises. But it looks as though the Doctor’s planning on staying behind. Until the ganger Doctor points out that they swapped shoes, and he’s been the real Doctor all along.

Amy tells the ganger Doctor that he’s twice the man she thought he was. And he tells her to push, “but only when she tells you to.”

The Doctor tells the ganger Doctor that his molecular memory might survive, but his flesh has definitely gone, as he uses the sonic screwdriver to collapse himself and ganger Cleaves.

The TARDIS, says the Doctor, has stabilised the gangers. They’re people now, he says.

And he cures Cleaves’s blood clot.

And drops Jimmy off with his son.

And drops Cleaves and ganger Dickens—now the only Dickens—off to give a big press conference for their company.

They head in, to questions and flashbulbs. And the Doctor tells Amy to breathe—just in time for some apparently crippling stomach cramps.

Oh, sorry: contractions. She’s going into labour.

With that flat stomach? Really?

The Doctor says that he needed to see the flesh in its early days, that’s why he scanned it, and why he tried to drop them off for fish and chips.

He needed enough information to block the signal to the flesh, to Amy.

He tells Rory to stand away, and Rory (who trusts the Doctor with both his life and his wife) does so.

The Doctor says that given what they’ve learnt, he’ll be as humane as he can be, but he has to do this. “I promise,” he says, “we’re coming for you.”

AMY: I’m right here.
DOCTOR: No, you’re not. You haven’t been here for a long, long time.

And he dissolves her into flesh.

And Amy, waking up in a tube, looks down over her own enormous stomach to see the eyepatch woman telling her to push, and screams us into the “To be continued” screen.

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