Lent Term 2020
Sunday 19th January: Nicola Tesla’s Night of Terror
To quote Tom who writes the e-mails, greetings cats and kittens! Our first meeting coincided with a new series, bringing in greater numbers than usual (although thankfully we had anticipated this and booked a larger room at John’s to avoid a repeat of the series 11 Downing incident) who joined the Saturday regulars in viewing the latest Doctor Who historical episode. This episode, despite having a pantomime name, was actually really fun and dare I say the best episode of series 12 so far. Everyone’s parts were played to perfection, with a wonderfully starry-eyed Nicola Tesla opposite the grumpy, opportunistic, “definitely not a thief” Thomas Edison, a man notable for never having stolen anything in his life. Ever. Nope, no light-bulb thieves here. They were polar opposites and like magnets, opposites clearly attract, as shown by the huge amounts of sexual tension between the two (Whats a better ship name? Edisla? Teslison?). Oh and there were scorpion monsters too. Yeah they were also present. Possibly the most inept scorpions ever, but they were headed by the great queen Rani Chandra herself! You gotta love it when the cast of SJA show up in DW. Surprisingly everything ran smoothly tonight, apart from when the subtitles got stuck for a minute. Speaking of, I propose we start a petition to rename the episode: “Doctor Who and She gasps! I thought the Foreman had gone home!” Let’s be honest though, that title isn’t as silly as the real one they used.
Saturday 25th January: Kamelion Tales
Our next venture into the strange and confusing world of Classic Who featured a companion who, in the immortal words of Top Gear, was both ambitious and rubbish. Picture this: it’s 1983. Return of the Jedi is out. Sci-fi is all the rage and Doctor Who is at both the highs and lows of its power. The BBC needs a new, fresh idea and fast. What would draw kids to Doctor Who, the creators wonder. And then the cocaine hits. A robot! An actual, physical robot! And so it began, the forging of the deadliest companion in Doctor Who’s history. After a drunken week in the prop shed, Kamelion was born. This monstrosity was a fully operational, computer-controlled robot who could shape-shift and was sure to bring in the viewers. Unfortunately, like most things in the 80’s, it was very shiny and pretty crap. It constantly broke and its creator died (people believed this thing was cursed and I don’t want to disagree for fear of inciting its wrath), condemning Kamelion to rot in the shed it was conceived in after only two appearances.
Honestly, I don’t remember much about the King’s Demons, and I’m writing this about 15 minutes after seeing it. It looks like the Doctor Who team rushed into abandoned sets from Monty Python and the Holy Grail before anyone else could seize them and then in their rush, forgot to write a plot. The only thing anyone remembers about this episode is that a guy dies and then blinks just before the scene ends. Come on man, you had one job! After multiple Monty Python references and a guy on a lute playing Wonderwall, we finally reached the part with Kamelion in and sweet lord it was terrifying. His horrifying dead eyes seemed to follow you and his lips moved. Why did they move? Who thought this was a good idea? I’ll be lucky if I get to sleep tonight.
Following that catastrophe, we decided to continue our Kamelion quest by watching Planet of Fire, which actually was an interesting story. After a quick stop on Earth, Kamelion pilots the TARDIS to the planet Sarn, taking the Doctor, Turlough and Peri along for the ride. Once there, they must convince the natives that the messenger their God has sent isn’t the Chosen One, but the Master himself! For the first 3 episodes, everything runs smoothly. There’s a tight plot, good drama and an excellent introduction to Peri, who behaves in a way anyone would if they’d just been abducted and nearly murdered by a robot with nipples and a bop-it in its stomach. Unfortunately, that’s all ruined by the reveal that the Master has shrunk himself to 3 inches tall and has made a tiny console room in his TARDIS to control Kamelion. Naturally, after this no-one could keep a straight face, but we are all now excited for what promises to be the greatest showdown in history: Ant Man vs Tiny Master! Fortunately for everyone, Kamelion was destroyed in the final showdown, and I can only assume after the filming he was promptly lobbed in the bin where he belonged.
Sunday 26th January: Fugitive of the Judoon
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD THIS EPISODE WAS EVERYTHING!!!! Sorry, had to get that out. Okay now we’ve settled back down let’s go through what happened. We returned to St. John’s to view the latest episode of Doctor Who, which promised the exciting return of a platoon of Judoon near a lagoon beneath the Moon. Obviously we were all excited about this, but little did we know what Chibnall had in store for us. If you haven’t seen it yet, go now. Right now. Seriously how have you waited this long? GO!
Are you back? See the episode? Yeah, I know right, huge twists! Now I won’t spoil it here (although you’ve probably already seen it) because if I spoilt this episode for anyone, it would be the equivalent of saying I loved the Last Jedi in the street. In short, I’d have the crap kicked out of me (although I genuinely think the Last Jedi is amazing and the Rise of Skywalker undid so much of what made it great. Fight me). After the episode we formed a nice, organised
kill discussion circle and immediately threw out a million and one crazy fan theories to try and make sense of the twists we had just witnessed. In a rare turn of events, we actually kicked a society member out of the room, which may I just mention is not an accurate representation of our normal hospitality. In fact, we did it for their own good, as they turned up to meet a friend and hadn’t seen the episode yet. Well we couldn’t ruin it for them could we? See, we’re good people really. Mostly.
Sunday 2nd February: Praxeus
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this one as I was at a formal dinner. It was lovely but the whole time I couldn’t stop thinking about what could possibly happen after last week’s episode. What’s going to happen with that Doctor twist? Is Gallifrey really gone (again for like the third time)? And would any other Russell T characters come back (please Chibnall bring back Wilf as he was one of the best companions hands down)? As is the way however, once you’ve teased everyone with a bunch of tasty plot threads, you rip them away and don’t divulge anything about them in the next episode. That was what happened with Praxeus, a good episode that unfairly had to follow such a big one. On the plus side, each of the companions got their own side missions, which had genuinely intriguing mysteries and allowed them to further develop their own characters (they’re doing really well with this lately), although for reasons I don’t understand, Chibnall is making Ryan the biggest flirt in the galaxy (alright, second biggest after Jack). The villains of the piece were intriguing and understandable (although using Earth as a test site is a bit of a dick move in my books) and the side characters had good chemistry and believable motivations. Except for that guy in Madagascar. If you’ve been told to watch a group of infectious birds being controlled by some malevolent force, don’t walk away from the safety of the lab/TARDIS into an exposed beach where the birds can outrace you. Come on man that’s like, rule number 1! Overall, I’d say this episode is a better version of Orphan 55 in terms of its environmental message, plus it got a reference to autons in. Next time though, don’t reference them, just bring them back you cowards!
Saturday 8th February: Pyramids of Mars
Going against tradition we decided to showcase something that was actually good this Saturday, thinking this would draw people in to see an episode that made this series such a Sci-fi staple. Obviously, sod’s law thought it would be funny to mess with us and thus, only 8 people showed up including the entire council, previous members of the council and no doubt future members of the council (if you’re reading this, Scarlett is currently plotting to seize control of the society in a violent coup. Send help. Alternatively, if Scarlett is reading this, then you’re doing a great job and I just want to say how much I love my position as Keeper of the Matrix. Please don’t fire me). Anywho, lets get on with today’s recap. In our latest Classic Who viewing, we watched the beloved classic Pyramids of Mars, which surprisingly features very few pyramids and very little of Mars (both the planet and the chocolate variety). The episode begins with an ancient curse in an Egyptian tomb that befalls archaeologist Marcus Scarman but luckily his fate is not shared by the Egyptian workers, who calmly shuffle out the front exit once the hysterical shouting and screaming starts. What follows is 2 hours of extremely thicc mummies staggering about whilst high as a kite and poor Sutekh’s attempts to cure his impotence, whilst also being tortured by a million and one double-entendres. There’s also a rave and the greatest gif ever to grace our screens, which was poorly acted out by our wonderful troupe of actors (me, Tom and David). As you can see, we take ourselves very seriously in this society. Sutekh himself was a great villain, if only in his dialogue, as he couldn’t do much but really talk the talk. Wonder where we’ve seen that before (cough cough, Fisher King). This episode also featured the whitest Egyptians to exist, a very surprised sarcophagus and a wide variety of hats, which may explain where the 11th Doctor got his love of them from. Despite all the trash I’ve talked about 70’s effects, there was one thing they could do better than anyone: blow up miniature models in spectacular fashion.
We then followed this episode with another gem, The Trouble with Drax, a Big Finish audio that I suspect also involved a large amount of drugs. I won’t spoil it here because this episode features a lot of ridiculous (yet pretty impressive) twists that left everyone in stitches and in awe. This was immediately countered by David’s photoshopping skills, which left us terrified and concerned. Still, can’t be as bad as the poor soul who walked in to get his speakers and was confronted by worm Nardole (who despite looking like a melted waxwork, was still very sexy). Just another poor innocent forced to visit therapy after viewing Doctor Who. Oh well, if you can’t handle Darkseid Romana, you’re clearly not cut out for the society.
Disclaimer: To safeguard everyone’s already fractured mental health, I will not be posting any of David’s “art” on here. Thank me later.
Sunday 9th February: Can you hear me?
Braving a storm, our intrepid heroes set out to John’s to once more sate their desire for fresh episodes of Doctor Who. Just a quick note before I begin my run-down of the episode, we successfully avoided the repetition of an absolutely terrible joke just before the episode began. In short, we checked the sound was working before we started, thus preventing the entire society from chanting “can you hear me?” as a silent episode started. Right, crisis averted, we began this weeks episode. Boy were we in for a treat dear readers, because this episode gave us a whole heaping of wholesomeness and creepiness all at once. Once more, all of our companions get greater screen time and developed back stories that really work well for their characters, somehow making the fam even more lovable than they already were. We got this development through their interactions with friends back home in Sheffield, and through their creepy interactions with a nightmare inducing God-like entity who shall henceforth be known as Mr. Fingers (if you saw the episode you know why). Yaz’s nightmare hit too close to home, Ryan’s featured a Smash Mouth reference (world’s on fire, how ’bout yours?) and Graham’s was just way too dark for Doctor Who. Realistic but damn so dark. From these nightmares, the TARDIS crew find the location of a space prison, which contains Mr. Fingers’ friend, Met Gala lady, another God that maybe the Doctor should have done a background check on before releasing her. It’s alright though, they were quickly defeated in record time, shoved back into their prison faster than you could say “anticlimax”. Apparently Doctor Who can hype up powerful cosmic entities really well, but doesn’t know what to do with them once they’ve given their “I’m all powerful” speech (see above entry about Pyramids of Mars). Looking back, they probably weren’t that powerful. Through an animated segment (nice to see them experimenting with animation in DW) we learnt that they made a bet about who could get two neighbouring planets to kill themselves fastest. Not only did the planets not kill themselves for a few thousand years, but they learnt of each other’s existence, developed the technology to interact with the other, learnt that they were being manipulated by Gods and then designed a prison to trap said Gods for eternity. How the hell do you screw up so much that someone is able to make a prison to contain you, and then you fall into it? Proof that in Doctor Who, Godlike beings ain’t shit. Sorry, went on a bit of a rant there. But the rest of the episode was amazing. It portrayed mental health issues in a realistic way and left us feeling uplifted and optimistic about the future. I was so inspired I went back and did an essay. Yeah I know, a Cambridge student finding the will to write an essay?! Crazy right? Right this entry went on for too long so I’ll just sum up the end of the night in one sentence: we argued about the logistics of the Gummy Bear universe. We’re totally sane, I promise.
Saturday 15th February: Timeflight/Arc of Infinity
Well we finally did it. Nobody showed up to an event. Look at us, who’d have thought? Not me. Yeah, so only the council showed up to this one, although we’re agreeing to blame it on the weather, not the fact we were watching some utter crap this week. Right where do I start with this crap-fest? I guess Timeflight. How can I best describe Timeflight? Well, imagine you’re watching an aeroplane commercial, only halfway through, a racist version of the Master bursts into the room and punches you repeatedly in the face. That’s a pretty apt description of Timeflight, if I do say so myself. The plot (if you can call it that) was that a Concorde had gone missing, so the Doctor and Nyssa decide to take another Concorde to try and solve what happened. Along for the ride are a trio of pilots who are probably the best characters in this mess, although one has a dark secret: he starred in a Zygon porno (that sounds like I’m making this up for a joke but I’m serious. Someone made a Zygon themed soft porn film. I feel dirty just typing this. Please do not look this up, for our sakes). Behind the devious ploy is the evil Kalid who… oh God its bad. He chants in a heavy accent, he has a stereotypical beard and describes his powers as mystical magiks, before revealing himself to be the Master, who even for a genocidal maniac, probably regrets doing this disguise. There were also some Plasmotons. What are those? Nevermind, I’ll tell you later. So yeah, its probably best no-one showed up for this one. It is truly shit. Oh, I just remembered Tegan was in this one. Bloody hell. I’d feel bad, but even the show forgot she existed halfway through, so screw it, I’m not changing the entry.
Right, onto another circus of crap. We watched this episode at the request of our President, and so I could use the greatest joke I’ve ever told for the second time (there won’t be a third, I’m never watching this again). If you ever wonder why Doctor Who was cancelled, Arc of Infinity could be used as pretty damning evidence. It features 2 ‘actors’ who stumble through Amsterdam into the path of Toy Story 2 villain, the Chicken Man. There is no explanation throughout the entire episode as to why there is a chicken monster with an exposed brain. That isn’t even the weirdest part of this episode. Omega has returned, and is communicating to a spy in the Time Lord high council (the actual one, not us) using the power of Turkish Delight to frame the Doctor for… time crimes? I dunno. Also Omega turns into a clone of the Doctor at the end and runs through Amsterdam in an unconvincing Peter Davison wig. A chase scene that’s way too long occurs, and ends with the Doctor point blank shooting Omega multiple times. It’s not even a teleportation gun or anything, its a straight-up laser that makes Omega burst into flames. Reminder: this goes against everything the Doctor believes in. Christ this entry wasn’t even funny. I’m sorry, this episode just really gets to me. It’s bloody hilarious to watch, but when you’e writing this 2 days later and are extremely sleep deprived, it’s not fun to recount. I’ll just end by saying that David brought a Gimp mask to the event. I will not elaborate. Use your imaginations.
Sunday 16th February: The Haunting of Villa Diodati
In a spooky turn of events, we found John’s had actually locked us all out of the college. I don’t blame them, although the real terror was already waiting inside. I am of course referring to David, who was wearing a bald cap and threw several false fingers at us to induce nightmares once we got inside. For context, he was pretending to be Zellin from last week’s episode, this isn’t a weird ritual thing or anything. So what happened this week? Well, the Doctor and fam gatecrash a party with Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, Doctor Polidori and someone who isn’t named in the credits on the Doctor Who website so who knows, on the night when Frankenstein is created. Unfortunately, the house is haunted, and begins to seriously mess with the TARDIS crew. Once the Doctor performs a vibe check on the house, a more menacing threat appears: the Lone Cyberman Jack had warned the others about. It’s entrance was incredible, and design wise it was amazing: having its helmet split to reveal its rotting face. This Cyberman was unique, in that it still retained its emotions, and had the power to harness lightning (which everyone immediately associated with Iron Man in Avengers Assemble. We truly are a society of high culture aren’t we?), which only made it more dangerous. Its aim was to kill Percy Shelley, who was hiding in the basement and turned the house into an M.C Escher painting to defend whatever the hell the Cyberium is. Killing him would seriously affect history, at least according to the Doctor (hands up if you’d heard of Percy Shelley before this episode. Nah, lets face it, if it was Mary the Cyberman wanted to kill, the stakes would have been a lot higher). This episode gave us a much darker version of the thirteenth Doctor, with her snapping back to her companions and telling them that she is heads above the rest of the team. Yikes, cold. The episode ends with the Cyberman winning and everyone else just sort of calmly strolling to the TARDIS. I know its a time machine, but when one of your worst adversaries has acquired an unstoppable power, maybe get a move on and stop them? It was a pretty great episode overall, although the next one promises to blow this out of the water, with the Ascension of the Cybermen, which can only mean an awesome display of cyber-destruction before the big reveal of who the Timeless Child is. Stay tuned for next week folks, this should be good!
Sunday 23rd February: Ascension of the Cybermen
Well they did it. They actually made a good Cyberman episode that wasn’t completely derailed by another villain. I’m not gonna lie readers, I had my doubts leading up to this episode, but they hit it out of the park with this one. Alright, how do I start to recap this monumental episode? Guess I should get the Irish Superman out of the way. OK so for reasons unknown to us yet, we kept getting flashbacks to 1920’s Ireland, where a farming couple find a baby alone in the road and decide to raise him as their own. Over time, this child learns it has extraordinary powers, such as being bulletproof and decides to use his powers to fight crime. Yeah now you get why I called him the Irish Superman. My favourite part of this side-plot was that is wasn’t explained at all for the rest of the episode. There was a huge twist at the end but still no explanation. My theory is that Chibnall actually sustains himself on insane fan theories and can only survive until the next series by creating tantalising plot threads that drive the fandom into insanity. As for theories about who Brendan is, who knows? I believe he’s Doctor Who’s version of the Winter Soldier, what with the mind wipe and all, but other than that, could be anything. I might even place a bet here, which is a win-win for me, as no-one reads this, so I wouldn’t lose anything as no-one would know I’ve placed the bet. Wow this entry is gonna rival Tom’s emails in terms of streams of utter nonsense and I haven’t even talked about the main plot yet. You fools had the power to stop this at the AGM but you failed to take this power from me! Now settle in for a giant rant about how much I love the Cybermen!
So, our episode opens with the Doctor and Fam setting up the reference defences, by which I mean they talk about how these weapons will stop the Cybermen and resist looking directly into the camera and going “did you get that reference you nerd?”. These prove to be useless as a bunch of Cyber drones destroy them within seconds. The Cyber drones in question were just a bunch of Cybermen heads flying around and shooting at extras who ‘couldn’t speak’ (presumably because Chibnall knew he was going to kill them and didn’t want to pay them extra). Whilst an exciting concept, all I could think about was how there were probably a bunch of headless Cybermen wandering about on the ground, which would have been a laugh to see. Anyway, the group splits up, with Graham and Yaz going to space, and the Doctor and Ryan hijacking a Cyberman spaceship. Both are trying to get to Ko Sharmus, which they believe to be the last safe haven for humans. Little do they know, but Ko Sharmus is actually Grandpa Joe from Derry Girls, who is stuck alone with his radio, probably still trying to find the Clintons (yeah that’s right, I watch other TV shows. Which kind of made it hard to look at Joe Sharmus without imagining him saying ‘Feck off Jerry’). Anyway, it turns out, the ship Graham and Yaz get to is actually a Cyberman war carrier, which contains thousands of Cybermen and an equal number of confusing questions, such as, why is there an atmosphere on the ship if the Cybermen don’t breathe? Why do all the doors unlock to a Human touch when the Cybermen on board have steel hands (and before you scream at me that the Mondasian Cybermen have human hands, this war took place long after them so I don’t beleive the ever-upgrading Cybermen would design the ship with the Mondasian versions in mind)? And why are there lights? Surely the Cybermen have night vision? Seems like a waste of electricity to me. The power bill for that ship must be huge! After a terrible decision to poke around the ship, Graham and Yaz find an army of Cybermen ready to deploy, and let me tell you, these new Cybermen designs were *chef’s kiss*. God they were beautiful, combining the modern look with the Revenge of the Cybermen/Earthshock look, except sharper and sleeker. They even marched like the 10th Doctor Cybermen and that made me very excited for reasons I simply cannot explain!
But God what a cliffhanger! A portal to Gallifrey! The Master’s return! And the Cybermen preparing to march on Gallifrey! What did we do to deserve such a treat? Real talk, I’m very excited for the finale, and I’m thankful to Chibnall for remembering the Cybermen exist in the second part and aren’t just sweeping them under the rug for the Master. Attacking Gallifrey may finally convert others (pardon the pun) to my cause in that the Cybermen are one of, if not the greatest enemies the Doctor has ever faced and are truly a force to be feared. I’ve rambled for a long time this week, but in summary, all I have to say is roll on next week!!
Friday 28th February: The Horns of Nimon/The Happiness Patrol
They said it couldn’t be done. That we couldn’t host a society event using only meme episodes. But by God readers, did we ever. These two episodes are considered some of the lowest points of Doctor Who, so as a self-respecting society dedicated to the show, you know we had to see them at some point. Rather unexpectedly, we were surprised to find one of them was… actually good? Now THAT is how you pull off a twist! I’ll get round to telling you all how The Happiness Patrol is actually enjoyable after I’ve proceeded to wade through the crap that was The Horns of Nimon.
So you collected the trading cards and thought the Nimons would be cool? Well you are in for a harsh wake-up call my friend. This episode began inside an egg carton pretending to be the Starship Enterprise, piloted by Archie the inventor from Balamory, a man who resembled Miles Jupp and had a horrible speech impediment that cause him to shout “WEAKLING SCUM” whenever he saw one of the terrible child actors also in this episode. The children were being offered to the Nimon as a sacrifice by Soldeed, a man who was determined to get Doctor Who cancelled with the worst acting ever. Every single line was overacted, and despite being a veteran screen and stage actor, he managed to look into every camera without fail. I was about to tell you to watch it to see that I’m telling the truth, but for the love of God do not watch Horns of Nimon. Eventually, the Doctor, Romana and K9 turn up, but something is amiss. We couldn’t put our finger on it, and then K9 spoke. Someone had the audacity to replace the legendary John Leeson as K9 and dared to do so whilst also doing the worst impression of K9 I’ve ever heard. This K9 was the Colin Baker of K9s and that’s all I have to say about that. Also, K9 got his neck snapped. That happened. Anyway, back to the plot. Romana suffered a terrible back injury during this episode from single-handedly carrying the entire story, as the Doctor does jack-shit for the entire story. Seriously, he stands around a spaceship for the first episode, mills around the TARDIS whilst it’s being attacked by chicken nuggets in the second, and then spends the last two poking a bomb in a labyrinth. Sweet Jesus someone approved this. Right, what else happened? Well, we had Soldeed’s second in command, who looked remarkably like David Bowie, then a man smoked a shit ton of weed and was placed in full view of the camera, and a hobo on the Nimon planet gave Romana a compound called Jasonite that would OH MY GOD I JUST GOT THAT THIS EPISODE WAS ABOUT THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR. I’m sorry that really should have clicked earlier but my God this episode killed the only braincells I had left. Well now I’m upset. I’m not going to discuss the Nimons, they’re too shit to devote time to. If you want an impression of how they looked, look at David’s Nimon costume. It was fucking God tier cosplay. Tasted nice too.
Right, I’ve had a walk and I’ve calmed down now. I now know how the British public felt in 1980 when Horns of Nimon ended and they realised that was the series finale. OK, onto the Happiness Patrol. If you don’t know what this episode is, let me say one thing: Kandy Man. Yeah, it’s that one. We settled in for what was surely to be another circus of crap but as we watched it we realised something. This episode was actually pretty good. And the Kandy Man worked really well. Is this what it feels like to enjoy Classic Who? Please don’t @ me about that last statement. I’ve seen many great classic episodes (The Silurians, Planet of the Daleks, The War Games) but as of late, we have watched an awful lot of shit, which kind of leaves a bad taste in the mouth. So what was the Happiness Patrol actually about? Well from what I understand, it’s a thinly veiled Margaret Thatcher parody where a cruel despotic leader forces everyone in her colony to be happy, or else they receive a cruel and unusual punishment. It’s basically the Slammer, but pink. Unlike the previous episode, the acting in this one is top notch, with several likeable characters bouncing off the Seventh Doctor and Ace as the episode tries to establish that happiness is only good when next to other emotions and not when forced onto people. Deep. The Kandy Man himself is beautifully designed, capable of actually moving and he even had moving lips! Why did this meme actually work? The rest of the props also looked great, including Fifi, a puppet terrier that was rather harshly killed, and even the mole people looked good (although slightly too Splinter like. Surprised they weren’t sued over that as well). They also had hands down the best dialogue in the episode (“You’ve met Ace?” “Not Ace, Gordon. Gordon Bennett!”). Overall, a delightfully sweet episode, with a surprisingly good plot, great villains and amazing characters. Only downside is Ace and Susan Q didn’t get together. I fucking ship them all the way. If you ever watch this episode, please watch it after the Horns of Nimon, as it really makes you appreciate how good Classic Who can be (after seeing how awful it can also be).
Sunday 1st March: The Timeless Children
***WARNING!!!! MASSIVE SPOILER DUMP INCOMING!!!!***
***IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINALE YET, DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING TEXT. THIS APPLIES MOSTLY TO TOM WHO WAS AWAY FILMING UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE. ALSO, IF YOU CHECK THE WEBSITE BEFORE SEEING THE NEW EPISODE, THEN GET YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER!!!***
Reckon that was a fair enough warning? Oh well, if you’ve ignored the above warning, prepare to have your mind blown. I’m writing this finale on the same night as I watched it, so hopefully this review will be positive and I won’t have had too much time to think about any flaws it had. Alright, here goes. So the episode centres around the Master trapping the Doctor in the Matrix. There she is forced to read my weekly rants about the episodes, promptly goes insane and admits the Master has finally won. Whilst there, she also discovers that Time Lord society is a lie, she’s the genetic basis for all Time Lord regenerations, that she’s actually the Irish guy from the last episode and that she is the Timeless Child, only she doesn’t remember because her memory was wiped. I feel being subjected to read my episode reviews is worse than finding out your life was a lie though. Trust me, I wrote them, I know how crap they are. Meanwhile Graham suggests the worst plan ever to get off the Cybership: disguising themselves as Cybermen. After cleaning out all the bits of dead human that are clinging to the suits, the team sneak off and no doubt, Bradley Walsh nicked one of the suits after filming (although he definitely wasn’t in them judging by the height difference). Speaking of the Cybermen, they got another beautiful redesign with Time Lord headpieces and robes. ROBES!! Oh God it was glorious. Personally, I thought both potential Cybermen plots were good. Becoming full robots is a realistic plot and is probably the way they would go, but becoming Time Lords is even better. I reckon they probably should have killed the Master because he was definitely going to betray them at some point, but hey, I think this was a better ending for them than anything Moffat gave them. The ending of the episode was a touching tribute to Parting of the Ways, with the killer or coward decision the Doctor has to make, although luckily, she doesn’t have to pull the trigger this time, as Grandpa Joe takes one for the team and definitely kills the Master. Oh well, we’ll see the Master again in a couple of series. Also, I’m pretty sure there was a Star Wars reference involving Grandpa Joe. That bit where he’s planting bombs around the core and then shuffles around to avoid the Cybermen had strong Obi-Wan death star vibes. Maybe I’m just clutching at straws here but screw it, I’m the one writing this summary so I’ll put my crazy reference theories here if I want to! Overall, I think this was a good conclusion to the series, with a great Master story, a huge shake-up of the status quo that is sure to piss off the people who have to update the wiki, and a fresh new take on the Cybermen. Good job Chibnall. Now just repeat that until the end of your run and we’ll be good.
One last thing, what a cliffhanger right? Bringing back the old “What? What? WHAT?” bit from Tennant. Love it!
Sunday 8th March: An Unearthly Child/Survival
Once again, Lent term comes to a close and we are all free to return home for another 6 weeks to “relax”, whatever that means. So as a send-off (and because the series ended last week and we needed to do something to pass the time) we decided to screen both the first and last episodes of Classic Who: An Unearthly Child and Survival. Both episodes were of excellent quality, although could have done with swapping the number of episodes between them.
First off was the one that started it all, An Unearthly Child. It started a bit weird, with JFK being assassinated, which I admit is a bold move for a first episode. Oh wait shit that was the news. Yeah this episode was first aired after Kennedy’s assassination so to try and boost ratings they aired the first part again a week later. In honour of this really unfortunate timing, we also watched the first part twice (the pilot and then the real episode), with eagle-eyed fans brushing up for the Varsity quiz to see what minor changes had been added (believe me, the Oxford guys know this kind of trivial stuff. Probably because they had a 50 year old Egghead on their team). One thing that was constant throughout the episodes (and throughout the history of TV apparently) is how terrible the extras were, with a bunch of 20-30 year olds playing school children and struggling to laugh convincingly (I know it’s the 60’s where colour hasn’t been invented yet but come on, you must have laughed before at some point in your life?). There was also an extra who looked suspiciously like John Krasinski, thus adding another person to my list of celebrity vampires who never age but crop up occasionally just to mess with us (including Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd and Nic Cage just to name a few). Right, I should probably get onto the plot shouldn’t I? Well, school teachers Ian and Barbara are suspicious of their pupil Susan Foreman, who is incredibly intelligent and contradicts them constantly, but also has no idea that the first 3 dimensions represent space, so to have a 5th dimension also be space makes no sense. Anyway, like completely normal people, they stalk Susan and follow her to her “home”, a junkyard filled with terrifying dolls straight from the set of Knives Out. There they meet her Grandfather, the Doctor, a troublesome and grumpy old man who they immediately suspect has kidnapped Susan. He doesn’t help by constantly making very thinly veiled threats against the two, resulting in a scuffle that leads to Ian and Barbara entering the TARDIS for the first time. To their amazement, they discover the inside of this police box is bigger than the outside, and for some reason (definitely not the budget) one of the walls is just a curtain with the TARDIS pattern printed on it. I’m scared to think what’s behind there (probably the collection of bodies the Doctor has bludgeoned to death). Anyway, long story short, through a mild kidnapping accident, the four are hurled back in time to the Horrible Histories cavemen set, where they are forced to make fire. Whilst the others try to escape, the Doctor begins his one man rampage and attempts to bludgeon everyone he meets with the biggest rock he can find. I’m sure murdering humanity’s early ancestors wouldn’t have any repercussions in the future anyway! After summoning Nic Cage’s Ghost Rider, the group escapes back to the TARDIS, ready to continue their adventures in Time, Space and Space. Despite running for a bit long, this episode was really good, with tight choreography, great acting (from the main cast anyway) and amazing props (which they had apparently lost the ability to make by the 1980’s). If you ever fancy seeing how Doctor Who started, then you could watch the Timeless Children I guess, but also, give the Unearthly Child a watch. Unless you’re a Zoologist, then it will infuriate you and make very little sense. Sort of like modern Who if you believe the Daily Mail….
Now as we all know, after the beginning comes the end. Immediately. No pesky middle to worry about. Who cares about that when you can just skip 26 years and view the final episode? We certainly didn’t and thus, having finished an Unearthly Child, we moved onto Survival, the ironically titled final episode of the Classic series. So what happened here? Well the Doctor and Ace returned to Perivale to visit some of Ace’s friends/fellow badge enthusiasts, but they are quickly caught up in a plot by none other than the Master, who plans to harness the power of the Cheetah planet and rule the galaxy, bla bla bla, you know what he’s like. This episode featured some excellent costume design for the Cheetah people and some absolutely awful animatronic work for the Kitlings, who looked like Salem the cat from Sabrina the Teenage witch, except somehow more robotic. DW really doesn’t have a good history with animatronics does it (see previous entry regarding the torturous experience known as the Kamelion saga)? Ace shines in this episode, although she’s forced to take part in one of Who’s worst chase scenes, where she tries to escape a Cheetah person on a horse (seems like cheating to me. Shut up I’ll take low hanging fruit if I see it) in a playground and is forced to climb every single slide despite it offering no advantage. She also forms a bond with one of the Cheetah people, played by the actress who portrays Bernice Summerfield in the Big Finish audios (Daivd is holding me hostage and is forcing me to acknowledge this in the entry. Send help, he’s playing the River Song song on loop. Oh God, I just remembered no-one reads this. I’m screwed). Once the Master escapes to Earth he quickly acquires a powerful army of ugh, youths. Only the Doctor can stop them by shaking his fist as angrily as he can whilst telling them to get off his lawn. Oh and also by driving a motorbike towards them and jousting with their leader. It’s a great scene but the “crash” is god-awful. It’s like that one in Mission Impossible II, only with an even more obvious cut. Damn health and safety laws, should have let them crash for real! After this, the Doctor battles the Master and then leaves with Ace to continue their adventures in spin-off media. It’s a shame they cancelled this show. I reckon we would have liked it. I’d love to see a continuation in the modern day with a new version of the Doctor trying to heal from the damage of a Time War. I’d even settle for a TV movie in America. Oh well, guess that was the end of Doctor Who.
Well there we have it, that was a jam-packed Lent term summarised in roughly 7000 words. Christ that’s nearly as long as my project report. If only I could bullshit on that like I can here. Anyway, join us next term intrepid reader for more society shenanigans, including the Brain of Morbius and potentially a brand new audio drama featuring the High council (yes, us)!!!! Finally, something to put into the Creative Zone! Now people might look at something else beside the food and drink section (I don’t know who you are, but whoever keeps looking at that section please stop. If you keep looking there I might have to update it and Lord knows what I can put there. We’ve never made anything food-related for as long as the society has been here and dammit, we’re not gonna start now!)!!