Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NuWho Reviews: The Girl in the Fireplace, Rise of the Cybermen, The Age of Steel

The Girl in the Fireplace

When we last left our heroes, Mickey had decided to join the TARDIS crew. Given the fact that Rose doesn't seem to care a whit about him and the Doctor regularly calls him an idiot, let's see how this will work out!

There is a spaceship in space. There is a trashed spaceship in space. If this sounds like an episode of Firefly, then keep crying yourself to sleep every night, because there was only one season of Firefly and there is not another episode.

Fox, post-Firefly cancellation

Instead, the Doctor discovers a fireplace that opens into the room of a young girl named Reinette. Time works differently there, because a moment later, it has been several months, and now Reinette has steampunk jester monsters living under her bed. It's France, you wouldn't understand. After dragging said monster back to the spaceship, and telling Rose and Mickey not to look for it (because that always works out for the Doctor), he returns, only to find that Reinette is now Madame de Pompadour. The androids need her brain to repair their spaceship, because reasons.

The Doctor saves the day by destroying the time window to Reinette's time, and the androids shut down in apparent despair, or possibly because they will never see anything as cool as David Tennant riding through a mirror on a white horse.

Reinette's fireplace is still intact (moved to Versailles, because it's normal to fall in love with a strange man that comes tumbling out of your fireplace at random points in your life), but only a moment after the Doctor returns to fetch her, she has died, because that's the kind of episode this is. It's also the kind of episode where the Doctor doesn't notice that the ship is called the SS Madame Pompadour. (He helpfully forgets about all of this by the next time he rides on a white horse and fights people-harvesting androids.)

The love story was a little...strange...but I liked the androids, and the costumes were pretty.

Rise of the Cybermen

The TARDIS gets really lost in this episode. Really lost. The TARDIS crew arrive in a parallel dimension in which Rose's father is alive and wealthy, Mickey is not an idiot, and there is a place called Cybus Industries which totally doesn't sound sinister at all.

Also, Great Britain has a president.

John Lumic, head of Cybus Industries, wants to turn people into Cybermen and can't understand why anyone thinks it would be a bad idea. He decides to go to Pete Tyler's party, while Pete Tyler is secretly passing information to La Resistance, known as the Preachers, because...I guess that was a cool name. Ricky is part of the Preachers, and Mickey decides to join up, because this parallel universe isn't confusing enough.

Let's get this straight: your're the bad twin, I'm the good twin. Got it?

Meanwhile, Rose's counterpart is a dog, and her Space Mom is a jerk, but none of this matters, because Cybermen crash the party and may or may not drink all the liquor.

Parallel dimensions are fun but very confusing. I liked that we finally, finally get characterization for Mickey that isn't "jealous boyfriend that just doesn't want to go have adventures". We learn of how much he cared for his grandmother, and we see that it isn't that he is an idiot, it's that he feels outclassed by everyone around him. Rose still has Daddy Issues, as evidenced by her attempts to get her not-parents back together. And the Doctor, of course, is still dealing with Time Lord Problems, such as trying to keep everyone from messing up the parallel universe.

The Age of Steel

The Doctor saves everyone from deletion by the presumably drunken Cybermen by overloading them with the TARDIS' power cell. While Pete Tyler reveals himself as the secret informer for the Preachers, John Lumic using everyone's Blue Tooth devices to control their minds, which is not a comment on our reliance on technology at all.

Ricky, Mickey, and Jake try to escape only for Ricky to helpfully die, leaving Mickey as his replacement goldfish in that universe. Not!Jackie has been converted, as has John Lumic, whose own creations helpfully upgraded him. He still sits in his chair, however, because even the Cybermen have a sense of villainous aesthetics. The Doctor, with the help of Mickey, manages to discover a code to release the emotion inhibitor in the Cybermen. This causes the Cybermen to do the Harlem Shake AND YES I AM GOING TO POST THAT VIDEO AGAIN.

Pete is a little weirded out to discover that Rose is his Space Daughter, and Mickey decides to stay and care for his Space Grandmother and help lead La Resistance.

I liked this two parter. Unfortunately it gives us some character development for Mickey and then leaves him behind, which sort of sucks. It would be interesting to see Mickey's adventures now that he has come into his own. But that will come later. For now, let's move on to more commentary on societal reliance on technology!

It's about TV rotting your brain. Literally.

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