Saturday, December 26, 2015

NuWho Reviews: 42, Human Nature, and The Family of Blood



Human Nature


The Family of Blood



Just kidding! Here are the real reviews. But seriously, plenty of horror to go around.


The TARDIS picks up a distress signal, so the Doctor and Martha head out to investigate. The S.S. Pentallian is flying ever closer to the nearest star, the safety controls kick in on the ship and separate everyone from the TARDIS, and also they only have the length of the serial to save themselves. (Literally-each serial minus commercials is 42 minutes. Clever boy...)

To bypass the failsafes, Martha and crew member Riley must get through thirty doors locked with passwords AND trivia questions.

NO I AM BEING SERIOUS, THEY USE TRIVIA QUESTIONS. Thank God Martha has a cell phone that can call anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately, her mom keeps wanting to tell her about how dangerous the Doctor is instead of talk about the Beatles.

To cap it all off, Captain McDonnell's husband Korwin has been infected with...something. Something that's making his body temperature rise to ridiculous, mind-melting levels. He escapes from his hospital bed and starts murder-killing people, then goes on to infect Ashton, another crew member. Martha and Riley must hide in an escape pod to get away from him. And are promptly launched into space.

"But my mother WON'T STOP CALLING ME!"

The Doctor goes out and fetches them, but looks into the sun, and TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN.

Turns out, the star is alive, and the fuel in the ship is its heart, which is kind of horrifying to begin with? Martha tries to put him in a stasis chamber, but Korwin isn't having any of this nonsense, so the Doctor tells Martha to go let the fuel out. All while sobbing in terror and shouting "BURN WITH ME".


So, they're going to fix things, Korwin should be happy, right?

NOPE, IT'S STILL MURDERING TIME. At that point, the star (which is presumably sentient enough to know how to work airlocks) is actively sabotaging its own goal, and ceases to be a tragic monster and just be an idiot. Luckily, McDonnell shoots herself and Korwin out an airlock, the fuel is vented, and everyone goes home happy.

Except for Martha's mom, who is apparently embedded in some deep conspiracy. Now why would that wacky Harold Saxon be so concerned about the Doctor, anyways...?

Human Nature

We start in media res, with the Doctor and Martha fleeing someone who shoots at them. The Doctor calls them "The Family of Blood", neatly telling us the name of the next episode and the villains for the two parter as well. They want to use the Doctor's life force to give themselves immortality. The Doctor decides the best way to deal with them is to lie low until they die. And by "lie low" he means "use a chameleon arch to transform himself into a human and encase his Time Lord memories into a fob watch". A little more complicated than what he eventually does.

When next we see them, it is 1913, the Doctor is a geeky school teacher, and Martha is his maid. Things are going well for John Smith. He apparently likes being a teacher, and does a better job than finding different ways to enunciate "physics", and also he has an equally geeky nurse to share his dreams with.

Dreams? Yes, he has a notebook full of them, and they're mostly his previous incarnations, and lots of Rose pictures.

And handwriting that is somehow worse than mine.

Martha isn't having such a good time. The Doctor gave her specific instructions for her, such as "don't let him eat pears", but she has no idea how to stop him falling in love with someone knowing he's going to change back at some point. Also, racism and sexism are things.

Meanwhile, a kid named Timothy, who isn't doing a good job at learning how to fire guns because he's too busy having visions of World War I, finds the fob watch, and his Doctor Senses start tingling. He takes it, but when he winds up opening the watch, the Family of Blood notice and...

On the up side, he will probably never have to worry about the Weeping Angels.

Yeah, the Family of Blood starts possessing people, and making them extra creepy.

When Martha is questioned by one of them, she realizes what's happened and tries to warn the Doctor. Twice.

Then the Family of Blood crash a party and decide to give a very confused John Smith a Sadistic Choice, because they also love TV Tropes.

The Family of Blood

When last we left our heroes, the Doctor was John Smith, the Family of Blood were party-ruiners, and Timothy is the littlest psychic.

He opens the fob watch briefly, which distracts the Family, and fit hits the shan.

The school fights an army of scarecrows, and since this isn't the Harry Potter universe, this is less "oh, those wacky wizarding school hijinks" and more "WHY DON'T THEY CALL PEOPLE OTHER THAN SMALL CHILDREN".

"Good thing the kids don't have magic powers. Remember that time at Hogwarts...?"

After the first attack, Joan is casually racist toward Martha, and the Doctor starts showing his usual discomfort with fighting (and possibly also wondering why there aren't adults doing this instead). He decides the only way to get rid of the Family is to open the fob watch. He and Joan share a vision of the future in which they raise casually racist children in an idyllic British setting.

Next, we see him stumbling onto the Family's ship, offering the watch to them and running into things a lot. The Family take the offer



The Doctor then comes up with some, er, creative punishments for the family, although I like Sister of Mine's least, because when I was a kid I was terrified of mirrors thanks to the Bloody Mary story and now I am extremely uncomfortable with them again. THANKS DAVIES.

The Doctor and Joan have a sad, and a year later Timothy, thanks to his super magic wizard visions, manages to pull his previous bully/new war buddy out of the way of a bomb. He meets up with the Doctor and Martha in present day at a memorial ceremony.


If the Doctor had actually done something about the Family, we wouldn't have been in this mess in the first place.


Also I'm like 99.9% certain the Doctor totally stole the scarecrow idea from "Howl's Moving Castle". Just saying.

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