Saturday, January 30, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, and Victory of the Daleks

The Eleventh Hour

When we last saw our hero, he had just regenerated into Matt Smith, and also set his TARDIS on fire. He crash lands in Leadworth, where a 7 year old Amelia Pond has just finished praying that Santa Claus fix the crack in her wall. Santa is far too busy punching heretics, so he just lets the Doctor handle it. He's a bit loopy, so Amelia tries to find food he likes. For the record, the Doctor is pickier than I am.

Yet considers this combination to be perfectly acceptable.

I should also note I happened to be eating fish sticks the night I watched this episode. I felt deeply sad I didn't have any custard on hand, and the grocery store had already closed.

The Doctor sonics open the crack in her wall, only to find a giant eyeball, as you do. It tells the Doctor that "Prisoner Zero" has escaped, but before the Doctor or the audience can figure that one out, The TARDIS cloister bell starts up again. The Doctor decides to take her on a quick spin, like making sure your tires really are on and aren't going to fall off. He leaves Amelia sitting on her suitcase.

When the Doctor returns, he runs in to let Amelia know what Prisoner Zero is. But instead, he is simply knocked out with a cricket bat.

Meanwhile, a nurse named Rory is being adorable and slightly concerned that comatose patients are walking off, asking for the Doctor.

When the Doctor wakes up, he is accosted by a sexy policewoman. Also, there are weird monsters in there, including a man with a dog. The man barks. The Doctor then realizes the shed he destroyed is already rebuilt and

Ohhhh it's been twelve years, not twelve hours! Whoops!

"But...but at least...I didn't strand you in Aberdeen?"

No, let's back up. Twelve years, four psychiatrists. Amelia kept biting them. And the Doctor was considered Amy's imaginary friend that she made dolls and drawings of, until now, when everyone sees him. Awkward!

Meanwhile, the giant eyeball, known as the Atraxi, is still babbling about Patient Zero, and threatening to destroy Earth, because the Atraxi are almost as smart as the Judoon.

In an even more awkward turn, we find out Amy used to make her boyfriend Nurse Rory dress up as the Doctor when they were kids. Move along, nothing to see here.

Rory explains the coma patients' behavior, and the Doctor realizes Patient Zero is shapeshifting by linking to other minds. The Doctor finds a way to distract the Atraxi for a bit, while Amy finds out that her policewoman costume fools people despite the extremely short skirt. What kind of policewomen do they have over there, anyways? The Doctor uses the psychic link to make Amy remember Prisoner Zero's real form, and the Atraxi catch him. They then warn the Doctor that "The Pandorica will open, and silence will fall". I LOVE CRYPTIC WARNINGS LET'S HAVE MORE CRYPTIC WARNINGS.

The Doctor gets angry and actually demands they return, so he can explain to them just how they violated the law, and also puts on a bow tie. The Atraxi are so terrified they flee.

The bow tie was slightly crooked, and the Atraxi suffer OCD.

Two years later (this Doctor is really bad at timing), Amy decides to go on adventures with the Doctor.

Helpfully forgetting her wedding. These crazy brides, amirite?

Edit: I just realized I kept writing "Patient Zero" instead of "Prisoner Zero". I'm not changing it, because Doctor Who can always use more zombies.

The Beast Below

First off, the TARDIS apparently has a forcefield that extends out to space. So you can float in space. Nightgowns magically stay down instead of floating above your head.

But that doesn't matter, because apparently schools are so strict in the future that if you do badly on a test, you have to look at a really really horrible clown head, and then you aren't allowed to ride the elevator, said consequence being sent...down below.


The Doctor and Amy arrive at the good Starship UK. After Earth was nearly destroyed by solar flares (and presumably kept around so we can have The End of the World), people took to the stars in giant spaceship versions of their countries. (Scotland finally seceded with their own spaceship.) However, he and Amy notice something...such as everyone desperately ignoring a crying child. There's also the Doctor putting a glass of water on the floor and claiming it's for an escaped fish.

he's more right than he realizes

Amy follows the little girl, Mandy, sees a giant tentacle, and winds up getting sprayed with sleeping gas by mysterious Hooded Figures.

The Doctor also meets a Hooded Figure, a woman in a creepy mask, who gets what he was doing with the glass of water: testing for engine vibration. Of which there are none. She calls herself Liz 10, and I honestly thought she was an android at this point.

"Do not look for any period of time at the Hooded Figures."
"Then...then how do I talk to you?"

Meanwhile, Amy is in a voting booth. She must watch a video, and has three buttons: protest, forget, and record. The video is apparently really bad, as it seems to involve lots of violence and screaming, and Amy is so horrified that she presses forget.

She apparently also recorded a message to herself: get the Doctor off the ship. The Doctor shows up at that point, and decides to hitting protest. They go down the worst water slide ever, and find themselves in a giant mouth. Instead of attempting to speak whale a la Dory, the Doctor triggers the thing to vomit, and then they escape!

Right into the horrible clown robots. The only way to escape? Another forget button.

Liz 10 arrives in time to rescue them. How can she?

Well, she's the bloody queen. She is the tenth Queen Elizabeth, and she is slightly cockney. Cheeky writers. However, Liz 10 is arrested as well, and the three of them are taken to the "Tower" of London.

The Tower has a really creepy set up going on. A laser firing into parts of a giant brain, and the Doctor realizes the tentacle, the mouth, and the brain are all from the same creature, captured 200 years earlier when it landed on Earth and tortured into carrying the ship along to save people from burning up on Earth. The Queen? Her body clock has been slowed: she's 200 years old. Every ten years, she has a choice: forget, or abdicate, in which case the ship will disintegrate. People have no real choice. No one can walk away from Omelas.

The Doctor yells at Amy a lot and shows us he can still be nice and self-righteous when he wants to be, and luckily Amy can still think enough to realize that the Space Whale vomited up the children that had disobeyed the rules, and is playing with them.

Hey, idiots? Maybe you should have realized the Star Whale was okay with this, like 200 years ago, and didn't need to torture it. She forces Liz 10 to hit abdicate, upon which the Star Whale continues flying along, being...Star Whaley. Then she draws a kind of on the nose comparison to the Doctor, and they hug it out.

"Why are all higher life forms self-righteous? I mean, you have the Q, you've got Vorlons, then you have..."

And then Winston Churchhill calls.

Wait, what?

Yeah, Winston needs a favor. There's a Dalek silhouette being mysterious in the background. Forget Space Whales, we have cigars to smoke and brandy to drink! TO THE 40S! And to blatantly ignore that crack in the spaceship what.

For the record, I thought this was a decent opening to the 11th Doctor, showing us how he's made better by his companions. And doesn't go quite as loopy.

Victory of the Daleks

Look, I know people think Daleks are overused, but they're like crack to me. They're so angry, and their schemes are so ridiculous!

The London Blitz is on. It is entirely possible the Ninth Doctor and Rose are somewhere in the city at the same time, so let that blow your mind for a bit. Done? Okay. The Blitz is on. Churchhill is chomping at cigars even more than usual. Also, the Doctor is a month late. Oops!

It's all right, though. Churchhill has come up with a secret weapon, thanks to Scottish scientist Bracewell. They call it the "Ironside" and

If you didn't let out an undignified squee when you saw this, then you are colder than a Dalek's heart.

Oh. OH.

While Bracewell insists he totally invented Daleks, the Daleks themselves offer tea and scrumpets, and everything about this is wonderful and hilarious.

Unfortunately, the Doctor doesn't see the humor in the situation. He declares himself their enemy, and calls them by name...

Which is enough to activate something called a Progenitor Device, which couldn't be opened by the few Daleks that escaped beforehand because they were made from Davros' cells and therefore not "pure". The characters barely restrain themselves from Godwinning. However, the machine totally accepts the Doctor's testimony, because who can you trust if not your mortal enemy?

Also, Bracewell is an android. A cute, awkward android, which makes him kind of like a steampunk Data.

Anyways, it all ends in the Progenitor Device creating what has come to be known as Skittles Daleks. The other Daleks are happy to be exterminated to make way for these new, delicious versions.

Taste the rainbow!

Amy convinces Bracewell that being an android is no reason to commit suicide, because he isn't Lore, so it's okay. They try to stop the Daleks from brightening up London in time for another blitz, via space-modified Spitfires.

Yes, space-modified Spitfires. Just go with it.

The Doctor attempts to bluff the new Daleks with a jammy dodger, and the fact that it even works for a second says a whole lot about the Daleks.

Then, it turns out Bracewell is a bomb, poor guy, but luckily, the Daleks' control over him can be deactivated simply by thinking really hard. Really, really hard. The Daleks shake their plungers in rage and disappear to a future episode (as they do), but that doesn't matter, because apparently Amy has no memory of that time the Daleks tried to destroy all the things. Whaaaat?


So, looking back, this was a pretty silly episode. I didn't hate the Skittles Daleks as much as other people apparently did, although the question of "why do they have different colors if they see everything in blue?" is a very good one. Still, it wasn't that bad, and it continues the Giant Crack of Doom story arc.

Next up, nightmare fuel and HAIR.

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