Saturday, January 23, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Tenth Doctor Specials

We are nearing the sad, sad end of the Tenth Doctor era, but first, we have a fair amount of specials to get through. Without a regular companion the Doctor drifted, much like the specials did. But it wrapped up in an amazing way, and gives me plenty of chances to make James Bond jokes!

But first, let's see what happens when the Governor gets confused and thinks he's the Doctor.

The Next Doctor

The Doctor arrives in Victorian London (his most favorite time period ever, because the BBC has TONS of outfits from their period dramas to reuse) and discovers that another man, also calling himself the Doctor, is in danger. Actual Doctor teams up with him and his companion, Rosita, to capture a Cybershade, which is basically a robot cat, which is basically Ravage.

I think I'll keep one locked up in my house. AMIRITE AMIRITE

The Doctor suspects this Doctor is a future version of himself, suffering some mild amnesia. They investigate disappearances, leading them to a house where they find Cybermen data scrolls, which are basically the hipster version of memory cards. Next recalls seeing these the night he lost his memory.

Next recommends they go to his TARDIS. Which is a giant air balloon.

SO NOW WE'RE IN STEAMPUNK DOCTOR WHO, which will get considerably worse once Twelvy shows up. There is a bit of subterfuge when we see Next with a fob watch, but no, silly fans, sometimes a fob watch is just a fob watch. The Doctor realizes the guy is actually the first missing person, Jackson Lake. The data scrolls are all information on the Doctor, and it was imprinted on the poor man's mind.

While Jackson Lake has an existential crisis worthy of a puzzled Dalek, the Doctor and Rosita investigate an underground complex worthy of Dickens. Sad orphans are put to work for the Cybermen, under the supervision of Mercy Hartigan, a rather cruel, intelligent woman with an uncomfortable fetish for robots. (10-1 she'd be all over Data the moment she saw him.) She's hooked up and ready to become Cyber King, asks her right hand Cyberman to "turn her on" (causing thousands of fans to scream "that's what she said") and becomes a giant mecha, because steampunk wasn't enough, we must now have anime.

Cyber King: More Than Meets The Eye!

By this time, Jackson has recovered his memories. He encountered the Cybermen when he moved into his new home, which is fairly close to the Cybermen's base. While Miss Hartigan goes a little mad with power and double entendres, the Doctor, Jackson, and Rosita rescue the children (including Jackson's young missing son). The Doctor uses the balloon to talk to Miss Hartigan, who of course refuses his offer of mercy.

It's the Victorian Era, I've been saving up the dirty jokes for a long time.

He uses the data scrolls to sever her link to the Cybermen, and she is so horrified that her emotions cause the Cybermen to do the Harlem Shake, per usual. The Doctor uses the dimensional vault to knock everything into the Time Vortex, which hopefully will have no future repercussions whatsoever.

The Doctor has a sad dinner with Jackson then flies off, alone, to the next special. This was an interesting special. It started out rather confusing, but Miss Hartigan made an amazing villain.

Planet of the Dead

Well, this sounds optimistic!

It starts out so, at least. We've got ourselves a bonafide cat burglar in tight clothing, with some noble credentials to boot! Lady Christina steels King Aethelstan's cup from a museum, because the old guy isn't using it anyways, and hops aboard a bus. The Doctor is tracking down a wormhole and joins her for epic flirting, and also a journey through a tunnel with a wormhole in it.

To be fair, we all thought tunnels had wormholes in them when we were kids.

As a result they get themselves stranded on a desert planet. Wait, are we doing another bottle episode?

I swear, I'll stop using this gif. Promise.

They can't leave, because the bus driver's flesh gets disintegrated when he runs back through. On the other side, the police who were pursuing Lady Christina call UNIT, who send a couple twitchy Whovians, Captain Erisa Magambo and Malcolm Taylor. The Doctor, by the way, can tell when Captain Magambo salutes him, even through the phone. He's just good that way. Malcolm, meanwhile, fanboys out completely.


While Carmen is unhelpfully psychic, the Doctor and Christina go on a flirty walk to investigate the planet. They run into some Tritovores, which are basically Steve Gutenberg from The Fly. The Tritovores explain that their ship crashed when they were making a supply run-and the planet wasn't deserted last time they came through. A cloud approaches, and we get mecha-stingrays that create wormholes by flying really fast around planets. So, basically, that time Superman did time travel. The Tritovores are sadly killed, because they were wearing red shirts that day.

Did I mention the stingrays devour literally everything?

Also? That's not sand.

By this point, Malcolm has geniused his way into find out how to close the wormhole, but he refuses to shut it on the Doctor. Luckily, Aethelstan's cup, which he is not drinking from, can be used to connect the bus to the spaceship. They make it back, Malcolm declares his undying love for the Doctor, and the Doctor helps Christina escape custody, disappearing forever into the black hole that was the unfilmed 27th season of Doctor Who.

I promise I won't judge your seventh incarnation on his Scottish brogue.

Carmen has some unhelpfully psychic things to say to him, though.

"Your song is ending."

She hangs out with the Ood on her days off.

"It is returning."

The Doctor will finally find his lost sock.

"He will knock four times."


The Water of Mars

We were all pretty geared up for the Master, but instead, we get water on Mars. Which has been discovered recently, and gave rise to a thousand Doctor Who references. This serial gave us good reason to be immediately suspicious of any discovery on Mars.

The Doctor arrives on Mars. He did not use a rocket ship, to Draco Malfoy's eternal sorrow. He discovers the first human colony on the planet, Bowie Base One, named after David Bowie.

It's okay. I'm okay. unexpected feels are unexpected

The Doctor has some feels too. He has landed on the very day that the base is destroyed by a nuclear blast, although the event would cause humanity to further explore the cosmos and boldly go where no one has gone before

Captain Adelaide Brooke, whose descendants will kick off this exploration out of respect for her, is having trouble reaching her team in the biodome. This is because two of them are water zombies, with their faces cracking and gushing ater. The Doctor disses the small cute robot (which is clearly inferior to robot dogs) while trying to figure out why people are water zombies, and what precisely is wrong with Russell T. Davies, and what we ever did to deserve this.

They laughed at him. But now they're screaming.

The water zombies are infected by a virus, who demands to go to Earth for more water, because the Ice Warriors are jerks. The Doctor is eager to leave before he is tempted in changing a fixed point in time, and redirects the suspicious Adelaide into talking about that time the Daleks invaded, and one let her live. The Doctor thinks it's because she is a fixed point in time, but given the Daleks were trying to destroy reality, that was probably just another mentally deficient Dalek. They tend to be less kill-happy than the others, oddly enough.

Anyways, Adelaide wanted to meet other aliens, that presumably would not kill her either.

When some of the water zombies start letting water gush out into the base, the Doctor is forced to explain to Adelaide why he has to leave. He is about to, but hears their struggles to live and their suffering, and...

He kind of goes a little crazy. He babbles about being the only Time Lord snrk and how he is the Time Lord Victorious, and he starts sounding a lot like another dude and hey with the War Doctor and Handy isn't this technically his twelfth regeneration?

Keep smirking, Graveyard, all they'll do is make vague references to you all the time.

Anyways, Doctor be crazy, and when he and the last three survivors arrive on Earth, two of them run away screaming because four dimensional space is weird, and Adelaide goes into her house and shoots herself in an effort to restore the time line. Now the Doctor's memories change into Adelaide's senseless suicide after escaping the exploding base.

Ood Sigma appears, the TARDIS cloister bell rings, and the Doctor is troubled by remembrance of Adric's voice and disappears into the final special.

The End of Time

Last time, on the Lucy show:

Lucy married the Master, who turned out to be a jerk. She shot him in an act of sudden but inevitable betrayal, and went to jail.


The Doctor is wandering around in a cowboy hat, and also married Queen Elizabeth, helpfully forgetting 11 and Clara in the meantime. Ood Sigma gives him some more vague warnings involving the Master, because they've all been having nightmares about it. Also, "time is bleeding". The Doctor presumably knows exactly what this means: James Bond jokes.

Meanwhile, there is a cult dedicated to the Master. Why? We have no idea. They're probably the same people that think Diogenes is the best thing since sliced cheese.

Like the Master, he is also alive against all odds and logic. Rumors that the Master's TARDIS appeared at Stromboli are completely ludicrous.

So the Diogenistas cult of the Master decide to resurrect him, using that ring...for some reason. Look, it makes little sense, but just go with it. Lucy is released from jail so she can sabotage the ceremony, but too late. The Master is back...just wrong. He's incredibly hungry, just like I am as I write this. Unlike me, he is super fast and strong as well.

Wilf, also suffering from nightmares, decides to go on a "seniors gone wild" bus tour to look for the Doctor. Yes, my friends, Octogenarian Whovians, the original fans.

Elsewhere, the Master discusses American politics and eats all of the food. Then he knocks four times, to get the Doctor's attention, but before the Doctor can do anything, Wilf and the Octogenarian Whovians arrive, one of whom attempts to molest our hero.

Later, we discover the Master can also shoot lightning, because everyone loves Star Wars. He also reveals that the drumming in his head is real, just like it is in ours. Then the Master is kidnapped by a helicopter. Okay...?

To make things even more confusing, Donna gives Wilf a book by one of the people that kidnapped the Master, without realizing it.

So, Naismith has a healing machine from Torchwood. Some freaked out aliens disguised as scientists flee when they see the Master. The Master really loves turkey, a whole lot. Naismith may or may not have an inappropriate relationship with his daughter. He wants the Master to repair this "immortality gate".

Unfortunately for us all, the Gate heals people planetwide, based on a medical template. This kind of thing worked out well when everyone walked around with gas mask faces! Needless to say the Master gets a great idea, and also a terrible pun.

Wilf is saved by being locked in an isolation chamber, and Donna is saved by dint of not really being totally human now. Everyone else looks like the Master, which means we get to see the guy in a dress. It is glorious and wonderful.

But, darling, pink isn't your color.

But what does this have to do with Timothy Dalton, narrator? Well, after working for queen and country, he went off to be president of the Time Lords.

His name is Rassilon, James Rassilon.

While the Time Lords plot...things...our mysterious Cactus Aliens help Wilf rescue the Doctor, in much the same way the Doctor rescued himself once: tied up and wheeled away. Meanwhile, Donna has an explodey mechanism that kills the Master's puppets and then passes out.

Meanwhile, on Gallifrey, the Time Lords are in the last day of the Time War, and they know the Doctor is going to do a genocidey thing. Luckily, their token prophet predicts a fight between the Doctor and the Master. How do they stop this? Shove the drums into a wee Master's head when he looks into the Time Vortex. Which explains his general craziness.

While the Master and the Not!Masters concentrate on the drums, the Time Lords toss a drum-causing diamond through time. Somehow. Look, don't question Timothy Dalton! Anyways, the Master taunts the Doctor about this on a broadcast, and since the diamond is one found only on Gallifrey, the Doctor freaks out. He freaks out so very badly he takes Wilf's revolver and runs to shoot James Bond. Silly Doctor, don't you know you can't shoot James Bond?

Ba-da-da-DA-da-da-da da-daaaa-da-da! Bada-dadadada Bada-dadadada Bada dadadada Bada dadadada

Meanwhile, most of the Time Lord Council are all ready to go to Earth and make it, like, new Gallifrey, sort of like how the Decepticons wanted to make it new Cybertron. Unfortunately, it looks like the Time Lords' plan is marginally better than Megatron's. Only two say it's a bad idea. And go anyways, because if Doctor Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

The Master is crazy, and Rassilon is so bored he turns everyone on Earth back to their usual selves. Time Lords aren't usually known for their sense of humor. While Gallifrey looms over Earth, the Autobots try to fix the tides and Wilf takes over the immortality gate control booth. The Doctor talks about a lot of horrible things running around on Gallifrey, which has spawned a thousand fanfics, and the Master laughs a whole lot. Doctor Mama points out that the Magic Wizard Diamond is still there, so the Doctor shoots it. Rassilon makes vague threats, the Master goes Palpatine on him and they all disappear back into the time lock, where the Master will undergo a sex change, and obtain an obscene amount of eye shadow.

The Doctor is relieved to be alive. And then he hears four knocks.

Wilf is still in the control booth, which will be flooded with radiation when the door opens.

Sadness ensues as the Doctor lets Wilf out and locks himself in. When he gets out, he seems okay...except his cuts are healing, meaning he's starting to regenerate.

Thus begins the slowest regeneration ever, as the Doctor visits companions and friends from the past, showing to us that Martha and Mickey are married and freelancing alien fighting, Sarah Jane's adopted son Luke doesn't look both ways when he crosses the road, Jack is still flirting with pretty boys, Joan Redfern's great-granddaughter is selling his old diary, and Donna is finally getting married, to someone who isn't evil.

Then the Doctor says he doesn't want to go, and it's really sad, and the music is sad, and the screen is suddenly very blurry.

These aren't tears in my eyes, they're just...martian virus water. That's it.

Matt Smith then gets confused and believes hair=girl, complains that he isn't ginger (somehow making people bully gingers, look, I don't know Britain's thing about red hair, it probably has to do with angry Scotsmen, or something), and also he accidentally set the TARDIS on fire while regenerating.

Matt Smith has been accurately described as a cat who falls off a table then twists around and pretends he totally meant to fall off like that.


So now, we say farewell to the Tenth Doctor in the loopiest finale yet, I laughed, I cried, I confused Rassilon with the Valeyard. It moved me.

Let's see how much loopier the Doctor can get.

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