Friday, May 13, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, Asylum of the Daleks, and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

Sometimes, I wonder what exactly the Doctor gets up to when he's not on screen. Very interesting things, apparently. He falls from an exploding spaceship and survives by putting on a spacesuit very fast. He puts the helmet on backwards. A kindly lady, Madge Arwell, helps the Doctor find the TARDIS. The British stiff upper lip lasts through the Doctor's shenanigans. The Doctor promises to help her...

Once he's able to see.

3 years later, when Madge's husband Reg has been reported missing because World War II is a thing.

On that note, I wonder how many Doctors are running around the World War II era, and when that will muck up the same way...the same way the 30s were mucked up...

Excuse me, I have something in my eye...

ANYWAYS. The Doctor has set up a nice vacation house for Madge and her two kids, Lilly and Cyril. He has hammocks. He has Christmas trees. He has Christmas presents that lead to other planets!

C.S. Lewis chortles merrily while Tolkien continues to invent more languages for future geeks learn.

Cyril crawls into the present/dimensional portal/whatever, and winds up in Not!Narnia, shortly followed by the Doctor and Lilly.

Meanwhile, Madge has discovered her children missing, and discovered the portal. Instead of questioning her sanity, she decides to traipse right into Not!Narnia. There are people from Androzani Major, OHAI FIFTH DOCTOR ERA, NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN, and promptly gets them at gunpoint. They don't believe she would shoot until she tells them she's looking for her children.

They may or may not have wet themselves as a result.

After they drop numerous bricks on the ground, they take her to an excavation walker, and explain that the planet is about to be destroyed by acid rain. Damn Seekers.

The Doctor and Lilly follow Cyril to a large tower, where there are Ents. Well, maybe Huorns. Whatever. They want to crown Cyril king, or something. But they don't really like it. He's "weak", and so is the Doctor. The Doctor figures they want someone to carry their life forces in their head, because that's the best plan they could come up with?

Madge, abandoned by the miners who teleport away in a puff of plot device, manages to use their excavation walker because Reg showed her some flying basics. I mean, sure, we'll go with that. When Madge arrives at the tower, she is declared strong, because she's a mom and also she could probably hold them at gunpoint too. She is crowned and pilots the escape pod with her mind. For some reason, the screens show what's in her head, so the kids find out their dad is missing. Quite luckily, Reg notices a weird light as he tries to escape Nazis, so he follows them home. Everyone is happy, Madge realizes that the crazy man whose been bumbling around is the crazy space suit guy who bumbled around, and presumably the tree life forces sit around and wait for Forest of the Night to happen.

The Doctor goes to visit Amy and Rory. They haven't seen him for two years, but they've been setting a place for him at Christmas dinner, even though he never showed up. Amy also apparently answers the door with a water gun, presumably in anticipation of the Doctor showing up. was okay? I wasn't thrilled by it, but I did like Madge's fake out with the miners, and the Doctor is appropriately manic.

I wonder what's...

Aww Daleks.

Asylum of the Daleks

The Doctor is on Skaro. Well, what's left of it. I mean, assuming this is the same Skaro. There was the Great Rice Pudding Incident, but that was retconned. I think? Look, we'll just say, "some version of Skaro, where the Daleks may or may not have goatees". Anyways, the Doctor is meeting up with a woman named Darla.


But, yes, Darla. She wears a really cool cloak. And cool boots. She wants the Doctor to help her break her daughter out of a Dalek work camp. Of course Daleks have work camps! They Godwin themselves without regret! But, Darla isn't what she says she is.

And you know what? I know people said this meant Doctor Who was RUINED FOREVER, but I found this genuinely creepy. It looked painful. Anyways, yes, Darla is what is known as a Dalek puppet. They look normal, but they have eyestalks in their heads and shooty lasers in their hands. They also have an interesting futuristic leather kind of fashion, and it seems unusual that the Daleks would put that much effort into what their mind slaves wear.

Does...does this tell us something about Dalek sexuality...?

Anyways, the Doctor is teleported to the Parliament of the Daleks. Yes, the Daleks have a Parliament. Why? I...I don't actually know. I guess they didn't want any more crazy emperor Daleks or something? Either way, in another scene, we see that Amy and Rory have been snatched by similar puppets. Amy is a fierce diva model and she and Rory are divorcing, and I know that supposedly the prequel specials explain the reasons for it, but seriously, this is the most contrived plot point in the history of contrived plot points. I mean, the idea itself is nice, but I'll get to that here in a minute.

So, the Daleks have an asylum. That's where they put their crazies that are suffering Dalek PTSD, which mainly consists of being forced to rewatch The Twin Dilemma over and over in their heads. They don't want to kill them, because their hatred is so beautiful, or something. They may or may not say "YES, YES, LET THE HATE FLOW THROUGH YOU" but if they did it wasn't shown in the episode. But there is something even more puzzling: the Carmen aria is playing from the planet. The Doctor finds the source: a young woman named Oswin Oswald, who was the junior entertainment manager on a starliner which crashed on the Asylum planet. She's been fighting off Dalek attacks and attempting to make souffles. The Doctor wonders where she got all the eggs and milk.

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are given bracelets which protect them from nanogenes, which infect people and turn them into Dalek puppets. They get separated, because of course. While Oswin, who has figured out how to hack the systems, guides Rory to a safe room, the Doctor and Amy discover the crashed spaceship, which is inhabited by the crew-turned-Dalek puppets. Amy's bracelet is stolen, and she starts feeling the effects of the nanogenes.

Oswin flirts outrageously with the Doctor and offers to help them out as long as he rescues her. While the Doctor makes his way to her, Rory and Amy work out their relationship issues and it's rather boring, and only set up so we can talk about the power of love versus Dalek hatred (which was genuinely interesting-the more we learn about Dalek programming the sadder it gets).

Meanwhile, the Doctor goes through the intensive care unit of the asylum, which consists of Daleks who were not only forced to rewatch The Twin Dilemma, but also the version of the Master from the Doctor Who TV movie. However, when he finds Oswin...

Yeah, they decided to just convert her totally. Once Oswin's elaborate sanity-saving fantasy is broken, she fights off the typical Dalek hatred to get the Doctor and Co. out of there and delete the Doctor from the Daleks memory, leaving them shouting the title like a bunch of excited children waiting for their favorite TV show.

Spoilers, it doesn't last.

Before the asylum is destroyed, Oswin tells the Doctor to "run, you clever boy, and remember", which is super important.

I thought the framing device with Rory and Amy's strained attempts at having relationship drama was boring. But I liked the idea of Daleks who fight the Doctor going completely crazy, because that's a bit hilarious. And it was a great introduction for Clara.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The Doctor has been on some kind of adventure. We don't know what, but Nefertiti wants in his pants. While he tries to shake her off, he gets a distress call about a spaceship about to crash into Earth. He picks up some explorer who we've never seen but he's apparently friends with. Then he materializes the TARDIS around Rory, Amy, and Mr. Weasley. They then arrive at the spaceship.

Which has dinosaurs.

They play fetch with a Triceratops, as you do, then the Doctor and Mr. Weasley Brian go to the engine room, which is a giant beach that runs on hydro-power. Amy and Nefertiti listen to John Riddell make random sexist remarks to two women with guns, which is a great idea I'm sure, and then realize the ship is a Silurian ark trying to make it to another planet, because Adric broke everything.

It turns out that the ship had been stolen by Solomon, a black market trader. His robots murdered the Silurians, but now Solomon can't control the ship and it's returning to Earth. He tries to kidnap Queen Nefertiti and some awkward implications ensue. He also kills the Triceratops.

So no one feels bad when Solomon's ship is blown up by missiles and the Doctor is responsible for it.

Nefertiti decides to stay with Riddell for reasons entirely unknown, and Brian goes traveling and learns about eclecticity.

And also the Doctor takes him to the time of the dinosaurs because I guess he wanted to play fetch with more Triceratops.

I...don't even know? It had dinosaurs, so...there's that?

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