Saturday, February 27, 2016

Book Review: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

You know how Monty Python's Flying Circus starts off?


Imagine that, but with a giant helmet. That's how this book begins.

The Castle of Otranto is THE original Gothic novel. You've got a creepy castle (set, appropriately, in Italy), a failing noble line, a family curse, and secret identities. You can see how this set the stage for Gothic horror for basically all time.

The book opens up on the wedding day of the young, sickly prince Conrad and princess Isabella, who has been separated from her family and placed under the guardianship of Manfred, Prince of Otranto. Unfortunately for Conrad, he gets squashed by a giant helmet when crossing the courtyard. Manfred tries to blame it on some poor peasant who happens by, and he is shoved underneath the helmet and placed under guard, to starve him to death.

Meanwhile, Manfred is concerned. There's a prophecy that the castle will pass from the current family when "the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it". With the loss of a male heir, Manfred decides that the best thing to do is tell Isabella he's divorcing his wife Hippolita so they can make babies. He struggles to understand Isabella's reluctance.

Isabella runs away and finds herself in the basement, where the peasant from before has somehow escaped from beneath the helmet and helps her find a tunnel to the nearby church. Manfred and his servants catch him, but before they can do anything about him, a couple other servants come running up to declare they had seen a giant foot upstairs. The peasant boy offers to check it out because everyone else are wimps.

The next day, Manfred's daughter Matilda is worrying over Isabella's disappearance, and tries to get information from the peasant boy, who is walking below her window. She is struck by his resemblance to the painting of the original owner, and while she can declare all she wants that she wants to become a nun and that she looks at the painting so much for religious reasons, she clearly has the hots for the boy.

Manfred, meanwhile, has summoned local priest Jerome, who is sheltering Isabella at the church. He seems almost ready to relent, but then they discover that the peasant boy is Jerome's son Theodore from when he was married years before. Manfred decides to use the boy to force Jerome to allow the noble couple to divorce so Manfred can marry Isabella. 

Suddenly, a wild battalion appears! It's the Marquis of Vicenza, Isabella's father, and also the closest kin to the previous owner of the castle. Manfred is even more freaked out and demands Jerome go fetch Isabella. After a silly confrontation in which Theodore finds Isabella and tries to save her, and the Marquis finds Isabella and tries to save her, they all sit down to an uneasy dinner, where the Marquis decides he has the hots for Matilda, Matilda and Isabella know they both have the hots for Theodore, and each thinks Theodore has the hots for the other.

Manfred assumes that Isabella and Theodore are an item, and tries to find out if they're meeting at the local church. He stabs the girl, who turns out to be Matilda. Alfonso appears as a really giant ghost, which makes the sad moment very silly. Then Theodore has nothing to do but marry Isabella instead, because she's the only one that could understand his pain. I imagine afterward they chose to wear only black, and obtained black eyeliner, somehow.

It's rather cheesy and overwrought, as Gothic novels should be. You can see where a lot of the parody of Northanger Abbey came from too. It's a quick, fun read.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Curse of the Black Spot, The Doctor's Wife, The Rebel Flesh, The Almost People

The Curse of the Black Spot

Remember last time we were on an old, old wooden ship with the Doctor?



Yeah, it got pretty silly.

This time, a pirate cuts his finger and promptly gets the black spot. Davy Jones doesn't allow paper cuts on his ship!

A woman starts singing and McGrath grabs a pistol, prepared to fight for his life. He disappears, of course.

But there's no time to worry about that, because the TARDIS is stuck down below (must not fnar must not fnar) and the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are stuck. The Doctor and Rory are promptly sent to walk the plank while Amy is locked up. She breaks out in full Kiera Knightley cosplay and wielding a sword. They are all scared of Amy, but that's because the slightest drawn blood causes the black spot to appear. She cuts one pirate, then Rory manages to hurt himself by trying to catch a sword blade first, because Rory may have spent 2000 years as a centurion but he still doesn't understand sword safety.

I don't catch it in my palm...?

A siren appears. Rory and the pirate act rather drunk, and the pirate poofs away. Amy gets jealous of the creepy supernatural being, as you do, and the siren gets very angry.

Then another pirate gets bit by a leech, and everyone tries hiding in the hold, but the siren gets in there too. The Doctor gets a hat, and presumably that helps him realize that the siren is moving via water. Amy sees Eye Patch again, and everything is confusing. There is a little boy hiding in a barrel-oh, it's only pirate captain Avery's son. He has the black spot, but doesn't have any cuts, just a cold-so the siren is going after anyone with a health problem.

The Doctor and Avery go to the TARDIS in the hopes of getting everyone away before they all get injured somehow. Toby tries to stop a mutiny and injures another pirate, and the TARDIS has trouble locking onto the ship, throws a tantrum, and dematerializes. One of Avery's men tries to steal some treasure in the chaos, burns his hand on a candle, and summons the siren. But there's no water in the treasure room! But there are lots of shiny things...which means it's time to dump the treasure! Avery isn't too pleased.

However, later on during a storm, it is revealed that Avery tried to keep a crown out of the treasure, and the siren emerges to take Toby away. Rory falls overboard and possibly dies, so you can add that to the "Rory dies" count.

"You bastards."

The Doctor decides they should all prick their fingers and try to reason with the siren...

And everyone wakes up on an alien ship, which exists on a different plane in the same spot as the ship. The injured are all in stasis in sickbeds. Turns out, the siren is a medical hologram, and the black spots are all samples taken for testing. But Toby isn't just sick, he is dying of TB, and letting him out of the sickbed will lead to his death. Rory is also dying, but they unhook him and let Amy do CPR. It all ends in the pirates absconding with the alien ship, and the TARDIS still being unsure about whether or not Amy is pregnant...


The Doctor's Wife

Or, That Time Neil Gaiman Made Everyone Squee With Joy. (One of the times. He has this effect in general, actually.)

Our heroes are going...somewhere, it doesn't matter where, when there is a knock on the door. This doesn't make sense, for obvious reasons, but when the Doctor opens the door, the knock turns out to be a cube of light.

Yeah, THOSE cubes of light. Remember them? The message is from a Time Lord known as the Corsair, and it is an SOS. They follow the signal and pop into another universe, onto a sentient planet called House.

NO NOT THAT ONE

The TARDIS loses power...because somewhere on the strange planet, an old couple has just transferred her soul into the body of a woman named Idris who seems to be trying very hard to look like Helena Bonham-Carter. (Fun fact, she was supposed to play this part.) The old couple, known as Auntie and Uncle, go out to greet the travelers, accompanied by an Ood called Nephew. Whether the Other Mother is creeping around somewhere is not known. Idris is excited to see the Doctor, and kisses then bites him, because biting is just like kissing, except there's a winner. She then tells Rory the meaning of petrichor, and tells the Doctor (who she calls her thief) that she chose him because he seemed mad enough to want adventures.


Which actually explains everything we needed to know about the Doctor's past, so there's that.

The Doctor decides to search for any lost Time Lords, and sends Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS so he can lock them inside safely. Once he finds a lot of cubes filled with Time Lord SOS messages, however, he discovers that Auntie and Uncle have been cobbled together from dead Time Lords. That's when he notices Auntie has one of the Corsair's arms. The House? It traps TARDIS souls into bodies (mainly the Time Lords) then consumes the husks.

So, basically, we're in nightmare central. THANKS NEIL GAIMAN.

No, really, thank you

Meanwhile, Rory and Amy are not having a good time of it, because House has possessed the TARDIS husk and is toying with them.

The Doctor has a talk with Idris, who reveals that the Doctor refers to her as "Sexy", and that he keeps opening the doors wrong. Then they cobble together a TARDIS from the pieces left over, and Idris animates it.

Meanwhile, Rory dies.


Psych! It's just House messing with Amy. Both are still alive.

Idris tries to send the password to raise the shields to the "pretty one" who turns out to be Rory. One part of the password is the meaning of petrichor. Idris' mind does not work well with linear time, and we must all be thankful.

Once inside the TARDIS, the Doctor introduces everyone, Amy asks him if he wished really hard, and Idris tells them that "The only water in the forest is the river." WHICH IS REALLY IMPORTANT REMEMBER THIS. Then Idris' body dies, finally able to tell the Doctor "hello", and returns to the TARDIS.

Upon which she continues her trolly, trolly ways.


The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People

In science news, solar tsunamis are a thing, and it's a solar tsunami that blows the TARDIS to a 22nd century factory. This factory is run by people who create dopplegangers (who, incidentally, look like Odo) to do dangerous work. There is nothing horrifying about this at all. At least, the people involved don't seem to find it horrifying. Everyone else who has seen any sci fi ever does.

The Doctor is strangely uncomfortable with Amy and Rory coming with him, but they insist, so they all investigate. The factory, for the record produces acid that destroys the Doctor's shoes, and also the ground around the TARDIS. The Doctor tries to convince the workers to leave before a second tsunami wave arrives, but this is an Evil Business, we can't have that!

And...and you all still think this is a good idea? No downsides at all?

After an electrical strike hits, the workers find themselves out of their control beds (which they use to operate their "gangers") and finding that someone has gone through their things.

And then we find out two of the workers, Cleaves and Jennifer, are actually their gangers. The dopplegangers, as expected by literally everyone except the characters, have gained sentience. Rory is nice to JenniferGanger, who almost isn't a jerk as a result, but the rest of them just want to kill all humans. Part of that is because they can feel what is happening to their previous "incarnations", which are just lying around the factory decaying, and yes, you are not the only one wondering why this company ever thought this was a good idea ever.

I MEAN REALLY WHO EVEN THOUGHT OF THIS. EXCEPT MOFFAT, WE EXPECT THIS FROM HIM.

And to make it even more ridiculous? We have a DoctorGanger too.

The presence of DoctorGanger is enough to stop a huge fight from happening. The ganger has some issues dealing with all the past regenerations, but once that's over both Doctors enjoy being...you know...Doctor-y.


They tell Amy to breathe, for some reason, and the Doctor dismisses Amy's concerns about Eyepatch randomly appearing to her.

Amy, despite finding DoctorGanger to be freaky, confides in him about the Doctor's eventual death.

Rory tries to help JenniferGanger, who decides to be a jerk and trick him into trapping everyone else into the acid storage chamber.

DoctorGanger continues to be Doctory, by having JimmyGanger call his son for his birthday, because the Gangers have all the memories and feelings that their originals do. CleavesGanger is dying of the same disease, and it's getting too sentimental for CrazyJenniferGanger, who turns into Odo that time his adoptive dad was a jerk. Gangers and humans work together, it's all very nice, and

Oh DoctorGanger was actually the Doctor all along. Amy finds this rather awkward, since he wasn't supposed to know about dying in the future. Real DoctorGanger accepts Amy's apology. Then tells her to push, "but only when she tells you to".

YOU ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING, RIGHT? I DIDN'T.

The Doctor stabilizes the Gangers so they can live full lives, and gives Cleaves the cure for her condition.

And Amy starts having contractions.

So why doesn't she look pregnant?



BUT. WHY. HOW. WHEN. BUT.

Amy wakes up in a control bed, about to give birth, with Eyepatch telling her to push...


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"Bring Diana Home"

https://www.youcaring.com/jim-and-debbie-jewell-505573#

My wonderful friends are looking to adopt a girl who needs a home. They were able to spend Christmas with her and need help raising the funds to bring her back. Please share and consider donating to help them out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

NuWho Reviews: A Christmas Carol, The Impossible Astronaut, Day of the Moon

A Christmas Carol

The Doctor has taken Amy and Rory to a luxury ship for their honeymoon. Something goes wrong, the ship starts crashing, and the scene opens as Amy and Rory arrive on the bridge to find out what's going on. They are dressed in their police office and Centurion outfits. The audience giggles.

Meanwhile, on the planet below, Angry!Dumbledore is angry. Harry Potter put his name in the Goblet of Fire, Christmas is a humbug, and he's a jerk. He freezes people in his basement as security deposit for debts, because that's sane, and he refuses to let one girl go home for Christmas. Also, he refuses to help the ship even though he has the resources to do so.

That's okay, because the Doctor arrives by sliding down the chimney, because it's Christmas and that's just what you do.


He gets himself kicked out, but notices Sardick refuses to hit a child, which is a sign that he isn't a total psychopath despite keeping frozen people in his basement.

Sardick's cloud machine that's messing up the ship is bio-linked to him, the Doctor can't land the TARDIS on the ship, and did I mention that Sardick keeps people frozen in his basement? I mean we're just one step away from him becoming Mr. Freeze.

The Doctor decides that the best way to deal with this problem is to re-enact A Christmas Carol. He will be the ghosts, and Michael Gambon isn't even allowed to play the Ghost of Christmas Present again.

He pops into the past, where Tiny!Sardick is fascinated by fish that swim through fog. Present Sardick is confused, because his memories are actively changing. For the record, young Kazran Sardick's father is, in fact, played by Michael Gambon. Look, this isn't any more confusing than that whole "Doctor's wife/daughter" thing.

Also, the Doctor tries to present himself as a competent adult, and the psychic paper breaks.


A fog shark devours half the sonic screwdriver, and yes, I did say fog shark. Kazran is sad for the shark, which will die from the cloud machine taking away the fog. They decide to use one of the freezing pods, and as Old Kazran watches, he repeats the security code to let a young woman out. The Doctor, by the way, TARDISes in to hear it, then goes back to tell the younger Kazran.

Abigail is freed, and soothes the shark with her amazing singing voice. The Doctor tows Abigail, Kazran, and the shark to the skies, and they wind up having Christmas together every year.

With two fezzes, no less.

At one point the Doctor accidentally gets engaged to Marilyn Monroe as played by Willem Dafoe.

Unfortunately, Kazran and Abigail fall in love, and Abigail explains why they can't be together: Abigail only had a few days to live when she went into the pod to act as collateral for her family. Kazran is embittered that the Doctor brought him this pain, and turns into Angry!Dumbledore anyways. He refused to let Abigail go at the beginning because he knew she only had one day of life left.

Since this has still left Kazran refusing to save the lives of the 4003 people on board the ship, the Doctor decides to call up the Ghost of Christmas Future. While Kazran shouts at the Doctor, Tiny!Kazran appears, and is freaked out because Angry!Dumbledore is just like his father, also played by Angry!Dumbledore.

Kazran finally relents and is softened, but because of that the machine that controls the clouds no longer recognize him. Luckily, Abigail's Super Magic Wizard Voice can clear the fog, and she enjoys one last day and sky sleigh ride with NotAngry!Dumbledore.

Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to avoid a phone call from Marilyn.

So this was...cool? And a little weird? Which basically describes Doctor Who in general. It didn't make a whole lot of sense, though. But it is Christmas, and what better day to not make any sense?




The Impossible Astronaut

Amy and Rory have had two Doctor-free months, and it's kind of boring. Luckily, he sends them an invitation to...something, numbered 3. In the future, River gets a similar invitation (#2) in her prison cell at Stormcage. She starts packing, and the guard pulls his gun.

It's okay, she escapes anyways.

They meet up with him in Utah, where the Doctor is 200 years older and chatting with them happily. He wants to take them to see the first moon landing, but first, they have to have a picnic. Because, you see, he's been running from something for the last two centuries, and he has to face it.

An older man shows up as well, with some gasoline, and also an astronaut rises from the lake and shoots the Doctor. That's okay, he can just regen

IT SHOT HIM AGAIN WAIT NO WHAT


The old guy and River use the gasoline to give the Doctor a Viking funeral, because, really, if you think about it, that's probably the kind of funeral the Doctor would want. He introduces himself as Canton Delaware III, which is the coolest name ever. He also got an invitation, #4. So where is #1...?

When they go to the cafe in the invitation, a younger Doctor steps out of the bathroom. River slaps him. The Doctor is puzzled about all this, but Amy convinces him to go to 1969 with them.

In 1969, President Nixon received a phone call every day from a little girl asking for help. Canton is tasked to investigate. Then the TARDIS materializes in the Oval Room. He's the Doctor, and these are his friends, the Legs, the Nose, and Mrs. Robinson.

They give the Doctor some room to work. The child's name is actually a street in Florida, and Amy is mysteriously sick. "Mysteriously sick". In the bathroom, she sees a woman who is killed by a


NONONONONONOSFHWITESFHIW4Y8T4WEUSFIFLJWAJSFWHYYYYYWHY WHAT DID I DO TO YOU STEVEN MOFFAT WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU NOTHING THAT'S WHAT SO WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME PARANOID AGAIN 

I WAS ALMOST OVER THE SLENDER MAN PARANOIA AND HERE YOU DID IT TO ME AGAIN WHYYYYYYYYYY

This is worse than the Autons

The worst part is that Amy can't remember the thing every time she looks away, but she does manage to get a picture of it.

They head to Florida, where they find a space suit. River and Rory investigate underground where the are more HORRIBLE THINGS THAT THEY CAN'T REMEMBER, and River tells Rory that every time she sees the Doctor, he is younger and seems to know less of her, and she knows one day she'll meet him and he won't recognize her.

Amy keeps almost remembering something important she needed to tell the Doctor, they find a weird vessel that looks vaguely familiar, then Rory gets something'd offscreen, Canton is unconscious, and Amy nearly shoots the person in the space suit that is going to shoot the Doctor, except it's a little girl.


Day of the Moon

Three months later, Amy is running away from something, and is covered in tally marks. Canton and a group in black cars chases her down and pulls a body bag from the car. Amy begs him to remember what happened three months earlier.

However, Amy is presumably shot.

In Area 51, the Doctor is chained up, and proves he actually can grow a beard despite being such a baby face. They're encasing him in dwarf star alloy as the perfect prison.

The Doctor was already basically White!Jesus, now he just has the look as well.

In New York, River notices a Silent, and marks her arm.

Canton arrives and demands she surrenders. River tells him the Silence are everywhere, and already occupy the country. (Worst Occupy movement ever.) River jumps out the window, because of course she does.

Rory is also, presumably, shot.

Back in Area 51, Canton puts Amy and Rory's body bags in the prison with the Doctor. The door shuts. Oh good, no one can hear us!

Yeah, this was all a ploy. The TARDIS was in invisibility mode. I imagine the Doctor doesn't use that too often because, like Megamind, he would forget where he parked. Canton is worried about River, but that's okay, they arrive in time to catch her. She lands in the pool.

The Doctor has a plan. He sticks everyone with a recorder connected to their brain waves, and they can record messages if they see a Silent. Their palm will flash red. Canton's palm blinks red. What is the recording? Canton asks "how did it get in here?" and the Doctor tells him to turn around and straighten his bow tie. But the Silent is only a hologram, meaning you forget them even if it's just a picture. (I WISH I COULD. I REALLY WISH I COULD.)

Anything you're told to do when you see the alien will stick--a post-hypnotic suggestion.

Amy and Canton investigate the orphanage of horror. The walls are covered in cryptic scrawls such as "GET OUT". The man in charge is very puzzled, like a Muggle who's been mindwiped too many times. Amy goes into a room, and when the door closes she turns around, and her palm blinks. They're asleep right now, just get out. OH AND THEY'RE HANGING FROM THE CEILING THAT IS A LOVELY IMAGE THANK YOU STEVEN MOFFAT.

In the mirror, she sees her face is covered in tally marks. She escapes, and when she goes down another hallway, she sees a door open and a bright light. A woman in an eye patch looks at her and says she's dreaming. When she runs for the patch of light, it disappears, and she's in a room, with pictures of a little girl at various ages and a picture of Amy with a newborn baby. Then, Amy sees the astronaut, and tries to explain her actions before, but the child only asks to be saved, and then the Silence arrive, because they are Life Ruiners.

LIFE RUINERS

The Doctor has been arrested for breaking into Apollo 11, but luckily President Nixon says he's doing a great job. Even if he isn't really quite sure what that job is.

Canton has been trying to get the orphanage manager to answer questions, which he can't answer. Then a Silent comes in, and Canton questions it while recording. They keep stealing technology, and also need a space suit. Okay...?

Then Amy screams, and Canton reveals that guns aren't so bad, because he shoots the Silent, and it works. The Doctor arrives and they break down the door, only to find an empty space suit and Amy's recorder, which is still recording her pleas. That's not horrifying AT ALL.

We have some arbitrary relationship drama where Amy talks about how much she loves Rory but it's worded in a way that makes it sound like the Doctor, and it's really unnecessary because HOLY CRAP HORRIBLE THINGS ARE CREEPING AROUND CREEPILY.

We also get the reveal that even though Rory was an Auton, he still remembers all his time as the Last Centurion. He blocks most of it out so it doesn't break his brain.

They imprison the Silent in the Doctor's cell, and Canton records the thing's babbling on Amy's smartphone. They play it over the moon landing video, leading to basically everyone, from that time forward, following Steve's terrible post hypnotic suggestion:


Silent Steve and Angel Bob are terrible villains, and should have their own sitcom.

Our heroes pop over to that spaceship from before, where Amy has been held hostage for days. River shoots her gun a whole lot and the Doctor decides guns aren't so bad when a hot lady is using them. The arbitrary relationship drama is swiftly resolved,

They drop River back off at Stormcage, she kisses a confused Doctor, and Amy explains the pregnancy was totally a false alarm, which is good, because a baby conceived while time traveling might develop a time head, or the most glorious curls ever, or something.

The TARDIS is a little more uncertain in the scan, however.

Meanwhile, the little girl regenerates. As you do.


So, the most confusing series beginner ever, but it was also fun, and completely, utterly horrifying.

It also happens to kick off the most confusing plot line ever. I mean, this is more confusing than Trial of a Time Lord! THAT SAYS SOMETHING.

Tune in next time for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Doctor's Screwdriver.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Have you ever wanted a book about naked people? Wait, no don't answer that. Have you ever wanted a book about people on Mars and it's kind of like Rome but everyone is naked and also there's this one guy that's the coolest, specialest dude ever?

Disclaimer: Nudity not actually included in illustrations.


I know, that's rather specific. But that's exactly what this book is.

The book starts out with a letter from some guy who went to visit his Uncle Jack, only to find the dude dead. He's left a lot of manuscripts to go through, and also wants to be buried in a special tomb that unlocks from the inside. Totally not creepy, right?

See, Uncle Jack is Captain John Carter, who did his duty for Virginia during the Civil War then moves out west to do some mining. When his buddy gets into some trouble with the locals (read: the most stereotyped Native Americans that ever native'd in a book), he finds himself trapped in a cave.

Mystical things happen. Mystical things that aren't really explained at all. There's a light, his pursuers freak out and run away, and John Carter has an out of body experience. He is naked. In his nudity, he looks up at Mars, and thinks, "Gee, sure would be nice to go there." And then John was on Mars.

Look, I don't make the rules here. He's on Mars, and that's how it works, and you just have to deal with it.

He is confronted by some green Martians who are monstrous in appearance, but also conveniently naked except for some armor and decorations. He is able to jump great distances due to the lower gravity of Mars, and they take him as a prisoner/pet. He befriends on Martian, Sola, who doesn't appear to be as violent and psychotic as the others, obtains a dog, and beats up enough people that he becomes a chieftain. And a prisoner. Look, I don't make the rules here, the green Martians do, and they're too busy stabbing things to really think about them.

While he is swanning around in the city, an airship flies over, manned by red Martians. They take a prisoner, the princess of the red Martians of Helium. No, she does not talk in a funny, high pitched voice. Yes, she is also naked, and the hottest chick on Mars. Naturally, John Carter falls in love with her.

He and Sola, the product of a forbidden love union, because the green Martians straight up hate love, hatch a scheme to get Dejah Thoris home, and into Carter's bed. I mean, that part's totally implied. The heist goes wrong, and while Dejah and Sola ride into the hills, Carter is kidnapped by another tribe of green Martians, who send him and a red Martian into the Not!Roman stadium. They hatch a scheme to escape from that, which leads Carter to finding the place responsible for keeping Mars' atmosphere from disappearing (and conveniently unlocked via telepathy), and then to the court of Zodanga, Helium's political enemy, where Dejah has become engaged to the prince. The only way to marry her now is if someone who isn't Carter kills the prince, who, for the record, has done nothing but fall in love with the hot chick. Look, I don't make the rules here, the red Martians do, and they are ridiculous.

Carter gathers up a huge army of his green Martian buddies and they attack Zodanga and return Dejah home. Carter marries her, they get "pregnant" (see: egg laying mammals), and then the atmosphere factory breaks! In their final hour, Carter telepathizes the doors open, but alas, he himself dies.

And wakes up in the cave. He goes home and broods, and figures, well, if the last time he died he went to Mars, maybe it'll happen this time.

This is the most ridiculous, pulpy science fiction book ever.

AND IT IS GLORIOUS. You spend the book hearing, from Carter himself, how super incredibly awesome he is, and how he brings peace and joy and love to Mars via stabbing and shooting people, and you don't care because this is a fun book with great action and melodrama. And, really, there is a thread of optimism about the human spirit of endurance and the power of friendship. (Also, for the record, I fully endorse the idea that Randolph Carter is John Carter's great nephew. Except Randolph Carter has to be rescued all the time. Awesomeness isn't always genetic.)

Don't run, jump a nonsensical length to get a copy. (Or just get it from Project Gutenberg while sitting in your comfortable home, away from Mars. That's what I did.)

Moral of the story? Our clothes are disgusting and we should all be naked. Like I said, I don't make the rules.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens, The Big Bang

The Lodger

Colchester isn't the fifth moon of Cyndacalista. I know, I get confused about that sometimes too. While the Doctor is being confused, a weird surge of energy tosses him out of the TARDIS, and his ship disappears with Amy in it.

Meanwhile, in a creepy apartment house some old guy calls for help on the intercom. The poor dude who goes up to help him gets into something horrible, because a bright light appears. That's never good news.

The Doctor finds out (and by that, I mean that the previous roommate magically got enough money to move out when the Doctor needed to move in) that one of the renters needs a roommate to help pay for the flat, so he applies. By applies, this means he walks in and suddenly we are in a straight man/funny guy sitcom. Craig is working up his courage to tell his best friend Sophie that he loves her, but instead he accidentally declares his love to the Doctor. Bromance ensues.

The Doctor promises to fix the science-y death rot on the ceiling, while communicating with Amy on an ear piece. Another human gets called up to the death room, from which the death rot is presumably coming. More wacky sitcom hijinks ensue as the Doctor runs out using his toothbrush as a sonic screwdriver wearing a towel, and Craig's BFF deciding that she likes the eye candy.



Also, the Doctor manages to be better than Craig at everything, mainly by accident. When he is told he will annihilate the competition at a football (see: soccer) game, he goes into a very dramatic speech about peace before realizing they're talking about a game. I get confused about that too, especially around this time of year.

Fetch me the elephant gun, Chauncey, that's a good lad.

After convincing Sophie to follow her dreams, and making Craig think that she's going to move away, Craig tries to clean up the rot. By morning he is near death, because, you know, death rot. Luckily tannins help. Tannins help everything. After impressing Craig's boss while Craig was home sick, talking to a cat, and building strange things in his room, Craig has had enough. The Doctor does the only thing he can do: he headbutts with Craig, making the bromance even stronger, and psychically explains everything to him.

Right about then, Sophie goes upstairs to help the "person", and Amy explains that the upstairs doesn't in fact, exist. In the non-existent upstairs, a copy of the TARDIS console is dragging Sophie to it with electricity. It lets her go and a hologram demands the Doctor help them. The ship crashed, the pilot is dead, and 17 people have had their heads asploded trying to pilot the thing.

Unfortunately, the Doctor is going to make the machine asplode, but there is one person who has been turned away: Craig. Craig takes his place, declares his love for Sophie and his desire to stay in Colchester, and the Power of Love literally saves the day.



The ship self-destructs, the building now has only one floor, and the TARDIS stops going around in circles and making Amy dizzy.

There is a crack behind Craig's fridge, so ominous stuff is ominous. The Doctor rewrites the will for Craig's roommate and has Amy send the newsagent the ad for the flat, but instead of finding a pen...she finds an engagement ring.



The Pandorica Opens

Vincent's having a bad time of it all. He's having one of his paranoid screaming fits, and everyone's a bit weirded out by his new painting.

In World War II, the Allies have discovered a painting in France, and when they show it to Churchhil he promptly calls the Doctor. The Doctor is unavailable right now, would you like to talk to the next competent person?

River gets the call (with her prison guard looking a bit puzzled). She escapes via hallucinatory lipstick and funny stick figure drawings, and goes to steal the painting from the Royal Gallery. Liz 10 tries to stop her, but then she sees the painting and gets freaked out too. River haggles for a Vortex Manipulator that may or may not have belonged to Captain Jack, depending on which fan theory you like, and goes traveling.



Meanwhile, the Doctor is showing Amy the oldest planet in the universe. There is a message that no one's ever translated, until today, with the TARDIS translator microbes.

The message on the oldest planet of the universe is "HELLO SWEETIE" along with some coordinates.

So River graffitis ancient monuments too.

The coordinates lead the Doctor and Amy to Roman Britain at Stonehenge, where River is passing herself off as Cleopatra. Now we get to see the painting that has terrified people for thousands of year. Is it...is it THE HORRIBLE PAINTING?

I LOVE TO ENTERTAIN

No, it's much worse.

Lolnope

Our heroes head for the mythical Pandorica. By the way, River has not yet been in "Time of the Angels". Time travel is strange and confusing.

The Doctor tells us the legend of Pandorica since we haven't heard about it ever. "There was a goblin, or a...trickster. Or a warrior. A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or...reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world."



Anyways, the terrible thing was stopped when a good wizard tricked it. (River interrupts to complain that the good wizard always turns out to be the Doctor.) Amy mentions that it reminds her of Pandora's box, one of her favorite stories as a child.

The Doctor becomes suspicious. We have Amy's favorite history subject, the Romans, and her favorite book at once.

Anyways, crazy things are happening. The Pandorica is opening. Stonehenge is telling all time about it, and now all of the previous villains are arriving to stop this. The Doctor refuses to run, and River goes back to convince the Romans to help, even though they are aware that she isn't Cleopatra, since the woman is, you know, dead. Luckily this nameless Roman offers to help, and the voice sounds familiar, and fans start giggling hysterically, their minds slowly breaking because of this show.

Amy decides now is a good time to confront the Doctor about the engagement ring. The Doctor tries to help Amy remember Rory, and recalls that her house seemed pretty darn empty too...Something starts shooting at them. The Doctor comes up with a great way to find out what it is.


They wind up getting into a fight with some broken Cybermen. Amy is saved when a sword goes through the one she's dealing with. She faints, only to be rescued by...Rory.

Sometimes Steven Moffat does nice things to us and we don't know why. It's like a sadistic mind game for him.

Anyways, the Doctor pokes Rory a few times to make sure he's actually there. He then points out to Rory that he was erased from time. Rory says he died, and became a centurion. According to him, it's very distracting. Also, did you know that if you Google "I died and became a centurion", you get a bunch of stuff about Longinus? I knew my Easter post made complete and total sense.

Poking at people is usually the best way to check whether or not they're real. Trust me, I do it all the time.

All the villains converge, the Doctor shouts at them and makes a Doctory speech, which causes them to retreat long enough to give the Doctor time to come up with an actual plan. River is trying to get the TARDIS to the Doctor, but it doesn't want to dematerialise properly...

But when it does, she is in Amy's backyard in 2010, a voice announces that "silence will fall", and Amy's house has been broken into with all her "memories" having been rifled through, including a picture of Rory dressed up in a Centurion costume.

The TARDIS continues acting strange, the Pandorica makes a weird noise, the Romans all stop moving, and

AUTONS, MY OLD ENEMIES.

BUT FORGET THAT, LET'S JUST THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT RORY IS AN AUTON.

But, he's an Auton who still remembers his girlfriend, which most Autons do not do. If they have girlfriends at all. Which I doubt.

Anyways, at that moment AMY REMEMBERS HIM AND OUR HEARTS FEEL BETTER NOW IT'S ALL GOING TO BE OKAY AND WHY IS EVERYONE SHOVING THE DOCTOR INTO THE PANDORICA

Everyone has decided that since the cracks in time are caused by the TARDIS exploding, and clearly the Doctor is the only person who can pilot the TARDIS (which makes no sense after we learn she has telepathic controls), ergo they lock him up. Wait, none of them know about River? SHE'S ONLY ANNOUNCED HERSELF LOUDLY WHEREVER SHE GOES.

River tries to leave the TARDIS, only to find a concrete wall, and everything starts exploding. The stars go out, and then some confused intern shuts off the background music.

Two parters are strange and confusing.


The Big Bang

Everyone is very confused. The Doctor is stuck in the Pandorica. Amy appears to be dead. Rory is an Auton Roman, and it's distracting for him. River is in a TARDIS that is about to explode.

Meanwhile, nearly 2000 years later, little Amelia believes in stars, but silly Amelia, stars don't exist! We're confused. Amelia's confused. She gets invited to the National Museum, which is also confusing. Following the directions of a note ("Stick around Pond"), she hides until everyone leaves, then finds the Pandorica. She opens the Pandorica and finds


THIS IS WHERE IT GETS COMPLICATED DO TELL AMY TELL US ABOUT HOW COMPLICATED THIS IS BECAUSE WE WEREN'T AWARE OF THAT ALREADY

Meanwhile, at Stonehenge, Rory is crying and wishing the Doctor would do something. The Doctor obliges, appearing in a flash of blue light, wearing a fez, and carrying a mop.

He gives Rory his sonic screwdriver, and tells him how to open the Pandorica with it, and to stick it in Amy's pocket when he's done. The Doctor disappears, and when Rory does get the Doctor out of the Pandorica, everything turns to fossils. They're outside of the timey wimeyness. Or something.

The Doctor then trolls Rory, telling him that his feelings for Amy are just programmed, and that she didn't matter anyways.

After a good punching, the Doctor is convinced Rory's consciousness is real, even if he is plastic. Amy's exposure to the time crack meant her thoughts became a little too real. So, basically, Rory is also a Tulpa. Glad we figured that out.

They stick Amy in the Pandorica, which will keep her alive. The Doctor plans to simply use River's vortex manipulator to pop them both into the future, but Rory points out that if they were able to get into the Pandorica, then something else might.

So, Rory becomes the most awesome person in the history of basically ever by guarding the Pandorica for 2000 years as a plastic Roman soldier, and actually becomes the legend, with his last appearance in history occurring when he dragged the Pandorica out of the London Blitz and they think he may have died in that fire

MOFFATTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!


Don't worry, he was just playing with our minds again, that sadistic psycho. A stone Dalek comes back to life, because past Doctor arrives from Stonehenge, but luckily Rory the museum guard shoots the Dalek with his arm cannon. Small Amelia is somewhat squicked by all the making out that happens. And she would like a drink of water.

The Doctor moves back and forth through time to leave messages and attempt to fix plot holes, gives Amelia some water, steals a fez, and suddenly ANOTHER Doctor appears, collapses, tells present Doctor something, then dies. Amelia disappears.

Outside, there is a bright light. The bright light is not the sun. It is the TARDIS exploding.

River is trapped in the loop, so she keeps getting exploded over and over again. The Doctor vortexes her to the roof, where, despite whatever trauma she has been through, promptly shoots the fez.

The Dalek doesn't care for these hijinks.

The Doctor does some thinking while trying not to be exterminated early. If the Pandorica restored Amy because it contained her DNA, as well as the DNA of the Dalek, then everything can be restored! PLOT HOLE FIXED.

The Doctor gets shot, River makes a Dalek beg for mercy, and sometime between the camera pan and River reappearing, it dies.

Meanwhile, the Doctor has strapped himself into the Pandorica with the vortex manipulator. The plan? Zap into the TARDIS, where the explosion will scatter all that DNA-ish stuff and restore the universe.

The Doctor encourages Amy to remember her family, who were apparently swallowed up by the crack in the wall. And says that "nothing is ever forgotten".

The events of Series 5 happen in reverse order. (The jacketless Doctor in Flesh and Stone wasn't a continuity error, or if it was, it's another plot hole fixed). At the end, the Doctor picks up Amelia, asleep on her suitcase outside, and tells her to remember this as a story. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, THIS REMEMBERING THING.

At Amy's wedding, Amy is crying and she doesn't know why. Some woman left her a blue notebook as a present. She gives a speech about the Doctor being real, and her speech is more powerful than a Winger speech, because she wills the Doctor back into existence. Rory then remembers what happened (I guess he isn't an Auton now? I don't know.), and the Doctor starts a dance party, and the guests just decide that it's normal for a bride's imaginary friend to magically appear at her wedding and start a dance party.

According to certain definitions of "dancing".

He has an awkward discussion with River about marriage, and thinks he might have accidentally proposed to her, but isn't sure.

Then he decides to take Amy and Rory on a honeymoon trip, gets a call from the Orient Express and totally promises he'll be there right away (LIES), and we're off to the next series.


So while I loved the series finale, and the back and forth of it, at the same time it really confused me, partly because we're still left with several questions about what actually happened and what didn't happen. There was apparently a lot of criticism of this, because people thought this was just Steven Moffat's way of rebooting everything so he didn't have to worry about continuity. I think that's silly, because this is the man who started setting up River's story arc before he even took over the show. So, I liked the finale, but I'm still confused about some parts of it.

But I think we can all agree that Rory is completely awesome.




And now, for a special announcement:

As I write this, the world is astonished at the end of Steven Moffat's reign of terror. He will instead be replaced by the kinder, gentler Chris Chibnall who...

Who was head writer for Torchwood...and wrote "42". And "Cold Blood". And story boarded "P.S." which also caused endless tears...

OH GOD IT'S LIKE THE EMPIRE IS OVER BUT NOW WE HAVE THE FIRST ORDER INSTEAD.

THAT'S A MOFFAT FACE THAT'S A MOFFAT FACE RIGHT THERE WE ARE DOOMED

Saturday, February 6, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Hungry Earth, Cold Blood, Vincent and the Doctor

The Hungry Earth

In the rather near future (four years from now, as I write this) the Doctor, Rory, and Amy arrive in a small Welsh village in the year 2020. Eye exam jokes appear spontaneously and float off into the ether of the universe, and an ambitious mining project annoys the Old Ones. Last time there was an ambitious mining project, the Earth nearly exploded, and also the Doctor went to an alternate universe where Great Britain was Nazi.

Mo, the drill worker, spends special quality time with his family, which is kind of like a soldier looking at a picture of his girlfriend before going into battle. The guy basically doomed himself to being dragged underground. Anyways, our trio see a future Amy and Rory waving at them from a distant hillside, because those time reapers met River and just gave up, retired, and spend their days in a time bar, getting drunk and talking about the good ol' days when the Time Lords were still around wearing funny hats.

Mo's son and wife, Elliot and Ambrose, assume Rory is a plainclothes officer come to investigate the strange disappearance of dead people from a graveyard (coffins and all). Meanwhile, the Doctor and Amy meet the people in charge of the drilling project: Dr. Nasreen Chaudhry and Tony Mack, neither of whom understand why there is a giant hole in the floor. The floor starts making more holes, and Amy of course gets nabbed.


The others head for the church, where three Silurians appear to show off their new special effects. Elliot is nabbed as well while Tony is poisoned, while one of the Silurians, Alaya, is captured. She proceeds to whine about humans being here when really Silurians should be in charge, because she read that Lovecraft story, once. The Doctor also rejects Tony's angry insistence that they "dissect" Alaya.

Meanwhile, underground, the Silurians are preparing to dissect Amy. Nice species. While they're being terrible and sadistic, the Doctor complains that someone has guns.

Also, there is an entire civilization of Silurians, as recorded in "The Nameless City".


Cold Blood

In the last episode of Doctor Who, the Silurians were vivisecting living sentient creatures that they considered inferior while the Doctor lectured human beings about having violent tendencies when threatened. So there's that.

The Doctor and Nasreen are captured while mucking about in the Silurian city, discover that the scientist in charge isn't that bad, and the warrior caste leader is crazy, just like Neroon. Amy and Mo, meanwhile, have escaped and...get recaptured. Good job!

Alaya, meanwhile, pokes at Ambrose about her captured son and her dying father Tony until she kills her, which means Ambrose is a Bad Person and not Someone In A Horrible Situation That Has Shattered Their Nerves.

Meanwhile, interspecies alliance talks are going on. Amy tries to sleep, while Nasreen and Eldane, a saner Silurian, discuss obvious problems with peacefully coexisting.

Ambrose and Tony decide that the best way to cover up the fact that Alaya is dead is to make the drill burrow further down and self-destruct to destroy the Silurian's oxygen supply.

Restac, meanwhile, awakens all the warriors, and then Rory shows up with Alaya, and the Doctor disables weapons and stops explosions. Eldane puts the warriors back into hibernation, Nasreen and Tony stay behind to continue peace talks (and cure Tony of his poisoning), and everyone else runs for the TARDIS before the exit is blocked and

Why is there a crack why is the Doctor pulling something out of the crack WHY DOES THAT SOUND SO WRONG WHY IS RESTAC ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM WHY IS RORY PUSHING HIM OUT OF THE WAY WHY IS RORY DISAPPEARING WHY CAN'T AMY REMEMBER HIM WHY





We leave the episode with future Amy, by herself, waving from a hillside, and the Doctor looking at what he pulls from the crack: a piece of the TARDIS.

Not gonna lie, these weren't my favorite episodes. I feel like, in trying to avert the "humans are special" trope, Doctor Who tries to show that "humans are terrible" by showing people behaving in understandable, if regrettable ways, toward threats. (Or, in some circumstances, not regrettable at all except to people who have no survival instinct.) I think the most it did was give a good call back to the first Silurian story, and continue the Pandorica story arc.


Vincent and the Doctor

Confession time: my husband and I went and bought a print of Van Gogh's The Cafe after we watched this episode.

Also, we have a cat named after Van Gogh..


Van Gogh is painting his field of wheat, all while someone is running for their lives through said field of wheat. If you think this is going to be the coolest Children of the Corn crossover ever, you will be sadly disappointed.

Meanwhile, in the present, the Doctor has taken Amy to a museum to view Van Gogh's paintings. As they look around, the Doctor notices that The Church At Auvers has a little extra in it...there appears to be a monster in the window. After the Doctor and Bill Nighy engage in mutual admiration of bow ties, he finds out when the painting was done, and our heroes are off!

They arrive at the cafe, where the owner refuses to sell Vincent any more wine. Amy, being a redhead, promptly purchases the wine and gives it to Vincent, because friendship is enabling alcoholism. (I kid.) While Vincent awkwardly gets his flirt on, someone dies, and everyone blames it on Vincent. Who was drinking wine somewhere else. So, really, people assuming that the Doctor is to blame for scenes he is found at actually works with this logic.

They are also responsible for 9/11, the Balkan Wars, and that Scottish guy being stuck in Iceland.

The trio have a rather interesting talk about Vincent's under-appreciated work and his ability to "hear colors". The Doctor uses a bizarre device that will never be used again, one that reveals the original form of creatures, and inputs the church painting. The monster is a Krafayis. and also that isn't a projection, it's actually the monster. 

The next day, they plan to head to the church to trap the monster, Vincent has an emotional crisis at the thought of them leaving afterward, and it's really sad and hurts my heart, a whole lot. He gets over it, however, when he realizes Amy is sad-she is crying without realizing it, missing something without knowing what it is.


Inside the church, Vincent describes the monster's movement, and the Doctor realizes it is wounded blinded, and was probably left behind to die. In its panic it impales itself on Vincent's easel, and this is why every school needs an art program. The Doctor and Vincent comfort the creature as it dies, and now everyone is surprised to find themselves crying too.

Vincent tries to convince Amy to marry him, clearly with plans to create a Weasley empire of artists, but Amy says she's "not the marrying type". Some more strange eye water ensues.

But they have one last gift to Vincent: they take him to the present and let him walk around the museum, and see people admire his work and describe him as one of the greatest artists of all time, and at this point no one can see the screen, because tears, endless tears.

It's just one big cryfest for all of us. Pass the chocolate ice cream, please.

Unfortunately, after the Doctor and Amy drop Vincent off and return back to the museum, Amy is disappointed to find out that Vincent still committed suicide. The Doctor tells her they gave him a few more good things in his life of sadness.

Now, I need some more chocolate ice cream, and more tissues, and possibly something soft to cuddle.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NuWho Reviews: The Time of the Angels, Flesh and Stone, The Vampires of Venice, Amy's Choice

The Time of the Angels

The Doctor and Amy are wandering through a future museum, enjoying the mistakes the curators have made (the Doctor keeps score). Then, they find a box with words carved in High Gallifreyan, which can't be translated by the TARDIS: "Hello Sweetie"

AWWWYISSSSS

The box is a damaged flight recorder, and by watching it, they see the exact moment that RIVER EJECTS HERSELF FROM THE SHIP, HAPPILY EXPECTING THE DOCTOR TO CATCH HER.

It's the hair. It's gotta be the hair.

Or the general awesomeness that exudes from her. Something like that.

River promptly starts driving the TARDIS and points out that the Doctor keeps the emergency brake on. She took lessons the day the Doctor was busy. They look for the ship River was on, and find that it has crashed on top of an old temple. A team of military clerics arrive, and no, they are not the Knights Templar, unfortunately. These clerics are here to look for what caused the ship to crash: a Weeping Angel.

While Amy reviews the security footage from the ship, the Doctor and River start reading over a book about Weeping Angels and also the image of a Weeping Angel becomes an angel why are you all screaming and staring at your screens?

You have not seen the last of this meme.

Also, the Doctor warns Amy not to look in the Angel's eyes because the "eyes are the windows of the soul" or something, and Amy manages to turn off the security feed. But not before looking into the Angel's eyes because that's the kind of TV show this is.

Amy starts feeling like something is in her eyes, and as someone with dry eye syndrome this was basically the worst thing ever for me.

They start exploring the temple, meaning this is now an Indiana Jones movie. Luckily the advanced technology would make a nuclear fridge scene make slightly more sense. Our red shirt clerics start getting picked off (as in killed-these are the really mean Weeping Angels that don't get invited to parties.), and Amy feels like sand is pouring out of her eye.

Anyways, River notices that all the statues have one head, and the species that built the temple were two-headed, so that means

Oh. OH CRAP.

At least some of them don't have arms. And if they weren't such jerks, I would sound like a monster.

The radiation from the crashed ship is starting to revive the Weeping Angels, and Amy's hand is turning to stone. Tyrion shakes his head sadly since he realizes he would never have risked getting grayscale to save her like she did for him wait I think I'm in the wrong fandom.

The Doctor tells Amy that her hand isn't really stone; the Angel in her eye (lol) is altering her perception. He proves it by biting her, avenging the four psychiatrists.

AND THEN ANGEL BOB SHOWS UP. Oh, Angel Bob. you polite jerk, using poor Cleric Bob (there's a Saint Bob???) to pick on the Doctor.

The Doctor responds by shooting the gravity well of the crashed ship. You'd think all these villains would remember the Doctor is crazy by now.


Flesh and Stone

Last time, on Doctor Who:

River: Sure hope the Doctor doesn't screw up his timing again!

Bishop Octavian: Is he crazy?
River: Yep.
Bishop: Good. Heroes are never effective unless they're crazy.

Amy: Doctor...I think I'm pregnant.
Doctor: AMY WOULD YOU WAIT A COUPLE EPISODES
Amy: Doctor, I think I have grayscale.
Doctor: Much better.

Angel Bob: I prefer my tea with one lump of sugar, two drops of milk, and a scone on the side. Also, we are going to win everything.
Doctor: When did the Weeping Angels become pretentious?

AND NOW, THE CONCLUSION.


The exploded gravity globe has caused the Weeping Angels to get stuck to the floor (the ship is upside down). Awesome! Now to get out of the trap. Which involves turning off the lights to preserve energy to open the doors. Damn you futuristic technology! Picard had to deal with these stupid automatic doors breaking too.

The clerics lay down covering fire, which also creates enough light to keep the Angels from moving. They make it to the control room, and are too focused on comfy chairs to notice Amy counting backward from ten. There is a giant on-board forest to escape through, and also the Doctor makes Angel Bob say "comfy chair".


In revenge, Angel Bob instigates the Weeping Angels into an evil laughing fit, and why are you all screaming again? Wait, that's me, never mind.

They make a run for the forest, and Amy reveals that the Angel in her eye (lol) is making her count down to her death, because again, these are the jerk Weeping Angels that no one likes. Amy has to shut her eyes to starve it of power, and the Doctor, River, and Bishop Octavian try to get to the big control room. River reveals that she is actually in the custody of Bishop Octavian for some crime, and if she helps them with this mission she gets pardoned.

Things start getting weird. Octavian bites it, the crack grows bigger and freaks out the Weeping Angels, and the clerics start getting swallowed up by the crack...and no one but Amy can even remember they exist.

With Amy alone, the Doctor uses the communicator to maneuver her around the Weeping Angels. They aren't feeling jerkish right now, just extremely freaked out. If Amy walks as if she can see them, they'll leave her alone. So, they're jerks AND they're stupid.

"Is she legit? I can't tell if she's legit or not. Maybe we should ask Angel Bob."
"He's too busy sitting on a comfy chair."

Meanwhile, the Doctor realizes the best way to fix the crack is to put a complicated space/time event in it.

Luckily, River gets the transporter fixed, Amy is beamed up/over/whatever, and the Angels decide that the Doctor should throw himself into the rupture; the Doctor points out that the Angels would do just as well, because all they need is a good weird timey-wimey event to fix it.

Fortunately, real gravity is kicking, so while our heroes dangle around, all the Angels, including that annoying one in Amy's eyes, fall into the crack.

Thanks, mysterious crack of doom!

River promises the Doctor a kiss "when he's older", and tells him the next time they meet, the Pandorica will open. Lots of people are really into this Pandorica opening thing.

Amy and the Doctor return to her house, where she shows him her wedding dress, then forcibly makes out with him. The Doctor, and a good chunk of the audience, are a bit squicked out.

Also, Amy's wedding day is the same day as the big giant event of doom. The Doctor decides it's probably time to figure out what's going on before someone else's wedding gets ruined.

And also try to get Amy to make out with Rory instead.

I know people hate villains that do things For The Evulz, but I love it, mainly because that makes it terrifying. The Weeping Angels were scarier here than before, and I would say this is their best appearance throughout the series. It also gave us some more nightmare fuel since Moffat decided he hated us all and told us that the image of a Weeping Angel becomes an Angel, which means we are all screwed. And probably we're all in the wrong time periods already. This probably explains why I keep feeling the need to dress in clothing from the 1800s and read Gothic novels. I'm in the wrong time period.


The Vampires of Venice

Wanna know how you can tell someone is a vampire? They're pale, they wear a lot of black, and they smile a lot and WHY ARE YOU ALL RUNNING AWAY FROM ME

I just don't go out in the sun a lot, okay? And I like to smile, OKAY? AND BLACK IS A PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE COLOR TO WEAR.

So this Italian fisherman hands his daughter over to a school where the headmistress' son has very sharp teeth.

But that's not important. Let's talk about how the Doctor plans to fix Amy and Rory's relationship. First, he hides in a stripper cake and leaps out at Rory. He then informs Rory that Amy kissed him. "And you kissed her back?" "No, I kissed her mouth."


The Doctor doesn't understand social nuance. Anyways, the Doctor decides a romantic trip to Venice would be the perfect thing for the confused couple. The Doctor manages to pose as the Pope. Just go with it. They see Guido the fisherman trying, and failing, to talk to his daughter, and of course the Doctor has to go meddle investigate. Amy and Rory, meanwhile, run Francesco off from some poor innocent flower seller.

I said "innocent".

Guido manages to get the Doctor inside the Calvierri house, where the Doctor is confronted by the brides of Dracula, sans reflections of course. Unfortunately, the funny dancing scene from Dracula, Dead and Loving It does not happen. The Doctor tries to distract them with psychic paper, but it just shows William Hartnell's library card.

The Doctor escapes, and they come up with a brilliant plan! Sneak Amy into the house. The Doctor and Rory argue about who would be more plausible as a male guardian. Also, the Doctor doesn't think these are actually vampires, so these really aren't the same vampires the Eighth Doctor dealt with.

Rory borrows Guido's clothes to pose as Amy's brother, while Guido trucks around Venice with a stag party t-shirt. Don't worry, the Doctor-related anachronisms get much worse later on. Once in, Francesco creeps on Amy, and Isabella reveals she can't really go out in sunlight anymore.

While trying to let everyone in, Amy gets strapped down, and the plan is to drain her of her blood and fill her with the Calvierri's blood. Also, they wear technology that conceals the fact they are fishy things.

They would later try their luck with Innsmouth, with better results.

Our heroes manage to get Amy out, but Isabella doesn't make it, and is forced to jump into a lake of doom, where the Giant Squid presumably lived before traveling to Great Britain.

By this time, the Doctor has it all figured out. They're Saturnyne's, whose planet disappeared in some strange cataclysm.

No, silly, Davros isn't destroying reality again. The CRACKS are destroying reality again! The Saturnyne have decided Earth is the best place to colonize, because of course it is. Rosanna the Not!Vampire has been converting these young girls to be wives for her 10,000 spawn!

The Doctor is incredibly squicked out by this.

Guido blows himself up with the fish not!vampire girls, we see the first glimmer of RAEGRORY, and then Francesco decides he might as well nom Amy while he's at it. Rory tries to fight him with a broom, while Amy actually saves him and then they kiss.

But we gotta stretch this plot point out as long as possible, so don't get used to it.

The Doctor is shouting things, and Venice is being destroyed, but luckily they just have to flip a switch. Rosanna commits suicide by having her fish children eat her. More squick!

Amy is happy, since she has her TARDIS and her boys, and the Doctor is slightly freaked out that Venice has gone deathly silent.

Crack is bad, kids.


Amy's Choice

It has been five years since Amy and Rory stopped traveling with the Doctor, and he's dropped in for a quick visit. Amy is really pregnant and also making cookies, and Rory is a mulleted doctor. Unfortunately, the Doctor has crushed the flower garden, and also isn't aware that Amy is pregnant, and is only assuming that she has gained a lot of weight.


They sit on a bench, discussing how quiet the place is, and fall asleep...

Waking up on the TARDIS, becoming aware that it's getting colder, and why do they hear birds again...?

Waking up on the bench, and becoming aware that something weird is going on...

Waking up on the TARDIS, okay, you get the idea. They can't figure out which world is the real one, and also the Doctor threw the TARDIS manual into a sun, once, for disagreeing with him.

The village world is Rory's idyllic dream of the future, where he's a doctor to a quiet group of people (mainly the elderly) and Amy is pregnant with their child. Amy appears less enthused about this future. On the TARDIS, the temperature is rapidly dropping, and also a trolling little man has appeared out of nowhere, like Q on CRACK (the drug, not the cataclysm).

This is the Dream Lord, who is not, I repeat, NOT the Valeyard. AT ALL. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, WITH NO RELATION WHATSOEVER. IN SHORT, NOT THE VALEYARD.

Those sleeves are not nearly large enough.

He has a challenge for the Doctor and his companions: each world contains a major threat, but only one is real. If they die in their dream, they wake up (thanks for not Elm Streeting, Dream Lord). If they die in real life...well, what usually happens when you die in real life?

Anyways, as they try to figure out which is the real world, the Doctor is very concerned about Rory's mullet, while on the TARDIS, they are fourteen minutes from drifting into a frozen star, which does not include musical numbers that everyone now hates for being sung too much.

In the village world, the elderly patients are threatening them, the Dream Lord continues to taunt the Doctor, making the Doctor realize this is the person who hates him more than anyone else (silly angsty Doctor), and also the old people are a race of aliens who like to eat humans. Great!

They used to have human-eating contests with xenomorphs.

Rory and Amy lock themselves in their house while the Doctor barely escapes to a shop. Back on the TARDIS, Rory and the Doctor start arguing about which is the real world, with the most obvious subtext that this series ever subtexted while Amy looks very uncomfortable with the whole thing. The Doctor decides they should split up between the worlds, so the Dream Lord sends the boys off to the village and keeps Amy in the TARDIS so he can make the subtext even textier.

(Is textier a word? It is now.)

The Dream Lord flirts a lot, and wears a horrible outfit to go with it, all while pointing out that Amy might want to stop leading the other two on.

why why why why why why


Amy returns to the village, where Rory sacrifices his mullet for her, and just in time to go into labor too!

Then Rory dies.

Why yes, I do plan on using this picture every time Rory dies. Why do you ask?


When Amy realizes the Doctor can't do anything to change it, she turns on him and decides that a world without Rory isn't worth it. She crashes the van into the house to kill the old alien people...

And they win. The Dream Lord concedes defeat, and lets them go, and...the Doctor overloads the TARDIS engine. Why? Because the Dream Lord is such a jerk that this is probably a dream too!

For the record, he's right.

So what exactly was that? Well, some psychic pollen got into the TARDIS time rotor and overheated LOOK DON'T QUESTION THE LOGIC OF THIS SHOW.

And who was the Dream Lord? Why, just the culmination of the Doctor's malevolent impulses, WHO IS TOTALLY NOT THE VALEYARD AT ALL THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHY ARE YOU SIDE-EYEING THIS EPISODE SO HARD

NOW YOU'VE GOT HIM GIVING THE SIDE EYE TOO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE

The pollen was feeding on this dark side, but Amy and Rory were just too darn nice for it. Amy and Rory kiss, and prepare for the next two parter.