So, I had been planning on reviewing the episodes of Doctor Who as they were released, but I never got around to it. Instead I’m just going to do them all in one go. Below, I’ve got a little description/review of each episode, as well as a few comments on this series as a whole. Warning, there are spoilers a’plenty below.
Episode 1: Asylum Of The Daleks
Daleks can look like humans now. The Doctor and the Ponds are dragged together because the Daleks want their help to destroy a planet of insane Daleks, where all unprotected lifeforms are turned into Daleks. They’re drawn to a trapped girl who seems to be a genius and master hacker of Dalek tech with a thing for soufflés. Turns out she’s a master Dalek stuck in a Dalek-ian Plato’s Cave. She wants the Doctor to save her but he can’t. On the way to her, she saves him by erases him from every database in the universe, thereby making the Daleks forget who he is. Well done, you’ve just destroyed decades of feuding and mythos between the Doctor and the Daleks. Meanwhile, Rory tries to prove to Amy that he loves her, but Amy just rejects him by giving him some baloney story about why she loves him more. The Doctor seems to be uncharacteristically mean and unsympathetic in this episode, very unlike his 11th iteration, and more like he was early in his 10th. He doesn’t give a stuff about helping the Daleks destroy a tonne of their own kind. He’s just angered that they didn’t have the heart to do it themselves. I thought the Doctor was all about saving everyone, offering redemption and protecting the innocent. Instead, he seems to just be about showing off, getting some thrills and saving Amy and Rory.
Episode 2: Dinosaurs On A Spaceship
There’s a ship hurtling towards future Earth, and they call the Doctor to tell him to move it or they’ll blow it up. He assembles a “gang” including the Ponds (and accidentally Rory’s dad, Brian, just because he happened to be in the room at the time), Queen Nefertiti, and John Riddell. I guess this is suppose to be the” historical figure” episode for this series, because it has Nefertiti and Riddell in it, but I’ve never I’d heard of either of them before. Rory, Brian and the Doctor get themselves lost, and then picked up by a pair of bickering robots who are entertaining in a sort of pathetic way. They get taken to an injured pirate who want to sell the contents of the ship for big bucks. The Doctor’s deletion from the universe’s databases is referenced when he cannot be identified for a market value. Amy thinks herself a queen. She takes charge, and pulls a whole bunch of plot points from the ship’s computer. The pirate threatens to kill everyone unless Nefertiti will go with him. The Doctor comes up with a way to steer the ship away from Earth and redirect their missile at the pirate’s ship, and rescue Nefertiti. Like the last episode, the Doctor end up not giving a stuff about someone and, more or less, condemns the pirate to death. There’s a lot more to this story than “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” but that’s the way it’s presented. That said, the story isn’t the strongest, but they may be because it’s so focused on throwing together ridiculous things, rather than telling a story.
Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy
The Ponds and the Doctor find themselves in a mid 19th century western town called Mercy. They are immediately jumped by the townspeople, and thrown out of town because apparently there’s a cyborg killer on the loose in the desert, looking to kill someone known as “the doctor”. The Doctor works out that this is actually another alien whose hiding in the jail of the town, called Kahler-Jex. He comes up with a plan to get Jex home but, in doing so, makes a discovery which makes him change his mind. Everything pretty much goes downhill from there. Unlike the other episodes, I don’t want to spoil this one too much because it’s got a few good twists, although you could predict most of it if you watch the opening carefully enough. It’s a bit darker than other episodes, and time is finally taken to address the attitude the Doctor takes to mercy, redemption, saving people and letting them die. To this effect Jex acts, in parts, like the Dream Lord from “Amy’s Choice“. There’s also quite a lot of pew-pew action and explosions in this episode. The BBC are clearly trying very hard to get American viewers here, setting the episode in the Wild West, and constantly referring to American ideology like “the land of second chances”.
Episode 4: The Power Of Three
By this point, the Doctor has been popping in and out of the Ponds’ lives for ten years (from the time of the Prisoner Zero incident). This story leads on directly from “Pond Life”, which was a little previewer/prequal that the BBC released on YouTube in the lead-up to the new series. The world wakes up one day to find there are small black cubes covering everywhere that seems to have just fallen from the sky. Of course, the Doctor is already on the case. Initially, people are confused and scared, but not long after they start collecting them like the latest fad. Not enthralled enough by the cubes, the Doctor decided to take Amy & Rory out on a number of expeditions, which turn out badly as usual, but are only fleetingly shown for comedic effect. Eventually, the Doctor decided to stay with the Ponds for a while to keep an eye on the cubes. This gives us a good opportunity to get a bit of a look into Amy & Rory’s real lives. Amy writes travel articles for magazines. We see the Doctor doing a bunch of household chores, as well as playing some Wii Tennis. Various aspects of modern life are reference here, like Facebook and Twitter. The story is actually much more interesting up to this point, before it gets stuck into the “exciting” bog-standard Doctor Who stuff, although there are still a few laughs. A childhood Time Lord myth turns out to be real, and has turned up to kill of the infestation they consider the human race to be. They do this by stopping everyone’s hearts using the cubes. The Doctor does the opposite, and get everyone back alive again. Although the title is explained at the end, it’s still terrible and stupid. A much better title would have been “The Year The Doctor Came To Stay” or “The Slow Invasion”.
Episode 5: The Angels Take Manhattan
The time travel in this episode is a bit self-relative, and get mind-bending in spots, but it really cool. It also means that the “No Spoilers” policy the Doctor has is fleshed out to a consequentially logical state. The Doctor has taken the Ponds on an expedition to New York, and is reading a book about a detective living in 1938 New York, going by the name of Melody Malone. Rory is unsuspectingly transported to said time by a Weeping Angel, which can now apparently look like any type of statue, not just an angel. He find Melody Malone, who is in fact River Song, and they both get dragged off to a mob boss obsessed with the Angels. River’s no longer in prison because the Doctor was deleted from every database in the universe, therefore she couldn’t have killed someone that doesn’t exist. Amy and the Doctor work out what’s going on by reading the book and, with great difficulty, travel in the TARDIS to 1938. River gets her wrist broken, and flips out when the Doctor uses some regeneration energy to fix it, but she used all her regenerations to resurrect him a while back (first episode of Series 6). Rory gets zapped in space, but not time, by an Angel, and finds an old dying version of himself. He must now find a way to change the future to stop himself from dying in this place. His only solution is to jump off the top of a building, killing himself, thereby creating a paradox and saving him. Amy can’t see another solution, or talk him out of it, so she jumps with him. It’s actually a really emotional scene on the rooftop, as is the rest of this episode, which I’ll leave up to you to see. I don’t want to spoil it. When I first heard about this episode, I was worried it would be just another stupid Weeping Angels story, but it actually turned out to be much more than that. This episode, like “A Town Called Mercy”, is a bit darker, dealing with more interesting themes than many of the other episodes. It gives you a bit of a look at the Doctor’s character, especially around the issue of death, love and existence. The Doctor loves video games.
**They killed off Amy in a nice way. I was looking forward to it happening, but now I’m actually really pleased with the way they did it.
Out of two stars for each episode, I’d give 1 + 0.5 + 1 + 1.5 + 2 = 6 stars. For a while now, I felt that Doctor Who had lost its way, more or less since Steven Moffat took over. There seemed to be less and less content to the stories, and more repetition and reinvention of characters and enemies til they were no longer interesting. The later episodes in this series are clearly the better ones . They’re deeper, filled with more emotion and explore ideas and scenarios that the Doctor hasn’t dealt with in recent time, at the least. I’m hoping the rest of the series will follow on from this and get better, not worse again with more mindless, meaningless adventuring.
I like an adventure, but I also like a message. It’s like a John Green novel versus a Anthony Horowitz novel. Wouldn’t that be awesome? To have John Green write an episode of Doctor Who?!? Or Anthony Horowitz!? I’d love to see either of them write a episode for Doctor Who!!! Would you like to see a episode of Doctor Who written by John Green, or Anthony Horowitz, or is there another famous author you’d like to write one?
Anyway, that’s a rundown, and what I thought of the so-far released half of Doctor Who Series 7. Did you see Doctor Who Series 7? What did you think? Are you a long-term fan? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below.
To Infinity and Beyond,
- FUTURE OF DOCTOR WHO WISH LIST (houseofgeekery.com)
- Doctor Who, series 7 – all five episodes reviewed (reprog.wordpress.com)