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Fire bad. TARDIS pretty.

And even with some definitely heavy stuff going on, still with the fun.

In no small measure because, as taraljc points out, this ep is very Old Skool in a lot of ways. Specifically in ways that resonate muchly with the 70s, to an extent I don't think has quite happened before. I've certainly had those moments of "Yes! This is the show I fell in love with as a kid... or rather where it makes sense for it to be now... or something." But this one, for whatever reason, just hit a lot of those buttons for me.

(For the record, since I'm not sure whether I've actually stated it here before, said buttons were installed in the fall of 1977, beginning with "Horror of Fang Rock." Which, as you might guess, made very little sense until I finally saw it again around 1981. Sense was, however, immaterial. Not least because it involved people being trapped by a monster advancing ominously up the stairs for about three weeks. Yes, my tastes were established early on. *g* Also, picture a seven-year-old me discovering Leela. 'Nuff said.)

It occurs to me that Donna ping-ponging between "This is the coolest thing EVER!!!" and "What the HELL are you thinking?!" should possibly be annoying. But since it's all perfectly reasonable as responses to whatever she's encountering at the moment, I'm just going "Yeah!!"

Even, to some extent, with the never-not-going-to-be-awkward Requisite Companion Moment Of Why We Can't Change History. Because as much as I see and understand the Doctor's position, it's a pretty key part of the companion job description to challenge him on it. And being Donna, she challenges him on it quite bluntly. Which can't possibly surprise him, and clearly doesn't -- his delivery has very much a ring of having prepared his arguments because he knew damn well he'd have to argue it with her. After all, even though this has hit unusually early in her companion tenure, it comes after she was confronted with full-on ultimatum-issuing Oncoming Storm mode the day she met him. The day she looked him in the eye and told him he needed someone to stop him -- but didn't yet believe she was up for being that someone.

Last week, they both acknowledged that yes, she is. This week, she learned how much harder it is to accept when not to stop him. And she still thinks travelling with him sounds like a fine idea. I think we'll keep her. :-D

Perhaps for the very reason that the Doctor was prepared for an argument, the elegance of the explanation this time out impressed me. Not that we don't generally know everything he said, but the fixed point vs. flux thing crystallized it more clearly than we've ever heard outright. Then it segued very nicely indeed into the reminder (or, from Donna's vantage point, explanation for the first time) of the Doctor's perceptions -- that as a Time Lord he's aware of all this stuff, all the time, and also acutely aware that he's the only one left. The construction of the speech places a very clear emphasis on the responsibility of that, which I love. It's not just "aww, poor emo Lonely God," blahblahblah. The trauma is never not going to be with him, but that's not all there is to it, and never has been. It's how much is placed on his shoulders, how completely he cannot afford to screw up. We've seen that by deed, but seldom heard him spell it out so plainly in words.

I'm intrigued by the prophesying, but not in a mode of trying to puzzle out what it will mean. Just looking forward to finding out. Well, okay, "She is coming" is pretty transparent -- if Rose isn't this season's ongoing reference thread (à la Bad Wolf/Torchwood/Saxon), it would mean TPTB have discovered an untapped vein of subtlety that I don't think is terribly likely. *g* The bit about Donna having "something on your back" has me more curious.

I did say there was fun, didn't I?

The "stereotypical middle-class TV family, just dressed up in Beeb Classical togs!" thing was clever enough at first, but got a bit stale. The Latin-being-heard-as-"Celtic" :: pause to beat the linguistics portion of my brain into submission :: gag was more successful. Mostly, I think, because after the first time it went by without further comment by either the Doctor or Donna, and also because the borrowed Latin phrases fit seamlessly into the dialogue without feeling shoehorned. They were so ordinary we didn't even register them as Latin until it was pointed out, and there was no interruption in the flow. (The complete opposite of Rose's increasingly cringeworthy attempts to get Queen Victoria to say she wasn't amused back in "Tooth and Claw.")

The merchant blithely selling the TARDIS by logic that basically amounts to "finders keepers" makes me laugh and laugh. That poor old box has suffered all manner of indignities, but I think being just flat-out sold -- within minutes of arrival, yet! -- is a new one. And the "modern art" line was a fun little callback to "City of Death."

Just the general dynamic between the Doctor and Donna is making me all kinds of happy. I remember laughing and grinning at lots of specific points, but couldn't quote the lines to save my life. It's just, like I said last week, fun.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Yes yes and yes!
Apr. 14th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
I love old skool
The bit about Donna having "something on your back" has me more curious.
I love it when there's hints and clues that are not obvious. helps me think (or, you know, over think - aka make up stories)

Weird question for you...in this ep there's a scene where the family rushes to the various breakable objects during a tremor and the Dad says something like "places everyone" right before. That scene reminds me of some other ep and I'm pretty sure its Tom Baker Doctor Who era, but I could be totally high on Mt Vesuvius vapors from my TV so maybe not. I don't suppose it rang any bells with you?

Apr. 14th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
eh nevermind that question above I've just been reminded its from Mary Poppins. doh!
Apr. 14th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
D'oh! Of course!

Thank you, because I hadn't placed it yet! I knew it was from something, but my brain has been too busy...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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