The Zygon Invasion – New Who Season 9 Episode 7 Review

Spoiler alert, starting NOW!

The 50th anniversary was supposed to be a stand alone episode.  Or so we thought.  Right away we see flashbacks about what happened with the Zygons.  We knew they’d have to address this eventually, and here it is.  Not when I was expecting it, just like Moffat wanted.

Osgood and her Zygon twin made a video to neatly explain current events for us.  It’s been decided that 20 million Zygons will take human form, live on Earth among the humans in peace and the treaty will be maintained.  In case anything happens to either or both Osgoods, this tape has been made to explain things.  There’s a box the Doctor(s) left behind in case things go south, but we aren’t told what’s in it.  At the beginning of the season when Missy killed Osgood, I kind of wondered if it was Osgood or a Zygon, but it wasn’t addressed.  Now we see an Osgood standing in front of her “sister’s” grave.  But which Osgood is still alive?  The one standing there is *not* wearing a scarf, so I wonder if we lost the human one?

We next see an Osgood running/hiding from a Zygon.  She attempts to text the Doctor but the Zygon catches/kills her.  Flash to the Doctor and he’s playing his guitar again (Amazing Grace) when the text “Nightmare Scenario” arrives.  He heads over to check things out.  By check things out, I mean he chases down a couple Zygons posing as 7 year olds and tells them he’s taking over.

We next see Kate Stewart making plans.  If you look carefully, there’s Easter eggs lurking in this scene, like a picture of the first Doctor on the wall.  It appears Osgood hasn’t been killed, just captured.  Unfortunately her data containing the location of every Zygon has also been compromised.  Kate tells the Doctor all of this, and he finishes up just in time to see the two girls snatched by some other Zygons.  It appears they’re collecting all of their “kind” for some reason.

The Doctor meets up with Kate (UNIT in general) and Clara’s still not answering her phone.  Wait, maybe Clara is a Zygon… We flash to Clara just in time to see her realize she has 127 missed calls from the Doctor.  She gets side tracked in her building with a little boy (who I think just got taken by Zygons) before returning his call and meeting up with him.  Once they head over to the Zygon command center to investigate we have time to find out that after the truce they never learned which Osgood was the human and which was the Zygon.  Turns out, they were both a bit of both.  When one died, the other went mad with grief and went into hiding… Could she be behind this?

The Zygons have been sending UNIT a series of videos, like with Osgood reading a threat.  Now there’s a new one with the two little girls (who are actually the Zygon high command) being vaporized.  The radicals have taken over.  Despite Kate’s first instinct to start a war, the Doctor sends her to New Mexico to investigate, Clara is going to stay to be a base of operations, and he wants to take the presidential plane to go negotiate peace.  Doubt that’ll work out.  Kate said that they had nerve gas that worked on just the Zygons but the Doctor had taken it.  If I remember correctly, that was actually during an “old Who” episode.

Clara wants to swing by home to grab some things with Kate;’s assistant (Jac).  The first thing I thought of was her neighbors and the potential Zygons.  Sure enough, within seconds we see the neighbors hauling a child-sized sack into the elevator.  They run to chase the elevator but it’s empty.  So they get in, discover a Zygon control panel behind the floor selector and end up in some underground base… of course the neighbors are just ahead.  Smartly they run away.

At the Doctor’s location he tries to stop UNIT from blowing up the town in New Mexico.  The agent that was supposed to be carrying out the order only stopped because she saw a man and child that looked like her family.  So would she be killing Zygons, or is it her family that are the Zygons?

In New Mexico, Kate meets the local law enforcement.  Meanwhile, Clara and Jac discover that elevators are going underground with bundles all over the UK.  Bouncing back to Kate (all this bouncing around is making my head spin) it appears a bunch of Brits appeared there a couple years prior then started taking Zygon form and came after the locals.  But Osgood was there just before everything went down.

The Doctor and UNIT head to a Zygon occupied village to try and collect Osgood.  The UNIT soldiers get tricked into believing the Zygon imposters are family members, follow them into a building and end up as piles of electrified remains.  The commander and the Doctor are all that’s left.  The commander leaves the building where the remains are, and the Doctor finds Osgood chained in the cellar.  Time to go…

The officer with Kate shows her a dumpster full of remains, left behind from the Zygons.  Close by, there are 4 more of them.  So a whole town basically.  The Doctor also has a chat with Osgood and we learn that Zygons no longer need to keep humans alive to keep their faces.  Now they can wear a memory, providing they don’t need any further information from the original.  So we still don’t know for sure which she is.

Clara’s group heads back underground and discovers a bunch of Zygon pods.  Clara leads a UNIT group in to neutralize them when she discovers *herself*.  YES! Jac is even smarter than she looks and quickly realizes it’s a trap.  But too late!  They’re all killed…

Flashback to Clara in the neighbor’s apartment, and she was actually captured and replaced by “Bonnie”.  Flash to the Doctor talking to a Zygon prisoner and they say they’ve already taken over… Flash to Kate and she finds out that her new friend is also a Zygon.  Not a surprise – why would a town full of Zygons leave one human?

Back to the Doctor and Clara (back and forth) and Clara (Bonnie) sends a missile at the Doctor’s plane…  Nice way to end an episode!

The Magician’s Apprentice – New Who Series 9 Episode 1 Review

Our favorite show has returned to the air, and with it a return to the blog.  I think I’ll be trying to write this while watching it live, so there won’t be as much careful thought as I’m used to putting into the blog.  However, I find it much more fun to do it this way.  Before starting the episode I watched interviews with Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi, and am amazed at the respect all of these people seem to have for each other.

Anywho, here we go!

We’re starting out on a battlefield with a child running around.  and it’s not long before we have a scene that looks like something out of a zombie movie.  But then the Doctor comes to the rescue… until the child says his name is Davros.  Then he just looks horrified.

After the credits we meet Colony Staff, and he reminds me of something… something in Harry Potter maybe?  Anyway, he pays a visit to the sisters of the flame to threaten the Doctor.  I feel like this could be interesting…

Ah, there’s Clara!  The planes stop in the sky and Unit calls Clara?  This is new… But it makes sense.  And Missy is back!

Clara doesn’t seem that shocked to see Missy.  She must be tougher than she used to be.  Missy claims to asking for Clara’s help because the Doctor is in danger.  She says that the Doctor is on his last night and then he’ll die.  Clara knows how to find him and cooperates.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

So they find the Doctor and I have to admit that seeing Peter Capaldi with a guitar is kind of awesome.  There’s some time killing and then Colony Staff turns into a snake.  I’m still very confused, and we’re halfway through the episode.  But then Colony Staff throws the screwdriver down and it all makes sense even before it’s explained.  He left Davros to die.  He made Davros.

So the Doctor is collected, Missy and Clara are taken with him, they left a tank behind and the TARDIS is grabbed by the Daleks… I’m starting to feel like they’re just throwing in things we know:

Cole Hill School, Missy, UNIT, Colony Staff, the Shadow Proclamation, Daleks, Davros, Sisters of the Flame… have I missed anyone?  Seriously!

So on the ship the Doctor is taken away to see Davros and we get a nod back to the previous Doctors.  Meanwhile Missy and Clara escape to “space”.  Turns out we’re on Skaro and Missy’s just going to decide to pair up with the Daleks.  They kill Missy and Clara, and destroy the TARDIS.

Personally, I don’t feel like any of this is real, but hey, what do I know?

This episode was mostly filler, and then some serious plot mixed in.  I enjoyed it, and it felt like the hour passed quickly.  However, I think I’ll have a lot of complaints on rewatch.  What did everyone think?

Series 8 Filming

Spoiler alert!

Series 8 filming is still going on, and all kinds of rumors are flying.  It seems sure, though, that the Cybermen are returning!

Series8Ep10Cybermen

Oh and did I mention Osgood, Kate Stewart and UNIT?

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While we’re at it, why don’t we just stop and take a selfie?

Series8Ep10Selfie

Gaiman and Dicks Talk to the Reg

Neil Gaiman and Terrance Dicks talked to The Register about Who:

Doctor Who @ 50 Two writers stand at opposite ends of the Doctor Who anniversary – cult graphic novelist and author Neil Gaiman and veteran TV man Terrance Dicks.

Gaiman contributed just a single story to Doctor Who: a tale that personified the TARDIS as a woman named Idris, lending flesh to the love of the Doctor’s life and articulating an intense and eternal relationship that could never be physically consummated.

Dicks wrote many episodes between 1969 and 1974, with 70 Who novelisations to his name. He’s best known for cranking out the epic 10-parter The War Games. If anybody knows Doctor Who it is Dicks, whose Time Lord was more time buccaneer than time anguisher.

On the brink of the fiftieth anniversary episode, on 23 November, Gaiman and Dicks talked to us about five decades of change: simple plots, late scripts, Colin Baker’s silly costume, “incoherent crap”, and getting giggly over the 50th anniversary…

Neil Gaiman

The Reg: You’re the multiverse-minded storyteller whose Who credits include 2011’s The Doctor’s Wife. Are you preposterously excited at the prospect of the fiftieth anniversary episode?

Neil Gaiman: I actually am. I love it so much, especially here in the fiftieth anniversary year. It’s magic. Amanda [Palmer, Gaiman’s musician wife] and I are doing An Evening With Neil And Amanda in New York on Saturday, but because of the magic of the international dateline I will be able to go and see the fiftieth anniversary episode in 3D in the cinema, simulcast with the UK, in the afternoon. I love that. And I think the possibility that I will get through that live show without saying something about Doctor Who is zero – it will definitely happen.

The Reg: Without wishing to grovel, The Doctor’s Wife is one of the outstanding recent episodes.

NG: I felt really, peculiarly honoured to be allowed to write that, and to have been allowed to go and play in the Doctor Who sandbox. I’d had this story in my head and Steven Moffat [writer and later producer of the new Whos] just let me go with it. And when it looked like they couldn’t actually afford it in the first season, rather than try to do it on not enough money, and in a hurry, they bumped it to the next season and gave it lots of money. So we actually got to do it properly. I was just so lucky with that – we had a great director, wonderful actors and I got to use all of the things I’d ever wondered about the TARDIS since I was three.

The Reg :The main one being?

NG: I think I must’ve been about eight when I decided that actually what the TARDIS did was it went to, you know, where the Doctor needed to be. Getting to put that line from eight-year-old Neil into Doctor Who was fantastic. Because we all kind of knew it, there wasn’t anybody who watched The Doctor’s Wife and said: “This is not true!” Everybody said: “Oh yeah – that’s how it works.” And the lovely thing about it is, it kind of ever so slightly changes everything that went before… but it doesn’t.

The Reg: Peter Capaldi looks like he’s going to make a very convincing Doctor – he is just him.

NG: It’s one of those ones. And he’s the perfect Doctor after Matt Smith. Matt Smith’s such a puppy, and you know what whatever Peter does he’s going to be a wise old dog, and I think we need one of them now. There’s something gloriously Hartnellian about him, and it’s nice, that idea that it’s somehow gone full circle.

Terrance Dicks

The Reg: Forty-four years after you first wrote for it, and fifty since its début, how has Doctor Who survived?

Terrance Dicks: I’ve always said that the reason for its success is its variety. The show constantly undergoes change, whether major or minor – getting a new Doctor, the changing companions – and if it’s working it just carries you along. It evolves like a living thing, in fact, but the continuity and the central thread of the show is the Doctor, who is always the Doctor, with the same characteristics and attitudes, ideals and morals.

The Reg: Was this part of your plan when you became script editor?

TD: My plan was to get the bloody show out, on the air! When people asked me: “What were your aims and ambitions for the show?” I’d say: “That the BBC did not have to show the test card at 6pm on Saturday night.”

When I arrived [Dicks was appointed assistant script editor in 1968], the script situation was fairly diabolical and chaotic – they were very often late, and shows were falling through. The most extreme example of I can think of is when a four-parter and six-parter had fallen through, and [script editor] Derrick Sherwin came into my office and said: “Terrance, we need a 10-part Doctor Who and you’re going to write it and we need it next week.”

I exaggerate slightly but not much. I called Mac [Malcolm] Hulke, who’d been my friend and mentor in the business, as it were, and we wrote The War Games together, a script every two days. Obviously, it’s madness to do a 10-part Doctor Who!

Dicks on The War Games

The Reg: But people really dig The War Games!

TD: Yes. In the past I was always a bit apologetic about The War Games, at conventions. I’d say: “The opening episode’s good – they’re in the First World War and a Roman chariot comes out of the mist, that’s a great moment. And the end, with the trial of the Doctor when he’s condemned to turn into Jon Pertwee, is good. But in between there’s a lot of running up and down corridors, escapes and captures.

When it came out on DVD, there was a big review in the Doctor Who magazine which said: “Terrance has been talking nonsense, it’s excellent all the way through.” I was highly delighted to be proved wrong.

The Reg: Is there a particular Who phase you rate?

TD: The whole of the Pertwee era [1970-74], though I’m a bit sort of schizophrenic about the Doctor being exiled to Earth. I love UNIT and the UNIT stories, but of every story is a UNIT story, monotony is going to set in, and in any case, it’s not Doctor WhoDoctor Who is the Doctor saying: “Come for a trip in the TARDIS, I know this delightful planet”, and when they arrive monsters jump on them immediately. So we spent at least a season, maybe more, getting the Doctor up and away again.

The Reg: Some viewers have mixed feelings about the ’80s Who.

TD: My feeling aren’t at all mixed. There was a decline without a doubt. I think the people working on it, particularly John Nathan-Turner [producer 1980-89], were not fit for purpose, as it were. Colin Baker, for example, never got a chance with that silly costume, which I thought was a great shame. I was sorry but I wasn’t surprised when they took it off.

When they did the 1996 movie, Barry [Letts, producer 1969-74) and I both hated it – a BBC mandarin asked me what I thought of it, and I said: “Incoherent crap.” The one thing they got right was Paul McGann. I was sorry when it didn’t go to series, though with an Anglo-American project you’re always in a dodgy situation. So I was highly delighted when it came back with such a bang in 2005.

The Reg: Comparing the two epochs, what has been lost and what’s been gained, do you think?

TD: What has been gained is pace, complexity and of course spectacle, with special effects – they’ve got a much bigger budget than we had. What’s been lost a little, I think, is narrative structure and everything making sense. Having just 50 minutes, they sometimes have to whizz through a story, sometimes too quickly. It’s not the show I worked on and it’s neither better nor worse, just thoroughly different.

I don’t always understand it but I still watch it and I think Matt Smith and David Tennant were both born-to-play-it people, like the first handful (of Doctors) pretty much were. David Tennant was terrific – if it wasn’t for Pertwee he’d be in the running for my favourite I think.

The Reg: Would you pass on any wisdom to the current producers?

TD: I think the essential character of the Doctor certainly shouldn’t change, but I’ve served my time on Who, and it’s not my business to tell them how to do it. It is, though, largely made by people who grew up reading my Doctor Who books, ha ha!

Ingrid Oliver & Jemma Redgrave Talk Filming #SaveTheDay

Aliens Of London, World War Three

It gets better!  “Aliens of London” is on, and about 15 minutes in I see another familiar face.

Naoko Mori, who plays Doctor Toshiko Sato (Tosh) in Torchwood was just wandering around in a lab coat.

But onto topic.  This is where the Doctor returns Rose 12 months late instead of 12 hours late.  The first part of the episode is all about the fallout of that.

After a crash landing of a space ship in the middle of London, this is when the Doctor finally gives Rose a TARDIS key.  I don’t remember a lot of keys being given out in the classic series, but maybe I need to go back and have a look.  Anyway, although the Doctor says he won’t interfere, he goes into the hospital where the pilot was taken.  Here we see Tosh.  The “pilot” turns out to be a pig that was modified by alien technology, and the ship was really launched from Earth.  The Doctor explains everything to Tosh before disappearing into the TARDIS.  She’s actually playing the same character as in Torchwood, where they address this episode.  She is a computer expert (not at all a pathologist) and was covering for a hung over friend/colleague.

Moving on, the TARDIS reappears and Rose’s mother learns where she really was.  Jackie calls the emergency alien hotline and turns in the Doctor.  This sets off all kinds of red flags because this is not the first time the world’s seen him.

There’s a disturbing scene with the government officials where the Slitheen are wearing suits of people, causing flatulence.  Personally I feel it’s a little low brow humour and takes away from the show.  However, the target audience is children, so perhaps that’s why someone thought it was a good idea.

This is also the first time we see UNIT in New-Who.  As the Doctor, Mickey and Rose leave the TARDIS (with Bad Wolf painted on the side) they are taken into custody and delivered to Downing Street.  Jones finds Rose and tells her all about the Slitheen, while the Doctor talks to UNIT.  The Doctor realizes it’s a trap while Rose and Jones are caught with a member of the Slitheen, and Jackie has one of them in her apartment.

This is around the time everyone takes off their “skin suits”, there’s an electrical charge sent through the room with the Doctor/UNIT, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger.  Now we move forward into “World War Three”.

But of course our favorite alien isn’t going to be killed so easily and turns the electrical charge back at the Slitheen.  By doing so it actually electrifies all of them instead of just the one he “attacks”.  Mickey saves Jackie with enough time left over to snap a photo, Rose and Jones get out of their room, the Doctor runs, and the Slitheen manage to stop the electrocution.  Nice and fast paced.  The “prime minister” manages to turn UNIT against the Doctor, but he gets into the elevator.  Rose and Jones continue to run, and the Slitheen chase them down.  The Doctor manages to get them out of the room of course, so now it’s a good old fashioned Scooby Doo style chase.

With a bit of a bluff (I’ll blow you up!) the Doctor sets up a question and answer session with the Slitheen to find out what was going on.  The Slitheen are a family out for profit, not a race of aliens.  Of course!  He then seals himself, Rose and Jones into a room when the family realize his threat is a complete fabrication.  The family realizes they’ve got the group trapped, so they shut off all communications to that room and go about their business.  Unfortunately for them, they didn’t know that Rose’s cell still worked.  So the Doctor contacts Mickey and walks him through how to log into UNIT to get some intel.  With that information he figures out that the Slitheen are from Raxacoricofallapatorius.  One member of the family came after Mickey and Jackie and the Doctor was able to have them throw vinegar on him to basically blow him up.

He learns from the family that they are planning to launch World War III.  Once the Earth is destroyed they can sell the radioactive remains of the planet as a source of fuel.  In usual fashion, he gives them the option of giving up and leaving or being destroyed.

There turns out to be a way to save the world, but The Doctor can’t promise Rose will survive.  Harriott Jones orders him to do whatever must be done, and Rose agrees.  He walks Mickey through the process to launch a missile at the building, with them all knowing they could kill Rose in the process.  She doesn’t want to go without a fight, so she talks everyone into hiding in the closet.  Their group get out alive, but the Slitheen are caught in the blast.  This leaves Jones to clean up the mess, leading to her eventual election as prime minister.

I thought the Doctor pulled kind of a dirty trick when he called and basically asked Rose to choose between him and her mother/boyfriend/life.  This was part of his dark and selfish side coming out.  He wanted her as a companion and manipulated her to get what he wanted.

The Doctor instructs Mickey to wipe out all information on him using a disc he provides, and offers him a place in the TARDIS.  Mickey declines, so the Doctor helps him out by telling Rose that he simply doesn’t want Mickey in his TARDIS.  How sweet.

I have to admit that these couple of episodes were far from my favorites.  Although they had their good points and didn’t feel too rushed, I just didn’t like the feel of them.  I really think it came down to the flatulence jokes, which I’ve never been a fan of anyway.  I found they just distracted from the story.  If that plot point was necessary, I feel there are better ways it could have been done.

When Rose says goodbye to her mother I found it to be a bit more heartbreaking than the first time I watched it.  After all, she assures her that she’ll be fine, and I know how it ends now.

DragonCon

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) is at DragonCon 2013!

Also featured are:
Carole E. Barrowman (John’s sister and partner in writing)
non-Who Amy Acker (remember her from “Angel”?)
non-Who Nicholas Brendon (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Noel Clarke (Mickey)
non-Who James Cosmo (“Highlander”)
Peter Davison (yes, the 5th Doctor!)
non-Who Scott Wilson (“The Walking Dead”)
non-Who Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”)
John Levene (Sergeant Benton of UNIT)
Sylvester McCoy (yes, the 7th Doctor!)
Burn Gorman (Owen on “Torchwood”)
Gareth David Lloyd (Ianto on “Torchwood”)
James Marsters (“Torchwood”, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”… I love this guy!)
Eve Myles (Gwen on “Torchwood”)
non-Who Eliza Duchku (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”)

And a TON of others!  I didn’t have time to go through the whole list, but check it out HERE!