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GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE
Holy crap! This is 10/10 or 5/5. This is what DW should always be like! And most of the time it is but this is a notch above even itself. It's almost as if it doesn't know it's so great. Lyrical, poetic, beautiful in both time zones, colorful, sad, funny, chilling, warm, and a bit offbeat, this is just amazing. Is this DW? Certainly not the same DW that...well, never mind. It's just great.
Madam de Pompadour: the actress gives a brilliant performance and I've always liked her (she's great in THUNDERBIRDS too) but until now I've never made the connection as to what else she's played. Truth is the REAL Madam was something of a strange historical nonfigure or figure however you look at it. This story brought her to my attention so that's one thing that old DW and other shows like it that travel back in time did: give me a good history lesson about a rather (for me anyway) obsure untaught about time period and historical persona. The real Reinette: hmmmm, there's so many conflicting things about her, it's difficult to say that they got her right. I mean she tells the Doctor about the moved fireplace so that he can get back home in the end when she knows it will mean losing him...but he invites her anyway but gives her two minutes...but she's dead within that time.
The real one may have been something of a heroic figure in politics but a mistress too. SO much for morality but as the Doc says, France is another planet. However, she also left a sick daughter to go sleep with the King. The accounts I've read of her, or I am, are confused. Was she an oppurtunist who left her husband and sick daughter (in a more humble and sickly life) to go live out her dreams for her own selfish fun? Or was she someone who did so to save her daughter, hoping that such statis would give her a better life and a better place to live and access to...uhm, Doctors? I don't know but it could be she's been glamourized here a bit too much but I don't really mind that much...I mean her family might and I feel bad for them and I think the sickly daughter died. And did the Madam really influence France for the better or the worse? I don't know enough about French history to tell but there are, again, accounts, that dispute both sides.
Mickey Smith: Just fantastic as a companion and filled with wonderment ("It's so realistic!") and fun lines as he jibes Rose about Sarah Jane, Reinette, and Cleopatra. And he's just so good. Noel should stay with the Doctor forever!l Love how he worries the Doc won't show up to save them. Love how he says, "He told us not to go looking" and then impresses Rose by grabbing a fire extinguisher to go AND I even love how he's grabbed from behind in typical companion mode.
Rose: OMG she's matured. Reinette may tell the Doctor there comes a time when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance (do they do more?) but he doesn't really grow up here (more on that later maybe) but Rose---ahhh, Rose. FINALLY, she's matured. She doesn't seem the bit jealous of Reinette. Ther'es no catty scenes, no fight over who the Doctor loves, nothing. When Mickey does make a joke about the DOctor, she does sort of try to come back...but she's also sure he will arrive to save them before they are chopped up the Clock Work Robots and used for parts in the spaceship. Rose is so good here---in opposition to her earlier stuff this season where she's just irritating, annoying, and petulant and selfish. She's also enjoying Mickey being around. She also has some great lines but to be fair, so does everyone else!
The horse: in a deleted scene, the Doctor ---THIS DOC REALLY DOES SEEM TO HATE ANIMALS, even ones that surely love him----tells the horse he can't stay and goes to return him and finds out the man who owns it is abusing it. He brings the horse back to the spaceship, and as we find out when he starts giving it the companion rules ("Rule one, don't wanderoff") he's not only going to keep it (because to return it to the man who is abusing it would be wrong and mean) but he's going to have it on the TARDIS as a companion. A very funny scene they should have left in.
The only gay thing we get here and it's not so much anti gay is "Where's the crew? They couldn't have gone out for a quick fag," and yes, I know they meant a smoke but... "I'll check the smoking pods."
Anyway, the Doc seems to have been drinking and even created the banana dachery earlier unless he's joking. A great scene....well the entire story is bunches of great scenes put together in one hellva great story. The time window stuff is like magic as the Doc says and this story feels like magic, the lighting is so good and colorful, reminding me ALOT of the FANTASTIC Peter Pan movie from December 2005. It has that same quality as a love story too. I'm not sure that it can be a love story but the Doc clearly, despite not knowing her that long HIS time, he might not have had enough time to love her but she and he were inside each other's minds. And it seems they both believe they are in love so does that not mean they are? Surely it does. And the Doc, when stranded, is very optimistic but in my mind, tha'ts only because he's with her. He's also rude to the king more than once ("Yeah well, I"m the Lord of Time" trying to outshow him off and show off for Reinette and it comes off as conceited and jealous and childish---maybe the Doc IS Peter Pan! and also not letting him read the letter Reinette wrote). FOr all his cheating, the King is played well. The entire past time zones thingies seem, as far as I can tell, well depicted historically and visually, with the exception of Reintte (see above) but we really don't know what she was like in real life.
The robots? I guess they were from the ship originally? And went haywire which is why they are putting together such a doomed plan that is really doomed to failure. And it's addressed by the Doctor and in fact, all the flaws of their plan and the script (not many) are addressed by the Doctor. Or any of the other characters including the moved fireplace. To be honest, even if they weren't, this would still be a great tale to tell but the fact that they are noticed and addressed is just brilliant. The shock ending is grand and worthy of the best shock endings of THE TWILIGHT ZONE but even better because this is not an anthology. It's odd that the Doc, Rose and Mickey will never know why the robots picked her but we as viewers do. DW often does not do this sort of thing and to do it here, is just so ORIGINAL, so great, so fantastic and unexpected it just tops off a wonderfully filmed, acted, scored and lit story that almost no DW can supersede it, right? Well for me...look at next week! A great next time with Cybermen, who look better than our Cybermen from our universe, Mickey again, and a man in a wheelchair! Could it be? Even if it's not, that looks like it's going to be great. And it was. ANd of course, DOOMSDAY, quite possibly for me, the GREATEST DW ever is still to come. But with GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE, DW reaches new heights, outshines everything that came before it and leads the way toward more emotional stuff. The lonely Doctor sorta started in SCHOOL REUNION (in a shakey fashion) and here it gets a good going over. IT will rear it's head often in the next three years and soon one will feel it's too much and enough already but in this, it's just wonderful.
It's apparent the DOc has not grown up. He doesn't tell Rose what is really wrong, he is in denial ("I'm always allright"). Uh, no he's not allright and he should admit it to the people he's closest but doesn't. Instead, he reads the letter and puts it in his jacket, almost no emotion being shown but clearly he's very very sad. As much as I love this story, I've only ever watched it twice, including this time, and I have a friend who can't watch this story again, ever. She's always crying when she thinks of it. It is a very melancholy story if you think about it too hard or identify too much with Reinette. BUt to play advocate, can anyone really be in love with the Doctor, even Rose? Do they really know the real him? Perhaps Reinette did as she saw into his mind and his mysteries (fun scene that as she called him Doctor Who and didn't close any doors that showed her...I dunno, nude or doing things?). David's real life girlfriend (at that time? Or is she still his girlfriend?) played Reinette (Sophie Myles) and she and he make this work. SHe also may know the real Doctor as she knows Doctor Who is not just a name...perhaps she knows more about him than anyone (as hinted as in SILVER NEMESIS that he's more than a Time Lord).
Either way this story just works on every level and it has many levels, many deep thoughts and an exicting emotional core and a visual style that can't be beat. The monster under the bed is such a scary notion and so well played, who does'nt jump when the thing under the bed makes a move on the Doctor. It IS a very sad story though and not one I jump to watch but perahaps I will again some time...can DW ever be this good again or relevant? I think it can and it does...but GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE is a huge high point for DW and the new series...