SMITH AND JONES
For some reason, I like this episode. Not sure why. Perhaps it's Freyma's apparent energy and she tries to hard and emits that depth in her performance. She's not quite as good as Billie Piper but in some moments she rises above Billie but again, she tries so hard, it's difficult not to like her. She stands out among the rest of this tripe, really. Okay, her family is shown in fast pace and they don't really...stand out at all, unlike her but maybe that's the point. They're not Mickey, Jackie or Pete are they? I liked them from day one really but was wary. Here, I'm not wary but I can't wait until I and Martha get away from them. Martha leaving? Would she really leave just as she's about to get her life together? And then when she comes back...suddenly she's given some special dispensation and whammo she's a doctor. I am glad they chose someone who had it all together, more of less, unlike Rose's mess (but was Rose's life really that bad before the Doctor?) but then they go and give Martha an unbelieveable finish but more on that later.
That said this story is so ho hum. It's the most unoriginal story with the most unoriginal rip offs ever created in DW...old or new. Where to start? Space police are almost as old hat, even in the 1960s, as...well, trips to the moon. Dough! I'm sure the pulps had stuff about space police (and LOST IN SPACE did remarkably well the idea in PRISONERS OF SPACE and remarkably poor with FUGITIVES IN SPACE) and the moon trips. That said, the shaking and quaking, Irwin Allen style as the hospital gets sent to the moon is okay but really...Allen's show and especially Gerry Anderson's SPACE: 1999 did a much better job of it in the 60s and 70s. The Judoon spaceships hark back to the alien ships of 1999 but there the ships seem...well, better made. But anyway the effects are nice and okay here, nothing terrible, nothing new. Stealing parts of Earth, buildings in particular was done in the original THE OUTER LIMITS-A FEASIBILITY STUDY and there...well, the OUTER LIMITS is an anthology so you dn't have to suspend disbelief again next week, when everyone seems back to normal that aliens exist cause, well in OUTER LIMITS, they don't as we start anew. DW can't afford that, what with its continued characters and world...it just somehow feels wrong. That said, all of that is nothing compared to the OTHER cliche...vampires in space. This has a long history and that history intermingles with IT THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE, NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST (which is itself ripped off by THE ARK IN SPACE), and the entire ALIEN and ALIENS timeline, that it would take forever to go on and on about it and yet I still do! PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES and other, lesser movies do this. The Doctor has already been bitten by a vampire in the 8th Doctor novel VAMPIRE SCIENCE and he did it there in order for his blood to poison the vampire. SO with space police, the moon, forcefields, the sonic screwdriver being destroyed again, the damaged lonely Doctor again, the city block or building taken and kidnapped, and vampires...what's left that is original? Not much. Even the well realised Judoon (they look VERY alien in their opening segments but more on all them later) look rather like the Sontarans.
That said, the best thing is a small thing: no, not the Doc's ...uhm, anyway. That is the time thing. The Doc meets Martha briefly on the street in her personal present but his own personal past. That's not happened on the telly before, but I"m sure it has happened in the tv show. His meeting with Sam ---Uhm, is her last name Jones? Sam meets the Doctor, he goes off and has adventures regaining memories from his first to seventh personas and then goes back to get her and then travels with her in future novels...THE 8 DOCTORS and uhm, VAMPIRE SCIENCE and on...so...
...then there's the Doctor's character. While this viewing made me feel for his sacrifice and Martha's as well...he's not very likable here. He spouts on and on an on about himself and his past...his ego rising to even greater heights than ever, even moreso than Tennant's first season...or Colin's entire time as the 6th Doctor. One can't help but feel that Tennant really does love himself and is pompus as Martha says the Doc is. Instead of giving some comfort to Martha's Lesser Friend (in his eyes only), he insults her more than once, leaves her there to cry, and focuses on Martha...who only just asks slightly more brilliant questions...they're not THAT brilliant. And to be honest, how did she know that opening a window or a door (or how did the Doc know for that matter) wouldn't break the seal that held in the air. Jerks. He's more concerned with a shop than with the people being scanned. If this is supposed to be his alien-ness, okay I buy that but together with his nastiness...and to be honest, Tennant cannot pull off mean and nasty and rude and still be likable...the way Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker could do. The Doc also has lived over 900 years and presumably had at least one sexual partner and seen others doing their thing, maybe...and has "danced" as he said in THE DOCTOR DANCES so he must remember this stuff. He remembers a brother once and he remembers playing with radiation blocks in the nursery. He MUST remember something...and that kissing Martha is going to make her..he must pick up on her already forming crush on him...and he sort of invites that and then goes and makes like he doesn't want that, perhaps in memory of Rose. The lonely Doctor thing gets a bit annoying here and frankly we get more and more of it in stories to come. He can't be that dumb to this sort of thing and/or he is and stupid. Or he's purposely or unconsciously leading Martha on instead of making her go live her life...so he's not really my favorite character here. How did he know the Judoon wouldn't destroy Martha when they found traces of his DNA on her lips? The fink jerk. And what that compensation they gave to her?
The Judoon. Okay, they're circumventing the law so aren't they just criminals too? Don't they see that killing that man who attacked them is a crime? Moving the moon to get it into their jurisdiction? Leaving it to blow up? Does THEIR moral code make any sense? Is that the point? They're alien so their justice is alien? And why erase the computers? They ARE thick for aliens who can fly spaceships? Did they steal that tech? Why don't they scan the Doctor's body and find two hearts? or did they? Thought about too much, they don't really add up or make much sense. The Judoon look very alien and talk very alien and seem very alien throughout. But as space police I'd rather have the Master on patrol. Oh wait, he's going to be PM. God help us. And this show.
AND just what is that that Martha is wearing to brother Leo's (HE'S FINE!) birthday party? The family fight is annoying. The Martha on board is a bit interesting but frankly this story is really a 3/5 or a 6/10. It's just not engaging or interesting or different enough but it's not terribly bad either. It just kind of IS.
Oh and anyone else notice in every story of the new series that the TARDIS door creaks the exact same way EVERY time the doors or door is opened and closed? It's kind of annoying too.