So here are my thoughts on Partners in Crime:
- I hate to start with a digression, but my love for the BBC iPlayer grows every day. I adore being able to check bits of the episode without getting up and scuttling over to the VHS.
- "If cynicism burned calories we'd all be as thin as rakes." Was this a little dig at the vehement anti-Catherine Tate crowd, perhaps?
- Another, more subtle way of pre-empting Donna-related complaints was to turn her volume level down: she said remarkably little for the first 10 minutes, and didn't really start gabbling until she had the Doctor's ears to assault. Quite a good ploy, this.
- It seems that in the Whoniverse, offices are always very shiny hi-tech places where people wear smart suits. I only fear that a generation of children are going to grow up to be very disappointed when they have to start toiling in a shabby concrete dump.
- Ten's befuddlement at being chatting up by an office girlie was amusing. You may be interested to know that Paragraph 5, Subsection C actually reads: "Due to health and safety considerations, positions for Time Lord-related love interests are severely restricted. Applications must be made in writing and currently have a one-century waiting period. However, see also Appendix 4: Special Dispensation for Sexy Historical Babes in Corsets."
- The Doctor is peering through a catflap: it's just like old times!
- Hooray for Bernard Cribbins as Donna's grandpa: his concern about her was touchingly done. I wonder if he meets the Doctor again later this series? And is that a UNIT badge on his hat, or did Donna's grandma simply happen to share a few kinks with Captain Jack?
- Poor Doctor, talking to himself in the empty TARDIS. Perhaps what he really needs is a few plants. Or maybe a gerbil?
- Another cunning part of the Donna noise-reduction campaign was the mouthed conversation through the windows. It did make me laugh like a drain, though.
- And now in an irregular feature called "Serious Issues You Didn't Know Existed", we reveal that Britain is secretly suffering from a tragic corridor shortage!
Exhibit A, from The Runaway Bride:
Exhibit B, from Partners in Crime:
Do you see any shocking similarities? Perhaps a national shortfall in corridor construction is the real reason that DW is taking a year off next year?
- Waxing lyrical about Martha now, are we, Doctor? Feeling a bit guilty? Or is it just so that we don't forget her before she comes back?
- And the villain of the piece is Supernanny! Shame they stopped short of using the word "unasseptable", which the South Park version did. (Then again, they thankfully drew the line at having the nanny end up strait-jacketed and eating her own excrement, which South Park also did.)
- And the fat just walked away with the show. It's a mite embarrassing because I usually draw the line at excessive cutesiness, but I found my resolve wobbling in the face of the little Adiposes. "Silly children's stuff," I muttered to myself, "What do they think we... awww, look at that one skipping! And that one sliding down that taxi! BLESS!!" And when they were floating through the sky, I was reminded of floating bunnies from Wallace and Gromit. Gah, I'm such a sap. I blame it on Ianto withdrawal...
- Another little dig at the media with the "Madness!" Observer journalist (have they been saying nasty things about RTD?) and Donna's retort of "Some people just can't take it." Or was that aimed more at fans who want more of the serious and less of the silly? If so, we could be in for some VERY silly times ahead. Uh-oh.
- I found the taking-off-with-Donna part a bit wearing, especially the "you want to MATE with me?" bit. But Ten's reluctance was somewhat ameliorated by the implication that he wasn't just henpecked by Donna, but was reluctant to get into a repeat of the Martha situation. I do hope Donna sticks to her word as regards the "long streak of alien nothing". I want to see her trying to pull fit men of history. (In her shoes, I would do nothing less.)
- Nonetheless, the time is surely ripe for some speculative Planet of the Hats fanfiction. Quite possibly the Hats will think that all humanoids are terrible perverts for wanting to shove their heads up their innocent citizens...
- Goodness gracious me, it's Rose! It's interesting that they chose to introduce her this early: will she be the running thread of the series (à la Bad Wolf/Torchwood/Mr Saxon)? Why did she vanish into space? Is she flitting between universes? Does she even KNOW she is flitting between universes? Of such things is fan speculation made.
- But the biggest mystery of all is: WHO on earth would choose to leave their keys in a London bin?? Maybe under a bush or in a hole in the ground if you're desperate, but not anywhere where people are likely to vomit or dump half-eaten kebabs, surely?
- In conclusion: entertaining fluff. Coming back to Who, which is of course a
children's programmefamily show, does feel rather flimsy after the weightier, more grown-up world of Torchwood, whose uneven glories I am already missing (yeah, I know, I'm strange and peculiar). But as long as the rest of series 4 stays on the happy side of the cringe-line and avoids too many head-banging moments of what-the-fuckery, I shall be watching with future developments with interest...