Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach
redscharlach

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way (and also the Welsh way)

And now, some thoughts on The Stolen Earth. I'll try to keep the overexcited squealing down to a low throb. No promises, though.

  • Quivering milk bottles of doom! This is the most action-packed pre-credits sequence in history. Rose is coming back, and the Doctor's happy little grin quite possibly shadows oncoming tragedy. Martha's in New York (well, a room with some dodgy American accents in it) but we know it's serious because she's got her serious hair on. Sarah Jane's in Ealing (well, it's an improvement on Croydon), making meta-references to the cheesy background music. Donna's grandad is gearing up to represent for Planet Earth (big up, the Chiswick massive!). Rose is working the overblown Freudian symbolism with some impressive weaponry. And most exciting of all to my shallow but excitable self, there's...

  • ...TORCHWOOD! See, this is precisely why I don't watch trailers: I like to be surprised about things. And I knew Jack would be turning up at some point, but this is so much more than I was expecting. The Hub! Gwen! And best of all, my little Welsh darling in the flesh. "No broken bones. Slight loss of dignity. No change there, then." BLESS IANTO. (I apologize in advance, there's going to be a lot of this sort of thing this week.)

  • Our first exciting game of the week is: How many names can you squish into a title sequence? Bonus points for guessing how many agents were on the phone demanding that their client should get an "and" or a "with" or a specially shiny font.

  • It strikes me that the Shadow Proclamation sound rather like an obscure goth band. As we'll see later, they also look like an obscure goth band.

  • That American newsreader lady doesn't get any better at acting, does she? Never mind, though, because we've got bonus Mr Romana II, plus Ianto laughing rather too loudly at Paul O'Grady. It's a little ironic that this is probably the happiest expression Ianto's ever pulled on screen. Must mean it's the end of the world...

  • Invisible!Rhys! I hope he knows that when Gwen says she'll be as home as soon as she can, what she really means is "I've spoken to your manager and you won't be in this episode, love."

  • I watched this episode on Sunday morning (I was out visiting some mates on Saturday night), and immediately beforehand, I caught a repeat of Dempsey and Makepeace on ITV3. This left me pondering whatever happened to Michael Brandon's career, since I fondly recall fancying him when I was fifteen (it was the 1980s, cut me some slack). I was therefore startled but highly amused to see him crop up as General Sanchez. However, if any more embarrassing teenage crushes of mine turn up next week (like Morten Harket as the Norwegian director of UNIT or something), I shall have no choice but to believe that the universe is sending me messages.

  • "I met a soldier in a bar..." // "When was that?" BLESS jealous!Ianto. We'll handwave the fact that Ianto isn't usually jealous outside of fanfiction-land. It's the end of the world, everyone's allowed to get a bit touchy.

  • "EXTERMINATE!" In the fact of certain destruction, Sarah Jane's face actually wobbles (I had wondered whether it was still capable of such a thing), Jack gets some three-way kissing action going (see Torchwood Emergency Action Memo no. 69), and the soundtrack choir starts belting out a bombastic battle theme. And then we get the great scenes of the Dalek ships diving in. They should have three zillion floating Daleks in it every week, it's dead exciting.

  • Supreme Dalek, has anyone ever told you that red is camp?

  • The Doctor can croon in Judoon. But I hope for his sake that "ma ho" was not a reference to Donna.

  • Hmm, the Shadow Proclamation offices look awfully familiar. Change the lighting, add the dusty skeletal figure of Death coming down the stairs, and it all seems suspiciously like a hospital in Cardiff:





    When planets vanish, the universe pays attention, but nobody ever notices the galactic corridor and staircase shortage.

  • I love it when they tie previous episodes together. Pyrovilia, Adipose 3, the lost moon of Poosh! I particularly liked "Who'd want Clom?" (I do hope we can rule out an Abzorbaloff-based finale, although you never can tell.)

  • Martha straps herself into a plot device, and takes another mini-plot device with her for luck. While I am curious to know what the Osterhagen Key does, I'm also wondering where she had expected Project Indigo to take her, given that she's surprised to turn up at her mum's house. (There's already a technological device that takes me to my mum's house and it's called the East Coast Main Line.)

  • Davros is back and he's got a major-league metallic manicure. I also love bonkers!Dalek Caan, sitting there wiggling his little tentacles and singing mad little songs to himself.

  • Donna has an Impending Moment. What is she hearing in her head? The sound of drums? A heartbeat? Two heartbeats? Thumping from the morgue? The evil thingy from Midnight banging on the doors? And what is "the loss that is yet to come"? Oh dear, I fear for Bernard Cribbins.

  • At last, it is explained why bees are relevant to the plot! Buzz buzz buzz, I'd wondered why they wuz.

  • Hooray for Wilf and his elite military skills! But also kudos to the Daleks, for eliminating another of their pesky Achilles heels. And yet they've still to find a cure for Rose, the Captain-Jack-a-like one-shot wonder with her Big Gun of Boom.

  • On the Ianto woobie-o-meter, the needle is moving inexorably toward Woobageddon. Things have come to a pretty pass when the poor dear can't even hold a cup of coffee without wobbling. My bet is that the Torchwood crew's distress was primarily due to not being allowed to hold an end-of-the-world orgy before the watershed.

  • It's Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister, now with L33T haxx0r 5k1llz!

  • I loved the Nobles' reason for not having a webcam: "She thinks they're naughty." Adore Wilf though I do, I do not wish to think about him having cybersex.

  • The world is ending and Martha wants her mum? Was her fiancé not available for filming, then?

  • The Friends-of-the-Doctor Facebook reunion certainly provides plenty of fuel for new ships of all stripes: Gwen/Ten, Donna/Jack, Jack/Harriet, Jack/Sarah Jane, Jack/unsuitably young boys, and of course, Ianto/practical considerations in the face of galactic silliness. However, I could have lived without Rose sniping at Martha, especially when we know she has no actual cause for jealousy: it makes her sound like a silly fangurl.

  • Mass phone calls for great justice! I'm sure this is probably some covert message from the BBC to the innocent youth of this nation, saying that despite all its phone-in scandals, it's okay to phone the TV, kids.

  • Alas, heroic Harriet. Even the Daleks know her name, although I was surprised to find that they also have a concept of sarcasm.

  • I can imagine a production meeting in which it was mooted that Davros couldn't be made any creepier, and then someone had a brainwave that there was ONE way to up the scariness stakes... Unexpected Semi-Naked Davros! Yeurkk! Still, I can't help but giggle at the thought that the Daleks are MADE OF DAVROS'S NIPPLES.

  • Ianto/coat OTP! Their love can weather any crisis. Technically speaking, Jack could take Ianto and Gwen with him, but I guess we can't afford the guest-star fees and there's a lack of space in the TARDIS control room. (He could also have slipped them into the Torchwood fridge for defrosting later, but that might have been insufficiently heroic.)

  • I think I can guess who Rose must be addressing when she's talking to "Control". And I don't think it's Stephen Fry.

  • The moral of the Rose/Doctor reunion is: Don't make your romantic run-up too long, it leaves too much room for accidents.

  • I can foresee a bit fannish whinging about Gwen having to buck up Ianto at the end, but she was just countering his justified complaint about their lack of weaponry, wasn't she? Bonus points also for the gratuitous Owen and Tosh shout-out.

  • Cliffhanger city, as Sarah Jane throws a wobbly in the face of a Dalek roadblock, and Gwen and Ianto attack a Dalek with the equivalent of pop-guns and post-it notes. Will Myfanwy the pterodactyl swoop to the rescue?

  • For anyone who wanted a big Jack/Rose reunion scene, there isn't one. No time, you see. Action, action, action! That's what we're here for!

  • Regeneration?!?! Goodness gracious me. I am currently assuming that this is a big red herring and he regenerates into the same body (see Jenny for reference!) OR there's some other twist. Perhaps he'll turn back into Christopher Eccleston? (Ah, if only.) Or is the whole thing of next year's specials and David T. having a year off to be in the RSC just an even HUGER red herring? All I can say is that if he's played by Jeanette Krankie, Ricky Gervais or Gordon the Gopher next week, I'm going to the pub.

  • TO. *THUD* BE. *THUD* CONTINUED. *THUD* Oooh, the excitement!

  • And now, a Foreshadowing (TM) round-up for next week:
    • How is the Doctor "the three-fold man", if indeed he IS the three-fold man?
    • What will Donna's loss be? The loss of a relative, the loss of her time-travelling lifestyle, or something even more abstract, like the loss of her humanity?
    • And what about "everlasting death for the most faithful companion"? If this turns out to be the destruction of the sonic screwdriver, I call Cheaty McCheatsville. :-D


  • In conclusion: I LOVE YOU, IANTO. Packed to the gills with fannish bits and pieces, this was almost unbearably exciting. Nonetheless, we can never rest on our laurels, so I am adjusting my expectations downwards, in anticipation of a cringemaking finale full of groanworthy plot developments carved from pure cheese. Go on, Russell, pleasantly surprise me. Please...


As usual, no trailers for next week have been watched. It's going to be a tense week and no mistake....
Tags: doctor who
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