by Mark Greig
The Doctor and his companions arrive in a small English village where something evil is lurking behind a crack in a wall. Hmm, something tells me Steven Moffat might've been taking notes when he first saw this one. And I'm sure one of those notes was probably "must do better."
'The Awakening' is one of these stories that is neither very bad nor very good, just painfully mediocre. It starts off well which is about the only good thing I can think of to say about it. It starts well. The opening scenes of Civil War era soldiers charging towards Jane's cottage are effective and a great piece of misdirection that makes you think something has gone wrong with time. After that it quickly becomes Who by numbers before rushing towards a confusing conclusion.
The Malus is one of those monsters that works better when all you have is a promotional photo and an overactive childhood imagination. Once you actually get around to seeing it realised on screen you can't help but feel let down. With the Malus stuck behind a wall for most of the story, almost all of the actual villainy is carried out by Denis Lill's mad Sir George Hutchinson. From the second he arrives onscreen, Lill hams it up right through the roof.
The reason the TARDIS crew are there in the first place is to visit Tegan’s grandfather, which would've been an ideal opportunity to learn more about Tegan's character, but it is one the show decides to miss by having the two characters hardly interact with each other. If it weren’t for the fact we're reminded every five minutes that Andrew is Tegan's grandfather you would never know they're related. Having this guy be Tegan’s grandfather ultimately serves the plot more than the character since he exists simply to provide an excuse for our heroes to be there and motivation for snooping around, something they have never really needed before.
Notes and Quotes
--Still no sign of Kamelion anywhere.
--Andrew doesn't look old enough to be Tegan's grandfather.
--Will Chandler is an odd character. He is just randomly dropped into the plot to act as a replacement companion, which is unnecessary as the Doctor already has two.
--Two villages were used to portray Little Hodcombe: Shapwick in Dorset and Martin in Hampshire.
Sir George: "You speak treason!"
The Doctor: "Fluently!"
Turlough: "We're running out of places to run."
Tegan: "It's the story of our lives."
Two out of four cracks in the wall.
Mark Greig is lost in translation. More Mark Greig.