Doctor Who: Boom Town

Mickey: 'What are you captain of? The innuendo squad?'

After three top notch stories in a row, this week felt like something of a letdown. I'm not against the slower, more reflective episodes—it's nice to take time out to explore the knock-on effects of prior events—but, after three of the most cleverly plotted/realised stories of the season, this felt like something of a dud. The moral dilemma faced by the Doctor was genuinely engaging—or at least it would have been had they not fudged it. I was curious as to how the Doctor would respond to Blon's plea for mercy. Would he send her back to Raxacoricofallapatorius and certain death, or would he come up with a more humane solution? Unfortunately, we never got to find out. She shed her skin and turned into an egg.

This week also saw the return of the Slitheen. I'll admit, I'm not their greatest fan (though to be fair, they did tone the farting down this week). Nevertheless, I still found it extremely difficult to sympathise with Blon. Wasn't she trying to obliterate mankind just five episodes ago? Wasn't her plan this week to rip the earth apart to facilitate a crazy surfboard style escape? Isn't she a bit—you know—mental? So although I could empathise to some degree (yes the death penalty is a terrible thing, and boiling people alive in acetic acid is definitely not good times) it still didn't change the fact that Blon was a cold blooded killer.

So although the episode's moral soapboxiness had some validity, I really didn't feel much compassion for Blon. Trying to elicit sympathy for a genocidal maniac by riffing on the wrongness of the death penalty is, to my mind, comparing apples and oranges. This episode was about justice. Letting Blon go would have been a more heinous crime than sending her to her death (particularly in light of later events which proved beyond all doubt that she really hadn't changed). So, interesting premise and nice moral quandary—but it all ended in an unsatisfactory non-conclusion, which kind of made the whole issue anticlimactic.

And Rose seemed all over the place again this week. One minute she's hot for the Doctor, the next she's mooning over Adam, then she's throwing herself at Jack, and this week, to top it all off, she agreed to spend the night with Mickey. And Mickey, cheeky fellow that he is, after confessing to Rose that he has a new patootie (used in the non-arse sense—though buttock transplants may well be possible in the future), still wanted to know whether he should book a hotel room! Err... okay.

The Doctor flirting with Jack was cute, but if romance is going to play a big part in the series, then we're going to need more cast members. Doesn't Rose fancy just about everyone in the show at present?

There were a few great moments, however. As usual, the humour was spot on. The dinner scene was a superbly crafted piece of comedy, with the Doctor switching the poisoned wine, catching the poisoned dart and then spraying Blon's mouth with breath freshener. Ridiculous of course, but very funny.

I have to come clean—I am not a Mickey fan. His character bores me to tears and I'm not overly fond of Noel Clarke's acting chops. So I was overjoyed to hear that he'd moved on (though evidently not far enough to refuse one last round of nudie prod games with Rose). Maybe Trisha Delaney will be good for him. The way he follows Rose around like a doting pet makes me want to throttle him. Plus, if it gets him off screen for a while, that can only be good news for me. Sorry, Mickey.

Other Thoughts:

—The Slitheen are from Raxacoricofallapatorius, yet for some reason, the DVD subtitles spell it Rexicoricophalvitorius. Sack the subtitler!

—Aren't the Slitheen (for want of a better name) only susceptible to acetic acid in their compressed form? In their natural state, would acetic acid even be a threat?

—Mention was made of the Blaidd Drwg project. Blaidd Drwg is Welsh for Bad Wolf.

—Venom Grubs first appeared in the Classic Who episode 'The Web Planet' (William Hartnell - 1965).

Billie says...

The Slitheen were probably the worst creative decision Russell T. Davies made in this first season. I can't imagine why he'd want to bring them back. But I liked this one better than the previous Slitheen episodes. So there's that.

The dinner scene was the high point; it was sort of fascinating. Steak and chips and life and death. It's an interesting moral dilemma. I don't think Margaret/Blon deserved it, but sending her back to the beginning and letting her try again, this time without being born into a crime family, sort of worked for me. Sort of.

Again, what I enjoyed most was seeing the Doctor, Rose and Jack working together as if they'd been friends forever. Mickey could have had that; he could have joined them and traveled the stars. But he and Rose are on completely different pages now: she's visiting amazing planets with frozen waves of ice, and he's dating Trisha Delaney and throwing jealous tantrums. Goodbye, Mickey. You idiot.

Quotes:

Jack: "Aw, sweet. Look at these two. How come I never get any of that?"
Doctor: "Buy me a drink first."
Jack: "You're such hard work."
Doctor: "But worth it."

Jack: "Is that a tribophysical waveform macro-kinetic extrapolator?"

Margaret: "What did I ever do to you?"
Doctor: "You tried to kill me and destroy this entire planet."
Margaret: "Apart from that."

Margaret: "We're in Cardiff. London doesn't care. The South Wales coast could fall into the sea and they wouldn't notice. Oh! I sound like a Welshman. God help me, I've gone native."

Doctor: "You've been in that skin suit too long. You've forgotten there used to be a real Margaret Blaine. You killed her and stripped her and used the skin. You're pleading for mercy from a dead woman's lips."

Rose: "We have a prisoner. The police box is really a police box."
---
Four moor peaces eye rote, sea hear.

11 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Never been fond of this episode but don’t think it is the worst of the 1st series. Third worst defiantly. Anything with the Slitheen is bound to be pants. Still astonished as to why they keep revisiting them on the Sarah Jane Adventures.

However, Billie’s right, it was great seeing uber-Tardis team of the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack working together with the tin dog along for tech support. They were such a fantastic trio even if for only a brief time.

Paul Kelly said...

Hi Mark,

Actually, I can see why they keep revisiting them in the Sarah Jane Adventures. They fart all the time! Kids love that stuff. I'm too mature to laugh, naturally ;-)

PK

shawnlunn2002 said...

I thought it was an OK episode but seriously though, the Slitheen are a bit much better.

Dinner and bondage, one of the best lines I think the show has ever uttered. Loved the dinner scene with Doctor and Margaret.

I actually sided a bit with Mickey in this episode given that Rose was pretty feckless with his feelings. Plus her, Jack and the Doctor did sort of treat him like an outsider as well.

Mark Greig said...

Offical: Karen Gillan is the new companion.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/05_may/29/who.shtml

Bob said...

Definitely the nadir of the season. The Slitheen suck! Thankfully, things pick up next week.

Anonymous said...

It rates alongside Love and Monsters in terms of quality. A real shame after such a good mid-season showing. But as Dob says, thing do get better.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typo. I meant BOB, not Dob.

Bob said...

Apology accepted Anonymous.

Dob

Paul Kelly said...

There you go Mark, another ginger assistant. First Bonnie, then Catherine and now Karen. Your life just keeps on getting better and better....lol.

Mark Greig said...

Forget the ginger hair, I'm more worried about that fact she's Scottish, just like Steven Moffat. Is this the first stage of Moffat's insidious Scottish Agenda? Is Doctor Who going to become flooded with nothing but vile Scottish innuendo! Next thing you know they’ll be having a Scottish Doctor, companions in kilts and everywhere will look like Glasgow instead of Cardiff

Somebody call the Daily Mail! :-)

shawnlunn2002 said...

Well we;ve had two Scottish actors playing the Doctor and no serious Scottishness has come out of it.