Doctor Who: The Long Game

Adam: 'It's going to take a better man than me to get in between you two'.

Okay, well that was pretty blunt. Clearly, it's now obvious to all and sundry that something is developing between Rose and the Doctor. Adam can see it, the Dalek last week could see it, Jackie knows it, and even Rose looked distinctly unfazed at the thought of there being something less than platonic about her relationship with the Doctor. Maybe next week they should just be done with it and have someone singing 'Rose and the Doctor sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.'

Last week, the Doctor seemed less than enthusiastic about taking Adam along with them, yet this week saw him priming Rose with future facts, which she then used to dazzle a bewildered Adam. Clearly, the Doctor doesn't see Adam as a credible romantic threat. At least, he didn't. The Doctor has a habit of treating those he dislikes like they're idiots. Take Mickey for, example—when was the last time you heard the Doctor say anything positive about him? As the episode progressed, however, Adam started to elicit a similarly negative response. Green eyed monster, anyone?

Russell T. Davies revealed in Doctor Who Magazine that the script for 'The Long Game' was originally submitted to the BBC in the early 80's—only to be rejected. That would be around the Peter Davison/Colin Baker era—which probably explains why it felt like an episode of Classic Who. It also felt like a very average episode. The idea of the press sowing misinformation to further someone's devilish agenda would probably have fared better in the 80's—back when the idea hadn't been done to death a thousand times. Obviously some thought went into shortening the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe's name to Max—no doubt to remind us of Robert Maxwell—but it still felt like a dated attempt at satire.

Adam also felt dreadfully underused. In 'Dalek', we were informed of his genius—albeit by Adam himself, so maybe he and the Doctor aren't too dissimilar after all, both clearly possessing enormous egos—but we never got to see him do anything particularly clever. All he did was attempt to send future secrets back to his mum's answering machine. That seems more greedy than genius-y. Adam also notched up the unenviable distinction of being the first person ever (if memory serves me correct) to have his TARDIS privileges revoked. Nice one, Adam.

Simon Pegg (who I'm a fan of from Spaced and his various movie outings) chipped in with an enjoyable performance as The Editor. True, he couldn't pronounce 'Jagrafess' to save his life, instead calling him the Mighty Jagrafress of the Holy Hadrajassic Maxaraddenfoe (instead of the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe), but I can't pronounce it either—so I won't hold it against him. I was a little disappointed, however, with Tamsin Greig's contribution. They should have given her more to do. One half-arsed American Express quip ('That'll do nicely'), and catching some congealed vomit in a bowl, doesn't make for a particularly memorable cameo.

Whinging aside, Eccleston and Piper shone as usual. They've really grown into their roles these past few weeks—I actually see them as the Doctor and Rose now, rather than just Billie and Chris—and the inclusion of Adam as part-time companion gave the episode a different vibe, with Adam taking on the role of newcomer, and the Doctor and Rose functioning as hosts. I do like the idea of a second companion—it takes me back to the days of Jamie McCrimmon—but Adam was such a wet fish that I wasn't at all sad to see him go. Will he ever come back? Meh!

Other Thoughts:

—Why was this episode called 'The Long Game'? Not an easy question to answer based on episode content alone. I think it relates to something said in the season finale, so I guess I'll comment on it then—if I remember.

—Why do people have to be dead to work on floor 500? Because of the cold? Because dead men tell no tales? And why did the hot air have to be pushed down through the building? Why not up and out?

—Our 'Bad Wolf' reference of the week: one of the broadcast channels was called Bad Wolf TV.

Billie says...

Typical dystopian plot, and not done well. The masses suffer while being fed stories of the wonderful place where they can go if they're very, very good (floor 500), and when they get there, it's a horrible, brain-sucking, freezy death. A newcomer forces the suffering masses to see things in a whole new way and inspires them to rebel. (*yawn*) I should have realized this would be a bad episode when we traveled 198,000 years, expecting the golden age of humanity, and wound up in a cheap food court with beef-flavored soda.

The only interesting bits were seeing Rose and Doctor showing a marked preference for each other's company and eventually tossing Adam out of the Tardis on his ear. Greedy, ungrateful Adam, who screwed up the opportunity of a lifetime and will spend the rest of his life with an inconvenient hole in his head.

The Face of Boe was pregnant. How does a big head get pregnant?

Quotes:

Rose: "So all the people on earth are like, slaves?"
The Editor: "Well now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's been enslaved?"
Doctor: "Yes!"
The Editor: "Oh, I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm going to get?"
Doctor: "Yes!"
The Editor: "You're no fun."

Doctor: "He's your boyfriend."
Rose: "Not any more."

Doctor: "Time travel's like visiting Paris. You can't just read the guidebook. You got to throw yourself in. Eat the food, use the wrong verb, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers. Or is that just me?"

Cathica: "Okay, so ladies and gentlemen, multisex, undecided or robot..."
---
Four moor peaces eye rote, sea hear.

3 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Isn’t WH Smiths just a fancy word for magazine library anyway ;)

This always felt like a 80s throwback what with it being a bit rubbish and full of well know comedians in guest roles. It’s defiantly very 6th Doctor era at it’s excessive worst. You could easily replace Chris and Billie with Colin and Nicola and I doubt it would make the slightest bit difference, although the fashion quality would certainly take a humongous dive while the cleavage factor would see a sharp upturn.

Thankfully the next few episodes make up for this tacky dud. Keep up the good work guys, the best is yet to come.

Matthew said...

Seems they repeated this theme of 'well known British comedy actor in poorly-conceived filler episode' more than once, what with the Peter Kay one next season..

shawnlunn2002 said...

My least favourite episode of the series. There was some good ideas and a good guest appearance from Simon Pegg but something about it just didn't gel for me.

Adam left as quickly as he came. Given that Rose screws up worse in the next episode, I just think the Do ctor was latching on excuses to get rid of him.