Oh, Goody. A Space Trial. My Favorite.
In pop culture I have two weirdly random pet peeves. The first is any song with lyrics paring high mountains with wide rivers - I can't explain why, but that particular metaphor is like nails on a chalkboard to me. The second is any science fiction story that does a courtroom episode. They are inevitably cringe-worthy, and always turn on a plot point where the hero finds and exploits a previously-unnoticed flaw in the wacky space-laws. Unfortunately, just like every long-running horror franchise apparently has to devolve into a "<insert monster here> in space" movie, every long-running science fiction franchise without fail ends up with a damned space trial story. So, you'll never guess what today's viewing did.
Yeah. Let's talk about that.
The Stones of Blood - Parts 3 & 4
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
I mentioned yesterday that the attack scene with the giant sentient stones was surprisingly effective. Well, it turns out what worked in episode two really didn't work at all in episodes three and four. Like the monster in any scary movie, less is more. Where the sequence in the second episode was quick and subtle, the back half of the story has several chase sequences with the people being pursued by the giant monoliths. At least twice there are scenes where someone (usually the Doctor, of course) will exclaim "run!', and then the group will stop to pick up a delicate piece of equipment and kind of saunter away in a generally non-terrified manner.
There's another scene where a pair of the giant rocks attacks a young couple out camping on the moors, which consists of the young man coming out of the tent and noticing both stone pillars standing motionless in their campsite, calling his girlfriend, and then she gets curious and touches one of the stones. She and the boyfriend are then both stuck to the stone like glue while they are drained of all fluids. It is the opposite of scary.
Meanwhile, there's a whole other thing where the Doctor discovers an alien spaceship hovering over the stone circle but held in a slightly different dimension stuck in hyperspace, where Romana is being held captive. Somehow this leads to the Doctor freeing a pair of floaty-blinky creatures of light, who turn out to be some kind of AI lawyers who promptly put the Doctor on trial for something or other, with of course the punishment being death. So then we have to have the interminable space trial in which the Doctor eventually tricks the blinky-floaty AI lawyers into noticing that the Big Bad is actually a Big Bad, and to sentence her to eternity in prison or some such. Honestly, by that point my mind was wandering because "space trial". Ugh. Oh, and the necklace the Big Bad was wearing also turns out to be the third segment of the key to time, so... yay.
I don't know if I was just grumpy today, but this is the first story in ages that has completely turned on me and left me cold. I was liking the first half until it made the hard shift from occultism to science fiction, and I could have been ok with that if they hadn't tossed in the space trial to boot. Ugh.
Just ask my how much I am looking forward to when the Sixth Doctor spends an entire season doing a space trial. I can hardly wait.
Hopefully tomorrow's story will be a return to form.
Companion(s): Romana, K9
Episode(s): The Stones of Blood - Parts 3 & 4
Steps Walked: 7,428 today, 1,696,655 total
Distance Walked: 4.08 miles today, 851.69 miles total
Weight: 252.18 lbs (five day moving average), net change -55.12 lbs