Warning: Dangerous Undercurrents
Wow. Just... wow. I couldn't treadmill this morning because Reasons, and so I had to put it off until this evening. I just finished, and I am completely stunned by the ending to The Curse of Fenric. Honestly, I could never watch another episode of Doctor Who again and I would be perfectly satisfied with this as my last memory of the show. It was really that good.
So let's talk about that.
The Curse of Fenric - Parts 3 & 4
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
I am a big fan of author F. Paul Wilson. I've even met him on a few occasions, mostly because I have a long and well-known history of being a creepy author stalker. Anyway, the great majority of his writing has all surrounded what he calls The Adversary Cycle. The notion is that there are two great forces in the universe, constantly at war. Not so much Good and Evil as Indifferent and Inimical. In his stories the Earth is just a small playing piece on a much larger game board, no more valuable than a pawn in a game of chess. And so these two forces battle across time, and sometimes humanity gets caught in the crossfire.
The same concept is very much the crux of this story. The vampires, or actually Haemovores, are merely playing pieces drawn through time from the Earth's distant future. As for the titular Fenric, he is merely the shell that is inhabited by the evil entity from beyond time. He has been engaged in a game with the Doctor for centuries, and the Doctor has come to this time and place to face him down once and for all.
So, pretty powerful stuff so far. Well written, well acted, but mostly an above average but by the numbers kind of monster story. Then the big ending happens, and Ace's history is revealed as the Doctor makes his final move in the game. You should really watch this.
Let's see if I can recap here: the baby in the scene I talked about yesterday? Actually Ace's mother. Thirty years hence the baby will give birth to Ace. Sixteen years after that, Fenric will trigger a time storm that will rip Ace away from her home and deposit her on Iceworld for the Doctor to find. She will go on to travel with the Doctor through many adventures, gaining absolute faith in him. And then, in this moment, the Doctor shreds her faith to pieces. It is a brutal and heartbreaking scene. Sylvester McCoy, comedian and clown, arrives here in this most brutal and implacable scene.
Of course ultimately it turns out to be a ruse, a Very Clever Thing that the Doctor does in order to release the big bad Haemovore so that it will destroy Fenric. Also of course, Ace ultimately forgives him once he explains. But it is still a brutal sequence of events, one in which Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred give phenomenal performances.
Talk about timey-wimey stuff, this story has it in spades. It is hands-down my favorite of the Seventh Doctor era, and I will be astonished if tomorrow's final story manages to surpass it.
Speaking of which: Tomorrow is the final Classic Who story!!
Episode(s): The Curse of Fenric - Parts 3 & 4
Steps Walked: 7,578 today, 2,514,458 total
Distance Walked: 4.20 miles today, 1,304.65 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 211 total
Weight: 250.16 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.42 lbs