London Investigation 'n' Detective Agency
Happy Sunday! In just a little while I will be taking my (adult autistic) son off to Epcot to meet Alice in Wonderland and Snow White, which is a typical weekend around here. Nothing much else exciting going on here today, so I'll get right down to talking about Doctor Who.
Love & Monsters
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
This one gets a lot of hate, and I understand why, but I absolutely and un-ironically love it. It is the original double-banked "Doctor-lite" episode, specifically designed to be filmed concurrently with other episodes in production by not requiring the leads on set for more than a few hours. It allows the show to produce 14 episodes in the same time they could normally do 13, so of course the suits at the BBC love the idea. It also forces the writers to do something interesting and creative, and very different than the norm. Therein lies the hatred.
This particular story is centered around (and narrated by) Elton, and how the Doctor touched his life. It opens with a Scooby Doo homage complete with the Doctor and Rose chasing a monster back and forth through parallel doors in a long hallway, which is kind of silly but makes sense when taken as a story told by an unreliable narrator instead of literal truth.
Elton had encountered the Doctor once before as a child, and seeks others who know about the Doctor, which leads to the founding of the London Investigation 'n' Detective Agency (LINDA for short). What starts out as fun turns more sinister when the group is taken over by a mysterious stranger who totally turns out to be an evil alien monster who absorbs his victims. It is worth noting that the Abzorbaloff was the creation of a nine-year-old boy named William Grantham who won a television contest.
Anyway, along the way Elton falls in love with Ursula -- who unfortunately gets absorbed, but at the very end is kind-of rescued by the Doctor but remains as a living face in a square of concrete. Elton also finally remembers that the night he saw the Doctor as a child was also the night his mother died. And then at the very end there is a comment which was intended to imply that Elton and ConcreteFaceUrsula sometimes kiss ("It's a relationship, of sorts, but we manage. We've even got a bit of a love life..."), but given that ConcreteFaceUrsula is sitting on Elton's lap at that moment it winds up implying oral sex. Oops.
The thing is, this is a really fun and imaginative story, and the first (and I think only?) one in the entire show's history to be told entirely from the perspective of the innocent bystanders that get caught up in the Doctor's wake. We get an alternate take on the Auton invasion from Rose, the crashing spaceship from Aliens of London, and the Sycorax spaceship from The Christmas Invasion. The original script also had references to the classic series episodes Remembrance of the Daleks, Terror of the Autons, and Terror of the Zygons, but unfortunately those were all weeded out in later drafts. The story also spends a little time with Jackie Tyler sans-Rose, and digs a bit more into what it is like for the family left behind when someone runs off to be a companion of the Doctor. There is a surprising amount of weighty stuff going on here, especially for a story that includes several montages with E.L.O. playing Mr. Brightside and other hits.
I get it, it's not for everyone, but I genuinely love this episode. It is a fun experiment that tries something new, and its only real failing is that it is a very light story that unfortunately comes nested right in the middle of a sequence of very dark ones. It's an odd tonal shift, but then again I think it was good to take a deep cleansing breath before getting into the end of Rose's journey in the TARDIS.
Companion(s): Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler
Episode(s): Love & Monsters
Steps Walked: 7,660 today, 2,717,984 total
Distance Walked: 4.23 miles today, 1,415.46 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 869 total
Is the Doctor So, So Sorry?: Well, he is sorry Elton's mother died, but he's not so, so sorry
Weight: 252.34 lbs (five day moving average), net change -54.96 lbs