Ladies and Gentlemen, and Variations Thereupon
I feel bad, today's episode is such a good one it deserves a much longer post, but it's late and I need to get to bed. It's been a crazy day full of meetings and unexpected side trips, plus a night out at the theatre, and here we are.
So let's talk Doctor Who.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
Way back in The Enemy of the World, Patrick Troughton's first son David appeared as a guard in an uncredited role. Not long after that he got his first credited acting role in his father's last story The War Games. Then in the Third Doctor era he got his most prominent role in the series in The Curse of Peladon as King Peladon himself. After that he went on to become a highly respected classical actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company and has had a long and successful career. Which brings us to today's episode, in which he plays Professor Hobbes - an expert on the strange and lifeless world of Midnight. This makes the second story this season which has featured the child of a former Doctor in a major role. It's good work, if you can get it.
The amazing thing about this story is that, aside from short opening and closing scenes, the entire thing takes place on a single set within a vehicle taking a group of tourists to see the Sapphire Waterfall. Although Donna Noble appears in those framing scenes, she is completely absent from the story itself. The story was specifically designed to be able to be filmed while Catherine Tate was off shooting the next (Doctor-lite) episode. As is sometimes the case, it is the very restrictions placed upon the episode that make it work so well. This story could easily be produced as a one-act play on stage, with only one set and no special effects. Just dialog and character to drive the plot.
The crux of the story is a mysterious entity that attacks the vehicle without ever being seen, and possesses one of the passengers. Apparently unable to move, she begins repeating everything anyone says. As the fear and paranoia begin to mount, she starts speaking in perfect unison with everyone. And then, as she focuses in on the Doctor himself, she starts speaking before he does. The entity is never seen directly. The entity is never explained, either how it got there or what it truly wanted, it simply.... exists. It is a very creepy and tightly-written script that is executed beautifully.
In the end the Doctor does not do a Very Clever Thing. Instead, the Hostess sacrifices herself in order to drag the possessed woman out the airlock and into the deadly Xtonic sunlight where they are both instantly vaporized. Although, one might argue that the entity itself probably survived. We don't know, because this is the rare story that really doesn't seek to explain anything. Thankfully, this entity has also never since been revisited in the show and as such has been allowed to maintain its creepy status without being diluted with overuse (I'm looking at you, Weeping Angels).
Such a great, great story.
Tomorrow: Donna has something on her back.
Companion(s): Donna Noble
Steps Walked: 7,661 today, 2,929,101 total
Distance Walked: 4.08 miles today, 1,528.47 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 3,114 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
Is the Doctor So, So Sorry?: He never really has time to be sorry...
Weight: 253.18 lbs (five day moving average), net change -54.12 lbs