Merlin: The Wicked Day

•October 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

An assassination attempt leads Arthur to turn to magic.

With Uther’s health, Arthur is not eager to celebrate his birthday celebrations but an improvement in his father has things turning around. Uther insists on attending the celebrations which involve some risky knife throwing at the prince. It turns out some of the entertainers were hired by Odin to kill Arthur. They drug Arthur in an attempt to kill him easily but Uther regains his senses just in time to fight off the assassin, being stabbed in the process. Gaius tells Arthur there is nothing to be done for his father so Arthur begins to express interest in using magic to cure his father. Merlin sees this as an opportunity to change his views on magic so he disguises himself as an old man and presents himself as a sorcerer who can help the king. Merlin does all he can to save the king but an enchantment by Morgana results in his spells having the opposite effect and the king dies. Arthur has little time to mourn for his father before he takes on the responsibility of the crown becoming the legendary King Arthur.

After three seasons of not killing characters, it seems as though “Merlin” has taken a turn this season. Three main or reoccurring characters have died in the past three episodes. At this rate the entire cast of characters could be dead by the end of the season. Maybe next year can focus on their ghosts? Truthfully I don’t expect the writers will be killing off any other main characters in the next few episodes. At least that should give the audience the time to recover from this first set of episodes. Uther’s been a staple on the series since the beginning. Largely his job has been to screw up things for everyone else. After all, he’s the reason Merlin’s magic has to be hidden, the reason Gwen’s father is dead, the reason Morgana went evil and the source of so many other problematic incidents in the show’s history. Still Uther always seemed to be a good but flawed man. His obsessive hatred of magic was his greatest failing and, after this episode, it may take quite some effort to prevent Arthur from following the same path. At the very least I will definitely miss Anthony Head’s presence on the show.

With “The Wicked Day” following so closely after Lancelot’s death, I almost found it hard to be as upset about a second character. In that respect I feel as though maybe Uther’s death should have been put off a little bit longer. This early into the season it feels as though there wasn’t much reason to let the character live past last year’s season finale. Still Colin Morgan as Merlin and Bradley James as Arthur put in some very strong emotional scenes to make us feel the loss of Uther as strongly as his son does.

This episode seems a prelude to what Arthur’s views on magic will be. He hasn’t really spoken openly on the issue since Morgause showed him his mother back in the second season. Because of this fact I was a little shocked when Arthur claimed to know that his mother was killed by magic. As I recall, that is what Morgause told him but Merlin refuted her claims in order to prevent Arthur from killing his father. I had expected the real revelation to Arthur about his mother’s death to be a big thing on the show but it seems it’s happened sometime in the background instead.

Merlin wants so badly to show Arthur that magic can be a tool for good that he becomes blinded to what could go wrong with his plan. In the end Arthur’s opinion of magic is only damaged by the sorcerers attempt to help. Interestingly enough, the original script for this episode has been made available and it includes a conversation between Arthur and Gwen (really there were about 5 scenes cut from the episode, all of them involving Gwen) earlier in the episode where he discusses his belief that not all magic is bad. I really wish this scene hadn’t been removed as it’s interesting to hear Arthur’s frank beliefs on magic before Merlin’s failed attempt to save his father.

Agravaine continues his constant trips to Morgana’s trips this week as he does her bidding in Camelot. I really can’t fathom how no one notices the fact that he leaves Camelot every five minutes.

Though Morgana finally gets her wish this week and kills Uther, she doesn’t seem entirely happy about it. She covers her emotions when Agravaine asks why they are not celebrating by saying that they still have Arthur to get rid of but the look in her eyes says differently. It seems that Morgana may have spent a long time wishing Uther dead only to realize after it happened that it hasn’t really made her happy at all. Somehow I don’t think gaining the throne would make her any happier either.

We all knew that somewhere down the line Uther had to die to make way for the great King Arthur. Now that it’s happened it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. Long live the king!

Andrea

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Merlin: The Darkest Hour

•October 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Morgana tears the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Apologies for my very long disappearance. Real life has been taking up too much time but “Merlin” is back and that means I should get back to reviewing as well.

A year-long break hasn’t lessened Morgana’s anger any and she and Morgause decide to tear the veil between the two worlds unleashing deadly spirits on everyone in Camelot (and presumably places outside of Camelot as spirits probably don’t respect borders). For the gateway to be opened though, a sacrifice is required and Morgana is forced to kill her sister to take down their enemies. A young girl reports the deaths of everyone in her village when the spirits came so Arthur and the knights decide to check it out. They find people frozen and eventually they find the spirits themselves which can only be kept at bay by fire. Merlin realizes he can’t use his magic on them making him more scared than ever. The spirits begin to attack Camelot and Arthur and Merlin learn that the only way they can be stopped is if another sacrifice is made to close the tear in the veil. With the knights they travel to the Isle of the Blessed but, on the way, Merlin nearly dies saving Arthur from one of the spirits. In part two, Arthur sends Merlin and Lancelot back to Camelot and continues on with the other knights. Merlin begins to recover and convinces Lancelot that they should turn back and help Arthur. Meanwhile, in Camelot, Arthur’s uncle Agravaine decides to shut Camelot’s gates, stranding many of the common people outside of Camelot with no protection from the spirits. Gwen convinces him that this is not what Arthur would do and that the people bring with them more than they take and he allows the gates to be reopened. Agravaine goes to report this to Morgana as a mere annoyance but Morgana is insistent that Gwen must be killed before she can become queen so the two trick her into giving advice to Agravaine late at night and then, when she travels back to her own house, she is open to attack from Morgana who leaves her unconscious. Luckily Gaius finds Gwen just before she can be killed by the spirits. Reunited with Merlin and Lancelot, the knights go to the Isle of the Blessed where Arthur intends to sacrifice himself. Just before he can offer himself up, Merlin knocks him out and tries to take his place but in the end it is Lancelot who walks through the tear while Merlin is distracted. The gateway is closed and Camelot mourns for its fallen knight.

The events of last season’s finale have changed things in Camelot but the characters have all begun to fit into their new roles after a year. Morgana’s failed attempt to take the throne has her and her badly injured sister on the run and has left Uther unable to rule. In his stead Arthur’s been forced to take up his duties with the help of his uncle Agravaine. The knights seem to have settled into their positions and Uther is certainly in no state to strip them of their knighthoods even if they were commoners before. Gwen has taken up a new job looking after Uther and Merlin is much the same as ever.

Together, the two parts of “The Darkest Hour” make for a strong episode. The spirits of the dead are among the worst creatures to strike Camelot especially because Merlin’s magic cannot fight them. The episode also does a great job showcasing all the characters including the new members of the cast and what part they’ll play this season.
Unable to use his magic, this episode gives us a chance to see Merlin feeling helpless for perhaps the first time ever. In the past he’s always had his magic to fall back on even if he had to hide his use of it but here he has no choice. Not only are swords useless against the spirits, but spells are too. Even without his abilities though, Merlin is unwilling to let Arthur die to close the veil and is intent that, should it come down to it, Merlin would take Arthur’s place. Of course the show is called “Merlin” so it doesn’t take much thinking to realize that Merlin won’t be the one to die but still, it’s a nice gesture.

Taking over as the ruler of Camelot, even if he is not yet king, would not have been easy for Arthur. It must have seemed a great help when Agravaine offered to come to Camelot and help his nephew but of course, that would be too good to be true. We, the audience, know that Agravaine is not the helpful uncle he pretends to be but instead reports all his findings back to Morgana. At this point it seems a little odd that Agravaine would have chosen to side with Morgana over Arthur. As Ygraine’s brother, he really has no family connection to Morgana at all but he is still willing to betray his nephew for her. The end of this episode suggests that maybe she has seduced him or maybe he expects some kind of power from her when Arthur and Uther fall. Hopefully more light will be shed on this in the future.

In the year of Arthur’s rule, it’s clear Gwen has gained some confidence in her own opinions and in her knowledge of how Arthur wants to rule. She asks Gaius to talk to Agravaine about his decision to close the gates but when Gaius believes the conversation to be hopeless she steps in and gets the leaders of Camelot to see her point of view. Agravaine plays it well perhaps realizing that, should Arthur return, Gwen will report back to him about what happened possibly making him out to be less than trustworthy. With this in mind (and with the knowledge that Morgana wants her killed) he apologizes to Gwen and convinces her to give him further advice. Except, of course, it must be done at night with no one else around (warning bells should have been flashing at this suggestion). Agravaine seems to debate killing Gwen on his own but makes the choice to leave her to Morgana instead who does and even worse job of killing her. I see the merits in leaving her to be killed by the spirits but you’d think Morgana would at least stick around to check that everything worked out.

This episode opens with the death of Morgause who’s been a major villain on the series for a couple of seasons now. Of course it isn’t terribly surprising that she met her end (I’m more surprised it didn’t happen at the end of last season) because Morgause served as a crutch for Morgana. With her sister gone, Morgana will now be forced to come up with her own evil plans. In a way it looks as though this season may parallel last one. Morgana takes the place of the outside evil planner that Morgause had last season while Agravaine takes the place of the evil person hiding out in Camelot. Hopefully this year the characters will be a little quicker to catch on.

Unfortunately for Lancelot, he got too much screen time for his own good in this opener. A large part of the second half of this episode focused on the relationship between Lancelot and Merlin making it clear that Lancelot would be the one doomed to die. At least he did get a good send off. Lancelot and Merlin’s discussions covered most aspects of his thoughts and feelings and gave us some closure on the character. Not that I was any less sad when he died of course. I’ll certainly miss him and his knowledge of Merlin’s magic. It was nice to occasionally have a character, other than Gaius, who knew what Merlin could do and who could help protect Merlin from being too open with his gift. Still, I’m not entirely convinced this is the last we’ll see of Lancelot. Maybe Morgana will bring him back and control his mind in an attempt to split up Arthur and Gwen. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Andrea

Doctor Who: The Wedding of River Song

•October 3, 2011 • 4 Comments

A very beardy Doctor

Here we are again at the end of another season, can you believe it?! Now we have to wait until Christmas! Argh!

The Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill (how bloody weird is that?!) has a very beardy Doctor out of his cell and wants to know why the time is always 5:02 pm. The Doctor breaks out this crazy convoluted story. Explaining to Churchill that his death is a fixed point in time and he decides to try and figure out exactly what the Silence are and why he has to die. He meets up with some of our favourites from the past season, most importantly the itty bitty people in the shape-shifting robots (aka. the Teselecta). They send the Doctor to head of the big blue dude from the end of last season, Dorium Maldovar. His head is in one of the boxes that we see the Order of the Headless Monks with earlier on in the season. Dorium says that the Silence need the Doctor to die so as to prevent the answer to the oldest question in the universe in the “fields of Trenzalre, at the fall of the Eleventh”. The Doctor still isn’t ready to go to the lake until he realises an old friend, Brigadier Lethbride-Steward, has died; this causes the Doctor to go to lake. He gives the Teselecta the TARDIS blue envelopes to deliver to Amy, Rory, River Song, and Canton Everett Delaware III inviting them to watch him die, as we saw in the first episode of the season.

So, basically, we get a bit of a repeat from the first episode with the Doctor going down to the astronaut and the others watching him. Inside the suit is a younger version of River Song who has been trained to kill the Doctor by the Silence and Madame Kovorian. River Song doesn’t want to kill him, but can’t stop the suit. The Doctor points out her future self and we find out that she goes to jail anyway for killing him so his murder is unavoidable and he forgives her. In a twist, River Song drains the suit’s weapons power and prevents his death. Time gets crazy, and all of Earth’s history starts happening at once but it is always April 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm.

Back to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Doctor, we see them talking in a large room and the black marks appear on Doctor’s arm, as in the first couple of episodes, indicating that he’s seen the Silence. Above them is a lot of Silence, hanging upside down like the freakiest bats you’ve ever seen. Suddenly, the Doctor is rescued by Amy who hasn’t forgotten who the Doctor is, but she has forgotten she’s married to Rory. They go to a place called Area 52 which is in a pyramid filled with Silence in liquid full body sized tanks as well as Madame Kovarian. River Song is there too and knows that the whole time mess is her fault and  won’t let the Doctor touch her. Everyone is wearing eye patches now and that is because they are “eyedrives” which is basically and external hard drive for your brain so they can remember the Silence.

Surprise, surprise this was a trap organised by Madame Kovarian and the Silence start escaping, overloading the eyedrives and killing everybody. The Doctor and River go to the top of the pyramid while Amy finally figures out who Rory is and helps him defeat some of the Silence. The Silence decide they have no more use for Madame Kovarian and overload her eyedrive too. Rather than help her, as we are sure most other companions and the Doctor would have done, Amy puts the eyedrive back in place in order to kill Madame Kovarian for taking Melody. Everyone is reunited at the top of the pyramid where upon accepting all of reality is breaking down (which happens a lot lately) the Doctor marries River Song and whispers something in her ear. She says that he told her his name and they kiss and reality goes back to normal where River kills the Doctor.

River Song pays her parents a visit, it seems to be right after the “Flesh and Stone” episode in River’s timeline. Why Amy tells her that she recently had been through the Doctor’s death, River says that the Doctor lied when he said he told her his name instead, he told her to look into his eye. She did and saw the Doctor had been miniaturised in a robot duplicate of himself and that he was not actually killed at the lake. River, Amy and Rory are overjoyed that the Doctor is still alive. We see the Doctor bring Dorium’s head back to the storage area with the zombie skulls and that with the Silence thinking he’s dead, he can keep a low profile. As the Doctor is leaving, Dorium tells him that the question still has to be answered and calls “Doctor who?” after him.

I’m thrilled the Doctor is alive and will be back for future seasons. I kind of figured out the plot as soon as we saw the mini-people but it was still fun to watch. I’m not sure about the whole name thing; remember in “Silence in the Library” when we first meet River Song, the Tenth Doctor says that River Song knew his name which is why she trusted him. I’m not sure how this can be since this is the infamous question that is to kill the Doctor and they’ve gone and lived their lives in opposite directions. Either way, I have a sneaking suspicion that River Song isn’t gone for good, so this story line will continue on and on. Not sure if Amy and Rory will be back, but I could go for a fresh start! I’m still super confused about this little girl we saw so much in the first episodes, where is she?

Overall, this was a decent season for the first half before the break and went downhill a bit until last week’s episode. Let’s hope that’s an anomaly for the writing team!

Time to wait for Christmas and our special!

Until then!

C

Doctor Who: Closing Time

•September 28, 2011 • 4 Comments

'Bitey' the Cybermat

I was so happy to see this episode! It’s the first one I’ve enjoyed since the break! It’s about time too, I was honestly losing faith in the writing staff.

The Doctor is on his goodbye tour as he knows he will die the next day based on what we’ve seen in the first episode and learned about in recent episodes. Remember Craig from The Lodger? The Doctor decides to swing by his place and say goodbye. Craig and Sophie have moved into a new home and have a baby named Alfie. Craig is alone taking care of Alphie while Sophie is away and knows the Doctor must be investigating something. While the Doctor does his best to deny this, as he is leaving he notices the lights flickering and elects to investigate.

Craig heads to the mall with Alfie and finds the Doctor working in a toy shop. Having traced the electrical disturbances to the store, the Doctor got a job at the toy store and is using it to investigate the disturbances further. There are rumours of people disappearing as well as a “silver rat” scurrying about. The Doctor and Craig go into an elevator and are teleported to a Cyberman spaceship. The ever-clever Doctor gets them home safe and disables the transporter. Craig heads home and the Doctor sees Amy and Rory, but says nothing. I expect they’ll be back in the final episode.

The Doctor and Craig sneak back into the store and catch a Cybermat (the silver rat) which has been taking small amounts of energy (the flickering lights) and sending it to the Cyberman ship. In the basement, the Doctor finds a Cyberman in rough shape and wonders how it got in the store. The Doctor and Craig head back to his home where the Cybermat reactivates; after a struggle, the Doctor sonics the Cybermat to track down the Cybermen.

The Doctor goes to find the Cybermen at the store but Craig follows with Alfie. The spaceship is actually underground under the store. The ship has been sucking energy from the mall’s power lines, reactivating the dormant crew. The Cybermen capture the Doctor and say that although their ship crashed many years ago, the energy they’ve been stealing will give them enough power to convert the human race.

Craig leaves Alfie with a store employee and follows the Doctor to the Cybermen’s ship and is captured. The Cybermen put Craig into a conversion machine who appears to begin to convert. The Doctor explains that he is going to die tomorrow and that Craig should fight. Alfie is crying and his cries over the cctv are being played inside the ship. Hearing the sounds of his baby, knowing he can be father, Craig fights back and reverses the conversion. The Cybermen experience the emotions that they had repressed as a result of Craig’s struggle and they start blowing up. After a narrow escape, the ship blows up too taking all the Cybermen with it. Craig gets Alfie back from the clerk while the Doctor disappears and cleans up Craig’s home. Just before Sophie comes home, Craig gives the Doctor the Stetson we see in the first episode and the Doctor leaves Craig’s home.

At his TARDIS, the Doctor says he knows it is their last trip together and says some words to children watching him. In the future, we see River Song who has just been made a Doctor of Archaeology, reviewing the accounts of the children who watched the Doctor, she also knows the date and place of the Doctor’s death. The lady with the eye patch (Madame Kovarian) and The Silence appear and tell River that she belongs to them and will be the one to kill the Doctor. Last we see of River Song, she is in an astronaut’s suit waiting in the lake.

As I said, I really enjoyed this episode and very much enjoyed an Amy-Rory free episode. It’s great to see the Doctor on his own. I’m a bit confused, however, that we see an old River Song in the spacesuit yet it was definitely a child who kills the Doctor in the first episode. Something odd is definitely going on, but it will be resolved soon!

Until then!

C

Doctor Who: The God Complex

•September 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This would so be my room. Clowns are so scary!

The TARDIS turns up in an ugly 1980s hotel that looks fairly normal, but the Doctor quickly points out that it is an alien structure designed to take on the appearance of the hotel. Pretty quickly they meet four people: Rita, Howie, Joe and Gibbis. Each had been plucked from their lives and dropped in the hotel. They explain that there is a Minotaur sort of monster-beasty-guy that consumes other people. The way it does this is by tempting them to enter one of the hotel rooms which contains their greatest fear. When they face this fear, they are brainwashed (I think) and start repeating “praise him” and allow themselves to be taken by the monster-beasty-Minotaur and their bodies are drained of any sign of life. The photographs on the hotel walls are images of individuals that have been taken along with their fear. The hotel is all walled up, doors and windows, so there is no way to escape. The TARDIS vanishes and the Doctor warns Amy and Rory not to open a door they feel drawn to in order to avoid them becoming possessed.

Joe, who was already possessed, gets away from the group and the beast kills him. Ignoring the Doctor’s warnings, Howie enters a room and is possessed. The rest create a plan to trap the beast using Howie’s voice as a lure. Once trapped in the parlour, the Doctor speaks to the Minotaur-monster-beasty-fellow and discovers he is suffering and wants to die. The Doctor determines that the hotel is actually a prison for the Minotaur-monster-beast and that the creepy things in each room are actually simply illusions. Howie breaks free from the group and is killed by the Minotaur before the Doctor can do anything. While exploring the hotel, Amy and the Doctor are each lured to their own rooms to face their own particular fears. Not surprisingly, Rita shares Joe and Howie’s demise.

The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and Gibbis find each other again believes that the three who died believed a higher power controlled their lives. The hotel’s rooms were intentional; there to challenge an individual’s faith using fright to let them be possessed by the Minotaur. Gibbis, whose planet is always occupied, survived because he is a coward (as is his entire species) and Rory had no faith to be tested. Amy is a different story, her faith is in the Doctor and he realises this too late as she becomes possessed like the others. The Minotaur-beast heads for Amy but the Doctor grabs her and takes her into the room she opened before. Inside is the child version of Amy waiting for the Doctor to come back to her. The Doctor explains to her that he isn’t a hero, just, as he says many times, a madman with a box. Because Amy’s faith in the Doctor is gone, the Minotaur-beasty-fellow falls down before the door.

The hotel turns out to be part of a very large simulation on an automated prison ship. The Minotaur-beasty-fellow is related to the Nimon (a being that feeds off the faith of others). The ship fed the beast by bringing individuals onto the ship who had strong faith in something; Amy’s faith in the Doctor brought them there in the first place. The beast tells the Doctor before he dies, that death would be a gift for the Doctor. The TARDIS is close by so the Doctor gives Gibbis a ride home then takes Amy and Rory back home. The Doctor believes that Amy and Rory should stop travelling with him so they don’t end up getting killed. With that, the Doctor leaves by himself.

I think this episode was pretty good. I think it was a step up after the first four episodes from this second part of the season and a clever way of switching out companions (as I have a feeling that Amy and Rory will not return next season). I understand the Doctor doesn’t want his companions to get killed, but I can’t help thinking somehow he knows what is ahead of him and is preparing for his inevitable death which he learned about in Let’s Kill Hitler. Also, I kind of think, based on things he’s said (and despite how he’s grown as a person), Rory’s had it with gallivanting about through space and time. I don’t think Amy feels the same way, but I’m not sure if the Doctor is coming back for them. The season has certainly turned to being quite a bit darker than previously and I honestly cannot believe there are only two episodes left!

Phew! There we go! I’ve got all my reviews up. So terribly sorry it took so long. I began a new job and haven’t had much time to myself lately. Promise to stay on top of things from now on!

It looks like next week Craig (from The Lodger) is back! Can’t wait to see what he has to do with all this!

Until then!

C

Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited

•September 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This episode stars out innocently enough, with the Doctor taking Amy and Rory to a planet called Apalapucia, one of the best holiday locations. The planet is suffering from a fatal plague, Chen 7 (aka way-worse-than-the-Black-Death) which can kill any individual with two hearts in a day. To deal with such swift deaths, Kindness Centres were created as a place where infected could go in accelerated time streams thereby living out their whole lives while still being visited by their families and loved ones using what looks like a giant magnifying glass. Of course, Amy becomes separated from Rory and the Doctor and she winds up in one of these speedy time streams. The faceless robots, Handbots, approach Rory and the Doctor, when they figure out where Amy is, and explain about the plague; they fail to realise that Rory is an alien and try to give him medicine which would be fatal to a human. Using the TARDIS and the magnifying glass they are able to track down Amy and tell her to be aware of the Handbots and to wait for him and Rory as they will rescue her. Amy starts talking to a light in the ceiling, some sort of interface, and learns that she can hide from the Handbots by hiding near the time engines.

The Doctor is relegated to waiting in the TARDIS because of the plague so Rory has to go out and do the dirty work. With the magnifying glass, some fancy eye glasses and a sonic screwdriver, Rory takes off to find Amy. He finds a much older and very bitter Amy who is half ninja and half Oscar the Grouch. She’s also seriously pissed off at the Doctor since she has been waiting for him for 36 years alone. Old Amy refuses to help find Young Amy because if Young Amy is saved, she knows Old Amy will have never existed. Using the magnifying glass, Rory manages to see Young Amy and allows Old Amy to speak to her. Young Amy manages to convince Old Amy to help save her by considering Rory, who both seem to still love deeply. Old Amy agrees to help if the Doctor will take her as well. The Doctor agrees to do so, even if there is great difficulty with the TARDIS.

The Doctor brings both Amys into the same time stream by getting them to synchronise their thoughts while Rory fiddles with the time engines. The communication eye glasses fail and the Amys and Rory must run to the TARDIS, destroying and dodging all sorts of Handbots in the process. Close to the TARDIS, Old Amy protects Young Amy and Rory who head to the TARDIS. Young Amy is caught by a Handbot and passes out; Rory gets her into the TARDIS safely thanks to the ninja skills of Old Amy. The Doctor locks Old Amy out and confesses to Rory that it isn’t possible for both Amys to exist in the same time stream. Rory has to choose which Amy he wants. He and Old Amy have a teary eyed goodbye at the TARDIS door before Old Amy tells Rory to go on without her then allows the Handbots to catch her. When Young Amy wakes up, she asks where Old Amy is and the Doctor leaves Rory to explain it to her.

This episode could just as easily have been called Rory’s Choice because it’s basically a re-hash of the one where Amy had to choose which life she wanted when the Dream Lord was wreaking havoc. I was watching this episode wondering
if the writing staff was already out of ideas because it was so similar. I thought the Old Amy-Rory goodbye scene was way too much and didn’t make it a tear jerker because it was so overdone.

What I did like was that dark side of the Doctor coming out again though. He was almost cruel to the Old Amy! It just reaffirms how much I really do like Matt Smith as the Doctor! Also, Old Amy’s makeup was pretty darn good!

C

Doctor Who: Night Terrors

•September 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

After the Doctor’s psychic paper sends him a message from George asking for help, the Doctor seeks the little boy out to help him get rid of the monsters. In a very large apartment complex in, I’m assuming, modern day time, the Doctor and his two companions split up and try to find George. Posing as a social worker, the Doctor meets the child’s father, Alex, and learns about his mother, Claire, who is working. After going through a photo album, the Doctor explains that George has been afraid his whole life; he was afraid of all kinds of sounds and people in his apartment and coped by putting things that scared him in his closet.

Amy and Rory are in an elevator and suddenly wind up in a strange Victorian style house but most everything, including pots, in the house is made of wood. There are other people in the house but they are tracked down and caught by these wicked creepy dolls that laugh a lot, give me nightmares, and then turn the person they’ve caught into a doll. Rory is spared, but Amy is caught and joins in the chase to catch Rory.

The Doctor opens the closet, which he is confident holds all the evil George is afraid of, and finds clothes and toys…and a doll house. Seemingly out of context, the Doctor realises, based on the photos he saw earlier, that Clarie wasn’t pregnant in the time leading up to George’s birth and Alex even confirms that she can’t even have children. This naturally means George is an alien who used a perception filter to take the form of Claire and Alex’s child – kind of like those creepy machines at the mall! George, being an alien and all, actually has the ability to log his fears away inside his closet. As with anyone, especially a child, George panics from this realisation which causes the Doctor and his father to be sucked into the closet and therefore the doll house with Rory.

The dolls are closing in on the three men when the Doctor calls for George to face his fears. After a few tense moments, George opens the closet and is brought into the dollhouse. But, the dolls turn on him. Realising George is still scared, because he thinks his parents want to get rid of him, the Doctor explains that Alex needs to make George understand that wasn’t going to happen. Bravely, Alex goes to his son and hugs him. Everyone is then turned back to normal and as the Doctor and Alex make George something to eat, his mother returns and is amazed to find her son isn’t scared anymore. The Doctor is thanked and he, Amy and Rory depart.

I thought this episode was alright; it absolutely was better than last week’s episode. I think it’s more of one of those stand-alone episodes, it doesn’t really further the season plot arc, so it was a nice change. I was struck by the difference in parental behaviour between Alex and Amy-Rory. It’s still eating at me from last week, how little Amy and Rory seemed to care about their child being abducted from them. Whereas Alex, whose son isn’t even his own and an alien no less, displays the behaviours and characteristics one expects to see from a parent; rushing through danger to protect his child and love him at any cost. I guess I’m still feeling cheated about not getting some serious emotional resolution for Amy and Rory.

I did like the dolls. They were super creepy! I’ve also always been creeped out by clowns, mascots and dummies, so this one may have hit me harder than others. I really liked that the things George feared were in his closet; I remember being little and wanting my closet to always be closed when I went to bed so that I knew nothing could get out and that I couldn’t see the darker-than-my-room-blackness inside the closet. I think this episode dealt with real fears (both in objects like loud noises or dolls as well as emotional fears – not being loved) that everyone can relate to. I think it was a successful episode.

C