Monday, June 29, 2009

My Review of Doctor Who's 1x11: "Boom Town"

Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne

The Doctor (re Margaret Blaine): “And I was having such a nice day.”

If I could compile a list of things that most viewers would like to see more of in this new series, I don’t think there would be many people out there who would be eager to get a return of the Slitheen or even in particular Margaret Blaine but tough luck as for those who didn’t like the main baddie from “Aliens Of London” and “World War Three” because she’s back.

I wasn’t initially looking forward to round two as I suspect many other people weren’t but obviously learning from a few slip ups earlier on in the season with the Slitheen, Russell T Davies goes a long way to try and offer a more insightful outing for Margaret in comparison to the badly paced 10 Downing Street adventure. It also helps that the farting jokes are thankfully scrapped too.

Managing to teleport herself away from being blown up, Margaret has done her best to not only draw attention to herself but also has retained her desire to kill anyone who gets in her way, except for an intrepid journalist named Cathy, who’s life is spared when she lets slip to Margaret that she’s pregnant and in a moment of weakness, the murderous last surviving Slitheen gives her pardon before a stray newspaper informs The Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Captain Jack that Margaret is Mayor of Cardiff and plans to build a nuclear plant in the heart of the city.

Margaret’s attempts of escaping The Doctor and company by being teleported in and out are nothing short of humorous but when forced to confront one of her most dangerous enemies, she finds herself under arrest and a little too eager to lash out.

She accuses The Doctor of persecuting her, one of if not many “point taken” statements from her during the hour. So Margaret had no idea that her nuclear plant was built on top of the scar from the might rift back in “The Unquiet Dead”? Yeah, right and Captain Jack is modest at heart, I don’t think so.

There was some awfully suspicious about how nonchalant Margaret remained when she had to explained how she came about her pan dimensional surfboard or extrapolator as we later found out but first, it’s debate time.

Instead of trying to kill Margaret there and then, The Doctor decided to take her back to her home planet where she would be executed once she stepped foot home. Everybody, though more so Mickey thought that this was exactly what she deserved and at the risk of sounding narrow minded, I have to admit that I agreed with him.

Any way you cut it, Margaret and whatever is left of the Slitheen are killers. Cold blooded and mostly merciless, they kill simply out of greed. Unlike the Daleks or even the Cybermen, programming here cannot be blamed or excused for the actions of this species. As a child, Margaret may have been forced to kill but as an adult, it is her choice and no-one else’s. The Doctor and anyone else have the right and duty to stop her, even if it is through murder in the end. If they are executioners, The Doctor and company do it to protect lives and because often they don’t have a choice in the matter. The killings that Margaret has done with her race and by herself are not.

The Doctor and Margaret’s dinner conversation is certainly an eye opener. While they are plenty of times in which the Time Lord has been reckless, he is still better than Margaret and her attempts of using the extrapolator on the TARDIS to open the rift proved that while Margaret may be a capable of change, deep down her desire to do harm is powerful and rules any possible hope of doing good.

I hope for The Doctor’s sake that her being turned into an egg and returned to a better family could shape Margaret into a better alien, but I remain sceptical for the time being.

The peril aside, I loved the four team unit we had in this episode. Jack easily fits the ensemble like a glove and The Doctor and Rose are on their usual fine form too. Mickey, however also gets some great moments as his isolation from Rose is brought to the fore. When I first encountered Mickey, I didn’t particularly care for him but Noel Clarke has really improved as an actor.

This episode kind of tore me because as much as I love Rose and understand her desires to broaden her horizons, I sympathised a lot with Mickey. Their arguments about The Doctor coming first and not him was true and Rose got a harsh lesson when Mickey abandoned her after Margaret’s rift antics. Even Rose now thinks that Mickey deserves better.

Also in “Boom Town”

The “Previously On” bit just recapped on the Slitheen and nothing at all about Jack.

Captain Jack (re Rose/Mickey): “So sweet, how come I never get any of that?”
The Doctor: “Buy me a drink first.”

Character bits: Cathy works for the Cardiff Gazette, has a boyfriend named Jeffrey who is a civil servant and she is three months pregnant. I liked the personal stuff in this episode.

Cathy (re Mr Cleaver): “He was decapitated.”
Margaret: “It was a very icy patch.”

The Doctor (re Margaret): “She’s climbing out the window, isn’t she?”
Idris: “Yes.”

Margaret as a Slitheen has a very strange way of crying. It’s like her eyes go inwards or something. It looked cool enough.

Margaret: “This is persecution. Why can’t you just leave me alone? What have I ever done to you?”
The Doctor: “You tried to kill me and destroy the entire planet.”
Margaret: “Apart from that.”

Captain Jack (to The Doctor): “Like she’s not going to try and escape.”
Margaret: “Except I can never escape The Doctor, so where’s the danger?”

The “Bad Wolf” symbol was written in Welsh this time in Margaret’s office. The Doctor and Rose also at last decided to acknowledge it; except for The Doctor blowing it off was stupid.

The Doctor: “Would you like to come out to dinner? My treat.”
Margaret: “Dinner and bondage? Works for me.”

As a Slitheen, Margaret would’ve been boiled to death for her execution. Her real name is Blon Fotch Passameer Day Slitheen and as a female of her kind, she shoots poison darts from her nails and exhale poison. Very nifty!

Mickey (to Rose): “I can’t even go out with a stupid girl from a shop because you pick up the phone and I come running.”

Jack got called “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “cheesy” by Mickey and “Fly Boy” by Margaret. We didn’t learn anything new about the guy, though there was something of a nudity crisis with him.

The Doctor: “My TARDIS, the best ship in the universe.”
Margaret: “It’ll make wonderful scrap.”

The Doctor (re Mickey): “Do you want to go find him? We can wait.”
Rose: “No need. He deserves better.”

The chronology has been six moths since “Aliens Of London” and “World War Three”.

A little bit of a let down compared to the breathtaking previous two episodes (though almost anything would be); “Boom Town” is still a rather solid episode. Although I could happily do without ever seeing the Slitheen ever again, the pacing and execution of events in the hour was good.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

No comments: