Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#4 Remembering Past Who Episodes - The Next Doctor S4

Given I've had the chance to let off some steam and relax today, I thought I'd watch 'The Next Doctor'. I had only seen it once (can you believe it?), and I was dying to see it again. Today, the opportunity presented itself. I got the change to rewatch it, now that Christmas is getting closer and closer by the day.
First of all, I have to say that I loved both Davids' acting. It was, quite simply, fantastic. Breathtaking. After 'Blackpool', it is a joy watching them on screen together. Now David Morrissey isn't Ripley Holden, but 'The Next Doctor', whereas former D.I. Peter Carlisle is now 'The Doctor'. I'm referring to David Tennant, obviously.
I must confess that when I first saw the episode I wasn't that much impressed. I liked the plot and the characters, but I didn't like the Cyberking: I thought it looked too Meccano-like. But now, watching it again after almost a year, I've been able to see things in a different way. The plot is suddenly much more appealing, the characters are more enigmatic and now that Ten is regenerating you watch for every single detail. I loved the character of Mercy Hartigan, Miss Hartigan as she's referred to the most. She was so strong minded and determined that her mind and her mind alone could defeat all Cybermen. Her emotions were not cut by the cyberconvertion, she was able to keep them. I had only thought that only Timelords could perform such a deed. Perhaps not (ooh, spoilers? Am I on something here?). Now onto The Next Doctor. The beginning was incredibly fun, with Rosita screaming for help and both Doctors appearing. And all that was happening to the next Doctor was really interesting... the way he say they had taken a precious thing from him... the memories of a Timelord. At the time it was aired, we were all thinking 'oh, what a fantastic Doctor Morrissey would be', but then (or did we already know that? I'm too tired to think now) Matt Smith was cast as the Eleventh Doctor. I was a bit disappointed, to be honest, because I had high hopes towards Morrissey. Still, Matt will be a fine Doctor, I'm sure.
The way the plot thickens is quite intriguing... all the explanations about infostamps and about the way they compressed information and how it had been transferred to the next Doctor's mind who was, in fact, a man called Jackson Lake. The fob watch DID have the answer! Our beloved Doctor wasn't wrong. Then, as Miss Hartigan is cyberconverted and Jackson finds out that besides killing his wife they had taken his child, Frederic, he then goes and helps the Doctor every way he can. The ending is surprising as well, given that Miss Hartigan, with a little help from the Doctor, saw what she had become and, having such a strong mind, deleted all Cybermen (ooh, pun!). Not only that, but the Doctor was able to save little Fred and take him back to his daddy.
The humorous side to DW is present in this episode in more ways than one: the next Doctor's sonic screwdriver being just an ordinary screwdriver that made some noise when it banged into something; the Next Doctor's vehicle, the TARDIS, that instead standing for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space stood for Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style; the way the fob watch broke when the Doctor opened it. This is why DW isn't just a scary series: it makes you laugh so hard that you start crying even before panic strikes you.

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