Sunday, 11 November 2018

A Cat Sits on the Eternal Throne

I have been playing a great new game with the (sadly rather generic) name Eternal. It is a lot like Magic: the Gathering except it is made to play on computers from the very beginning, and so if you are playing on a computer - which you have to be, since Eternal is a computer game - it plays much better than Magic.

When I first started I expected I would be mostly playing the single-player story mode and puzzles (which are great fun by the way - some of them are easy but some of them are so hard that I had to get Professor Cat to help me), because I had bad experiences playing Magic Duels against trolls who would do their best to abuse the timer rules to make games not fun for me. But the mannys who play Eternal on the internets seem to be, for the most part, friendly and happy to say "hello" and "thanks for the game" and sometimes even "nice play!" So you will often find me playing in the Casual mode where playing a fun, friendly game is more important than winning.

Sadly Eternal is not purrfect yet - there are not enough cat cards in the game to make a cat army deck (like I did in Magic: the Gathering) so instead my best deck is full of dinosaurs! Magic has been around a long time though, while Eternal is still a young game and growing. My biggest hope for the game in the future is that they put in more cats.

Here is my current Dinosaurs! deck list, which is a lot of fun (especially when Adaptive Predator shows up) although it probably needs some more refinement:

4 Initiate of the Sands
2 Savage Skybrood
4 Seek Power
2 Equivocate
4 Second Sight
4 Static Bolt
2 Twinning Ritual
3 Auralian Merchant
4 Pteriax Hatchling
2 Ancient Lore
4 Avisaur Patriarch
2 Clutchmate
4 Nesting Avisaur
3 Twinbrood Sauropod
1 Adaptive Predator
3 Predatory Carnosaur
6 Time Sigil
3 Amber Monument
4 Primal Sigil
2 Clan Standard
3 Cobalt Waystone
1 Crest of Wisdom
4 Elysian Banner
4 Seat of Wisdom
And in the market:
1 Twilight Hunt
1 Dispel
1 Xenan Obelisk
1 Twinbrood Sauropod
1 Predatory Carnosaur

Monday, 5 November 2018

Columbo: Candidate for Crime

As good as The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder was, there is one TV Detective series that was even better. It is of course Columbo, the TV Detective we all need, and one of the greatest American TV series of all time.

Candidate For Crime is an episode from the third season in 1973, so 45 years ago, but relevant right now since it is set on the eve of an election, and here the murderer is a candidate for the US Senate - although it seems to me that the days are now long gone when a would-be Senator had to keep his affair a secret for fear of its public exposure finishing his career.

1973 saw the American Vice President resign due to corruption charges, and the President investigated over Watergategate, so they were no strangers to the concept of a criminal politician, but I bet nobody living in those long gone, innocent times could even begin to imagine the sorts of things that those seeking election to high office get away with nowadays!

Jackie "Perry White" Cooper plays an almost archetypal Columbo murderer who does a highly enjoyable turn as he gets increasingly exasperated by the trolling from Columbo, most particularly when he changes his expression in a moment, switching from the mask he wears in public - and when being forced to tolerate Columbo's presence - to show what he is really feeling as soon as he's alone.

As always for the murderers who consider themselves superior to the police lieutenant, he underestimates Columbo until it is too late and this, combined with his unsympathetic two-faced demeanour, makes his eventual comeuppance all the more satisfying for us watching.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder

The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder is one of the finest TV Detective series evar. Dating from 1969-71, two seasons were made, one either side of Hugh Burden's memorable appearance as Channing in Spearhead from Space. Burden plays the title character, a mild-mannered, seemingly absent-minded civil servant, who is of course far sharper than he appears. Possessing a "criminal mind" (as is pointed out by or to him in most episodes), Reeder can out-think even the smartest and most dangerous criminals to be found in 1920s London.

Being made in the 1970s and set in the 1920s means there are several episodes that... how can I put it... wouldn't get made that way today, if at all. This includes one instance of Indian characters not played by Indians, and two with 'Yellow Peril' Chinese - the latter including a stage magician character with a 'vanishing lady' trick that could easily have been an inspiration for Li H'sen Chang, and David "Monkey" Collings in yellowface - although, unlike with John Bennett, it is only his character who dons yellowface within the story. The same can not be said for other characters, including the aforementioned stage magician.

Aside from Mr. Reeder, the other main character is his boss Sir Jason Toovey, Director of Public Prosecutions, played by Willoughby Goddard. He is a wonderful comic foil to Burden's Reeder and lights up every scene he appears in, and conveys that Sir Jason is not quite the 'buffoon with a clever underling' that a superficial reading of the character might indicate, and for all that his alternating between blustering at Reeder and sucking up to the aristocracy (his two main character traits) make him seem like a character out of a P. G. Wodehouse story.

Other recurring characters of note are Reeder's Scottish housekeeper Mrs. Houchin (Mona Bruce), whose attempts to feed Reeder with disgusting-sounding meaty meals force him to constantly have to improvise reasons for not eating them, and Miss Bellman (Virginia Stride in season one, then the sadly not as good Gillian Lewis in season two), Reeder's hopeless love interest - hopeless in the sense that it is made obvious to the viewers that each is equally in love with the other, but they are too uptight and restrained by the etiquette of their class and time to act upon it.

The plots are inventive, with little sign of the format becoming stale by the end of the run. There was only one really bad episode, in which John "Bilbo Baggins" Le Mesurier was wasted as a guest star with an implausible death trap in his house, randomly, and which Reeder and Miss Bellman only escape from through chance, not from Reeder's intelligence. At the other extreme, the best episode of the series, titled Sheer Melodrama, sees Reeder tell Miss Bellman that he prefers melodramatic plays to so-called 'realism' at the theatre due to the melodrama plots being more realistic - which is then borne out by the sequence of decidedly unlikely and melodramatic events that then befalls them both.

Out of 16 episodes, only two exist in colour (both from the second season, so I don't know if the first season was originally made in colour or not), and I guess we are lucky that they exist at all.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric Part Four

Fenric is revealed to be an old enemy of the Doctor's who has not been in the TV series before, like Lady Peinforte, the gods of Ragnarok, or Morgaine. There's been a lot of these turning up recently, I presume because the writers couldn't be bothered doing origin stories. Fenric says
"You left me in the shadow dimensions, trapped for 17 centuries. But now I've found a body again, and the preparations are complete."
then he disappears himself.

Millington orders his henchmanny to shoot the Doctor, Ace and Captain Sorin, but they get rescued by the Russian soldiers and the British and Russian soldiers start fighting each other again.

Millington goes back to his Nazi office where he still has his chess set despite the orders he gave - in this very room - back in part two to have them burnt. He is raving, which Cthulhu says is because he has lost all of his sanity points from summoning Fenric.

Fenric teams up with the vampires and the monsters and gets them to summon their leader to be his chief henchmonster, then he tells Millington a little more of his backstory with the Doctor:
"For 17 centuries I was trapped in the shadow dimensions because of him. He pulled bones from the desert sands and carved them into chess pieces. He challenged me to solve his puzzle. I failed."

The Doctor and Ace try to steal Millington's chess set but he has left it booby-trapped and it blows up the office. Fenric tells his new henchmonster to kill all the mannys by blowing up the entire world with Millington's poison bombs. This causes Millington's henchmanny to team up with Captain Sorin against Fenric and the monsters.

More mannys get turned into vampires, expect for Mrs Dudman and the tiny manny, because they are named characters and therefore immune. The Doctor takes Mrs Dudman's chess set, which was also saved from being burnt. It's lucky the manny in charge of burning all the chess sets wasn't as good at his job as Perkins was at smashing all the radios.

Fenric has a smiley face, he is happy because his plan is working and all the spare mannys that the plot doesn't need any more are being killed off.

The Doctor sets up his chess puzzle as Ace helps Mrs Dudman and Audrey to escape in a car. Fenric orders his henchmonster to kill off the rest of the vampires and monsters, which is lucky because they were about to catch Ace. Then he goes to play chess with the Doctor.
"Where is the game, Time Lord?"
"You couldn't resist it, could you? The game of traps. The contest as before: one move. Find the winning move, spring the trap on me, if you can."

Millington gets shot by Vershinin (the last of the Russians left except for Captain Sorin). Ace sees that the surviving British and Russian soldiers have teamed up (even though she was also there when they teamed up with Captain Sorin earlier) and this gives her the idea of how to solve the Doctor's chess puzzle.

Captain Sorin tries to shoot Fenric, but Fenric reveals that he can't because he is also one of the "wolves of Fenric," like all the mannys in this story are. Ace goes in and tells Fenric the solution to the puzzle, making exactly the same mistaik she made when she told Dr Judson about the computer program in part two. The Doctor comes in and says "ACE!" in the style of a Big NO! (not to be confused with a Big Bad I Said No!) because he just knows she's been unbelievably stupid again.
Do you think that when Ace said "am I so stupid?" and the Doctor replied "no, that's not it," he was just being polite?

Fenric, who is now possessing Captain Sorin so that his accent makes it much harder to understand the exposition, explains that Audrey the tiny manny will grow up to become Ace's mother, making Ace a wolf of Fenric too.

I think Fenric has made a foolish mistaik in having wolves, he should have had cats instead since cats are best. Also, if his henchmonster is about to poison the world then won't Audrey, who lives on the world, also get poisoned before becoming Ace's mother?

Ace tries to use her faith in the Doctor to defeat the henchmonster when Fenric orders it to kill them, so the Doctor does his best Blake impression to manipulate her:
"I knew she carried the evil inside her. Do you think I'd have chosen a social misfit if I hadn't known? She couldn't even pass her chemistry exams at school, and yet she manages to create a time storm in her bedroom? I saw your hand in it from the very beginning. She's an emotional cripple."
Like the best bluffs, there's a lot of truth in that. Also we get a very fast explanation that Fenric was the one moving the chess pieces in between scenes back in Silver Nemesis (which did not make sense at the time, so I suspect this was retconned in to this story after somebody pointed this out), and was also responsible for the "time storm" that teleported Ace to Iceworld to be in Dragonfire (this is less likely to be a retcon, but it still sounds like something they made up to fit after the fact, rather than having been planned all along).

With Ace's "psychic force" broken, the henchmonster kills Fenric and itself, just like the Doctor and we knew it would. Ace wants to have a sulk for being the only one who didn't see what the Doctor's plan was, but the Doctor knows things always blow up at this point in the story so he has to rescue her. Ace still has a sulk.
"Couldn't even pass a chemistry exam?"
"I'd have done anything not to hurt you, but I had to save you from Fenric's evil curse. Your faith in me was holding the haemovore back."
"You said I was an emotional cripple! A social misfit!"
"I had to make you lose your belief in me."
"Full marks for teenage psychology."
"It's not true, believe me."
It is true really, lol.

They go to the beach and talk some more about Audrey being Ace's mother, but a lot of this is too hard to hear over the incidental music, which has obviously lost too many sanity points over the course of the story because it just goes mad at the end here.

Ace jumps in the water. Wolf of Fenric or not, she's definitely no cat.

The Curse of Fenric has its flaws, yes, mainly in the shape of some plot holes that we can only overlook because the rest of it is so good, with some of the best special effects, monster design and guest character actors of the Sylvester McCoy era of Doctor Who - Dinsdale Landen (purr) and Nicholas Parsons especially, the latter evidently only got killed off before the final episode to give the others a chance. Plus it contains one of the best cliffhangers of all time.

But before I declare The Curse of Fenric to be the best story of the McCoy era overall, I have one story still to watch - the very final one of the original series, and it is one I have never seen before, so I have no idea what it is like.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric Part Three

Millington orders his henchmanny to "radio for reinforcements" and the henchmanny reminds him that he just ordered for all the radios to be destroyed. Millington says
although in the comic version it was more like

Millington runs into the room where Perkins has just finished breaking all the radios and he makes an 'oh noes' face, lol.

The Doctor says the vampires aren't vampires but rather "haemovores" (to avoid copyright infringement, especially after Nicholas Parsons just mentioned Dracula) and claims they are what mannys will evolve into in the future. Oh noes, not more evolution nonsense, didn't we have enough of that in the previous story?

Nicholas Parsons questions how the Doctor can know the future, which shows that he is clever and perceptive. I hope he becomes the new Companion and doesn't get killed off before the end of the episode, but he is worried the not-vampires-but-they-are-really will come back to nom him like thet said they would.

The monsters attack the Russian soldiers who run away. One of them points out that "vampires don't exist" and he's right. But "haemovores" do - the writer's got you bang to rights there, random soldier manny!

Millington and Dr Judson argue because Millington is a cultist who wants "all the dark powers of Fenric" while Dr Judson is just a manny who likes computers. Meanwhile, now back at the church, the Doctor sets Nicholas Parsons to look in his old books for clues - this really is getting to be a proper Call of Cthulhu adventure now, no wonder Cthulhu likes it so much.

Ace finds the pot and puts it in her bag for later, then the monsters attack the church.

There is quite a lengthy action scene as Ace tries to get away. Two of the monsters are about to nom her but she is rescued by Captain Sorin and his soldiers. The monsters get back up again when shot with bullets but the Doctor realises they can be held off by having faith, which "creates a psychic barrier" and makes Cthulhu grumpy. Well, grumpier than usual.

Captain Sorin uses his faith in the Revolution to escape from the church, while the rest try to get out through the secret tunnel. The Doctor sees Ace has the pot along with all her explosives, and tells her "that's the oriental treasure we've been looking for."

Captain Sorin gets back to the rest of his soldiers on the beach and says "there's a storm coming," which might be one bit of ominous foreshadowing too many, to be honest.

Millington and his soldiers capture the Doctor, Ace and Nicholas Parsons and steal the pot and books from them. Captain Sorin allows himself to get captured too, after warning his mannys about Millington's trap.

Ace finally gets fed up not knowing the plot, and gets angry at the Doctor so he will tell her (and us) what's going on, and not before time.
"You know what's going on, don't you?"
"You always know, you just can't be bothered to tell anyone. It's like it's some kind of game, and only you know the rules. You knew all about that inscription being a computer program, but you didn't tell me. You know all about that old bottle, and you're not telling me. Am I so stupid?"
"No, that's not it."
"Why then? I want to know."
"Evil! Evil since the dawn of time!"
"What do you mean?"
"Will you stop asking me these questions?"
"Tell me!"
"The dawn of time, the beginning of all beginnings. Two forces only: good and evil. Then chaos. Time is born, matter, space. The universe cries out like a newborn. The forces shatter as the universe explodes outwards. Only echoes remain, and yet somehow, somehow the evil force survives. An intelligence. Pure evil!"
The Doctor speaks his lines quickly, as if he is only telling us reluctantly and is hoping we won't be able to keep up with him. But we cats have a secret weapon for use in such situations - the paws button.
"That's Fenric?"
"No, that's just Millington's name for it. Evil has no name. Trapped inside a flask like a genie in a bottle."
"Can we stop it?"
"We need to get that flask."
"We can release Captain Sorin to help us. I can distract the guard."
"Professor, I'm not a little girl."
I'm not sure what that last line has to do with anything. Maybe Ace just decided to point it out apropos of nothing?

There follows one of the most confusing scenes evar in Doctor Who as Ace distracts the guard by talking absolute nonsense at him.
"There's a wind whipping up. I can feel it through my clothes. Is there a storm coming?"
"I wasn't expecting one."
"The question is, is he making all the right moves or only going through the motions?"
"What are you doing here?"
"You have to move faster than that if you want to keep up with me. Faster than light."
"Faster than the second hand on a watch?"
The guard even joins in after a while. Cthulhu's theory is that they have both lost sanity points and this is the inexorable result. Ace continues:
"Much faster. We're not even moving yet. Hardly cruising speed. Sometimes I move so fast, I don't exist any more."
"What can you see?"
"Undercurrents, bringing things to the surface. I can't stay."
"You promised."
Er... when?
"I can't."
Thankfully that's the last of that bit, as the Doctor and Captain Sorin have by now escaped.

Nicholas Parsons tries to hold off the vampires and the monsters and he succeeds for a bit before they persuade him that, all preceding evidence to the contrary, he doesn't believe after all and so they can nom him.

Dinsdale Landen hasn't done much so far this episode because Dr Judson is still with the Ultima Machine, which has spent all of part three running the computer program. Now it electrics him and he goes

The Doctor comes in and Millington tells him
"The time is now. The chains of Fenric are shattered. The gods have lost the final battle. The dead men's ship has slipped its moorings, and the great ash itself trembles to its roots. Fenric!"

His summoning ritual is complete. In a single moment Dinsdale Landen makes up for his previous underutilisation by standing up. His eyes glow green and he says
"We play the contest again, Time Lord."

Well it took us a while to get here, and the journey may have been a touch bumpy along the way, but it was worth it - this moment, which the entire story has been building towards, is genuinely one of Doctor Who's best cliffhangers. Evar.

Suddenly, at the point at which we might reasonably expect the plot's mysteries to start being unravelled, Fenric's use of the words "Time Lord" adds a whole extra layer.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric Part Two

The soldiers decide to take the Doctor and Ace to Captain Sorin.

Dr Judson reads more of the translation and in the church basement new runes appear, as if they are making up their ominous foreshadowing as they are going along.

The Doctor teams up with Captain Sorin so they are let go.

Dr Judson is now in the church basement where he sees the new runes, and Commander Millington tells him to use their computer to translate them, since they are too new for Nicholas Parsons to already have a translation prepared earlier. The Doctor and Ace then go into the basement and see the new runes.
"Ace, come here and look at that. What do you notice?"
"This one's a slightly different alphabet to the rest."
"And, well, it uses fewer characters."
"And, that means it's older than the rest."
"And, er, I don't know."
"And it wasn't here this morning."
Then Commander Millington captures them.

Nicholas Parsons makes a speech in which he hesitates and repeats himself a lot. I don't know if he was deviating from the subject as well, but as there is nobody there to listen to his speech (except us viewers), I think it indicates that he is going mad. Have I mentioned yet that this is one of Cthulhu's favourite Doctor Who stories?

There is a brief scene of padding where the British and Russian soldiers have a fight on the beach. Scenes of them fighting on landing grounds, fields, streets and hills were presumably cut for time.

Commander Millington takes the Doctor and Ace into his secret lab where they are making poison to drop on the Nazis. Then he takes the Doctor to see their computer, "the Ultima Machine," where they have hidden some poison for when the Russian soldiers come to steal it.

The two mannys who went swimming back in part one talk to an old manny, who says
"You will burn in the everlasting fires of hell, you wicked, evil girls! You have black hearts. There's no love in heaven or Earth for you - nothing for you but pitiless damnation for the rest of your lives. Think on it."
which seems a bit harsh to me, but then I'm only a cat.

Commander Millington demonstrates his poison by poisoning some birdys, which upset my friend Mr Purple Cat, and the Doctor wasn't impressed either. As if having a Nazi office wasn't a big enough clue, we know Millington is definitely a baddy now. He gives the Doctor the exposition about how it will win the war against Russia, who they are not actually at war with.

This scene was nominated as the 20th best evar moment in the series back in Doctor Who Magazine #242, a flawed list that curiously omits to include any scenes from Timelash, and, while they made a good case, I can't help but wonder... if the Ultima Machine is programmed to self-destruct when it translates the word "love," they had better hope that they don't end up translating any Nazi codes or Viking runes that contain the word "love" before the Russians steal it. Symbolism is all very well, but it can only let you get away with so much...

A special effect knocks down a bit of wall so that some mannys find a pot. They ignore it, so it tries glowing green for a bit to get their attention, but it doesn't manage to succeed... yet.

The two mannys go swimming again and get disappeared by a camera transition.

Millington orders his henchmanny to burn all the chess sets he can find. This sounds a bit mad, but then again he did have a set in his office earlier so the henchmanny ought to find at least one. Except that this scene takes place in his office, and the henchmanny leaves without finding a chess set to burn.

Dr Judson translates the new runes, which by this stage are clearly just trying to ominously foreshadow as hard as they possibly can.

The two mannys have been turned into vampires, and they lure a soldier into the water where some monsters grab him.

Ace speaks to Dr Judson and tells him that the runes are a computer program (without using that exact term, so presumably she already used it earlier in the round). This makes him very excited and Ace very pleased with herself.
"And the half-time score: Perivale 600,000,000; rest of the universe nil."
she says, although I don't think we can simply take her word for it as Nicholas Parsons is usually in charge of keeping the score.

The two vampires go in and menace the old manny from earlier in a really over-dramatic, stereotypical vampire way. However it is still quite effectively scary. In the following scene the Doctor and Ace find her body and, because this isn't part one, don't immediately get framed for her murder.

The vampires next meet Nicholas Parsons who quite reasonably points out that "vampires are just superstition," but that doesn't stop them from menacing him until he gets rescued by the Doctor and Ace.

It turns out that Ace did the wrong thing in smugly helping Dr Judson, and so the Doctor and Nicholas Parsons rush to try and stop him from running the program on the Ultima Machine.

It's time for a lot of monsters to rise up out of the sea, but surprisingly this isn't the cliffhanger. It was good enough for The Sea Devils and Full Circle, but not here.

The Doctor, Nicholas Parsons and Ace run into the room to try to stop the computer which is already running the program, and it cannot be stopped. Millington says
"You're too late Doctor!"
and we get a proper crash-zoom to the Doctor's face to end upon.

It is tough to judge this episode in isolation - it is great at building up atmosphere, but the plot has yet to come together fully, with the Doctor, Ace and other characters still seemingly going from location to location as required to hit the necessary plot beats to let the story come out a bit at a time.

We're halfway through now though, and I have hope and faith that it will all start to come together in the next part. (Also I've seen this story before, so I know it does.)

Monday, 1 October 2018

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric Part One

The Curse of Fenric is the third story of season 26. Supposedly it was meant to be the first story of the season but this doesn't matter. It stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, and it starts with spooky music and some mannys on a boat. They have guns and subtitles, because they are Russian soldiers. I wonder if those guns are Chekhov's guns?

The TARDIS arrives in a field and the Doctor and Ace come out. British soldiers capture them and the Doctor escapes by trying the "act as if you own the place" plan that didn't work so well back in Silver Nemesis, but which does work out for him here. This is a minor bit of internal continuity that often goes unremarked by Doctor Who fans, perhaps because it doesn't feature a returning old monster, UNIT, or Atlantis?

The Russian soldiers decide to dispense with their subtitles and speak in English from now on. This scene ends up having a (probably unintentional) resemblance to a certain Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch.

The Doctor and Ace go in to meet Dr Judson, who is played by the superb Dinsdale Landen, best known to us cats for being Matthew Earp in Thriller. Purr, I can tell we're in for a treat with this story. They impress him by knowing things from the future that he has only just invented, which is one of the simplest but most effective means of using time travel as a plot device. The Doctor fakes up a letter that allows him to be there for when the "we own the place" effect wears off.

One of the soldiers finds a photo of Dinsdale Landen on the beach, which he decides to keep for later. Naughty soldier! But I can't find it in me to blame him for that, any cat would have done the same.

Already it seems it is time for sleeps, or maybe the Doctor and Ace are just tired out from the excitement of meeting Dinsdale Landen, so they go to bed.

One of the soldiers gets chased by a good old-fashioned Point Of View Monster.

Who's this in the next scene playing a vicar..? Nicholas Bloody Parsons! He's outside a church arguing with another manny without using hesitation, repetition or deviation. The Doctor successfully interrupts him (and so gains an extra point) so that he can get taken to Dr Judson, who is now in the church crypt looking at Viking runes.

Commander Millington has a Nazi office, just in case it wasn't obvious enough yet that this was World War 2. Dr Judson and Commander Millington have a machine to break the Nazi secret codes.

The Doctor and Ace go to the beach where the soldiers were earlier and find the packet that they left behind to be a clue. The Doctor seems to be making up clues of his own when he says
"Where have they come from? From the north, like Vikings."

Back at the church, the Doctor sees Nicholas Parsons has a translation of the ancient Viking runes in his basement. Why didn't he do that when he was at the church earlier? The Doctor is going from location to location, collecting clues and plot points along the way, like he's a character in a point-and-click computer game.

Ace is still at the beach where she sees two other mannys go swimming but Ace doesn't join in because, like cats, she doesn't want to get wet. There is sinister music in the water, proving that Ace is sensible. Like cats.

The Doctor takes Nicholas Parsons's translation to give to Dr Judson. Use BOOK on DR JUDSON.

A soldier throws a thingy into the sea and a monster's paw catches it, giving us our first glimpse of the POV Monster from earlier.

The Doctor and Ace meet a group of mannys and they have a tiny manny with them. The tiny manny is called Audrey, and this annoys Ace because it is the same name as her mother's name - Ace obviously not wanting to get confused by there being two characters with the same name, which is an understandable concern. Commander Millington comes in and says they have 24 hours to get rid of the tiny manny (or else they're off the case), so he clearly doesn't like to be confused either.

Commander Millington is also interested in the Viking translation because it is full of foreshadowing. He reads it out loud for our benefit:
"'I warn of the day when the earth shall fall asunder, and all of heaven too. The wolves of Fenric shall return for their treasure, and then shall the dark evil rule eternally.'
This is it, the final battle between the gods and the beasts. It's now, Judson. The Curse of Fenric."

The Doctor and Ace go back to the beach to look for more clues, and this time they find a ded soldier. Then a lot of other soldiers rush in from just out of camera shot and point their guns at them - cliffhanger!

While not exactly finishing on a first-rate cliffhanger moment, this is nevertheless a first-rate first part, introducing interesting characters and setting up an intriguing plot while keeping the monsters mostly unseen for now - properly old school.

On top of that, the presence of Dinsdale Landen seems like it is merely an added bonus. Purr.