Thursday, 12 January 2017

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: The Death of Doctor Who

This is the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny
Good guys, bad guys and explosions as far as the eye can see
And only one will survive, I wonder who it will be
This is

This is a very modern-sounding title for an episode of Doctor Who. It would fit right in alongside titles such as The Name of the Doctor or The Husbands of River Sue. In fact by referring to "Doctor Who", the name of the programme not the name of the main character, it is perhaps too modern even for that and so we need a new word to describe how beyond modern it is.

Both the TARDIS and the Dalek time machine are on the planet Mechanus, although only the Daleks and anyone who had seen this story before know what the planet is called at this point. The Doctor, Ian and Barbara explore while the Daleks send their evil robot fake Doctor out to look for them. Vicki escapes from their time machine while they are not looking.

The Doctor separates from Ian and Barbara, allowing the fake Doctor to sneak up behind them... or is it the real Doctor? I am a confused cat.

No, it is the real Doctor who has met up with them again straight away. They find a thing that they think is a weapon and which may or may not turn out to be useful later on, it is that kind of episode where I cannot tell if it is the characters who are making it up as they go along or if it is the writer.

Vicki meets the planet's native monsters and screams. The Doctor and Ian run off to look for her, separating from Barbara. The fake Doctor sticks his head up after they pass, an instance of very good timing as the Doctor is barely off the screen before he does so.

The Doctor and Ian find Vicki having sleeps, while the fake Doctor meets Barbara and takes her away so when the others get back to where they left her she is gone. When Vicki wakes up she tells them about the evil robot so they go to look for Barbara.

Barbara hears Ian calling and the fake Doctor attacks her. Ian arrives in time to chase it off and he tells her about the robot. Now everyone knows about the robot in time for them all to meet up and two Doctors come in at the same time. This is perfect dramatic timing and nobody knows which Doctor is the real one.

There's only one way to find out...


The real Doctor wins (of course) by imitating a Dalek voice saying "Stop! Do not kill!" so the robot does as it is told.

Being understandably sleepy after an exciting fight, they all have sleeps. Even Vicki who already had sleeps earlier - just like a cat would! A robot eye comes and looks at them sleep, foreshadowing an upcoming plot development.

When they wake up it is light and they can see a model of a city up in the sky. But before they can try to go to it, the Daleks arrive and funky '60s incidental music starts playing to indicate the situation is serious - they are trapped!

The Doctor, having earlier pretended to be a Dalek to fool the robot, now pretends to be the robot to fool a Dalek, but his ruse lasts for about 1 rel before failing:
"I have infiltrated and killed. We may now return to Skaro."
"You lie! You are not the robot!"

It looks like their last chance is to use the strange machine in a box that the TARDIS crew has been carrying around for the whole episode, but before they can do that they are saved by a strange new robot arriving through a door and telling them to "enter."
Ian voices what they are all thinking:
"You heard what the gentleman said. Let's go!"

So the episode ends not on the peril of the approaching Daleks, but on the mystery of who or what it is that has saved them.

This is an enjoyable episode, standing apart from the main plotline of The Chase because so much of it focuses on the side-plot of the evil robot fake Doctor. The Daleks are in the background, acting more like the masterminds behind a zany scheme-of-the-week to catch the Doctor. It is not so obvious which Dalek is going to be voted out of the Dalek Reality TV programme, but it is probably the one that came up with the robot plan in the first place.

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