Monday, 3 July 2017

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: Dragonfire Part Two

Part two of Dragonfire begins when the Dragon fires lasers out of its eyes at Mel and Ace, and they, quite sensibly, run away. This is a good start with the titular "Dragon fire" turning out to be sci-fi pewpewpew laser fire.

Kane sends the mannys he had frozen at the start of part one to chase after the Doctor and Glitz and Mel and Ace. They are Glitz's former spaceship crew, who are now sci-fi zombies.

Glitz saves the Doctor from his stupid cliffhanger. The scenes I have described so far are all functional scenes designed to promptly move us on from the cliffhanger situations and get set up for part two's plot, as is the bit where Glitz recaps the scenario of him having 72 hours to find the treasure or forfeit his spaceship.

Glitz decides he wants to steal his spaceship back rather than carry on with the more dangerous task of looking for the treasure. He gives the Doctor his map in return for the Doctor helping him by distracting the guard outside the spaceship.

Magenta, who also wants to steal the spaceship, is waiting for Glitz inside instead of stealing it. The Doctor distracts her too. The Doctor seems to know a lot about Magenta somehow, but while he is willing to help Glitz escape from Kane, he is not willing to help her - this seems very out of character for the Doctor, and this bit is not well done. It goes nowhere and detracts a lot from the overall quality of the story.

Kane hasn't demonstrated how he is an obvious baddy for a while now, so he freezes a manny who has just finished making a statue for him and the manny goes

The Doctor and Glitz go back to looking for the treasure, rendering their previous bit completely pointless (it might have been harmless padding - yes, padding in a three part story, which itself says a lot - if not for the Doctor going needlessly out of character), and get shot at by the Dragon. The Dragon can also laser its way through doors in classic sci-fi style (see also Paradise Towers part two for the prior example of this in Doctor Who).

Mel and Ace get chased by the zombies, and they are immune to being blowed up by "nitro nine." Both Mel and Ace seemed quite happy to try to kill them without knowing they were zombies, which at the very least is out of character for Mel. Maybe Ace is having a bad influence on her?

The Doctor stops Glitz from shooting the Dragon with his pewpewpew gun and so the Dragon does not laser them in return.

One reason for the Dragon being so elusive may be that it is on the run from the lawyers for the Alien films.

Magenta and Tony Osoba plot together to kill Kane so they can be free. Tony Osoba tries to kill Kane by turning the heating on. He melts Kane's new statue but then Kane freezes him. Later on Kane also freezes Magenta - so much for her subplot.

Ace gives a speech that, when added to her obsession with explosives and callous disregard for manny life, makes her look like a psychopath:
"I worked as a waitress in a fast food cafe. Day in, day out, same boring routine, same boring life. It was all wrong. It didn't feel like me that was doing it at all. I felt like I'd fallen from another planet and landed in this strange girl's body. But it wasn't me at all. I was meant to be somewhere else. Each night I'd walk home and I'd look up at the stars through the gaps in the clouds, and I tried to imagine where I really came from. I dreamed that one day everything would come right, I'd be carried off back home, back to my real mum and dad. Then it actually happened and I ended up here. Ended up working as a waitress again, only this time I couldn't dream about going nowhere else. There wasn't nowhere else to go."

The Doctor and Glitz meet up with Mel and Ace, but then one of the zombie crew catches up with them. He is about to kill Glitz but the Dragon saves them by lasering the zombie. This would be a good thing except that the zombie was just getting his memories back from seeing Glitz again, but never mind that because the Doctor slips on the floor, lol!
(Is Sylvester McCoy the only one bothering to act as though the floor is ice and therefore slippy?)

The Dragon plays a video for the Doctor and companions to give them the exposition about Kane being a space criminal who has been imprisoned on Svartos. The Doctor works out that the Dragon is the treasure because it is the one thing that Kane can't get to by himself.

It opens its head to reveal a crystal brain, which is a power source that Kane wants to get. Kane has been listening to this scene using the homing beacon in the map, and the episode ends, not with a cliffhanger (perhaps wisely, considering how part one ended) but with Kane soliloquising direct to camera:
"At last. After three thousand years, the Dragonfire shall be mine."

This episode suffers from some serious issues that makes it the weakest individual episode of the whole season. The subplot dead end that is the scene where the Doctor goes with Glitz to steal his spaceship back is a particular low point, especially when combined with the Doctor's treatment of Magenta in that same bit.

There has been no evidence given on screen that Magenta was any worse of a manny than either Glitz (an admitted criminal who - based on his actions in this story alone - sold his spaceship crew for his own benefit) or Ace (a character who, even if she is not an outright psychopath as I speculated earlier, has issues) so the Doctor's refusal to help her is baffling. The only explanation I can think of is that he read the script beforepaw and knew she had to get killed off by the end of this episode. That also explains how he knew so much about her backstory despite only having met her once before, in the cafĂ© scene of part one.

That said there are some positive points that I should highlight. First is that the Dragon is a great monster - it is scary but, it turns out, actually friendly. What a twist! This pleased us cats, especially Scary Cat.

Second is the fact that the Doctor and Kane have not been in the same scene yet - though Kane has heard the Doctor, and the Doctor has seen a picture of Kane, as clever ways of building towards this - so their inevitable meeting and confrontation is being kept for the final part. Expectations will therefore be even higher for the story paying off the anticipation thus generated.

With this still to look forward to, does it mean the best has been saved for last? Can Dragonfire redeem itself by performing a noble self-sacrifice comeback in the final act?

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