Episode 6 – THE LAZARUS EXPERIMENT

Sometimes less is more when it comes to designing monsters for Doctor Who and I think the production team went a bit over the top in designing this mutated beast. The CGI was too much and it was hard to take Lazarus seriously as he chased people and consumed them in giant crab form. A more straight forward design would’ve suited the dark tone of the story so much better. Some of the most iconic Doctor Who villains are the most simple. The Weeping Angels, the Daleks and the Cybermen are all pretty straightforward designs and that’s no coincidence. Of course, that’s not the only reason why I dislike the episode. I found Mark Gatiss’ portrayal of Professor Lazarus rather hammy and annoying, especially as his younger self. Though it has to be said the prosthetics for Gatiss as an older Lazarus were stunning. But there were several moments throughout I didn’t like. The Doctor attempted to blow up Lazarus in a rather feeble laboratory explosion, quite an uncharacteristic thing for the Doctor to do before even speaking properly to his counterpart and trying to reason with him. When Lazarus appeared to be dead but then somehow revived and murdered the ambulance workers, the Doctor said he “should’ve known”. So why did he just let Lazarus be taken away without ensuring he was dead or had no chance of revival? It was another uncharacteristic moment in Stephen Greenhorn’s script. When they got to the tower and the Doctor wanted Martha to lead Lazarus to top of the bell tower, Martha shouted a few minutes later; “Doctor, the tower!” Lazarus obviously heard this, and the man is a genius, after all he invented a machine that changed his DNA, so why would he simply follow Martha when it was blatantly a trap? And then to top it all off, the Doctor made Lazarus fall from a great height by playing the organ really loudly. First of all, why would that cause Lazarus to lose balance and fall in such a dramatic way? Secondly, if Lazarus fell, surely Martha couldn’t have held on to the very edge of the bell tower with that noise going on? She was hanging on for dear life but she managed to cling on while Lazarus completely lost his balance from a safe position. It was a terrible ending to a very, very poor episode. What I did enjoy though was the mysterious man feeding Martha’s mum with information about the Doctor. It was an interesting sub-plot and we were also teased more about Harold Saxon. Despite the intriguing nudges towards the series arc, this episode was the worst of the series. 3/10

Episode 7 – 42

This episode had everything you would associate with Doctor Who. Running, spaceships, terrifying enemies, a companion in desperate need of help and the Doctor at his best. All these ingredients thrown together with not much in the way of imaginative story telling led to quite an average episode. I liked the concept of the episode being live, forty two minutes of air time to stop the ship crashing into the sun in forty two minutes. It was a good new idea from Chris Chibnall. The sun being a living organism was another good idea which was key to the plot. When it took control of some of the crew and then the Doctor, the episode was at its darkest. The cry of “Burn with Me” was a bit generic, but it was still quite creepy to hear it said, with beams of light protruding from the eyes of the possessed. David Tennant and Freema Agyeman both performed excellently in this episode and I enjoyed the dynamic between the two. Chibnall wrote them both very well, as good friends and there was no hint of Rose overshadowing their relationship. This was proven as the Doctor risked his life trying to recall Martha’s jettison pod that she was trapped in. This was the best scene of the episode, it was highly intense and emotional for Martha. It had to take place to give the episode some substance, otherwise it’d have just been forty two minutes of trying to fix the ship. It was a superbly directed scene too by Graeme Harper, it really gave the feeling that Martha was well and truly cut off from the Doctor. The set was exceptionally well designed, it was probably my favourite set of the series, you really did feel as though the characters were heading for the sun as the ship looked genuinely roasting. I enjoyed seeing the Doctor thank Martha in the TARDIS at the end, and rewarding her with a key was a special moment. Overall, Chibnall was quite limited to what he could do with the plot being simply, a spaceship is about to hit the sun and there’s no TARDIS. He did well to add in a few interesting sub-plots and make it as action packed as possible. I didn’t really like the pub quiz feature where the crew set up questions to protect the ship from hijacking, it was a bit random and made some scenes seem less serious, as if the situation wasn’t critical and some characters were fooling around. Apart from that, this is an enjoyable little story that is written as well as it could be considering the limited concept. 6/10

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