Xmas Special – VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED

Once again RTD produced an episode with the perfect balance between Christmas and sci-fi. This was Davies’ last Christmas special that was there just for fun. The set of a spaceship named after the Titanic was brilliant and added to the special and unique feel of the story. We met Astrid who was a very charismatic young waitress from Sto, who the Doctor agreed to travel with once they were safe. It was a real shame that she died because I would’ve loved to have seen them both have more adventures as they had some enjoyable chemistry in the time they had together. She died in heroic fashion, selflessly pushing Max Capricorn into the burning engines. Capricorn himself was a character who I just hated. He was cowardly, selfish and truly deserved to die. I loved the character Mr Copper, his made up degree in Earthonomics led to some hilarious dialogue where he claimed the UK ate people from Turkey on Christmas Day before everyone boxed the following day. I’m glad the Doctor allowed him to teleport down to Earth to live happily and avoid jail. His credit card worth £1m was another nice touch for Mr Copper, he deserved that good fortune. We also met Wilfred Mott for the first time, little did we know then that he was going to cause the downfall of the tenth Doctor. That downfall also began in my opinion in this episode, well partly anyway. That incarnation had just lost Martha, the second person who he’d failed to keep long term. We saw a truly dark side to him while he tried to save Astrid as he lashed out at the teleport machine and screamed “I can do anything!”. This was similar to his arrogance and darkness in the later episode, The Waters of Mars, and it’s proof that he needs a companion with him at all times to help him keep a compassionate and calm head. The Host were a spooky enemy. They reminded me a bit of the Ood but a bit more up market. They were essentially slaves but Capricorn had manipulated them to serve him for evil purposes. The motive for the Captain to allow the asteroids to hit the ship for his family to make profit was valid, as was Capricorn’s motive for revenge against the board for voting him out of his own company. Overall this was a very entertaining and meaningful Christmas special. It properly kick started a lot of things like the darker tenth Doctor that we see more of toward the end of his tenure and Wilfred Mott’s character. 8/10

Episode 1 – PARTNERS IN CRIME

Donna Noble was back and she was back with a bang. The early parts of this episode were brilliant as the Doctor and Donna kept narrowly missing each other as the audience were all urging them just to meet. Murray Gold’s theme for Donna was back too and it’s one of my favourite music pieces from the show, it just perfectly encapsulates everything about Donna in the form of music. When the Doctor and Donna did finally meet it was a wonderful scene as they mouthed to each other across the room as Mrs Foster looked on. It’s without a doubt the best moment of the episode. Mrs Foster herself was a character I didn’t like though. She was portrayed by the usually brilliant Sarah Lancaster who on this occasion performed in an over the top way that just annoyed me. Her character would’ve suited pantomime better than Doctor Who. The Adipose were also a pretty tame alien, and although that was the whole point, it rather made the episode feel as though it lacked a threat, even though a million people could’ve died. Despite that though, I did enjoy the story. The Doctor and Donna really carried it well with several comical moments that set the tone for the rest of the series. There was one plot hole that I picked up on. When Donna was swinging from the chord, Mrs Foster had deadlocked the building so it couldn’t be opened by a sonic device. But after the Doctor stole Mrs Foster’s sonic pen, he then opened a window with a sonic device, which just didn’t make sense. But that was just a small point. Lots of seeds for the rest of the series were planted too. The Adipose’s lost planet, the bees disappearing and then a shocking glimpse of Rose all featured. The plot was simple to follow and made sense and I’m glad the Adipose got away without killing any humans. Mrs Foster got what she deserved with her death and overall this was a quirky and enjoyable series opener. 7/10

Episode 2 – THE FIRES OF POMPEII

I love historical episodes in Doctor Who and this one was no different. It educated me about Pompeii and the volcano and I liked that aspect of the episode. Although the Pyrovile turned out to be quite a harmless enemy directly, they unintentionally caused the Doctor to set off the volcano that engulfed Pompeii. It was such an emotional scene when he had to make the decision and realised that is was him all along. Donna Noble was at her best in this episode as she persuaded the Doctor to “Just save someone”, a scene that ends up being crucial in a later series. There were also great comedic lines in the episode. “You fought her off with a water pistol, I bloody love you” was a personal favourite. Peter Capaldi, now of course the Doctor played Caecilius, who was a brillaint character who reminded me of a Roman version of Malcolm Tucker as he lambasted his son, wife and daughter throughout the episode. More hints at series arcs cropped up as Lucius told the Doctor that “She is returning” before telling Donna “There is something on your back”. I enjoyed having more than one series arc which was a first for the modern era as Pyrovilia was another planet that was said to be lost. It made the series even more intriiguing. The Pyroviles could’ve done with posing more threat here but this is a brilliant historical story that continues the strong start to series four. 8/10

Episode 3 – PLANET OF THE OOD

Because series four is so strong, this is an episode that often gets overlooked. However I think it’s a hidden gem that is one of the most thought provoking of the modern era. The Ood’s planet was absolutely stunning as the Doctor and Donna trekked over glaciers to reach the distribution centre. The concept of a slave race for humans to order about and sell on for profit was so tragic for the Ood. Keith Temple did an excellent job of writing this episode as he handled a delicate topic beautifully. Even though it was 2000 years in Donna’s future, she realised that humanity had not evolved too much and still accepted slavery. I loved Donna’s reaction to hearing the Ood’s song as she was visibily distressed and even wanted to go home after being so sickened by what people were doing to this species. The Ood Sigma using his Master’s hair loss medication to turn Halpen into an Ood was a clever conclusion to save the Ood brain from being destroyed, as well as being a deserved end for Halpen. The episode also contained a thrilling scene where the Doctor was chased through a warehouse by a giant claw, an excellent use of CGI. The only slight thing I didn’t like was the Ood brain absorbing Doctor Ryder, I don’t get why that happened. In this episode, despite the Ood with red-eye murdering people, humans were the main villains. Tackling deep issues like slavery is why Doctor Who is such a phenomenally unique show and Keith Temple deserves huge credit for this script. David Tennant and Catherine Tate were also brilliant as they both delivered emotional and fitting performances. The last scene where the Ood told the pair that songs would be sung about them forever was a beautiful ending. “Your song will end soon” signalled trouble for the tenth Doctor and was the first indication that a regeneration might be around the corner. 8/10

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