PLANET OF THE DEAD

The first Easter special in the show’s history was an underrated episode that I think would be held in much higher regard if it was part of a regular series. It was surrounded by great episodes and does get overlooked but everything about it is enjoyable. Seeing a red London bus stuck on an alien planet was beautifully iconic. Lady Christina, who was portrayed very well by Michelle Ryan, instantly had terrific chemistry with the Doctor, and it’s a shame they didn’t get more than one episode together. When Christina asked the Doctor what he was a Lord of, his reply of “It’s quite a big estate” was a scene that encapsulated how good the two were together. For a special, there were lots of fun and quirky moments, but there were also enough dark and spooky aspects to make this a strong Doctor Who episode. Usually in episodes like these, the characters tend to get killed off one by one, but I’m glad the majority of this likeable cast were present for the entirety of the story. Only the bus driver was killed, which was necessary to show how deadly the wormhole actually was and seeing his skeleton emerge back on Earth was a brilliant scene. Lee Evans played UNIT scientist Malcom to perfection. He showed exactly how comedians should perform in the show, with enough humour to make the audience laugh while maintaining integrity to make the character valid. The Doctor was excellent in this episode, it was the last episode where we didn’t see a truly darker side to the tenth Doctor. I particularly enjoyed the scene where he went round everybody on the bus and told them to focus on the things they were going home to. The design of the metal swarm was good, they did look deadly but perhaps they were underused in the episode on the whole. The plot wasn’t the greatest, but the metal swarm consuming everything at rapid speed and creating the wormholes was quite a good concept. Using clamps to make the bus fly was quite a weak resolution to the story but seeing the bus flown by the Doctor over London was a great moment. I hope we see Lady Christna again, she’s definitely a character who has enough depth to return. Overall this is a well written episode that did its job well of entertaining the audience for an Easter special. The plot was decent and a better thought of resolution would’ve led to an even better mark. 8/10

THE WATERS OF MARS

Russell T. Davies, joined by Phil Ford, produced the best script of his tenure as head writer for the penultimate story in he and David Tennant’s era. Everything about this episode was flawless. The cast all performed exceptionally, particularly Tennant and Lindsay Duncan as Adelaide Brooke. Once the Doctor stated his name, rank and intention hilariously as; “The Doctor, Doctor, fun” we were treated to one of the most intense and gripping episodes of all time. The design of the characters who had been infected by water was so chilling and the fact they could still move just like humans led to some excellently directed chase scenes. Hearing the Doctor say “Water always wins” really made you think that this was one of the most deadly enemies the Doctor had ever fought. Seeing the Doctor faced with dilemma all the way through the episode of staying to help, but interfering in a fixed event, or leaving the crew to die was brilliantly written by Davies and Ford and acted by Tennant. The crew beginning to get infected one by one ramped up the intensity and by the time the Doctor had decided he was staying to help, he faced what looked an impossible situation. When the Doctor worked out he was the “winner” of the Time War and the laws of time were his, it was fascinating to see this darker side of the tenth Doctor, which we’d seen glimpses of all the way through his tenure. His character had changed to an arrogant man who was power hungry and his “Time Lord Victorius” speech to Adelaide back on Earth after he saved her, Yuri and Mia was so uncharacteristic, yet so captivating. For the first time, the audience were against Tennant’s Doctor and it needed Adelaide’s subsequent suicide to bring him back down to Earth. Murray Gold again came up some stunning music to play over the dark Doctor’s words and set the tone for the last five minutes. This is easily my favourite episode of David Tennant’s tenure. The only one thing I didn’t understand was the Dalek that didn’t kill Adelaide because she was a fixed point in time, but the Daleks were planning to destroy reality so what difference would it have made? But that wasn’t essential to the plot and doesn’t tarnish what is a perfectly written and acted episode. 10/10

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