Well. "Impossible Planet" much?
[Digression: Speaking of clothes, the Doctor was really looking quite dapper. Was that a different shirt? RS likes this color combo. And thank you for leaving the brown coat behind.]
I mean, yes, there were some interest-piquing moments. Once I got my sarcasm out ("Oh goody, one of those installments full of overheated, sweaty, dirty people. Well, that's always MY favorite thing to watch,"), I decided I was rather more fond of McDonnell than I had been of anyone on the other spaceship - Ida who? - and I fell off my chair laughing at the Doctor's rapid babbling about happy primes and "Honestly, don't they teach recreational mathematics anymore?"
I was not amused by the further inclusion of Martha's mother. Honest to God, I can't even iterate the extent of my all-consuming hatred for that woman anymore. Words fail me when I try to describe the most horrible punishment I'd like to see her go through. Here, have some capslocky Keyboard Smash of Outrage: FAJSDLKJFASFLK;DJKFLAASDFAS!!
Anyway, for the most part, the story just drifts along; even the urgency of the ticking clock seems a degree removed. A couple of people die. Doors get unlocked with answers instead of sonic power. Martha floats off towards the sun, and I don't care one way or the other.
But then all of a sudden the Doctor stares into the sun, and brilliant things begin to happen.
Sometimes, I feel very sorry for DT and all the histrionic screaming/writhing/wheezing through gritted teeth he has to do. I can just barely believe it as part of the episode - I can't even imagine how incredibly stupid this must look during filming, without the urgency of plot and/or a soundtrack in place. Ugh, just the thought makes me cringe.
Let's not think about it, though, because I've replayed the first of these scenes 5 or 6 times now, and every time I do so, I become less capable of forming words and more apt to just watch in awe. From the screaming "You should've scanned!" to the raging about how humans bleed everything dry (*whimpers* That's not what you said on the other spaceship!), and the one yelp where his voice goes up about two octaves...it's both heartbreaking and terrifying. And it just escalates from there.
33:50: ...dammit, my brain just went to really bad, icky places with that one sequence of yells followed by "Martha!" and now this section is ruined for me (and possibly you, sorry!) forever. Ew-ew-ew. *knocks head against desk* (WHY DO YOU BETRAY ME, BRAIN)
OK, let's try to scrub that out of memory. I refuse to let this section be ruined for me because it also contains *the* most brilliant part of the episode, in which the Doctor's control slips for a second on "I could kill all of you!" and then effectively shatters my heart with the most pitiful, quiet whimper of "I'm scared. I'm so scared." *wibble*
My heart's also filled with extra little fingerlings of pain over the fact that it's Martha here to see him through, and as much as my natural inclination is to be grumpy that it's not Rose, I actually think it's more gutting and therefore better that she isn't. And - oh, my heels are digging in on THIS admittance; come on, you - it's not that Martha's presence is inadequate either. Quite the opposite. She does a remarkable job of reassurance while steeling herself to get the job done, and she's justasgoodasRosewouldbe, there, I said it, don't make me say it again! That's the first time I've actually believed them as partners, instead of just telling myself that I had to believe it.
Which doesn't mean I can't still be stubborn about their hugs. I really do want to be all joyful when she comes running and there is shaky laughter that comes out sounding almost as weird as that of The Satan Pit, but all I can ever think about is how vastly superior that other hug was, and how sad it is that such magic no longer exists (because the Doctor and Martha? Do not have magic hugs. Not even if I was in a mood to be completely platonic about everything and/or pretend that Rose had never existed so there was no precedent.)
But look, there's one last moment of Dark and Distant Brooding! Am very fond of this, and could probably occupy myself for hours trying to pin down what's going through his head before Martha interrupts it. As for the key-giving, I initially had no particular opinion (other than maybe "yeah, about time for that too"), but then the internet complained about the apparent reverence with which she took it, and I realized that was indeed a bit annoying.
But then! Third stop on the tour, dwrewatch hands me a hilarious set of macros to go with this final scene, and now it's totally worth it: listen, just taek it. is not some ceremny, k? (scroll down to the end) I'm still rolling on the floor giggling at the last two.
Random Other Stuff
-Speaking of recreational mathematics, that reminds me of one time in British Lit...the professor was explaining the phrase "felicitous calculus," resulting in the following exchange:
“There’s NO SUCH THING as happy math.”
“We’re English majors?”
Favorite amusing quote exchange from actual episode --
Doctor: Be careful. There may be something else on board.
Martha: Anytime you want to unnerve me, feel free.
Doctor: Will do, thanks!
-Another "Allons-y!" I think I need to say that more often, too. It's such fun.
-How many times in this series is Martha going to defend the Doctor by insisting to someone that "you don't know him"?
-I love how Martha's mother asks when she got so rude, and then decides it's when she met "that doctor." Which I might believe, except for how that was approximately TWO DAYS AGO.
And ugh, ugh, ugh, with the handing over the phone to clearly nebulous evildoers at the end! For someone who pitched a hissy fit about Martha "turning her back on us" last episode, she's not doing so well with the familial loyalty. Right about now, I'm starting to realize that I miss Jackie nearly as much as Rose.
-Riley: Not as cool as Frank. *is grossed out by random scruffy-guy kiss* Go back to your clingy crush on the Doctor. At least I can understand that one.
-I maintain that I liked Cath, and can't REALLY blame her for getting everyone killed with her illegal mining techniques. Who honestly expects a sun to be alive? So yes, I was a touch disappointed when she died, even if it was in redemption.
In Conclusion: Interesting. Despite what I initially said about the first 2/3 of it, I seem to be marking this episode down in memory as one of the better ones of the season.
Next Up: This is going to be one of those heart-stabby 2-parters, isn't it? *steels self* I've been looking forward to it, though. REALLY looking forward to it, and will be devastated if it disappoints. But I believe things are mostly uphill from now on, as I've heard good things about most if not all of the second half, whereas I think I was able to remain completely in the dark for these last five because absolutely no one felt they were worth talking about again.
Did I mention the part where I'm really, really excited? *pokes computer* Get it here faster! Why do I never remember to fetch the next episode until I'm 10 minutes from posting a review?