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Doctor Who - 3x12, "The Sound of Drums"

So, I think we all know the most important question this installment raises:

WHAT THE HELL IS SHARON OSBOURNE DOING IN THE MIDDLE OF MY DOCTOR WHO EPISODE? That was a serious moment of reality-colliding WTF.

But hereafter, we shall do neither essay (have we ever done a pure essay review for this show?) nor running-commentary, but my favorite brand of review: categories. This time the category names have a bit of a theme; see if you can find it.

Martha's [Family]
I had conveniently repressed the memory of their existence, until Trish Tish, She of Little to No Brains, showed up, and then it was like "Oh." On the one hand, I do appreciate that they haven't been around to muck up the awesomeness of the last several episodes. On the other, at no point did my uncontrollable feelings of spitting hatred toward her mum fade even a little bit. I was happy when they all got hauled off in handcuffs, and particularly impressed by the sight of said mum looking out the back of a van that resembled a dogcatcher's (Me: "Can we euthanize her now? Please?"). I was even happier when they were all brought out, handcuffed, and I had sudden and merry visions of a firing squad doing away with all of them at once.

I was less happy with Martha spazzing out and telling the Doctor "I'll do what I like!" while she frantically called family members on the phone, despite what an unwise move this seemed to be. (cue my eye roll and "Martha, how many problems are you going to cause before you leave?") I understood Rose and her mother; it was just the two of them, so of course they were going to be close even when they got on each other's nerves. But Martha's Family Values, when those family members are all varying levels of repulsive, just tick me off. I don't CARE about them. Move on to something interesting.

Oh yeah, and at the end, my GOD. I feel like I was supposed to feel sorry for her or sympathize when she was sobbing and blubblering apologies, but JESUS CHRIST, what a racket. Hate: intensifying!

UNIT Team TARDIS/Torchwood
1. Why have I not seen more Twister macros made out of their post-teleportation scenes? (in a related note, thank you for explaining last episode's cliffhanger with a flashback not long after, because I was squawking in outrage about not getting to see how the heck they escaped)

2. I hated Jack a little less violently this time around. Not a lot less; I still wanted to upchuck when I saw John Barrowman's name in the opening credits, but I was also able to watch scenes he was in and not have them be completely ruined by his presence.

3. It took me way too many days to realize that the non-specific referenes to Jack's friends referred to the other characters in Torchwood. *hands head* Well, in my defense, I spend most of my time denying the other show's existence... anyway. So, Jack's confession that he works in Torchwood is maybe one of the greatest parts of the whole episode, just for the concentrated anger in the Doctor's expression and the disgust with which he spits the next couple of sentences.

[Original Rantview Reaction: OHHHHHHHH. AND NOW IS ANGRY DOCTOR. NOW IS "TORCHWOOD TOOK ROSE AWAY. DOCTOR SMASH." (no, sorry, that's my simplistic shipper thinking. His is probably a much more complicated and thinky version of TORCHWOOD TOOK ROSE AWAY. DOCTOR SMASH.)]

4. "Oh, I know what it's like! It's like when you fancy someone and they don't even know you exist. That's what it's like."
HEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Pretty sure I whooped with audible laughter at the pleased look on his face. Until the internet offered an opinion otherwise, I thought he'd phrased it that way on (sneaky) purpose to make a subtle point.

And I'm just going to ignore Jack when he goes "You too?" to Martha, because I thought Spy was just being her usual slashy-supporting self when it came to Jack and unrequited love for the Doctor. I DISBELIEVE IN THIS SLASHY PINING. Because it's Jack.

5. "Now that sounds like Torchwood." I wouldn't know, but whatever gets the Doctor glowering at Jack and being disdainful of TW is fine by me. Stop threatening to kill people in his presence, Jack. Meanwhile, there the Doctor goes again with the phrase "my responsibility," and now even I want to meta on this subject. I have no idea what I'd say, but it seems like the kind of repetitive phrase you could make a post of it. And probably have.

6. Alas, with the ridiculously, holistically backlit teleport of the 3 of them onto the Valiant, I just stopped taking my beloved show seriously. -.-
It's Jack's fault.

All the Strange, Strange [Happenings]
There was a weird moment, just before they find the bomb on the TV, when the Master says "Every...medical student?" and Ten's head whips around, and suddenly I felt that fleeting "ship!" feeling ping my radar. Gone in an instant, but definitely there. Brain! We've discussed this! Think un-shippy thoughts, think un-shippy thoughts...what was that bit of fanfic they read on the Friday Night PRoject? That usually does the trick in making Doctor/Martha appropriately revolting.

But then later, I felt it again during the noticeably lingering moment when she hands him her TARDIS key. I was just innocently going along, admiring his glasses, when my train of thought switched tracks in the middle of jotting "Sexy brainy specs WHAT WAS THAT?!" OK. Guys, I need to explore my confused new feelings for Ten/Martha. FIC NOW PLZ. Good fic. I don't know what constitutes good fic, exactly...I suppose it would have to be in-the-moment fic. Strictly no mentions of Rose. I don't want to know the hows and whys or how they got together for this particular moment. I just want some fluffy fic or...vaguely tantalizing but not up to R fic, or hurt/comfort and/or we-just-escaped-death, YAY!fic. Something like that, just to get it out of my system. PLEASE.

I'm still pretty sure I still hate Martha's unrequited love subplot, but they both go through so much crap this season that I think the deviant little part of my brain just wants to see a scenario where they have a little contentment without the burden of complicated backstory. (alternatively, if you would like to counteract my weird shippy inclinations with gen and/or friendship fic, please do)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled review.

This Is Gallifrey
And it's official; I cannot hear this song without my eyes glazing over in love and joy and adoration. There's some sort of hypnotic power in its music, I swear; I can't put its beauty and magic into words. On the rare occasion I could force myself to pay attention to what was actually going on in these scenes - what? the music is much better than the nonsense it accompanies - I would be immediately lost again by the sight of the lovely planet. Visuals are love. And in combination with how readily the Doctor drifts off with nostalgic, almost reverent description of the Shining World and whatnot, I am more easily convinced that Rose heard about it in detail at some point. In 3x04, it sounded like something he hadn't voiced in a long time, but given that he sounds exactly the same way here...yeah. *hugs imaginary memories of pre-season-3*

But, "pretty to look at," the Doctor says, a distinction not lost on me, especially in combination with my later eyebrow-raising over how children are taken and sent off to "the Academy" at the age of eight. I'm sorry, you're the race that lives for practically ever and doesn't age, and your kids go off at EIGHT? Either you make up for not aging by progressing with insane rapidity through childhood, or that's too young. I'm guessing the latter. I'm losing a lot of my previous respect and admiration for the myth-like Time Lords here, which is a pity. Being disillusioned sucks.

Though I do find it hilarious that Martha asks which category he fell into upon viewing the schism, and his response is like "PSH, the ones that ran away, OBVIOUSLY. There is nothing suspicious about my overly glib reaction here, [*eyetwitch*], silly human!"

The Master Vainglorious (shoot, that's like the one important track I didn't have room for on my Sansa and thus haven't listened to)
#1 sign he's not a real politician: no one makes out with their wife that much in public.

So, um, is it OK if I adore the Master? I think I like him the way most people are delighted by Jack, minus the attractiveness quotient. (I also like Lucy, and I swear this was only helped a wee tiny bit by the excellent Team Rocket macro I found) Can the Master start coming back in every finale instead of the Daleks? Why NOOOOOOOOOOOT? That would be so much more fun. I mean, he opens the episode making faces (a scene which makes me roll on the ground with laughter every single time) and gives two enthusiastic thumbs up to the accusation of "you're insane!", and even after poisoning everyone in the room with gas, I was still like "Are you sure he's evil though, *really*?"

And then the phone conversation...oh, that's unexpectedly moving, the lonely Doctor reaching out even after the flare of anger at the Master's focus shifting to fascination with godly power. But every time, just as I get all sniffly at "All we've got is each other," the Master scoffs "Are you asking me out on a date?" and I instantly rebound back to the latter's side, all full of giggles. Fantastic.

Though not as fantastic as "Ooh, you public menace!" *rolls on ground with helpless laughter* God, I love this. So much nicer than that WELL OF DOOM that was Army of Ghosts (...wait. AoG wasn't really so bad. Crap.) And his whole exaggerated mouth-zipping with the President Elect, which...is not actually so far off the mark from this macro! Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy! Whut. I told you I inexplicably looked at about a frillion macros concerning the season finale long before I ever got around to watching it. Turns out I happen to have bookmarked a lot of them.

And the final point in his favor, many of his enemies are my enemies! I resumed rolling about in stitches when he kept opening and closing the door to hear Rook's death screams (because even though the pushy reporter routine was an act, it was really annoying). But more importantly, even after he's done a variety of truly horrible things near the end where I should finally have shifted to hatred...

HE KILLS JACK FOR ME (after verbally insulting him and Martha in one fell swoop). AND GLOATS ABOUT IT. AND PROMISES TO DO IT AGAIN. What I'm saying here is that if he weren't already married to Lucy, I'd be throwing down a proposal. BEST PART OF EPISODE? I THINK SO.

Inappropriately Amusing Things
1. The Doctor says: The Master is Prime Minister of Great Britain!
His expression belies: OH HOLY FUCK. (Apparently, Ten swears a lot in my head)

2. I can never watch the Doctor take a sip from that mug without thinking of many, many macros, and then I start giggling uncontrollably. The weirdly tilted camera angles in this scene don't help.

3. The Master and the Doctor's phone conversation is really quite intriguing, and I will discuss it in a minute, but every time I see it, I cannot help mumbling various quips like "unzip the fly to your sunshine" from this horribly amusing macro set which...I cannot seem to find right now. Damn it! I have too many bookmarks in various places and none of it's organized! *mutter-grumbles*

4. Remind me never to complain about the Blue Suit of Doom, or any of the Doctor's clothing choices, ever again. He could be wearing stuff like the other Time Lords in the Gallifrey scenes. *is torn between shuddering with horror, and pointing/laughing*

5. "Ta-daaaaaaaa!" *drapes self over desk, laughing* OK, that was an Appropriately amusing thing, but still. It's inappropriate in the moment.

The Ending Too Intense to Categorize Cleverly
This is where I decided that the Doctor/Master dynamic is not only brilliant (with a side of heartbreaking, of course), but the Master finally gets properly good and unsettling. Now that I have a better sense of how creepy he can be, THIS FIC IS SO MUCH SCARIER.
It was still fascinating, and therefore fun to watch. It stopped being fun when he broke out the Lazarus technology (on a related note, I have now lost whatever scraps of respect I may have had for that episode, and am flinging it down with the Dalek 2-parter in the abyss of suckdom).

Original Rantview Quote: JACK. NOW YOU'RE SCREWING THINGS UP JUST LIKE IDIOT BOY AND MARTHA. You and your stupid Doctor-detecting device, giving the Master the ability to do horrible things with the aforementioned technology! (isn't it great how whenever things go wrong, it's automatically Jack's fault?)

So, you know, I actually saw SuperOld!Doctor in a macro or two, but the sight was so horrifying that I blocked it from memory and convinced myself that I had just warped the image from "Family of Blood," possibly as the result of a nightmare. To quote The Recapist, "the Master does what I thought to be truly impossible. Using the technology he helped Professor Lazarus develop and the Doctor’s severed hand, he ages the Doctor. Why is this impossible? He made David Tennant ugly." And really, iiiiick. It's actually too gross to look at him, and it's hard to sympathize with the Doctor's anguish when he doesn't look the Doctor so much as a wizened old forest gnome. WAY TO TAKE AWAY ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS, SHOW.

I would really like to know what the Toclafane are. I even cracked and asked Google when it became apparent I wasn't going to see the finale for a good long while, and Google WOULDN'T TELL ME. All it will give me aere peoples' theories. The hell, Google. This is not supposed to be a difficult question! Anyway, my initial reaction, which is probably quite wrong (not least because they've already made their appearane) was "flip, they're not Daleks are they? Because I may cry." Fortunately, half a second later my reaction was like this:

...*FALLS OUT OF CHAIR LAUGHING* HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA. OH HA. OH HEE. OH GOD MY RIBS ARE BREAKING FROM LAUGHTER. "Here come the drums, here come the drums!" Techno music! Really lame and not-at-all-threatening techno music!

(insert five-minute break for me to laugh again right now, because it will NEVER NOT BE HYSTERICAL when you're expecting something dark and terrible, and that song bursts in instead. The sky can tear open and send millions of the whirring little death machines down to Earth, but as long as that song is playing in the background and LUCY IS SHYLY, YET EVILLY, DOING LITTLE DANCE STEPS, I'm going to be stifling giggles.)

Oh, and I was going to puff myself up importantly and make a note about the proper definition of "decimate," which I have been dying to do ever since my Writing Essays prof rudely struck it out of one of my essays for Incorrect Usage...and then the Master smugly adhered to its proper dictionary definition. *pouts*

Finally, in the last scene...I've been liking the episode pretty well up to this point, more gripping in plot than Utopia (if lacking in stand-out moments), and then comse Kick Ass Martha to save the day, and you know what? She just stopped being awesome. I haaaaate in ways unlike many fans, when women take center stage. I like women as sidekicks! Traditional gender roles for always! Damsels in distress and such! I mean, i like equal partnerships when it means fighting alongside or occasionally fending for themselves, I guess, but Woman as the Ultimate Heroine, no.

On the bright side, I did immediately recognize the sound of "Martha's Quest," and I am rather fond of that piece. So it's not all bad.

Oh yeah! Almost forgot the chilling closing words: And I looked down upon my new dominion as Master of all, and I thought it… good.
The tiny spark of literary geek in me is SURE he's deliberately quoting a piece of literature from somewhere, possibly a fantastic old British poet in the line of Yeats or Byron or maybe even Blake, but Google says it didn't exist prior to this episode. Google's been acting up today, though. I remain suspicious. That line's too profound to be contained within the scope of a TV show.

Assorted Randomness

-As much as the camera angles annoyed me in the apartment scene, I did really like the segment where Martha sort of goes into a trance describing how Harold Saxon seemed....nice. Just always...sounded good. Come to think of it, that's how I feel about most of the politicians I like. AM I BEING SUBTLY HYPNOTIZED?

Although I do feel sorry for Martha, losing all her stuff to a fiery explosion like that. :(

-I love the Doctor's face when he snorts and tells Martha "You've been watching too much TV."

-RTD, how many more fictional U.S. presidents are you going to kill in your tenure? I'd just like a rough estimate.

Up Next: I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS SEASON BEFORE CLASSES BEGIN. *is determined to have finale review published by 8 A.M. Wednesday morning* After seeing the preview for the finale, all I can say is that I know a lot less about LotL than I thought I did. Said preview doesn't make it look very exciting, but hopefully that's just a trick of misdirection.

--------
P.S. Remember when I told you about how I should scan my handwritten commentary for "Utopia"? I actually got around to doing that! (because we have a scanner at home. Not because I braved my fears and tried to learn how to use the school ones after 4 years of longing, or anything)

Go forth, and be impressed by how this mess of scribbling turned into that post. If you can see a color difference, black ink is the original rantview and the blue ink (mostly in the margins) is where I started rewriting it by hand during breaks at work when I had nothing better to do. Page 2 didn't get that secondary treatment, and is thus a little cleaner. I also want to point out that I was writing as quickly as possible there, and thus my handwriting is abnormally messsy. It's usually better.

I'm also 89% sure my failure at posting pictures is going to make these too big, dark, blurry, or otherwise worse than they looked when I originally scanned them. Try to see past that.


PhotobucketPhotobucket

Comments

scsquidsnaps
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
The quote from the Master at the end is a play on a line from Genesis in the Bible after God created the Earth.

Also, my favorite Doctor/Martha fic that I think (I haven't read it in awhile) is strictly in the moment. Takes place during Blink.

Here
rainbowstevie
Aug. 24th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
1. The Bible! Yes! Thank you! That was the other thought rattling through my head. I guess I didn't phrase my Google questions quite right (stupid fussy machine).

2. Um, that story was a thing of WONDER AND MAJESTY (and it came with a fanmix! *is delighted by multimedia experiences*), and thank you so much for sending me in its direction. Exactly what I was looking for; perfect perfect perfect.
scsquidsnaps
Aug. 25th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
If I ever actually find another Doctor/Martha fic I like, other than some drabbles by stellaluna_ than I'll let you know, but I have a hard time reading much of it. I love Doctor/Martha, but I have a lot of trouble with most of the fic... Go figure. Lol.

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