Well, that was…. rubbish…
Okay, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t completely rubbish. Despite the ludicrous TV parodies it rattled along being oddly serious about the whole thing, if not particularly interesting.
What I can’t get past is the essential ludicrousness. Why would all the games be based on 20th Century TV? Other than satirical value, which doesn’t require such spot-on riffs on particular TV shows, it makes no logical sense whatsoever. The best justification I could use is the same as for the Britney Spears song in episode 2 – they’re considered classics. But really, every single show being exactly like their 20th Century incarnation? I think not.
Moving on, since this will either be rationally explained next week or (far more likely) never mentioned again, what about the rest of the episode?
Well, not a great deal else happened. The episode was heavy on continuity and running around, light on drama and characterisation, and as such made little impact. The most interesting part is clearly the Dalek aspect, even though shorn of the Dalek With A Soul angle they are once again reduced to shouting at one another:
“I TALK IN A MONO-TONE”
“YES, I TALK IN A MONO-TONE ALSO”
“MY MONO-TONE IS AT A SLIGHTLY DIFF-ERENT PITCH THAN YOURS”
The idea of the Daleks hiding in orbit is fine (although, why the obsession with Earth – is it just that the Doctor likes it?) and their flying saucer craft are both consistent with what we’ve seen in the past, and as cool as a flying saucer is likely to get. I’m less keen on the idea that the Daleks have been manipulating Earth history for a long time, although to be fair it does just about satisfactorily explain the various Bad Wolf references (even the ones Rose remembers despite not seeing in the first place *cough*), and explain how, as a result of the Time War, the Daleks might be “wrong” enough to pervert accepted history. But the question of, well, “why?” seems rather pressing at the moment. On this issue I feel reasonably confident that we will get an explanation next week.
Overall – a bit meh, depressingly so because it’s part of the two-part season finale and features the return of the series’ major villains. Ah well.
WARNING: Potentially spoilery speculation about next week’s episode follows:
My wife and I have been theorising about the identity of Bad Wolf (presumably whatever saved the Daleks). Given the fairly insular mythology the season has followed, we feel it must not be a character from the fannish Doctor Who past such as Davros, but a character from this season Also, PsychicMaid!Woman implied that Rose had already met the Big Bad wolf by episode 3. If correct,that must leave either the Nestene Intelligence or one of the far future characters like The Face of Bo (namechecked this week).
Since the Nestene Intelligence was involved in the Time War, hates the Time Lords, and loves large smog clouds, that’s where we’re piling our chips. It would have the added value of bookending the season.
We may of course be completely wrong. 🙂