This is a round-up of my Timelash II stuff on Series 3… well, those bits of it that I haven’t already posted elsewhere. The ‘Smith and Jones’ bit is a tweaked version of something from the old site. There’s nothing about Axons in here, I just found myself amused by the anagram.
The Runaway Bride
The Doctor cold-bloodedly kills the Racnoss children… and the episode tries to have its cake and eat it by both giving the Doctor ‘no choice’ and implying that he ‘went too far’. The probably unintentional implication is that neocon logic is unpalatable but inescapable, that we need people who will ruthlessly kill on a massive scale in order to protect us from the forces of unreasoning hostility.
We’re a long way from “massive weapons of destruction” being a lie from a politician with an evil, greedy alien baby inside him.
Smith and Jones
Russell reuses many of the ideas and techniques that made ‘Rose’ work as an introductory tale. There is a frenetic opening scene which introduces Martha, her family situation and her workplace. As in ‘Rose’, the new companion meets the Doctor at work and, as in ‘Rose’ he is already in the middle of an adventure. As in ‘Rose’, the Doctor and his new friend form an instant connection which takes the form of banter, intelligent co-operation in the midst of a crisis, lots of running and lots of holding hands. As in ‘Rose’, the new companion saves the Doctor’s life. As in ‘Rose’ we see her enter the TARDIS at night, in a London backstreet and immediately run out again in surprise (the only naturalistic way to portray a reaction to the TARDIS). Bits of the first Torchwood episode are reused too.
But there’s also a lot that’s different. Instead of beginning with the Doctor and showing us Martha from his P.O.V. or holding the Doctor in reserve and letting Martha encounter him at a moment of high drama (as in ‘Rose’), the episode instead allows him to pop up both after and before any of us were expecting to see him! Some of us might have thought he’d be in Scene One. Some of us, gulled by the opening scene’s echo of the structure of ‘Rose’, might have expected him to appear only when Martha needs rescuing from the Judoon. But instead he pops up when none of us were expecting him, does something entirely inexplicable, and then walks off.
Of course, it would have made sense to bring the Doctor in as soon as possible because the audience knows him whereas they don’t know Martha. But a pre-title sequence featuring the Doctor would destroy that Year Zero vibe that RTD is going for. For the moment, he wants us to feel like we’re beginning again. This is essential because he’s trying to make Martha – a brand new character in another character’s show – the central audience identification figure. Let’s pause for a moment to consider how incredibly difficult that is.…