Tag Archives: Torchwood

Fear Her

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As with the series of Doctor Who last year, the final two episodes before the finale, have been much more small scale, and in some ways a little different. Last week we had a largely Doctor-less story, Love and Monsters, and this week we got Fear Her, a which is set largely in one single street, and where the threat is largely unseen, being an entity that has taken over a little girl.

As the episode begins, there have been a series of strange disappearances, children just suddenly vanishing into thin air with no explanation. Within the opening few moments, another disappearance occurs, with two boys playing football in a garden, suddenly reduced to one. We then see that another girl across the street has drawn a picture of the boy, and as we watch, the picture starts to move…

Essentially, I found this a fairly entertaining little story, although nothing that overly blew me away. There were some nice touches, for example when the TARDIS originally lands between two shipping containers, the doors open onto one of the containers, resulting in the Doctor having to dematerialise to turn it round. Also for fans, there was a pretty important, almost throw-away line during one exchange, where the Doctor says that he was a father at one time. Whilst some may say that this would be obvious considering that in the earliest episodes he is travelling with his granddaughter, however there have always been discussions in fan circles over the whole relationship in light of what we later discover about the Doctor’s life-span.

I have to say that in some ways, I found the Doctor Who Confidential that followed more entertaining, containing as it did a great demonstration of the old adage to never work with children or animals, with the team attempting to coax a performance out of the cat that appeared in the episode, whilst the cat was much more interested in the new surroundings, rolling on the ground or cleaning itself. Despite the use of fishing wire to guide the cat, and scarers to try and keep the cat on track, in the end they gave up to try again the next day! The episode was also notable in that it featured a lot more early Doctor Who than usual, including an interview with Waris Hussein the director of the very first episode, about the atmosphere he managed to produce. It was also notable in that Russell T Davies talks about some of the moments in the original series that really frightened him.

Both Doctor Who Confidential and Fear Her also hinted at what is to come next week, with now even the Doctor feeling that something major is coming. The trailer for next week also pushes all the right buttons, with a voice over by Rose, who says that this will be the last story she will tell, and the Doctor and Rose getting caught by Torchwood. In terms of the plot of the story we see ghosts appearing in the streets, and quite a few Cybermen too. However we also see someone get shot by what looks to be a Dalek extermination (although we don’t see a Dalek). The implication from a line the Doctor says in the trailer implies that the ghosts are something coming from another dimension, so this could well explain the Cybus corporation Cybermen. It could also explain the hinted at return of Mickey, and also the rumours that the Timelords are going to make an appearance next week – although perhaps finding out that the Doctor didn’t destroy his entire race during the Time War may be more interesting from the point of view of the character than parallel universe Timelords. Anyway, what with all the supposition and rumour flying around over the final two episodes, I’m sure I’m going to get a good deal of surprises before the series ends. Can’t wait!

Tooth and Claw

Last night we watched the second of the new series of Doctor Who, Tooth and Claw, which finds the Doctor and Rose trapped in a Scottish mansion with Queen Victoria, and being stalked by a werewolf.

Overall I thought this was a much better episode than the rather lacklustre season opener last week, starting off with an attention grabbing pre-credit sequence as martial-art trained monks take over the house and put the occupants of the house into the cellar, together with something in a cage. In the best tension building style, you don’t actually see what is in the cage, only the terrified reactions of the other people.

The arrival of the Doctor and Rose is another one of the TARDIS navigation mistakes where having aimed for Sheffield in 1979, the Doctor overshoots slightly in both time and space, and ends up on a bleak Scottish moor in 1879. Worse than that he walks straight into a group of jumpy soilders who are escorting Queen Victoria by road to Balmoral after the route of her train has been blocked.

Of course the take-over of the house, and the blocked railway are connected, with the creature in the cage being a werewolf, and the monks planning to use the werewolf to take over the throne.

In essence this is a reworking of a classic horror story plot, with the cast trapped in the house with the monster. However there are some nice touches. For example David Tennant does a great bit of acting as the Doctor putting on a Scottish accent. Whilst he maintains the accent at the beginning, once the monster appears he forgets his accent and drops back to the Londonish accent he has used before. Bear in mind that Scottish is David Tennant’s native accent. There is also a nice intertwining of history and fiction, with Queen Victoria travelling with the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond which Prince Albert had cut by almost 42% of it’s original size to increase it’s brilliance, but was dissatisfied with the result. In this episode the reason for the cutting was said to be so that the diamond could be used as part of a trap for the werewolf, where the cut and it’s increased brilliance were vital.

The central monster was impressive, especially compared to the last appearance of a werewolf in the show back in 1988. Here techniques similar to the way that Gollum in Lord of the Rings was realised in the recent films were used, with actors taking the part of the monster being digitally replaced with the werewolf.

There were also a number of elements to keep the fans happy. Firstly the Doctor introduces himself as Doctor James McCrimmon, a reference to previous companion Jamie. At the conclusion of the story we also get to see the beginnings of Torchwood, the secret organisation referred to first in the Christmas special, and now it seems formed by Queen Victoria in response to the events in this episode, for which she entirely blames the Doctor. Rather than the usual happy ending where everybody is grateful, instead Queen Victoria banishes the Doctor and Rose warning them never to return.

Certainly it was a very enjoyable episode, and perhaps would have been better as a season opener than New Earth last week. However next week we have the much anticipated School Reunion, for which there is the prequel TARDISODE sequence and trailer already available from the Doctor Who web site. Can’t wait…