Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Lord & The Lady: Arturo v. Planet Of The Dead!

"This is the last time The Doctor gets to have fun, in a way."
-- David Tennant, as quoted on Radio 1.


If I had to pick an episode to teach a friend about The Doctor, "Planet Of The Dead" would be on the short list of contenders. That's how solid the latest leg of the Tennant Ta-Ta Tour was.

The story by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts was inspired by a Jimmy Stewart film, but it actually reminded me of Midnight, as once again, the Doc is trapped on a bus with a group of strangers. "Humans and buses -- always blaming me," he muses.

This time, though, he's got an ally -- Lady Christina, who gives the episode a breath of fresh air after the melodramatics of The Next Doctor and The Doctor a truly worthy companion. The Lady is a professional thief -- emphasis on professional, so while she respects his intellect ("You're the brainbox," she teases. "So start boxing") she's not all aflutter. It's too bad Michelle Ryan has already ruled out a more permanent spot on the show, because Davies and Roberts actually, believably present Christina as a worthwhile Companion.

The Doctor's refusal to bring Christina aboard, however, solidifies something mentioned in "The Next Doctor": he's not just heartbroken about losing his prior sidekicks, he's outright refusing to take on any more. We know that's not bound to last, of course, not with the rumors about Rose, Martha & Donna coming back to the fold, but it's a valuable clue as to his mindset going into his final challenges. When one of the passengers tells him "Your song is nearly over," just as the Ood did, the fear in his face is palpable.

Beyond that moment, though, "Planet" is just what Tennant described it as: The Doctor having fun.

First image courtesy of Sci-Fi Pulse

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