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October 24, 2022

As I believe I said last time, it wasn’t bad. I’m not prepared to say it was actually good but it wasn’t bad. Or at least not very bad and certainly not apocalyptically bad as I was rather afraid it might be. There, that will teach me to be more optimistic in future. (Spoiler: Oh, no it won’t.)

The faults lay in Chris Chibnall’s tendency to throw everything he could conceive of into the story and then treat the resulting mess as a special treat. He found time to include the horrid sight of the Master boogeying to the sound of Rah-Rah Rasputin but not to explain what ‘Forced Regeneration’ was and why it was so horrible. (The Master impersonating, replacing or just being Rasputin was a lovely idea: the boogeying was not.) There was a powerful Cosmic Thingumajig in the shape of a cute little girl sometimes and a giant electric dandelion seed at other times. That could have been the core of an interesting episode in itself but here it was just a side issue in the incoherent core narrative.

The major pleasure of the episode was the sheer amount of fan service it managed to put into it, cameos for five former Doctors in the main story (plus one more after the regeneration). Oh and I forgot about the appearance of the lady who was playing the Other Doctor, the Fugitive Doctor at the start of the last season. The BBC seems now to be explaining her as ‘one of the Doctor’s future selves’ which manages to make even less sense than Chris Chibnall’s explanation.

But it was the number of former companions that made the episode the joyous mess of fan pandering that it was. (I’m not complaining! I am clearly one of the target audience for this.) Not only Tegan and Ace (and Kate Stewart who was a fan favourite but not technically a companion) in the main story but by the end we had the first meeting of what we can only call Companions Anonymous with the addition of Graham, Dan, Mel, Jo and (for goodness sake!) Ian Chesterton from the first few seaons. Oh, I soaked it all up and enjoyed the nostalgia and soap opera stuff much more than the manic plot

(Reviewing the cast list at the end of the show I can see I forgot about Space Pilot Vinder who I didn’t think was special enough to revive him for this one appearance but maybe people other than me saw his appeal, )

The thing that puzzles me is why David Tennant gets to do the anniversay episodes. Is this saying that they don’t quite trust the new chap to do right by that historic occasion? It was done neatly, I will admit. I was just thinking: “Regenerating into a new set of clothes? Never done that before…” before I realised that we weren’t going to see the new chap just yet. (I’d been assuming that Tennant’s return was going to be another example of the Doctor’s incarnations meeting.)

And the thing that annoys me is that we aren’t going to get to Tennant D. as the Fourteenth Doctor until November next year. Seeth. It’s almost as if the BBC doesn’t want to make the series.

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