Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Karma Karma Karma

It's funny really. In my reviews of the last two episodes of this series of Doctor Who I've made jokes about how it seems like they were basically remaking an episode of the classic series. Specifically some of the sort of episodes that don't often make it into peoples top 10 lists.

Hardly surprising when at least 5 of the available positions are taken by Timelash.

I do like to jest about crazy fan type conspiracy theories because it amuses me to do so. What I don't like so much is when I make up some random stuff for fun and then it starts to actually come TRUE.

This week they kinda sorta remade The Kings Deamons.
I'm sure many of you may disagree with that proclamation, no doubt asserting that what actually happened was they remade The Time Warrior. And you do have a point. Medieval setting, crashed alien craft attempting repairs, robot knights working for evil lords, archery, ships exploding, the list goes on. But you'd be missing out on at least 3 fairly important reasons why The Kings Daemons is a better fit for this tale of medieval robotic shenanigans.

Firstly of course there's the simple fact that it fits my  ridiculous fan theory far better if we say it's the Kings Daemons, since the Time Warrior is a genuinely good story and thus doesn't fit the trend of debatable quality we've already established for our source material. Never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Second, and perhaps most importantly is the figure of the Sheriff of Nottingham. When we're first introduced to this character all the viewer can really think is "HOLY SHIT THEY CLONED ANTHONY AINLEY!".

I'm not the only one seeing this, right?

And then he goes on to give us a showing of the sort of charm, ruthlessness and insanity the classic Masters were so capable of, and I spend the rest of the episode thinking about the Master and how great this guy would be at playing him. Is it any wonder I'm thinking about The Kings bloody Daemons over the Time Warrior? Medieval setting, robots, and Anthony Ainleys long lost reincarnation.

The third major point is, of course, that the plot of the Time Warrior actually makes sense, whereas Robot Of Sherwood, much like The Kings Daemons only ALMOST makes sense. There's a bit too much going on simply because someone thought it was a good idea for an episode of Doctor Who, rather than making sure there was any sort of coherent logic to the proceedings before they actually turned the scripts in.

I think a lot of people will nitpick the episode for the more overt comedic flourishes. Personally I don't mind this sort of thing at all. There's no rule saying Doctor Who can't be funny, and several very good stories saying it can.

"Not The Skeloids!"

Although I do admit that the rather rapid shifts in tone between merry banter and shenanigans and the wholesale slaughter of peasants is a little jarring when you think about it. I also think that the Doctor winning a swordfight with a spoon is possibly the most Doctery thing Peter Capaldi has been given to do so far. I can only hope that in the future he'll get to use the line "You've brought an X to Spoon fight." where X is the melee weapon of your choice.

No the problem here is with the gold.

Now, the notion of the robots teaming up with the Sheriff to nick all the gold to repair the spaceship is a bloody good one it has to be said. Once you get that shot of them casting some sort of circuit looking doobery it seems like everything will make sense. I may even be inclined to give a pass to the idea that they've somehow using it to seal a reactor leak or whatever it was. I mean, yes, it would make no sense whatsoever, but you'd kind of loose the whole Robin Hood angle if the aliens were just going around nicking the lead off the church roofs.

But then we get the whole ill defined there's not enough so everything will explode bit Coupled with the question of, if everything will explode why are you trying to take off anyway? And of course multiplied by the baffling mystery of just how it is that pinging a flimsy bit of stick at the side of a spaceship will impart enough energy to fling it into orbit.

FUCKING SERIOUSLY.

I know I've said before that I'd take almost any ending over than all problems being magically fixed with the power of WUV, but that doesn't actually mean you can just throw out any old bollocks. This is the equivalent of trying to increase the power output of nuclear reactor by flinging lead pellets at the outside of one of the cooling towers with a broken slingshot. THERE IS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND HOW REALITY ACTUALLY WORKS. AND EVEN IF THERE WAS YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. 

Funnily enough this probably exerts about the same amount of force as a bow that can't actually bend because 2 idiots are holding it rigid with their feet.

Actually, given the weight difference between an arrow and a big lump of metal it's probably more like trying to fire bowling balls or something.

There's just no reason for this level of utter bullshit. I was actually enjoying the episode up that point. And then...

This actually makes way more sense. And I don't even HAVE Catapult Turtle in my deck.

Yeah... Funny how one thing can just take you right out of the episode and make you want to cry and headbutt the TV.

I can't help but be left with the feeling that the Doctor should have been given more useful stuff to do. Both in in terms of stopping the exploding ship in way that was a little less....


But also overall in the series. I mean, in the opening episode the only reason he got anywhere near the bad guys was because mysterious external forces told him where to go. Then in the second he did a tiny bit of welding and talked to a Dalek about it's spirit animal or whatever. And here he spends most of his time bickering.

Oddly, this feels a lot like a series 5 or 6 episode. The whole Doctor being constantly wrong thing is very Curse Of The Black Spot, and a lot of the dialogue feels like it would work very well with the 11th Doctor, particularly all that childish bickering. And of course the bit's where Clara get's to do something useful are all very Amy Pond in one way or another.

Anyway, I think it's about time the 12th Doctor got to convincingly save the day off his own work and give us a proper look at what he's really about. Other than throwing randowm bits of business with chalkboards anyway.

As for moving forwards the overall theme, all we really get is that The Promised Land is apparently a thing. A thing for time travelling robots anyway.


The crazy conspiracy theory part of my brain wonders if this might be some sort of throwback reference to Utopia, thus strengthening the Lady Master idea. The rational part of brain is not committing to anything just yet.

Anyway, overall score for this episode in one heaping great pile of bullshit out 10 otherwise enjoyable romps. Must try harder.