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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Doctor Who: Ocean's Twelfth

What am I supposed to do with a ringing phone? Avoid spoilers, that's what.

     Clara's apartment is really tiny, isn't it? I mean, mine is really tiny, too, but it's like someone took my apartment and shoved walls into it. And she's nicked Ellen Page's wardrobe.

     Now that we've gotten our feet wet and taken a moment to breathe, can we talk about that new opening? It's so weird. Weird in that terribly fun weird way that Farscape's opening theme was, or the Cantina scene in the first Star Wars film. It seems to be very polarizing amongst Doctor Who fandom, as I've heard it referred to as brilliantly bold, as theremin trash, and everything in between. I think just summing it up as fun and weird is sufficient, and a sign of the confidence the creators have in the show that it can have such a weird theme song, especially right after introducing a new lead actor.

     Time Heist is the fastest-paced episode that we've had this year, suitable for an homage to a heist film. Even when characters are standing still, the lines are delivered with a quick and snappy panache, with Capaldi leading the charge metaphorically, and sometimes literally, breathless in his performance. The major strength of this episode, though, lies in its guest cast. Sabra and Psi are stylish and charismatic, and feel like they were pulled straight out of Shadowrun. I especially liked Psi's insistence that he was a gamer, seeing as how so many gamers are closet codemonkeys in real life, and that sly smile that Sabra gives from just inside the rim of that hood. Both of the actors are to be commended for portraying a stylish energy masking such a deep sadness in their characters, and I would kill for a spinoff mini-series about the two of them. And Keeley Hawes as Ms Delphox. Oh lawdy, Keeley Hawes. She's quite possibly the most English person that's ever Englished, and I've been a fan of hers since way in Spooks (called MI:5 on the US side of the ocean, because of the word having a questionable history in the States and people always ready to cry racism). Hawes is delightfully dignified and politely menacing. 

Queue Kill Bill theme (courtesy BBC)
     Clara's role as “carer” is called into question here with Psi's angry stab at her tendency to 'apologize' for him. And it's true. Twelve is an asshole, and Clara spends a lot of time smoothing things over with the people that he runs roughshod over. I have a feeling that may lead to a falling out between the two later in the series, which might be what causes Clara's rumored departure.

     The Teller. Phew. I really love the Teller. It's such a bizarre, alien-looking creature. In a universe where Terran-normal hominid-form is such a common appearance, seeing something like the Teller, with its reptilian skin, hulking mass, and tentacle eyestalks is so refreshing, calling back to now-classic sci-fi like the original Star Wars films or Farscape, which in turn were inspired by even older Sci-Fi like classic Who. The effect his power has, too, is seat-squirming. The body horror of the inside of your head being liquified and slushed in a manner that leaves your skull caved in is horrifying, and I'm sure the little kids still watching Who were equal parts grossed out and laughing.

     Also, anyone catch all the easter eggs in that list of baddies that Psi pulled up? Abslom Daak? Captain John Hart?

Next Week – Doctor Who: CAN IT WAIT? I MUST CALIBRATE!

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