Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Doctor Who: The Runaway Bride


Donna: 'God, you're skinny. This wouldn't fit a rat.'

After Donna almost ruined Rose's swan song back in 'Doomsday', I can't say that I was looking forward to this year's Christmas special. Although I liked Tate in The Catherine Tate Show, I wasn't overly convinced that her and Doctor Who would be a good fit. After watching tonight's episode, I'm not altogether sure I was wrong.

For a Christmas episode, it felt decidedly unChristmassy. Apart from the Pilot Fish Santas, and some laughingly unrealistic snow, it lacked any of the usual festive flare. Apparently, Russell T. Davies intended for the episode to air during the show's second season, but it was replaced in the running order by 'Tooth and Claw'. Which probably explains why the festive bits felt tacked on. This was essentially a standard episode masquerading as a special.

I started off not liking Donna. Part of it was my inability to see beyond Tate's 'Lauren' persona ('Am I bovvered?'), but most of it was because she spent the first half of the episode shouting at everyone and everything. Virtually everything that came out of her mouth was either a demand or a complaint. Which I'm not blaming Tate for, she didn't write the script—although, had she done so, I suspect she'd have done a more competent job. Russell obviously decided to play to Catherine's strengths as a comedic actress, but the dialogue he gave her was so one note, that it afforded her few opportunities to actually act.

When Donna did calm down, and was allowed to engage in some deeper conversation with the Doctor, she was infinitely more likeable. In truth, her life was pretty awful. Her relationship with Lance was a fa├žade, her friends and family were useless, and what should have been the happiest day of her life turned into an unmitigated disaster. Not that anyone seemed to care, they were too busy partying it up at her non-reception. In fact, by the end of the episode, it was virtually impossible not to feel at least some sympathy for Donna. The girl's had a rough six months.

The idea of the Racnoss hiding a ship at the centre of the earth, I admit, was intriguing, but Sarah Parish's performance was so over the top, that I couldn't take the Empress seriously. What was all that hissing about? And although The Mill did some excellent work showing us the creation of the earth, the Empress' costume was lousy. What were those things on her hands? Realistically, her costume was too static to look effective. I don't think Parish moved throughout the whole ordeal, she just waved her weird hands in the air, and rocked her head from side to side.

This was also the Doctor's first episode without Rose, and he was understandably pensive. It took him virtually the whole episode to say her name, and even then, it was uttered with difficulty. The way he looked at Rose's discarded clothes, revealed a man still clearly in the initial stages of grief. Rose may still by alive somewhere, but she's as good as dead to the Doctor, and the Doctor fares badly alone. Left to his own devices, he has the tendency to go too far. Donna was right, he does need a companion to keep him in check. Let's hope Martha does a good job when the show returns next spring.

Other Thoughts: 

—The snow at the end was ridiculously fake looking. It looked like night club foam.

—Whose decision was it to send a tank to shoot down a space craft with so many populated buildings behind it? Is Mr Saxon an imbecile?

Quotes:

Doctor: "Do you have this effect on everyone? Why aren't they stopping?"
Donna: "They think I'm in fancy dress."
Taxi Driver: "Get off the sauce, darling."
Donna: "They think I'm drunk."
Boys In Car: "You're fooling no one mate."
Donna: "They think I'm in drag."

Donna: "Santa's a robot."

Donna: "I'm in my wedding dress."
Doctor: "Yes, you look lovely. Come on!"

Donna: "I'm a pencil inside a mug?"

Donna: "Just promise me one thing. Find someone."
Doctor: "I don't need anyone."
Donna: "Yes, you do. Because, sometimes, I think you need someone to stop you."

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