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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Partners in Crime”

(tons of spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: Episode 0: “Voyage of the Damned”)

“The fat just walks away.” Oh, if only… and be careful what you wish for, too…
Even grading on the Doctor Who curve for weirdness, this is one of the most bizarre — if delightfully so — episodes ever, and certainly among the funniest. And, even more oddly, the most poignant. Poor Stacey melting away into nothingness is horrifying and yet, I gotta admit, kinda hilarious, too: not in that meanspirited way that, handled in another way, might have suggested Stacey got what she deserved or just reveled in her misfortune, but in that way that acknowledges that the human desire for a quick and easy fix for what ails us only makes us, you know, human. And the little blobby adipose babies? So cute and cuddly and sweet… I love the touch of having them wave to everyone. (And oh, all the poor things squashed by the cab! Yuck… and tee-hee, too.)

I hated Donna her first time out, not that she wasn’t interesting as a character or that Catherine Tate isn’t a riot: I just seethed with jealousy that she had a chance to be with the Doctor and completely missed how wonderful he is, or how amazing that experience was. I mean, what kind of idiot is she? And she turned down an invitation to go with him? Madness…

So I’m glad to see that she’s come to her senses and is properly pining for the Doctor, that she now appreciates what she had and let get away. But here it’s all poignant, too: how physically close she was to the Doctor so often, and never realized (and you gotta imagine that’s happened before in her searches for him that we haven’t seen). When she explains to the Doctor how she tried to change her life for the better after her day with him, her frustration is perfect: “I went to Egypt, I was gonna go barefoot and everything. And then it’s all bus trips and guidebooks and don’t drink the water and two weeks later you’re back at home. It’s nothing like being with you.” Oh man, does Russell Davies get the appeal of the Doctor, or what? Only a true fan could have written that…

And the Doctor, talking to himself in the empty TARDIS, actively seeking out trouble cuz he’s so bored… (How did he find out what was going on at Adipose, I wonder. What made him suspicious?) It’s so sad. He only has to ask me, and I’d be gone with him in a shot…

Tate and David Tennant are fantastic together. They’re so funny individually — I love the bit when the Doctor is shaking and banging his little gadget (does it go ding when there’s stuff?) in the universal sign language for frustration with technology, even the super high-tech stuff; and Tate on the phone with her mother (“I’m in church”) is great. And they’re funny without it being a detriment to the characters, not as asides but as integral parts of the characters. But together… Their silent conversation across Foster’s monologuing could be the single most hilarious scene on Doctor Who ever.

I’m not so sure about Donna’s rejection of the idea of the Doctor as anything other than just a buddy, though. “You’re just a long streak of alien nothing” — she doesn’t really believe that, does she? How do you not fall in love with a cute guy who owns a time machine and has adventures across the universe? I mean, if the Doctor told me, “Look, you can come with, but no hanky panky, cuz I only screw it up anyway,” I’d be like, “Yeah, sure, man, whatever, I just wanna see the stars and stuff,” and then secretly plan my seduction once I was onboard, because, you know, anything to get into the TARDIS. (Hey, that’s what Martha did. It didn’t work, but at least she tried.) So what else was Donna gonna say but “Ugh” to the suggestion that she might want to do that with the Doctor. Even if that was a genuine reaction on her part, I bet it doesn’t last forever…

Random thoughts on “Partners in Crime”:

• I love the music in this episode, with the bouncy 60s spy-show vibe. Was the Man from UNCLE from Gallifrey?

• The Doctor in a cube farm? There’s an alien environment he hasn’t been in before, at least not that we’ve seen.

• The cab that pulls up to Donna looking for Stacey? It’s got a little sticker on the windshield that reads “Atmos” (and so does the one later in the episode, that runs over all the little fat babies). Something called Atmos will come back in Episode 4, which debuts tomorrow night in England, if last week’s coming attractions weren’t lying — but, what? Sontarans are running a cab company?

• And yet more seeding for future episodes: Donna mentions all the bees disappearing… and she will mention that again in Episode 3. Surely that’s gotta come home to roost (to hive?) later this season — wasn’t there a giant bee in the Season Four coming attractions?

• The Doctor with a stethoscope! How did it take so long for that to happen? (It reappears again in Episode 3.)

• I wondered why the Doctor would have to sneak in to Adipose and hide away in a closet all day — the way that Donna hides in the bathroom stall — just so he could be there after closing time, when he could just pop the TARDIS in later. But aha: he spent the day trying, fruitlessly, to get into the computer core…

• The nursery ship? Jeez, the people of London must be totally terrorized…

• The Doctor is always surprised when he gets hit on — like the phone rep at Adipose, who tries to give him her phone number. He has no idea what affect he has on people… on us mere humans, anyway. Hilarious. (Bet that bit gets cut from the Sci Fi version.)

• Then again, when the Doctor reveals to Donna, rather embarrassedly, that Martha fancied him, Donna scoffs: “Mad Martha, blind Martha, charity Martha.” And he almost looks like he believes Donna, like he really, really hasn’t got a clue about himself. (Yeah, that bit’s sure to get cut, too.)

• Another bit sure to be cut: the Doctor on the floor at the cat flap. That’s a nice funny touch, so of course it’ll disappear from Sci Fi. Anyone watching the show only on Sci Fi is getting a slightly skewed picture of the Doctor, and a sense of the show that doesn’t quite approximate how funny and full of great little character touches it is.

• Rose? What?! Is she trying to break through from the other universe? I mean, if Donna spoke to her, she was there, or something was there: a ghost of Rose? What? *sob*

• Great quotes:

“If cynicism burnt up calories we’d all be thin as rakes” –Ms Foster (oh, if only!)

“It’s no good sitting there dreaming. No one’s gonna come along with a magic wand and make your life all better.” –Donna’s mum, to Donna. (Maybe someone with a sonic screwdriver, though…)

“How do you lose a planet?” –the Doctor
“Oh, politics are none of my concern.” –the Matron

(next: Episode 2: “The Fires of Pompeii”)

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
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  • Jenevieve

    I love reading your Doctor Who reviews; they’re a breath of fresh air amongst all the complaining that’s constantly going on. Thank you so much for writing them!

  • Dawn

    I want an Adipose for Christmas!!!! (It’s second on my list for Santa….guess who’s first!?!)

  • Sarah

    I loved this episode as well….with two exceptions. One, correct me if I’m wrong, but if the Doctor and Donna had not interfered, wouldn’t Foster have never had to convert people whole cloth into adipose? Wouldn’t they just ahve lost their weight and lived on? Come to think of it, why lie about what’s happening anyway? I’m sure if someone told me, “oh, here’s a pill that’ll make you lose weight a kilo at a time by turning some of your fat into an adorable little lard penguin that will become a member of a ruling family” I’d think that was just peachy.

    Also, would the doctor have really shot Donna down like that? He’s kind of clever, you’d think he’d know that doesn’t really work…

  • “One, correct me if I’m wrong, but if the Doctor and Donna had not interfered, wouldn’t Foster have never had to convert people whole cloth into adipose?”

    i think, if you re-examine the episode, that Nanny Foster had plans for turning the whole planet into a nursery and taking over. The Doctor says “Seeding a Class 5 planet is illegal.”

    do you mean, the Doctor “shot down” Donna as a potential relationship (other than as “mates”)? sure he would, why not? isn’t he entitled to his tastes and broken heart like any any other male? and i don’t agree that Donna was interested in him “that way”. she was looking for excitement, not romance, with the Doctor.

    which is good. because he’s mine. mine i tell you, Johanson… and all the rest of you just keep out of my way and…

    sorry. off for a cup of tea now to calm myself.


  • Ryan H

    I’m always curious about what gets cut from the American versions. Anyone know if any of the fan sites keeps track? It would be neat to see a little compare and contrast.

    Oh, and next episode is one of the best :)

  • Ken

    So it’s not cell phones that are wiping out the bees?

  • angel

    I loved that the entire beginning of this episode played like a screwball comedy crossed with a French farce. Tate and Tennant are brilliant together; I’m just loving this season so far. Eccleston and Piper will always be my favorite combination, but these two are a very close second.

  • Sarah: that was my reaction too, that it was only because of their intervention that anyone died. bronxbee: maybe so, but in that was what was going on it wasn’t made at all clear.

    The only thing that really spoiled the episode for me was the name “adipose”. Too utterly blatant, not alien enough, translator circuit or no translator circuit.

  • MaryAnn

    I love reading your Doctor Who reviews; they’re a breath of fresh air amongst all the complaining that’s constantly going on. Thank you so much for writing them!

    You’re welcome, of course, and I’m delighted you like them, but I honestly cannot call them reviews. It’s drooling — that’s all. :->

    would the doctor have really shot Donna down like that? He’s kind of clever, you’d think he’d know that doesn’t really work…

    I think it’s pretty clear from what we’ve seen that the Doctor is NOT clever about relationships of any kind, romantic or otherwise.

    if the Doctor and Donna had not interfered, wouldn’t Foster have never had to convert people whole cloth into adipose?

    And he’s not always clever about other stuff, either. *That* is the most compelling aspect of this new *Doctor Who*: the Doctor is not always right. Which makes him seem far more real than he used to be.

  • Well, they didn’t cut out anything at the cat flap, as far as I can tell, and they kept the bit with the Doctor getting hit on by the girl at Adipose.

    The mimed conversation between the Doctor and Donna was, pardon my Gallifreyan, fucking hilarious. I almost rolled off the couch watching that… and the way it ended, with Ms. Foster going “Sorry, am I interrupting?”, was genius.

  • After the last two, I find the idea of a wholly platonic companion intriguing. If that’s the way they’re going with Donna, I only wish they had written her pre-emptive rejection of the Doctor a little more subtly. Like having her react when he mentions Martha’s crush like she knew the Doctor was just being silly, or trying to hide her yucky-lemon, gorge-rising face when she misinterprets his use of the word “mate”. I feel that her “EWWW!!! COOTIES” reaction was a bit protesting too much. But this is my only minor nitpick with this ep. The adorable little fat babies and pantomimed conversation more than make up for that.

    Not having seen the original broadcast of this, I’m only guessing what was missing from the Sci-Fi channel by what is in this review, but we did get the cat flap and the journalist-flirting. I don’t recall bored monologuing though. Once again, it’s a character moment.

    (and the cab waiting for Stacey? either that scene was missing, or I was distracted by my dog.)

    I find it interesting that even with the 1.5 hour time slot, sci-fi can’t manage to show us an entire episode. I wonder how many more tractor commercials they can cram in every time they remove a character scene? The previous seasons I watched on DVD – but I’m not patient enough to wait.

  • Karen

    I loved seeing the Adipase because the little tykes reminded me of the critters from the wedding scene in “What the Bleep Do We Know?” I also thought that perhaps the whole “super nanny” thing might have been an off-handed dig at our American TV series of the same name and our seeming belief that, in the end, nannies can solve anything, have the answers to everything, and are bad at absolutely nothing. Okay, and so what was with the “Rose” tease? I think Donna really saw her. Is there word she’s coming back at all? David and Billie, as characters and actors, were just so good together; the best pairing ever. It’s just not right, for either of them, that they’re both lost.

  • BTW, here’s the first Donna/Doctor scene:


  • I guess I’m alone in this, but I really disliked this episode. It felt too derivative of other Dr. Who episodes where you have a huge pile of aliens who look absolutely alike.

    I don’t like the way Tennant and Tate play off of one another (though the ending bit where she tells him off was funny.

    The scene of Rose at the end was very interesting, though it did not look like “Rose,” but, rather, some dark reflection of Rose.

    The Vesuvius episode looks better; it would have been a stronger way to start the season.

  • MaryAnn

    when she misinterprets his use of the word “mate”. I feel that her “EWWW!!! COOTIES” reaction was a bit protesting too much.

    See, to me, she was *deliberately* misinterpreting it — she knew exactly what he was saying, but she went out of her way to make the point that she’s not interested in him that way (even though she is). That’s the only way that her reaction works, at least for me. No Brit could possibly genuinely misunderstand what the Doctor was saying there.

  • Ken

    I’m still trying to figure out what Donna’s saying after the Doctor’s “What for?” in their first scene.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s something about, I think, her searching all over for weird shit that he might be connected to. Like she explains to him on the roof later.

  • They showed the readthrough of this scene on Doctor Who Confidential. The script says:

    “Donna is doing a little mime: I came here, trouble, read about it, internet, I thought, trouble – you! And this place is weird! Pills! So I hid. Back there. Crept along. Heard this lot. Looked. You! Cos they…”

    Quite a challenge for Catherine Tate, that.

  • The scene of Rose at the end was very interesting, though it did not look like “Rose,” but, rather, some dark reflection of Rose.
    –Laurie Mann

    Given Russell T. Davies’ fondness for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the various references to that show that we’ve seen in this series thus far, I’d have to go with the “Rose Tyler is the First Evil” theory myself.

    At least that’s my explanation…

    And yes, Donna Noble is a great character, of course. One might even say she’s a goddess…

  • bitchen frizzy

    I’ll go with the “Rose Tyler is a Timelord (or Timelord-gene-spliced human) but doesn’t know it yet” theory.

    If I’m right, I can bask in the glory of having said so first.

    If I’m wrong… well, nobody will remember.

  • Sonia

    Well if that was the real Rose, then all I have to say is…Rose, my dear, you made it through to a parallel universe and you missed him by a block? Gosh darn.


  • bitchen frizzy

    Think it might be the real Rose… according to her bio on IMDB, Billie Piper is currently filming Season 4… maybe that’s just for one or two episodes, but I can’t see the producers forking over the cash required to get her back if she’s just going to play a villian that looks like her former character.

  • MaryAnn

    you made it through to a parallel universe and you missed him by a block

    I don’t think it’s that she missed him… I think it’s that she didn’t really make it through into the parallel universe. Or maybe she made it through in a way that made it unable for them to communicate. Just because Donna could see Rose doesn’t mean that Rose could hear or even see Donna. We don’t know that Rose could see anything at all.

  • StrangeAgent

    Absolutely loved this episode. Haven’t laughed this hard in ages (and yes, I want an Adipose for Christmas as well). One thought: Is it just me, or did this episode (the basic idea of it) have more of a Torchwood vibe?

  • I re-watched this episode last night, and I realized this: Nanny/Foster/Matron might have been able to find willing participants, people who knew that by taking the Adipose drug they were also creating cute little fat-monsters. It’s like a classic win-win situation (as long as the Adipose forming stops before teeth, tissue and hair are used.)

  • Gaynell Bates

    I was rewatching the Doctor Who Confidential for Season 4. At one point David Tennant says something like having an adipose would be nice so you don’t have to worry about chocolate cake, etc. By looking at him, I don’t think that is anything he needs to worry about.

  • MaryAnn

    Maybe he doesn’t eat…

  • Weimlady

    MaryAnn speculated:

    Maybe he doesn’t eat.

    If so, then he was doing a really bang-up job of acting like he enjoyed food on Ready Steady Cook, which I just watched over the weekend thanks to those dear little copyright violators on Youtube. At the end, after all the dishes are prepared, he can’t even wait to dig into them and gnaws off a piece of sausage (chorizo, I think? They called it something else.) to tide him over the ten seconds until he’s invited to dig in, which he does with gusto!

    His dad, Sandy, is on with him and is delightful. I think I’m half in love with him now. Could listen to him recite Robby Burns to me for ever!

  • MaryAnn

    I was kidding. The way he jumps around, he probably burns 10,000 calories a day.

  • Weimlady

    Yeah, I know! I just grabbed the excuse to talk about Ready Steady Cook.

  • Dawn

    Not so long ago on one of the commentaries for the new series Julie Gardner said she was so jealous of his metabolism as he NEVER STOPS EATING! Then again – does he ever stop working???? Great pics of Hamlet rehearsals on


    Just in case anyone is interested!!! LOL

    They are re-running the entire 4th series on BBC 7 and even though I have watched them all a dozen times I’m having to watch again…and they are still brilliant (and I STILL want an Adipose for Christmas!)

  • Mim

    In Blackpool DT is eating junk food in almost every scene – I was thinking it must have been hard for him to film, but maybe not in light of Julie Gardner’s comment about his metabolism!

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