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Hollywood’s loyal opposition | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ not-blogging: “Turn Left”

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When I dream about traveling with the Doctor, this is what I dream about: alien marketplaces. (And if it’s an alien marketplace where it looks like you might run into Captain Mal Reynolds, so much the better.)

When I have nightmares about traveling with the Doctor, well… they’re never as horrific as the events of the rest of this episode. Jesus Christ. I think I need a little lie-down and a nice cup of tea to recover…

Do you think Russell Davies said to Steven Moffat, “I’ll see your wibbly-wobbly, and raise you a timey-wimey”?

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  • Kelsey

    It’s funny you said that about our wonderful Captain, since at the beginning, I was hoping and looking for a Serenity cameo (alas, there was none! Unless that teensy little one in the corner… maybe? Please?)

    But yeah, the labor camps? ::shudders::

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Russell’s been out-Moffatting Moffat these last two weeks – Midnight and Turn Left are probably the bleakest episodes of Doctor Who in, well, ever.

    I realise that it’s the sort of rote fanboy reaction to praise Moffat to the skies and damn Davies to hell, but one thing that Russell definitely has that Moffat hasn’t really demonstrated yet is a real love for the Doctor and his companions, which is what shone through in this episode.

  • Joanne

    Firefly was my first thought too. And then I spent most of the rest of the episode crying. Bleak. Very.

  • Aderack

    That is true. For as wonderfully cerebral and virtuosic as Moffat is — he’s like the Charlie Kaufman of TV — he’ll never approach the level of heart in even the most eye-rolling of Davies’ work. Fire and electricity. Two different sources of power.

  • Poly in London

    I am not one of the fans who favour Steven Moffat at the expense of Russell T Davies, I hugely admire both but somehow, contrary to comments here, Steven Moffat makes me cry more. Maybe it’s his themes (his timey-whimey ideas are essentially about time slipping through your fingers) or his cooler approach makes the moving moments appear out of the blue. The end of Girl in the Fireplace is always a punch in the stomach, I well up every time old Billy in Blink says: “Look at my hands. They’re old man’s hands – how did that happen?”, and I cry at the happy (not the sad) bit in Forest of the Dead.

  • MaryAnn

    I agree completely with Poly: I thnk Davies is brilliant, and I think it’s clear that the reason this new *Doctor Who* is so amazing is because he is completely aware of the fact that he’s as in love with the Doctor as we are. But Moffat’s episodes are the ones, so far, that have touched me the most. Not that Davies’ episodes haven’t touched me at all, mind you…

    The line about it being “the same rain” in “Blink” is the one that always gets me the most.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    I was pretty amazed by this episode. Davies is definitely attempting to go out with a bang. At lot of the narrative structure, though (as is the case with many RTD episodes), is pretty incoherent — stuff just seems to happen for no reason. Perhaps the conclusion will answer these questions (I don’t want to be specific because it would be too spoilery), but I really doubt it.

    Regardless of my gripes, this was definitely a great episode — creative and exciting.

    Did anyone else get chills when you heard the two words?

  • MaryAnn

    Oh yes!

  • LordPrydon

    RTD has proven himself a capable writer so let us let old sleeping dogs lie. What remains to be proven is how well SM will be once he is in full charge of an entire series and not just a writer on one or two episodes a year.

  • Poly in London

    If Steven Moffat as headwriter does as well as Russell T Davies and RTD continues to write standalone episodes, I ‘ll be very happy.
    (And David Tennant stays for at least one series with Moffat, let’s not forget that).

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    At lot of the narrative structure, though (as is the case with many RTD episodes), is pretty incoherent — stuff just seems to happen for no reason.
    –Newbs

    I suspect that’s the real reason why it’s so popular to rag on Davies. It’s not that fans like me don’t appreciate the obvious affection he has for his characters–I love his characters too–or that we “prefer” bleak storylines. It’s the old “look-I-just-introduced-a-scene-that-has-no-real-point-in-being-here” mentality that he gives in to way too often.

    NOT SPOILERS

    I must confessed I liked this episode more than I expected. How often do you get a Buffy reference, a Capra reference and an Arthur C. Clarke reference, all in the same episode?

    I do feel awfully bad for Donna though. And anyone else notice how the mothers in the series appear to be getting worse? Maybe that’s building up to something…

  • angel

    Well, I didn’t think I could hold my breath for 45 minutes, but I guess I was wrong. I adored this episode, and the “two words” just about gave me a heart attack.

    Catherine Tate is astounding. I never thought I’d love a companion as much as I love Rose, but RTD has really written a wonderful part for her and she has stepped up and batted it out of the park (can you tell I’m watching the 13th inning of the Boston game as I type this?)

    You know, it’s so wonderful that writers of the caliber of Russell T. Davies, Paul Cornell and Steven Moffat are drawn to this universe. I can’t tell you how much I love what they do.

    PS. Is it official that David Tennant is coming back for a series with Moffat? Or is Moffat doing the specials next year and he’s coming back for them?

  • Poly in London

    “PS. Is it official that David Tennant is coming back for a series with Moffat? Or is Moffat doing the specials next year and he’s coming back for them?”

    Steven Moffat as a headrwiter isn’t taking over until series 5. Russell T Davies is the headwriter for all the specials in 2009. David Tennant is signed for all the specials in 2009, after that his decision is unknown.

  • soundacious

    A little non-speculation after watching this episode … especially the Doctor’s comments at the end:

    What if there’s still something on Donna’s back … it’s just more subtle and harder to see? After all, Lucius Stone Arm basically said as much back in Pompeii.

    And to elaborate further … what if Donna was named (by RTD) after Donnie?

    As in Darko?

  • Badger

    Anyone else recognize the Fortune Teller? She was played by Chipo Chung, the same actress that played Chantho in the episode ‘Utopia’ in the third series.

  • MaryAnn

    I recognized her instantly from her voice.

  • Poly in London

    “I recognized her instantly from her voice.”
    Her voice and face are very distinct, her casting threw my imagination into overdrive: is her casting deliberate and links her actions in Turn Left to the Master?

    P.S. I see from your “what I am watching” list that you watched Takin Over The Asylum recently. You have to do it next, I watched it at the weekend and it’s brilliant. Ken Stott is god and I loved the commentaries as well.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    When I dream about traveling with the Doctor, this is what I dream about: alien marketplaces. (And if it’s an alien marketplace where it looks like you might run into Captain Mal Reynolds, so much the better.)
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    Actually apart from that opening shot, that “alien” market seems more like something you could find in any Far East Asian city or Anglo-American Chinatown. Odd that you thought of Serenity when you saw it. But, hey, different strokes for different folks…

  • Alan Slipp

    Tonio – The opening shot of the episode made me shout out “Firefly!” as well – whether it was a deliberate reference or simply a serendipitous one, I don’t know.

  • MaryAnn

    That market may not be “alien,” per se — there seems to be only humans (or at least humanoids) wandering around. But this is at least in the future — the vehicles in the air are absolulely futuristic — and it’s definitely on another planet, because there are multiple moons and a ringed planet in the sky. Maybe this is only the Chinatown of this planet, but I can’t help but see *Firefly* in future offworld Chinese stuff. :->

  • Carey

    I love this episode, and I can’t wait to see how the rest are going to turn out. I loved Chipo Chung, and yes, I did get the chills when we finally heard the two words! RTD, thanks for resolving at least the one most devastating part of the beginning of this episode by the end of it, instead of making me wait another week…

  • Tara

    as a huge Doctor Who (and Tennant ;)) fan myself I always enjoy your reviews. I personally favour Davies writing because of the heart he puts into his stories. I don’t know if you’ve seen last night’s episode “The Stolen Earth” yet but the reunion between the Doctor and Rose was really heart rending.

  • Alison

    So now that those of us poor souls in the states who rely on the Sci Fi channel for their weekly fix have finally seen this episode, all I can say is: I’m totally spent after watching this. I was already completely unsettled after ‘Midnight’ and this just about put me over the edge.

    I have to say that the marketplace scenes did make me think of ‘Firefly’ too.

    I didn’t find the storyline incoherent at all. I was struck by the references and repetition of themes and incidents from earlier episodes which, on the contrary, seemed very coherent to me.

    I do still wish I liked Donna more, particularly in light of all the foreshadowing about her ‘specialness.’ Are we going to have to start calling her ‘Neo?’

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