There’s got to be a morning after…
Oh, look, it’s Doctor Who does The Poseidon Adventure — on the Titanic. Good fun. No, wait: What? Fun? Holy crap, but this is a depressing episode. Jesus. Dead bodies floating in open space, a “nuclear storm” drive that’s gonna wipe out life on Earth? Characters dying senselessly… sure, some die nobly, saving others, but some just die senselessly.
They’re sick, these Brits. This aired on Christmas night in England. This is what people wanna watch after their turkey dinner and Christmas crackers? Man… (“Human beings worship the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws, and his wife, Mary.” I think I snorted something out my nose at that line: could that be considered blasphemous? especially on Christmas night? Way to go, Russell Davies.)
Very nice psych-out on Davies’ part. We kinda knew the Doctor couldn’t be on the real Titanic (didn’t we? didn’t we see a sketch back in Season One of the Eccleston Doctor on the Titanic? he wouldn’t double back on himself — I think there’s a Time Lord law about that…). And so, right away, it’s all Christmas wreathes (didn’t Titanic sail in April)? golden robots? little red aliens? Kylie Minogue in a cute waitress getup? As the Doctor might say, “What? What?!”
Nice way to get the Doctor back into that tux, though (and the black Converse — formalwear, you know). This new Doctor: he likes to party, and he is a sucker for a pretty face with wanderlust in her heart. He can spot ’em across a ballroom, can’t he — the lonely, the misfit, the wannabe wanderers — and he latches onto Astrid right away: “You dreamt of another sky, new sun, new air, new life. A whole universe teeming with life. Why stand still when there’s all that life out there?” And she’s hooked: “You must be rich…” she says. “Haven’t got a penny,” he replies, and that’s even better. He’s rich in the way that counts: he’s free. She doesn’t need much seducing by him to make her ask to come along with him — “I’m just a traveler. Imagine it. No tax, no bills, no boss. Just the open sky,” he says, but he had her at hello. No, he’s convincing himself: he’s lonely, but he keeps screwing it up, especially lately: losing Rose, hurting Martha. He doesn’t want to do that again, but he doesn’t want to be alone, either. Too bad we knew from the outset — even if neither the Doctor nor Astrid did — that poor Kylie wasn’t going to be appearing in the rest of the season…
I said it last year, after “Runaway Bride,” last year’s Christmas episode:
If it’s Christmastime in Russell Davies’ universe, that must mean it’s time for another extraterrestrial plot to take over and/or destroy the Earth, with the chance of alien spaceships over London 100 percent.
And so I snorted some more when the Doctor and Astrid and the tour group head down to Earth, Christmastime in London. Because I said to myself, People must be terrified, it’s Christmas again… And sure enough: “London? At Christmas? Not safe, is it?” the news vendor says. Hilarious. Watch the crawl on his TV: “Londoners in festive fear… Major roads of out London gridlocked as thousands flee in the face of alien threat… The Royal Family will remain in London.” Awesome. But, please, get out of my head, Russell Davies.
Random thoughts on “Voyage of the Damned”:
• Don’t forget that this episode really begins with the short “Time Crash,” which you can watch and discuss here.
• Hey, the arrangement of the theme music changed!
• Oh, the Doctor gets kissed a lot these days. Not that he doesn’t deserve it…
• Great snark-a-licious references:
= the Doctor IDs himself as “passenger 57” (though please tell me you don’t watch The Apprentice, Doctor — I can take you being a Wesley Snipes fan better than I can take that)
= the Doctor running through the security protocols, trying to guess: “10! 666! 21! 4! 5! 678! I dunno: 42?”
= and of course Starship Titanic is itself totally a Douglas Adams thing
• You don’t know it yet, but in the next episode, “Partners in Crime,” you’ll discover that the elderly newsagent on the empty London street is, in fact, Donna Noble’s grandfather.
• The TARDIS heads straight for England when it falls into Earth’s atmosphere. I guess it likes the place as much as the Doctor does.
• Hey, Morvin and Foon — they won their tickets on Titanic just like Jack Dawson did! Poor lovebirds had to share some more of Jack’s fate, too…
• The Doctor has a direct line to Buckingham Palace? Well, okay. But why bother to get the Queen to evacuate if the whole planet will be destroyed anyway?
• Great quotes:
“Bad name for a ship. Either that or this suit is really unlucky.” –the Doctor
“I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I’m nine hundred and three years old, and I’m the man who’s gonna save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?” — the Doctor (I think that’s the first time Kasterborous has been mentioned in the new series. Cool.)
“You look good for nine hundred and three.” –Astrid
“You should see me in the mornings.” –the Doctor
“Okay.” –Astrid (Oh, the look on his face… Man, they’ll probably cut this whole exchange from the Sci Fi version. Bastards!)
“You’re not falling, Astrid… you’re flying.” –the Doctor
“It’s just France and Germany. Only Britain is Great.” –the Doctor
“And they’re all at war with the continent of Panerica.” –Mr. Copper
“No. Well, not yet.. We could argue that one…” –the Doctor (Oo, was that a bitchslap to the U.S.? Ouch.)
(next: Episode 1: “Partners in Crime”)