The last three episodes have been quite large in scale, we’ve had aliens attempt to end the world in first contact and the return of the Dalek’s. This episode sees the Doctor, Rose and newcomer Adam venture to the year 200,000, the age of the Fourth and Bountiful Human Empire. It is somewhat of a step down in scale from recent weeks but still a great addition to the joy that is Series 1.
Firstly this episode has an intriguing plot. There’s a great sense of mystery about satellite five and floor 500, the repeated sense that something isn’t right. It builds up well with the scenes involving the Editor trying to spot the anomaly aboard his satellite. Of course the audience initially believes this to be The Doctor (which in truth it is) and this helps create a sense of threat from the outset. There was a creepy tone aboard floor 500, with the cold environment and dehumanized workers helping to add to the mystery and horror. The scene in which Suki explores the floor, discovering decaying corpses across the room, also aided this. This also helps add to the episodes fear factor. These examples are something that I fear we don’t see in who as much now, which is unfortunate, as I believe frightening viewers to be an integral part of the show. The episode had an interesting concept, that Humanity could be manipulated and controlled, progressing backwards instead of forwards. It adds more layers to the idea of our future selves, we envision the future as almighty without flaw, however flaws make something a much more interesting and diversed subject.
Simon Pegg played a great guest role in the episode, second best in the series to John Barrowman. Their wasn’t much diversity in his range, being a very gleeful character. However you still felt a sense of intimidation, supported mainly by the environment in which he controlled. He exerted power over the entire human race, which means he is someone not to be trifled with.
|A 'Fantastic' Performance|
Eccleston didn’t have as many memorable moments as I’ve pointed out in my previous review, however that doesn’t mean he wasn’t on top form. The episode exhibits his more upfront approach, evident in the line ‘Let me out of these manacles, you’ll find how much fun I am’. He is also shown to be truly intimidating when he approaches Adam with a stern look and kicks him out of the Tardis and back home. Don’t mess with Doctor 9. Rose seems to now be fully comfortable as the Doctor’s companion, seen when she takes note of the Doctor’s example and gives a long speech to Adam about the future he’s observing.
Any complaints I have about the episode are petty. These relate to the production values. For example the scene on the fast food lane just looks cheap and dirty. I know it is given in the episode that humanity is backwards but the set could look a bit more futuristic. I also believe the costumes are not plausible as 21000st century clothing; it doesn’t help to sell the setting as futuristic. However these are problems that Doctor Who faces throughout it’s revival and it doesn’t in any way take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. One compliment about the imagery however is the CGI used to create the futuristic Earth, is looks great and does do a great job of selling the set.
Overall it’s a truly worthy addition to the series, with an intriguing plot and a memorable guest role.