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     Home »  The Sylvester McCoy Era »  Curse of the Fenric
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    Curse of the Fenric Views: 897
     Friday, May 08 2009 @ 12:38 PM EDT
    Nearing the end of the McCoy Era we come to the crown jewel of his tenure, a classic to stand amongst the great, CURSE OF THE FENRIC. There is so much happening in this episode—a cloth of so many threads—it’s hard to decide quite where to begin. Better to dive right in.

    At first glance, there appears to be one too many plots and sub-plots:
    - Jean and Phyllis, the two girls who befriend Ace who are stuck living with the mean, gnarled Miss Hardaker (played brilliantly)
    - Secret Russian commandoes invading English soil
    - The disillusioned vicar Wainwright (a character seemingly taken out of King’s SALEM’S LOT)
    - The scientist Judson and his ULITMA machine
    - Viking graves and inscriptions
    - The Doctor and Ace in the middle of everything
    But, unlike the previous story GHOST LIGHT things do not get out of hand and are not a muddled mess, but rather interweave into a rather grandiose story that, to a certain degree, carries its thread back some 7 episodes previous to DRAGON FIRE.

    At the heart of this episode are the ideas of predestination, manipulation and faith.

    We find out everything that has unfolded thus far has been a part of the Fenric's (a source of timeless evil) plan; all the pawns in his game were descendents of the Vikings who first buried the flask. Fenric has also manipulated Ace in more ways than one by creating the Time Storm that sent her to Ice World and by bringing her to 1942, she has met her grandmother and mother (whom she despises) as a baby and, in the words of Fenric, “created her own future.” Fenric has left clues through the Doctor’s adventures, most notably, the chess chest in Lady Peinforte’s cottage (SILVER NEMESIS). The Doctor, aware of this, too has manipulated people—Ace, by allowing her to interact with her mother and the Ancient One, whom he tells the Fenric has deliberately brought him back in time to poison the Earth's waters with chemicals—because this act will set in motion the chain of events which leads to the future which creates the Ancient One himself, the last survivor of a polluted, dead Earth. But all of the Fenric’s plans are brought to nought by faith—or rather the lack of faith.

    Faith then becomes a strong undercurrent in this story. We find that it is faith, not iconography, that holds the vampires—excuse me, Haemovores—at bay, because absolute belief in something creates a psychic barrier, such as the Doctor’s faith in his companions (apparently during the attack on the church, the Doctor begins rattling off names of companions, according to the Doctor Who Reference Guide, but this was not readily apparent upon viewing the episode). It is this same faith the Doctor must dispel in Ace so the Ancient One can act against Fenric and destroy him.

    Bubbling near the surface of these undercurrents we learn more about both Ace and the Doctor: we see Ace as a seductress, luring the guard away and infatuated with Captain Sorin; there are brief allusions to the Doctor’s family, when asked if he has a family he responds, “I don’t know;” and then there is the dark, callous side of the Doctor. We can feel a tinge of truth when he rails against Ace, that we’ve seen before in his character that he constantly dismisses as “Oh, that’s not true; I had to do that so such and such could happen,” but somewhere we believe that, quite maybe he wasn’t completely lying.

    For all of its greatness, there are problems with CURSE OF THE FENRIC. Most notably with the character of Millington—is he insane or merely that dedicated to winning the war? Why with all the allusions to Norse mythology (the Doctor is able to “win him over” by mentioning some)? Or is he nothing more than the Fenric’s macguffin? Then there is the “poison.” This is never really explained save that it bubbles out of the earth and is extremely lethal and some vague reference to Norse mythology. Its color is green and the Fenric’s eyes are green, so I suppose there’s vague loose connection that he may have a hand in its creation.

    CURSE OF THE FENRIC has more in common with the “new” series than it does with “classic” series. We see the Doctor of the future taking form—akin more the 10th (and mayhap the 11th?) who is larger than life, can open the TARDIS doors by snapping his fingers and who carries with him a deep, dark, turbulent side that can and will envelop any who cross his path or travel with him. A truly great episode that has an air of melancholy (knowing that the end is nigh; and what might have been in the McCoy era) and glimmer of things to come.
    RATING: 9 out of 10

    What we observe is not Nature Itself, but Nature exposed to our method of questioning.
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     Friday, May 08 2009 @ 01:58 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Aurelius76]- Jean and Phyllis, the two girls who befriend Ace who are stuck living with the mean, gnarled Miss Hardaker (played brilliantly)


    I don't know if you are familiar with the show or not but...

    Miss Hardaker was played by Janet Henfrey. She is better known as Mrs. Bale in the series "As Time Goes By" (which stars Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer)

    I know it's not that important but I thought it was a nice little tidbit to throw in.

    "Make your last move, Doctor. Make your LAST move." The Celestial Toymaker to the Doctor in "The Celestial Toymaker: The Final Test"
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     Friday, May 08 2009 @ 09:26 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  T Baker(notTom)]
    I don't know if you are familiar with the show or not but...

    Miss Hardaker was played by Janet Henfrey. She is better known as Mrs. Bale in the series "As Time Goes By" (which stars Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer)

    I know it's not that important but I thought it was a nice little tidbit to throw in.


    And of course, Geoffrey Palmer has appeared in three Doctor Who stories - The Silurians, The Mutants and more recently - Voyage of the Damned. Wink

    Please check out my blog, as I attempt to watch and review EVERY Doctor Who episode! http://journeythroughtimeandspace.blogspot.com/
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     Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 10:17 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  cybercolin]
    And of course, Geoffrey Palmer has appeared in three Doctor Who stories - The Silurians, The Mutants and more recently - Voyage of the Damned. Wink


    Cool Exclaimation

    I knew about "Voyage of the Damned" because I saw it recently but I forgot all about the other two - but I was focusing on the ones in "Curse of Fenric".

    Thanks for the mental prodding. Wink

    "Make your last move, Doctor. Make your LAST move." The Celestial Toymaker to the Doctor in "The Celestial Toymaker: The Final Test"
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