THE LONG GAME
Blaahh! I guess I liked it better this time around than the first time I saw it but let's be honest: this is the weakest story in the entire Chris Ecceleston Months. Where to begin? First, the Doctor and Rose both treat Adam like a piece of garbage from the first moment. The Doctor clearly sees Adam as Rose's boyfriend and only mentions this when Adam can't hear him and has fainted...fainted. The writers chose to make Adam a Turlough rather than an Adric or a Harry type character but he has traits of all three. The Doctor then, not long after, calls Adam his old mate or old friend, showing how two face the Doctor really is. He then chucks Adam in in the deep end and unlike the way he checked on Rose, doesn't bother to check on Adam at all, despite Adam telling him that he is time sick and showing signs of culture shock. The Doctor's acting at his worst, acting like a child and trying hard to make Rose choose him over Adam, clearly thinking of boyfriend drama. What a prat. In addition, he gives Adam all these credits, doesnt answer any of his questions, despite having done so for Rose in earlier stories and sends him off on his own! What a jerk. The Doctor accepted Turlough at once, which presented its own problems and perhaps gave this Doctor the reasons for not accepting Adam but if he didn't accept Adam at all, why give him such power or indeed take him along at all anyway? Adam, for his part, does act irresponsibly and, while finding the head spike disgusting or maybe he didn't...maybe he is just lying to Rose...goes ahead and does it.
Headspike? Can that be sanitary? Can it be safe? I don't think. Exposing your entire brain to open air? WTF?
Rose: a jerk also. She forgets her own shock at the Doctor's travels from END OF THE WORLD not long ago and totally dismisses Adam as her "boyfriend", wants to wander off with the Doctor, gives Adam her key!...and forgets about him completely rather than maybe staying with him and making sure he's all right. Adam is right about one thing: it is the Doctor's fault but Rose also has a lot to do with it and so does he. So with the writer, Rose, and the Doctor all conspiring against Adam, did he have a chance.
The original script of this story has Adam sending the messages back home to save his father from a disease, something which would have made a good seque into FATHER'S DAY...or uhm, perhaps not. Rose sees Adam with his mum or hears them anyway and maybe that made her think about her father and wanting to see him...but if they had revealed the reasons Adam did it...maybe that would have made Rose more apt to side with Adam and try for saving her own father...despite the prat Doctor "saving time" as he says he is. AND he does it for her anyway in the next story.
Added to this is the fact that anyone gong to the top floor is never seen again...and WAIT, WHAT? SO no one thought that was strange until the Doctor showed up? Cathica is a good, brave character...only thanks to the Doc's influence it seems...and perhaps her story is all that just about nearly saves this lame story. The actress is good, too, Suki is another good character and like Gwendlyn in UNQUIET DEAD, she seems to survive her death to help stop the Editor. But why didn't anyone think it scary to win a job to go upstairs when no one is seen again.
Oh, and why didn't the Editor's survelliance stuff pick up Cathica doing her sabotage later on, nor Adam getting his implant. Maybe the Editor wanted Adam to get the implant to find out about the Doctor but then why keep the Doc alive at all? And he's kept alive for a very long time. Maybe the Ed only found out about Adam once the spike started but then...why? Why didn't he monitor the spike operations? For that matter, why does Adam get the spike? I mean didn't they do a background check on him? Do they just give the operation to anyone who wants it?
Oh and the Doctor steals unlimited credit.
For all of these and other (see BACK TO THE VORTEX-The Long Game for other missteps in the plot) faults, THE LONG GAME's intial idea is also a badly balanced one. Sci fi has shown the scary things that can happen when tech overtakes a civilization, when media influences everything and controls people's minds, and when the future goes very wrong indeed. It's a dismal, negative view of business, corporations, the cattle like viewers of tv and media, news, and mankind and woman kind in general but it's a good message that warns us about stuff. I'm not sure it belongs in DW but I'm glad they tried it. HOWEVER, instead of blaming human beings for the horror and greed of it all, they lay it (well the Editor is of course representings greedy man) mostly on another giant alien blob that is stuck on the roof! WTF? With a giant razor tooth filled mouth. That takes two seconds to convert Sukie but takes FOREVER to even attempt to move toward Rose and the Doctor. Maybe by that time it was feeling the heat. Poorly done action sequences even if the sets and the monster itself look pretty good.
With Rose feeling pretty smug, the Doctor gets in more shots against Adam and more "I want Rose to be my girlfriend" compliments toward her--won't he get a great surprise next story where he will forgive Rose changing history. Of course, the Doctor acts like a jerk to Adam and THIS Doctor is the one who gives no second chances---- to Adam anyway. I found the whole thing in first viewing annoying, the Doctor a jerk and unlikable, Rose smug and judgemental (like the blank way she looks at Adam when Adam's mum comes home and talks about him like she loves him like Rose thinks that's a bad thing...look at her mum!). All the while most likely she's planning on changing the past to save her dad! I hate Rose and the Doctor in this story for the way they deal with Adam. IT's a most unpleasant story for that reason, the unforgiveness of the Doctor, the child like way (in the most negative immature connotatiosn of the phrase) he keeps clicking Adam's brain open...until Rose has to stop him acting like that...AND then she goes and clicks too as if she's 2 years old. WTF?
Anyway NOT a good episode by any means but it could be seen to be trying somewhat. I see the merits of a good story in there someplace but the execution, dialog, and even the 3 main performances are pretty poor (from Piper and Eccelston and the guy playing the Editor). Bruno Langley deserved a better character or a better deal in the script. I"m surprised that the new show hasn't made Adam return seeking solace or revenge or even plotting with the Doc's enemies like the Master or the Daleks or the Cybermen. THe Doctor would deserve it for how he treated Adam and for how he let Rose treat Adam but the Doc enjoyed every moment of it. He was acxting like a jealous teenager. Then again, I hope they don't get that idea for then they will kill off Adam or worse: put him on Torchwood as a villain away from the Doctor.
Suitably poor and almost unwatchable.