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THE SOUND OF DRUMS
Okay, allright, this still sucks but let's try to find out why it still sucks. As with the worst of DW I can find fault with almost every scene, every moment, every line. But more pointedly, WHY tell this story? Is it exciting? No. Is it different? No. Is it something that will change the DW universe forever? Welllll, maybe. If this ep is anything to go by it just might and that just might save SOME of it.
Frankly this is like watching one of the old BATMAN episodes from the 1960s EXCEPT that those were frequently funny, tense, and visually interesting. This is none of those. Let's start MST style right at the start...
The Doctor tells Jack and Martha that the time teleport and that they got spot on was him. Since when has his body been time coded? Or if I can accept that, since when has the Doctor teleported and been spot on? Aside from that, his aim with the TARDIS has never been that great either or sometimes it was (McCoy? and sometimes Chris E, the 9 month Doctor).
Then there's that awful actor John Sim. Now, maybe he's good in other things. Here he's just too far over the top and not acting but playing. Play acting. ANd being silly and it just does not work. That smile he gives and the glint on his teeth...is this a cartoon for very young children? A kid's show? A very Sesame Street series? Then there's almost all the dialog...of the dialog that we can hear, that's audible over the music that is. "What this country needs is a Doctor." It's as if RTD is writing lines that people will say, "That's clever" or "That's a cute play on words" rather than something that makes sense or makes a good story. And it's so crude. It is to date RTD's worse script. As the Prime Minister, The Master is awful. It's difficult to believe that anyone would vote for him and that he could keep the job. Oh, unless he's hynotized them. Now in the old show, the Master really couldn't keep anyone under his control for long but to keep an entire country...it's diffcult to believe but casting that aside, let's say he can do it ...why? Is RTD trying to change the entire Earth based DW universe forever? Let's see, shall we?
The stuff in Martha's apt is okay except that again the Doctor is asked by his two companions about the Master and all he tells them is "that's all you need to know". Thanks, Doc. I guess this is in keeping with the secretive nature of the Doctor but with the entire world seemingly at risk, you'd think he'd share more and maybe give them something they can use later against the Master. He's a jerk.
Okay the Press can get right into the PM's wife's room without any security stopping her. Right. Of course she's killed off. I thought maybe we'd get more character from Lucy during this but no, she's really just controlled or maybe she's not. We don't get a definite answer like so much in the older series of DW...and she's just werid.
The cameos of all those supporting MR. Saxon are lost on me: I dont' really know who most of them are and don't really care although there is a nice hot boy band in there someplace and they appeared in DWM at the time.
I take some offense at Jack telling the Doctor nice job about killing off the Racnoss. But the Doc's always been a killer of races anyway. Then the Doc gets on his high horse when he finds out Jack is with Torchwood. Jack defends it with the fact that for the Doctor he changed the old TW into a new TW...but in hindsight of the awful CHILDREN OF EARTH is this new TW any good? Can IT defend the Earth? oh and the Master sends Jack's TW friends on a wild goose chase to the Himalayas? doing what? Looking for the Yeti or the bell from THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN? Or Forrrest Tucker? or SNOW DEVILS? Anyway...why didn't the Master take them hostage or kill them? THat certainly would have spared us more TW. Or maybe not. Many of the TW team died and we still got CHILDREN OF EARTH.
Just what does the Cabinet going into seclusion mean to the people of England and why doesn't anyone object to it. Certainly some of the Cabinet seemed immune to the Master's control as was Martha's father (heroically in one nice scene) so why does he not get stopped by someone before this?
Just before the journalist is killed, the Master somehow gets into the room as if he's just there. Was he invisible? Does he move like a cat from SURVIVAL? It's a bit jarring. The soundproof room door opening and hearing a scream gag is not funny, not scary, not anything, just another goofy scene.
The Doctor couldn't open the TARDIS doors in the last ep but he was able to fuse the coordinates. Okay. I guess the last Master stopped the door from being opened and used his own methods but couldn't guess that the Doctor was doing something to the TARDIS itself. One NICE thing is that Harriet Jones' regime being gone gave the Master his space in history to allow his take over and that's the Doc's fault.
Lucy crosses her fingers? Why? Is she resisting the Master? Or just displaying Batman villain girlfriend tendencies?
The drum thing is bollocks. All of it. Why would the Time Lords subject 8 year olds to that? Why would they allow some to run away? Some to go mad? And if they knew some went mad, why let them go? As the Master was let go. Or maybe his madness didn't manifest until much later? Gallifrey LOOKS nice though and just as it should. But this whole stare into the vortex thing makes little to no sense.
I like that Martha yells at the Doc, "I'll do what I like" to save her family. He put her on the front line of several battles since he met her, and is either stupid enough to not know she's in love with him or doesn't care. Here, it's presented as if he really doesn't know a thing about it, despite having lived, 903 or so years and being completely ignorant of it and despite seeing how upset Martha was in UTOPIA ("oh and she was a blond, what a surprise!"). He's a jerk.
Not sure what RTD is saying about the voting process. It's flawed and yeah, I agree but...it's the only system we've got.
The Doctor calling the Master Master never feels right and he only did it once or so in the first 27 years of the series and usually when talking about him to others he calls him the Master and never just Master except when doofy Peter Davison took over, I think. THe Master says his name feels good and when the Doc calls him Master it feels good. Are these two, the Doc and the Master gay for each other? It is certainly written like that here. And the Master calls the Doc sanctimonious. TO his credit, David T plays it like the Doc has evolved somewhat from just wanting to show off in front of the Master and yet he plays it like he just so happy to have another Time Lord alive.
TO be honest, the whole "I wish another Time Lord" was alive never makes sense in the old show or the new show when you consider it. IF the old show is indeed the new show universe, then it really does not make sense. It is somewhat vague but in the old show it was hinted at that the Doc had a family but that they were all gone, dead, or cut off from him somehow. Here, it's constantly said that they're all dead, the Time Lords, the Doc's family, Gallifrey and that that is such a personal tragedy to the Doctor as if he cared so much for Gallifrey and his family there in his own personal present. Bollocks. Still most of the TL we've seen were either trying to kill the Doctor or were ineffective or were just kinda there.
The Doc says the Daleks are gone ...sort of. The Doctor says he's alone. What bs. He's not been alone really...he's had Rose, Donna, Mickey and Jack (whom he fled from PURPOSELY because Jack shouldn't be). NONE Of this rings true emotionally by the way or creatively. Just what is the purpose of the people drumming? How does Martha drum--she's been hypnotized to vote for Saxon? The man on the street? Part of the Master's use of the satellite network to control people via their phones so they vote for him? Uhm, how? The beat had coded messages? The dialog must give some of this away but it's so fast and furious I could hardly hear any of it or understand the wording let alone the implications of such a worldwide scheme.
BTW how did the Master use that to "hide" from the Doctor on Earth? The Doc might be bragging again by claiming he'd know if there was a Time Lord on Earth? How? And if that were true, how did the Master stop it? Use the satellite to block the Doc's perception of him? NONE of it is really clear to me.
Then there's the Toclafane saying, "The darkness is coming." Do they mean Davros from season four? If so how'd they know? Was stuff going out in the stars and space even at this time?
Next we get the Doc commenting about "YOu know how you fancy someone and they hardly know you exist?" He's a blind jerk. Which makes me wonder...did he fancy someone and that person hardly knew he existed? Who? The Rani? I guess we'll find out in season five when she returns.
For the first 30 min or so the music was quite good using some new stuff and some promo stuff and stuff that was used in other eps and it's pretty good.
Oh almost forgot: the bomb on Martha's tv set: wtf? Was it set to go off at just the moment everyone left the room? Did the Master really want the Doc dead? Why not blow it as soon as the Doc was in the room? Maybe he's just insane. The Master, no tthe writer.
Again, the Doc doesn't want to kill the Master, the only Time Lord left AND stops Jack from going up behind him and breaking his neck (the Doc claiming that sounds like TW...it sounds like HIM too the hypocrite)...so he wants the Master alive even though at this point the Doc has no idea if the Master will order Martha's parents and sister killed. The Doc spares the Master but the Master might kill her family. Once we enter the Valiant or is the Crucible? Once we enter the Crucible, the Master and Lucy begin acting more and more like 1960s BATMAN villain and henchwoman/lover. It's embarassing. Maybe bad guys and gals DO act like that?
Another thing: The Master creates a Paradox Machine. As a Time Lord shouldn't he be against that sort of thing, even as an evil TL? Maybe he just wants to die? Maybe he's suicidal and insane. But it would help if we knew something of is motives and all of this seems made up on the spot so as to move to the next set piece.
The Doc's plan: put the key on the Master's neck and the TARDIS will allow everyone to see the Master for real? Yeah, so? Would that reverse the hypnotism and the Master's control? They can see him fine: he looks like a smiling loon. How would THAT stop the Master? Some plan.
Then the song comes as the Toclafane attack and it's mericfully short and still it manages to embarass. Lucy dances. OMG, this show has jumped the shark.
The make up on Tennant looks great. The effect of his changing doesn't. I'm not keen on the cartoon effect of his body shifting shaking stuff.
So in the end, it looks like the Earth based stories will be changed forever and that the next season might be an entire one about Martha trying to be a resistance fighter (and like BLAKE in BLAKE'S 7's first ep she says, "I"m coming back," something I"m sure came from B7 or a fan fic I once read or wrote) and fight off the aliens. Changed forever. ANd I"m not sure I like it changed forever and if it's not, and they do a reset: then why? Either way there appears no reason to tell a story like this one except as a gimmick for a season ending and to trick the audience and to be sensationalistic. I give this a 0/5 or a 0/10. John Sim sucks. The dialog is poor, the plot old hat AND boring, and it just gets worse with the next ep.