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PARTNERS IN CRIME
Whatever way you look at this, it's not very good, not quite a 0/5 but a 1/5. That's nothing to do with Catherine Tate, she's marvelous in this and the rest of the series and Donna's a bit toned down. Thematically and tone wise this just does not work for me.
It doesn't know what it wants to be or strains to be something it can't. It's not funny...not at all. The only bit that comes close to being funny is when Donna mistakes the Doc saying he just wants a mate and she thinks he wants to mate. Still, it's a simple enough mistake but it's also just short of being funny. It's not funny when in the first 21 min or so Donna and the Doc keep missing each other. It's also getting annoying to have David's ego constantly stroked as women give him their phone numbers...in the show. Penny was originally supposed to be the companion so we escaped a really bad thing there and got the great Donna Noble instead.
Also tone wise the climax seems to want to be Davies' own DAMAGED GOODS with drugs in people's brains coming out of them, killing them all, including an entire family and extended family named Tyler, including kids. It's grim. Of course, he didn't want to do that here so he makes it fat baby aliens who are...kinda cute. One person does die and that's really about it. Others were going to and frankly I'm glad they didn't. There's a bit ...a small bit of tension but that's about it and it happens when the Doc and DOnna are in the cupboard figuring out what to do...and I dont' mind that they are in the cupboard, tha'ts fine but the other stuff is just...hard to take in either way. Again, it's not funny, not cute, and not scary. Stacey's death is most embarrassing and quite frankly again, offensive. Offensive to fat people and it's a bit hard to watch, too. I didn't find it funny or scary but kinda gross.
I don't know if we're supposed to be horrified by this, or enjoying the cute baby monsters or grossed out by the fat coming out of someone's pants or crotch. I don't think the makers of this know either. Basically it's just INVASION OF THE BANE all over again and that was a poor man's copy of THE LIVING SKINS and other THE TOMORROW PEOPLE storylines. Don't get me wrong I like SARAH JANE'S ADVENTURES but it could be more original. Just like PARTNERS IN CRIME and quite a bit of DW along the way.
The only stuff that half saves this is Donna's relationship to her grand father...and even their talk is saddled with cliche and wild jumps of logic from Donna...it's no wonder her grand father can figure out what she's on about...he really can't. In the promo that used the scene with her talking about the Doctor, it all made more sense. Here it's just a kind of Donna talking to herself with him not really getting it.
The climax again: the editing is poor. One moment that biatch Sylvia is outside, then back in the resturant. One moment people are gonna die and then they're not. The next they are again. AND please, enough with the alien invasions and planet Earth in danger and these big Earth resolves. It's straining ALL credibility to have baby Disney-ish Pilsbury Dough boys walking around as hundreds of people look on but then to have Miss Foster watching them from her roof and addressing them...it takes the Earth stories to a low level of strangeness that the show never fully recovers from. After this scene can DW ever be taken seriously again. Fortunately the next Earth present day story has the Sontarans and while that two parter has SOME problems, it's so worth sitting through. PARTNERS IN CRIME isn't really. Sylvia is a horrible nag and it's hard to like her at all. Still compared to Francine, Martha's mum, she's a doll. There's some dialog from Donna that's hard to hear (She lies to mum that she's staying at who's house, Ian? or Being?Wha? AND she says something while in the cupboard about a nursery and it being on Notting Hill? Anyone hear this correctly or use the subtitles on the DVD?).
Visually this episode is tops. It looks filmic, looks cinematic and the music is just brilliant, the best part of this. Oh and it's not funny that the spaceships passed behind Wilf and he never find out. Baby aliens are run over by a truck I think. The whole madcap ending is silly and uninspired. The window washing cart thing is okay I guess but why was the Doctor going to the roof in the first place? And the whole window-Donna miming to the Doctor on the other side of the office while Miss Foster watches and they don't see her watching is stupid and not funny and makes the Doctor and Donna look like fools.
Rose's return. At first, in first viewing, it was mysterious and gimmicky and hopeful in a way. BUt in hindsight, she should have stayed in her parallel universe because the resulting future cameos are dull and the future trio of episodes could have been better without her in them. Why the Doctor insists she's "lost" is beyond me. Maybe she's lost to him but she's not lost out there someplace. When the previews were shown at the end of VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (the best part of that story), it looked to me like Miss Foster was the Rani and this ep might have been better served if it were the Rani.
The new theme is grand and sounds great in what looks like a great ep next week: FIRES OF POMPEII and it was. A 5/5 for FIRES. PARTNERS IN CRIME could have been so much better but it is beyond me as to how. As it stands it is just mediocre DW.
One last thing: while we're on Donna (!) I think I prefered it when she was sorta reluctant to go with the Doctor and while she works here, maybe it would have been different from all the others if she was sort of just thrust into the adventure. To have her change her mind and pine away for the Doc makes her somehow diluted. I LIKE that she turned him down in RUNAWAY BRIDE and took him down a notch or two; here he seems to do that to her. I like that she didn't want a life of death and killing. Now like all humans in DW, she can't seem to stand the normal human way of doing things such as travelling and prefers the Doc's way to her human way. And again we have to take it for granted that the Doc is so much better than all of us and how he does things. And again we get all that lonely Doc stuff. Enough already! Oh and is there anyone who thinks Donna doesn't fancy the Doctor?