Monday, October 24, 2022

Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor review

Spoiler Warning. This is an episode you want to see for yourself before it's spoiled. So everything is going below the fold...

First off: my Twitter reaction to the episode:

Look who "liked" my reaction on Twitter...

Yes, I am squeeing.

Reaction to the episode... The plot was an utter mess and if you think about it for more than a couple of seconds it really doesn't make any sense. That can be said for a number of episodes of Doctor Who, but this was just over-the-top messy. However, somehow the actors managed to pull it off, which just tells me how freakin' GOOD they are and how much better they would have been with solid scripts behind them. So, there's a mild disappointment there.

The fan service... oh, the sweet sweet fan service. I was naturally thrilled that my top two companions were returning (Ace and Tegan) and even more thrilled that Ace got to wear her iconic jacket (I dressed up as Ace and still have my jacket). Tegan is one of the first companions I saw when I first started watching Doctor Who, and I loved her portrayal and thought she deserved more screen time and (as always) better scripts. I took the name "Tegan" when I first went online and have used it as an alias ever since.

But it was the support group that showed up in the end that *really* got me.

This photo is from Twitter... William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Jamie Stone (director), Bradley Walsh (Graham O'Brien), John Bishop (Dan Lewis), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka).

There are reports on Twitter that Anneke Wills (Polly) was supposed to have been in the group but had to pull out at the last minute. I have no confirmation that those reports are true. It has been noted that besides Polly, there were three other companions who could have shown up: Benton, Yates, and Martha.

I would watch a show with this group just sitting around telling stories of the Doctor that we never saw on screen. Just talking. Nothing else.

Headcanon - the empty chair is for all who couldn't be there.

An aside: One of my treasured memories is being at Gallifrey One and meeting William Russell and trying to explain to him the recent Twitch rerun of all classic Doctor Who and how Ian saying "London 1965" had become a meme. I'm not sure how much of the concept he got, since I was basically talking gibberish, and I was so pleased to see him I could not have been making much sense. But he was gracious to me anyway - and he is FOREVER gorgeous in my mind.

A note on how many Doctors the group "knows" in person: Ian knew only the first Doctor, however, Jo Grant knew the first, second and third (The Three Doctors). Tegan knew the fourth and fifth Doctors. Mel knew the sixth and seventh Doctors. All the classic Doctors are represented by the group.

For the modern Doctors, Kate Stewart met 10 to 13 and the War Doctor, and Yas met the Fugitive Doctor as well, which means only the eighth and ninth Doctors are not represented. However, Kate is UNIT, and probably knows about all of them and could answer Mel's question about how many Doctors exist.

Tegan's response to the Doctor was all I could have hoped for or expected... especially after the strange "gift" she got. Yeah, I think she handled it well.

Sacha Dhawan was brilliant as usual, although I'm sure he had a hard time picking all the scenery out of his teeth. His role as Rasputin was... inspired. Why had that angle never been explored before, since the Master is PERFECT in that spot? Doesn't matter, Dhawan nailed it...

Oops, wrong actor... hang on...

There, that's better.

The very slight interaction between the Cyberman and Dalek was just a cherry on top. I feel like the only reason the Daleks showed up was so Ace could attack them with her trusty baseball bat. Otherwise they didn't seem to do all that much.

The Doctor. Wow. What can I say about The Doctor in this episode? There was a lot of Doctor going around. The appearances of all the previous Doctors that showed was lovely. But the best bits were when Tegan and Ace got to talk with "their" Doctors via the AI (which in my headcanon the three all have permanently now). I especially liked the exchange between the AI and Tegan about Cybermen and Adric.
Jo Martin's appearance made me EXTREMELY happy. I want to see more of her as the Doctor anyway.

Of course, there's the ending. Which makes no sense. The Doctor's clothes do not regenerate - a point made earlier when Sacha Dhawan somehow managed to pull off Jodi's outfit with panache before slipping into a mismash of previous Doctor outfits. Beyond that, of course, is the difficulty of The Doctor regenerating into a previous incarnation. So, yeah. WHAT?

If you count the Master/Doctor and the trailer, there were 10 Doctors in this episode. Speaking of, the teaser is up on the BBC website. It's only 15 seconds long, but oh... those 15 seconds.

I admit, my head is still spinning, and I'm sure bits of this episode will be in my head for a long time. I haven't even begun to comprehend it all. It felt like an expansion of the Doctor Who universe, which is strange because in my mind the Doctor Who universe has always been unlimited. But yeah, it felt like it opened doors that I didn't know were there.