It’s About Time (And Space)

You know what’s not fun? Breaking down on the ride home after picking up your, supposedly, fixed car from the garage. This isn’t the first time this year that I’ve had issues with my car failing horribly on me, but at least the front suspension didn’t decide to fall apart around me this time.

This time? The replaced clutch, costing me a few hundred £’s because, y’know, cars are expensive and I’m a struggling writer, hadn’t been reassembled properly, leading me to lose any sort of acceleration of the car.

Thankfully I was able to get to the side of the road (which, in another stroke of relative luck, was only down the street from the flat), hit the hazards, and call for help whilst the gear box oil of my faithful Fiesta spilled onto the ground, pooling in a slick blackness.

I don’t normally do this, but I want to give a major shout out to my girlfriend, Thea, for being absolutely amazing during the whole fracas. She came back around after I got through to her on the phone, went back to find my lost friends, who were coming over for the day, and then waited with us until the AA arrived. She then went solo with the car back to the garage, who promptly prioritised my car, and didn’t complain once about how it had impeded her day off, knowing what my amigos and I had planned for the day.

She is an absolute angel.

Hey, do you know what is fun? Spending the day revelling in uninhibited mutual geekiness with a few fellow Whovians in preparation for the Season 9 premiere.

Having had this organised for months (since the SDCC announcement) we used the chance to spend the entire day rewatching old episodes as we counted down to 7:40PM and the The Magician’s Apprentice.

So what did three Whovians decide to watch; what episodes resonated with us, and why?

L-R: Sean, Johnny Mac, Steve

Click the jump, and find out…I promise you, it’s bigger on the inside.

Note: There was no fixed order to watch these episodes – well suited for the timey wimey nature of the Doctor and his convoluted timeline. We each wrote down our two choices, folded them up, put them in one of my New Eras, shook it up, and picked randomly.

Episode One

(Sean) S4x19: The End Of Time – Part Two 

I chose this episode because I feel it has the most solid acting in any Doctor Who episode. David Tennant’s and Bernard Cribbin’s pairing and chemistry was excellent; their scene on the spaceship epitomising the entire essence of the Doctor for me. The way the Doctor didn’t take the gun, and indicated it was a catalyst in the Master’s downfall was very prudent, as the episode ended up showing the Master in a kinder light by its end.

Episode Two

(Johnny Mac) S4x04 – Planet Of The Ood

This episode was enjoyable for me in the way it highlighted the problems within humanity, and the sick perverse joy we get from enslaving beings to further our own causes, usually just for monetary value. It is a retelling of mankind’s history, enslaving and deriving success off the backs of others misery, and it is prophetic in how we are continuing to interact with each other and potentially any other beings we may encounter in the future.

Episode Three

(Johnny Mac) S4x17 – The Waters Of Mars

Selecting the waters of Mars was an obvious choice for me. It always stands out as a defining moment in the Doctor’s history. It’s the first time we see the Doctor as an alien being, as someone who has lived too long. You see him start to blossom as a God like figure, who wants to write and control, and you see how he could become the Master in his own right. I firmly believe this episode starts us on the pathway for future Doctors to explore this darker element, to show how someone could quickly fall from saviour to dictator.

Episode Four

(Steve) S6x11 – The God Complex

Probably not an “obvious” choice for a lot of people, The God Complex is, nonetheless, an excellent episode within Season 6. With pin point precision it forces its characters to face their greatest fear, which in turn makes them confront the fact they exist in the first place. Even the Doctor isn’t safe from this internal conflict given form, as we find out during the course of Season 6.

Matt Smith is fantastic throughout, switching from goofy aloofness to intense and brooding, often within the same scene. A lot has been said about the “darkness” of the past few seasons (which I’m all for, incidentally), and there are a few key moments that hint at the darkness that is yet to come.

Creepy (just look at those ventriloquist dolls!), claustrophobic (plenty of nice nods to The Shining), and challenging (using religious belief as a food source? Come on!) The God Complex immediately came to my mind when we devised this Whovian marathon.

Dubious? Watch it again and let me know what you thought in the comments.

Episode Five

(Steve) S5x10 – Vincent And The Doctor

Ask any Whovian to list their top episodes since Doctor Who was rebooted in the long, long ago of 2005 (sad reality check: that was 10 years ago, kids!) and Vincent And The Doctor would probably be within the majority of them. Not only that, it would probably be in the top 5, and rightfully so.

Vincent And The Doctor is one of the first examples of modern Doctor Who tackling themes as serious as depression, an invisible monster that weighs heavily on anyone who suffers from it. How apropos then that the space chicken monster (Krafayis) that features in this episode is as dangerous and invisible as depression.

I’m not usually a fan whenever Doctor Who tries to cram in historical figures for no other reason than to use them as empty MacGuffins to trundle the plot along, but Richard Curtis’ gentle handling of Van Gogh’s fragile, creative mind set and depression, played to captivating effect by Tony Curran, elevates what could have been “that episode with Van Gogh”, followed by furrowed brows as fans try to recall it, into “THAT episode with Van Gogh”, followed by mutual smiles of understanding and acknowledgement to its overall awesomeness.

This episode isn’t just one of the best Doctor Who episodes in the past 10 years, it’s one of the best episodes of any TV show within the past 10 years; it is an episode of what is, yes, still a “kids” TV show, tackling very real themes in an honest, mature way without dumbing it down for a core demographic.

A palpable sadness weighs heavily on Van Gogh throughout, furthered by Amy’s admiration for him and her self appointed mission to save him from himself – made all the more poignant as we, as an audience, know how it all turns out.

At the heart of the laughs (Sunflowers!), the delicate handling of mental health issues, the fact it was unafraid to discuss death, and, of course, the time travel, lies Richard Curtis’ touching script which birthed a wonderfully crafted episode, well beloved by fans worldwide.

It was an easy pick for me.

Episode Six

(Sean) S7x14 – The Name Of The Doctor

I chose In the Name Of The Doctor because I felt it was the first time a solid overarching storyline had been built into the series, building up excitement in the alluded promise that they were going to finally answer the 50 year old question: Doctor, who?

So, what did you make of our choices, and if you were a part of this Whovian Viewing Party, what episodes would you have chosen, and why? 

Also: what did you all think of The Magician’s Apprentice? Shout out below and let me know!


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