A little look at tonight’s episode of Doctor Who that just aired in the UK… The Ghost Monument…
1. Bubbling Under
We heard the theme tune and saw a bit of the visuals last week but its cold open robbed us of the full effect. The music of the 60s series with a little Stomp playing, and a lot fo bubbling surreal imagery, also closer to the original experimental psychedelic visuals of the original rather than the TARDIS travelling in the time tunnels and smiling Doctor faces of years to come.
2. How Very Timely
In a week in which we have been confronted with the news that mankind is a lot closer to its own destruction that we previously thought, so we have a planet devoid of life. And, naturally, discover that it did it to itself, wiping everything out and leaving behind a death planet. Doctor Who has often been about reflecting the world around it, exaggerating it for satirical effect. I don’t think it was banking on reality catching it up quick so quickly. Must it really get a shift on? Oh and we also have the Cannonball Run combined with The Hunger Games. Ludicrous expense taking advantage of those who have nothing for their entertainment.
3. Still Thinking Of Douglas
We hoped for a Heart Of Gold. Instead we got a twin dilemma. And being rescued, not for altruistic reasons but as an attempt to gain points in a race. After all, it’s all a game, right? And implants instead of babel fish, there’s a lot of that going on and for a reason. So these people of this planet are of the same race of the creature who went a-hunting on Earth last week, the Stenza, who also implanted those bombs in the crew. Doubtful a coincidence, could the TARDIS have landed here after colliding with the Stenza ship? And how long has it been the Ghost Monument for anyway. Appearing every thousand years? How many times will that happen before people notice? Still at least the implant turns Angstrom’s Andorian speech patterns into Irish.
4. Collateral Damage
The Doctor does not like guns. Well, not this Doctor. When the Doctor picks up a gun, something has gone very wrong, and here, not having a gun is the only strength. As he says, Ryan’s only experience, like most Brits, will be playing video games, and they are seen in such fantasy terms. Still, while guns are a problem, everyone’s lives are saved by a cigar so, you know. Mixed messages. Also, guns may be bad but EMPs are good…
5. Timeless Child
We have some new mysteries for the Doctor as her lives are examined before being eaten. The Timeless Child – not quite Time’s Champion. The Outcast Abandoned and Unknown…. Will this be a new thing? And all coming from a security blanket as well.
6. Timeless Grandfather
The Doctor used to be known as Grandfather by her granddaughter Susan. That’s all Graeme wants from Ryan, especially after the death of Grace. Is this Chekov’s Familial Nomenclature? It must happen before the end of the series, right? What about the Christmas Special? As for gender issues, ‘Come to daddy – I mean mummy.’ That’s the Doctor’s only reflection on her gender realignment of late, following last week’s ‘half an hour I was a white-haired Scotsman’. They are keeping it low key, I guess, until she meets a former associate. And that isn’t happening for a while.
7. Checking Your References
As for more references to episodes past – this Doctor isn’t wearing sunglasses anymore. That was a vestigial leftover from the last one. They do look good on Graham though, I’ll give you that, whether they were from Audrey Hepburn or Pythagoras. The jettisoning of half the ship is reminiscent of when the Fifth Doctor had to do similar with the TARDIS in Castrovalva and gambled the lives of everyone on board. She does practice Venusian Akido like the Third Doctor. And the ‘you’ve redecorated’ refers to a line from the Second Doctor to the Third Doctor and also to the Brigadier. And then from Eleventh to Tenth, which each time was followed with ‘I don’t like it.’ This Doctor when talking to her TARDIS, however, goes with ‘I really like it’ instead. Reflecting perhaps that the Thirteenth Doctor has some of the spirit of the Second and the Eleventh, but with a little more openness and optimism. And was the Doctor really taught by Venusian nuns – or could they be the Sisterhood of Karn?
8. Custard Creams And Pink Elephants
A TARDIS that’s far more crystalline than it has been before, a nod to the roundels in the walls and a custard cream dispenser. Man, Terry would have loved that.
9. Getting A Shift On
This Doctor Who is fast and furious. The episode may be a race but that is reflected in the production. It’s hard to find a suitable place to pause, things just keep coming and coming and coming, the pace is faster than anything else around at the moment. It certainly keeps the attention all the way to the finish line. And if Ryan, Yaz and Graeme pause, it’s easier to say ‘shall we just follow her’ or not cry about a dead Grandmother. As the Doctor says, ‘don’t just stand there, run…’ and it’s funny to boot.
10. The TARDIS Parks
She’s meant to be getting them home, right? Well, she got the right planet, just wrong time and continent…
So what did you lot think? Any thoughts to add?