Friday, July 6, 2007

Dr Who—The Runaway Bride

When last we left the good Doctor, he had just been forced to abandon his latest companion, Rose, on a planet in another dimension where he would never see her again. Everybody cried. Yeah, I did, too, a little.

Now we renter the Whovian world with a wedding. No, not the Doctor's, that would be wrong. It's Donna Noble's (Catherine Tate). And she turns all gold and glowy and disappears through the roof. And reappears on the TARDIS. I think I would have liked it if that had happened at my wedding.

Donna, the abducted bride, is pretty irate about her current fate. The Doctor, still broody about Rose, tries to explain, but she's not buying it. Then she opens the doors of the TARDIS. This seems like a really bad idea, although apparently you don't get sucked out the TARDIS doors like you would if you say, opened up a docking bay door on the Battlestar Galactica.

Back at the wedding, Donna's mother thinks she's pulling some kind of stunt. In the meantime, the Doctor and Donna run all over London trying to get Donna back to her wedding. Donna is abducted by creepy Santas who turn out to be bug-type aliens. What follows is one of the best Dr. Who action sequences EVER, as the TARDIS spins and flies through traffic to catch up with Donna's car and drag her out of it. Dude, Tom Baker never did anything quite this cool. Of course, the special effects budget wasn't quite as good back then, either.

By the time all that's done, Donna has missed her wedding, so she's bummed.The Doctor interrogates her, trying to figure out why the aliens abducted her in the first place. They finally make it to the reception, where her fiance Lance is happily dancing with another woman.

The Doctor appropriates a guest's cell phone to look into her place of employment, which is apparently connected to Torchwood. (Premiering in September on BBC America--don't miss it!) He also gets a look at video of Donna's abduction from the wedding. He thinks it has to do with Huon particles, but Huon energy doesn't exist anymore. Except wait!! It does! And somehow it's connected to Donna's abduction, as the crazy Santa-bug-aliens arrive again. They make all the pretty shiny Christmas decorations float off the trees and ASPLODE. All backed by a jazzy rendition of Jingle Bells. The Doctor incapacitates the robots with a combination of his sonic screwdriver and the sound system. He goes to trace the robots' controllers. Donna follows.

The robots are being controlled by something that looks like a giant female spider in a ship above the Earth. Donna has been dosed with Huon energy. The only Huon energy left around is a small amount in the TARDIS, which is why she was pulled into it.

The Doctor also finds a secret floor in the H.C. Clements building where Donna works. They go down to the Lower Basement and ride around on Segways until they find a secret Torchwood base where Huon particles are being manufactured. Donna is a sort of catalyst to activate the particles. The giant spider woman teleports into the basement. She's the Empress--and the last--of the Racnoss, a race from billions of years ago. And Lance is in cahoots with her, and fed Donna the Huon particles in her coffee to prepare her . There's also a really, really deep hole in the ground. The Doctor uses the Huon particles to bring the TARDIS to them and escape to go find out what's at the bottom of the hole, which goes all the way down to the Earth's core. They go back to the creation of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago, and discover the earth was actually formed around a Racnoss ship.

The Empress uses Lance to pull the TARDIS back by flooding him with Huon particles. She abducts Donna and uses the Huon particles in Donna and in Lance to open the Racnoss ship at the center of the earth. It's full of Racnoss babies that plan to crawl up out of the center of earth take over the place. Seems like all the aliens on this show want to take over the planet. Aren't other planets they could take over?

Anyway, the Empress' ship comes down and shoots up London. The Doctor offers to find the Racnoss a place where they can live in peace, but she declines. He uses some of the asplodey Christmas tree balls to flood the Lower Basement, as well as the big giant hole that goes to the center of the earth. That's a lot of water. Good thing the Thames is a big river. The Empress escapes, but her ship is blown apart by tanks.

Making his farewells to Donna, the Doctor makes it snow. He invites Donna to join him, but she declines. The Doctor is off again, on his own.

But not for long, as we'll find out in the next episode.

This "supersized" Dr. Who originally aired as a one-shot special last Christmas season in the UK, and it was a bit odd watching it in the middle of summer here. But no matter--I enjoyed it quite a lot. Donna made a great foil for the Doctor, and I was glad to hear (SPOILERS) that she'll be joining him as a permanent companion in the fourth season. The pace of this episode was frenetic, as was a good deal of the music, but it fit the story well. All in all, a fun show.