Monday, March 31, 2008

Big Finish Program Guide!

The Tarrants of Time
In the first Big Finish story, the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctors face their weirdest, dullest and stupidest adventures yet, respectively.

Fan & Phantasmagoria
Who cares about the 5th Doctor, Turlough and Kamelion when Nigel Verkoff’s about!

Whispers of Error
The 6th Doctor, Peri and Sil encounter an accident-prone sound creature in the Museum of Oral Antiquities.

The Band of the Dead
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa go somewhere cold and meet hairy hippies and Monica Lewinksi.

The Fishmonger
The 7th Doctor and Ace are out to kill Pauline Hanson – and host a successful talk-back radio show.

The Maid Marian Conspiracy
The 6th Doctor’s seduction of the Sheriff of Nottingham goes awry when an anachronistic history professor Evelyn Smythe upsets the balance of power in medieval England.

Dustbin Umpire 1: The Jazzocize Machine
The 7th Doctor and Ace find the reformed Dustbins trying to attack the Time Lord Video Store on the planet Parrot-Shat, and after that things just get weird.

Red China
A portent of doom directs the 5th Doctor and Peri to Mars. Where there is ice cream. And Chinese midgets.

The Inspector of Lanyon Moor
The 6th Doctor has finally got around to meeting the Brigadier. Pity about the rest of the story, though.

Sphincter for the Adept
Nyssa ends up in a haunted Swiss girl’s school with nothing but the nympho Pollard sisters and a rabid piano for company. Lucky girl.

Dustbin Umpire 2: The Apocalypse Elephant
The 6th Doctor decides to check out his own future, only to find himself caught between Romana and a Dustbin invasion force when the evil Apocalypse Elephant breaks wind.

The Fans of Vulcan
The 7th Doctor and Mel find themselves trapped in a doomed Star Trek convention.

The Reservation of the Scourge
The 7th Doctor, Ace and Benny find themselves seriously under-whelmed by the invading legions of Scourge from a god-forsaken void on the outer reaches of human misery. After all, they’re invading Kent.

The Unholy Error
The 6th Doctor and Frobisher are stuck in a castle full of morons who have made one fatal mistake – allowing a god of pure evil to possess an indestructible child puppet and go on a rampage.

Dustbin Umpire 3: The Mutant Phrase
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa are recruited by the Dulls to save the universe from... the Mutant Phrase.

Clash of the Titans
The Nth Doctor meets Vilgreth and Stapler, two Titans fighting. About something. Or another. Who cares?

Sick Morning
The 8th Doctor’s swinging bachelor lifestyle ends abruptly after a night of passion with Charley Pollard – not to mention a murderous seal cub, the Bermuda Triangle and the ill-fated Titanic.

Bored of Ironing
The laundry ship Vanguard encounters a cheese-covered spaceship belonging to the Cybermen. The 8th Doctor and Charley get involved. Eventually.

The Stoned of Venice
Mists of madness smother the doomed city of Venice. But, you know. Chill out, dude.

Inuit in Hull
The 8th Doctor is stuck in a mental asylum, believing himself to be an Inuit. The Brigadier is holidaying in California. And Charley is seducing the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Same old, same old.

The 5th Doctor and Turlough find themselves caught in a web of incest and lust surrounding a werewolf love triangle in Rio de Janeiro.

Bust Reading
On the ancient site of Duchamp’s Urinal, a pair of stone tits hold the secret to destroying the cosmos. And the 7th Doctor and Ace face an old enemy in the shape of the Bastard! In the shape of a sea lion!

Mud Ride
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn encounter Charles Darwin on his road trip – before falling foul of Toothpick, a Bilurian with diabolical plans to conquer the world! That’s novel.

Project: Nightlight
A war between the Nosferatu Nosh Kitchen and the Slow Boat Chinese takeaway is plot enough for a whole sequel and spin off series. Not that the 6th Doctor and Evelyn are remotely bothered.

The Eyes of Scorpius
The 5th Doctor and Peri save unknown pharaoh Eminem from Egyptian paparazzi and encounter a cult of scorpions and their bewildering alien god, Scorpius.

Coleslaw Cutaway
Ace takes over the famous Nazi prison of Colditz, and the 7th Doctor discovers a future version of himself is here to assassinate her. It’s like Terminator. Without anything interesting like lethal cyborgs.

Returning Nyssa to her home planet Traken, the Doctor finds the Zoo-Keeper has been usurped by a PRIME computer.

There Can Only Be One Doctor...
In the final adventure of the 6th Doctor, the errant Time Lord must prove his worth and save the generic planet of Netora from destruction by some passing alien space craft – only for him to be thrown into a dungeon. Luckily, a man by the name of Professor X happens to be in the neighborhood...

Excelsior Yawns – Excelsior Merchandising – Excelsior Bouquets
The thrilling trilogy of the Doctor’s doomed love affair with the evil Raven on the planet Excelsior.

Evaders from Bars
The 8th Doctor and Charley find 1938 New York has been invaded by some alien bartenders the Doctor owes big time.

The Crime of Fright-Night
The 8th Doctor and Charley are trapped in a service station with the Marx Brothers, and are being hunted down one by one.

Reasons to Care
The 8th Doctor embarks on a quest to escape the evil fate Edmund Blackadder and Leonard Nimoy seem to have in store for him.

Encase the Arseholes
The suicidal 8th Doctor is determined to dump his pregnant companion Charley at any cost – even that of the curious Cinnamon race...

Dustbin Umpire 4: The Rhyme of the Dustbins
The Dustbins. Ali G. The 8th Doctor. Charley. Rapping. Enough said.

While Charley is giving birth to her illegitimate child, the 8th Doctor hooks up back with Romana and heads off into another dimension in a Yellow Submarine.

The Maltesa Penguin
The 6th Doctor pathetically stalks Frobisher, but the penguin private eye has better things to do.

Bare Parts
The 5th Doctor encounters the Genesis of the Cybermen and interferes. But not too much.

The relationship between the 6th Doctor, Peri and Sil reaches breaking point on a planet that’s probably Earth and where words are considered currency.

The Rupture
The 7th Doctor and Ace live it up at a club in Ibiza, which turns out to be run by the 10th Doctor, his son in law Curtis, and the Bastard. And a Ru-tan. And the club is actually UNIT HQ. Guest Starring Tony Blackburn.

The Soundman
For a laugh, the 6th Doctor pretends to be the evil demon of Galah mythology. Evelyn is not impressed.

Doctor Who Wrecks Disney World
The 5th Doctor and Peri are helpless when Eminem goes wild in Euro Disney.

The 7th Doctor and Mel seem to have ended their travels at a 1980s Midlands hotel, where fireplaces bleed mercury and coincidences run riot.

The Real Thing
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn uncover a Terminator-style time loop on the planet Quarryos as the Cybermen conquer the universe with a rampart STD. Then again, maybe they don’t.

No Phone, No Home
The 5th Doctor and Eminem encounter the true horror at the heart of the TARDIS – a clone of Adric...

D’you Believe This?
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn break the fourth wall completely in a mad world where JST and Michael Grade are the best of friends, and Dustbins turn to the literally legless Tom Baker for company.

The 5th Doctor, Peri and Eminem encounter a bunch of witches in a quarry. Fairly traditional.

The Dark Llama
The 7th Doctor, Benny and Ace discover a bunch of llama-worshiping zombies in a quarry seeking a severed leg. Even more traditional.

Doctor Who and the Goodies
The 6th Doctor has taken a fancy to master pirate Bill Oddie. Will Evelyn and Tim Brooke-Taylor stop these shenanigans? Or will the mysterious Graeme Garden save the day?

Teachers of Footy
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa encounter a race being reduced to savagery... by oregano.

Project: Lazarou
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn once again conflict with the evil Touchwood organization, but quickly bugger off after two episodes and let the 7th Doctor turn up to fix up the invasion of blue slimy people.

The 7th Doctor and Mel encounter the starship Mango Crusher, where the Dullasses are using the robotic Quirks for their own evil ends. As you do.

Ancient Time Lord Omigod has returned to the land of the living. In Brighton.

The 6th Doctor ends up working in an office with Lavros and an electronic monk to help Zoe Herriot conquer the galaxy with an army of killer robots – unless Lavros can woo her with his charms...

The 7th Doctor is out to find his arch enemy for want of something else to do. Surely the amnesic sea-lion living over the hill is the Bastard, isn’t he?

Vogon Cutaway
The 8th Doctor and Charley are the only ones who can stop the Vogons destroying the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In short: we’re screwed, basically.

The 8th Doctor and Charley find themselves at the mercy of an evil force... Nicholas Briggs.

The Worm of the Rani
The 6th Doctor and the Rani drown their sorrows at Bianca’s – a German gay bar where mescal-engorged worms are making their bid for universal domination using punk rock.

In another universe, the 8th Doctor and Charley are stuck on a planet resembling downtown Tokyo as it is trashed by a 500-foot Richard E Grant.

The Credo of the Moron
Forced to participate in Double the Fist, the 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz find themselves up against the evil Zoden insects and their naughty master... Sil.

The Actual Mystery of Beer
Three wacky students in shared accommodation hate each other. Totally irrelevant. And I mean irrelevant.

The Twice-A-Night Kingdom
On Gauda Prime, Charley and C’Rizz find themselves enlisted in the orgiastic rebel movement lead by Vila Restal, while the 8th Doctor faces the ultimate enemy, his old pal Maxil.

The Axis of Banality
The 5th Doctor decides to offload Eminem in the most boring place in the universe.

Engagements That Bore
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn discover a civilization at the Eye of Orion... and it’s just as dull as you’d expect it to be.

The Cyb-Fest
Hex Schofield is the biggest stoner in 2022. But not even he is prepared for the headtrip he gets when he meets the 7th Doctor, Ace and a bunch of sensitive new age Cybermen...

The Spoof of the World
The Great Narrator and his Tellytubby servants return to torment the 5th Doctor, Peri and Eminem at their cricket match... along with the rest of the Elder Gods.

Medicinal Porpoises
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn go hunting for autographs in 19th century Scotland, only to bump into the 10th Doctor and Jamie! And what do Burke and Hare, freelance bodysnatchers, have to do with this?

Faith Dealer
The 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz head for the Multi-Market, the biggest mall in the Divergent Universe... where the 4th Doctor is having one hell of an LSD rave.

The Lust
It’s the end of the line as the 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz face the lethal Lustmongers on the dying planet of Chumran.

The 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz awake in the afterlife. The Kro’ka is right behind them. Two alternative Eighth Doctors are bitching in field of cows. A monster roams the sewers of Cardiff and Anne Robinson runs a brothel. This is just fucking deranged, this is.

The Best Wife
No one is interested that the universe is about to end or that Nicholas Briggs has returned, because the time has come for Charley Pollard and Grace Holloway to fight for the right to marry the Doctor!

The Afronauts
The 6th Doctor’s trip to Brighton leads him into a four-sided conflict with Dustbins, Lavros, Melanie Bush and giant, 20-sided dice called Afronauts – and no one can tell which of them scares the Doctor the most!

On The Game
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa discover Arsenal’s new manager – Ian Chesterton!

The Dreaming
The 7th Doctor, Ace and Hex arrive in a confused and patronizing missmash of Indigenous Australian stereotypes, alien Galahs and face Ernie Dingo the Aboriginal Wizard!

Caption: 1872
Mel is left concussed and partially amnesiac at number 1872 Munro Rd... in the clutches of the rampant Nigel Verkoff! Can the 6th Doctor save her from his immoral clutches? Do we really want him to?

The newborn 7th Doctor discovers a ridiculously overcomplicated Time Lord sleeper operation, goes mad and is locked in a cell while only Mel and a taxi driver stand between Earth and an insane Dustbin gestalt. First day’s always the worst.

Two’s Company
The 5th Doctor and Peri decide enough is enough and try to rid themselves of Eminem on a planet of agoraphobic chatroom addicts who are being hunted down by hungry talking velociraptors.

Dustbin Umpire 0: Terri’s Firma
In what feels like a scene by scene rip off of RTD’s season finales, the 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz bump into an insane Dustbin Emperor and his army of half-human Dustbins on a post apocalyptic Earth where you can’t move for tripping over ex companions.

Thicker Than Two Short Planks
After dumping Evelyn for good at the Eye of Orion, the 6th Doctor pops in with Mel only discover star-crossed lover conspiracies, plagues of rage-infected zombies, and the most pathetic villain ever – Szabo!

The Chaser’s War on Colony 34
The Chaser’s War on Everything
covers a change of government at the hands of the 7th Doctor, Ace & Hex.

Sail Away
The 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz arrive on the planet of the redneck hillbillies, get incredibly drunk and stoned, accompanied by Enya’s greatest hits in the background.

Singular Angularity
Arriving in Moscow, the 5th Doctor, Turlough and Kamelion discover that the sinister Ominous Foundation is attempting to invade Earth with the final survivors of mankind, in a plot RTD clearly liked too much.

Other Lies
To escape conscription by the Time Lords, the 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz go into witness protection, assuming new identities in 19th Century London – but it seems they’ve got confused, as now the Doctor is a circus freak, Charley a house husband to her own sister, and C’Rizz a popular prostitute...

Seaside Suicide
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn meet Benny Hill, get chased by a zombie and wonder if Brighton Pier itself is pure evil out to conquer the world.

Night Thoughts
A very different Doctor and companion arrive at a Scottish mansion where a stuffed bear is slowly slaughtering a bunch of useless jerks. Will anyone notice? Will anyone even care?

Clock Works
The 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz get data entry jobs at the Middle Management of Rassilon.

Doctor Who Discovers The Bloody Mystery In The Bloody Tower Of Bloody Secrets!
The 5th Doctor, Peri, Eminem and Shakespeare travel back to discover the truth about a gritty northern Richard III, his big ears, leather jacket, and whether or not he is a coward or a killer.

The Crossing
The Alt-Doctor and Kate travel to the end of the universe and discover a world full of cliched rebels, mad priests, weak emperors and dumb religion and wonder if anything will end with a bang or a whimper.

Rubik’s Cube
The 8th Doctor loses his memory... yet again, as Charley and C’Rizz flee from a serial killer that even the Cenobites of Hellraiser are scared of!

The Anyhere Place
The 6th Doctor and Evelyn discover a strange ringtone from Time’s End that drives people to suicide.

The 7th Doctor and Mel discover a holiday resort that brutally edits the memories of visitors. And one of those visitors is Nigel Verkoff...

The Rip-Off
The 6th Doctor takes his companion Peri back to her home town only for her to suffer incredible amounts of angst at the hands of her horrid family, only to discover an alien grave-robbing conspiracy is at hand by the Cybermen surviving a terrible war of time in the future. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The Sequel
The 5th Doctor solo arrives in Brisbane to meet up with three things he never wanted to see again – Tegan Jovanka, Nigel Verkoff, and a barrel-load of second-hand Cyber Conversion machinery.

Baker Street
The 8th Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz arrive in Cardiff to hide until the heat is off, only to discover an army of clones, a psychotic ice cream van, Ben and Polly, and the most pathetic conspiracy ever.

A School for Glory!
The Alt-Doctor and Kate discover a WWI military hospital owned by the Touchwood Institute is up to no good. Shock.

The Year of the Lame Dog!
The 6th Doctor, Sil and Peri visit the insane inhabitants of El Tropo where reality takes the afternoon off.

Interesting Times
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa meet the insane Magician on the planet of Budgerigar People. Then they piss about with Isaac Newton. And ruin the town of Stockbridge. And meet each other in the afterlife. OK...

The 7th Doctor, Ace and Hex visit Venice in the far future and find an Evil From the Dawn To Time hiding in the cigarette smoke...

Nostaliga of the Dustbins
The 5th Doctor and Nyssa find that that Dustbinmania isn’t what it will be.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mirror rorriM

Tangent: Earth II
by Ron Mallett
Andrew: Wow. Earth II, anyone remember that?
Dave: That was gross. People were like eating snot left by aliens...
Andrew: Well, as this is a tangent Earth II, it should be a lot less gross.
Nigel: And hopefully free of what if Pertwee fanwank...

"You're UNIT's scientific advisor!" The Doctor gasped.
D: Yes. Yes, he is.
N: He just TOLD you that!
A: This incarnation isn't really one who can honestly say "Don't kill me, I'm a genius", is he?
D: Maybe his new catchphrase will be "Don't kill me, I can state the bleeding obvious seconds after it has been pointed out to me in the most infantile manner possible!"
N: But the Ice Warriors weren't impressed and killed him.
D: And then the Seventh Doctor - who wasn't a total loser - was born.
A: Happy times, happy places.

"Don't tell me you know me as well..." The Master then seemed to become aware of something... as if he could sense a buzzing in his head.
N: But it just turned out it was that neverending drum beat. As usual.
D: "Seems" "as if"... that does it. This is now, officially a drinking game!
A: As 'new Doctor meeting old Time Lord chum' scenes go, this is not as good as Twin Dilemma.
N: Or even The Armageddon Factor.
D: Drax rules.

"But he shouldn't be here Doctor," Peri insisted.
N: Uh, why?
A: Because the plot's crowded enough!
D: Still, how does Peri know that? Just after we've established she's in a different universe!
A: Maybe she's wondering why the Master is alive when this universe is identical to the old one in everything but loose change?

The Doctor waved her silent
D: He can't even SPEAK to her now.
N: Did I mention this Doctor is contemptibly, detestibly dull?
A: Yes. You did.
N: Well, I'm right. As usual.

and then took The Master's hands and placed them on his chest.
D: Slash fiction! Alert! SLASH FICTION!
N: "Master, let us put aside our mindless hatred and have a hot rubbery shower!"

The Master stepped back, quite clearly startled.
N: "Get off me, homo!"
D: Charles Daniels strikes again!
A: So, in this version, he finds out he's gay straight away instead of half way through his second story.
D: Is that an improvement?
N: It's vaguely interesting. In a story like this, it's character gold. Joe Lidster quality material.

"You may remember me as Theta-Sigma!" The Doctor explained.
N: Yeah. Coz everyone remembers people by their college nicknames.
D: If the Master is in this universe, there must be the Doctor as well. Why not say, "Hey, it's the Doctor!"
A: It'd be anarchy if I went around using my high school nickname.
N: Yep. "I'd like to open a bank account. You may remember me as Maddog!"
A: That wasn't my nickname!
D: Yes it was.
A: Oh yeah. It was. Heh. Crazy.

The Master shook his head.
A: So the Doctor tried again!
D: "You may remember me as Doctor Who!"
N: "You may remember me as Snail!"
D: "You may remember me as Johan Schmidt!"
N: "You may remember me as the venerable Quiquaquod!"
A: "You may remember me from such buttkickings as Traken, Braah, Draconia and Terserus!"
D: Yeah, if the Master looks like Tremas, he must have got Tremas' body from Traken, so he must a) have got all burnt and wrinkly b) tried to take over the source and c) failed. How could ANY of that happen without the Doctor or at least someone like him?
N: Obviously, this is the BBV universe where characters like Solomon, Dominie, the Foot Doctor and the Wanderer are buzzing around the place like flies defeating Autons, Sontarans, Cyberons, Krynoids and other such non-BBC-copywritable menaces. That explains why Benton isn't around, he's too busy facing ghosts in Wartime and stuff. ...what?
D: Has it ever been pointed out to you that you're a total obsessive.
N: Only from my bitches as I make them scream for more.

"It seems I never existed in this universe...
D: Seems?! DRINK!
A: Dude, it "seems" like the Master doesn't know who you are. THAT'S it. Maybe you just went to different classes or something...
N: On the other hand, these kind of sweeping and clearly false statements plucked out of the air ring true for a newborn Sixth Doctor.
D: Bet it's not supposed to be a 'clearly false statement', just Mallet being stupid.

actually I find that rather insulting!" The Doctor concluded.
A: ...yes. Yes, how dare the multiverse not have a version of the Sixth Doctor.
N: What do you mean? I don't even want THIS version of the Sixth Doctor, let alone others.

"In this universe! What do you mean?" The Master demanded.
N: Hmmm. Two people you've never met claim you should know them, then announce they don't exist in this universe. What do they mean? WHAT DO YOU BLOODY RECKON?!
D: You'd think a Time Lord would be a bit open minded, sorta like the end of Blink.

The Brigadier wandered in:
A: 'Wandered'? What, was he just passing?
N: Maybe he was looking for the toilet?
D: Maybe he's senile what with not retiring when he needed a break?
A: "Where am I, Johnny? Why don't the grandchildren visit any more?"

"Well Master, what do you make of them?"
D: Dude, he's been in there for thirty seconds and you expect a total enemy profile?
A: "Frankly, Brigadier, I don't give a damn."
N: "What do I make of them? The blond guy cops a feel and the girl deserves one!"
D: "Apparently they don't exist in this universe... so... chill. Not our problem."
N: And am I the only one a little bit, you know, put out that the Brig refers to the Master as "Master".
A: Even ASIDE the kinkiness implicit, in Face of the Enemy we learn the Brig doesn't call him that because even calling him 'Master' is a mini defeat.
N: I bet Mallet never read Face of the Enemy. Probably freaked out when people weren't "seeming" to do stuff.

The Master cleared his throat, perhaps to give himself time to think of what was best to reply
D: Perhaps? More needless uncertainty! DRINK!
A: The Master's sure subtle in hiding his intentions.
N: You know, Pertwee Doc would have told the Brig to piss off and come back later...
D: This Master sucks. He should be called the Bitch.

"I think this Doctor could be useful in my work.
A: Explain thy working behind that conclusion.
N: The Master wants some Jack-and-Ianto style stuff with the Sixth Doctor.
A: Tragically, that's about the only explanation that makes sense.

So too his assistant.
N: "So she can WATCH!"

Brigadier I'd like you to release them both into my custody."
A: You still haven't explained why thirty seconds has made you trust these people so much, nor explained why they are useful.
N: Or 'your work', which you probably should be getting back to.
D: Yeah, isn't there a global emergency on at the moment?
A: Damn senile dementia.

The Brigadier looked shocked and then not a little suspicious but clearly wanted to cooperate with The Master.
N: Hey, poofter! Nice characterization!
A: This is all described via body language. Which might - MIGHT - work on TV. But not in text.
D: Is the Master supposed to be in charge of this? The Doctor wouldn't be allowed to do that without an explanation!
N: Oh, so the Master's evil. Another brain-splintering difference between the universes...

He was obviously his trump card he held up his sleeve when things got tough.
N: Obviously. What are we talking about?
A: Not sure. I think the Master has an ace up his sleeve.
D: What? Ace is in this as well?!
A: I don't get this at all. Why does the Brig act like the Master's gofer if they don't trust each other? And, OK, maybe the Master DOES have good reason to think the Doc and Peri can help - wouldn't it be sensible for the Brig to be on the same page?
N: The Master's clearly sick of explaining it over and over to Alzhiemers Gorden Lethbridge-Stewart...
D: "Who are you again, Johnny?"

"Alright. But they aren't to leave your company,
N: That's what "in my custody" means, you MORON!
D: "Huh? Did I already say that? Where are my pills? By gum!"

let alone UNIT HQ without my permission," The Brigadier ordered.
N: Sweet Slitheen droppings, this is the most ineffective UNIT leader ever! Even Chrichton kicked more ass!
D: I'm getting no reason to want this universe to live happily ever after.
N: I have not seen a single person in this story that deserves to live.
A: What about... no. No, I haven't either.
D: Even the Gorrillas suck.
N: What gorillas?
A: Exactly!

"Of course."
The Brigadier turned and left, leaving the door wide open.
A: Liberty Hall, Dr Tyler! LIBERTY HALL!
N: Senile bastard.

The Master walked over and pressed it closed.
D: "Pressed it close"? That sounds naughty.
A: Maybe the words "to the door" and "a button" are missing?
N: Why not just have the Brig I dunno, CLOSE THE DOOR in the first place?
A: Because this shows the Master wants to be alone with the Doctor and Peri.
D: That sounds VERY naughty.
N: "OK, bitches, daddy saved your ass so daddy wants sugar!"
D: "Leave the girl, it's the man I want!"
A: Uncool...

The Master waited until The Brigadier was out of ear shot before he spoke again:
D: Can the Brig hear through a cell door? That's closed?
A: Surely the cell would be being monitored?
N: Maybe not. If the Doctor's wearing his coat, it might have blown out the camera.
A: Except he's still in the cricket whites according to the photos.
D: What ever happened to his hat, though?
N: It's still in his pocket, isn't it?
A: Shouldn't we be like, I dunno, reading the rest of the story?
D&N: No.

"Have you been exiled as well?"
D: I take it the Master has twigged that there's another Time Lord in the room?
N: What gave it away? The low body temperature? The slower rate of breathing? The double heart beats?
A: I dunno, I think if I were the Master - and therefore so incomprehensibly stupid as to not pick up on the parallel universe vibe - I'd be more interested in why such strange people knew who I was but not that I work for UNIT.
N: Yeah, well, you're wierd.
D: You have your own intelligence.
N: You must be destroyed.

"I have been in the past old chap.
A: "Old chap"? Give me strength!
N: Ronny, the ONE Doctor you like! The ONE Doctor you'd give the time of day to! AND YOU GET HIM SO WRONG, YOU ENCAPHALITIC DONKEY GONAD!
D: Yeah, Doctor, pointlessly tell him about the Pertwee era. It's so relevant and necessary to the plot the story will fall apart without it.
A: A clue?
N: No.

But as I said we crossed the boundaries of reality," The Doctor explained.
D: "As you said"? You bloody liar!
A: You said you didn't exist in this universe, you said nothing about reality. Or crossing the boundaries thereof.
D: Uh, where are they now? Reality. So they haven't actually crossed the boundary of reality if they're still inside.
A: Maybe they doubled back?
N: Maybe the writer's an idiot!

The Master paced the floor rather excitedly:
D: Coz, you know, normally he paces like he doesn't give a shit.
A: The idea of anyone pacing with excitement is so novel it needs to be explained in depth.
N: The Master. Pacing. Bollocks.
A: Maybe the drums are pretty loud today.
D: Ah, different universe. This Master might not hear the drums.
A: OK, maybe the guitar solo is pretty loud today.

"They've taken my dematerialisation circuit you know
D: No, we didn't. But thanks for telling us.
N: If they took your dematerialization circuit... how did you get to Earth? If you turned up without a TARDIS, it's pretty random to bitch about a circuit when the REST of the ship was stolen.
D: "You can take my freedom! You can take my TARDIS! BUT NO ONE TAKES MY CIRCUIT!!"
A: The Master STILL hasn't confirmed that the Doctor's a Time Lord. All he knows is that this nutter has been exiled once - which could have been by anyone - and thinks he's in another universe. And if he DOES think the Doctor is a Time Lord ex-exile... why doesn't he ask him how he got parole?
N: Why doesn't he pull out a gun and say, "take me to your working TARDIS!"
A: Maybe he doesn't have a gun? Maybe he's not evil?
N: He could ASK!

and erased my memory so as to make it virtually impossible to make another - although I've been trying!"
A: Is this the info he didn't want the Brigadier to hear? But is happy enough to tell some complete stranger? If you're THAT paranoid, shouldn't you be worried this is UNIT tricking you into revealing your secrets with two actors?
D: How come UNIT haven't already noticed he uses all his time to repair his TARDIS?
N: Maybe they're all too senile to notice?
D: And why do you need another circuit if you don't have a TARDIS?
A: In this universe they don't just put in a safety-feature that even if he gets the TARDIS working it is programmed to take him straight back to the planet of exile?
D: Ooh, ANOTHER difference! That's what, three very minor differences?
N: Assuming it's SUPPOSED to be a difference and not Mallett screwing up basic Pertwee era plotpoints.
D: Why are we in this Pertwee celebration anyway? New Doctor, do something new!
A: Another point for The Twin Dilemma, it certainly paved the way for the awful Sixth Doctor era.
D: Which was awful.
N: But not Colin Baker.
D: Fuck no, he rocks. Everything else, however, was frozen in place.
N: By the Spunk of Levine.
A: That most detestible of substances!

"I know exactly how..."
N: ... how? How what?
A: "How you feel?"
D: "How to get out of this?"
A: "How to make a truly magnificent macaroni and cheese dish for two?"
N: "How rubbish this story is and the writer should be taken out and shot?"

The Doctor began before he fell to the floor and began spasiming.
A: Ah. "I know exactly how to block out the pain of this stupid plot!"
D: Too... much... stupidity... brain cannot cope!
N: Right there with you Doc.
A: "Spasiming"? Is he having a "spasim" is he?
N: For the love of Lazarus, does this guy have spell check!
D: I note that the Doctor isn't having the interesting mood swings, just that convulsion in The Two Doctors.
N: I swear to god, I will have The Twin Dilemma on my shelf with pride. We have proof, it is not that bad!
A: Well, remember, it was only the worst OFFICIAL story. Dimensions in Time is really the worst.
D: Is Dimensions in Time worse than this?
N: ...well...
A: ...let's find out.

"Has he been unwell?" The Master asked Peri as he knelt beside his fellow Time Lord.
N: Uh, he's unwell NOW, you moron! Get him in the recovery position!
A: As questions go, that was just... stupid! "Has this happened before?" would make sense. "Do you know if he has any medication?" would be pretty sensible.
D: "Hey, can YOU show me where the TARDIS is?" would be downright genius at a point like this!

Peri still had reservations about trusting someone who she knew at least in another reality was a galactic criminal:
D: A sort of "galactic gangster" you might say? If you were American? And Peri? Who called him a gangster?
N: Trusting? He's not asking you to trust him, Peri! He's asking you if the Doctor's been sick lately!
A: And the Doctor trusts him enough to chat amicably about being from another universe, so, there's a precedent for assuming he's not a complete psycho who will eat you.
N: Maybe Peri just wants the Doctor to "spasim" to death.
A: Who can blame her?
D: Strangle him and make sure.

"He's been a bit pale since his..."
"You don't mean he's only just regenerated!

N: Yikes! Random or what?
A: She could have said "appendectomy" for all he knew.
D: Or "sex change".
N: Joanna Lumbley, take your chance!
A: Maybe the Master noticed the Doctor is wearing the cricket whites for someone smaller to him, and what with him being a "spasiming" Time Lord put two and two together?

If only I could access my TARDIS
N: Oh, if only.
A: See how Mallet cunningly has the Master make this gratuitous statement rather than say, mention earlier in the conversation his TARDIS was inaccessible. Coz, you know, that would require a realistic conversation to deliver.
N: And yes, the Master suddenly seems to know without being told that Peri knows what a TARDIS is.
D: Even though she's from another universe.
A: They could be called SIDRATs where she's from.

- he could recuperate in my zero room.
D: Yeah. He could. If we knew what was wrong with him.
A: But why is he showing symptoms now instead of, uh, the moment he left the TARDIS?
N: Since the Master doesn't know the Doctor zapped his own zero room... why not take him back to the Doctor's TARDIS?
D: So he can steal it, maybe?
A: Even if he's a good Master... come to think of it, why choose a name like Master if you're nice?
D: Yeah, why not the Sherrif?
N: The Sherrif is good.
D: Yeah. That'd be an interesting difference.
A: Starring Keith Allan as the Sherrif. Whose name, if you spell it wrong, is an anagram of "No one is camper than Simms? A clue: no."

But The Brigadier has placed a guard on it ever since... well that doesn't matter.
D: If it didn't matter, why mention it? This Master is clueless!
N: Oooh! So the Master's been right dodgy and the Brig doesn't trust him!
A: Except he's allowed to hang around in prisons with suspicious characters under no scrutiny whatsoever, and can make sweeping decisions with no justification.
N: I'm surprised the Brig remembered the mysterious incident long enough to post a guard.
A: Or that the guard remembered why he was there.
D: The more we read, the worse it gets, the worse it gets, the more I drink...

If I ask to take him there I'll be telling them he's a brother Time Lord which I don't think is a good idea.
N: "Brother Time Lord"? What the fuck...? What? This is the Master, not Omega!
D: WHY are you telling us this?
A: Yeah, maybe if the Doctor was able to talk they could discuss this, but he's trying to explain the whole plot to Peri without letting her get a word in edgeways! Why couldn't Peri ask him to tell the Brig and THEN get get told this all? Would that REALLY be difficult.

Look, help me get him onto the bunk child. He needs rest!"
D: The Master isn't even strong enough to carry the Doctor! What a wuss!
A: I mean, come on, Colin Baker's not that heavy... is he?
N: Surely he can rest just as well where he is? Face down in the slop bucket?
D: Won't he drown?
N: Respiratory bypass.
D: Oh.

Outside the door, The Brigadier was listening with interest.
N: ... Dave.
D: Yeah?
N: Pass me the bottle.
A: This is un-fucking-believable. Not only do we have the Master being so stupid as to reveal all his secrets, we have the Brig overhear them by LISTENING AT THE DOOR! No bugging devices, nothing! And what happens if the Master suddenly opens the door? Is the Brig going to have an explanation for listening? Why not get another soldier there to listen? Why didn't the Master hear the Brigadier breathing outside the door?
D: I don't know! I DON'T KNOWWW!!

The Triad were meeting again.
A: What were they doing in the meantime? Checking their emails?
D: Having REALLY long toilet breaks, like Austin Powers after defrosting?

"Tobok, do you think that is wise?" Jutzhar asked.
A: What chutzpah, Jutzhar, to ask a question like that!
D: Um, forgive me, but I thought an Eocene wouldn't get to BE in the Triad unless they were a tad smart.
A: Maybe...
D: Even if this IS another universe, you don't get to be top of the totem pole without some qualifications.
A: Unless this is the Eocene equivalent of Ronald Reagan.
N: Not George Bush?
A: 1984, dude.
N: Oh yeah.

"The humans must understand we can not be easily defeated. That we pose a real threat - then and only then will they respect us," he explained.
A: ... no. That isn't wise.
N: I can confirm that, that is NOT wise.
A: So, this race that doesn't know you exist or have any reason to want you to share the planet and most likely capable of destroying the handful of you awake, and YOU want to piss it off and start a fight.
D: The Doctor wouldn't waste an insult on humans before shooting these bastards dead.

"Remember the message Jutzhar," Myrak reminded him, "the humans are not to be trusted."
"But how do we know we can trust the broadcaster of that signal?" Jutzhar contested.
D: Wow. Jutzhar's doing our job for us!

"We don't. But it is clear to me that these humans are a threat and they must be taught who are the true masters of Earth.
A: Exactly why are they a threat? They don't know you're there. A check of the media would find out that they care for the less fortunate and can overcome racial intolerance, they even care about the environment. Surely there should be an ATTEMPT to make contact?
D: They didn't in The Silurians, did they?
N: No, but this lot are the boss, not a distant outpost struggling to work out what's happened. They've checked the media, they know what they're dealing with and they want to start a fight! Even Morka wouldn't be that psycho with the cards stacked against them that badly!

Awaken a legion of Sea-Devils and have them collect the creature who communicated with us!"
N: How are they going to do that? You don't know who it is!
A: Maybe they'll act like they're at an airport or something and have cardboard signs saying CREATURE WHO COMMUNICATED WITH THE TRIAD or APE PRIMITIVE WITH CRYSTAL SET?
D: Seriously, that would be at the very least interesting to see.
A: How do they know the creature will be near the beach? The Sea Devils can't come too inshore or they'll dehydrate!
N: Come to think of it, where is this Devil Legion? At the bottom of the Atlantic? Surely it'll take a while for them to swim all the way to Britain's shore... to look for someone who they have no idea of appearance, location or motivation... sweet jesus, this has to be an even dumber plan than Davros' "trick the Doctor into curing a virus with a bunch of androids and crude psychology" masterplan!

The Doctor came round, looking up into the rather concerned face of The Master.
N: Ah, but it only SEEMED to be concerned.
A: The Master looks concerned!
N: That is not funny.
A: My bad. So I take it the Doctor stopped "spasiming" and fell unconscious?

"I... what happened?"
N: One I in one breath makes... I give up.
A: That's it. Ask the Master. Don't even look around to see if Peri's all right.
D: Yeah, what if this universe causes her to start "spasiming" too.
N: She'd jiggle a bit. Yeah. That could work.
A: Down, Verkoff, down you mongrel!

"My friend you are not well.
A: He's a bit familiar, isn't he?
N: And to think he was recoiling at the Doctor's touch a minute ago.
D: What a creep.

You haven't stabilised yet and crossing the boundaries of reality is no doubt stressful for the healthy!"
A: Why would it be? Why hasn't Peri developed symptoms?
N: The Doctor's shown no signs of instability. Apart from doing completely stupid things and blaming Peri.
D: This Master... is there something wrong with his speech centres? All he can do is exposit unconvincingly.
A: A kind of Time Lord Tourette's.

"I'm... not used to being so weak..."
N: You forgot Celery Boy already?
D: Hey, at least HE wasn't a diseased tool like this git.

The Master patted him on the shoulder in a very matey fashion.
N: "Mmm. Do you work out?"
A: Suddenly the roles are reversed as the Master becomes the dominant sexual force.
D: As his name would imply.
N: I tell you, this kinky Doctor/Master slash is more believable than "mateyness". The Sixth Master might have done it, but only in a cruel, sarcastic way.
D: Even the Jonathon Pryce Master was more credible.

"Why didn't you tell The Brigadier what I was?"
A: Er, why should he?
N: Was he awake enough to hear the pointless discussion earlier? If so, why ask again?
D: If he was talking about before, when the Master locked himself in the cell with them, well, why didn't he ask at the time?
A: Why ask now? Now that we, the audience have reason enough to know why he didn't do it?

The Master chuckled before he replied:
A: Yes, because if you can't laugh at totally retarded plots and characterization then, well, what can you do?
N: Post it on the internet with a pisspoor collection of photo stills and an annoying background TARDIS hum on your shitty little "Sixth Doctor rocks unlike the rest of so-called Doctor Who!" websites?
A: APART from that?
D: I dunno. Script-edit Torchwood?

"The military mind Doctor. How did I not know that they would dissect you now that they have two specimens of our race?
A: Uh, maybe from years in service to humanity and the point if they did that, you might refuse to help them any more?
D: How long has he been UNIT's scientific advisor? Ten years or so? He doesn't know his coworkers at all?
N: Sweet Jesus, I hope he's NOT evil, cause this is just tragic.

The Brigadier is a strict but very kind fellow at heart
A: He's saying the Brigadier is a nice guy. I think.

but some of the politicians he serves..."
A: So, it's not the MILITARY mind you're worried about but the POLITICAL?
D: If the Brigadier is such a good guy, he'd take your side, surely? He would have done that with the Doctor - we know he lies to the UN about the Doctor's status...
N: In Castrovalva, they say a new Doctor can't cope with complicated stuff. So basically the Master is torturing him here. Is this deliberate?
A: Forget the Doctor, he's tortuing US!

Peri coughed to infer that The Brigadier had re-entered the cell.
A: Are these Time Lords deaf? Surely he has to open the door to reenter!
D: So the Brig decides to step inside before they discover he was listening outside? Smart.
N: Smart? In this story it's positively psychostrategic genius!

The heads of both Time Lords turned.

"We have a situation.
A: Who's talking?
D: Peri, hopefully. He owes her some dialogue.

There are reports of... creatures landing at a beach only a few miles from here.
A: How VERY convenient that there happens to be a beach in walking distance of UNIT HQ...
D: ...which is in the middle of Central London last episode...
N: ...and the Sea Devils just happen to arrive at the spot where the only suspect for their target is.
A: You don't mean the Master is summoning Sea Devils in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY he did in 1972's The Sea Devils?
N: Yes. I am doing that thing you have just mentioned.
A: Season 21 with TWO Silurian/Sea Devil stories, huh?
D: I notice Mallet isn't using photos from the 70s stories, not Warriors of the Deep.
A: Coward.
N: I bet he doesn't even bring in the Myrka.

I think they might be connected to that signal we've been detecting."
D: Why?
A: Show your working.
N: Yeah. What have you got, bar coincidence? It's not like the first time alien menaces are double booked.
A: He didn't say it "seems" to be connected.
D: Drink anyway!

The Doctor sat up and swung around.
N: Around what?
D: Peri? Is he strangling her now?
A: What? Is this a way of saying he's done the "instant recuperation thing"?
D: I think Mallett's forgotten the Doctor is supposed to be on death's door.
A: And thus unable to do the "instant recuperation thing".

"Let's go then and take a look Alis... Brigadier!"
N: "Don't call me, Alice, boy! I'M LETHBRIDGE STEWART, BITCH!!"
A: Christ, this is painful.
N: I'm doing my best.
A: Not your jokes, what's inspiring them. Is that supposed to be endearing, Ronny?

The Brigadier looked at The Master.
N: Ooh! Ali G be given him The Look!
D: "Don't be givin me evils!" the Master snaps.

"I'll vouch for him. He could be as equally... effective as me!!!"
N: That just sounds stupid. "As equal as me". I mean, DUH! What do you think he'd be equal to? And Master, great move here. Is your "SHOOT AT ME, I'M DISPENSIBLE!" T-shirt in the wash or something?
A: Dave, seriously, stop drinking so fast, you'll be sick everywhere.

The Brigadier nodded. "Ahh, Miss Brown was it?
N: See? BBV universe. Miss Brown and the Stranger.
D: YEAH! Lesh wash More than a Meshier!
A: Dave, you are so wasted...

Miss Brown I'd like you to stay here under the supervision of Sergeant Calder."
N: Another bomb disposal technician turned UNIT operative. Guess in this universe the Warehouse of Death did not claim as many victims.
A: So, apart from a rewrite of The Twin Dilemma, we have the Silurians and Sea Devils from Warriors of the Deep, the "confused is-it-contemporary-Earth?" scenes from The Awakening, the TARDIS going beyond from Frontios, the soldiers from Ressurection of the Daleks, the Master from Planet of Fire, and the one-man playing both sides against the middle from Caves of Androzani.
N: And a healthy dollop of Pertwee fanwank.
D: Mallet doshent haff much over majeenashun, dosh he?

Peri didn't know why but she felt relieved, perhaps she still didn't like this new Master.
A: So... not even PERI knows why she doesn't like the Master? The same one that's been all sweetness and light?
N: "New Master"? Still looks like Ainley as Kamelion to me.
A: She "still" didn't like this "new Master". So she didn't like him already in comparison to the old one.

As everything appeared to have been settled, The Brigadier strode out.
A: Not wandered out? Actually strode?
N: What's "settled"? You haven't even got Calder in to look after her?
A: Or worked out transport. Or what are you going to do to the creatures. I mean, have they harmed anyone? Are they likely to? Are they armed? Are they all out of the water or what? NOTHING is settled!

Tobok was watching a number of lights blink and flash
N: And then he suffered an epileptic fit! Three eyes, a third worse than a human would have.
A: But when the others saw Tobok "spasiming", they noticed nothing different in his behavior, so no first aid was applied. Thus, Tobok died and someone halfway sensible took over.

as they approached a detailed map of the British Isles.
N: They're approaching a map? Is it on a far wall or something?
A: I automatically assume that the author isn't so stupid that he doesn't mean there's a screen zooming in on a map.
N: A false assumption I fear, Andrew.
A: Yes... where did they get this map from, anyway? Their scanners can't be in such good nick after sixty five million years!
N: Maybe there's a Sea Devil cartographer hastily sketching out a map as he goes?
A: "Might be a few more wharves and a few less elephants, but basically that's what's there..."

"The first Sea-Devils have arrived near the military installation," Jutzhar reported.
N: "How did you know it was a military installation?"
N: "Racist mofos!"

"It seems likely that the military have learnt of our existence and attempted to contact us," Tobok speculated.
D: Seems? DRINK!
N: WHY does it seem likely? Did the signals come from there? Are the military doing anything like that?
A: Hey, hey, Tobok IS speculating...
N: He's talking crap, that's what he's doing!

"Perhaps a faction of this nation's military desires an alliance to end one of the many trivial wars that plague this planet," Myrak suggested.
N: Perhaps. So maybe it'd be a good idea not to kill everyone and start a war right away?
A: I'm sorry, there's absolutely no evidence humanity is behind the reactivation, let alone UNIT Britain! They're working out conspiracies based on an unproven starting point!

Tobok turned to him: "Man will be eradicated from this planet if they threaten us. Then perhaps there will be no more bloodshed!"
N: There's hardly any bloodshed at the moment, you stupid Eocene. That's what the Cold War MEANT.
A: Tobok still seems to think they can win. Is he on crack or something? Your civilization consists of the other two and some Sea Devils - you're not the bloody Cult of Skaro!
N: Do what you reptiles want cause we got the bomb!
A: Two words!
N: Nuclear fucking weaponary! What have you got?
A: The Myrka!
N: Case closed!

The Brigadier was observing The Sea Devils make their way up the beach through his binoculars, standing up on the seat of his jeep.
A: He's a bit old for that sort of thing, isn't he?
N: How does he know they're Sea Devils? Did they politely introduce themselves?
A: Maybe they sprayed their tag on that "MILITARY INSTALLATIONS" sign.
D: Miltirary inchstallashuns?!
A: All right. Trees. But they interrogated a gazelle!

The Doctor was standing beside him, while The Master spoke to an officer.
N: That is one crowded jeep.

"Colonel Archer,
A: Ooh, do you think that is the mysterious officer described?
N: You never can tell. Well, you can. And oh look, another bloke stolen from Season 21.
A: Maybe Ronny was trying to create a youtube animation reconstruction?
D: Maybe... not.

I believe they will be hostile, but as you can see they wear only light armour
N: String vests count as armor?
A: So these are the samurai devils from Warriors then? Mallet can't even get the photos right!
N: And that samurai armor is the same stuff that effortlessly deflects plasma bolts in 2084.
A: Maybe the Master's lying?
N: He'd have to be very convincing for a trained officer to go, "Yep, that quilted armor doesn't look like it could actually work as armor, five rounds rapid."
A: Or said officer very stupid. Or the author incredibly stupid.

and their weapons are likely to be ineffectual when used against mammalian life forms... such as yourselves..."
A: So. Time Lords aren't mammals then.
N: The Master seemed pretty scared of their weapons in The Sea Devils.
A: So either these are completely different weapons coz of the universe difference...
D: ...or the Marshtaz lyin...
N: ...or Mallet is a hack.

Colonel Archer lead his men down onto the beach. The Master returned to the jeep.
A: I thought he was in the jeep!
N: I can't believe the Brig is going along with this. The Sea Devils haven't hurt anyone. You think he'd at least try and talk to them, if only to shout "Surrender or die!"
A: I might say that this Brig has been formed by sixty years in a different universe, but there's no point.

"I think you had better have this," The Brigadier suggested passing him a revolver.
A: Who'd he give that to? The Master? You're giving your untrustworthy and treacherous underling a gun?
N: Maybe he gave it to the Doctor?
A: That's just as stupid! And how can the Brig suggest giving him a gun when he's just done it! It's not a suggestion, it's an order! DON'T YOU READ BOOKS, MALLETT?!

He then resumed his survey of the combat.
N: Combat? They're fighting now?! Why didn't Mallet mention this?
A: Unless the Brig is watching the boxing on the jeep TV screen.
N: Why the hell not?! If you're handing out weapons to people you know who are conspiring against you, watching TV in the middle of the battle is hardly a stretch!

It was not going well.
N: Never were truer words spoken.

A couple of Sea Devils had fallen but the other Sea Devils had managed to effectively blast a corridor right through the middle of Archer's platoon.
A: Has Archer twigged their weapons work against mammals yet?
N: The Sea Devils are trained warriors - surely Archer's platoon would have been dead in three seconds flat!
A: Ah, but these are the Stoner Devils from Warriors. It's a miracle they've shot anyone at all.

"I thought I heard you say they were only wearing light armour!"
N: Archer's woken up then.
A: I'd still be more concerned that they were told the Sea Devil weapons wouldn't be dangerous...

The Master was swift with his response:
A: Not at all suspicious.
N: Gimme the bottle, Dave.
D: No!
N: Give it!
D: No!
D: No! No! No!

"Their hides must be incredibly resistant to damage Brigadier.
N: Oh. So it was the Brig asking it, not Archer.
A: If the Brig heard the Master talk about light armor, didn't he hear the bit about ineffective weapons?
A: He must have forgotten, the senile bastard.

I think you ought to pull your men out of there and regroup down the road."
The Brigadier hurried out to reorganise his troops.

A: Yes. Do what the guy who clearly doesn't trust you, isn't loyal to you or humanity, and has been shown to be totally wrong and sending soldiers to their deaths says. I mean, it's not like the Brigadier could work out how to retreat on his own.

The Doctor picked up The Brigadier's binoculars and studied the battle.
A: Aren't they around the Brig's neck? Doesn't he have his own pocket telescope or something?
N: Give me that goddamned booze, Dave!
D: Nononono!!

"They're Sea Devils! We could be facing a Silurian invasion!"
N: You didn't NOTICE?! Did you have another Spasim and miss all the info! Who did you THINK they were? Zygons?!

"You know them?" The Master asked, sounding surprised.
A: Suprised the idiot didn't recognize them earlier, like when they first arrived.

"Yes. The Brigadier must be advised to negotiate... "
A: He should have done that at the first!
N: "Be advised"? Just negotiate! Don't waste time advising him!

The troops flooded back past the jeep
A: How did they manage this without being fried by the Sea Devils?
N: Ah, the Sea Devils have a strict code, not to fire on a retreating, unarmed or surrendering foe.
A: Lucky escape, Mallett. Next time. NEXT TIME!!!

and one of the soldiers fell as an energy discharge hit him square in the back.
N: Satisfied?
A: Not particularly, no.
N: Me niether. If these Sea Devils are out to kill everyone, they're rubbish!
A: If they're being merciful, they're even more rubbish!

The Doctor leapt from the jeep and went to his side.
N: Well, that's annoying. He's actually doing something in character.
A: Not really, the guy's obviously dead. And the Sixth Doctor doesn't waste his time on corpses if the living are in danger.
N: Oh, yes, that means this story still has 100% success rate as being total shit.
A: Indeed.

From the safety of the jeep The Master raised his revolver and aimed it at the back of The Doctor...
N: Fuck me. The Master is - get this - evil. Another shocking similarity between universes.
A: So, the Brigadier has climbed out of the jeep to help the soldiers retreating, rather than, say, retreating in the jeep. And isn't at all concerned his two alien colleagues are happily hanging in the middle of suspiciously convenient alien incursion.
N: Lucky he gave the Master a gun.
A: If the Master wanted the Doctor dead, why didn't he kill him in the cell? Or tell the Brig that the Doctor and Peri were alien body snatchers and have them executed?

The Sea Devils must have been closer than The Master expected
A: Yeah. Must have been.
N: More uncertainty!

as one deliberately stepped into the line of fire, causing him to lower the weapon.
N: So the Sea Devils deliberately stop humans shooting other humans. Why?
A: So THEY get to shoot humans, obviously.

The Doctor was now busy examining the body of one of the few Sea Devils that had fallen.
N: "Mammals? Fuck em!"
A: So he has managed to run all the way down the beach to the original battle, without anyone trying to stop him, and the Master let him get that far away without trying to shoot him. And when he gets the original battle site, he doesn't check any of the human bodies for help?
D: Dear dear.

While their armour and hides obviously acted as armour,
N: Obviously.

The Brigadier's men
A: Surely they were Archer's men?

had picked up on the fact that their eyes were an Achilles heel.
A: So their eyes... were their heels.
N: So Sea Devils see through their feet.
A: That would explain why they don't wear shoes.
N: But the eyes on their heads are on the side. If the Sea Devil some straiht at you, all you can shoot is their nose!
A: I give up.

"What are you doing with that corpse?" The Senior Sea Devil rasped.
A: "You dirty dirty bastard!" it added.
N: "Do you mind?!" the Doctor snapped at the Senior Sea Devil as he unzipped his stripy tousers...
A: "I was only looking for love!" the Doctor cried.
N: "Senior Sea Devil"? Mallet can't even remember to give a main character a name!

"I thought there might have been a way to save his life but I'm afraid he's dead,"
N: "But a mouth's a mouth, and I've got a few minutes before rigor mortis!"

The Doctor answered simply.
A: Not that simply.
N: Yeah, "I'm trying to help him!" - THAT'S simple.
A: I note he didn't say that if there WAS a way to save the dude, that he'd use it.
N: "There's a way to save his life, but I'm afraid I'm a sadist."
D: How does he know it's a HE? Are Eocenes sexist?
A: Might be. The females are kind of important now they're waging a pointless war against a superior force...
D: Wow. If, if I was a lot drunker... I might think this that this was deliberate!

"Why?" The Sea Devil seemed flabbergasted.
N: "It's still warm..."
D: Seemed? DRINK! DRINK!

"I know of your species. You aren't inherently war-like in the way humans are..." The Doctor admitted.
N: Oh, SMART move! Tell them their enemies are unreasonable killing machines! THAT will be bound to start up negotiations.
A: Surely the Sea Devils are inherently war-like. They're warriors. You don't join the army if you're a total pacifist, do you? And they're the aggressors here!
N: Like his judgement on the Thals. This Doctor is so narrow minded he's blind!

"Take this one. He is to be interrogated," he declared as he turned to confront The Master, but he was gone.
A: "Confront"? Why? Was he pissed off about the gun at the Doctor's back sort of thing?
N: Wow. Leave the Master in a jeep and somehow he vanishes. Amazing.
D: Was the jeep his TARDIS?!
A: And not one of the warriors noticed.
N: Stoned losers.

A mile or so down the road
N: And therefore completely out of danger...

The Brigadier was watching the events through squinted eyes.
N: Guess that's because he left his binoculars behind.
A: Such detail. Unlike the rest of the plot.

"Colonel Archer! Binoculars please... thank you!
A: Yes. That was important. Don't explain huge chunks of the story or why everything is the way it is, but a detail like lost binoculars, that's VITAL!

They've got The Doctor prisoner...
A: He's not bothered about addressing the Doctor like that.
N: I'm surprised he didn't say, "that wretched Doctor fellow".
D: I'm not. Please, let this end.

those... Sea Demons or Devils, whatever they are.
A: How did he hear their name?
N: He heard the Doctor. Colin Baker can shout louder than Brian Blessed when he wants.
A: If he heard it so well, how did he get it wrong?
D: I dunno. Let me sleep.

"The Master is unaccounted for Sir," Archer reported.
A: Yes, well, he would be the one in the combat zone in a jeep.
N: Which you should have been able to see it drive off or dematerialize.
A: Unless the entire UNIT brigade are too shortsighted to see it?

"Damn and blast. Get on the radio to Calder back at UNIT HQ. That's where they're heading. I want them ready."
A: So, the Brig retreated AWAY from the base and left it totally undefended. And only now thinks to warn them.
N: Where did he think they were going beforehand? Carnaby Street?

Calder ordered the radio once more.
A: Order it to do what?
N: Play some decent jazz?
A: Maybe the word "operator" should be included here?
N: What are the odds of that?

"It's dead Sergeant.
A: Dead, Jim?
D: Dead, Jim!
N: It's worse than that, it's dead, Jim!
A: Dead, Jim, dead!

I don't understand it.
N: Uh, you just said it was dead. So you clearly understand part of it.
A: Like the fact that it is dead.
D: Dead, Jim, dead!

Mechanically there is nothing wrong with it or the transmission tower
A: How do you know? Have you checked?

its just as if...
A: IT'S! It *IS*!

something was preventing it from working properly," The Corporal reported.
A: So, Corporal, would you be proposing the idea it is being JAMMED?
D: It's worse than that! It's dead, jammed! Dead, jammed! Dead, jammed!

Calder turned to Peri: "You stay here with Zbrigniev Miss,
N: There's another difference. In this universe he was played by Roberta Jezek.
A: On the bright side, now we're stealing from a new era. Battlefield.
D: Sweet Jesus, of all the things to nick... you wouldn't get a jail sentence, the court would say you'd suffered enough.

I want to make sure the compound is secure.
A: So, a sergeant is left in total control of a military installation when they know it's under attack.
N: UNIT. Unblievably N00bish Idiotic Twats.

Keep trying Corporal - I want to know what's happened to The Brigadier."
N: "What about the others?"
A: "Who cares about them? My love for the Brigadier transcends this mortal plain!"

Calder left and Zbrigniev returned to examining the equipment.
A: "Yep. It's still dead."
N: So Zbrigniev decided that it was time he grew a personality and tried to chat up the impressively-breasted cute teenager in hot pink shorts right behind him.

Peri thought that this might be a good opportunity to escape
A: Oh yeah. In the middle of a compound under attack full of trigger-happy soldiers who are slightly nervous.
D: Peri, did they retcon you or something?

and find The Doctor
A: Even though she has no idea where he is?
N: So she's taking a borderline suicidal ill-thought out escape attempt and even if it succeeds... she doesn't know what to do.
A: She's not even decided it might be best to go back to the TARDIS?

so she quietly began to back out.
A: So she's not looking where she's going?
N: Go on Peri, by the end of this paragraph you should have no braincells left!
D: I know I won't! DRINK!

Very close to the door she turned around to find herself staring at a Sea Devil.
N: And how did the smell of damp fish and wool not spread to this part of the base, especially since he was RIGHT BEHIND HER!
A: If it was right in the corridor, shouldn't it have killed Calder, so his screams and the sound of gunfire should have been heard.
N: Isn't it odd that out of the whole base, the Sea Devils just happen to be right outside this one with no alarms going off, no screams, nothing, just in time for the cliffhanger?
A: Which is stolen, isn't it?
N: Yep. Sea Devils five.

She didn't have time to scream.
N: That makes a change.
D: Come on, Sea Devils are cute!
A: A parrallel universe. A new Doctor. UNIT. The Master. Eocenes... how can you have a list like that and make it BORING?! You could screw it up easily, yes, but could you really make it so brain-puncturingly dull?
N: Mallet obviously can.

- to be continued...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Torchwood - The Untold Origin... um... Told!

Caught the fever, heard the tune
Thought I loved her, hung my heart on the moon!
Started howling, made no sense
Thought my friends would rush to my defence
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream

I lost my shirt, I've pawned my rings,
I've done all the dumb things!
I melted wax to to fix my wings!
I've done all the dumb things!

Yeah, I threw my heart into the ring!
I've done all the dumb things
Well, I thought that I just had to sing,
I've done all those dumb things...

No real reason for the lyrics bar the fact it's Paul Kelly (c'mon, what more reason is needed?!) and if any song would be chosen for a career retrospective of Torchwood Three, it'd be this one!

Gosh, the new eps of Torchwood are coming out faster and faster, aren't they? In what seems to be a deliberate move to get the series out of the way before the next season of Doctor Who starts (like how they gave a double bill episode so as clear the decks for The Runaway Bride and Invasion of the Bane), every episode of Torchwood has the next episode played later that night on digital TV, and now there's more than three episodes a week - Something Borrowed, Adrift and Fragments in the space of three days! That's like an episode per day! Do you realize this time next week Torchwood 2 will have finished and Doctor/Donna action will take complete and utter control of my flu-ridden excuse of a mind?!

So. The true history of Torchwood. How did Jack get caught up in an organization that celebrates all the worst aspects of humanity - greed, selfishness, bullying, mindless patriotism - and was it Torchwood that killed off our "out-of-bounds kinda guy's" enthusiasm for life? Was Ianto monosexual beforehand? Was Tosh working for them in Aliens of London? Will Owen's past life match AT ALL with what we know? Is Suzie in it?

After all, the books have kept very clear of telling tales of how they all met. Of course, the books had the decency to explain WHY they all stayed in the job, and it wasn't for the pay ( they GET paid?) or even particularly for the company. Tosh stays, unsurprisingly, because she's got nowhere else to go - at least nowhere worthy of her expertise. Owen stays out of genuine desire to learn about alien life and the knowledge Torchwood is the only place he can even discuss ideas - plus the fact, he too fits badly into modern life. Ianto remains a spectral figure throughout the books, with no vision into how he thinks, to the point he might as well be a benevolent coffee-making ghost haunting the Hub (which is more than he got on TV in the first season). Gwen stays not out of lust for Jack, or curiosity about the universe or - surprisingly - desire to protect humanity. Jack ideally diagnoses her desire to stay is simply about power: she can cross the barricades, she doesn't have to answer to authorities, she has a freedom she's always wanted.

Mind you, Jack's motivation in the books always charmed me. He spouts more metaphors and parables than the narrator of Monkey Magic, a wisecracking philosopher who cares deeply about everyone but rarely shows it. He runs Torchwood as a kind of filter, preventing alien tech and such from affecting the lives of ordinary people, allowing humanity to develop at its own pace. No bullshit about arming itself against the future or even not trusting proper authorities - Jack believes that giving people all the answers is the wrong way to go about things, no matter who the people are or what they might do with the answers. Plus, Torchwood allows him to enjoy the exotic life of 21st century humanity he marvels at.

Yeah, I liked the books more than the TV show.

Enough diagressions. On with the plot. As I said in the last review, an episode like this should have been the second one. Ah, some will say, but this gives us mystery and doesn't reveal all the answers and crap like that. Perhaps, but the fact is, niether Owen, Tosh, Ianto nor Suzie were interesting or enjoyable enough for us to wing the first series. We don't know how or even if they tick, and our only point of reference was the increasingly unsympathetic Gwen. Revealing the deep dark secrets of the characters only really works when you think you know them inside out allready. What do we know about Ianto? He loved Lisa, he shags Jack, he's anally retentive and he was present in Doctor Who in a background scene we never saw. That's it. Part of the reason Cyberwoman was rubbish was it hinged on the reveal of a character whose only characteristic was to order pizza. There was nothing to undermine with this shocking truth.

So, Fragments...

Gwen's story (aka, the framing plot):
After Adrift, as they've all clearly decided they don't trust Gwen with firearms or situations which require, you know, being sane and sensible. Thus the rest of the team head out to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere where Tosh detects several alien life signals - which, they find out to their weary disgust are not actually aliens per se but big silver techno bombs, one for each of them.


Oh well, one of them was indestructible, one of them suicidal and the other two didn't have lives to lose, so there are worse things to worry about as they are scattered in the rubble like that Press Gang episode, The Rest of My Life, only not as emotionally effecting because you KNOW they'll all survive and deep down wouldn't care if they didn't.

Gwen was actually not even on teleport, but crashed out at her place after a violent cathartic sex session with Rhys which has left her flat looking like a bomb hit it (oh the irony) with them lying in different directions on the bed... cue Bill and Ted shouting "69, DUDES!!!"... and only discovers the events of the precredit sequence when she gets a voicemail from Ianto ("Uh, we've been blown up...") and she and Rhys rush to rescue Jack from the rubble. This leads to revelation Gwen still hasn't told Rhys about Jack's immortality, which is irritating yet at the same time completely believable.

Jack is rather ungrateful and indeed furious that Rhys is present - but then again, it's easier for Jack to have a go at Rhys than at Gwen, so maybe he's transferring his fury at the fact Gwen was at home nursing her nervous breakdown when she should have been at the Hub? They soon find Tosh buried under rubble, screaming insanely for some reason, and the knowledge Gwen has come to rescue her does not fill her with confidence, to the point Rhys is asked to stay and look after her instead while Gwen works with Jack to uncover Owen and Ianto - the latter with a dislocated shoulder and the former trapped under a guillotine-like arrangement of shattered window frames. CC remembers that Owen is Zombie Owen, so we're left with the possibility that Burn Gorman will end up like the headless zombie in Idle Hands. Which could work.

But that doesn't happen since Gwen, ignoring all his pleas, crudely wrenches him free in the nick of time. Like Tosh, his expression is clearly "ah, so THAT'S how things can possibly get worse" when Gwen turns up. However, the gang have survived - though Tosh is pretty beaten up with busted ribs and arms. The group escape the crumbling ruins of the warehouse...

Jack's story:
Jack flashes back "1,392" deaths back to when he had massive sideburns and was routinely killed by being stabbed through the stomach with broken beer bottles (no doubt his chat up lines really weren't working). After one such night out, he returns to life in a back alley with the distinctly Hitchhiker's line "Oh, no, not again!" to find two rather stern-looking women in petticoats and dressed glaring at him. These silent women promptly beat the shit out of him and suffocate him in such a way, Jack is rightly confused in assuming this is an incredibly kinky sex session. Indeed, he revives to find himself tied to a chair, electrodes on his chest by the still silent bondage freaks, and is still cracking jokes and acting like the guy we see in Doctor Who. The ruthless women torture Jack with the clear intention of killing him, but Jack is more pissed off than really worried... until he realizes the ladies are in possession of technology they really shouldn't have. Jack's confidence slips even further when he realizes the ladies aren't just interested in his immortality, but the fact he's been getting drunk and bitching about how the Doctor abandoned him on the Gamestation.

I'll repeat that, they mention THE DOCTOR. In Torchwood.

No fannying about with "right kind of" or "mutual friends", but THE DOCTOR. It's like CC has finally decided that their attempts to be coy about the main character is a stupid waste of time - these aren't unliscenced fan vids (well, maybe in terms of quality) but they are legally allowed to do so, it's reasonable to do so, and The Sarah Jane Adventures didn't explode when Sarah mentioned him a couple of times. So, another baffling constraint to the show is flung away!

Anyway, Jack learns the dungeon he is in is Torchwood Cardiff and the woman rant with evangelical fever, shouting "Torchwood was created to combat the threat of the Doctor and other phantasmagoria!" with the kind of deranged screams that I haven't heard since Blake's 7: Assassin. Totally in tune with me, Jack can't keep a straight face and bursts out laughing at their pompous military-lesbo-propaganda. However, Jack realizes he needs a job to tide him over till the Doctor turns up and Torchwood Cardiff needs a big strong man to help them catch Blowfish people who are loitering round the place (the same dudes from KKBB).

However, in what seems to the space of one scene Jack has become the rule-enforcing, stick-in-the-mud we know and loathe, as he drags in the Blowfish dude and beats him up - because he's an alien and you know, aliens on Earth prior to the 21st century is a bad thing (the Blowfish is actually just like Jack and his crimes no more serious than not paying for his meals). He's already growling, "I am Torchwood" like anyone is supposed to be impressed. But Jack is horrified when his psycho bitch colleagues simply shoot the Blowfish through the head after he tells them it's just a wild teenager coping with being marooned on Earth.

Seriously, these girls are punch-them-in-the-face kinky lunatics as they get a thrill out of shrieking "HE WAS A THREAT TO THE EMPIRE!" and try to blackmail him into becoming their bitch/gofer/assassin/their thighs, as they're actually militant lesbians and need no dangly male flesh to control their lusts. Jack tells them that they are sick and strides out of the crude 1870s Hub, and heads for the nearest pub to spend his paycheck on booze.

There, Jack meets Creepy Little Psychic Tarot-Card Reading Girl from Dead Man Walking (OK... so SHE is immortal and unaging as well?) who predicts that the Doctor will arrive in Cardiff in the 21st century and in the meantime her Captain Jack In Nights Armor trading card says Jack should rejoin Torchwood.

Which he does. Wuss.

We then get a kind of 1870s action montage - but instead of our heroes racing from computer to computer and checking slides and print outs... we get the Psycho Sisters writing a letter and pinning a photo to a file, as they create an identity for Jack, and generally do vague MIB-style initiation stuff, with his official job being to locate the Doctor and "deal with" him.

The montage dumps up at New Year's Eve 1999, where after some BBCWales news footage of the millennium revels, Jack returns to the Hub (now more like the way we remember, but crucially lacking the Max Smart overlapping security doors) and finds his Boss at the Hub has found some wierd pocket-watch-like medallion of alien origins which has given him a vision of humanity's future in the next century.

So he's gone round and shot the entire Torchwood Team - bar Jack, of course, who can't die - in mercy to spare them from the "storm" that is coming. The Boss then announces that Torchwood is corrupt and cannot be ready for the changes that will occur in the 21st century. Then he blows his own brains out, leaving the horrified Jack in charge of the Hub and a pile of corpses.

For what it's worth, this seems to be the "nail in the coffin" for happy funtime Jack and also gives him the utterly pointless catchphrase he and the Doctor took the piss out of in The Last of the Time Lords. CC's clearly trying to justify its use, and Jack's use of it, when it clearly means nothing beyond, maybe, the events of Army of Ghosts/Doomsday...

All in all, this ministory is pretty good and isn't particularly earth-shattering. It could have been made in series one except, well, the mythology of Jack living for a century on Earth hadn't been established yet. More proof that 'past Torchwood' stories are more interesting than the ones in the present.

Tosh's story:
Five years before now... which would be, what, five from 2009? Call it 2004. The surprisingly-young-looking Tosh is even MORE meek and nerdy than before, working late in an MOD office and not brave enough to raise her voice above a defensive whisper to her boss (who is actually worried she works too hard). But Tosh is up to something, hacking into her boss's computer and then fleeing the office and breaking into the basement via a Mission: Impossible style dodge-the-camera trick. Inside is a vault filled of showbags marked For Your Eyes Only, and Tosh steals a particular parcel, shoves it up her jumper, and flees - barely saying hello to the friendly security guard as she does so. Guess her insularity is self-imposed, cos the people in this office are clearly a lot nicer and friendlier than the Hub gang. Even Ianto seems snide in comparison.

At home, Tosh unfolds her prize - a blueprint which one montage later she has built what seems to be a kind of crude human-designed sonic screwdriver (well, it looks more like a laser one but she needs to download "sonic frequencies" into it). With the toy in her bag, she heads downtown and we discover her spy work is entirely by blackmail - an ugly old Supernanny grandma has Tosh's mum prisoner and doesn't intend to hold to the deal now Tosh has proven her technical ability and spy stuff. Could this horsey bint be working for Torchwood?

The bitch turns the sonic screwdriver on Tosh and her mum, intending to blow their brains with noise and sadistically waving ear phones in front of them, but just out of reach... then a bunch of red beret soldiers (UNIT? Do they have red beret nowadays? Yep, it's UNIT.) burst in and save the day! Well, they put cuffs on the bad guys as well as the Satos, and Tosh is shoved into some red pyjamas and flung into a cell without even knowing if her mum is all right. A disembodied voice then gives Tosh a spiel stolen from B7: Space Fall ("you have no rights of your own"), and she is left in the bare cell without even a bed or toilet facilities in a five-second V for Vendetta homage... made all the more disturbing because, you know, UNIT supposed to = good guys? This might be why Torchwood have such a downer on the organization (beyond the fact the "amateurs" are clearly their superiors in every suspect). Finally, the emotionally broken, long-haired and no-longer-quite-so-pristine Tosh is ordered to her feet by said disembodied voice for "inspection"...

...and Captain Jack Harkness is outside her cell, and takes her out for cup of tea and cheerfully tells her he's drugged her mother and wiped her memory. Tosh is rightly horrified as such retconning activities, and Jack, it has to be said, comes across as a bit of psycho here as he grins a feral grin and announces he is "no one". Jack explains that with the whole War on Terror business, Tosh is being made an example for her industrial espionage, blackmail or no blackmail. However, Jack points out that the plans for the sonic screwdriver were shelved in that vault because they don't work, so the fact Tosh build a working version shows she is very clever indeed. Jack therefore offers her a dangerous job with him and ergo gets her out of a UNIT jail scott free - although she's unlikely to actually see her parents again, she'll be allowed to send postcards.

I wonder if Mike Yates ever had to put up with that situation? On second thoughts, don't go there, I can easily visualize why pretty boy Yates vanished from Who after Planet of the Spiders...

Hmmm. I get the feeling this was invented off the top of CC's head, and it's a pity they didn't use some footage from Aliens of London. I mean... why not? Shame. Damn shame.

Ianto's Story:
21 months ago... call that a year and 9 months... call it 2007. Captain Jack is wrestling with a very ferocious Weevil in a park at night when a guy called Jones Ianto Jones arrives and saves him. While Ianto ponders at the fact the huge wound the Weevil left in Jack's throat has vanished, Jack is worried that some passer by can identify the monster they fought as a Weevil. After some surprisingly blatant flirting from Ianto, Jack heads off with the unconscious alien, leaving Ianto in the park.

The next day, Jack leaves the Hub via the office exit (expectedly not the tourist place we're used to) and finds Ianto standing outside with a cup of coffee, waiting for him. Calmly, Jack accepts the coffee - but if we're to be disturbed by what seems to be stalking, Jack isn't. He's already checked out Ianto and knows he's a casual, drifter sort of guy till he joined Torchwood and now (being post-Doomsday) is out of a job and wants a new one with Jack, but apparently there are no vacancies. With the destruction of Torchwood London, Jack's "reformation" has kicked up a gear and, bar scavenging the ruins of Canary Wharf for loot the public shouldn't be allowed, he wants nothing more to do with the old regime. And that includes Ianto, his post-traumatic stress syndrome and his willingness to do anything for less than minimum wage.

"You're not my responsibility!" Jack tells Ianto, and stalks off down the bay. "There's no job for you here and there never will be."

That night, Jack is in his SUV giving instructions to Tosh, Owen and Suzie (odd how Suzie doesn't actually appear but is only mentioned...) when Ianto, now in his suit, stands in front of the SUV in a scene which really suggests he's a stalking nutter. I'd say his determination to get a job in the Hub is so he can shove Lisa in the basement... but the idea that Lisa is back at his place and has been for the months between Doomsday and now is ridiculous. Isn't it? And didn't KKBB (and CC) consider Series 1 a bad dream?

Jack firmly makes it clear he isn't interested in Ianto in any way... until Ianto explains he was offering his services to capture a pterodactyl. After some good-natured bitching at what a shabby operation Torchwood Three is and how in the 51st century people generate pheremones instead of aftershave, before engaging a bit of fan wish fulfillment:

Invasion of the Dinosaurs done with decent CGI!!!!

Yes, even down to the sound effects of the pterodactyl in the warehouse! You can hear Pertwee's crushed velvet shuffling in horror as you marvel that, actually, the CGI is rubbish and no way does that flying dinosaur look in any way real. At least the puppets in Who were solid 3D objects... which becomes obvious as Jack tries to RIDE the damn thing and makes a disturbing suggestion he was living Doug McClure style following the events of Earthshock...

Well, suffice it to say after some dark chocolate and some industrial sedatives, Myfanwy becomes the Torchwood guard dog while Jack finally bows to Ianto's offers of building maintence, receptionist, butler, dry cleaner, personal assistant and coffee maker... by getting him to do all of it.

A nice entertaining, witty and clever sequence with some running gags. The only downer is it is impossible to reconcile with Season 1. And CC of all people must have known it. Ergo, Season 1 = not canon.

And I can so live with that.

Owen's Story:
4 years ealier... so... 2005? Gosh, time flies. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

This is going to be like that episode of Drawn Together Babies, as each of the main characters suffers a horrible experience that leaves them the way we saw them in the first episode - such as learning racism, abandoning English as a language, discovering several perverted sexual practices, and being mutated into a hideous form of anti life...

I say this in the prediction since after three seconds we see a cheerful, joking and happy Owen with some blonde woman working out an invite list for their wedding. Well, THAT is bound to go well and, I think will contradict Another Life, where Owen's suicidal cynicism comes after his longterm girlfriend becomes alien fodder. I wouldn't mind contradicting the books, except, well, is this the best you can do? This is like that rubbish story The Hand of Davros where we find out that Davros was really a nice guy until a nerve gas attack killed his girlfriend and turned him into a cripple... how lame! Much better was Davros, when we find out he was ALWAYS a total bastard who actually had his girlfriend executed as a traitor long before he was crippled, and THAT put his bastardness in sharp relief! Why not simply have Owen a jerk from the start?

I haven't even WATCHED Owen's story yet, so let's see what happens. Hmm. After one scene establishing this, it turns out that Owen's girl is not the brightest tool in the drawer. I'm talking so forgetful and easily confused she should have a T-shirt with "I'VE GOT A BRAIN DISORDER, ASK ME HOW!" and after an attempt to make a cup of tea goes nowhere, she bursts into tears. Wow. Marital bliss created and destroyed in under two minutes and we still don't even know her NAME!

Well, a little later we discover that girl's name is Kate and she is a medical marvel - the youngest suffer of Alzhiemer's and Owen, despite talking it over his competent black doctor friend, still wants to marry her and is in absolute denial about his bride's condition, before collapsing into sobs down to the exhausting business of living with a woman who's fine one minute and a complete stranger the next. Pity this scene comes so late in Owen's TV life, as he really looks insincere and unconvincing trying to hold back the tears. Maybe that's why they made him such an unfeeling bastard: Burn Gorman couldn't convince as a SNAG.

More tests are done for Katie, but let's just say my hopes are not high that she will be cured, there'll be a white wedding or anything like that. Guess why? Well, anyway, Katie seems to be suffering from an unknown type of brain tumor and, for some reason that escapes me, I'm assuming it's alien in origin! But, on the good size, a tumor can be removed relatively easily. The bad news is Katie has completely forgotten who Owen is.

So, the operation goes ahead with Owen jump-cutting around the waiting room like a Raston Warrior Robot on speed. Or Toshiko as she explored her cell (which is probably happening around this time - maybe that editing trick is symptomatic of some greater cosmic event? The return of the Doctor? OK, OK, I'll shut up), when suddenly there is a flash from inside the operating theatre. A certain Captain Jack arrives, but it seems to late - all the surgeons lie dead on the floor, frozen in place. And, out of Katie's exposed brain an evil worm is writhing... (seriously, this is a gross sequence. do not watch before dinner)

Jack quietly explains that an alien was incubating in Katie's brain and when they operated, it defensively released toxic gas which killed everyone - including Katie. Owen begins to freak out, suddenly the twitchy desperadoe we've known so well over the last twenty five episodes. Jack reacts to this by effortlessly chloroforming Owen unconscious, an action he really should have repeated more often.

Owen wakes up in a hospital bed, assumed by all and sundry to be a looney and, like Gwen in Everything Changes, finds that there is no evidence of any sort that Jack and Torchwood were ever there. (This is pre-Doomsday, post-millennium, so Jack hasn't really 'reformed' his operation yet... and once again this makes their actions in Series 1 look like they've fallen into bad habits, or more likely CC is making double sure of the retcon and Series 1 isn't canon). Anyway, Owen's wild claims that his dead fiancee had an alien in her brain lead the hospital to giving him "three months rest and recuperation". Basically, they fire him for being a loony.

And, like episode four of Jekyll, Dark Owen is unleashed. He still cries unconvincingly though.

As Owen tends the grave of his beloved, he sees Jack looming ominously on the edge of the graveyard - so Owen runs over to him and beats the shit out of Jack screaming a number of variations on "YOU COULDA SAVED HER!!" But Owen can't bring himself to snap Jack's muscular neck and they calm down. (This would really explain Owen's issues with Jack in Series 1... if it were still canon). Jack has clearly prepared a speech to get Owen to work for him, claiming he needs a purpose in his life and that returning to his old job would be soul destroying. He needs a medic as part of 'rebuilding' Torchwood and Owen's obsessive personality and credentials, plus a healthy dollop of guit on both sides makes Owen perfect for the job. However, even after seeing a squid growing out of his wife-to-be's brain, he don't believe in aliens.

(Remember, 2005, it was credible for alien skeptics to exist in Cardiff back then.)

One trip to the Hub later, this whole dating business is RUINED since Jack has the Doctor's hand on the table! Which means, post Sycorax, people should know about aliens and... just... GAH! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! I assume it's a prop screw up or something, or maybe Owen's memory is unreliable (he is, after all dead and very slowly decomposing), but gah! Stupid!

Anyway, that's his story. It contradicts all the info we had before, like in Cyberwoman when Owen was from Torchwood London like Ianto and Suzie, but hell, CC's contradicted all that. In fact, he only seems to put in a mention of Suzie so those strange individuals who enjoyed series one won't complain, since they seem to love such plot holes. IT'S DRAMA!!! But, with Owen, there wasn't much to work on. Adapting Another Life would have been easier than coming up with something new, which is pretty much what he did.

The weakest of the origin stories, but, frankly, better then Gwen's.

Gwen's Story (reprise):
Torchwood have survived - odd how the zombie was the one with no injuries whatsoever and the only person killed was the one who can come back to life - but as they emerge from the bombsite, questions need answering (and these are questions supposed to be asked, not me picking holes in the plot):

Who put the bombs there? Why did they appear as alien life signs? Was it an assassination attempt on the gang? Why didn't work? Why wasn't there a bomb for Gwen? Who did it? And where has the SUV gone?

Jack's time agent wrist thing beeps as it has done but once before (in KKBB when Spike left a voice message), and reveals... Spike. Leaving another voice message. Well, as Torchwood continuity goes, this is hardcore personified (see my rant on the Doctor's Hand). And since Spike isn't in the credits ANYWHERE, this should be a pretty big surprise...

"Ooh, deja vu! Or did I say that already? Hey, team - course there might be a few less of you by now - I don't know if you like my little gift, coz you can't die. You live all that life, all that time, but you can't spare any for me... Oh, say hi to the family." And the hologram of Spike uses his own wrist thing to create a hologram of a dude in handcuffs. "Been a while since you've seen your brother, eh Jack? OK, here's what's gonna happen: everything you love - everything you treasure - will die. I'm going to tear your world apart, "Captain Jack Harkness", piece by piece, starting now. Maybe now you'll want to spend some time with me?"

Suffice it James Marsters manages to make that rather hoky speech apocalyptic and terrifying by using the Keith Allan/Phillip Madoc 'evil whispers' method, but Chris Chibnall has managed the impossible. The absolute impossible. He's made me want to watch the season finale of Torchwood. And not out of a sheer, get-it-over-with-where's-the-TARDIS? way he did last time round. I want to see the next episode NOW.

It's something Doctor Who manages effortlessly on its cliffhangers, but even new improved Torchwood never left me urgently wanting more before. One episode a week was quite enough for me. Unlike say, Robin Hood. Or Black Books. But... yeah.

Shit, man, you've managed to turn this series around. Not only did you achieve it, you bothered to attempt it. I dunno what freaky happenings occured between End of Days and 42, but plenty of other writers could use it. And, you know, an actual cliffhanger that builds of the events of more than the episode immediately previous! They're actually expecting us to remember episode one! They're giving us THAT much credit!

So, Fragments ends on a high, ladies and gents. With a cliffhanger like this, no wonder CC decided to fill the rest of the episode with non-plot flashbacks and continue to ensure that this series is the first one to be properly worth locking in as canon. There's a bit of a pothole entitled Meat, but it seems that everything else has been smoothed over. The pointless creepy girl in Dead Man Walking? Tosh's spiralling insularity? Why libido-on-heat Owen is so nervous around girls he cares about? Gwen's intense pychosis, which almost but not quite sorts out the main plot of Something Borrowed? Grey? All stamped down firmly in this episode, but I don't buy for a moment that these problems were deliberately put there so CC could get a chance to explain them. This has damage limitation ALL over it, but for once they managed to duck BEFORE the shit hits the fan. Mind you, the Sleeper Cell thing has been left hanging but they DO have a third season to work with...

For the first time, I can't wait for the next episode - and typically it'll be three times as long before I see it. Seriously, this could be one of my favorites. And I didn't have any last series...

Next week... actually, week AFTER next because the bastards are waiting for the other channels to catchup: Well. Pretty much what Spike said. Machine gunning policemen. Weevils set loose. The Hub blowing up. Nukes in Cardiff. Jack buried. The Grim Reaper and his Homies. PC Andy freaking out. Owen trapped with the Hoix from Love & Monsters. Gwen - of all people - left in charge. And a return appearance so utterly incredible I am CONVINCED it's a trick. "Is this how it all ends?"

It could work out fine, but, well, let's just say if ANYONE tries to do the "skeptical about Torchwood/aliens/wierdness in Cardiff" stuff after this, I'm afraid said person should be fed to Ian Levine...