Sunday, January 10, 2010

On the Dream Front

The heat wave has returned with a vengeance, and I've lost at least half my bodyweight in perspiration over the past two days - which, when coupled with a nasty throaty cough chesty thing - caused my senses to spill and reel once more. I can only assume this is some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy as I think about episodes and dream in the gaps inbetween. Well, at least Freud wouldn't be able to bluff it on my subconscious.

Yes, friends, it's time for another episode of The Son of Dr Who!

(The last one was called "BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD", did I mention that?)

"THE UNTAMED" blares a caption over some stock footage of a quiet English village in the ethnographic present. A young man carrying a distinctly-gun-shaped parcel is wandering down a path when there is the sound of "Curtis'" TARDIS landing. The man looks around for the source of the strange noise, but then heads off again as "Curtis" watches from the bushes and follows him.

The boy heads across a meadow as ominous storm clouds gather and unwraps his twelve-bore shotgun. "Curtis" - showing a very reckless disregard for startling people with guns - leans over the wall and starts talking. He concludes the boy is not supposed to have the gun, hence hiding behind a stone wall that will muffle the sound of any shots and also mean no one can see him. But "Curtis" isn't really interested in this frippery, he just wants to know the time and the date. The boy (halfway through a diatribe about how he found his shotgun in his farm's outhouse and has been patiently restoring it ever since without his parents' knowledge or permission) tells him the requisite details and "Curtis" wanders off, bored.

Chalking this down to experience, the boy decides to go hunting for something to blow the crap out of with his new gun. As he idly considers blasting a seagull out of the sky a creepy ringing noise starts to wail and it actually turns out to be spooky incidental music. The boy has stumbled across a sheep that has come off the worse after a snog from a chapacubra. I grimace as I remembering the boy lifting the dead ship's head (and it seemed to be a real dead sheep) with its wool red with blood. "Curtis" appears nearby, saying he spotted the dead sheep and is uncertain what to do since there's a big predator at large.

The boy rather lamely suggests it's just a wild dog, when "Curtis" spots some stock footage of sheep running away. They turn and look at some deep dark woods as the spooky shrill note plays again. "Curtis" concludes that, whatever the beast is, it is in that patch of wood. The boy considers going there to shoot the "wild dog" and present it to his father. Darkly amused at that thought, "Curtis" challenges him to walk into the spooky woods and fight something that killed the sheep before it had time to bleed properly. The boy points out at least HE has a freaking gun, which is more that the white-haired old git has. Emboldened, he heads off into the trees. "Curtis" looks around the meadow and, creepy music still going, decides to follow the boy anyway.

Soon they are wandering through a deep gully in the woods. "Curtis" waspishly insists he's only here to see what happens, and muses "A token gesture of protection might get a reward from your father. Perhaps. I am not an expert when it comes to paternal matters." Nevertheless, the spooky music and the dark shadows kill the mood. Something in the dark (at first I thought it a tree) shifts to watch the duo move past its hiding place.

The boy admits he's rarely visited this part of the wood before, and "Curtis" bitches that since he obviously survived the prior "rare" visits, it can't be too bad. The boy wonders if "Curtis" shares the bad vibes from the dark trees and silence, but "Curtis" tuts about primitives and asks him if the shotgun isn't so reassuring any more? The boy insists they should stick to the open path, and "Curtis" strides ahead. "What do I have to fear?" he mocks. "Out of this miserable forrest, nay even this world, there is nothing that is my superior!"

There is a low, hollow sigh of what is obviously a monster.

"Curtis" turns to look at the trees in contempt. The boy, freaked, admits he's heard some scratches once or twice. "Curtis" snaps the noise was not scratching, but a sound of some kind of gas escaping. The boy thinks it was something breathing, but "Curtis" pooh-poohs the idea - an animal that loud is not going to be very good at stealth, is it? Unless, the boy notes, it is so quick and deadly it doesn't NEED stealth. "Curtis" tells him to shut up and stalks off into a nicer, less-oppressive patch of countryside and the boy follows.

After a few moments of relative calm, the boy complains he can sense like they're being watched - and "Curtis" snaps that they are watched by something or another from the moment they are born to the moment they die: why worry about it now? Just then something black and hooded moves through the bushes, enough for the duo to spot, and then it retreats. The boy is releaved his gun scared it off, but "Curtis" knows the thing - whatever it is - did not run away. It wasn't scared, it was satisfied they weren't a threat.

The boy suggests it was just some kind of mad old man in the woods - a bit of an unsubtle insult at "Curtis" there - but the son of a certain Time Lord is worried. That thing was what killed the sheep, tearing its throat out. A sudden respectful tactical withdrawal does not ring true. It could have killed them both, but didn't, and "Curtis" thinks it's because the thing had something better to do...

Eureka! "Curtis" realizes the thing killed the sheep to lure them into the woods, but not as an ambush, as a decoy: the thing is heading back the way they came, so there will be no one to get in its way. "But what is it after?" the boy asks. "Curtis" looks like he's going to be sick. "My ship!" he gasps, and they run through the bushes after the thing but there is no sign of it. "Curtis" runs off, leaving the boy behind and thoroughly confused.

The boy tries to catch up, but soon loses track of "Curtis" altogether. He heads out onto the path where "Curtis" left the TARDIS and moves through the trees. He freezes as he sees the hooded shape dead ahead. The boy's jaw drops as the spooky music fear-gasms all over the place, and then he's dragged down out of sight...

...by "Curtis", who is lying on the ground with a wicked slash on his face. The thing smacked him down and is trying to get into the TARDIS. The hooded shape charges towards the downed duo, and the boy manages to give the bastard both barrells, and the thing staggers off into the gloom, quite clearly still alive. Abandoning his precious shotgun, the boy and "Curtis" leg it.

Night falls. At the boy's place, "Curtis" gets a quick check over by the boy's parents (which annoys more than soothes him, and he furiously rejects the idea of a stethoscope to check his heart). "Curtis" bullshits the parents that a wild dog attacked him down the street and their son saved his life. He tells them all about the shotgun though, the asshole. Leaving the father to berate the son ("Same the universe over," "Curtis" smirks, "approval sought yet never found"), the mother agrees to make "Curtis" a nice cup of tea.

But, while she's filling the kettle at the kitchen sink, there is the creepy music and the low sighing noise out in the darkness. The mother is puzzled, but the alarmed "Curtis" hastily distracts her, surreptitiously closing the window. The mother notes it was an odd noise, almost like breathing... "Curtis" quickly offers to help do the washing up, only to find (to his almost biblical fury) he's arrived before the invention of the washing machine and he'll have to do more than help stack some dishes and press a button.

Thankfully, they only do the washing up after the meal so "Curtis" stays to dinner. He introduces himself as "John Smith", a lawyer seeking to meet up with some relatives when he got lost, before expertly diverting the conversation away from himself - yet simultaneously onto topics that bore him shitless. The father tells them that the cottage is over 200 years old, and they got it dirt cheap from the previous owner, who sold it way below what he originally paid for it. The boy wonders if something local scared him off, but the mother goes on about the piggery - a kind of in built abbotoir on the farm - which still freaks her out. "Curtis" dryly asks if her fear is for all the pigs who died there, or a fear something might happen to a "superior being" like herself?

The strained dinner conversation is interrupted by a noisy cat fight from outside. The grown-ups ignore it, but the boy is worried - why would their cat be fighting when it's the only cat for acres? Who is it fighting? The parents dismiss the idea, but "Curtis" knows what he means and decides to get himself a glass of water - in the kitchen, the window panes have been broken by something in an attempt to break in. Even as this sinks in there is a loud scratching noise at the front door.

The father strides over to the door (one of those two-level stable types) and wrenches it open - but there's no one out there. There IS however huge scratches on the door. There is also no sign of the cat, and the hens are silent. The family cautiously leave the house and head to hen coop... which has been trashed. Blood and feathers everywhere. The father examines it, assuming it's the dog or fox - but how they can a fox rip chicken wire off the box? "Curtis" suspects the father's right: whatever attacked him is also responsible for the death of the hens.

"Why is it following us?" demands the boy. "It isn't," "Curtis" mutters. "It's following ME. It has my ship, but it cannot possibly control it - I don't know what it is, but without me, my ship is just a heap of circuits that will not function. It understands it needs me to pilot it. And now it's lured me outside with this..."

The mother freaks - there are huge, panther-like bloody footprints leading to the piggery. The music turns dangerous. The boy berates "Curtis", telling him go and give the thing want it wants rather than ruining all their lives. The father scoffs and, snatching up his OWN shotgun, strides into the piggery, which is dark and silent. He pushes open a door, beyond which is darkness. He carefully enters.

Outside, the boy continues to guilttrip "Curtis", who finally decides to put his money where his mouth is and show this whatever-the-hell-it-is-TARDIS-fetishist who's boss. "Curtis" approaches the piggery and, taking out a pen-torch shines it round the room the father went into, and there is the hooded thing, bent over the father's body. "Curtis" double-takes with his torch and the thing screams.

Outside the piggery, the boy and his mother flinch as the torch spins - illuminating the shadows of the zombie-like hooded thing that lurches towards Curtis's shadow, throttling and forcing him to the ground. "Curtis's" screams don't quite drown out the creature and the shadows disappear.

Finally with some courage, the boy creeps into the piggery. He and his mother find his father lying there alone, alive but catatonic. As they ask what happened to "Mr. Smith", that old wheezing and groaning sound is heard in the distance.

It turns to a montage of the boy's house, run down, derelict and for sale. The boy explains his father recovered from what was basically a few scratches easily, but it took longer to recover from what he saw in the piggery. They left their home, went to Torquae and tried to forget about it. But the cottage was never bought again, even though the thing in the woods that caused all the problems is gone forever. "It got what it wanted - the old man's ship and the old man to pilot it," he explains over voice over. "Perhaps that was the worst part. It won, and everyone else lost."

"Curtis's" TARDIS (or a brilliantly-cut-out photograph of it) glides through a kaleidoscope, and inside, the hooded monster... is slumped in a chair, restrained and bound by transparent circular Perspex bondage. "Curtis" chuckles dirtily, dusting his hands. "Well, my friend," he mocks, "that will teach you to attempt to to interfere with those far above your station! You might be very impressive in some wild woods against mindless cattle, but not in MY world."

"Curtis" picks up a funky Drahvin handgun and aims at the creature's head. "Now, shall we discuss what is to be done to you? Or should I just go with my instincts?" The hooded figure sags. "Excellent," "Curtis" beams. "I think you and I are going to be the best of companions!"

Other things happened after that, but I can't for the life of me remember what.

21 comments:

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Your description of the Doctor's near biblical fury re: the washing up conjured some amusing images in my mind. Did he actually throw any death threats around?

The series seems to be building up to a deranged series arc...

Youth of Australia said...

Your description of the Doctor's near biblical fury re: the washing up conjured some amusing images in my mind.
Um... good?

Did he actually throw any death threats around?
I don't think so. Just that kind of outraged-breathing-through-the-nose reaction.

The series seems to be building up to a deranged series arc...
Yes.

Maybe I DO need professional help.

I bought John Kenneth Muir's Dr Who book today...

matt311 said...

I have a feeling "Curtis" is going to end up the Abbot of Amboise in the series finale...

Speaking of which, what is "Curtis"'s real name? Since you've only ever called him by the name he assumed in THE BANDITS IN THE WOODS, I'm starting to think you never thought of one! ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

I have a feeling "Curtis" is going to end up the Abbot of Amboise in the series finale...
I hope not - The Massacre is complete rubbish. I can only pray my fevered imaginings do better.

Speaking of which, what is "Curtis"'s real name?
I dunno. These are just dreams I had.

The name Curtis is a clear gag on my part, as that was the name of the Doctor's son in The Rupture, where he plays pretty much the same character. The name Curtis was suggested by Noel Clarke in 2006.

Since you've only ever called him by the name he assumed in THE BANDITS IN THE WOODS, I'm starting to think you never thought of one! ;-)
Well, I've never called the Doctor by his real name either. Who says his name is MINE to think of?

matt311 said...

I hope not - The Massacre is complete rubbish. I can only pray my fevered imaginings do better.
Really? How would you know it's rubbish when only the audio survives? Besides, you could use it to explain the Doctor's absence for two episodes...

Youth of Australia said...

Really? How would you know it's rubbish when only the audio survives?
...I listened to it.

And watched a good reconstruction. But even the story's most ardent supporter would agree the lack of vision doesn't matter to appreciating the story.

And the story is crap, a pretentious runaround with delusions of Blackadder that has a cast of characters it has nothing to do with, based around a historical incident the audience aren't meant to remember, or the BBC can afford to show in any sense. It treats the regulars with contempt, William Hartnell isn't half as good as the Abbot as people think (indeed, the Abbot gets about a cameo in the whole story) and frankly it's boring.

Lucaratti's novelization, based on his ORIGINAL scripts, however, is well worth checking out.

The fact hardly anyone has listened to the Massacre means its awesome status as "gritty" "adult" and "sophisticated" mean fandom automatically holds it up as a high standard. In fact it's dull, self-contradictory and smug.

Time and the Rani is grittier, more adult and sophisticated - featuring as it does the condemnation of consumerism, a father being driven to suicide after sacrificing his own daughter for the greater good, and a psychological examination of how the Doctor trusts his companions.

Besides, you could use it to explain the Doctor's absence for two episodes...
Yes, something the original writer couldn't be arsed to attempt...

matt311 said...

Hmmmmm... I'd like to see you take on The Twin Dilemma, then; it's widely considered the bane of Season 21.

Youth of Australia said...

...you're not making a witty self-referential gag, are you?

Have you read this?

Or, more importantly, this?!

matt311 said...

Frankly, I'd had no idea about that; your reimagining is a great improvement, even if Aldrich Ames was only dicovered as a traitor a decade after the production of The Twin Dilemma. ;-)

Hell, I'd kill to have Colin Baker do an audio play of The Twin Dilemma with this script...

Youth of Australia said...

Frankly, I'd had no idea about that;
Fair enough.

your reimagining is a great improvement, even if Aldrich Ames was only dicovered as a traitor a decade after the production of The Twin Dilemma. ;-)
Ah. Yeah. Well, I do worse things. There are references to the Time War in my Ressurection rewrite.

Hell, I'd kill to have Colin Baker do an audio play of The Twin Dilemma with this script...
I'd probably have submitted it to BF if I thought there was a chance in hell of them making it. I think I have more chance getting them to do The Enemy Within...

matt311 said...

I'd probably have submitted it to BF if I thought there was a chance in hell of them making it. I think I have more chance getting them to do The Enemy Within...
Well, if they can make Shada (which, remember, was banned from becoming a novelization by Douglas Adams), then certainly they could jiffy up a new and improved Twin Dilemma, based on your script...

Youth of Australia said...

But Shada was adapting the original script with the consent of the Adams Estate.

They'd need the same from Anthony Stevens and Eric Saward, which would involve basically, "What you wrote is complete crap and we want to do something better based on your ideas."

And Saward isn't going to even think about it unless he gets a small fortune out of it.

Not that BF want anything to do with him, re: their Lost Stories.

matt311 said...

Well, if they adapted the stories written for the unmade 1986 serials, surely they could do the same for a revised Twin Dilemma? After all, I'm sure Saward was pissed enough about the quality of Steven's initial scripts; surely he'd be pleased with a more competent re-adaptation?

Youth of Australia said...

Well, you could ask them.

It could also be interpreted as insulting to Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant too. "You weren't good enough the first time. Do it again."

It'd probably have to be Unbound...

matt311 said...

It could also be interpreted as insulting to Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant too. "You weren't good enough the first time. Do it again."
Well, if fandom agrees that it's bad, why shouldn't they?

Youth of Australia said...

Well, just accept I do not have the megalomania necessary to go up to Big Finish screaming they make my very florid TV SCRIPT REWRITE from someone who they would only have heard of if Rob Shearman once bitched about me in 2002.

Maybe if fans from across the globe petitioned for it, it would happen. Get all your friends to write in, and who knows what might happen.

In the meantime, I'll be happy with Caribbean Blue. I just love the fact I'm not sure how to spell my own story title...

matt311 said...

Well, just accept I do not have the megalomania necessary to go up to Big Finish screaming they make my very florid TV SCRIPT REWRITE from someone who they would only have heard of if Rob Shearman once bitched about me in 2002.
Well, just be content that, in spite of all its floridness, it's of very high quality, and I wouldn't be surprised if something very like that whole "Verne the Beautiful" digression gets brought up sometime during one of the seasons of Moffatt-Who.

Youth of Australia said...

Like much of the script, Verne the Beautiful comes from the novelization by Eric Saward. It's no more my idea than Jaconda or Azmael or Hugo Lang, Assistant Crawler and Senior Bastard.

The only originality is how it is part of the narrative. You won't find a "new" ingredient in it, which was part of the challenge in the first place...

matt311 said...

The only originality is how it is part of the narrative. You won't find a "new" ingredient in it, which was part of the challenge in the first place...
So, it's like a remix? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

Pretty much.

matt311 said...

Well, it's certainly a fresh take on the story, but it also elevates Mestor from one of Doctor Who's stupidest enemies to one of its deadliest... and it doesn't hurt that the whole plan falls apart so spectacularly in the end.

Speaking of which, you might like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9rVjHwCSf0&fmt=18