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20 June 2008 @ 07:05 pm
Episode Review: Arc 65, The Three Doctors  
I really enjoyed this arc, which surprised me considering that when I tried to watch it with blinkidybah last December finals I found myself falling asleep, and assumed it was Slow Serial Syndrome rather than Exhausted Erin Effect.

Costuming is interesting in this episode. More than a lot of Doctors, Three's look is a theme (Edwardian Dandy) rather than set outfit (Cricketing Getup) or a limited Variations on One Outfit (Nine gets to change his jumper--ignoring for a moment that Five gets one jumper change as well, Ten gets to switch between suits). I really like the red jacket, and did not notice until the Womg!Wrestling! scenes that Three has what appear to be knee high leather boots on under those trousers? I mentioned to blinkidybah that was odd on a guy. She accused me of actually meaning hot. ...I kind of have to cop to that. ...and occasionally Three's hips are criminally jaunty.

What IS Jo's jacket? No. Seriously. I have put up with a lot of crap from Jo's outfits before, but the Exploded Periwinkle Yetti look does nothing for Katy Manning.

Two's puff-paint bow tie and flower-pattern suspenders... I don't want to talk about it.

I really like the organic look of Omega's monsters and fortress--hard shiny bubble things on the monsters, v. wet and gleaming (and the old Who-aesthetic of vaguely vaginal-looking interior door entrances on alien structures is back) , great use of a low budget to take the typical Lumpy Who Monster #82 and make it both visually appealing and a little squicky.

Omega's costume I quite like as well, but it ties fundamentally into the central conceit of the character, who has withered into nothingness and only exists in the anti-matter universe because his will continues to dictate that he does, which I love entirely. This episode is kind of boosting Omega from the "...oh" of his appearance in Five's oddly drug-free Amsterdam trip (Five on shrooms: it would have been fun, production team. Though that still of him on a bicycle is probably cute enough to melt a puppy).

Brig gets some fan-frigging-tastic bits in this serial. His whole "keep away the holiday makers!" is fabulous. I like his nonplussed refusal to accept what's going on--Brig will not have this bullshit. It strikes me as something I might find annoying/unbelievable for the character if I were watching at the time, but I've been thinking lately about how the perspective of someone looking back and watching eps rather than progressing through a season blindly is so different. I wonder, for example, if I would have been harsher on the first three series of New Who if I hadn't been thoroughly spoiled, and if I'd had to progress through them at the intended rather of one a week. It would have achieved a different level of critical distance for me, I think.

Brig's reference to 'Liberty Hall' went entirely over my head. I wiki'd it--it still doesn't really make a ton of sense to me due to missed cultural context. Brig saluting the Doctor as he goes is BEST THING EVER.

I find Benton pretty charming in this, which is odd because I've thought Benton was fine before but not really cared much about him. He and Jo cuddling in Omega's Lair is win. Jo is adorable all ep, with her 'twice around the park' and her dogged loyalty to the Doctor. I kind of like the Extra-Of-The-Week, Doctor Tyler, esp. Three's kind of chummy Scientist Friend! vibe with him. The Game Keeper is kinda weird, but meh.

It appears that Omega picked the Doctor to assume his position because he was an exiled, vulnerable Time Lord stuck in one spot, but I wish the ep had given me a line or so more to that effect rather than leaving me as watcher to infer that. Not that it's a far reach, but it wouldn't have burdened the story to bone itself with a little more information of that nature, really. Incidentally, if Omega wanted a TL who would help him pwn the High Council just for shits,  who could be tricked into assuming Omega's position because he just loves power that much, and who wasn't shy about risking the destruction of the universe, he kinda called the wrong renegade: the Master's like, one down on the rollodex, Omega. Speaking of doing his research, though, how does Omega know where the Doctor is? How is he monitoring things in the mater universe from where he is?

Two's flute as BEST LEITMOTIF EVAHR. Three offering to buy Two new flutes ftw.

'Knobble' is a weird word. Thanks for it, Britain. The phrase 'Brother Time Lords' just makes me think of a Malcom X-esque movement. Black Panthers they're not.

Why did they decide to stick One in a bubble for most of this? Just no room in the script, or a lack of interest in a larger commitment from Aging!Hartnell?

And wtf is contact in terms of telepathy? I mean, there's no touching, no eye contact--can it only happen between you and yourself? On that note, wtf slow mo mind-wrassling with weird-face Omega? On one hand there was something a little visually interesting about it, on the other it was pretty ridiculous. I guess I don't know how I would have chosen to convey telepathic dueling either, though.

Awwwww. Omega just wants friends. ...or something else. In a variation of Rule 34, I'm sure there's a sizeofthatthing prompt about it getting written even as I type. I like that Three feels shitty about Omega at the ends, and that they didn't just write it off into the aether of 'necessary plot things I have done which have no personal or moral implications for me.'

BUT THE POINT OF THE EPISODE: TWO AND THREE ARE UST LORDS. I'm sorry, they'e just really, really cute, and I was really smitten with Two all ep-- and the leaning in and talking behind Omega's back the second Two shows up in the fortress, and the bitching--oh guys, just do it. Oh wait, you had Contact like three times. I'm pretty sure that counts.

EDITED TO ADD: If you know where the Two/Three fic is, feel free to indicate that.

Three's realization that his knowledge has all come back is rather blase and sudden. Huh. Also the dematerialization circuit just gets unceremoniously dumped in his TARDIS. I would have thought the TLs would have made more of a deal out of it.
Selena: Three and Jo by Calapineselenak on June 21st, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
The Three Doctors was actually the first Three era serial I watched (someone gave me a CD with the entire 11th season), which was a bit odd, but I have good memories.

Re: One - William Hartnell did commit but turned out to be very sick (he died not too long after, I believe), hence hasty rewrite and bubble.

Contact: you know, with all the bitching fans did about Ten's "Vulcan mindmeld" style from Girl in the Fireplace onwards, they really should have remembered how ridiculous it used to look back then, and you really can't do that anymore without ruining the moment. Bring on the hands on faces, I say.

According to what I've read and heart, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee had great fun with their double act. On the Special Edition of The Five Doctors, there are some outtakes from shooting and in one you have them kidding around a little.

Oh, and quote from "I am the walrus" for the win, y/y?
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on June 21st, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
That does indeed seem like kind of a random season to start with, esp. as it sort of throws you into episodes about v. established character relationships just as they're disintegrating/being finished off? (Jo in Green Death, Master in Frontier, the question of whether Two and Three running around will be much fun if you don't already /know/ Three) Not a bad season at all, just kind of a funny one to be given to start? *shrug*

Ooookay, see, that explains the whole Hartnell shebang, thanks!

Yeah, I have no problem with hands-on-faces? But then I grew up with Old!Trek, so it slots so very, very neatly onto my established Sci-fi Visual Conceits Map. And 'contact' looks pretty awkward, though it IS the best salvation from tedious re-exposition ever.

I sort of think they could visually represent it in a cool way today if they wanted, sort of skipping the RL physicality and jumping into what's happening in the mindscape? But it might well end up looking like something out of a Julie Taymore production and breaking the tone of a modern, comedic-ish New Who ep.

I dunno though: I don't think borrowing from maybe the visual imagery of Tegan's mind in Kinda (with the black plane and talking to someone in it), or the reflective architectural mindscape from Trial of a Time Lord, esp. as they have the money to do it even better now, would come amiss, if people think that mindmeld contact looks dumb--and it's not necessarily like you'd need to devote a whole scene to establishing that or anything, I think you could get what was happening across pretty quickly to an audience that's all seen/grasped the Matrix movies.

Aw. Now I really want to see those outtakes. They're pretty precious.

Um, that quote? Was Amazing. I loved it entirely: Jo gets so many fond "Oh, Jo" moments as a companion for me. Also, tie in with Time Monster, her persistent conviction that they are, in fact, dead now does not fail to amuse.
Selena: Three and Jo by Calapineselenak on June 24th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
Not a bad season at all, just kind of a funny one to be given to start?

You'll have to ask the guy who gave it to me why he picked this one - I don't know, either!

I love hands to faces, and I don't think New Who will bring back "contact" any time soon. (Though the audios still use it, which makes sense, in an audio medium instead of a visual one. V. time saving, too.)

My Jo love knows no bounds. Oh, and it occurs to me that this is the first time Jo meets Time Lords other than the Master. I wonder whether she thinks the Time Lord default is either Doctor or supervillains?
annwnrho on June 21st, 2008 06:42 am (UTC)
Sometimes I'm glad that the Pertwee era was in black and white to save my eyes from some of the brighter costumes.
I like Omega in this one, for all his bluster I felt sorry for him. (Mind you I like the Master so my judgement is propably circumspect anyway :p) I especially like the helmet removal, it was a good twist.
I like the blobs too and I have such big Brig love in this mind you I have Brig love in every episode he's in.
I like Twos recorder too, I used to play on and a treble recorder when I was younger.
I like the word knobble but it's not really in use anymore. Mind you where I'm from we have 'hey up me duck' which means hello how are roughly (not the same thing but weird slang anyway.
Any way glad you enjoyed it and are making good progress in your unwatched list (By the way how do you feel about tonights episode? )
x_losfic: My Sandwich!x_losfic on June 21st, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I'm glad that the Pertwee era was in black and white to save my eyes from some of the brighter costumes.

Oh, I think you mean the Troughton? And yeah, sparkly catsuits would have burned my retinas clean away.

See I get the pathos of Omega? But I wish there'd been a little more information about how exactly the other TLs have abandoned him: because if they simply thought he was dead, that's very different from having deliberately sacrificed him without fully disclosing some premeditated intention of doing so. And if they deliberately prevented his return/abandoned him, the /why/ question bears addressing a bit? And I feel like whether or not he's a reliable narrator, Omega would have a theory as to why it had happened, and if he as a character has such knowledge, then I want in on it as a viewer?

Helmet removal /was/ pretty unexpected and sweet.

Oooh, I really dunno re: tonight's episode: I haven't even watched the mid-season trailer, 'cause I didn't really want to be spoiled? So I go into it blind and hope Davros won't annoy me as much as he does in classic Who (not Genesis, though, in which I liked him a lot).