Daily Archives: Sunday, 13th May 2007

Doctor Who – The Lazarus Experiment

Having taken Martha on rather more than that “one trip” he promised her, he takes her home. Literally. The Tardis materialises inside her home. As he’s trying to say goodbye, her phone rings: it’s her mother telling her that her sister is on TV. On a news channel, we hear a Professor Lazarus proclaiming that

I will change what it means to be human

At which point, the Doctor leaves. Martha is upset, so it’s just as well that the Tardis reappears a moment later. The Doctor pops his head out of the door and asks

Did he say he’s going to change what it means to be human?

So the Doctor and Martha attend the event in evening gear. Martha tells the Doctor that his dinner jacket suits him “in a James Bond kind of way”. We meet Martha’s sister Tish, who’s working for Lazarus (which is how Martha and family have invites). Martha’s mother clearly doesn’t approve of the Doctor[1].

Richard Lazarus, a very old man, appears, and announces that he’s about to perform a miracle. He goes into a suitably complicated chamber, and is surrounded by whirly things and lots of flashing lights. But things seem to be going a wee bit wrong – the system is overloading, and the Doctor jumps in to cut the power.

The chamber opens, and Lazarus steps out, looking no more than 40, perhaps less. He stands before the crowd and says “I am 76 years old, and I am reborn!”.

Of course, you can’t do that sort of thing without it going a wee bit wrong, and Lazarus does seem to have a bit of a genetic stability problem, which involves him transforming into a rather large and very lethal monster, which likes to suck the life out of people, including his elderly sponsor, Lady Thaw.

While the Doctor and Martha are looking into that, someone is taking an interest in their activities. A man asks Martha’s mother if she knows who the Doctor is, and suggest that she should choose her friends more carefully. Later, he tells her that there are things she should know…

The Doctor drops in a line for old fans to enjoy:

It really shouldn’t take that long to reverse the polarity – must be out of practice

More fun, games, frolics, explosions and general mayhem follow, with Lazarus in his monster form finally being cornered in a Quatermass-style manner in Southwalk Cathedral[2]. Nice use of the sonic screwdriver[3] and an organ, which set up enough vibration to make the monster fall to its death, where it transforms back into human shape.

Back at Martha’s place, the Doctor asks if she wants to come along on “one more trip”. She refuses. She doesn’t want to be with the Doctor on that basis. He immediately agrees, and admits that she was never really a passenger anyway. And off they go.

Martha’s mother calls. We hear her leave a message on the answering machine. She says that there are things Martha should know about the Doctor – things she’s been told by….

Harold Saxon himself

Ooooooooooooooh, yes! The Mr Saxon bit is building up nicely. The episode was followed by a high-speed trailer showing what’s coming in the rest of the series:

  • Captain Jack!
  • Explosions!
  • John Simm![4]
  • Captain Jack!
  • Lots of fun!

Nice to see Martha continuing to develop as a strong-minded companion, and to see her interact with her family some more. I’m sure we’ll be seeing them more as the series develops.

No episode this weekend: apparently it couldn’t be fitted in around the Eurovision Song Contest :rolleyes: :crazy: But next week, we have an episode called “42”, which has less to do with Douglas Adams than one might hope, but does promise to be something a little different…

[1] He seems to be having a lot of trouble with mothers…
[2] After doing Frankenstein in the last story, there’s clearly a theme developing here…
[3] Turned up to 11, naturally
[4] Now definitely confirmed to be playing Mr Saxon, not that there was much doubt about that

Doctor Who – Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks

After a pre-titles sequence involving showgirls and a rather strange pig/human hybrid, we join the Doctor and Martha in New York. The original one this time, none of your New New[1] Yorks. It’s 1930, the Great Depression has left many people homeless and destitute, and lots of them are living in a shanty town called Hooverville in Central Park. And that’s where the Doctor and Martha end up.

Meanwhile, the Empire State Building isn’t quite finished. Mr Diagoras, who seems to be in charge of the project, tells the workmen that “the new masters” want things speeded up. The foreman suggests that this isn’t going to happen, which prompts a visit from one of those masters: a Dalek, accompanied by a couple of pigmen[2]. Foreman finds himself replaced.

Back at Hooverville, all is even less well than you might expect in a shanty town full of desperately poor men. Men are disappearing. Diagoras turns up and offers work to a small number of men – unpleasant work in the sewers. Naturally, the Doctor and Martha join in, together with Solomon, who’s as near to a leader as Hooverville has, and a young man called Frank. They find a very nasty unidentifiable slimy thing down there.

And in the Empire State Building, a slight change to the design has been ordered. Some plates, which are clearly Dalek casing are to be fitted around the mast at the top. And it has to be done that very night. Diagoras has obviously impressed the Cult of Skaro, and in particular our old friend Dalek Sec, who we last saw doing an emergency temporal shift in the vicinity of Canary Wharf. Sec wants Diagoras for the “final experiment”, which doesn’t sound at all good for his health.

And that’s just for starters. There’s lots of running around in the sewers, more of the Daleks being utterly bonkers, and of course, the Doctor being not at all pleased to see them. Last time they met, he lost Rose, the time before he had to regenerate, and before that there was the little matter of the Time War, which cost him his home planet and his whole species, so it’s not surprising that he says

They survived. They always survive when I lose everything.

The Doctor and crew do a lot of running around in the sewers and the theatre, where they meet Tallulah, a showgirl who wants to know where her boyfriend Laszlo has got to. He’s quite obviously the more human looking pig man who was doing a Phantom of the Opera routine in the pre-titles sequence. Tallulah talks to Martha, who mentions that the Doctor doesn’t seem to be interested in her. Tallulah suggests

He’s into musical theatre, huh? :lol: :laugh:

The Doctor and Martha head back to the sewers, and are captured with assorted other humans. The general mass are to be turned into pig men, but the more intelligent ones are to be put aside and taken to the Transgenic Lab, which might well be worse…

Diagoras finds himself becoming closer to his masters than he expected. Sec’s casing opens, and he pulls the terrified man inside, where he is absorbed. Sec’s thinking out of the box again, and trying to find a new way for the Daleks to survive: by creating a new hybrid race. Smoke pours out of Sec, and he starts getting even more bonkers than usual for a Dalek[3], squawking about “the dawn of a new age” and “life outside the shell”, while that lovely choral music we usually get for dramatic Dalek bits goes on.

Sec’s casing opens, and a figure emerges. Standing upright, it’s human shaped but with a not at all attractive scaly tentacled head. It’s the new Sec, who announces

I am a human Dalek. I am your future.

Which was a nice cliffhanger moment.

The second part begins where we left off, with the Doctor revealing himself to the Daleks. While the Dalek-shaped Daleks are quite keen to do a bit of good old fashioned Exterminating, Sec has other ideas. Sec’s acting quite oddly for a Dalek, and the Doctor is able to distract him enough to allow the prisoners to escape.

Pig men attack Hooverville, followed by two Daleks flying in (with that lovely choral music again). Solomon gives a lovely speech, trying to reason with the Daleks, so naturally he’s exterminated. But the Daleks have doubts about Sec and his plan. They don’t want to give up their “Purity”. However, for now they go along with him. The Doctor, having passed his psychic paper to Martha, surrenders himself to the Daleks, having got Sec to agree to leave the people in Hooverville alone.

Back in the Dalek lair, the Doctor learns what Sec is planning. The Daleks have an enormous number of brain-wiped humans in storage. There is going to be a massive solar flare, which will channel energy down the gamma-ray conductor that the Daleks have had built on the Empire State Building. This will, combined with some icky looking fluids, turn the bodies into living human Dalek hybrids: a new army. But Sec is being influenced by his human part – he’s thinking of changing the nature of the Daleks.

And lots more fun follows. The other Daleks turn against Sec, the Doctor does an Are You Being Served? gag, and the whole Frankenstein bit appears to work. The army of hybrids awakes, as the Doctor appears to fail in his bid to disconnect the Dalekanium plates from the mast, and the energy surges through him.

Martha revives the Doctor, and he draws the Daleks to the theatre. Sec is in chains, and Dalek Caan has taken command. Sec is exterminated, and Caan commands the hybrids to kill the Doctor and his friends. They refuse, pointing out that they are not, in fact, Daleks at all. The Doctor explains that by getting in the way of the energy bolt, he’s infused them with Time Lord DNA. The hybrids manage to destroy two of the remaining Daleks before Caan makes them self-destruct.

The Doctor confronts Caan. He tries to persuade the last Dalek that he could change, but Caan’s not having any of it, and does the old emergency temporal shift routine again.

And there you have it. All over apart from the tidying up. Pig man Laszlo, who’s a lot more human than the others, and who was very helpful, is dying. Tallulah still loves him, even though he’s a bit of a pig. The Doctor manages to twiddle with his genetic code, which saves his life.

And what a lot of fun it was. Nice to see the Daleks being taken in a slightly different direction before reverting to their usual delightful selves. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Dalek Caan again, and I’m sure he’ll find a way to create some more Daleks to cause more trouble for the Doctor…

[1] etc :wink:
[2] There’s a long tradition of the Daleks using slave races.
[3] And let’s be quite clear: those guys are crazier than a bag of crazy things that stopped taking the tablets

Newcastle City Library: 11 May Photographs

And here they are: Friday’s Newcastle City Library pictures. I’ve still got lots more pictures to sort out, and I’ll try to do those over the next week or so.

Photographs: 9 May

I took some more pictures on my way to work on Wednesday, and here they are! Another random selection of things I spotted…

A Tuit Has Landed

Yes, I’ve finally found a tuit, and I’ve got to work on some of the pictures I’ve been promising you all.[1] First, we there are some pictures taken on the way to and from work on 30 April. These include some strange signs, amongst other things.

Not only that, but there are more pictures of the Newcastle City Library demolition. First, the set from 30 April.

And also a selection from 8 May. I’m catching up!

More pictures and more posts will follow…

[1] The squillions of regular, irregular and insane people who apparently read all this nonsense