Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S03E06 – The Lazarus Experiment

In the sixth episode of the third series of Doctor Who, the Doctor tries to leave Martha behind at her home, but is intrigued by a man on the news claiming that he’ll soon change what it means to be human. They meet a man named Richard Lazarus, who has discovered the secret to aging. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

You know, I thought this episode was pretty spectacular…until the last ten minutes. Have you ever watched a movie or an episode of a show and felt that it ended way too many times? I think that, while it can certainly be trite, sometimes a movie is fun when it ends and you return to your comfort zone and everything is peachy and unicorns and dolphins doing flips and teddy bear rainbow hugs and then BAM FUCK YOU. YOU WERE WRONG oh god why did i let my defenses down. (For a great example of this, in season six of The X-Files, “Field Trip” is one doozy of a narrative trick. SO FUN.)

Yeah, that didn’t happen here. The episode “ended,” you suspected something else was wrong, and then everything becomes WHAT IS THIS THAT MAKES NO SENSE.

Sigh.

It had been coming a couple episodes back, but I was still a bit shocked that this episode opened with the Doctor taking Martha back to her home. The whole situation between he two of them now feels so complicated and frustrating. Martha is dearly hoping to have some reciprocation of how she feels about the Doctor, but we all know that isn’t happening any time soon. I’m still unsure what the Doctor’s motives are at the beginning of “The Lazarus Experiment,” and now I’m wondering if maybe he shouldn’t have rushed right into getting a new companion so soon after he lost Rose. It’s unfair to Martha, I think, to constantly act the way he does around her.

Still, the Doctor couldn’t resist a good mystery, and when Martha and him watch a broadcast from Dr. Richard Lazarus, announcing that he will soon change what it means to be human, he has to return for at least one more adventure, right?

The Lazarus reference wasn’t lost on me and I assumed that age and life would be at the center of Dr. Lazarus’s presentation. I also appreciated that we got some more time with Martha’s family FFFFFFFFFFFFFF REGGIE YATES FFFFFFFFFF ok, I’ll stop.

Anyway, the Doctor gets to meet Martha’s family at Dr. Lazarus’s event and is given a healthy dose of suspicion from everyone involved, especially when Martha’s sister, Tish, wonders how he even got inside the event. (Francine, Martha’s mother, is also concerned, but we’ll get to that later.)

Lazarus upstages everything by stepping into some sort of device, a capsule of sorts, that fills with an unnamed energy and begins to spin faster and faster. Luckily, the Doctor SAVES THE DAY by pulling the power cable on the capsule before it overloads, which makes me laugh because the answer was literally that simple. Go figure. It had a power cable!

Then, Lazarus steps out of the capsule and IS SUDDENLY MUCH, MUCH YOUNGER. My first thought was that he’d actually gone back in time somehow, but that was kind of silly on second thought. The idea that writer Stephen Greenhorn actually comes up with is far more interesting: Lazarus actually manipulated his DNA to make him younger, altering himself at a much deeper level.

I don’t think the science in this episode is all that dependable, as the writers often twists the rules for dramatic effect, but this is one episode where I actually didn’t care. After getting a DNA sample of Lazarus from Martha’s hand after Lazarus kissed it (THERE’S TOTALLY DNA IN SALIVA!!!), the Doctor confirms a disturbing thought: by altering his DNA, Lazarus made it highly unstable. And how does he keep it stable?

BY SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF PEOPLE AND LEAVING BEHIND THEIR DESICCATED CORPSES.

Fuck man, that is creepy as hell. Well…I suppose it was more creepy without knowing what Lazarus’s unstable DNA was shifting into. STILL. Bravo to the crew that designed those corpses. That’s some nightmare-fuel shit right there.

The scene on the roof with Tish is weird, isn’t it? We saw earlier that Lazarus tried to hit on her and suddenly, he becomes younger and she is enamored with him? THAT IS STRANGE. But then she gets mad at Martha for calling him a monster but OOOPS HE REALLY IS ONE. Man, that has got to suck a whole lot, especially since Tish should have the right to choose the man she wants. Except Martha was right because he was literally a monster.

As they escape the scorpion mutation thing and try to warn the guests at the party of their impending doom, I figured, “Oh, hey, everyone will escape unscathed and la la la, the Doctor will save the day NO, FUCK YOU, said Stephen Greenhorn. I AM GOING TO HAVE LAZARUS SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF A RANDOM GUEST RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. Holy shit, that rarely happens! Why am I such a fan of things happening out in the open for everyone to see? I suppose a lot of science fiction caters to the Special Snowflake trope, that only one person is special enough to recognize and witness that super special phenomenon. I love when the inverse happens: no one is special and everyone is forced to witness it. (I think that’s half the fun of Cloverfield, FYI.)

The idea that dormant DNA essentially becomes unhinged is a fascinating one, especially since we all have it and nothing has ever come of it. (Yet.) Again, the science is probably awful, but it fits. It works within the confines of the show and I’m willing to dispel my own disbelief because I like the story.

And then…..what. See, Lazarus dies here, right around the half hour mark, maybe closer to thirty-five minutes. The whole story is pretty great: scientist tries to alter the very meaning of humanity, doesn’t account for variables, fucks everything up. A standard sci-fi, comic-book-esque story. I dig it. I enjoyed it a lot.

But then Lazarus is not really dead and then he’s in a church and then the Doctor puts Martha and Tish at risk and then HOW ARE THERE SO MANY DEVICES ON THIS SHOW THAT HAVE SLOTS FOR THE SONIC SCREWDRIVER? NO. I’m sorry, I cannot possibly believe that slot on the church organ was real. WHY WOULD THAT BE THERE.

You know what’s even more confusing? How the Doctor increased the sound on the organ to disrupt Lazarus and cause him to fall to his death, but the noise did absolutely nothing to the other three living creatures in the building aside from a bit of pain. No. No, that does not work that way. NO.. ::rolls up newspaper, swats writers::

I am hesitant to be excited about the Doctor offering the role of companion to Martha in a more long-term role because I don’t understand his motivation. Did this episode help him realize how much he appreciates her? We’ll see.

More importantly, I think this episode finally hinted at something much larger. As the TARDIS disappears with the Doctor and Martha on board, Martha’s phone rings. It’s Francine, her mother, warning her that she knows who the Doctor really is. How does she know this? Mr. Saxon told her.

Which brings up an interesting question: Who the fuck is Mr. Saxon?

THOUGHTS

  • Reggie yates FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
  • “I know the age thing’s a bit freaky but it worked for Catherine Zeta-Jones.” I LOVE YOU, TISH.
  • “Always the mothers! Every time!”
  • “Oh, look! They’ve got nibbles! I love nibbles!”
  • “It doesn’t work like that. Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.” AN ETERNAL TRUTH, AS SPOKEN BY THE DOCTOR.
  • “Why don’t you come out and face me?” “Have you looked in the mirror lately? Why would I want to face that, hmm?”
  • oh god Spinal Tap reference FUCK YES
  • reggie yates UUNNNNNNNFFFFFF

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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324 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S03E06 – The Lazarus Experiment

  1. kohlrabi says:

    It was the beginning of this episode that I realized I was still missing Rose far too much and not completely accepting Martha. I thought I had, but when I thought she was leaving already, I was kind of excited. Then when her sister came along for the episode I kept thinking, "Oh! I know! Martha's sister is going to be killed and she's going to decide to stop traveling with him!" Why I kept thinking these things, I have no clue. I love Martha!

    Anywho, speaking of her sister, while death was a silly idea I still thought they should have done something more with her. She was just kind of there the whole time. I guess the tension was supposed to be higher because it was Martha's sister in danger, but that didn't work for me since we'd barely seen her. And let's be honest, she does not have the presence of Jackie!

    I think this is possibly the first episode where I was actually bored. The premise was just dumb to me, Lazarus was boring both as a human and as a giant monster, and we still got nothing new really about Martha's family. I was really excited going in to learn more about them and start loving them as I did Jackie and Mickey, but I learned nothing. I think this hurts Martha's character because other than her first episode we've only been *told* she has a whole life outside of traveling with the Doctor. If you missed that episode you would have no idea. I got the impression with the phone call scene at the start of the series that we'd get to see more of that and see how it affected the Doctor and Martha to have to deal with a large and involved family. Yet, nothing. And here when they try to involve them it feels forced. Ah well, Martha still rocks!

    And who is Mr. Saxon, indeed!

  2. Andrew says:

    Reggie Yates presents our UK Top 40 Singles every week on Radio One. Not seen in him on TV for toooooo long :'''''''''(

  3. NB2000 says:

    This, so much, she finally gets to change her clothes (not that I don't love her jacket) and looks LOVELY. The Doctor was right, nice shoes indeed.

  4. Albion19 says:

    Loved that Martha put her foot down and said no to the one more trip offer. She deserves some respect.

    lol at the Doctor at first being offended by the James Bond comparison and then liking it πŸ˜›

    • nanceoir says:

      Oh, god, a thousand times yes to Martha not taking any more crap. "No, sorry, I'm not going to do any more of this 'just one more' malarkey, thank you very much." Go, Martha!

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Well, there is a theory that James Bond is a Time Lord. It explains why he keep changing appearance, anyway!

  5. kaybee42 says:

    Someone will probably have said this already, but:
    "Then, the Doctor steps out of the capsule" Marrrrrk- I KNOW that thingie was very tardis-esque, but still! At least you didn't call martha rose πŸ™‚
    edit: also Tish: "should have known he's a science geek"
    Doctor: "science geek? what's that?"
    Martha: "it means you're obsessively enthusiastic about it"
    Doctor: "Oh, good!"

    I LOVE THAT THE DOCTOR IS PROUD TO BE A GEEK!

    • Hypatia_ says:

      How the hell does the Doctor not know what a science geek is? That's my question.

      • kaybee42 says:

        Guess it's not really a 'thing' to him… just fact, y'know? Science IS fascinating- he's a Timelord! Travelling all over the universe and all through Time! How could you NOT be obsessively enthusiastic about Science?

  6. Elise says:

    You know, all of the companions in the new series have great things about them, but Martha…she is my favorite. I'm so willing to overlook all of the annoying little romance things, because frankly? She is a BAMF forever. I'm so excited for later reviews. πŸ˜€

    • nanceoir says:

      She is particularly BAMFy in this episode. I love it when everyone's crowded around the entrance, and she's all, "Tish, there's got to be an override somewhere!" And Tish points it out, and Martha slides over the front desk! Boom! Action!Martha, in eveningwear, even.

      • kaybee42 says:

        YES! And did you see how good she was at running in heels? That must be the true mark of a BAMF! Then her glee when she did it and got the doors open made me SO HAPPY!

        • psycicflower says:

          I am forever impressed by her and Tish running down stairs in heels. That takes some serious skill.

        • nanceoir says:

          I love that her heels are very pretty and appropriate but still kind of practical (action heels!), with the strap on them and not little spindly heels.

          I also love that the Doctor appreciates her shoes, too.

      • Starsea28 says:

        Yes! Martha Jones can save the world in a little black dress and purple heels.

  7. Tauriel says:

    Ah, yes, the big question. Who is Mr. Saxon?

    • jackiep says:

      This is a good opportunity to suggest that our Host might want to rewatch the bit in the Runaway Bride when the tank blasts the spaceship. And maybe rewatch the last 10 minutes of Smith and Jones…

  8. monkeybutter says:

    Mark Gatiss! He certainly has a lot of freckles!

    I agree, everyone gathering on the steps and Lazarus being packed into the ambulance felt like the end. And maybe we could have avoided the whole DNA brown note nonsense in the cathedral. I liked the jokes, but this episode drags at the end.

  9. Karen says:

    This episode just does not do it for me. Like, it’s not really actively bad or offensive to my sensibilities. It’s just so incredibly meh for me that it’s hard to force myself to rewatch it. I just find the plot boring. The whole immortality/eternal youth thing has just been explored so much in fiction already, and this episode brings absolutely nothing new to the table. That and the fact that there is no real character growth or exploration make for an episode that is hard for me to sit through.

    Blah blah blah. Immortality. Boringness. Cocktail party. Woooo. Chase scene in a church. Hurrah. Oh and Martha is going to be traveling with the Doctor full-time. That pretty much covers all you need to know about this episode. For me the high point of the episode would have to be seeing Martha and the Doctor dressed to the nines. Martha’s dress is cute. And she looks pretty. Although, I think the headband is a mistake. She should have gone with a thinner one or at least one that wasn't crochet. Ten wears a tux! That is a definite plus. And his hair looks really fantastic in this episode.

    I think my main problem with this episode is that I really don’t like Martha’s family (except for maybe Tish). Francine just comes off as cold. She dislikes the Doctor immediately for no good reason. Jackie had plenty of reason to slap the Doctor. He’d taken away her daughter for a YEAR. She thought Rose might be dead. Nothing of the sort happened with Martha. Francine just doesn’t like the Doctor because… well. I’m not really sure. She thinks he could distract Martha from her studies? She just thinks he’s a shady guy in general? Whatever the reason, it’s no reason to slap the Doctor. Meh. I don’t know. I just loved Jackie and Mickey so much that for me Martha’s family was a let down. Even Leo, who seems nice enough, doesn’t exactly have much of a personality.

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/i1ka38.jpg"&gt;
    Lazarus: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Richard Lazarus. I am seventy-six years old. And I am reborn!

    With dialogue like that how could this not be a fantastic episode? /sarcasm

    There were a couple of bits that made me laugh.

    The Doctor: Really shouldn't take that long just to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice.

    Heh. Nice call back to Three and his penchant for reversing the polarity of the neutron flow.

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2cr916o.jpg"&gt;
    The Doctor: [playing the organ] Need to turn this up to eleven.

    I see you This is Spinal Tap reference, I see you.

    The Doctor: Black tie… Whenever I wear this, something bad always happens.

    That might be true, Doctor, but don’t let that stop your from wearing it. That suit does all kinds of wonderful things to his lanky frame.

    I also enjoyed the TS Eliot reference. “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper." I love "The Hollow Men".

    The closest thing that we get to character development this episode is the Doctor angsting about living so long. It had a bit of an echo of his conversation with Rose from “School Reunion”.

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/5sajr.jpg"&gt;
    The Doctor: I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end you just get tired. Tired of the struggle. Tired of losing everyone that matters to you. Tired of watching everything to dust. If you live long enough, the only certainty is that you’ll end up alone.

    Using my shipper goggles, I can see this as being about Rose. haha. Sorry, I’m just trying to find something about this episode to keep my interest.

    Martha does have a couple of nice heroic moments. I love that bit when she slides across the security desk. Heh. I am easily amused. And I love it when she goes back for the Doctor. But there isn't a whole lot of growth for her in this episode. I do like that she sticks up for herself and tells the Doctor to stop stringing her along. I love it when Martha doesn't put up with the Doctor's crap, but it still feels a bit like she's bluffing because she's so clearly infatuated with him, if that makes any sense.

    OH. SOMETHING ELSE ABOUT THIS EPISODE THAT I ENJOY: the mention of Southwark Cathedral. It’s like a 15 minute walk from where I live, so I get all excited when it’s featured in this episode (even though they didn’t actually film there.) I like being able to ~visualize where the episode is taking place.

    • kaybee42 says:

      In Francines defence:
      Watch that scene of them talking from the doctors point of view. "Uhoh, what have we been busy doing? Can't tell her we've been flying through time… just say STUFF"
      Then from Francines POV:
      This bloke popped up last night, Martha left the party and now the Doctor is talking about how they've been busy doing stuff. No mother likes to hear that about her daughter, no matter how old she is!
      (By the way I'm defending her for no real reason other than that conversation makes me lol.)

      Oh and Leo has a personality! *talktalktalk about how this is all the Doctors fault* Leo pops up: "well, Tish invited everyone so really I think it's all Tish's fault…. *Tish elbows him*. That exchange says everything it needs to about Leo for me! He is a brother! πŸ˜›

    • I'll admit, this episode made me just about lose interest in this series of Doctor Who. The last few episodes just fell flat for me, but that's entirely personal. I couldn't connect to anything that was happening because this is such a familiar theme/trope in scifi. Dessicated corpses? Le yawn. Good thing most of Doctor Who isn't like this!

      • monkeybutter says:

        Agreed, it's been three so-so episodes in a row. At least there's the mysterious Mr Saxon thrown in at the end?

      • Tauriel says:

        True, it's been three "meh" episodes in a row. But it will get better… so much better… And Mark is SO not prepared! πŸ˜€

      • LoonyLu says:

        This was one of the first episodes of Doctor Who I saw and thank God I stuck with it. But yeah I almost decided to give up on Doctor Who right then. Yay for better episodes in the future!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Using my shipper goggles, I can see this as being about Rose. haha. Sorry, I’m just trying to find something about this episode to keep my interest.

      Hey, whatever works – I was trying my best to not fall asleep during it myself and didn't even have THAT to fall back on, haha.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Francine just comes off as cold. She dislikes the Doctor immediately for no good reason. Jackie had plenty of reason to slap the Doctor. He’d taken away her daughter for a YEAR. She thought Rose might be dead. Nothing of the sort happened with Martha. Francine just doesn’t like the Doctor because… well. I’m not really sure. She thinks he could distract Martha from her studies?

      Yes, I completely agree! (What a shocker, right?) Martha's only been gone overnight, as far as her mum knows. She has the right to be a bit wary of the Doctor but she only slaps him after she's been told 'things' by Mr Saxon's man… and they're probably all true, to be fair. As for her motive, I'm going to be nasty and say that Francine doesn't want Martha 'getting distracted' because Martha needs to be the family peacemaker and smooth everyone's ruffled feathers. She can't do that if she's got her own life. *cough*

    • nanceoir says:

      In Francine's defense, she slapped the Doctor after they were all outside and Lazarus was in the ambulance, right? The way she sees it, this is the one and only reason Martha went back into the building with the primordial scuttling monster while everyone else was headed for safety. So, she slapped the man who put her daughter in danger. Fair play to her, really.

      ETA: So, apparently several folks have stepped up in Francine's defense. Just… 'cause? Who knows. πŸ˜€

      • Starsea28 says:

        She slapped the Doctor after Mr Saxon's man whispered something in her ear. Make of that what you will. πŸ˜‰

    • barnswallowkate says:

      Are we… are we supposed to take the shipper goggles off?? I don't think I ever do…

    • flamingpie says:

      "I just loved Jackie and Mickey so much that for me Martha’s family was a let down. Even Leo, who seems nice enough, doesn’t exactly have much of a personality."

      My thoughts exactly. Losing Rose as a companion was, to me, not really THAT huge of a deal beyond the initial sadness, because while I absolutely shipped her and the Doctor and adored her, I adore Martha too. But with Rose we lost her whole family unit, and I loved Jackie and Mickey SO much more than Martha's. Tish isn't bad and I like Leo, but they're just… not that interesting? And there's nothing that makes me care about them.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      I do agree that Francine's opinion of the Doctor seems a bit unjustified. I mean, yeah, I know from her point of view she suspects the two of them to have been doing something a bit more adult, but that's no reason to get in a huff. She's an adult, she's allowed to make her own choices. I can partly understand her getting angry about Martha going back into danger, especially if Mr. Saxon has told her things…but still, seems unwarranted compared to Jackie thinking her daughter was dead for a year.

      I do like Martha's mum. Y'know, not as a person, but a character. She adds a fun dynamic!

      I know the episode drags a lot here, but I didn't even mind that. I can even sorta ignore the bad science, because I think the Doctor's speech in the church is beautiful, and really shows how much the Doctor is hurting. I do think an element has to do with Rose, but on the whole, I think its much more about the people he's lost in general. He's seen so many of his human companions die or leave and his entire race, including his friends and family, are dead. I can't help but feel that sadness is more than about Rose, but all the loss he's suffered across his long, long life.

      “It doesn’t work like that. Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.” Such truth. I really love the quote, and what it says about our Doctor's personal beliefs.

    • notemily says:

      I see Francine's distrust of the Doctor as related to her husband's new girlfriend. She sees the new girlfriend as taking her husband away from the family, so she wants to keep the rest of the family together as much as she can, and when the Doctor starts to interest Martha so much, she's worried that Martha is going to leave the family behind too. Or something? This is just a half-formed thought but it makes sense to me.

  10. Guest says:

    You might now want to go back to earlier episodes and see if you catch something you didn't catch before. (Shall we tell you which?)

    Tish by the way is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who recently starred as lead in JJ Abrams short-lived NBC spy show Undercovers.

    Mark Gatiss, who plays Richard Lazarus, has previously written "The Unquiet Dead" and "The Idiot's Lantern" making him one of very few people who did both writing and acting on Doctor Who and the only one with a noteworthy role. And that is by far not all of his work, he is very active in other DW media, too.

    • Guest says:

      Although this post is still mildly in the positive at least two people have voted down it. I just want to say I was VERY careful here not to loose a single word about the subject of my first paragraph (unlike a lot of users) and asked Mark if he wants episode names instead of just blurting out the precise scenes (unlike some users).

      I had not reloaded the page to read the first comments after the article (there weren't any when I first loaded it) and I probably wouldn't have posted that first paragraph at all if I had seen that others were much more explicit about important bits of this episode.

  11. Starsea28 says:

    Even the Doctor commented on her shoes. AT COMPLETELY THE WRONG TIME. But still. πŸ˜‰

  12. lacunaz says:

    Yeah this episode is pretty forgettable for me. And I don't like Mark Gatiss (guy who plays Lazarus, also wrote The Unquiet Dead and…something else I didn't like) so I'm prejudiced right from the off. Basically the only reasons to watch this episode for me are:

    1) Ten in a tux
    2) Martha being stunning
    3) Gotta catch 'em all Saxon reference

    • nanceoir says:

      Honestly, Mark Gatiss hasn't been my favorite Who writer, but I love watching him talk about the show (thanks to Doctor Who Confidential episodes), so I end up with mixed emotions about it all. "Oh, it's a Mark Gatiss episode? That might not end well. But he'll be in the Confidential episode, yay!"

      *is weird*

  13. kaleidoscoptics says:

    I am hesitant to be excited about the Doctor offering the role of companion to Martha in a more long-term role because I don’t understand his motivation. Did this episode help him realize how much he appreciates her? We’ll see.

    This was pretty much how I felt at this point too. Martha is a great character, but she's in this situation that's really not healthy. The Doctor know that he "needs someone to stop [him]" as Donna put it. I'm not sure if he's really oblivious to Martha's feelings or if he just hopes it'll fade if he ignores it.

    The science in this episode is really abysmal. I like the idea of regression-evolution, using the dormant parts of DNA. But afaik humans have no evolutionary link to arachnids. (Unless we go back to the most recent common ancestor, which would have been some type of proto-fish or something.) If they did something like this but practiced it on a chicken which turned into a velociraptor or something, it would have been awesome.

  14. kohlrabi says:

    Hey now! You're not supposed to point out things like this that Mark has missed. I know personally I would have loved to catch these on my own on rewatch! That kinda sucks.

  15. I really love this episode mostly because Martha's family are in it and I love the juggling of whole family dynamic with the Doctor about.

  16. Ali says:

    :D:D:D Field Trip!

    No, sorry, I swear I'll do no more X Files geek outs on Doctor Who threads. *sigh*

    This episode was very 'meh' for me, I think season three hit a bit of a rough patch around this area. The episodes aren't BAD , they just don't have much of an impact. In fact, I don't even remember watching some of them the first time round…

  17. kaleidoscoptics says:

    Please don't point these things out yet if Mark doesn't notice them.

  18. Randomcheeses says:

    Uh, it's Lazarus who steps out of the machine younger, not the Doctor.

    But nevermind. Onto more important things, such as REGGIE YATES!!! <3 There needs to be more Leo.

  19. Openattheclose says:

    Ten in a tux! My favorite.

    <img src=http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_la34j4Ct3s1qc649a.gif>

    • Meena says:

      I love that gif. Took me a few seconds to realize that his hair hadn't gone wild, it was just the shadow behind him, because it looks like me with really bad bedhead.

  20. Ali says:

    Sorry Mark , such a massive digression but Field Trip has one my favourite bits from the X Files…

    "Mulder: Scully, in six years, how… how often have I been wrong? No, seriously. I mean, every time I bring you a new case we go through this perfunctory dance. You tell me I'm not being scientifically rigorous and that I'm off my nut, and then in the end who turns out to be right like 98.9% of the time? I just think I've… earned the benefit of the doubt here."

    Doesn't that just sum up the show perfectly? ^^

    Augh, I'll stop. Sorry guys, it's the mediocre episodes of Doctor Who that's making me revert back to X Files! I'll recover around the kick-ass awesome season finale. πŸ˜€

  21. arctic_hare says:

    LOL, I barely remembered anything about this episode before I read your review – like Karen, I found it incredibly boring and forgettable. So much so, that the chain of events was hazy in my mind. I do agree with you about how it should've ended, though, Mark.

    Although… if I rewatched, I suspect I would giggle every time Lazarus was onscreen, because I recently found out about something amusing that Mark Gatiss (who plays Lazarus, and writes for DW) did once upon a time: write bad erotica under a pseudonym. *snicker*

    • echinodermata says:

      lolol "…as he gazed up at the fantastic penis above him. What would the giant do next?"

      I LOVE bad erotica. I remember once having a competition with a friend about who could read aloud bad erotica longer without cracking up.

    • thecheapshot says:

      Hahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa that's brilliant! I can't read it (at work now) but I'm gonna check it out as soon as I get home. He's so posh in the League of Gentlmen behind the scenes stuff! Love it

    • mr_bobby says:

      That KILLED me.

      "Great silky spearhead of his desire" I WILL NEVER NOT FIND THIS FUNNY.

      Bahhhahahhaahahaaa.

    • flamingpie says:

      Oh my GOD, dying forever. Thank you so much for sharing that.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Thank you SO MUCH for this link! I love you forever, and Mark Gatiss more than before!

  22. ravendaine says:

    I liked Mark Gatiss in this one, too. You know, until the giant bug thing… I think he's got a very professor-y quality about him that works well in this and other stuff he's done. And I feel unsettled about the Doctor and Martha up to this point in the series. D10 seems very indecisive about emotional decisions, and perhaps he feels like he's betraying the memories of Rose-time by taking on a full-time companion? But at the same time he needs someone there and Martha makes a good companion? It's all very muddled–maybe that's the point.

  23. psycicflower says:

    Mmmm Reggies Yate and David Tennant in tuxes. Add in the promo for tomorrow night's Fringe and it's a good week for men in tuxes. Also I love Martha's shoes.

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/14b8efq.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I do love that it's all hugs and happy reunion and then Francine just strides straight up to the Doctor and slaps him. Why is it just so satisfying whenever someone slaps him?

    ‘Reverse the polarity’ FTW!
    ‘That’s an interesting perfume. What’s it called?’ ‘Soap.’ Hell yeah Tish. I think this is a nice look at some of the dynamics in Martha's family, particularly her Mam. Francine is clearly very driven when it comes to her children. She's protective and wants them to do well in life however her nosiness makes it seem a bit overbearing.

    ‘You think I’d waste another lifetime on you?’ I have absolutely no sympathy for Lazarus because he is just beyond horrible to his wife when he de-ages. (Although I love you Mark Gatiss, especially as Mycroft.) The CGI monster is pretty lolarious too. I do love the whole ‘The biggest danger here is choking on an olive.’ and BAM monster breaks through the door.

    'You should take more care in the future. And in the past. And whatever other time period you find yourself in.’ I love that Martha stood up to the Doctor and his whole one more trip mentality. She deserves to be a proper companion and not just dragged along at the Doctor's whims.

    There's something else I wanted to mention but since you didn't my mouth is zipped just in case.

    You are not prepared.

  24. This episode just didn't grip me. Dessicated corpses and big bad sneaky rich guys? I've just seen it too much. (Entirely my opinion, I know many people like this episode very much.)
    To be fair, I love seeing Martha stand up for herself, and that she's not just passively accepting the Doctor's treatment of her. I like seeing her work it out and consider what she really wants.

  25. buyn says:

    Alright. Fear Forecast rates this a 5. Cause man monster!lazarus is creepy as sin. And as I was perusing the fear forecast, I read their review, which was full of giggles.
    "(30) Harry prods his sister: "Look Amy, a naked man!". "Where?" asks Amy, and immediately removes her hands from her face. "
    "(36) the Doctor realises what he can do with hypersonic sound waves. "Hey, the organ's got a handy hole for his sonic screwdriver!" notes Adam."
    "(38) "He's naked again!" calls Harry. "Another nudey shot," agrees Samuel. But Amy's not falling for that one again, and remains by the doorway, glancing only occasionally at the screen. "

    That girl. She's weird. Anyway, the best part of this episode, is that it shows us Mark Gatiss. The writer of Unquiet Dead, and Idiot's Lantern, plays Lazarus. I like being able to put faces and voices to the writers. It's nice.

  26. Flumehead says:

    Harold Saxon. Ooohhh boy. You are not prepared.

  27. Hypatia_ says:

    The Doctor: Lovely to meet you, Mrs. Jones. Heard a lot about you.
    Francine: Have you? What have you heard?
    The Doctor: Oh, you know that…you're…Martha's mother and…um…no actually, that's about it, we haven't had much time to chat. Y'know, been…busy.
    Francine: Busy? Doing what, exactly?
    The Doctor: Oh, you know…stuff…
    Francine: ::extremely suspicious look::
    Martha: ::is clearly thinking "…awkward…"::

    Oh Doctor, you so fail at meeting your companions' parents. No wonder they keep slapping you.

    It kind of bothers me that Trish was creeped out by Dr. Lazarus hitting on her when he looked old (can't blame her, I wouldn't want to be hit on my my employer either, particularly if he was old enough to be my grandfather) but then is all into him when he looks young. It seems a bit sexist to me, like saying that the ladies don't care if the guy's a creep (which Lazarus is) if he's handsome.

    I'm not a biologist, nor do I have any background in biology, but the science in this one makes me wince. Even I know it's not even anywhere near plausible.

    "Really shouldn't take that long just to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice." I love it when the new series references the classic series.

    The parts with the Doctor talking about how if you live long enough you lose everything are sad and an interesting view into his psyche. Other incarnations never seemed bothered about their insanely long life, but Ten expresses such discontent over his functional immortality.

    And finally: STOP BEING A DICK TO MARTHA, DOCTOR. Seriously. Martha was right, this whole relationship has "rebound" written all over it. Either accept her for who she is (i.e., not Rose) and treat her well, or let her go. Do not keep jerking her around.

    • exbestfriend says:

      Yeah, you never want to meet someone's parents and then imply you've spent the last 24 hours or so together not talking. Especially when you are attractive like Martha and Ten are, it only implies that you've been doing it. You know, having the sex. In a even shallower note, they both looked HOT.

      RE: Trish, I saw it more as ageist not sexist.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        I dunno, the tux doesn't do anything for me. Probably because I'm ridiculously attached to the awesome coat he usually wears.

        As for Trish, yeah, I can see how it could be ageist as well. Great, even worse. But it still comes off as sexist to me.

        • jackiep says:

          Tish is acting like women through the ages (and loved the Catherine Xeta Jones reference). Creeply old rich bloke is now creepy YOUNG rich bloke. Different proposition.

          Had Tish only been a gold digger, she might have been favourable to the wealthy old bloke who couldn't have too many years left on his clock.

        • exbestfriend says:

          Well it seemed like Trish's reaction was supposed to mirror Dr. Lazarus' behavior with Lady Thaw. All that power and money but in an older body. Just like Trish rejected the older Lazarus, when Lazarus became young he rejected Shaw.

    • Bonnie says:

      …am I the only person who doesn't think Lazarus is attractive? Like at all?

  28. Hotaru-hime says:

    SAXOOOOOOONNNNNNN.
    Really, I just like saying anything that's got an "x" in it. Weird quirk, I suppose.
    Yeah, I didn't like the bit with the church. It seemed to cheapen it… and the organ's use? I was practically hollering "SYMBIOOOOOTE!" because it reminded me so much of Venom and Carnage.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Oh, good, it wasn't just me who thought that.

      It seems as though horrible, mutated people-monsters are easily defeated by bells in fiction. I'll need to remember that if it ever happens to me in real life.

  29. echinodermata says:

    Really, it takes half a season before Martha gets considered a real companion? Thanks a lot – every attempt at making her less worthwhile than the companions before her (especially when they think it's a good idea to compare her to Rose) just makes me hate the writers and love Martha more.

    And then you have Martha's mother depicted as unlikeable, and Martha's sister as being unqualified/undeserving of her job and flirting with someone generally considered unlikeable, and you know, a monster. And the entire family is portrayed as dysfunctional.

    This is what I mean when I say Doctor Who doesn't do well with race. You get all these skeevy undertones that yes, are quite probably accidental and unintentional, but are still present. Basically, there aren't enough characters of color on this show who are portrayed in a positive manner, or who are portrayed positively and are still alive, that I think the show definitely needs to be more careful and considerate when they're writing their characters of color.

    Also, MOAR GENETICS FAIL, in a continuation of the last episode. Great. I'm not even touching on the de-aging thing. BUT IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO OBSERVE DNA MUTATING IN REAL TIME. And cell division and protein synthesis takes time, meaning even if there were DNA that turned you into a monster, it wouldn't happen on a scale of minutes/hours, but probably more like days.

    Although, regarding "How the Doctor increased the sound on the organ to disrupt Lazarus and cause him to fall to his death, but the noise did absolutely nothing to the other three living creatures in the building aside from a bit of pain" – sonication is an actual scientific technique used to fragment DNA, so 1, I can stretch belief to assume the sonic screwdriver can in fact be bad for DNA, and 2, if Lazarus' DNA is mutated a lot and mutating really quickly, I could feasibly understand him being affected more by a sonic device than healthy people would – it's the basis of cancer radiation, for example.

    I'm also not fond of how the Doctor is depicted as being critical about a human trying to prolong their life. Basically, I don't think the Doctor's allowed to be critical of that given he basically doesn't die, and thus isn't in a position to judge. And I want to say more on this, but spoilers.
    Also, the Doctor criticizes Lazarus for defying the "laws of nature," but certain parts of DW canon explain Time Lord regeneration as technology and not a native ability of the species, so he's one to talk.

    • I do think Martha got a raw deal. It's weird, because in many ways I relate to her more than most companions (in terms of the nerdy fun), but I couldn't *connect* to her on an emotional level, and I think the writing is to blame. She should have been stellar, and they distracted it with so many unpleasant moments as if to say: LOOK, SHE'S STILL NOT AS GOOD AS ROSE, VIEWERS! And I thought it was poorly done.
      Poor Martha, the character deserved better treatment from the writers, much less the Doctor..

    • Hypatia_ says:

      I kind of got the impression that the Doctor is speaking out of his own issues. Ten is extremely discontented with his immortality and doesn't understand why anyone would want it. I think that, in a way, he's jealous of humans, who can live a full lives and then died naturally, without outliving everyone and everything they love. It's just another thing he can't have.

      • echinodermata says:

        Oh, for sure, I totally get that. It's just, he hasn't had the human perspective on life, so I just read it as a continuing hypocrisy of his character that goes unchecked by the narrative.

        • Hypatia_ says:

          True, the hypocrisy Ten gets away with does get old at times. Ten's not so good with the logical thinking, and in this series particularly he projects his own issues onto, like, everyone.

          • This may be wildly unpopular, but I'm prepared for the frowny faces. (see my shiny tinfoil hat?)
            Sometimes Ten was so self-pitying that I honestly wanted to have Donna pop up like a Puppet Pal and smack him in the head. I don't dislike him, and I know how easy it is to go on long "woe is me" tangents (I do it more than I should when I'm ill, for instance), but it really started to turn me off in this series. Thank God for the companions to distract from it.

            • Tauriel says:

              I agree with that. Ten can be such an emo crybaby sometimes… I wonder if the tenth incarnation is the Time Lord equivalent of puberty – y'know, the "twu wuw" thing with Rose (ugh), all the mood swings… πŸ˜›

              • Starsea28 says:

                Someone I know did suggest that after the Time War, the Doctor had to start all over again. Nine is the Kid; Ten is the Teenager and then… well, spoilers. πŸ™‚

            • Sierra says:

              I wished more than once throughout season 3 that Donna had stuck around to smack him upside the head when he gets pouty. *sigh*

              • Hypatia_ says:

                This, so very much. The Doctor really needs someone like Donna around at this point, someone who will call him out and slap him upside the head when he needs it. Martha puts her foot down occasionally, but mostly she hero-worships the Doctor, which is not really the relationship he needs right now.

    • CuriousApe says:

      This! Stupid DNA-fails. I'm fine with the de-aging thing (I've just written it of as magic, since it wasn't really explained "scientifically" as far as I remember), but ugh. Basic genetics isn't that hard to grasp. And it doesn't work like that.
      Well, at least they attempted to explain. I'll give them credit for that. And yay, sonication!

      I liked Martha's family, actually, but now that you've pointed it out I can see the problem… There's something else I could say about this matter, but I won't because spoilers.

      • echinodermata says:

        I actually tend to prefer not getting an explanation, just cause bad technobabble pisses me off more than not. I, too, don't mind magic science, and often appreciate it when it gives an interesting premise, I just don't want writers trying to legitimize the magic with pseudoscience that makes no sense.

        • Agreed. It's a kid's show originally, sure, but kids aren't stupid, and I get annoyed when shows sort of treat them like it by giving such simplistic yet far-out reasons for things that just don't work.

    • sabra_n says:

      For me, most of the fail surrounding Tish and Francine at this point was sexism, not racism, but that could easily be because I'm a white girl and an angry feminist and therefore more attuned to those sorts of things. (Though heaven knows that racism even I can detect starts coming in later…) I mean, what is with the treatment of Tish as some sort of decorative ditz? If she put together the gala in this episode, she's damn good at her job for someone who looks to be in her early twenties.

      This episode is perfectly medium-Who fluff, but I agree with pretty much every point you made here. For all the ways that S3 was an improvement over previous seasons in storytelling, it just hurt itself so badly with the utterly BS way it treated Martha and how much of a wanker Ten became.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      I have to say, I think you're reading way too much into the colour aspect. To me, it's completely irrelevant that Martha is black and that is what is portayed on screen. Remember the UK does not have the history of assocating black with inferior, in the way US history does. To shy away from a particular storyline because of skin colour would be a form of positive discrimination. And there's no such thing as positive when it comes to discrimination.

      I think the writing for Martha as someone who fallen instantly, deeply, head over heels for someone is beautiful and sad. In the few days she's been with him up until now, she's had the trip of a lifetime. She wasn't going to tell him to take her home – he was going to do that anyway, except he kept finding excuses to extend the trip…which just adds to her belief that maybe he likes her. Irrational it may be, but she's in love – what does rational have to do with it?

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        (Ctd…)

        Now, at the end of this episode, the situation changes. When the Doctor offers `one more trip` this isn't just extending the experience – this would be be going away with him for a second time. So she makes a stand. She's still not ready to confront him about her feelings yet, but the relationship dynamic has changed. It may seem a small change from the outside, but to her it's huge. It's given her fresh hope that if she sticks around, he might eventually get over his ex and then maybe they could have something. And unrequited love is like that. Finding some spark of hope, however small, magnifying it and holding on with both hands.

        As an aside, I wouldn't describe the Joneses as dysfunctional. Sure the dad's having a midlife crisis or something, but it's clear to me that they otherwise a very close knit family. Their little digs to one another as born out of that. Martha seems to be the mediator, the one to solve the normal family crises that come along.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          (Just a bit more…)

          But Francine is clearly a matriachal figure. She distrusts the Doctor first of all because she would distrust any man that suddenly, inexplicably appeared in Martha's life. Martha's priorities, in her mother's eyes should be her medical traning and her family. Nothing else. That is quite clear. To see Martha choose this strange man over both of those is something her Mum can't stand. And of course, the Mysterious Man plays to Francine's maternal fears.

      • echinodermata says:

        "Remember the UK does not have the history of assocating black with inferior, in the way US history does."

        Seriously? You sure this is what you want to say?
        I suppose I can give you the fact that racism isn't the same in the UK and the US, but it's just different, not absent.

        • Guest says:

          It is very different though, there was and still are racists nutters around but nothing like on the level you had in the USA. I don't mean to sound superior but we didn't go around lynching black people, or need to have a massive civil rights movement.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          Yes, exactly. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist. I'm saying it's different.

          Just like some Americans complained about Chris's Doctor saying `keep the domestics outside` about Mickey. It would never occur to us in Britain that it might mean `he's a domestic servant because he's black and therefore shoudl stay outside`. Because we don't have that history.

          Likewise, I think some of the concerns you seem to have over Martha I can undertand from an American perspective, but from a British perspective, not so much.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          Yes, exactly. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist. I'm saying it's different.

          Just like some Americans complained about Chris's Doctor saying, "Keep the domestics outside," about Mickey. It would never occur to us in Britain that it might mean `He's a domestic servant because he's black and therefore should stay outside`. Because we don't have that history.

          Likewise, I think some of the concerns you seem to have over Martha I can understand from an American perspective, but from a British perspective, not so much.

          • echinodermata says:

            Okay, this'll probably be my last comment on the matter for today, since I'm really not in the mood to try to explain this to people.

            While I am from the US, there are plenty of people who found the same things problematic that I did, and they're British. You do not speak for Britain, and you certainly do not speak for all the people of color in Britain regarding aspects of race.

            Britain had slaves, and had domestic servants, and many were black. So you do have that history. It's not exactly the same history as in the US, but it's certainly similar.

            Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean everyone else in your country doesn't either. I really don't think there the US and the UK are as different as you're implying, and since I know people from the UK did have issues with DW and race, your comments seem uninformed at best.

          • ffyonak says:

            You're absolutely right that different phrases/situations etc will have different racial connotations in different cultures. The history of race in Britain is different to that of the USA, as it is to that of France or Brazil, or whichever country you pick.

            But we had black slaves in this country. And we captured and sold many of the slaves that ended up in the US. It's a different history but we have to be very careful not to minimise the role that a) racism plays in our history (and present) and b) the role that Britain played in the actual slave culture that Americans and others refer to.

            We, as a nation, were responsible for countless Africans becoming slaves in what became the US. I'm sure you don't mean to deny that, but when you say we don't have a history of associating black with inferior… that's just incorrect.

            • Guest says:

              No one is denying Britain was involved in the slave trade. I think the difference here between UK and US is the treatment of people of different races in recent history i mean like the 20th century. I think its undeniable that a person of colour would have a different experience growing up in say the 1960's in the US than here. That's not to say we dont have racism in this country we still do, but on the whole the generation of kids who watch Doctor Who in this country now i don't think would see Martha's character's treatment to be defined by her colour.

              • nyssaoftraken74 says:

                OK, I think we're straying from my original point here. What I'm trying to say is Freema/Martha's skin colour is irrelevent to her character arc. Russell decided on the unrequited love angle following the romance with Rose, long before Freema was cast. So Martha's story wasn't written because she wss black. Freema was not cast because she was black. If they had cast a white actor, they would have told the same story. The story as it stands is not about race.

                To shy away from telling this story because of race would be wrong, in my view.

                • ffyona says:

                  I agree. On reflection, I totally see the point you're making. Multicultural (that word skeeves me out a bit but I can't think of a better one) casting is so prevalent on British TV that I sincerely doubt that anyone would look at this and think 'Martha is being treated this way because she's black'. Especially not younger generations who have been raised on television that reflects the racial makeup of our society.

                  Obviously, that's just my experience as a white person: it's not really for me to say whether or not it's problematic but that's my gut reaction.

                  My objection was simply to your choice of words, I guess. I read it as: we don't have to worry about race issues in the same way because we've never seen black as inferior, which rubbed me the wrong way. But I understand that's probably not the point you were making, thank you for clarifying what you meant. πŸ™‚

                • OtherGuest says:

                  Different guest from above.

                  I don't think the point OP is making is that the writers are deliberately being racist, I think it's that the story reads differently if the actors are black than if they were white. The problem itself is the colorblind casting, and that the same storyline for a black character reads differently than for a white character.

                  I think there was a fan comic about how if the Doctor were black, his psychic paper would read "janitor" and stuff like that than the "administrator" positions the psychic paper normally says. That's the point, that racial perceptions exist so it's best not to have the potentially charged stories/characters in the first place.

                  It's not about what the writers intended, it's about how it reads.

                  • nyssaoftraken74 says:

                    And that's where I disagree. To me it *doesn't* read differently. It literally make no difference whatsoever unless you choose to read something into it that isn't there. The story is good and valid and deserves to be told. Nothing charged about it.

                    To avoid it on the grounds of race is a form of positive discrimination, and positive discrimination is wrong. Any discrimination is wrong. What you're effectively saying is that black actors aren't allowed to do unrequited love stories or play characters who are mistreated. That is limiting the opportunities of black actors simply because of some people's misinterpretation.

                    The only way to get rid of discrimination is to make stories like this normal and colour-blind.

    • rys says:

      I've gotten a completely different view of the Jones family than you have here, and of the writers' intentions. I think the writers are deliberately exploring the difficulty Ten is having in dealing with the fallout of Rose and Doomsday, and showing how that is affecting his new companion. These things have consequences, and the Doctor is imperfect and not doing a great job. That reflects on him, not Martha.

      As for the Jones family, I don't want to say much because these characters are still being explored, but I think they are a normal, grown-up family who have their foibles and problems and at the same time, a lot of love and things to be proud of. Matha and Tish are obviously bright, energetic people and Matha in particular has shown her heroism on numerous occasions. I don't get how her also having feelings for the Doctor, or the Doctor missing Rose and behaving poorly because of it, makes her a lesser character or a bad portrayal.

    • hassibah says:

      I agree with pretty much all of this, except I didn't really see Martha's family as dysfunctional. Yes her parents are divorced which is pretty common these days but everyone in her family otherwise seems pretty well adjusted and are doing pretty well in their lives, in some ways a lot better than a lot of other characters on the show. Her mother is just one of those ladies that you don't want to mess with, but this made me read her as a tougher older wiser version of her daughter, though I guess it's possible that other people watching the show might not look at them the same way I do.

      Basically, I hate that this crappy trend in the season's arc is keeping me from gushing about how awesome Freema and Martha are.

      • __Jen__ says:

        Honestly, cheering on Martha as she becomes more pro-active was one of the only things that kept me engaged in these last few episodes. I don't really care for Ten all that much and the writing makes me crazy, but Martha actually gets to do things and solve problems. So gush away!

        <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/wio5ky.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

        <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/x3desi.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

        <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/2h2o7k4.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

        <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/rwqhkp.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

      • Hypatia_ says:

        I guess I just don't see racism in portraying a black family as not totally perfect. What family, of any color, is? Okay, so the dad's having a midlife crisis, but that's hardly something limited to black people. Francine is kind of overprotective and high-strung, but again, not a "black stereotype". My mom is also overprotective and high-strung, and she's white and Jewish. It seems to me that, overall, they're a nice upper-middle-class family who seem to love each other.

        Flaws are what make characters interesting. Having Martha come from a family that's perfect in every way would be awfully boring. But is that the only way people won't accuse the writers of racism? That's not to say the show's got a perfect track record there, it hasn't, but I don't see this as one of the bad things.

        • jackiep says:

          Martha's family represents many ambitious families living in Britain today, regardless of ethnic origins. They have clearly encouraged their children in education, Tish has a high-powered job, Leo is clearly a good lad, just turned 21 and his family obviously have expectations for him, while Martha is about to become a qualified doctor. Francine is obviously a professional woman who is furious that her husband has thrown her over for a young bimbo. Clive is obviously a self-made wealthy man who is having the sort of mid-life crisis which makes him go for a young woman with a fake tan, false boobs and a love of spending his money. Just look at his mid-life crisis sports car!

          Their situation in Britain is to do with class, not race. That doesn't mean that racism doesn't exist (far from it, unfortunately) but the history of race in Britain in the last 2 Centuries is different than in the US and more bound up with the class system than anywhere else. The other difference is more subtle in that most of the people who arrived, particularly from the Caribbean were professional, qualified people coming from a place where their usual experience of business and civil life was one of Black people being in charge as a matter of routine. Although many ended up in jobs for which they were horrendously overqualified that legacy meant that the Black communities in the UK did have a different experience from those communities in the Deep South of the USA where the thought of somebody Black being in charge of anything was a major step to aim for.

          A prime example is the issue of domestic service. Most people who have working class ancestors have a lot of ancestors who will be listed in the censuses as housemaids, footmen, other types of domestic servant. They either worked in industry or as servants. The association with skin colour is absent, it's just the jobs that poor people did. If somebody asks a UK person to visualise a maid, we're most likely to think of a young, white working-class girl, not the image that would immediately spring to mind in the US.

          • nyssaoftraken74 says:

            I regret that I can only thumbs up once.

            > If somebody asks a UK person to visualise a maid, we're most likely to think of a young, white working-class girl, not the image that would immediately spring to mind in the US.

            You've made my point better than I did. Thank you.

          • hassibah says:

            Okay, I'm from Canada which in some ways has a pretty similar ethnic makeup to the UK. The bulk of our black population immigrated from the Carribean and to a lesser extent Africa, largely with middle class roots but there's still a lot of discrimination along with unemployment rates that are multiple times the national average-this is among 2-3rd generation and not 1st generation immigrants. The servant thing might not apply and there are differences but I think there's still a lot of crossover of racial stereotypes over borders, afai can see. Not that I think this is a very good example of that.

        • hassibah says:

          I think there are definitely stereotypes that could have been stepped on wrt specifically how a dysfunctional family is portrayed, so I wouldn't say that it can't ever be racist, but I don't think any of them are present here. Somebody linked to a post a while back that talked about other issues going on in this season and it was actually pretty convincing.

  30. She is indeed a snappy dresser! She needs to take us shopping.

  31. Um, must we escalate the spoilery?

  32. Jenny_M says:

    We've moved into the point of series 3 where I literally do not remember anything that happens for the rest of the series. I watched them when they aired, and I seriously cannot remember the plot of any episodes beyond the Daleks in Manhattan (and that one I was wrong on a few things). So, from here on out, it's sort of like watching them anew with Mark. Kind of exciting!

    This one, for some reason, I thought was a bit bigger, a bit more epic, and a bit more of a two parter when I was trying to remember it. I was, apparently, completely wrong. And underwhelmed, in the end, by the whole thing. I did like Martha's dress, though!

    • trash_addict says:

      I thought this was a two-parter too. I haven't re-watched it, I guess it just felt reeeeaallly long when it aired πŸ˜‰

  33. psycicflower says:

    My comment apparently went to the moderation queue and it's making me slightly paranoid thinking 'what did I do wrong'. When/why did we start that?

    Random Doctor and Martha gif so as not to be a totally pointless comment.
    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2v8n11k.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • NB2000 says:

      I swear the moderation happens randomly sometimes. My comment for Father's Day got sent to the moderation queue and I replied to one in this post that…well I haven't checked if it's shown up yet. I just assume it's IntenseDebate being weird.

      Watch as this gets sent to the queue too.

      • psycicflower says:

        Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal IntenseDebate.

        I've had one or two comments randomly disappear or post late in the past but it hasn't happened in a while and I've never had this queue thing before. All my other comments so far tonight have gone through grand. Hopefully it turns up eventually.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Yeah, I think it's mostly comments with gifs or links that get moderated some times. I don't really get why, but I posted a picture of a tire and apparently that needed approval. It's not like it was dirty or anything. It was just a picture of a car tire.

      • psycicflower says:

        I know if there's five or more links a comment needs approval but I just had a gif I made of Francine slapping the Doctor. It's very strange given the fact I've posted other comments with multiple links or pictures in the past with no problem. I guess it's just some weird random quirk.

        • echinodermata says:

          Did the gif come from a different website? Maybe certain websites are flagged or something. Image size? I dunno.

          Apparently, though, it seems you can use swear words, but pen.is minus the period gets flagged for approval. Who knows what they're doing.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Those Doctor/Martha adverts gave me such hope…

      • psycicflower says:

        They're great promos. Sadly the only versions on youtube are the full ones with episode clips in them so they can't be posted here but I love them.
        All their pre-series trailer tend to be really good actually whether it's Nine running from the explosion and on the TARDIS, Ten on the TARDIS or the back and forth between Ten and Martha.

        • Starsea28 says:

          Yeah, it's the back and forth trailer that I'm thinking of, it made me so excited for this series.

  34. samarkand_ says:

    Ohai Lazarus Experiment!

    I think my feelings can be summed up by the fact that, since I'm not watching along (have seen all these episodes in rewatch several times, in the recent past) I was thinking earlier today, "Hm, what episode will Mark be watching today? Oh gosh, it's time for 42 isn't it? I have thoughts about that one!"

    And then I came over here and… whoops, totally forgot about The Lazarus Experiment even existing.

    Mark Gatiss, everything you touch on this show turns to meh, sry2say.

    You are not prepared for the second half of this series, though. Truly not prepared.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      "You are not prepared for the second half of this series, though. Truly not prepared."

      Truer words were never spoken. I am looking forward to this.

    • echinodermata says:

      Mark Gatiss, everything you touch on this show turns to meh, sry2say.

      Ikr? The whole "unbelievable team" comments about Gatiss and Moffat writing Sherlock, and I was just like, really?

      • samarkand_ says:

        A true and accurate representation of my reaction when I heard "Moffat! Gatiss! Together! Sherlock!"
        <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/262o7y1.gif"&gt;

        Though I actually quite like Mark Gatiss as a person, so I feel bad for how I feel about his Doctor Who work. I would much rather watch the shenanigans on the Lazarus Experiment Confidential than the episode itself.

        • kaybee42 says:

          In fairness, I think Sherlock was undeniably brilliant. πŸ™‚

          • samarkand_ says:

            I'll be the first to admit that I may be the only person on the planet who was fairly unimpressed by it.

            • kaybee42 says:

              Each to his own I guess πŸ™‚ Out of interest, are you a fan of the books? or any other adaptations?

              • samarkand_ says:

                I'm fairly neutral on Holmesiana just in general, which certainly may be a factor. I've enjoyed some adaptations, not enjoyed others, read a few of the stories, but not by any means all of them.

          • Anon says:

            I think it was very good but not brilliant. If you want to see brilliant Holmes you have to see Jeremy Brett play him, Granada did a series in the eighties which i just watched and is fantastic.

        • Tauriel says:

          Sherlock!!! Fuck yes!!! πŸ™‚ Mark, you definitely need to watch it – it's only 3 episodes, you can easily fit them somewhere in between the shows you're planning to watch next, but I have no doubts that you'll love it. πŸ™‚ I think it's Moffat and Gatiss at their best (well, Moffat's best… I'd say it's a tie between Sherlock and Jekyll, actually…).

  35. Forget Rose, I miss Mama Jackie.. πŸ™

  36. NeonProdigy says:

    PSHAW.

    Mister Saxon is no one important.

    *drums his fingers on his desk*

    • Mimzy says:

      God, I catch myself doing that all the time too. Then, sometimes I start humming the drumming and my friends look at me all weird and all I can say is "What? I'm hungry."

      • NeonProdigy says:

        You too? Clearly we are ~drumming brethren~ (brothers? sisters? siblings? eh, it's not important)

        We should start a band!

    • ::facepalm:: Enough with the spoilery comments!

      • FlameRaven says:

        I think that one's pretty vague. There's nothing to indicate spoilers unless you've already seen them.

      • Tauriel says:

        Actually, downvoting and saying "spoilers" only makes it more obvious and draws attention to it…

        • trash_addict says:

          Nonetheless, if someone's doing something that could be spoilery, don't they deserve to get called out so they don't push it further?

          • Tauriel says:

            I think it's a double-edged sword. πŸ™‚ On one hand, they're reminded not to push it further (which is good), but on the other hand, the negative votes and people saying "spoilers" actually MAKE it a direct spoiler. If no one reacted, Mark probably wouldn't even notice it…

  37. Fusionman says:

    Trivia time I guess.

    A. When the Doctor references “something bad happening” whenever he wears a tuxedo, he is making a reference to Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. Amazingly he’s right.
    B. Martha states The Doctor is her “Plus One.” The Doctor said Rose Tyler was his Plus One in The End of the World. Heh Doctor got it pulled on him.
    C. Dr Lazarus (Mark Gatiss) says he once lived above a butchers shop as a child, this could be a refrence to his role as Hilary Briss in the BBC series The League of Gentlemen where Gatiss is well known for playing a butcher.
    D. The capsule of Lazarus’s Genetic Manipulation Device is actually the redecorated descent capsule from The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.
    E. The BBC3 repeat had less than 1 million viewers again. This time I understand why.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      E. Really? DWM cites 1.0M (1st) AI 85.

      Unless it was 0.95M or something and they've rounded up.

      Another fact about Mark Gatiss is that he is the only person to have acted in and written for TV Doctor Who. (I qualify with `TV` because Colin Baker (Doc6) recently wrote and performed a short Big Finish Audio script.)

      He is also (and I'll keep this non-spoilery) the only person other than Steven Moffat to have `some kind of involvement` with all 5 Series of New Who to date. (His Series 4 script was not used, though, so you can debate this one.)

  38. Starsea28 says:

    I love this episode because Martha is amazing in it but it feels like, although the Doctor takes her on board, he still doesn't really accept her. Even though she proves over and over in this episode that she is competent, caring and not easily scared. But that's the point: she shouldn't have to prove herself. When the Doctor says, "You were never really just a one trip passenger", I want to grab him and shake him. Is that ALL you can say? After what she's done? It's so disappointing, especially after his care and empathy for Lazarus, the titular villain. I didn't like Francine's reaction the first time, and it still feels like a lazy copy of Jackie's reaction from Aliens of London, but I do understand it a little more now that I can imagine what Saxon said to her.

    • jackiep says:

      Francine's reaction was rather more urgent. Here's this geeky bloke who has somehow gatecrashed the party, apparently seduced her daughter and appears to be bragging that since he met her, he's been too busy shagging her to even have a conversation. Then somebody tells Francine that this Doctor is dangerous. Her besotted daughter then goes running back into danger after the bloke who isn't treating Martha right. I'm sure that Francine can see that whilst Martha is besotted with this Doctor, he isn't besotted with Martha. No wonder Francine is upset and gives him a good slap. Later she's then told by somebody who she thinks is important that the Doctor is a real danger to her daughter. Cold? She's a mother who can see her daughter being swept off her feet by a dangerous bloke who doesn't love her!

      • Starsea28 says:

        I don't think she was cold at all. I do believe she cares for Martha and thinks she knows best for her daughter. I hadn't thought about it before, but you're right, she probably DOES see that the Doctor isn't as interested in Martha as Martha is in him, she wants to protect her daughter from getting hurt. However, I do think she has some self-interest in keeping Martha separate: Martha is the peace keeper in the family, it's all she seems to do apart from work, can't let someone distract her from that.

        • jackiep says:

          Martha also is in the final stages of qualifying to be a Doctor. The difference between her running off with somebody right now and running off in a couple of months might change her entire life. What parent would like to see their child look as though they were about to quit their studies a few weeks before their final exams to become Doctors?

          • Starsea28 says:

            There's no indication that she's going to blow everything to run off with the Doctor, but it seems to me like Martha never rebelled and now she's actually telling her mother 'no', Francine is panicking and overreacting.

    • echinodermata says:

      But that's the point: she shouldn't have to prove herself.

      Exactly. I get that the Doctor's in a bad place and maybe isn't ready to have a healthy relationship with anyone, but Martha is depicted as being very competent and a pretty rocking person, and yet gets the cold shoulder when plenty of other companions were accepted far more readily than she is. Why does she have to do so much more than all the other companions to be accepted?

      Jack, for instance, tried to con the Doctor and let loose nanogenes that started an epidemic, and next episode, wacky fun and he's one of the family! I really dislike the Martha/Doctor relationship here and previously, mostly in light of how quickly other companions are accepted when they're less deserving.

  39. nanceoir says:

    A couple fun bits from the Confidential episode, which was called, "Monsters, Inc."

    At the beginning, they have different production people talking about what a Doctor Who monster is; the montage ends with David Tennant saying, "I think it's perhaps more politically correct to call them 'creatures.'" Hee.

    For Lazarus's building, they used the Senedd, which is the Welsh Parliament, basically. Which seems kind of amazing to me, at any rate.

    Then, when they're showing stuff with the explosion stunt, which Tennant did himself. Tennant's talking about how he's love to say he does all his own stunts, but that would be disrespectful to the stuntmen; he ends up by saying, "The fact is, when all these big Hollywood movie stars tell you they do all their own stunts, it's not true. They wouldn't be allowed; they're worth too much money" with almost a giggle in his voice. (I really love Tennant's Confidential interviews; he seems genuinely happy to be there and excited about the work.)

    There was also a bit about Mark Gatiss's old man makeup and how impressed people were with that. Apparently, one of the references they used for the features (some of the wrinkles, I think?) was Vincent Price, which I'm sure pleased Gatiss, who is a huge horror fan.

    Oh, and apparently Adjoa Andoh totally pinched Reggie Yates' bum. Yes, this was included in the episode, too.

    I love Doctor Who Confidential.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Interesting comment about the stunts. I didn't see any Confidentials until Season 4, but I do remember hearing him complain in one episode about not being able to do a particular scene on-location because it was a bit risky and they didn't want the possibility of him being injured. He seemed put-out that the stunt doubles got to have all the fun. ;P

  40. giddyant says:

    Not exactly my favourite either. It just needed a bit of rethinking. The false end does undercut it and I think that's the worst error. What was gained from it? Instead of dying in one place, he dies in another. If there is a false end for a story, there should be a purpose for it. Oh well. At least Mark Gatiss was in it and got to see what the scenery tasted like (mmm, scenery). I just wish he had a better episode to be in because he can be monumentally creepy in the right role and you can see the potential in this one.

  41. hassibah says:

    "How the Doctor increased the sound on the organ to disrupt Lazarus and cause him to fall to his death, but the noise did absolutely nothing to the other three living creatures in the building aside from a bit of pain. No. No, that does not work that way."

    Humans don't really have the most sensitive hearing on the planet, so it made sense to me that it would disturb him a lot more in his current state.

    I like this episode and I like how it totally captures how I feel about immortality and how totally depressing the idea is to me. I know it's not really the most original subject, especially not on this show, but I like how the ep fleshed it out all the same.

    Random thoughts:
    -I can't think of anything but Julian Assange when I look at Lazarus. I'm not trying to make a clever political comment here, I seriously can't.
    -I do like Martha's mom. She is as sharp as her daughter and I like that she called out the doctor. And she's a mom, of course she's not going to like him.
    -I was a little irritated that they showed Martha's sister flirting with Lazarus right after his transformation when she was repulsed by him before. Do they think most girls would react this way or what?
    -Also, because this is SO IMPORTANT, it bothers me when people wear colours very close to their skin tone, especially when it's the only colour they are wearing. Why do white people wear beige, whyyyyyyy.

  42. dcjensen says:

    Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat came up with the idea of Sherlock while on a train to Cardiff for Dr. Who…

  43. guest says:

    Not a great episode, but did make for a great youtube tribute video. There are spoilers for new viewers, but those of you who have seen the series should check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s2CC3Z4Vss

  44. rys says:

    1. Mark Gatiss, I am a fan! Not of this episode or Lazarus, but just in general.

    2. I think the spoilers are getting out of hand. People are confirming things as being important to future episodes — any new viewers here (and Mark) will be able to pick up on your seekrit code, people. IT'S NOT THAT HARD. I guess ideally, we would only comment on what goes on in an episode and if it's something that's going to be revisited later on, don't mention it.

    3. Apologies if it's not my place to point out spoiler issues.

    • echinodermata says:

      "Seekrit code" – I'm always hesitant to downvote when they're trying to be circumspect, because I don't want to draw attention to it if the spoiler-avoiding people don't notice it.

      Aye, dilemmas.

      • kohlrabi says:

        I know what you mean. I just downvoted somebody and immediately freaked out that I was drawing attention to it. But I've been spoiled completely for my rewatch now which is one of my favorite things to do and it makes me sad and angry. Hopefully Mark yells at them all tomorrow. Seriously people, it's like the Face of Boe all over again. I knew after his first appearance that he was totally going to show up at least once more and be important because everyone here was freaking out about him. πŸ™ Ah well, it's the internet, you run the risk.

        • Sierra says:

          It would be awesome if one of these times someone would start freaking out about a minor character/event and a bunch of us would jump on the bandwagon and it would just be a huge hilarious red herring instead of a spoiler. Would make the real spoilers/spoiler bait easier to slip under the radar and therefore not really be spoilers at all.

      • I feel for you, because I wonder about it too. In the end, I had to go with biting the bullet and down-arrowing because otherwise it just continues. Alas, we need a Tardis so we can take Mark back and forth to avoid spoilers.

  45. kytten says:

    I actually kind of forgot this episode existed. Apart from the Harold Saxon stuff, I remembered that. Huh. Out of Marthas run it seems I have forgotten a full three episodes, maybe more.
    perhaps because she gets a bit of a raw deal from the writers. They don't seem to have- locked onto her, really, which is a shame beacause Freema Agyeman is an excellent actress.

  46. Laura says:

    "I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end you just get tired. Tired of the struggle. Tired of losing everyone that matters to you. Tired of watching everything to dust. If you live long enough, the only certainty is that you’ll end up alone."

    I am a sucker for deep, angsty character development, so this is totes the best part.

    Oh, and David Tennant in a tux and Martha in an awesome dress (and prety shoes! did you see those shoes!) is rather delightful too.

  47. PeterRabid says:

    The Doctor reversed the polarity. πŸ˜€

    Martha finally got to change her clothes! Honestly, Doctor, you couldn't have directed her to the wardrobe in between episodes?

    I'm with you on this one, Mark. For some reason, I could suspend my disbelief about all the bunk science in this one. However, the "second" ending dragged and was superfluous. Oh, well.

    I really love how Martha put her foot down and insisted that he didn't keep leading her on with the "one more trip" thing. Come on, Ten, stop being a dick to Martha already!

    And hullo, what's this? Something to look out for? Mr. Saxon? πŸ˜‰

  48. nyssaoftraken says:

    I'm a big fan of The Lazarus experiment. It's got Mark Gatiss in it, for a start. Brilliant CGI monster than can walk on the ceiling – always creepy! The Doctor being wonderfully resourceful, blowing up the science lab. And later science geek turns music geek and I play the organ myself, so I loved that bit. Speaking of which…

    As for the slot that the sonic goes in, to be fair it's not like it fit *exactly* in the slot. It was probably big enough for 2 screwdrivers. It looked to me like the organ was a pipe organ with digital additions. Quite common in modern cathedrals. This would make that slot essentially a digital expansion port. I can't imagine the production team being allowed to stick something on the console, and while I've never been to Wells Cathedral (where the interior was shot) I've played organs with similar ports before, so this seems the likeliest explanation.

  49. Kirala says:

    And again I start to wonder (as I did with Harry Potter) whether repeating old speculation counts as spoilers. Current example: my cousin was fairly sure of the significance of Mr. Saxon when these eps were airing live, partly because she was digging through vintage Who at a terrifying rate at the time. Would repetition of this speculation count as a spoiler ordinarily?

    Of course, it's possible that I remember largely because she turned out to be right. (And now of course her theory would be a definite spoiler, so I'm obviously not sharing.) But in similar situations. Would it count as a spoiler to repeat unspoiled theory?

  50. pica_scribit says:

    One of my friends decided that she would periodically exclaim "I'm going to change what it means to be human!" in the hopes that the Doctor would show up.

    Catch the arcword yet?

  51. mr_bobby says:

    Sooo, anyone read Mark's spoiler policy?

    I GUESS NOT, HUH.

    • arctic_hare says:

      APPARENTLY NOT.

      COMMENTERS, I AM DISAPPOINT. (You know who you are.)

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      I know! I was so disappointed! Until last episode we were doing so well….

      *sadface*

    • fakehepburn says:

      SERIOUSLY.

      I can't believe how blatant some of them are being.

      People, we're better than this! Stop ruining all the things.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Yeah, it's getting pretty bad. If it's relevant to future episodes, DON'T FREAKIN' MENTION IT, ARIGHT? Oy gevalt.

  52. Vicki_Louise says:

    "You know what’s even more confusing? How the Doctor increased the sound on the organ to disrupt Lazarus and cause him to fall to his death, but the noise did absolutely nothing to the other three living creatures in the building aside from a bit of pain. No. No, that does not work that way. NO"

    Yep, that is exactly the problem i have with this episode. Why aren't Martha, Tish and the Doctor suddenly turned into giant scorpion whatsits? NONSENSE!

    I'm not really a fan of the scientific episodes (even when the science is completely bonkers!). I failed at science at school, it just didn't grab my attention (well apart from the lessons where we blew shit up!), so when there's science in Who i just yawn and wait for the next episode.

    Mark Gatiss is brilliant as the creepy, pervy old dude, then even more brilliant as the arrogant, squeezing-the-life-out-of-innocent-peoples dude! He's got an air of 'I'm going to talk and move slowly because i know i'm going to kill you and it's only a matter of time until i do' to him, he should be a bad guy more often.
    Though i don't really find the scorpion whatsit very scary, it's got so many spindley legs that you could just tie some string across a doorway, trip it up and watch it slide about all over the place, like a cat wearing rollerblades!

    I have grown to love Martha but her pining over the Doctor and him not even remotely noticing does irritate me.
    The Doctor not seeing how awesome Martha is fills me with rage!

    I agree with everyone that has said they miss Rose's family. Tish is funny and a bit daft, but Franchine seems like one of those pushy parents that treat their child like a solider, do this, do that, don't ask questions! leo's a bit bland. But for some reason i like Martha's dad with his midlife crisis and his orange girlfriend.
    I just miss Jackie too much. πŸ™

    "Which brings up an interesting question: Who the fuck is Mr. Saxon?"
    …………………………………………………………………..
    (Vicki has had to spellotape her fingers together so she doesn't spoil everything)
    YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. (fuck yeah capitals)

    When i was growing up there was this big motorbike, criminal gang that hung around the town, who were called Saxon. Coincidence? I'm not so sure.

  53. Anon says:

    Its a bit rich for the Doctor to get all righteous about human's trying to extend their lives, he can't die he regenerates!

    • Anon says:

      Also, i'm not sure if this is canon but i'm pretty sure i read somewhere that the Timelords didn't originally have the ability to regenerate, someone like Lazarus invented it for them.

    • You Are Not Alone says:

      Time Lords CAN die if they are killed too quickly for regeneration to take place.

  54. Guest says:

    And yet I think rewatching whole episodes, finding things by himself and keeping them in mind might actually make Mark enjoy the rest of the season even more – which is why I posted that in the first place.

    • Understood, I just thought I'd explain that it might be why the comment was down-arrowed. Nothing personal.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Check my Spoiler Guide. I consider this a spoiler because half the fun is experiencing a show on your own and putting the pieces together in your own way.

        Thanks for NOT actually spoiling, like someone up above did. πŸ™

        • Guest says:

          Thank you both for your replies, I consider them helpful and certainly not personal or aggressive. πŸ™‚ I was just unhappy with the votes – but no more. I will not even hint this mildly at such connections in the future. πŸ™‚

          • MichelleZB says:

            And maybe in a little while, Mark will have worked everything out, and we'll be able to talk about it openly on the thread!

  55. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    >>I cannot possibly believe that slot on the church organ was real. WHY WOULD THAT BE THERE?

    As an organist, I feel I should take you up on that and offer one or two possible explanations.

    First of all, to be fair, notice that the sonic didn't `plug in`. The slot was significant larger than it needed to be to fit the sonic. Also I really can't imagine the church allowing the production team to start adding things to the console.

    I don't know about Wells Cathedral specifically (which is where the interior was filmed) but looking at the instrument on screen, I can offer two explanations for what that slot might be. One high tech and one low tech.

    (Splitting for length…)

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      (Ctd…)

      High tech: This is probably a hybrid pipe and digital instrument. It's quite common for modern cathedral organs to incorporate electronic systems into their instruments. In that case, I would venture that his is an expansion port of some sort. It's not MIDI, but I've seen ports like that on other instruments.

      Low tech: It's a light bulb socket. When there's a wedding, and the bride arrives, someone presses a switch and a distinctive bulb lights up on the console to let the organist know, since as usual he/she can't actually see much from that lofty perch.

      (OK, why can some ppl post really long comments and I have to split mine?)

      • nanceoir says:

        (I've never actually gotten a 'comment too long' notification before, but I typed my longest comment — for the Suggestions post — in another program and pasted it into the reply box. I heard that helps getting incredibly long comments posted.)

      • agrinningfool says:

        The light bulb thing: Really? That's cool. The more you know!

        Also, agreeing with nanceoir – I think some people type their comments into other programs and then copy and paste.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          Thanks both for the copy and paste suggestion. I'll try that.

          And yes, the light blub thing is very common indeed. Organs – especially large ones – are generally stuck out of the way and therefore the organist can't see a damn thing.

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            It also depends on the program you use for the Internet. For example, using Mozilla Firefox allows significantly longer comments than Internet Explorer, whether or not you copy and paste. With IE, I kept being told my comments were too long even if I wrote them out beforehand and pasted.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Probably too late now and nobody will see this, but I forgot to mention my criticism of the `Beethoven` gag. Of all the well known classical composers, why chose the one who wrote bugger all for the organ?! I know it's a little throwaway line, but it only takes a few minutes' research to get it right. Bach would have been the obvious choice. Even Mozart would do. But Beethoven's significant works for organ amount to 1 mass setting – and that was slated by his critics!

  56. Saxon rhymes with klaxon.

    COINCIDENCE?

    (Probably.)

    (OR IS IT.)

  57. Tenalto says:

    To be honest, this episode is what gave me hope for the rest of the season/series/whatever you choose to call it. I had powered through the first two series in about a week (…no, I did not start reflexively thinking in a bad Estuary accent, why do you ask?), and I was losing patience with series 3 after the first two episodes. I was only meh about "Gridlock," and the Dalek episodes were really trying for me. Luckily, the friend who got me hooked told me that it was "all gold" after the Dalek two-parter. I felt engaged with this episode. I liked that Ten was (somewhat) less angsty. I liked the creeper/monster, and I liked the Spinal Tap reference. While not necessary an episode of OMG AWESOME, I felt that this was the point when the show started to redeem itself. From here, I can only say SO INCREDIBLY NOT PREPARED. IN THE MOST AWESOME, WTF-INSPIRING WAY POSSIBLE.

  58. kaybee42 says:

    Hey, is there a spoiler site to go to? I've missed spoiler discussions- I haven't been able to take part in them since HP!

    • zulaihaha says:

      YES, we need a spoiler page to discuss! I just finished series 4. Hey, I was snowed in for 3 days, what else was I supposed to do.

      • fantasylover12001 says:

        I just finished Season 5 and am DYING to chat with people but none of my RL friends watch Who and I haven't found a place I like on the net yet. We definately need a spoiler page site for this. Or linkage if there already is one.

  59. trash_addict says:

    Blargh. I have been in a Martha-Ten-ish relationship recently, so it just really makes me want to yell at the Doctor 'STOP STRINGING HER ALONG'. Blargh. Blargh. He really is a jerk sometimes.

    Astral plane high fives to her for standing up to him, though.

  60. peacockdawson says:

    Oh yeeeaaaaah. I totally saw this bad wolf from episode one, man. I was on top of things this season. I was like "Oh hey. Yeah, that's gotta be the bad wolf." Right the first time they said it. Blam.

  61. fantasylover12001 says:

    I…liked this ep? I agree it's not perfect, there are so many tropes and as always epic fail!science, but I liked it because this is the ep that made me start to love Martha. Before this, I was mildly entertained by her and just kind of liked her. But here is when her character finally clicked and I started to really like her. Particularly when she became BAMF!Martha. BAMF!Martha is when she's at her best. I started to like her more and more after this, but I have a fondness for this ep because this is the one that made me finally get Martha.

  62. Minish says:

    "You know, I thought this episode was pretty spectacular…until the last ten minutes."

    My thoughts in a nutshell.

  63. swimmingtrunks says:

    Your fun link for the day is Mark Gatiss in a Doctor Who spoof skit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGjx9sHLLf8

    Oh, Gatiss. I always wonder how long time fans who get to play a guest role feel about their contribution afterwards- whether they got saddled with a great episode or a stinker– I wonder if they're objective about it, or if the experience matters more than the result. I know Gatiss has written a few episodes, but I have to wonder how he feels about the role he finally got to play on screen. While I agree that the false ending is ineffectual, I really do like the final conversation between the Doctor and Lazarus. I think both Tennant and Gatiss knocked that out of the park. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for circular camera movement?

    I thought the CGI monster was kind of awful, I kept being distracted by the quality of the face. Sometimes it seemed kind of flat, and like maybe the whole thing was out of a older videogame. I would say they could have achieved a much more frightening effect had they not relied on CGI so much- but from what we've seen of the classic series it seems in the great tradition of Doctor Who to be overly ambitious with the monsters, only to miss the mark for budgetary reasons and end up kind of hokey.

    Yay for Martha putting her foot down! She was pretty sweet in this episode. I really don't know what's up with RTD and mothers, though- Jackie may be infinitely more endearing, but both she and Francine are portrayed as this annoying, overbearing obstacle for the Doctor. Different methods, similar result- in my opinion anyway.

    Man, I am all over the place here. I guess I don't really feel like I have much of an opinion on this episode as a whole, so I'm just picking at parts.

    • Anon says:

      I also loved the last scene in the cathedral between Tennant & Gatiss. I think the 10th doctor really comes into his own a lot better in his quiet moments, DT hit it out of the park with that scene about being tired of watching everything turn into dust.

  64. Alex says:

    This is not related directly to this episode but I saw this and it made me laugh. <img src="http://cheezcomixed.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/f6c8c021-670e-4db8-b302-ec3d0546ea76.jpg&quot; alt="pic"/>

  65. LittleCaity says:

    There are no words for just how You Are Not Prepared you are, Mark. No words. This season is gonna blow your mind. >:D

    And I second… er… third… er… fivethousandandfiftyseventh the recommendation for you to watch Torchwood at some point. There's some genuinely awesome material that ties nicely back into Doctor Who, especially in the first season. Plus I have to admit that I really want to see your reaction to the Children of Earth miniseries. Ouch.

  66. sabra_n says:

    Most memorable thing about this episode for me: Freema Agyeman and her stunning high-heel-running ability. I can barely stand in heels, let alone sprint in them, so…more power to your ankles, Ms. Agyeman. And yes, your shoes were very nice. πŸ™‚

  67. Stephanie says:

    Favorite line in all of NuWho: "THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS AN ORDINARY HUMAN!" I just really love that, because I think that it is the thing that the Doctor seems to believe the most. He seems to believe that we're all great, even when we don't. Also, Martha's mum is probably my least favorite character in all of NuWho. So you've got some favorites and least favorites in this episode, I guess. I'm not a fan of Donna's mom either. I guess it's, “Always the mothers! Every time!”

    • Stephanie says:

      Also, I love how the Doctor is really pleased with being called a "geek" when they tell him what it is. That's kind of how I am when people call me a nerd or "that Harry Potter girl."

      On a side note, this was the episode when I finally accepted that Rose was gone. Up until this point, I literally was watching every episode thinking, "How and when is the Doctor going to get to the parallel universe to get her back?"

  68. fakehepburn says:

    Hey Mark & Co.

    I WAS going to make my traditional "You are not prepared" comment and leave things at that.
    Then I read the comments already on here.
    SERIOUSLY.
    So I'd like to have a word:

    Hey, fellow commenters. Look, we're all excited about what's coming up. At this point in the series, even Mark knows there's got to be something coming, and it's great watching him try to piece together clues and fill in the blanks and all the things we did the first time we watched the episodes ourselves.

    FOR THE LOVE OF WHO, STOP HELPING HIM.

    I know it's tempting to try and make oblique comments regarding spoilers without actually saying anything — God knows I do that — but actually coming out and naming future characters and pointing out their traits and telling Mark about the things he may have missed in past episodes that will be important in the future? That is way different.

    STOP DOING THAT.

    So yeah. Plenty of you haven't done anything wrong, and it's just a couple overexcited eggs ruining the omelet (… or whatever. That was a shit metaphor, but you get the idea). BUT SERIOUSLY, JUST STOP.

    Oh, yeah, and Mark? Despite the spoily commenters, you're not even kind of fucking prepared.

  69. Sierra says:

    I kind of think that the bad representation of Martha's family is because we're kind of seeing things from the Doctor's perspective. We saw a lot of Rose and got a lot of depth and really got into her family, because the _Doctor_ was interested in her and therefore them. Whereas now he's kind of meh so he doesn't ask Martha about her life and background so we don't see it, and all we get of her family are these surface traits because the Doctor doesn't really care to look deeper. One could even be charitable and say he's purposely keeping Martha and her life and family at arm's length because he doesn't want to get sucked in and hurt again, instead of him just being pouty and oblivious.

    It's like… we the audience _are_ the Doctor, in the sense that readers _are_ Harry in HP, and characterizations are colored by Harry's opinions and we're sort of slaves to them, for good or ill. And the more used to and/or fond of someone the Doctor becomes, the more detail we get about them and the more we tend to like them and sympathize with them, too. Exhibit A: Mickey.

    • travelinghobbit says:

      That's a really good way to put it. Martha is my least favourite of the companions in NeWho, but rewatching the series in quick succession and having seasons 1 and 2 in mind helps understand the Doctor's feelings towards Martha. She really is in a place were she can't do anything right, even if she is one of the most capable companions he's had.

      And honestly, the Doctor should have kissed her on the forehead. Platonic and still a genetic material transfer!

  70. HungryLikeLupin says:

    This was one of the episodes in Series Three that I was much more forgiving of the second time around; several things that I found unnecessary made much more sense in hindsight. (One bit in particular actually became my favorite thing about the episode.) I also think that this is the type of episode (the shows I like tend to be full of them) that is far more tolerable when you've already seen the end, and you don't have this overwhelming need for MOAR ARC and STOP BEING SO DAMNED EPISODIC.

    *ahem*

    I would say more, but I literally can't figure out how without getting spoilery, so . . . I guess I'd just suggest looking back at this episode once you've reached the last one? It's not quite as disappointing as it might seem. πŸ˜†

  71. Selthia says:

    Don't have much to say here, since everyone's covered most of it, other than that I didn't care for that false ending either. It didn't add to it and it ended up giving this drawn-out-too-long feel to the episode because of it. Not a favorite episode, but not a bad one either, just kind of a "okay" one.

  72. arctic_hare says:

    SAXON KILLS DUMBLEDORE

    πŸ˜›

  73. Thiamalonee says:

    I can’t stand Cloverfield for one stupid reason: the girls wear heels for the whole damn movie. Maybe that’s really wierd but the whole time I watched that movie, I was like, “you are on the run from the alien menace, shouldnt you kick off the stilletos? It’s kind of similar to why I hate The Day After Tomorrow, i think the main characters are TDTL.

    • James says:

      If they did kick off their heels wouldn't they be running around barefoot in underground tunnels and destroyed streets full of broken glass? Suppose most girls keep sensible shoes in handbags and such or they could have looted some.

    • Starsea28 says:

      It's kind of similar to why I hate The Day After Tomorrow, i think the main characters are TDTL.

      Oh my God, yes. WOODEN FURNITURE IS A BETTER FUEL THAN BOOKS, YOU IDIOTS.

  74. paranoid android says:

    (THERE’S TOTALLY DNA IN SALIVA!!!)

    I'm not quite sure if that sentence is supposed to be ironic or not (non-native English speakers miss the nuances sometimes), but… Yes, there usually IS DNA in saliva because it contains cells from the throat and mouth, and by kissing someone's hand you probably leave some skin cells behind anyway. In this particular case, the science isn't that bad.
    /lab geek comment

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Which just shows to show that the Doctor could have achieved his genetic transfer in Smith and Jones by kissing Martha's hand. He did not need to give her a full on snog and tell her it was nothing. Think of the trouble that could have been avoided! πŸ™‚

  75. THE Nessa says:

    PUNCHED. IN. THE. FUCKING. FACE

  76. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    "(I think that’s half the fun of Cloverfield, FYI.)"
    SO YOU LIKE CLOVERFIELD TOO? I LOVED THAT MOVIE.

    again, this episode was only ok….btw YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

  77. electric ashera says:

    I love that on Castle they've started mentioning Beckett's shoes finally πŸ™‚

  78. Reddi says:

    The genetic 'switches' is interesting because they are based on real stuff. Scientists have switched on the dormant gene that gives chickens TEETH. And the chicks began developing with teeth, but they were destroyed before hatching. I asked my scientist daughter (who had nothing to do with this ,but she does know DNA stuff) WHY. Why not just let chickens be hatched with teeth? Her answer was the DNA switches off for a reason, and if you switch it back on something else will likely be wrong or screwed up because of it.
    And I had this conversation with her BEFORE I watched this episode. Which made it all the more enjoyable, at least in that regard. Not one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, but it had a few good bits.

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