In the seventh episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who, AGATHA CHRISTIE!!!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I believe I’ve elaborated on the concept behind this project of mine, but it may have been before a lot of you joined in on the Mark Party. I started this idea back in the summer of 2009 on a bet, but the concept of me experiencing something for the first time was something I was intrigued by for a while. I grew up in a strict household. Well, that’s disingenuous. “Strict” is not a suitable word. Massively terrifying? Repressive? Wildly disturbing? My mother ruled my childhood with a very specific (and usually absurd) set of rules. It took me a long time to come to terms with what happened to me. (On topic, it probably wasn’t until Mark Reads Harry Potter that I actually faced it and called it what it was: abuse.)
One of the many side effects from living in a pseudo-religious, emotionally abusive childhood like mine was that I missed out on everything. So many of the things that are considered quintessential to the American or teenage experience were moments I either never had or didn’t have until I was nearly twenty. Making out for the first time, holding hands, awkward flirting, dating, having sleep overs, staying up until four in the morning with friends, roadtrips, midnight movies, horror marathons, hikes, and I could seriously keep going. I wasn’t allowed out of the house except for school, I wasn’t allowed friends over, and I could only watch or read or listen to whatever my mom approved for me. Because of this, I honestly missed out on nearly everything
I didn’t miss out on Agatha Christie, though. And it’s one of those weird things I still don’t understand about my mom, who decried my choice of music as evil or Satanic, easily melding my mind to become a dysfunctional member of society, but it was totally ok to watch The X-Files or The Twilight Zone or take me to the theater to see Silence of the Lambs. WHAT.
My older brother left a large box of books in the garage when he moved out; that’s where I first was introduced to The Stand and It and Stephen King’s short stories. There were also at least ten Agatha Christie books, and I pulled out And Then There Were None. (Hey, by the way, Google that book title and be completely terrified by what it used to be called. I HAD NO IDEA.) I had never read anything like it and the ending was so inconceivable to me at the tender age of nine that I immediately snuck back out into the garage to grab The Man in the Brown Suit.
I think in the next year, I read at least thirty Agatha Christie novels. I haven’t revisited them in a long time. (It’s hard to enjoy them once you know the end, isn’t it?) But if you’ve ever wondered why I’m so obsessed with plot twists and SHIT GOT REAL moments, I can easily point right back to Agatha Christie for that one. (And, for the record, I’ll take Miss Marple over Hercule Poirot.)
SO. You can imagine my UTTER DISBELIEF AND JOY and the very concept of this episode. It’s another pseudo-historical episode (written by the same dude who did “The Shakespeare Code,” too!) ENTIRELY ABOUT AGATHA CHRISTIE.
Oh, and it’s FRAMED AS A MUDER-MYSTERY. AKSDLJF ;lkkldjaf a;kahsd;fja;kljasdfj;klas
The entire episode not only feels like a love letter to the mind of Agatha Christie, but it is a much-needed dose of silliness and humor. We’ve just been through three episodes that are VERY, VERY SERIOUS, and include lots of the Doctor postulating about violence and genocide and guns and societies and man, it is a bit much. I think a lot of you pointed out the problems with some of the theories the Doctor has put forth recently, especially GENOCIDE. You know, since the Doctor has genocided (that’s not a word, is it?) entire races MANY, MANY TIMES.
Given what we’ve gone through with Donna and the Doctor this series, I was hoping we’d finally get a chance to do something silly and weird and this episode delivers. I’m going to break from doing a more chronological review so I can just talk about all the wonderful little moments in this episode.
- Obviously, the real writing feat to this episode is watching the murder mystery unfold before our eyes. Except Agatha Christie IS A PART OF IT. aksldfj a;j a;sdhf a;klsd a;sdhf;akj
- Straight up, Roger Curbishley is hot. Seriously. And he’s gay in canon! I WIN.
- Yet another episode that aims to “explain” history. I thought it was weird that it looked like summer in December, but I’m willing to overlook that oversight because THEY EVEN TIED IN DEATH IN THE CLOUDS TO THE STORY. Gareth Roberts/Russell T Davies, you are geniuses.
- “I think I understood some of those words…enough to know that you’re completely potty!”
- “No, but isn’t that a bit weird? Agatha Christie didn’t walk around surrounded by murders, not really. I mean that’s like meeting Charles Dickens, and he’s surrounded by ghosts. At Christmas.” Donna Noble, you are literally my favorite ever.
- Actually, the look on Donna’s and the Doctor’s faces when they realize they’re actually meeting Agatha Christie is exactly how I would react.
- “Scotland Yard. Pip pip.” Oh Donna, never change.
- I think the best running joke was Donna constantly suggesting titles or stories to Agatha and then trying to claim copyright on them. Brilliant, I tell you.
- “Typical. All the decent men are on the other bus.” No, seriously, Donna Noble, why aren’t we best friends.
- The best scene in the entire episode is, without a doubt, the game of charades after the Doctor is poisoned with cyanide. Completely unaware of how funny the situation is, both characters are utterly indignant at each other for their inability to communicate properly. It’s a hilarious clash of egos and one of the best written parts in series four so far.
- “How is Harvey Wallbanger one word???”
- “Agatha Christie! I was just talking about you the other day! I said, ‘I bet she’s brilliant!’ I’m the Doctor, this is Donna. Oh, I love your stuff! What a mind! You fool me every time! Well…almost every time. Well….once or twice. Well….once. But it was a good once!”
- I’m sorry, but what the fuck is the Doctor doing with a bow and arrow in the forest? COMPUTERS AND CHARLEMAGNE. Oh god, I love this show so much.
- For a moment at the end of this episode, I thought, “Wait, so they kept Agatha Christie in the TARDIS for ten whole days? But then OH LOL TIME TRAVEL.