"Feel the love."
IN THIS ONE... The Doctor is captured by a child's drawing and lights the Olympic flame.
REVIEW: Fear Her, considered by many the worst New Who has to offer, has a problem with things happening because the script demands, whether such things are logical or not (see Second Opinions). But by rewatching all the episodes in close sequence I've realized another of its problems, namely that it's too close a repeat of The Idiot's Lantern (which was NOT my favorite episode either). Now, the RTD era is very keen on Bad Wolfing each and every season with leitmotifs that may or may not become important - the full moon, people with birds' names, foreshadowing that Rose and the Doctor are doomed, and of course, Torchwood - but in no way does this excuse Fear Her's redundancy. Like The Idiot's Lantern, it takes place on a suburban London street on a national day of celebration while people are disappearing, captured by some innocuous medium (TV/drawings). One of the regulars is so trapped (the Doctor this time), and there's a subplot about an abusive father. Too damn close to be aired so closely together, especially with Love & Monsters just having told a contemporary London story about mysterious disappearances (up a monster's bum, but still).
In another season, it might have worked better, though it's STILL not very well thought-out, and just a little silly. Not the premise per se, I'm fine with this idea pulled from children's television (it's Simon in the World of Chalk Drawings, really), and there's some fun to be had with Chloe drawing a whole stadium, or the entire planet to capture billions of friends for the Isolus inside her (with a name like that, how can they not know some writer would isolate one of them?). And I love the scribble creature in principle (the scene where the Doctor puts an eraser to it is unconvincing though). No, the silliness is the Doctor lighting the 2012 Olympic flame, making sure this episode would continue to disappoint half a dozen years later. (I think I heard a TARDIS sound in the opening ceremonies, but that's about it.) The moment isn't earned. A runner collapses for no real reason, the Doctor comes out of nowhere to replace him as if he knew he'd be needed (while Rose waits, depressed and worried), nobody stops him, and the TV announcer spouts nonsense about the flame representing love because the script is adamant that it's what powers the Isolus spaceship. Dumb, dumb, dumb. And how about that closer? There's a storm coming, or as I call it, "we need to foreshadow the events of the finale, quick!" even though it's got absolutely nothing to do with anything. If it works at all, and I'm not saying it does, it's as a lead-in to the trailer for the next episode, which makes good use of the Beast's voice, but goes on to blow the Cyber-surprise. Dumb.
Too bad. Otherwise, there's some good banter early on between the Doctor and Rose. The bit where the Doctor gets the neighbors to shut up by doing the fingers on lips thing teachers do is a nice scene. And there are comedic moments peppered throughout the episode, like the TARDIS landing with blocked doors, Rose giving the Doctor a look when he rudely eats something with his fingers, and again when he casually admits to having kids. His use of hypnosis on Chloe is played like an exorcism, the monster in the closet is scary enough, and the tiny spaceship is a fun idea. But it just never comes together in a satisfying whole. You might also worry about the strangely racist vibe running throughout - the song, the violent father, the accusations levied at the council worker... I don't think they're doing it on purpose, but anyone who says "his kind" to a minority needs to go to a tone meeting.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: The TARDISode features a clip from "Crime Crackers", asking anyone with information about the missing kids to call a number. It ends on a shot of red eyes in a cupboard.
SECOND OPINIONS: In Fear Her in the Post-Moffat Era, I contrasted Moffat's fairy tales with this episode, as a way to show why it was so much less satisfying (mainly because it broke its own internal rules).
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It's not as heinous as you've heard, but it's not very good either. Messy logic, indulgence, and yeah, a great deal of déjà vu.