Doctor Who #837: The Gift Part 1

"And what's on the menu? Clyde burgers with a side of Rani?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.19 2009.

IN THIS ONE... The Blathereen give Sarah Jane the gift of a miracle plant that soon attacks London with life-draining spores.

REVIEW: We're off running after overweight kids again - I knew the whole Slitheen thing would encourage bullying - and hey, I thought they'd fixed the farting thing back in The Lost Boy? Whatever, this is all really the end of an adventure and a prequel to what this two-parter will actually be about. Still, memorable for the Slitheen's absurd plan for compressing Earth into a giant diamond, and K9's mention of "hover mode" (how else would he get out of the car or, you know, get over the TARDIS door's threshold?). The Slitheen are just there to be apprehended by another family, the Blathereen, who represent the "goodie" members of the race, which we know must exist if the Slitheen are distinguished by their criminal behavior. In a strange subversion of Boom Town, Sarah and the kids have dinner with the Slitheen's executioners and there's no real moral dilemma about the criminals' final fate. After all, these kids have blown up Slitheen with pickle juice themselves.

The Blathereen have strange names like Leef Apple and Tree (connected to their gift), so either these are pseudonyms, artifacts of their translator collars, or silliness in the script. Not sure how much of their stories to believe given their miracle plant turns out to be a Trojan horse, but they do add color to their species with their world's political history and so on. It's all on a kind of a slow beat, talking and sloppy eating (Clyde is an able young chef, continuing his rise as an artist of all stripes), but it's not boring. Rakweed could feed the world and is a pretty wonderful gift, to which I say, "Remember the Axons!" - Sarah's right, it's too good to be true. Which is too bad, because I think Sarah mistrusting good aliens because SOME of their race were baddies was the better story. I hold out hope that the Blathereen never intended this particular effect on our ecology.

In the background of this biological invasion, with cool evil spores flying around like they're in a 3D movie, is the kids' biology exam. It's Luke's first sick day, so he won't make it. Clyde brings K9 to school to help him cheat, which doesn't sound like a good plan at all given the tin dog's usual control over his voice's volume (but Mr. Smith sure is happy for the break, but he's a House of Cards fan and couldn't possibly comment). Rani agrees with me, but I kind of wish she would screw with Clyde's plan just to keep him honest. Like order K9 not to help or something. She IS the head teacher's daughter, after all, she should do more than not cheat herself.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Interesting, but potentially a missed opportunity to REALLY fill out the Raxacoricofallapatorian race.



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