Doctor Who #838: The Gift Part 2

"So they farted themselves to death?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.20 2009.

IN THIS ONE... The Rakweed spreads, but the Blathereen are exposed and defeated.

REVIEW: What is it with sonics in the Whoniverse? The Doctor and Sarah Jane use sonic gadgets that can do virtually anything, and it also appears sound by itself - or at least amplified sound - can work wonders too. Rakweed spores disintegrate  when exposed to the school bell, adult plants shrivel up and die, and Blathereen bellies full of the stuff make their eaters blow up. The connection between plants and sound isn't unheard of. High-pitched sounds had an effect on the Krynoid in The Seeds of Doom, for example, though nothing so dramatic and final. If it were a weapon found by serendipity to use against the Rakweed, then fine, but it's all a bit convenient, even acting as a cure to the infection the spores cause in humans. And Mr. Smith making everything blare at the right frequency in London, including car alarms and flame detectors, well, we're in deus ex machina land, no two ways about it.

While exploding Slitheen (and assorted cousins) in the context of this show has always made me squirm, at least Sarah feels the need to justify her actions and evoke the Doctor's "better way". Even her carrying a vinegar gun felt warranted - she was in full Momma Bear mode at the time. It was self-defense, but beyond that, one could say the Blathereen deserved their fate, being drug dealers and all. The realization that the alien weed (what is it with Brits and killer plants anyway?) is addictive and that the Blathereen are both users and pushers is a fairly adult notion for a kids show, but certainly welcome. It shows the program isn't as juvenile as those who don't watch it think, despite the gross-out gunksplosions and fart humor in this one.

And does Clyde learn his lesson about cheating on tests? Probably. It's all a redo because of the day's events, and hopefully Sarah Jane's speech about his trusting his abilities did the trick. As is often the case with cheaters, if he put as much thought and energy into his studies as he does into his cheating strategy, there wouldn't be a problem. I kind of like Rani's reaction to it all. She's outwardly angry at him, but hides a smile afterwards. Bad boys, eh? The message is sends to viewers is not a good one, but it is a REALISTIC one. This episode - and indeed, this season - could have done with more real character moments as opposed to fantastical threats and solutions.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - I can't wait to watch Season 4 again, because 3 has been a lot like this episode, fine but somewhat unremarkable action adventure stuff, disappointing because the show got so much better.



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