Doctor Who #864: Lost in Time Part 1

"The tapestry of time is a fragile thing. Apply the slightest pressure, and the threads of history can unravel."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.8 2010.

IN THIS ONE... Everyone is taken to the past separately - Rani to Jane Grey's court, Clyde to WWII, and Sarah Jane to a haunted house in the 19th century.

REVIEW: This episode does two things the show doesn't do very often. First, it splits the group up into distinct stories, playing as a kind of linked anthology. Second, and most importantly, it involves time travel. The mysterious man who sends them through portals made of broken time shards (Primeval comes to mind) is an intriguing figure and appears legit (or is the parrot in charge?), though the quest for artifacts made of time metal is a rather simple and obvious way to involve our heroes. The show isn't normally "mission-based" like this. I have a feeling each chapter will have to stand on its own merits, while the MacGuffins will be just that. Let's look at each thread in turn...

Rani's is the most compelling to me. She is accepted as a companion for the Nine Days' Queen, a girl actually younger than she is, and they hit it off famously. The trick is treating Lady Jane as a person and equal, though the short-lived monarch has a heavier burden than most girls her age. Because history tells us Jane was executed for treason no more than a year from this story (we'll see how much the show fudges historical fact), this thread is bound to be somewhat adult. Rani is essentially gossiping (yes, Clyde comes up as a possible beau) with a dead (or at least, doomed) young woman. This is especially sad because Jane is such a nice person. With enemies both within and without, there's every sense Rani is keeping vigil with the young queen, waiting for the inevitable, which is rather dark for the Adventures.

Clyde's thread in World War II could turn dark as well. He's dealing with Nazis who have secretly landed on England's shores and mean to use one of the artifacts to help them win the war. Traipsing through fields with a new friend, George Woods, trying to stay out of sight but getting captured by a mean S.S. dude who explains his plans... It's all very Indiana Jones compared to Rani's story. Only action-adventure for our boy Clyde, and Nazis turning the tide thanks to time travel/magic is a tried and true trope. Sarah Jane is in an entirely different genre, the ghost story. Of course, we already know she doesn't believe in ghosts, but she'll accept they're psychic recordings of the past. The twist? They're actually recordings of the future! So that's an interesting puzzle for her to work out, equally accompanied by a young local, the recently orphaned Emily. All three strands mirror each other in structure.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Intrigued by Sarah Jane's thread, love Rani's, and still waiting for Clyde's to pay off.



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