Doctor Who #924: The Korven

"I need my brain... for thinking!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Jan.25 2010.

IN THIS ONE... An alien from the future kidnaps the Prof to get his cold gas secrets.

REVIEW: So the spacetime manipulator is used in a Torchwood kind of way in this episode, activating unexpectedly and having a demonic alien walk through from the future. The Korven looks fairly cool, though he's a little muppety, and he's after the professor's knowledge of phosphane, a freeze gas that could turn Earth into the perfect environment for its species. The gang also gets a video call from the future giving them the necessary exposition, which must mean the rift is still active 300-400 years hence. The cold is K9's nerf du jour, of course, but he eventually overcomes his safety features to zap the monster with microwaves to make it explode. As far as resolutions go, it's pretty weak and un-Whovian. Just shoot it!

The characters' personal stories are still advancing, though I'm disappointed with the lack of consequences to June and Jorjie finding out each other's secrets. Sure, June calls to check up on her rebellious daughter, but that doesn't seem all that different from before. Gryffen's predicament, with the Korven leeching memories out of him, allows us to see more of his missing family, but it's not clear how time travel will fix the problem if he ever masters it. We're told he misses them, and are reminded of his intense agoraphobia, but there's no real movement there. (And I've got to complain about the leeching effect, which is sometimes there, and sometimes not! What a strange and glaring production error.)

But though Darius is more or less meant to be the focus of the story, showing his loyalty to the Prof, Starkey actually gets the best of it. See, Darius is still a jerk, not quite loyal enough to the Prof not to make snide comments about him to the other kids (maybe he's putting on a brave front, but there's no nuance in the acting), and I just don't care about his not getting on with his family, or whether he's competitive with Starkey because Jorjie prefers him. Starkey sleeping rough, with K9 at his side, is a better hook, though by the end of the episode, his criminal record's been wiped and he's given a room in Gryffen Manor. Of course, those sequences do feature dog fart jokes, so it's not necessarily great television. They still come off as a sweet, for some reason, with K9's HUD analysis of Starkey's baked beans equating to a fart sound (amusing), though the tin dog's gastric distress in the final scene may be less than motivated.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low -
Oh my. I've just given the fart jokes as the highlight. It's not going very well, is it?

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