Doctor Who #927: Fear Itself

"Feelings are a system error."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Feb.15 2010.

IN THIS ONE... A fear alien manifests in London and K9 gets in touch with his feelings.

REVIEW: There doesn't seem to be any explanation for the fear entity that grips Nondon (sic), how it got there or how its powers work, but the lack of explanation is really the theme of this episode. It's FILLED with inexplicable nonsense. Never mind the wardrobe that become a bottomless pit when you show fear, that's par for the course in a light sci-fi show. And I can just about accept K9 can pal around with CCPCs (probably because of the K9 unit) and now has a tractor beam (advantages of having regenerated), though both elements sort of come out of nowhere. No, I'm wondering how Darius can have severe claustrophobia, yet have a secret hideout in the sewers. Or how K9 can develop, apparently spontaneously, emotional software that makes his susceptible to the fear entity's powers. What happens when you drop a bomb down a shaft under the city to a space that may or may not exist? Nothing apparently. Or, and this is on another level entirely, why they didn't stop tape and reshoot when the Professor misspells "FEAR" on the blackboard and needs to correct it on camera. An obvious flub at the very start of a scene and you don't notice or care? Dudes.

K9's new emotions are perhaps the biggest mystery. I don't think it's necessarily bad for the character to explore that idea, even if we had years and years of that from Data on Star Trek TNG. Like Data, K9 kind of protests too much. He's GOT emotions, just perhaps not the full suite. He feels disappointment at not having emotions, for example. So this is always something of a plot hole for robot characters who decry their emotionless state. How he gains more emotions is mystifying, however. The kids dress up in Halloween costumes to try and scare him (in case you think the 25-minute format just doesn't have room for all the explanations I'm asking for), and he muses on the binary nature of his thinking, and that apparently does the trick. He's then able to feel not only fear, something he has no idea how to deal with (why he's afraid of a Jixen, of all things, is another mystery), but some kind of intuition as well, remembering how Starkey told him emotion was like a sixth sense. Uhm, whatever you say.

Let's just skip to the cloying group hug at the end and forget about this one, okay?

A bottomless wardrobe in a junkyard? That's straight out of An Unearthly Child!

REWATCHABILITY: Low - Written and produced in such broad strokes, it might as well be a crumpled copy of the first draft.



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