Doctor Who #933: Alien Avatar

"Come on, Darius, be a man." "He doesn't do impressions."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.29 2010.

IN THIS ONE... The Thames is polluted by alien tech and ghostly Medes ask for help.

REVIEW: I know I complain about Darius a lot, but he's the gift that keeps on giving. His behavior in this episode, for example, makes me wonder why he's the Professor's assistant at all! I get that he's a (former) thief and that he might, from time to time, get up to his old tricks. However, if he's really been stealing books from Gryffen's library and selling them to a second-hand book shop (which is probably the WORST idea I've ever heard for making money), he really should be fired. Because what IS is his job exactly? Despite his working on a vintage talking car in his spare time (although that might be his job, in which case he's more of a mechanic than an assistant), he seems to be the least scientifically-minded character on the show, rolling his eyes at technobabble and passing the buck on tasks whenever he can. Dangerous [TECH] stuff is discussed and he just sneers and doesn't see the point. He is so irritating. But so is Drake (as usual) and so are his CCPCs (as usual). Between the cockney accents and electronic distortion, the cyborg coppers are nearly intelligible, and really useless to boot.

The plot this time around requires Drake to once again riffle through June's things and cause yet another jurisdictional tiff. This is a subplot that needs to go somewhere, because it's been on "repeat" for a while now. Drake's captured some aliens called "Medes", whose technology is being tested to do [TECH] and is causing dangerous pollution, pollution that makes K9 shimmer and go bleep (but he can still swim in it), Starkey to rub his eyes, and fish to smoke on the Thames banks. Well, the Thames... I don't think Nondon's ever been so obviously Australia before. Sure, there could have been a lot of construction in the 40 years between us and 2050, but nothing here matches even the matte shots we've repeatedly been shown in the past. Are those palm trees in the distance? Even the light is off, very stark and sunny. Global warming, I presume? In any case, if I have time to look at the scenery, it's because there isn't a great deal of story there. The aliens project visions of themselves to help the heroes track the leak coming from their [TECH], the kids get captured by Security forces, June frees them and the aliens with the flash of a badge, and the aliens clean the spill literally with the wave of their hands. Done.

If anything redeems the episode, it's the humor. There are actually a few comic moments that work, like Jorjie singing her head off while listening to her ipod, to everyone else's chagrin, or K9 and the CCPCs bonding over their derision of humanity's little obsessions. And the dialog some of the best jokes we've seen on the series, though some could be considered groaners, like K9's filthy habit of "smoking". Still, a lot punchier than usual. I like how K9's translation matrix is shown to work on his HUD as well; he seems to have a good back-up for when a TARDIS isn't around (if telepathic circuits ever worked on him, of course).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It's got a few fun moments, but the plot is ordinary and Darius is, as usual, hard to take. With Australia making itself known in the background, it also seems like everyone's accents are slipping more than usual.



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