Doctor Who #947: The Eclipse of the Korven

"Oy! You two! Invading each other's personal space!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Jul.5 2010.

IN THIS ONE... Thorne betrays the Earth to the Korven, and K9 "dies" fighting a giant amalgam of every monster he's ever faced.

REVIEW: The K9 season/series finale (and it works as either) is like an accelerated Doctor Who finale. A ton of musical cues are brought to bear, from exciting to inspirational to melancholy, and the camera work is fierce and action-oriented, making us feel every hit, explosion and distortion of reality. The energy on screen distracts us from the hare-brained science in the script - a black hole and white hole about to intersect in the STM, DNA fighting inside an amalgamated creature when it hears one of its core species' call to arms against another, and K9's "death" from low batteries - which is also right out of many Doctor Who finales.

But like the parent show (or uncle show, I guess), the finale is also where you put all the cool revelations, where the action never lets up, and where the character and larger arcs pay off. The mysterious boss, Lomax, turns out to be a Korven, and Thorne a willing accomplice with his own alien DNA (both appear to die, but could have been brought back). Jorjie and Starkey almost share a kiss, but for some CCPC spoilers enforcing laws against PDAs. June has been demoted to constable by Lomax; I quite like her as a more relaxed cataloger in a tiny office. Gryffen is manipulated into helping the bad guys, but finally takes a stand and leaves the mansion, working through intense anxiety to surprise Thorne in his lair (a huge space that adds a LOT of production value), where he sacrifices any chance of saving his family to save the world, and tells the villain off most satisfyingly to boot.

And then there's still 9 minutes to go! K9 has a final duel with of sorts (brains over brawn) with Project Trojan, a pretty cool cybernetic giant monster that has features from other aliens seen through the series, and exhausts his batteries permanently. Before you have time to really question it, the kids give some of their best performances mourning their canine friend. It's surprisingly affecting, and makes you think they've actually decided to end it on this sad a note. But then the regeneration unit appears out of nowhere and transmats inside K9 and he regenerated (nothing too intense, just a new collar). The series actually ends on the dog flying right at camera, so that end note goes from heartbreaking to uplifting and joyous, as it should. So it's amazing that while I bitched and moaned about this show's terrible plots, acting and production values over the past month, here at the end, I'm a little disappointed there wasn't more. I'd at least have liked to see what Darius would have become as a Department man had June really recruited him. (Did you read that scene as if they had romantic feelings for one another though? Awkward indeed.) Then again, better not tempt fate.

WHO REFERENCE WATCH: K9 regains in tartan collar. The middle Greek letters of Gryffen’s verbal deactivation code are "sigma theta", a reversal of the Doctor’s Gallifreyan nickname, Theta Sigma. The fourth is "ohm", which was a possible name for Omega in early discussions of The Three Doctors by... K9 creators Bob Baker and Dave Martin!

- I'm not just throwing the series a bone here, this episode is actually exciting, fun and even a little touching. It left me wondering what a second season would have had to offer, not the feeling of relief I was expecting.

And with this post, my daily Whoniverse reviews really DO come to an end. It feels about as strange as you'd expect after 947 days (that's 2 years and almost 8 months). Of course, it's never really over. I'll pick things up again in August as Peter Capaldi takes control(?) of the TARDIS!


Timothy S. Brannan said...

Fantastic series of posts!

I knew the end had to be close, but I never watched the K9 series so didn't know when exactly.

Wow. Now we all have to wait till August.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, there's always Bill and Ted (two movies, a cartoon, and a live action TV series).

Anonymous said...

By the way, thanks for your years of reviews! One thing they've drilled into my head is that I need to watch more Hartnell and Troughton; I'm pretty solid with Pertwee and beyond, but I do myself a disservice by not seeing more of his predecessors.

Tim Knight said...

Really enjoyed your K9 reviews. Like you I was really surprised by the show's sudden upswing in quality in these final two episodes.

For a while I was in touch with one of the directors and it looked as though there might have been a second series, but it never came to pass. I agree: it's a shame because at the end K9 was really showing potential.

I still stick with my initial gripe though: I wish they'd set it in futuristic Australia, rather than their flimsy faux London.

Siskoid said...

Thanks guys.

Tim: The show would have been much better served by being set in exotic Australia, and had the actors use their own accents.

Ben said...

Bravo! Great fun...looking forward to the next...


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