Well, since my last post, we’ve had a few more episodes. It’s somewhat more difficult to read messages into these. Tooth and Claw, I suppose, advocates trying to understand the actions of a being whose actions are reprehensible, rather than simply killing it. School Reunion, meanwhile, pits the Doctor against a manipulative group who are taking over the curriculum of a school for their own agenda, and The Girl in the Fireplace warns of the dangers of excessively simplistic logic (although, to be honest, I’m not sure the plot’s up to much). The Rise of the Cybermen, it would seem, is the most packed with messages thus far this season, warning fairly straightforwardly of:
1. Lumic’s control of the media environment that so many people are using to get all their information about the world (News Corp. etc. again).
2. The dangers of the government getting into bed with big business too much.
3. Obviously, the violation of people’s freedom from coersion into the upgrade programme.
All pretty decent messages, if you ask me. But there is another undercurrent that I’m not so sure about in this series:
In the absence of his own people, and hence the lack of “any higher authority”, the Doctor is becoming increasingly something of a vigilante. I know he always was, to some extent, but usually, in the past, you could rely on some sort of face-off with the enemy of the month where the Doctor explained to the maniac in question what was wrong. This has lead, over the years, to some great scenes, not least the “virus scene” with Davros in Genesis of the Daleks, his talk with the Captain in The Pirate Planet (“but what’s it FOR? Hm? What could possibly be worth all this?”), his talk with the Cyber-Leader about emotions in Earthshock (nicely lifted by Mr. MacRae this week), or indeed, in the final episode of the old series, his attempt to convince the ever unconvinceable Master that “if we fight like animals, we die like animals”.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this has left the series altogether, and indeed, as I pointed out above, there was something very similar in last night’s episode. But, unfortunately, as often as not, what you get in the place of such explanations is a simple assertion by the Doctor that this is WRONG! and that IT ENDS TONIGHT! because I’M GOING TO STOP IT! This seems to me to be somewhat lazy. That’s all.
And, as Mr Wilcock has quite rightly pointed out in the comments section of a Millennium post that very few of you will actually know what it’s about (this one), the earPods concept in this story is pretty much a straight lift from the work of Lawrence Miles. Hopefully, at some point, they will run out of stuff from LM to approporiate and be forced to employ him as some sort of creative consultant (lets face it, I wouldn’t trust Loz to write an episode of the new series without much more experience than he currently has (ie. none) of TV writing, but he has more cool ideas in a day than most writers do in a year).