Monday, 8 July 2013

Review: Doctor Who 4.11: Turn Left
Hmm. New teeth. That's weird.
Doctor Who - Season 30, Episode Eleven - Turn Left
Written 20/4/13

Ooh. This is awkward. For those of you who don't read my reviews very often (or at least weren't reading a few months ago) you may not know that I'm not the world's biggest Rose fan. I've already written my fingers off about her character in her original run, but this run of three episodes marks the culmination of a series of silly hints and references to her return. Rose has been bigged up beyond comprehension by this point, you understand. And it's only gonna get worse.
     Turn Left is an episode that exploits a great deal of NuWho mythology, taking an event from The Runaway Bride and spinning it off into a parallel universe where for whatever reason the Doctor died, leading to misery and death for everyone. It's part of RTD's Doctor deification scheme that's been running for quite a while now, and while the use of alternate realities is fun, a lot of the changes end up being extraordinarily contrived.
     The episode proposes that if the Doctor died in The Runaway Bride (from drowning, apparently, because losing Rose is enough to send him into a fucking suicidal fervour), then the present-day stories from Series Three and Series Four would all have gone terribly wrong. Sarah Jane, her troupe and Martha Jones die when the Judoon steal the Royal Hope Hospital. Adipose Industries decimate the Americas (why didn't they do that in our reality?). The USS Titanic crashes into London and has the same effect as a nuclear bomb, wiping out the South of England (despite the episode telling us that such an explosion would destroy the planet). Torchwood dies and Jack is inprisoned on Sontar when the Sontarans invade. The episode is presented from the eyes of an affected Donna, who is guided by a dimension-jumping Rose, who helps her set the timeline right.
Donna's life goes in a different, more depressing, direction.
     Seeing Donna reverted to her obnoxious pre-Doctor personality wasn't a fun experience, and considering what's gonna happen in a couple of weeks it's almost desperately tragic. Seeing her try to survive while the world goes to shit made the episode one of the most depressing since the ending of The Caves of Androzani. For me it never felt believable, because the events that occur are so arbitrarily put together. If Sarah Jane wasn't at the hospital in the main timeline, why was she there in this one? If Donna was able to go it alone inside the Sontaran ship, why would Gwen and Ianto be killed? And why didn't the Titanic wipe out the planet?
     Meanwhile, Rose's return isn't as bad as it could be, because The Doctor is nowhere to be found. Her character is nothing like it was before, and she's now a generic badass action girl whose actions are still dictated by her obsessive attempts to reunite herself with The Doctor. Even when he warned her that breaking the barriers of reality would fuck shit up, and even though time travels much faster in her parallel universe (it's been two years for The Doc and about six or seven for her), she went and did it anyway. Bleh.
     I appareciate that Turn Left was trying to use Alternate Realities, which is a sci-fi theme that when used correctly is damn-awesome. But the way it was executed was drenched in inconsistency and ties so much into RTD's fluffyness that I can't appreciate it as much as I'd like to. And because I really do doubt that the UK Government would start putting the Italians into concentration camps if London was destroyed. See you next time.


NEXT WEEK: Mighty Massive Crossover Bullshit! It's The Stolen Earth/Journey's End.

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