A Town Called Mercy

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Amy and Rory to the old west, where they find an entire town that seems to have walled itself in. The locals are more suspicious of the three strangers than the time travelers expect; they’re warned that stepping outside the barrier at the edge of Mercy leaves one open to the mysterious Gunslinger. Only the sheriff, Isaac, prevents the townsfolk from throwing the Doctor across the barrier and leaving him to his fate. The Doctor learns that the Gunslinger wants the locals to hand over a stranded Kahler named Jex, who has helped the people of Mercy install electricity decades ahead of time, powered by his crashed ship. But Jex doesn’t dare stray outside of Mercy, and a visit to his ship shows the Doctor why: Jex was a military surgeon performing augmentations on Kahler soldiers, and the Gunslinger was among his patients – and is one of the few who lived. The saviour of Mercy is a war criminal, and the Doctor feels an obligation to see that justice is done. Isaac dies protecting Kahler Jex from the Gunslinger’s next attack, and leaves the Doctor with the sheriff’s badge, a tough decision to make, and a slowly growing lynch mob to face.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Saul Metzstein
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Andrew Brooke (The Gunslinger), Adrian Scarborough (Kahler-Jex), Dominic Kemp (Kahler-Mab), Joanne McQuinn (Sadie), Byrd Wilkins (The Preacher), Garrick Doctor WhoHagon (Abraham), Ben Browder (Isaac), Sean Benedict (Dockery), Rob Cavazos (Walter)

Notes: American actor Ben Browder is best known for his starring role in another popular science fiction series, Farscape, and for taking on the thankless job of succeeding Richard Dean Anderson as the star of Stargate SG-1 in its final two seasons. Garrick Hagon has previously appeared in classic Doctor Who (1972’s The Mutants), a few years before being cast as Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars, and more recently in the Big Finish audio Doctor Who story Axis Of Insanity.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Power Of Three

Doctor WhoThe Doctor returns to Earth to discover that black cubes have appeared all over the planet, mystifying the entire world: is it an alien attack or some kind of viral marketing ploy? When the cubes show no sign of activity, the Doctor decides to move in with Amy and Rory to observe the cubes over time. The cubes’ inactivity – and his own – drives the Doctor to distraction. Even when Rory’s dad Brian pitches in to observe the cubes, the cubes do nothing. The Doctor is surprised when UNIT arrives to question him, led by Kate Stewart – Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter. When they do awaken, the cubes’ behavior ranges from benign to deadly to baffling, and the attention of the entire human race is riveted – which is exactly what the mind behind the cubes wants. The slow invasion of Earth is about to speed up, and even the Doctor can’t stop it.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Douglas MacKinnon
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Mark Williams (Brian Williams), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Steven Berkoff (Shakri), Selva Rasalingam (Ranjit), Alice O’Connell (Laura), Peter Cartwright (Arnold Underwood), David Beck (Orderly 1), Daniel Beck (Orderly 2), David Hartley (UNIT Researcher), Professor Brian Cox (himself)

Doctor WhoNotes: The character of Kate Stewart was established in the 1995 direct-to-video spinoff Downtime, on which occasion she was played by Beverley Cressman. At that point, Kate showed no interest in UNIT, though obviously her priorities changed, perhaps as a result of UNIT’s intervention in the Yeti incursion at NeWorld University in that story. (It’s entirely possible that the two iterations of Kate Stewart weren’t meant to be the same person, but for those who like a wider Doctor Who universe, nothing in either this episode or Downtime directly contradicts the other story.) It is strongly implied that Kate has reformed UNIT somewhat (previous Doctor Who and Torchwood episodes had depicted UNIT becoming more ruthlessly militaristic).

Original title: Cubed

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Angels Take Manhattan

Doctor WhoA visit to modern-day New York City takes an unexpected twist. While Rory goes for lunch, the Doctor and Amy realize that the mystery novel that the Doctor is reading was, in fact, written by River Song, and describes Rory’s sudden abduction through time into the 1920s. The Doctor and Amy follow, discovering that River has become embroiled in shady dealings with a sinister collector of statues who happen to be Weeping Angels. Even the Statue of Liberty stalks the streets of New York at night. After escaping their immediate predicament, they find Rory – in his 80s, dying in a hotel room – even though they’ve rescued the younger Rory. It seems that he is fated to die, the temporal energy from his time travels feeding the Angels of New York. Amy and Rory take drastic steps – and, the Doctor warns, very ill-advised ones – to end the Angels’ reign by creating a dangerous paradox in their personal history. But this time, even the Time Lord can’t help his friends escape their inevitable fate.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Nick Hurran
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Alex Kingston (River Song), Mike McShane (Grayle), Rob David (Sam Garner), Bently Kalu (Hood), Doctor WhoOzzie Yue (Foreman), Burnell Tucker (Old Garner), Zac Fox (Photoshoot PA)

Notes: This episode, featuring the long-anticipated, heavily-hyped exit of Rory and Amy, is the end of “Series 7A” (a term coined by the production team; following the Christmas episode, the remainder of the season aired in 2013). Location filming was done in New York, the second time a Doctor Who film crew, complete with the show’s stars, has filmed on location in the United States.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Time Of The Doctor

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is confronted with a mystery: a powerful signal is emanating from a backwater planet, defying any attempt to translate or decipher it, and luring ships from nearly every spacefaring race to that world. Having salvaged the severed head of a Cyberman to harness its processing power, the Doctor attaches a piece of Gallifreyan communications technology to the head, presumably capable of translating any language, much like the TARDIS herself, and “Handles” promptly identifies the planet from which the signal is transmitting as Gallifrey, though it bears no resemblance to the Doctor’s home planet. The Doctor and Clara are invited to board the first ship to have arrived here, the Papal Mainframe of the Church. The head of the Church, Tasha Lem, reveals the true name of the mystery planet: Trenzalore. The Papal Mainframe is protecting Trenzalore with a force field, but all hell will break loose the moment that the other ships realize that not only has someone been granted access to the planet, but that someone happens to be the Doctor. Upon first setting foot on Trenzalore, the Doctor and Clara find that others lie in wait, including Weeping Angels. They narrowly escape, and this time the Doctor insists on visiting Trenzalore on his terms, using the TARDIS instead of Tasha Lem’s teleport. The signal emanates from a large crack in the wall of a church tower on Trenzalore, shaped like the crack that the Doctor witnessed numerous times during his early travels with Amy and Rory. The signal is in the Gallifreyan language, repeating one question over and over: “Doctor who?” – the question that the Doctor has been warned must never be answered. Soon, the occupants of the many ships orbiting Trenzalore lose their patience, and try to invade the planet, only to find that the Doctor has given up his travels in space and time to defend it. Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels and others attempt to land on Trenzalore, and are either driven back into space or destroyed.

Involuntarily returned to Earth by the TARDIS, Clara tries to resume her day-to-day life, only to be visited by Tasha Lem, piloting the Doctor’s timeship. She wants Clara to return to Trenzalore. Hundreds of years after he last saw her, the Doctor is dying of old age, able to regenerate no more. Tasha Lem wants Clara to visit him because the Doctor shouldn’t have to die alone.

But yet another force in the universe seems to believe that the Doctor shouldn’t have to die at all.

Order the DVDwritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Jamie Payne
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Orla Brady (Tasha Lem), James Buller (Dad), Elizabeth Rider (Linda), Sheila Reid (Gran), Doctor WhoMark Anthony Brighton (Colonel Albero), Rob Jarvis (Abramal), Tessa Peake-Jones (Marta), Jack Hollington (Barnable), Sonita Henry (Colonel Meme), Kayvan Novak (voice of Handles), Tom Gibbons (Young Man), Ken Bones (Voice), Aidan Cook (Cyberman), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek/Cyberman voices), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek 1), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek 2), Ross Mullan (Silent), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Karen Madison (Weeping Angel), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Peter Capaldi (The Doctor)

Notes: Daleks, Cybermen (including a unique Cyberman made of wood, echoing the King and Queen from The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe), Sontarans and Angels are seen to attempt landing on Trenzalore; others, such as the Terileptils (seen in only one story, 1982’s The Visitation), are mentioned by name only. Silurian Ark ships (Dinosaurs On A Spaceship) are also seen besieging Trenzalore. The device the Doctor attaches to “Handles” is indeed a communications device given to the Master by the High Council of Gallifrey before venturing into the Death Zone with orders to rescue the Doctor (The Five Doctors, 1983); the significance Doctor Whoof this reference lies in what happened before the Master was given that device in The Five Doctors: he was offered “a complete new life cycle” of regenerations, something which one may infer has been granted to the Doctor by the end of this story. The Punch & Judy-style puppet show performed on Trenzalore recounts the Doctor’s misadventures with the one-eyed Monoids in The Ark (1965).

The Silence, seen throughout the eleventh Doctor’s era, are part of the Church, and stand with the Doctor to defend Trenzalore; the Silents that pestered the Doctor in seasons past (The Impossible Astronaut, Day Of The Moon, The Wedding Of River Song) were part of a rogue task group led by Madame Kovarian to prevent the Doctor from ever reaching this point; obviously that group was not successful, even when they took great pains to kidnap infant Melody Pond to program her to assassinate the Doctor. The cracks, first glimpsed in The Eleventh Hour (and, in that story, attributed to Prisoner Zero), are apparently the Time Lords attempting to signal their location to the Doctor so he can retrieve Gallifrey and return it to its proper place in reality.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]