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Massive Weapons of Destruction

... bit of political commentary in the 5th episode of Doctor Who! The aliens who had infiltrated into the highest levels of government used that phrase and others based on the Blair governmnent's claim that mean ole Saddam could kill us all in 45 minutes. And when the Tardis-jockey asked if the public would fall for it, Rose, of all people, nineteen-year-old Rose answered that "they did last time".

There were some weak bits in the second half of this two-part storyline, though. The Doctor's various escapes from immediate destruction relied a bit too heavily on his enemies' willingness to listen to him talk and on them being slow and a bit thick. The Slitheen weren't thick, despite their baby faces in their undisguised form and the farting and stomach noises when they wore their human disguises.

Oh yes, the farting. I've read some criticism of the series "stooping to fart jokes". Bunkum and balderdash, I say. There were no fart jokes; the presence of farting does not imply humorous intent. Only an eight-year-old would assume that connection. Of course, plenty of eight-year-olds watch the show. The Slitheens fart because of the way their disguises affect their internal chemistry, and the internal chemistry played a legitimate role in the plot when Rose's mother Jackie and Rose's boyfiend, er, Ricky finally managed to kill one of them with a household substance. In, I might add, a satisfyingly revolting way.

But really. Comedy in the series comes from the interaction of the most important characters, and especially from the brilliant Christopher Eccleston who has a manic grin for every occasion.

After the early sequences where it wobbled a bit because of the dependence on idiocy on the part of the enemy, the plot chugged along nicely. Once the Doc, his old-in-cynicism companion and the hapless Member of Parliament they'd picked up were safely locked up in the Cabinet Room, things became pretty exciting indeed. There was some thoroughly unrealistic stuff about the Doctor guiding, er, Ricky into the MOD's missile control systems (there was even a slick red button in the MOD interface that the guy could press to launch a missile), and some more unrealistic stuff about the UN making the most important decision in its history within 24 hours, but those things just have to be assumed if you don't want an episode to last all day and be taken up with computer arcana.

In all, decent. And there was even a hint at the end that the writers were aware that there should really be consequences to all this alien stuff happening in London but had come up with an excuse for why there wouldn't. That's really more than I'd expect from a TV series although it would be nice if some day someone wrote a story where those things did have consequences.

Next week: Daleks. I won't see it when it's broadcast because I'll be on my way to Tilburg for Clickburg, but I'm sure someone will be kind enough to tape it for me.

Now, I think Jeroen had a pithy comment to make about the episode.


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