Doctor Who: Season 2, Episode 8: The Idiot’s Lantern  » TV  »
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  • The script itself is riddled with flaws, now that I think about it

    • by David Finniss


      This is probably the most lackluster Doctor Who episode to date. It had promise, but so much of it fell flat for me that it just wasn’t as enjoyable as the other episodes. The plot is similar to “Batman Forever”, but instead of the Riddler, it’s a mysterious alien entity that calls itself “The Wire” that wants to suck everyone’s brain waves out of their heads.

      The Wire is very similar to the alien “ghosts” from “The Unquiet Dead” in that she wanted to give herself a new body. The means were different, but the end was the same. The villain takes on the form of a woman akin to a 50’s school teacher. She’s at her creepiest when she’s hiding behind a pleasant

      facade. Sadly, when she tries to go full villain, it fails. Bad lines and odd delivery take all the menace out of her when she should be at her most frightening. I also don’t know why The Wire gives itself orders. When she sees the sonic screwdriver, she notices he’s “armed” and commands herself to withdraw…why? With the Cybermen or the Daleks, heck even those androids from “The Girl in the Fireplace” that dialogue would fit, but here it doesn’t make any sense.

      The script itself is riddled with flaws, now that I think about it. Eddie Connelly, one of the guest characters for the week, is an over the top cardboard cut out. There’s no real nuance or subtlety to his character. I get that he’s supposed to be unlikeable, but they took it to a point where it didn’t even feel like a real person. There were also several hokey lines that were rather facepalm worthy.

      It was probably just the subpar speakers on my netbook, but there were several points where I had a hard time understanding what people were saying. I had the volume turned up all the way and it still seemed like lines were being mumbled.

      I have to wonder about the Doctor’s superiority complex. He has a line where he says that with Rose gone that nothing on Earth can stop him. Yes, he’s resourceful and clever, being able to fend off invasions from Daleks, Cybermen, and other ...

      • Doctor Who: Season 2, Episode 8: The Idiot's Lantern
      nefarious forces, but he’s very beatable. I don’t know, I found it odd.

      That’s not to say that it was all bad. Tennant was delightful as always. The scene in the cage with all of the faceless people starting to come to life as the Doctor investigates was appropriately creepy. There’s another scene where the Doctor comes across all the trapped souls in various TV screens; that too was rather unnerving.

      While we didn’t really learn a lot about Mr. Magpie’s background, he still came off as one of the more fleshed out and human characters on the show. He was clearly an unwilling participant and felt guilty about his role in the whole thing, but was forced into a bad situation. It gave

      him a sense of pathos that none of the other characters had.

      Special mention goes to the opening teaser, that was also something that the episode pulled off brilliantly. It’s unfortunate that the first two minutes or so are the highlight of the episode.

      TV gets a bad rap, what with the whole “it rots your brain” montra being paraded about pretty much since it was invented. It’s not unexpected that someone would take that to a literal level for story purposes, and it can be done well, but this episode had so much other fluff that it didn’t work as well as one would hope. While the episode isn’t a total disaster, it’s disappointing, and not up to the standards that this series has set so far.

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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in July, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1028071516150431/k2311a0728/7.28.11
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