Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 12: Turn Left  » TV  »
4.5
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  • It was interesting seeing the events of previous episodes get presented in a different light
  • Even Jackie, who's the best of them so far, even started off much the same way before character development took over
  • I know that this is supposed to parallel the danger of the Doctor revealing his true name (something I'm skeptical of myself, but whatever), but it doesn't work here
  • There should be more of that though, I thought it was a nice touch
  • I think having the companion take a break, then the Doctor taking one right after works a lot better than having an episode featuring entirely new characters who we know nothing about


    • by David Finniss

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      Just as “Midnight” focused on the Doctor and featured Donna in a minimal capacity, so too does this one focus on one character while leaving another one on the sidelines, though this time it inverts that formula. The focus is on Donna and the episode takes a look at a world where she never met the Doctor. This is the Butterfly effect in full…effect as the only thing that changes is a simple turn at an intersection on a very specific day. Instead of turning left and taking the job at the company where she would later meet her alien fiance, she turns right to take a different job. Without Donna around, the Doctor dies after the events of “The Runaway Bride” and things just go so very wrong.

      It was interesting seeing the events of previous episodes get presented in a different light. It made for nice continuity nods and it showcased how vital the Doctor is. As many as they got in, I feel like they probably could’ve incorporated more events into it. Even so, it works out rather well.

      One might think that after the intense punch to the gut that was “Midnight”, that this would be a lighter and softer episode to act as a counter-balance. You could not be more wrong. It could very well be darker as things just get worse and worse for the world at large. More than that, all your favorite characters get killed as a result of this. When all is said and done, Martha ends up dead, Sarah Jane gets killed, as does the Torchwood team. It isn’t pretty.

      While Donna takes on the more abrasive personality we saw in “Runaway Bride” you do still grow to sympathize with her and we do see elements of


      the softer Donna come into play as well. I have no idea why Donna’s mother is so mean to her. It’s really blatant too. She doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she’s ashamed of her daughter, it’s cold. It seems to be a common trait with companion’s mothers. Martha’s wasn’t particularly likable either. Even Jackie, who’s the best of them so far, even started off much the same way before character development took over.

      This episode does bring Rose back to the forefront, supposedly bringing her recurring appearances to a head as she tries to help Donna set things right. It was good seeing her again, though she’s nothing like we knew her. She seemed to be taking mannerisms from the Doctor himself in her interactions with Donna. She never revealed her name, she was a traveller, she was cryptic. It’s a pretty drastic shift from how we saw her at the end of season 2. It’s not bad, per se, but it is a pretty jarring change. I’m not sure how revealing her name would cause any problems for the time stream as a whole. I know that this is supposed to parallel the danger of the Doctor revealing his true name (something I’m skeptical of myself, but whatever), but it doesn’t work here. Even if Donna did learn Rose’s name, it’s not like she would blab to the media and let everyone know that parallel universes exist. I don’t see how it’s such a problem.

      I liked the Beetle. It was an interesting plot element that, sadly, didn’t get elaborated on too much. While it’s the cause of the alternate timeline, making it something of a plot device, it comes into play throughout ...


      • the episode as various characters comment that Donna has something on her back, bringing the line that has popped up throughout the season into context. Much like the Weeping Angels and the Silence, this is an antagonist that plays on what we can see. It always seems to be behind her, but she can’t see it and there is seemingly nothing she can do about it. It’s an unsettling concept that gets used to good effect here.

        I also liked that refugee family that the Nobles end up sharing a hostel with. That guy was generally pleasant and jovial. It makes his ending all the more depressing. At least we got to see him lead a sing along to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I have to admit, that was unexpected. There should be more of that though, I thought it was a nice touch. I doubt he’ll turn up again any time soon, but I’m not opposed to the idea as he was fun to watch and you did grow to like him, even though he doesn’t get that much screen time.

        I’m not sure what the deal was with the fortune teller. First of all, she was clearly malevolent. Just looking at her, you could tell something was up. I’m not sure what her endgame was, though. You get the feeling that she’s trying to eliminate the Doctor, but we’re never given a reason as to why. There’s a mention of a “Trickster’s Brigade”, but that tells us nothing. Is it a reference to one of the classic serials? I know there’s only so much time in the episode, but it would’ve been nice to get something more. As it is, I have no idea why any of this occurred

        beyond giving David Tennant a breather.

        The episode lays the groundwork for the big finale. We have foreshadowing galore, with Rose warning Donna of a coming darkness and the stars going out. The real whammy comes at the end when Donna is relaying the events to the Doctor when things are set right. Once Donna mentioned that Rose whispered two words into her ear, I immediately picked up on what she had said, but it’s still a jaw dropping sequence and it really got me excited to move onto the next episode.

        I have a question, didn’t the Doctor say that the Titanic’s engines would blow up the whole planet back in “Voyage of the Damned”? Was that retconned into being a smaller scale to justify the plot or what? I could’ve sworn they said that was the case. So how come it only destroyed London here? Besides rule of plot, they never really explain that. Maybe the crew did something to lessen the effect of the crash? I have no clue, it’s a jarring contradiction that never gets touched upon.

        All in all though, this was a very good episode. It may not’ve been the masterpiece that its predecessor was, but it was my favorite “Doctor-Lite” episode so far (though Blink is pretty good too). I think having the companion take a break, then the Doctor taking one right after works a lot better than having an episode featuring entirely new characters who we know nothing about. The arc, as a whole, worked. There was a lot of insight into character and we really got to see how important the Time Lord is to the world at large. I really can’t wait to check out the finale as that cliffhanger has me stoked.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in April, 2012. 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. 1012041572740230/k2311a0412/4.12.12
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