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Doctor Who: Turn Left, Review

Last week we had the Donna light episode, this week it’s the Doctor light episode. I’ve actually really enjoyed the different atmosphere that Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) has brought to the TARDIS, but I wasn’t sure how well she would do as the center point of an entire episode.

The conceit is quite simple. What would Donna Noble’s life have been like if she had never bumped into the Doctor? The episode was again written by Russell T. Davies and begins the ramp up for the conclusion of the season.

Of course it isn’t an improvement (for her or for Earth as a matter of fact). The conclusion is inevitable. The trick with a story like this is to make us care about the characters as it happens to them. And emotions are one of Davies strong points as a writer. One nice touch that emphasizes the feeling something is wrong is that some people can see there’s “something” on Donna’s back.

When we finally see the alien beetle though it’s about the most unconvincing alien that we’ve seen since the Doctor returned.

It turns out that without Donna’s help the Doctor doesn’t make it out alive. And it’s rapidly downhill from there. Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith both die when the hospital is taken. Earths defenders are being rapidly depleted.
Rose TylerImage via Wikipedia
As Earth begins to suffer from the repeated alien attacks that the Doctor isn’t here to stop, London is destroyed in an explosion and Donna’s family begins to suffer directly. Things begin to spiral out of control. Rose tries to persuade Donna that she had met the Doctor, but she resists, wrapped up in her insignificance.

And then the stars start to go out (once again linking back to comments earlier in the season).

Catherine Tate is primarily known as a comedy actress, but this episode was largely free of humor and required a much more serious perfomance. A task which she handled remarkably well.

It was certainly interesting to see Billie Piper back in a speaking role as Rose Tyler. I wasn’t as big a fan of her character as many people, but the teasers all the way through the season have certainly whetted my appetite. It was interesting to here her used the Doctor’s line.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

I’m tempted to find out just how many times that line has been used since the series returned.

The story doesn’t really have a satisfactory conclusion in the traditional sense because its whole purpose is really to set up the final two episodes. Most of the questions raised aren’t answered. Why was Donna attacked? Was it directly related to the end of the universe or just co-incidence?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his personal website

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