shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Finally saw this episode. And....well, Mark Gatiss really should stick to acting, he's not very good at this writing thing. Just saying.

The episode reminded me of some of the very cheesy sci-fi television shows and movies that I watched as a kid in the 1970s, but were created in 1960s. Unlike the UK, apparently, the US had lots of cheesy sci-fi shows and movies to choose from. None of them lasted very long, because, hello, cheesy. I think the worst was Land of the Lost. Even the gadgets in the episodes were very seventies.

Had a very Jules Vern/HG Wells vibe going.

I'm not really sure what the writer was trying to say in the episode. But then it was written by Mark Gatiss, who I tend to find to be unintelligible on a good day.

Apparently a group of Victorian British Soliders took an Expedition to Mars, got stranded there, with a bunch of lizard people in metallic armor. Doctor Who, Bill and Nardol decide to investigate Mars when NASA discovers "God Save the Queen" written in rocks on the planet's surface. Because who does that?

I'm guessing they went back in time, because otherwise the soliders found the fountain of youth.

I figured out they were Victorian soliders from their re military garb, complete with white helmets. Why Gatiss chose Victorian British soliders, I've no idea. The only thing that made them appear to be Victorian was the outfits. It seemed odd that Victorian soliders found the time let alone the inclination to take an expedition to Mars, or even found a way to get there. (I'm thinking Gatiss has been reading Steam-punk, either that or Jules Vern, possibly HG Wells. Felt more like Jules Vern.)

But hand-waving all of that. The plot didn't make a lot of sense. Granted I kept wandering about doing things during the episode, like making dinner, cleaning dishes, that sort of thing. So it's possible I missed stuff. Suffice it to say, it didn't exactly hold my attention.

As far as I can gather -- the soliders over time have made friends with the last remaining lizard man on Mars. He's a tall guy, with a cheap metallic outfit and gnarly looking face. I thought during it, okay, I know you have a cheap budget, but seriously you can't do better than this?

The soliders aren't very bright. They yell at each other a lot. And look for riches -- why they are looking for or mining for riches, when they are stranded, I've no clue. Reminded me more of keystone cops than British soliders. Or Victorian British Soliders by way of Monty Python.

Anyhow, one of the soliders wakes up the Empress when he steals her gemstones. The Empress zaps him -- turning him into what appears to be a badly wrapped bundled of clothing. It's very odd. Every time she did it, I kept looking at the result, trying to figure out what it was. It looked like a badly wrapped bundle of clothing.

While she's going around zapping people, the current leader of the soliders tries to condemn one of his commanding officers for being a coward. Because this guy defected (AWOL), and was sentenced to hang. (If you leave the military without permission, they hang you.)

The Doctor, Bill, and Nardol don't appear to be doing much of everything, except yammering about how there shouldn't be a war, and why can't everyone just get along? Also, they seem as puzzled as I am regarding a)the existence of the soliders, and b) their stupidity.

So, we have the nasty cruel solider who wants to fight and the cowardly one who wants to turn tail and run, but is hunting redemption -- partly from the nasty cruel one. (Yeah good luck with that.) He, the cowardly one, finally does something heroic, in saving the Empress from the nasty cruel solider. Stopping the impending war -- because she has a hord of soliders at her beck and call.

Then...after she swears him to allegiance, all the other British Officers she turned into badly wrapped bundles of clothing, she gets a call from another alien race welcoming her to the universe. Apparently she's not as powerful as she thought. Whoopsie.
The sole remaining British Officer goes up to the planet's surface with Doctor Who and Bill, and I'm guessing they say goodbye. (No clue, because the last five minutes got cut off.)

I'm not sure there's much that can be salvaged from this episode. It did appear to be directed towards kids. Although I was mostly bored and befuddled, so who knows what a British kid would think of it? It appeared to have a couple of somewhat controversial anti-Victorian messages woven into it, which I can't quite decide were intentional or not. (There appears to be a critique of the Victorians callousness with other cultures, and warmongering. Also a critique of a culture who thinks it's bigger than it is. But I'm not sure I read that into it? I'm admittedly not a fan of the Victorian Age. Probably shouldn't have watched Passage to India or the RAJ Quartet.)

There also appears to be a heavy anti-war theme. But it gets a bit lost in the confusion.

Overall? Not a good episode, and quite skippable. Unless of course something major happened in the last five-ten minutes,which I missed because it didn't record.

Been having recording issues this week. Still Star Crossed didn't record. Yesterday I got Jeff Sessions instead of my soap, and today no soap, had to watch online. (It's sad, I know, but I found the soap to be more entertaining than the Jeff Sessions hearing or this week's episode of Doctor Who.)

Re: Spoilers for last 3 minutes

Date: 2017-06-15 01:02 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
Yeah, I could tell from the previous week's trailer that I would hate the episode. The more I read about it, the gladder I am not to have tried it.

I am guessing Gattis chose that period because of the impact of the film Zulu, which is one of those films every little British boy watches and most fall a bit in love with.

Re: Spoilers for last 3 minutes

Date: 2017-06-15 05:44 pm (UTC)
peasant: sweet pea (Default)
From: [personal profile] peasant
I am no longer such a fan of the film because I now know too much about the real battle, but I appreciate the appeal and I would never have researched what is a fairly obscure war if that film hadn't piqued my interest. Also I salute the film for giving proper respect to the Zulus and their capabilities - respecting non-Western armies is hardly common.

I saw a still of Empress of Mars and that uniform is not just the period but the exact regiment that was at Rorke's Drift, so it is definitely what influenced Gattis.


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