Pop Culture Download: July 29, 2018

Pop Culture Download: July 29, 2018

 

On the Docket

SDCC 2018: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is returning with the Siege of Mandalore. – [StarWars.com]

The Star Wars: Episode IX cast has been announced. – [StarWars.com]

James Gunn has been fired by Disney. – [THR]

Disney and Fox are one step closer to combining their mighty powers. – [THR]

Keith DeCandido continues the 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. – [Tor]

Read More »

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Timestamp: Twenty-Sixth Series Summary

 Doctor Who: Twenty-Sixth Series Summary

The classic series finishes strong.

I have really loved watching the adventures of the Seventh Doctor and Ace, especially since this season seemed to be (Battlefield aside) about the companion and her development, as well as tying off the loose ends from the last three years. Ghost Light, The Curse of Fenric, and Survival brought us deep cuts into Ace’s history, and Fenric brought closure to elements from her introduction in Dragonfire. Fenric also brought a lot of strength to Ace as she faced her past and literally washed herself clean of the negative emotions surrounding it.

Ace grew so much over this season, and it was amazing to watch. I really admire her as a character and companion.

As a Whovian who started with the 2005 revival series, I also wonder how much of Clara’s character in the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors’ eras was derived from Ace. Looking into the Wilderness Years that follow this season, Ace was apparently being set up to travel to Gallifrey and train as a Time Lord. She’s essentially becoming the Doctor, much like Clara did, but Ace does it so much better.

And I’m really sad to see her go. I’d love to see her come back in the future.

The Seventh Doctor’s final season comes in exactly on target with the Twenty-Fifth season, making it the sixth player in a tie for fifth place with the SeventhTenthThirteenthFourteenth, and Twenty-Fifth seasons. What a way to end the classic run.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, we’re at a crossroads, aren’t we? The goal of the Timestamps Project was to explore the classic era of Doctor Who and see how it informs the modern era of the franchise. We’re at the inflection point between the two with the Eighth Doctor and the Doctor Who TV movie on the horizon, and I’m not stopping.

From here, I’m going to visit Dimensions in Time and Death Comes to Time before covering the TV movie. That will mark the end of the Seventh Doctor’s run for me – since Dimensions in Time and Death Comes to Time aren’t considered canon, they won’t be counted in the Seventh Doctor’s score, but the TV movie will since he’s in it for some time and it contains his regeneration – and the Seventh Doctor Summary will follow.

After that, I’ll look at Night of the Doctor for the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration, followed by the Eighth Doctor’s Summary. Finally, I’ll close the classic era with non-canon stories The Curse of the Fatal DeathScream of the Shalka, and the Eighth Doctor’s version of Shada.

The Timestamps Project will enter the 2005 revival era with the Ninth Doctor later this autumn.

 

Battlefield – 4
Ghost Light – 2
The Curse of Fenric – 5
Survival –  4

Series Twenty-Two Average Rating: 3.8/5

 

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Pop Culture Download: July 22, 2018

Pop Culture Download: July 22, 2018

 

On the Docket

SDCC 2018: Shazam! trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Doctor Who Series Eleven trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Star Trek: Discovery Season Two trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Aquaman trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Glass trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Godzilla: King of Monsters trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: Supergirl Season Four trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: The Flash Season Five trailer. – [YouTube]

SDCC 2018: The Orville Season Two trailer. – [YouTube]

Keith DeCandido continues the 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch with Ghost Rider. – [Tor]

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Timestamp #159: Survival

Doctor Who: Survival
(3 episodes, s26e12-e14, 1989)

 

As the classic era sails into the sunset, Ace comes home.

We open on a modern suburban street as a man washing his car is terrorized by an animatronic cat. The Doctor and Ace arrive shortly afterward and wander the streets of Perivale. Ace wondered how her grandmother and friends were doing and the Doctor obliged by taking her home. Unfortunately, Perivale has changed a lot since Ace has been gone.

The travelers wander into an abandoned coffee bar and stumble into a self-defense class led by Sergeant Paterson. As Ace gets news of the village’s history, the Doctor investigates the cat (who seems to be an avatar for a familiar shadowy figure), and the pair continue on their walk. The Doctor ends up in a store where he shops for cat bait.

The entire story seems saturated in metaphors for survival of the fittest.

As the pair continue on, the Doctor puzzles over the cat. Meanwhile, the cat attacks another citizen, teleporting a runner somewhere else. The Doctor sets a trap for the cat as Ace moves to a local park where she encounters a cheetah creature on a black horse. After a brief chase, Ace is teleported away as well, and she lands on a strange planet with a blood red sky. She spots the car washing victim from earlier but is chased again by the cheetah. She’s rescued by the runner, who is mauled by the cheetah for his efforts, and then finds friends of hers who are stranded here. The Doctor and Paterson, after a humorous chase through Perivale, also end up on the planet in a camp of cheetah people. As the Doctor is herded toward a tent, he looks inside to find the Master.

What an unexpected pleasure. What a way to end the classic run.

The Master, somehow infected with feline traits, occupies the cheetah people with Paterson as he confers with the Doctor. The Doctor is unwilling to let Paterson become cat food, so he steals a horse and rescues the sergeant. The cheetah people hunt by teleporting from planet to planet and seeking carrion, so the Doctor is confused at their presence on Earth, so far out of their normal range. As they ride on, they stumble into a trap set by Ace, uniting them once again.

The group slowly make their way through an area swarming with cheetah people, but when an unexpected new arrival teleports in, all hell breaks loose. The cheetahs chase anyone who runs, and Ace saves the horse-riding cheetah after giving it a concussion with a rock. The Doctor and the Master are reunited, and the Master explains that the fighting is feeding the destruction of the planet. The Master asks for help to leave the planet since he is unable to find a way himself. He tells of the indigenous people to this planet who bred the kitlings (the black normal-size cats) and used them to see the universe, and of how those people were transformed by that power into the cheetah people. The Master himself is succumbing to the same fate.

The Doctor finds Ace tending to the injured cheetah, Karra, who turn is entranced by the Soviet cap badge she was given by Captain Sorin. The Doctor believes that the only way home is for one of them to transform into a cheetah and then teleport their prey home. As Ace’s friends rally around Paterson and warfare, one of them (Midge) succumbs to animal instinct and kills a cheetah, eventually being captured by the Master and transforming into one himself. Midge is able to teleport himself and the Master back to Earth, and Ace begins to transform as well.

Karra arrives and takes Ace on a hunt while, on Earth, the Master revels in his freedom. Ace’s humanity wins out, and the Doctor is able to sway Ace away from Karra. Ace uses her new power to teleport everyone back to Perivale – notably, when Ace teleports them to “home,” the end up next to the TARDIS – and Paterson shakes the whole adventure off as a hallucination.

The Doctor and Ace roam Perivale in search of the Master and Midge. Ace uses her power to divine that they are at the youth club, where the two cats have enthralled the self-defense class to attack and kill Paterson. They track the group to the hill where Ace and Midge used to hang out, and after a motorcycle-based joust, Midge is killed, the Doctor has vanished, and Karra arrives to guide Ace. Karra disperses the enthralled students, but the Master is too strong. The Master kills Karra, then runs past the Doctor (who has ended up in a refuse pile). Karra reverts to human form and says her farewells to Ace before dying in her arms.

The Doctor tracks the Master to the TARDIS. The Master gloats that he will use the power of the cheetah people to destroy the Doctor, and as he teleports them back to the planet, the Doctor nearly succumbs to the power himself before realizing that their conflict will destroy the planet. As the Master aims the killing blow, the Doctor screams one last plea (“If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!”) and is teleported back to Earth, leaving the Master on the dying planet alone.

The Doctor returns to Ace’s side as Karra’s body is taken back to the cheetah planet by one of her comrades. With their transformations reversed, the Doctor asks Ace where she would like to go. Surprisingly, she says, “Home.” Unsurprisingly, she means the TARDIS. Together, they walk into the trees arm in arm.

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, the seas sleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere, there’s danger; somewhere, there’s injustice; and somewhere else, the tea’s getting cold! Come on Ace, we’ve got work to do.”

 

On one hand, it was great to end the classic run with the Master (and the last appearance by Anthony Ainley), as well as putting a bow on Ace’s loose story arc. Ace is amazing, and the chemistry between her and the Doctor is fantastic.

One the other hand, this was a rather average story in comparison. It had good themes, but it wasn’t particularly engaging and (in a rarity) could have benefited from another episode to flesh things out a bit.

The ending was bittersweet. I want another season with the Seventh Doctor and Ace.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

UP NEXT – Twenty-Sixth Series Summary

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

Pop Culture Download: July 15, 2018

Pop Culture Download: July 15, 2018

 

On the Docket

The Doctor Who Series 11 teaser has gone live. – [YouTube]

Funko has revealed their Doctor Who-themed exclusives for San Diego Comic Con. – [Funko]

Keith DeCandido continues the 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch with The Dark Knight Rises. – [Tor]

Read More »

Adventures with the Automower: Installation and Technical Details

FTC Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by Husqvarna.

 

I previously talked about the automower installation on Facebook Live, but I also have a few pictures to share of the process.

Oh, and yes, the automower has a name. We call her Moya, which is a nod to one of our favorite science fiction franchises, but also serves as an acronym: Mows Our Yard Automatically.

 

Our installers came from the Lawrenceville branch of Super-Sod, a lawn and seed company that services Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Lawrenceville is not exactly a short trip to our house, but our installer Carlos told us that their store was branching into this technology and were eager to show us what they could do.

 

After a quick survey of the yard, Carlos determined that he could set up two zones for us: The largest is the backyard, which you saw in the Facebook Live video, and the second is the smaller front yard. Since the automower cannot get through the gate that separates the two zones, we physically move her once or twice a week to make her rounds. Carlos then started to lay the wire along the perimeter of the zones.

The wire is a braided cable in a thin green jacket that serves two purposes. It establishes the invisible fence around the area where the mower will work, and it provides a guide path for the mower to navigate back to the charging station when its battery gets low. We have since replaced a section of it using a garden trowel to dig the shallow trench, but Carlos used a walk-along machine that digs the trench and pushes the wire directly into the ground.

 

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the Facebook video, our yard has a lot of hard Georgia clay, so both Carlos and the machine had to work quite hard to lay the wire. The other downside was the new openings in the clay combined with the weeks of rain that followed our installation that led to a lot of erosion sections of the wire path. Of course, neither of these could be prevented by Super-Sod, and neither of these should be a common occurrence for most homeowners.

We’re more of the exception than the rule.

Soon enough, the installation was completed and Moya was freely roaming her new yard. Carlos had warned us ahead of time that we needed to have an exterior electrical outlet within 50 feet of the charging base, and he was surprised to see that we had picked a spot right next to a solidly-installed weather-protected outlet. He was doubly surprised to find out that we had installed that outlet ourselves just days before. We didn’t have any outlets on the backside of the house before then.

 

Carlos then tried to walk my wife through installation of the Automower Connect app, which allows the owner to control and monitor the device from their smartphone, but our model did not come with that feature (or headlights) installed. Within a few weeks, we were able to coordinate between Husqvarna and Scott (the manager at Super-Sod of Lawrenceville) to get the new board installed and connect Moya to the internet.

 

Scott also sold us on the terrain package – it contains stronger wheels with deeper treads and built-in brushes to keep them clear – which should help Moya navigate our hill more freely. Scott was more than happy to let us watch and document the installation of the new components, and pointed out how various pieces of the machine functioned as he worked. We also got the chance to see just how much grass can collect under Moya’s shell. None of it can enter the circuitry since the inner components are guarded by a tight rubber seal. There is also warranty sticker to indicate potential tampering. Work inside the mower should only be done by a certified professional to maintain that warranty.

The shell is held strongly to the frame by these fittings. Scott had to apply a bit of force to pull them apart and open the mower.

 

Automower’s Internals – Bottom

 

Automower’s Internals – Top

 

Automower Connect board installed

 

So, long story short, Moya is now patrolling the yard for long blades of grass, and we can keep a closer eye on her from anywhere via the app. She’s also an escape artist on the hill, which is helping us to find trouble spots where she needs help with temporary barriers and where we need to pay attention for our future landscaping revamp of the entire space.

She also keeps Jango entertained.

 

You can still keep track of Moya’s adventures through social media on my personal Facebook profile and my Instagram page. You can also find the first post here on the blog (which feeds to the Facebook page, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus).

You can also track our progress and that of other people in the program by following the hashtags #Automower and #AutomowerFirst.

Timestamp #158: The Curse of Fenric

Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric
(4 episodes, s26e08-e11, 1989)

 

Barkeep, a round of your deepest franchise mythology, if you please.

Two inflatable dinghies are rowed to shore by a detachment of soldiers. By their uniforms, they look like Soviet soldiers. Between them and the talk of Germans, we must be in the midst of World War II.

Elsewhere, Ace and the Doctor stroll in to a top secret naval facility and are soon captured at gunpoint by the Royal Marines. They talk their way out of the confrontation and continue on, arriving at the office of Dr. Judson. The Doctor ingratiates himself by noticing the Prisoner’s Dilemma on the board, and while Ace distracts him with an understanding of logic puzzles, the Doctor forges two letters from the Prime Minister and the Head of the Secret Service authorizing their presence on the base. They find an empty set of bunks and Ace goes to sleep.

The Soviet soldiers wash ashore but cannot find their sealed orders. Meanwhile, the camera is focused on an underwater dragon statue with a great sense of foreboding, and the Doctor is wary of eyes watching the base from the darkness. A Soviet soldier finds the orders, which contain Judson’s photograph, but he’s soon killed.

As morning dawns, the Doctor and Ace arrive at the local church as Reverend Wainwright finishes his sermon and talks with Miss Hardaker and her two charges. Ace talks to the girls, evacuees from London’s East End, but later joins the Doctor as he and the reverend seek out Judson. Ace notes the lack of security surrounding the church’s silver, but the reverend is unafraid based on the Viking superstitions. Judson is studying Viking inscriptions using the ULTIMA machine. Presumably, such a machine must be similar to the Enigma of our reality. Ace hears a mechanical sound, but the Doctor dismisses it as organ bellows before they leave Judson to his work.

Elsewhere, Base Commander A. H. Millington (surrounded by Nazi paraphernalia!) analyses some super secret documents before staring curiously at a chess board. The last time we saw a chess board was in Silver Nemesis.

The Doctor and Ace spot a headstone in the Viking graveyard that is sinking, and the pair decide to walk at Maiden’s Point, the same place where Ace was to meet her new friends. Miss Hardaker forbids her charges from visiting the site due to local superstition, and the Doctor and Ace find the (previously) sealed orders packet. The Doctor takes them to the base while Ace remains behind with a warning to stay out of the water. The girls arrive anyway and go for a swim, but Ace does not join them. The girls later find a strange treasure on the beach but reject it when it tingles in their hands. As they leave for home, a sniper nearly kills them but holds his fire when they veer away.

The Doctor finds Wainwright in the church and shares his hunch that some of the transcriptions have already been translated. Sure enough, the reverend’s grandfather did translate some of them, but Wainwright regrets it. The inscription speaks of a dragon ship, stolen treasure, and the curse at Maiden’s Point. The Doctor worries about Ace, but that worry recedes when she arrives. They head for Judson’s lab and show him the translation – on the beach, the sniper throws the tingly treasure into the ocean where it is caught by a mysterious hand – then peek in on the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) listening station.

Ace meets a baby named Audrey: She’s in love with the baby, but is turned off by the name since Audrey was her mother’s name too. Millington arrives and orders Kathleen (the baby’s mother) to remove Audrey within 24 hours or be dismissed from the service. The Doctor and an angry Ace leave and stumble into Millington’s office, which is a perfect replica of a Nazi cipher room. The Doctor notes that Judson and Millington were classmates before noticing the chessboard with intrigue.

There’s so much foreshadowing in this section of the episode, but it’s done so well.

Millington discusses the Viking translations with Judson, revealing the “Curse of Fenric” – *ding* – which he believes to be nigh. On the beach, the Doctor and Ace find a piece of treasure, a Soviet corpse, and a whole lot of rifles pointed right at them. The soldiers take the travelers to their commander, Captain Sorin. The Doctor tends to another soldier who touched the treasures and is delirious before leaving. The Soviets ambush a British patrol soon after.

Judson continues to decipher the inscriptions, an act that causes more to spontaneously write themselves on the crypt walls and awaken the corpses in the deep. The Doctor and Ace return to the crypt as Judson reports to Millington and receives orders to use the ULTIMA to work on the walls (despite it being needed for the war effort). The travelers investigate the new inscription, then discover a hidden passage and Millington. The commander shows them a natural source of lethal poison, a chemical weapon that could end the war. The Doctor waxes philosophically about the well of Hvergelmir, a place in Norse mythology where serpents spew their venom over the roots of Yggdrasil. Millington is impressed by the Doctor’s knowledge and offers to show him all the rest of the caverns. The Doctor accompanies Millington, but Ace stays behind with a distraught Wainwright. The reverend is having a crisis of faith.

Millington and the Doctor arrive at ULTIMA, where the commander and Judson reveal that (1) they intend to let the Soviets steal the machine because (2) it is carrying a load of the poison. The Doctor then tours the chemical weapons facility and watches a demonstration where only a few drops kill a cage of doves. To his horror, Millington intends to use the contents of the ULTIMA as a time bomb, set to go off when the Soviets decrypt the word love in a coded message.

In the crypt, a wall shakes loose of its own accord and reveals an urn. The soldiers working there ignore it and seal off the room. On the beach, the girls run into the ocean fully clothed – Miss Hardaker took their bathing suits during a hellfire and brimstone sermon about disobeying her – and are swallowed by a mist.

Nothing good can come of either event.

Millington (mindlessly sketching the mysterious urn) orders the base communications cut off from the outside world – an odd move, to be sure – and that all chess sets are burned. It seems that the latter are quite significant. The Doctor questions the chess set order as the soldiers remove them from the women’s bunkroom, and Kathleen asks the Doctor about his family. The Doctor replies that he doesn’t know, and Kathleen presumes that the war is to blame. She says it must be terrible, and the Doctor apprehensively agrees.

Curiouser and curiouser.

On the beach, the girls emerge as pale creatures with claws who lure a Soviet soldier to his death, then return to Miss Hardaker’s residence and kill her. The Doctor returns to Judson’s lab to find the researcher obsessed by the carvings. The Doctor leaves to talk to the girls as Ace helps Judson unlock the inscription using a logic diagram. The Doctor and Ace find Miss Hardaker’s corpse as the girls move on to Reverend Wainwright, who tries to dissuade the girls (who he believes to be vampires) before the Doctor and Ace interfere. The trio race back to Judson’s lab to stop him from decrypting the inscriptions, but they are too late. The vampire creatures rise from the ocean as Millington revels in his victory. He believes that when the chains of Fenric are shattered all of its power will be his.

He’s a bit verkelmpt when he realizes what he’s done, but I can’t tell if it’s regret or joy.

The Doctor explains that the creatures are Haemovores, mutations from humanity’s far future. Ace rushes off to check on Audrey and Kathleen while the Doctor puts plans into motion. The Doctor, Ace, and Wainwright retreat to the church and research. Ace finds the abandoned urn while Wainwright discovers the descendants of the Viking settlers, linking it to the curse of Fenric making its way through the generations. The Haemovores attack the church, and Ace tries to escape but is cut off. Luckily, the Soviet soldiers come to her aid, but their bullets only slow the creatures instead of killing them. Inside the church, the Doctor is able to drive them off by the power of his faith: He recites the names of his former companions, projecting a psychic power through his his faith in their love for his quest.

Everyone but Sorin retreats to the crypt – the captain needs to tend to his troops – and blow their way into the toxin facility. Ace reveals the urn as she tries to mix up more explosives, but the Doctor recognizes it as the treasure at the source of the curse. They are intercepted by Millington at the end of the tunnel and the commander leaves the Soviet allies for dead, much to the Doctor’s dismay. Millington takes the urn and the research to Judson, then confronts and arrests Sorin when the Soviet captain arrives to negotiate.

Oh, it was joy that overwhelmed Millington earlier. Definitely joy.

Ace returns to Kathleen, consoling the woman when she receives word of her husband’s death. She then confronts the Doctor, understanding that the Doctor knows all of the secrets behind this threat. The Doctor speaks of an ancient evil that has existed since the birth of the universe, one that has gone by many names, but this time it is called Fenric and trapped in the urn. His darkness is on full display here.

The third episode ends in rapid fire: Ace distracts the guards while the Doctor frees Sorin; Wainwright faces off against the girls, but his faith is too shaky and he is killed; and Judson is hit by an energy bolt from the ULTIMA as lightning strikes the dragon ship. The crippled scientist rises on his own legs with a declaration: “We play the contest again, Time Lord.”

The Doctor faced off against this evil before, trapping it in the shadow dimension for seventeen centuries by pulling bones from the desert, carving them into pieces, and posing a challenge that it failed. It teleports away and meets with the Haemovores while Millington has the Doctor and Ace taken before a firing squad. They’re freed by a sudden Soviet assault as Millington revels in the prophecy over a chess board. The Doctor says that he needs a chess set of his own to stop the threat, so he and Ace make their way to the commander’s office. Meanwhile, the girls summon the Ancient One from the depths.

Probably not that Ancient One, but similar in appearance nonetheless.

Ace and the Doctor find the chess set, but it’s rigged with poison gas and explosives. They dive into a bunker as the building explodes (and hits the camera in the process). Luckily, they save the genealogical research, which jogs Ace’s memory: Kathleen has a chess set. As the bullets fly and the Soviets discover the chemical weapons, the travelers make their way to the bunk rooms. The Soviet and British soldiers join forces to stop the chemical threat, and the Doctor secures the chess set and takes it to the chemical weapons bunker while Ace guards Kathleen and Audrey, discussing the spooky house in Perivale.

Fenric has his nurse killed as the remnants of the WRNS detachment are turned into Haemovores. He then orders the Ancient One to deliver the poison into the ocean and kill the rest of the Haemovores. More of the creatures break into the bunkroom, causing Ace and Kathleen to flee to a nearby car. Ace tells Kathleen to take Audrey to 17 Old Terrace in London, home to Ace’s family in this time. Kathleen drives off, offering Ace a photo of Audrey in parting. Ace turns to face the girls, who then melt away.

Body count: A lot.

Fenric finds the Doctor and challenges him to the contest. One move on the chess board will win. In the ULTIMA lab, Millington faces off against the remaining Soviet soldiers and loses, taking a fatal shot. The Doctor confers with the Ancient One, persuading him that Fenric’s plan to poison the ocean will only destroy the Haemovore future. Sorin arrives to kill Judson, but since the captain’s lineage descends from the Vikings, he is touched by the curse. Fenric jumps into Sorin.

Unfortunately, Ace figures out the winning move but doesn’t know that Fenric has taken over Sorin, so she unwittingly shares the solution with the enemy. Fenric wins the game and turns on Ace, revealing that baby Audrey is Ace’s mother, and Ace is touched by the curse. Ace’s faith in the Doctor stops Fenric and the Ancient One, so Fenric gives the Doctor a choice: Surrender or he will kill Ace with the poison gas. The Doctor tells Fenric to kill Ace.

What?

The Doctor reveals that he knew that Fenric was coming back when he saw the chess set in Silver Nemesis. Fenric says it was even before that, all the way back to Dragonfire and the time storm that took Ace from her home, but the Doctor knew even then how important she was. In a twist, the Ancient One takes Fenric to the poison testing chamber and unleashes the gas, forcing the Doctor to run with Ace. As the evil threat goes boom, he apologizes profusely to Ace, explaining that he had to break her faith in order to free the Ancient One and end Fenric’s curse.

Diabolical but clever.

Ace and the Doctor return to the beach where she faces her emotions by jumping into the water. When she emerges, effectively baptized and renewed, her fear and anger are gone. The travelers embrace, their wounds and rift healed, and head off to their next adventure.

 

That was a gorgeous story. It opened a ton of space and let Ace and the Doctor – as well as Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy – spread their wings. It was also tightly crafted and flowed well, expertly employed vampire and religious mythos without being trite, and capitalized on franchise seeds sown since Dragonfire. The body count was high (typical of the era), but if this had been the classic finale, it would have been a good place to end the journey.

 

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Survival

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.