Doctor Who Series 6 Episode 2 – Day of the Moon.

Saturdays, BBC 1.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

After last week’s strong start I was hoping that this week’s episode would be an equally strong episode to complete the two-part story. I sat down to watch it expecting answers to at least some of the questions raised by The Impossible Astronaut, more brilliance from Canton Everett Delaware III, and more scares from The Silence. I was certainly not disappointed. I can’t begin to write about all the parts I’d like to talk about, so I’ve picked just a few.

Jump around.
Day of the Moon was definitely an episode you had to pay attention to. I watched the set up where Canton “killed” Amy, Rory and River and delivered them to the special prison that was being built around the Doctor wondering what the twist was going to be – whilst I didn’t expect them to be dead I didn’t also expect it to be an elaborate hoax that took advantage once more of the TARDIS’s ability to be invisible. The following sequences where story threads appeared to be left unfinished but were then woven in later made sense by the end of the episodes but a couple of times the seemingly abrupt move between threads did feel a little jarring.

Continuing creepiness.
I expected to be scared once more by the Silence and I absolutely was. The scene where Amy was exploring the children’s home left me tempted to grab a cushion in case it got any scarier. Added to this was the new scare that came in the shape of the woman in the door who then disappeared. Her appearance was enough to make me feel nervous about her whereabouts. I’m assuming that the fact that she never reappeared means she must be coming back in another episode.

Brilliant Canton.
I am sure that Mark Sheppard’s Canton Delaware will now be making his way onto many fans’ wishlists for returning characters. I loved the way the balance was kept between him getting involved and him still being wowed by the new things he was being introduced to. I would definitely be very happy to see him aboard the TARDIS in the future.

The end may be a beginning.
Once the storyline with the Silence was finished (though I’m not sure they’re done quite yet) it was nice to see that Steven Moffat wasn’t going to let the episode fade to an end. From River’s realisation that her kiss with the Doctor was his first, to Amy revealing that whilst she had thought she was pregnant she wasn’t (though the scan done by the TARDIS seems unsure on that matter) and then the final revelation that the little girl has the ability to regenerate it felt like the last few scenes were all pointing out that this series is one great long story.

Whilst some of my questions from The Impossible Astronaut were answered I thing I ended up with even more by the end of Day of the Moon. I’m more than willing to just sit back and trust Steven Moffat to fix everything in my head at some point either this series or some time in the hopefully not to distant future.

What did you think? Who do you think the little girl is? Where do you think this series is going?

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Doctor Who Series 6 Episode 1 – The Impossible Astronaut.

Saturdays, BBC 1.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Saturday saw millions tune in to watch the opening episode of the new series of Doctor Who, what they saw was probably the most ambitious opening episode in modern Doctor Who’s history. I’m not going to attempt to summarise it – I think I’d need to watch it a lot more times before I could begin to think about doing that. Instead I’m going to share some of my favourite things about the episode, in no particular order.

Start with a bang.
We’d been told that one of the four main characters was going to die during the first two episodes, I felt fairly confidant it was either going to be Rory or River (despite the warning it was a proper death I suspected there would be a get out clause so it didn’t matter that we already knew how River dies), never once did I think it would the Doctor who died. The shock of his death combined with the rather spooky way it happened (I found the spaceman walking out of the lake pretty creepy) left me feeling that anything could happen.

A welcome addition.
As I said in my preview post I was really excited about Mark Sheppard’s guest spot for the opening two episodes, when he appeared I was thrilled with the role he got. I thought using his father to play his older self was a great choice, far better than the original plan of using ageing make up! The use of Rory as Canton’s guide to everything TARDIS worked really well, I can’t wait to see what else Canton gets up to in the second part of this story.

Attack of the greyliens.
From the promotional images of the Silence I didn’t really know what to expect from the alien species, I certainly didn’t expect to be quite so creeped out by them. The Silence are a brilliant creation because, like the Weeping Angels, they could actually exist in our world. The combination of this and the way they just appeared kept me feeling uneasy for the majority of the episode.

A dynamic change.
Moving the power and knowledge from the Doctor to the companions was a bold move and one that I think has really paid off. The scene where they had to persuade the Doctor to trust them was particularly effective. The balance of having River Song back along Amy and Rory definitely helps this, I think her experience and knowledge is essential.

In addition to all of these things I loved the performances turned in by the four lead actors, each of them was at their absolute best in this episode. If this is how series 6 starts I can’t wait to see how it ends, but for starters I want to see how that cliffhanger is overcome!

What did you think? How do you think that cliffhanger will be resolved?

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Doctor Who Series 6 – Just 24 hours to go.

With just twenty four hours to go until the start of the new series of Doctor Who I thought it was time that I had a think about what I am most looking forward to. I’m a bit of a spoilerphobe so I’ve not been seeking out information about the series, though as a keen follower of a number of Doctor Who and general geeky blogs and a Doctor Who Magazine subscriber I have managed to absorb enough information to be feeling really excited.

There seems to me to be a whole lot to be getting excited about, though for me the main things are:

  • The two-part opening – for the first time since Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005 the series will open with a two-part story. All the reports from the press screening have been excellent, and it boasts some great guest stars (I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been waiting for the brilliant Mark Sheppard to turn up) and the return of fan favourite River Song. Add in the backdrop of US location filming and I can’t wait to get watching.
  • The mid season finale – this year we’re getting Doctor Who in two sections, seven episodes now and then the remaining six in the autumn. Whilst the idea of having to wait for half of the series doesn’t excite me (once it starts I know I’m going to want to see it all) the idea of a cliffhanger worthy of a mid season break does make me think that it’ll be worth it.
  • Pirates – the idea of a pirate themed episode fills me with glee, adding Hugh Bonneville to the cast list is just the icing on the cake.
  • Neil Gaiman – like many I love Neil Gaiman’s writing and am thrilled that he has written an episode for the new series. I have really high hopes for it.

It wouldn’t be right to finish this post without acknowledging what a sad week this has been for Doctor Who fans. The news on Tuesday evening that the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen had died left me both shocked and saddened. Like many I was new to Doctor Who when it returned in 2005 but by the end of the episode School Reunion I could understand the love long term fans had for her and her character Sarah Jane Smith. I was really pleased when Sarah Jane got her own series, and enjoyed every episode. Fans Tony Lee and Susie Day, and the children who’ve posted on the Newsround story say it better than I possibly could.

I’ll be back every week with my thoughts on the latest episode.

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Being Human Series 3 Episode 8 – Wolf Shaped Bullet.

Sundays, 9pm, BBC Three.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

And now the time has come for me to write my final Being Human post of the series. I feel quite sad about this, but at the same time excited to attempt to wrap up another fantastic episode. I’m giving up on all attempts to summarise an episode succinctly, there was just too much going on.

The episode opened with Mitchell locked up in a police cell trying to convince Annie that him being locked up is a bad thing. George arrived at the police station only to be told there was no admittance to the public. Mitchell told Annie that the werewolf bullet was a punishment for his rescuing her, and that he made the choice to risk it so he could be with her. Herrick arrived in his newly acquired police uniform and got Mitchell out of the cell, having killed anyone in his way. He promised to tell Mitchell how he escaped the werewolf attack but then knocked him out.

Tom arrived back at the B&B to find the seen of Herrick’s killings, and raised the alarm. Nina was still alive and rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Annie found a ghost police officer, as she started to explain death to him his corpse reanimated and sang nursery rhyme style that she must return to purgatory to save Mitchell, when the police officer’s door appeared she walked through it with him. Tom found a note written by McNair explaining who and what Herrick is and what he had tried to do. In the letter he explained he wanted Tom to have a different life, an ordinary life, a human life. Instead of listening to McNair’s insistence that he should not attempt to avenge his death Tom resharpens his stake and sets off in pursuit of Herrick.

Annie wandered the corridors of purgatory before Lia found her, it was Lia who sent the message via the police officer’s corpse. She showed Annie a tv screen which is displaying footage of Mitchell trapped in the fight club cage by Herrick and he was starting to explain his master plan; killing all of the werewolves and then moving onto the ghosts. Mitchell explained that he knows he needs to side with Herrick, that neither Annie or George can help him now. Herrick shouted for George to be delivered into the cage and Annie realised that George was to be the werewolf who killed Mitchell, she asked Lia to stop it but she refused. Herrick told George that Mitchell was responsible for the murders, but it wasn’t news to George. Growing increasingly desperate Annie pleaded with Lia, she revealed that the wolf shaped bullet was all a lie, but Mitchell has fulfilled the prophecy of his own accord. Herrick continued to try to goad George into fighting Mitchell, he revealed Mitchell encouraged him back into being a vampire and that once he was back he had killed McNair and then Nina. George does then turn on Mitchell, fighting him as Herrick had hoped. As Mitchell realised it would be George who killed him Tom arrived and the four ended up in a stand off, resulting in no one being killed.

Mitchell tricked Herrick into releasing them, telling told George he would kill Herrick once he had his answer. George told Mitchell he was no longer his friend, and set him after Herrick. After watching all this Annie began to wonder why Lia brought her back to purgatory, eventually realising she was there to hurt Mitchell the most. Annie pointed out that through Lia’s actions she wasn’t just hurting Mitchell but hurting George too, taking everything he loves away from him. Lia realised she needed to let Annie go back, but revealed how lonely she is, as a parting gift Annie told her to go and find Gilbert. Annie returned to Nina and helped her to come back to life. George and Tom arrived to see Annie sitting with her.

Herrick and Mitchell drove to the sea. Herrick began to tell Mitchell how he survived George’s werewolf attack but Mitchell stopped him, no longer wanting to know. Herrick began to plan where they were moving on to. Mitchell first showed Herrick how beautiful the world was, when Herrick started to pontificate about how the world would soon be theirs Mitchell pointed out it always was, and staked Herrick, killing him once and for all.

A man dressed in black led a group of similarly sinister men into the police station. He played a recording of Mitchell’s arrest before sacking all of the men and women in the office. When questioned, he explained that he was Wyndham, from Head Office.

Back at the B&B Annie was reading the newspaper to George, a random man has been framed for all of the massacres. Nina was back, her werewolf side having allowed her to heal quickly, and the baby was continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Mitchell arrived back at the B&B wanting George to kill him so he can not kill again. When Nina challenged him he explained George had to do it so that he regained his moral sense. George didn’t think he could kill him but the girls tried to encourage him, knowing that when and if Mitchell killed again they’d be partly responsible by letting him go. Mitchell tried everything he could to manipulate George into killing him, finally resorting to pleading with him to end the fear he was living with. Just as George was about to stake him Wyndham arrived and interrupted. Mitchell explained Wyndham was one of the old ones. Wyndham wanted to take Mitchell with him to do his bidding, to be his attack dog and explained that the day Mitchell refused he would kill George and Nina. Whilst he was pontificating George picked the stake back up, whirling and stabbing Mitchell to prevent him having to go through with Wyndham’s evil plans. George, Nina and Annie turned to face Wyndham with George getting the final words of the series “I think you’ve got a fight on your hands”.

I found the episode a real emotional rollercoaster of an episode, the final scene in the B&B was particularly charged. My favourite things were:

  • George – George went on a huge journey through the episode, from going to try and get Mitchell out of his police cell to ultimately killing him to save him from a life he didn’t want. Russell Tovey was brilliant throughout.
  • Annie and Lia – I loved the scenes between the two ghosts, they were quiet yet emotionally charged and wonderfully acted.
  • Wyndham – Herrick’s death was a loss, it had been a real pleasure seeing him return to his evil best. Wyndham looked like an excellent replacement.
  • Mitchell – I couldn’t possible miss out mentioning Mitchell, I shall be sad to see him go. Aidan Turner’s portrayal of the guilt ridden vampire was excellent, no wonder he’s off to New Zealand to be a Dwarf.

I feel like my weekly summary posts have been a little like a love letter to Being Human, they’ve been filled with such glowing praise for the series. It really deserves it though, for the last 8 weeks the Being Human team have delivered 8 fantastic episodes that have kept me glued to my tv. My Sunday evenings are going to have a Being Human shaped hole in them now.

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Being Human Series 3 Episode 7 – Though The Heavens Fall.

Sundays, 9pm, BBC Three.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

The build up to this penultimate episode of this series of Being Human promised lots, I couldn’t wait to sit down and watch it.

The episode opened with a flashback featuring Herrick and McNair at another werewolf fight club. The human McNair had killed the werewolf put in the cage with him, but not before it had scratched and infected him. Back in the present Annie had become obsessed with trying to solve the train massacre and Mitchell was trying everything he could think of to persude her to leave it alone. Nancy discovered that Daisy died in the 1940s and tried to convince her boss, Cooper, to let her continue investigating Mitchell on the basis of the dossier of clippings but he told her it was not sufficient evidence. Herrick continued to tell Nina how confused he was about, and admitted he had showed Nancy the dossier to help justice be done.

McNair and Tom arrived with McNair carrying a nasty wound to his leg caused by vampires seeking vengeance for the deaths after the dog fight. McNair was curious why Nina and George haven’t also been attacked, but suggested it was because Mitchell was with them. McNair could sense that something had changed within the house, he decided he and Tom would stay for a little while. Annie continued to try and justify all of Mitchell’s actions, after hearing about the dossier she decided it must be because he was investigating Daisy’s crimes himself. When Mitchell got back to find the werewolf count in the house had doubled he returned to his efforts to get Herrick to tell him the secret of how he survived George’s werewolf attack. Annie explains her theory to Nina and George leaving Nina wondering about what Herrick told her.

Nancy returned to talk to Mitchell, he explained that Graham had made the dossier thinking he would be impressed by it but he was repulsed by it so had burnt it. He tried to explain away Daisy’s death in 1941 by explaining she was a fantastist, Nancy remains unconvinced. Nancy tried to talk to Herrick but he wasn’t listening instead entranced by her neck, realising what was happening Mitchell narrowly saved her from being killed. Whilst there Nancy had taken a glass that she’d made sure Mitchell touched, Cooper summonsed her to tell her what the analysis had shown. Annie went along with her to hear that Mitchell’s prints were found in the train carriage. Cooper enquired about what other evidence Nancy had before hitting her. He revealed that he was a vampire and as such there was no way that Mitchell would ever be found guilty. As he was about to turn Nancy into a vampire Annie staked and killed him.

Tom, Nina and George left to transform in the woods. Mitchell returned to the B&B to find it deserted, McNair was hiding and headed upstairs to where Herrick was hidden. McNair revealed his plan to kill both Herrick and Mitchell, wanting to add their fangs to his collection that already includes Daisy. McNair transformed and pounced on Herrick but he raised the knife he’d been hiding and stabbed McNair. Mitchell returned home the next day to find McNair dead on Herrick’s floor. A distraught Annie challenged Mitchell and made him finally tell her the truth, she told him he had to give himself up. Nancy and a bunch of armed police storm the house, Annie persuaded him to give up and eventually he did. When Nancy went to the attic to check on ‘Uncle Billy’ she spotted McNair’s body and then Herrick attacked her.

Nina and George went to get the baby checked following another transformation, the doctor suggested Nina was more like 16 weeks along rather than 8 due to the size of her bump. George had researched wolf pregnancies and discovered that they’re shorter. They arrived home to find the B&B wrapped in police incident tape and Nina confessed what she has done. George immediately realised the ramifications of Mitchell’s arrest and went to try and get him out of the police station. Nina went into the B&B to find it a wreck, Herrick appeared dressed in a police uniform and revealed he now remembered everything, including what George did to him. Deperate for revenge on George he stabbed Nina and left her slumped to the floor.

This was another brilliant episode from the Being Human team. I was glued to my telly for the whole episode. Before I list my favourite bits of the episode, I must first mention my one let down from it. The scene when McNair went to challenge Herrick, the man responsible for his werewolf condition, was brilliant in how it built up but then McNair’s death was rather weak. I loved the character and feel very sad that he was killed off, but if he had to go I do wish he’d had a better death.

Thinking about my favourite bits, this week I loved:

  • Annie – Lenora Critchlow continues to be brilliant as Annie, the emotional journey she went on throughout this episode was wonderfully done.
  • McNair and Tom – I’ve already mentioned how much I loved McNair, I really enjoyed the return of the werewolf pair in this episode.
  • Herrick – The evil, blood thirsty, vindictive Herrick has finally returned and in wonderful style.

The cliffhangers from the end of this episode have left me really looking forward to Sunday’s finale. There are so many questions that need answers, will we get them all?

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Being Human Series 3 Episode 6 – Daddy Ghoul.

Sundays, BBC 3, 9PM.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

After last week’s dark and tense episode I wondered what this week would bring. The next time trailer had suggested the episode might be a little lighter, how would the transition work?

The episode starts with a scene between Herrick and Mitchell back in the 1930s. Herrick hints strongly to Mitchell that there is a way that vampires can avoid a final death, and that this secret is passed on to a protege. Moving back to the present comes the discovery that George’s father, George Senior has died. George hasn’t seen his parents since he became a werewolf so decides (after Annie attempts and fails to offer her condolences) to go along to the funeral but keep out of sight. When he gets there he finds his dad also watching the funeral from a distance, clearly he is a ghost with some unfinished business. George tries to help him to work out what it is he needs to do so that his door will appear, even going with Nina and visiting his mom and her new partner. It is when they return from this visit that they discover that George Senior is actually alive, he faked his own death with the thought of making a new start, but George and Nina help him to realise that he and George’s mom do still love each other. After reuniting them George reveals that he and Nina are werewolves, his parents of course don’t believe him and a new status quo is reached.

Mitchell meanwhile is still dealing with Herrick, when he finds the older vampire writhing with pain he tries to feed him blood, knowing it is the solution to his pains and possibly also his amnesia. Herrick resists though, spitting out what little he was forced to accept. DC Nancy Reid from the police investigation into the train massacre arrives, she explains to Mitchell that she’s just there so that she can say that she’s followed the lead up but she doesn’t expect to find anything, all the while dripping blood from a leg wound. Nina fixed up Nancy’s leg and tried to find out more about whether Mitchell was a suspect, Herrick watched this exchange whilst eavesdropping. Mitchell protests his innocence and Nancy suggests the anonymous tip off could have come from someone he’d annoyed. Back at the police station she revealed she is suspicious of him, Annie has followed her – scared for Mitchell – and hears this, Mitchell has fobbed Annie off with the idea that it was Daisy who committed the crime so Annie plants this idea for Nancy. Whilst at the police station Annie spotted Lia’s picture on the crime board, recognising her from purgatory Annie feels the need to help Nancy solve the crime. Nancy returns to the B&B and Mitchell goes along with the idea that Daisy was somehow involved. Whilst Nancy went to use the bathroom Herrick appears, after seeming tempted to feed from her he instead shows her the dossier. Mitchell stopps her from taking it away, claiming it exists purely because he’s interested in the story. Whilst Nancy is sure that this is proof of his guilt, Mitchell burns the dossier.

I loved the contrast between the lighter story between George and his family and the darker, tense story involving Mitchell, Annie, Herrick and Nancy. The two played out well against each other, for me the balance was just right. My favourite things this week were:

  • George and George – The relationship between George and his father was lovely, the humour in their similarities was played to great effect.
  • Nancy – I found myself left with questions about Nancy by the end of the episode, why is it that she cares so much about this case? Is it just the opportunity to prove herself or does she have a more personal reason for being so involved?
  • Annie – yet again Annie got a brilliant moment, this week it came as she mashed W.H. Auden and Cheryl Cole in an attempt to offer her condolences.

With only two episodes left in the series there is still a lot that needs answering. I get the feeling the final two parts of this story are going to pick up the pace and darkness once more.

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Being Human Series 3 Episode 5 – The Longest Day.

Sundays, BBC Three, 9pm.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

My expectations for this week’s episode of Being Human were high, various places previewing it as being the best episode yet helped to build the sense of anticipation. Knowing as well that there were some great guest stars and we were finally going to be finding out what happened to Herrick meant I sat down to watch the episode with a real sense excitement.

The episode began with George discovering that Herrick was currently a psychiatric patient in the hospital. Panic stricken at seeing the vampire he’d killed now alive and kicking George called in Nina to help, together they smuggle him out of the hospital under the lie that Herrick is actually Nina’s Uncle Billy. When they got him back to the B&B they summoned Mitchell from his continued brooding in the attic, after staring at Herrick in shock Mitchell snaps and attempts to stake him before Nina stops him.

Whilst tensions are still running sky high the doorbell goes, Annie investigates and decides that the woman standing on the doorstep must be a social worker. Nina takes the opportunity to move Herrick to safety, leaving the others to deal with Wendy, a community psychiatric nurse. The foursome attempt to bluff their way though, whilst they make tea they have a tense pow wow about what to do with Herrick, Mitchell is convinced Herrick is hiding behind a well constructed act whereas the girls think he’s come back cured. When Herrick discovers he has no reflection it certainly seems to be that they might be right. Herrick runs away to the attic and Mitchell panics that someone is going to come across the dossier linking him to the train massacre.

Just when it’s all getting completely tense another arrival comes in the shape of Cara, the vampire who raised Herrick (along with Daisy). She’s distraught at Herrick’s absence, and the fact that since he came back he doesn’t know who she is or what he is, Mitchell sees this as a chance to find out how, as he sees it, Herrick survived George’s werewolf attack so he has a plan for after he’s been attacked by the ever present wolf shaped bullet. Annie lets slip to Cara that Herrick is there in the B&B, she races to see him and distraught at the way he reacts to her she stakes herself. Nina blackmails Wendy into leaving them alone by threatening to complain about the over worked and over stressed nurse’s incompetency (when in fact there is no trace of Uncle Billy because there are no records for him).

Mitchell, in his angst / guilt / anger / fear tells Annie there can be no them, leaving her distraught. Nina tries to challenge Mitchell over his plan to kill Herrick, he becomes convinced that she will be the wolf shaped bullet. He runs off to take care of Herrick, but George’s been spending time with Herrick and is less convinced that killing him is the right decision so he decides to protect him. Mitchell and George argue, with George taking the higher ground and explaining that whilst Mitchell is the best friend he’s ever had he can not condone the plan of killing Herrick and will remove Mitchell from his life if he goes through with it.

Herrick starts to show more and more glimpses of the old Herrick, though is this his careful cover slipping, or personality traits that he had showing through. Annie becomes convinced that he is the old Herrick and tries to persuade Mitchell to let her do the deed. Herrick discovers the dossier and shows it to Nina. Scared by the fact that this seems to confirm all her fears about Mitchell she sneaks out and makes a phone call to the anonymous hotline set up for the train massacre. The episode ends with Mitchell sitting down in front of Herrick and beginning to tell him who he is.

There were so many brilliant bits about this episode – so much is happening in the episodes that I’m giving up on summarising them in a succinct manner, but my absolute favourite bits were:

  • Quick thinking Nina – here is a character who works so well under pressure, we saw it in Lia too, she can talk her way out of any situation and makes me laugh whilst she is doing it.
  • Cara – the way she talked about Herrick, and then her visible pain when he didn’t recognise her again was touchingly done. I found myself feeling sympathetic for a character I’d never considered it being possible to feel for.
  • Mitchell’s descent – episode by episode Mitchell is becoming more and more taken over by his fear of the prophecy coming true. In this episode this descent really kicks up a pace forcing Mitchell to act against his friends and to move to darker places.
  • Herrick – by the end of the episode I had as many questions as I had started with. Is it all an act? Does he actually not remember? Are his memories starting to return?
    • I thought this was a fantastic episode. Packed with action yet contained within the B&B for almost the entire episode, it was a tightly scripted and staged episode. It really feels like everything has kicked up another notch or two – I think we’re in for quite a ride in the final three episodes of the series.

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