If you haven't seen it yet you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer here (while it's available).
Hey, that wasn't that bad at all was it?
I'm going to compliment sandwich the latest Doctor Who special, that is I'll write about some good stuff, then some bad and then finish with the really good stuff. Now the trailers for the special had made the story look quite exciting and the general tone to be very dark and possibly filled with horror. Certainly there was a big deal made out of the episode being 'the scariest in a while'. So I did go into this expecting something a lot better than the previous offering, which had me rolling my eyes at the flying bus (amongst other things). It certainly couldn't be as bad as the utterly turd-tastic "Voyage of the Damned" which was redeemed only by the performances David Tennant, Bernard Cribbins and the wonderful "friend of Rev/Views" Clive Rowe.
And well, yes the penultimate story for the tenth Doctor was something rather special indeed. The story was a solid affair which played to the strengths of both Rusty's writing and Tennant's ability to be awesome on screen. The whole scenario set itself up well and just looked fantastic.
But there were a few glitchy areas in the story. The "robot" Gadget was a completely useless piece of plot device which was both annoying and irrelevant. The "racing across the surface of Mars" and "being better at opening a key in a lock than 99% of the human population" (seriously, who manages to get the key in the lock first try?) was an almost pointless piece of plotting. I would have gone with "Doctor returns to the TARDIS then decides to save them by materialising with it at the last possible moment." it would have given a stronger level of psych-out for the viewer. We could have watched the TARDIS vanish and think "My word, he's left them to die. He's actually done it!"
Additionally, for an episode which claimed to be 'bringing the scary [spice] back' Waters of Mars really failed on that part. The "water zombies" looked interesting but failed to elict any emotional response from me at all. Seriously the Candy man from "The Happiness Patrol" arc back during the McCoy years was scarier by miles. Which was a bit of a shame, because the trailer did manage to make it all seem scary, I guess at the end of the day people getting wet just doesn't make for good horror (unless it's either Jaws or the Japanese are at it.)
Lindsay Duncan was great and the ending of the story was pretty dark as well, giving us some of the excellent emotional dialog which Rusty CAN write well (he just can't write good Science Fiction, shame) and Tennant's performance as he goes on a roller coaster ride of emotions was something to behold. He went from watching passively to directly interfering and then hitting a state of elation and energy more intense than he's managed before. Then he goes too far and reveals the ultimate hubris of the Tenth Doctor, Pride. And of course we all know pride mealy signals a fall. What a fall it was, I don't think I've ever seen such a crushing moment on Who, at least since either the loss of Donna or the second part of Family of Blood. Great emotion there.
Still, everything was utterly overshadowed by the trailer for 'The End of Time'. I think the BBC screwed up a little by putting that teaser trailer right after 'Waters of Mars' because frankly it overshadowed everything which had happened in the special and blew it all away with it's sheer awesomeness.
Seriously Beeb, we're going to watch Doctor Who regardless, you don't need to give away so much before each episode airs. But still, yay John Simms and Catherine Tate! (Yes, I liked Donna a lot).
Sadly John Barrowman will also be in it... Can't win them all.