|13:XXI.6 'The Kitchensinkers''Bring it, emotionally, spiritually and morally bankrupt Nazis everywhere. BRING IT. '
What did I make of that? Overall, it was terrible. But had some really good bits. Although some other bits make you cringe. But it's by no means unwatchable. Gemma Redgrave is great again. Really heartwarming to see her. Albeit she's instantly undercut by some of Chibnall's sub-Bondisms: 'The name's Stewart. Kate Stewart.' Ouch and enough already. And Redgrave does look to be in actual physical discomfort at some of the latter rushed exposition. The scene between her, Claire and the Doctor in the tunnels is particularly painful. Da lady's enjoying being in 'Who' but utterly
wasted on plot this execrable.'Aw, seriously?! All this time and I never realized it was reversible?!!'
Victorian Top Hat Dude Williamson has randomly wandered into the cracks in the fabric of reality, it turns out. Which have conveniently turned up in his tunnel system under Liverpool. Okay, every story needs focal points but this is way too slack/pat. All this relating to the imminent arrival of anti-matter reality scatter bomb, da Flux. And there really is a huge amount of bafflegab/garbage in relation to the Flux here. Chibnall falls back on yer tried'n'tested 'Matter vs Anti-Matter' cancel out: Papering over the cracks (a'hem).. Riveting it ain't. Yeah, it's all very pretty. Spaceships, explosions...wahey... But it's also mind-blowingly vacuous.
And lifted. Yes, there's nothing new under the sun, but there are many suns and I'm failing to hear Chibnall's voice here. So much of this is steeped in Time from The New Adventures. Which is a nice nod, granted, but half-baked and overripe here which is quite the combo. The Swarm-Azure background, the ancient war with the Time Lords...It really ain't made clear. Tecteun as the master (?!?) puppeteer, Swarm and Azure her patsies. An abundance of clarity this one does not have. Yes, show, don't tell, absolutely. But there aren't really any dots to join here, it's more garish Jackson Bollox fanwank thrown against the time walls in the hope of summit sticking. 'No, come on,...I'm the campest...I am, aren't I?'
And the Sontarans at the heart of things is a real problem. As wibbled last time, I've never really rated them as a foe en masse. Which is there raison d'etre, I know, but there you go. All sense of menace is utterly lost here. The corner shop scene and Commander Shallo (nice
one Chris!) selling his clone brothers out for chocolate...It is actually passingly amusing but dramatically...oh dear. And oh ****ing DEAR. I'm really not sure what Chibnall thinks he's doing (past caring comes to mind) but this really is just utterly crapulous. Everything's maneuvered awkwardly into place (courtesy of a treble Thirteen- old skool fandom, it dead, da horrors, da horrors): The tri selector backfire wipeout of our three armies of evil unfolds. The Daleks and Cybermen achieve a new level of crap ineptitude alongside the Sontarans. Vinder is reunited with Bel (and Baby-Bel, say cheese), Dan is reunited with Diane. Although things are on the wrong foot there for now. Shame. Time offs Swarm and Azure in no short order and makes cryptic with the Doctor. The Passenger Form hoovers up the remnants of the Flux. Ducks Egg Machine in excelsius.'Yeah, keep the helmets on and there is still some actual menace...'
Yaz and the Doctor reunited too. This is another of the mildly better moments for meself. Whittaker is very
good with the emotional inarticulacy here, Gill is strong with the hurt/relief too. And a real tear from Thirteen...Props to the pair of 'em. As to all the guest cast actually. Some are better served than others but everyone does their damndest. Craig Parkinson is again reduced to rather duff menaces as da Grand Serpent and it's straight in through the out door. The vendetta with Kate Stewart just hasn't been given time to live'n'breathe and it's all gone a bit Pete Tong innit? Annabel Scholey's Claire is also underused and Scholey, as with Redgrave is looking a tad underwhelmed. Despite helping save the days/daze. Kevin McNally remains just storming as Professor Jericho- he's wonderful. He's doomed...Love that 'What an awfully big adventure' exit. Moment. You tell 'em fellah'. 'Swarm has a tragically 'Unlucky Alf' moment at the denouement...'
But it's one odd scene here that hints at what might have been. Not just with 'Flux' but with Whittaker's tenure as a whole. Which, believe it or nay, I do really, really like. But am fan enough to admit to missed opportunities/botched delivery on many fronts. (Further on this in a Thirteen retrospective wibble down the line). Though truth be told, it's mainly in the writing (kind of major)-Chibnall's massive fanwankery and the tell not show proselytizing. Yes, circumstances were against him but Mr Chibnall, you coulda' done a lot
better than this. But back on track...
...it's the scene of Azure with the Doctor at Division. Rochenda Sandall is just astonishingly good here. Sam Spruell has been great fun as Swarm but I think they picked the wrong lead. Given more to do than just flounce sarkily about the time lines, Sandall is awesome and really sparks with Whittaker, who ups her game too. Fanwank Self is seeing that lost, darker, more intimate tenure, one with genuine, consistent dramatic impact. (It's a thing, I'm sure I experienced it at work, 2 o'clock last Wednesday afternoon or thereabouts). Best scene of the era for my grotzits unless the finale amazes. Not getting me hopes up although Chibnall may still surprise us; file under gifted but rarely inspired for meself. Anyroad, a lacklustre 6
here, rounding up just a tad to a 9.5
for 'Flux' overall. Ultimately more of a harmlessly incoherent fudge than fluff. Which ain't much of a recommendation but it's never unwatchable. Excellent, with classic moments despite all the craparama. Yep. Really vicar.
I realize I forgot to include me Incomprehensibilty/Tellometer/Sizzling Fanwank ratings beyond the opening installment. Whilst being no great loss to anyone, including meself, I'd say overall...Incomprehensibility:
Actually quite subtle bar the last episode.Sizzling Fanwank:
Disastrous levels. Double ouch with time knobs on.'Yeah, I know I've used this one before but I need to know...Is that a +3 or +4 Space Laser Pole Axe?'
Noises off? I have actually switched off to it at present. A summer repeetz cycle and back to Whittaker's final three come the autumn. It does seem (last I looked) we could be looking at three 2023 specials- New Year's, Easter(ish) and the 60th? Could be fun, time'll tell etc etc If we haven't succeeded in blowing the actual (say what?!) reality gaff in the meantime I look forward to wibbling on daze of futures past come 2023 and I'm guessing Ncuti's Fourteen come 2024....Peace, Love, Random Discovery of all missing episodes at the British Museum tube station...
|13:XXI.5 Survivors of the Kitchen Sink'We come in search of 'Yak Butter Sandwich' issue 8.5- the one where Tat discusses the Yeti Agenda'
The proto UNIT General Farquhar ( Robert Bathurst ) is so
'Avengers'. You really are expecting Steed and Mrs Peel to stroll into view in the shooting scenes. But let me get this right- we duck in and out of years but the Brigadier's a Corporal in 1967? If you go with 'Year of Broadcast' for UNIT dating ( as I tend to lean towards ) then Colonel a year later in 1968 ( 'Web' ) is a phenomenal leap. Maybe he made a lastingly impressive cup of tea or something. But Chibnall continues to throw his hat into any available ring in a 'The gig's up so frankly what the ****' manner.
But this is suddenly so much better than last time out. We're not hamstrung by Angel returnees and fan-wonk backstory bafflegab. Although the bafflegab is gonna' go large in a different manner this time out, that's for sure. Craig Parkinson as da Grand Serpent/Prentis is much, much
better here. Given scenery to chew and summit' to actually do, he's extremely good value. The grotesque disposal of Farquhar and latterly ministerial arse Millington ( Nicholas Blane ) are classic, icky 'Who' moments. The former very funny too, Farquhar with his amazing 'Alien Detector' and gene-pool exiting way too slow comprehension. Gemma Redgrave is superb as Kate Stewart, as ever. Love her face-down of Prentis and narrow escape from exploding front door. Although Chibnall gifts her the sub-007 wonk of 'Osgood, I've got to go dark.' Undercut genuine tension with matured cheese dialogue Chris, you go guy...'Stark times...'
But Tecteun ( Barbara Flynn ) ... Clucking, clucking bell in excelsius. For me, alongside Kevin McNally, Barbara Flynn is the best thing about this whole outing. As with McNally, presence in spades. And again, as with McNally, utterly wasted here. But lucky us etc etc Flynn seems to have settled on a 'Smug, vanishing up its own fundament self-regard', which fits the bill nicely: She likely realised she has no discernible character whatsoever and is directly channeling Mr Vanilla himself, Sir Chris of Chibnall.
Division are so 'We Are Scientists'/Open University it's unbelievable. Really, what is their point or motivation?! Plus it's been done before with the CIA by Holmes, or hinted at very effectively by Cartmel with the Dark Times etc etc And a bit of sly/wry straight-forward plot plus tantalising hintery ( it's a known phenomenon ) are really all you need Reverend. Not this anemic, lifted, empty canvass/blank stage ( sik innit? ) And Chibnall had such an opportunity here. I've said before he gets an unfairly harsh rap in comparison with RTD and Moffat and I would stand by that but he's stretching it...
Dismissing 'The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos' as a first draft he can't believe he got away with...The Emperor's bare arse doth protest too much Chris. I'm increasingly inclined to go with those who have him as 'Nose Out Of Joint and Thrown In The Towel' as soon as he realised he was never gonna' be Councilor Flavor Flavia of da month...But one warble-gresses...To get back on point, the realm he's dipping a toe in is potentially fascinating writ large. ( Okay, okay, in an Open University 1974 style very likely, double foot shot on self accomplished ) . The multi-verse idea does grab me* as a thing in itself- here, Universe 1 (?!?) and Universe 2/New (?!?), with the Division Station orbiting in some unknowable Beyond ( Nothing/Knowthing ) resonates with supreme daftness...Tragically Chibnall confounds Fandom and Quantum Theorists everywhere and appears to have created The ( Fan )-Plank Epoch, wherein all understanding of cause and effect(iveness) within narrative is bastardised into a Singularity Wibble. Never mind yer cold'n'empty trillionths or hot'n'heavy expansionism Ma'am...'The catharsis of spurious gobbledygook is nigh!'
...A'hem...Episode in hand back on the time radar...Whittaker just cannot do that heavy duty, emotive take-down anger thang. Which to be fair, neither could Troughton, Davison, McCoy or Tennant before her for my grotzits. But it's way outside her comfort zone in her scenes with Barbara Flynn. Who not so much acts her off the screen as continues as if she isn't there. Which admittedly fits with her character, such as it is. So that's nice...
But why all this need for the Flux? Why are Division so
anti-Doctor, anti 'our' universe? Beyond Tecteun getting pissed with herself for allowing a random element in the experiment? Edge of your seat it ain't, although it all remains very pretty to look at. But odd and ill thought out don't cover this one Vicar. Visions of the monochrome weirdness house continue, a vibe seemingly lifted from 'Lungbarrow' and going precisely nowhere here. Alongside the whole Timeless Children shebang...H'mmm...To say Chibnall is just half-heartedly reheating other folks' old tropes is an undersatement.'I'm Tecteun I am, I am- married a (dis)continuity bore...'
Swarm and Azure turn up to disintegrate Tecteun and menace the Doctor in an inanely camp manner. Which is always a plus. There is some vague sense of Earth being a key, intergalactic, erm, plot point but honestly...Everything remains massively ill-defined and unclear with Division and Swarm/Azure plus da Grand Serpent. Beyond 'We Are Backstory. Live it. ( Not ). Kalvanista continues to be a very big, friendly space dog. Bel and Vinder continue to zip about the place, doing their chirpy/cool personable thing. Joseph Williamson adds further inexplicable tunnel malarkey into the mix underground in Liverpool. Vinder gets Passenger-ised and meets Diane. But Kerrist'n'Judas Priest into the bargain.. The tiniest of steps back and an attempt at objectivity- you can see the sketch but there's just nowt to it innit? Flim-flam Mr Chibnall, the flimsiest of flim-flam...
'Indiana Khan and Her Intrepid Band' are admittedly good fun indeed I grant ye and Chibnall seems most at ease with them, in a 'Dinosaurs'/'Power of Three' way. So ultimately this one achieves the bizarre feat of being pretty dismal whilst extremely entertaining. The Sontarans turning up again is pretty crap, they never surpassed Linx or Styre for my grotzits. But against all my better judgement, I'm giving it an 11.5
. Bizarro.'Hallowed be my name'
*Meanwhile, in continuing noises off...Again aware of bits'n'bobs and hard-pressed to know what to make of it...Beep the Meep? Yep, I could get down with that. Fantastic strip back in the day. Would love to see 'Iron Legion' or 'City of the Damned' as well. Perchance they're testing the water, latter two would be bigger scale, more FX heavy etc Neil Patrick Harris as the Toymaker? Quite possibly, I do wonder if they're filming more than one story at the same time? Is it one 60th special, the 'three' that seems to be oft touted (likely just rumour?)- a snuck in Xmas Special in there somewhere? How will it tally with Ncuti Gatwa's Fourteen, if at all? Definitely a comic-book, multi-verse vibe about, down to the 2022 desktop calendar and much recent merchandising. H'mm and double h'mm...Time'll tell'n'all that, it's gonna' be interesting in both senses and beyond is me vibe Ma'am...As we were...
|13:XXI.4 Kitchen of the Sinks'Absolute standout turn from Kevin McNally as Professor Jericho'
The Angel has the TARDIS. And I really don't give a flying monkey-kin. Riveting exchange between self and Mrs.Gantry:Self: 'Why are the Angels so irritatingly crap as a return foe?'
Mrs.Gantry: 'Well they don't move do they?'
One off in 'Blink'-fantastic. Everything that's followed has been deep in the realm of pointless/irritating. To deal with the meandering at hand, Yaz is explaining to Gerald (Vincent Brimbell) and Jean (Jemma Churchill) that it's a very flat 'script' as well as team structure. I feel sorry for Maxine Alderton being involved in this one. How much is her and how much head-billed Head Honcho Mr Chibnall? Loved 'Haunting of Villa Diodati' the previous series but this is confused pants of the very first water. Almost the entire guest cast are progromatically uninvolving from the swiftly dispatched Reverend Shaw (Alex Shaw) to the young and old versions of Peggy Hayward, (Penelope McGhie and Poppy Polivnicki respectively.) When your child guest artist is uninvolving you know summit's at a dispassionate remove in Chibnall Street. This is soulless Reverend, soulless.'The Angels were not going to be beaten in the Medderton 1901/1967 Power Walk'
Bel swoops about the place intergalactically in search of Vinder. Blake Harrison is mildly diverting as Namaca in a deluxe moderno 'Who' quarry. Yaz and Dan are soon back in Medderton 1901. This is another major 'plot' stumble for meself. Everyone vanishes sixty-six years past, same thing happens in 1967 and only then do the military cordon things off. Everyone, erm, (sorry) blinked and brushed it under the carpet the first time? On a plus point, Segun Akinola's incidental score is really nice in the creepy/unnerving department. And this is a hot mess that needs all the help it can get. The 'Quantum Extraction' disconcerting vibe would be better served with more interesting/involving guest cast. As it is, 'meh' vicar, just 'meh'...' 'Aw, c'mon- you can always come back to mine in 1835...'.....'Worst.Date.Ever.' '
This really can't decide if it's an individual episode of intense hokum or part of a larger humdrum hokum. Weird the wheels fall off the bus this time out for meself but it's such an obvious rush job/work of desperation. Annabel Scholey is great as psychically prescient Claire Brown but the whole 'desperate menace of the Angels' vibe is way lacklustre. And I really, really can't find it in me to care about a Rogue Weeping Angel pursued by The D(rivel)ivision. Who's gonna' conveniently turn the Doctor in, never saw that one coming...Dear oh dear...Oh, hang on, Azure is making messianic in the deluxe CGI quarry...Vague frissons of tension as Bel saves Namaca from the Passenger transportation field but nah and thrice nah...'Don't shoot! We're all hastily cobbled together together...er...'
No, there's one major saving grace here and that's Kevin McNally's Professor Eustacius Jericho-'Please stop using my voice. It's a very clever trick but terribly impolite.' Geezer. Inquisitive, astute, likeable in an abrasive arse manner. Also took me ages to recognize him-vague 'Pirates of the Carribbean' recognition but 'Twin Dilemma'! This guy is crap proof, one of the few good things in 'Twin Dilemma' and absolutely astounding value here. Respect sir, respect. Young Peggy remains weirdly 'Midwich Cuckoo'-ish as her guardians are disintegrated. The Professor falls out of the escape tunnel and into 1901, small wonder they elected to keep him for the next two episodes...'Sing this erosion to me...'
And so we arrive, predictably, at an Angel Burial Mound-esque semi-denouement. No, I haven't had a lot to say about our main cast 'cos they've just spouted random plot points in some of the single, worst 'Tell not Show' in 'Who' history. Woeful.
The Doctor is apparently Angel-fied-this was the rogue Angel's plan all along. Yeah, right Chris...Making it up on auto-pilot cruise control much? Cheap gimmickry and flummery all over the shop, half-hearted, half-arsed and half-baked. The absolute maximum I could give is a 4.5
. (Although a personal best 13+++ for Kevin McNally, you're wasted here sir, wasted.) And the credit's are paused for Namaca to tell us that 'Time's cronky...you know?' Thanks for that.* Lawks but this really has been the Jackson Pollock/Time Hound's Bollocks of 'Who'- throw everything at the floor and see what we get. Yes Chris, you're lying back against the panoramic star-scape looking at the gutter, I get it.'Annabel Scholey sees Whittaker's daft face and raises the daft face bar effortlessly...'
*Meanwhile, in noises off, I'm aware of Tennant and Tate plus alternate Rose take and RTD almost unable to contain his piss-taking with Chibnall/Whittaker. The 60th is looking beyond a confusing hot mess in terms of amount of episodes, relation to Series 14/Series X and I'll stand by my 'Rest as good as a change' stuck record mantra. Certainly I'm in it for the wibbling long haul, it's in the blood innit but also find meself in no hurry to stay up to speed beyond the Whittaker finale at present...Uncomfortable, uncompromising and unquantifiable times all over the shop...All that chuntered, Peace'n'Luv'n'Hugs as ever, I feel a Season 17 mainline approaching- perchance Duggan can break the Fourth Wall and deck me... Keep on keeping on with (time) knobs (and twiddly bits) on innit?
Not on my radar at all but on reflection...simultaneously extremely canny (if eminently predictable/safe in an odd way) but very, very hopeful indeed. Good-oh and good luck sir, I wager this could be remarkable. Bring it and then some.
|Bunker Fandoms'What have you got for us this time Russell?'
Meandering through me 'Flux' wibbles, six of Thirteen left to burble on and oh but this is weird times into the bargain. Basically (stuck record alert!) I think TV 'Who' should probably be having a rest now. And is in fact overdue for one. Seeing as there seems to be remaining powder in the (Time) Canon wherefore too innit? I was going with a Thirteen finale revelation. But as many on forums have noted, keeping that under the radar would be nigh on impossible. An 'open' regeneration, leading into the 60th revelation of Fourteen? H'mm...More of that in a tick...As it stands, I do think we're in completely uncharted and unpredicted territory, even by the Powers that Beeb, whatever they may say. Before the revelation of RTD's return, word on Ian Levine etc Rumour Street was a hiatus of at least 5 years. Then a possible return. It's been greeted with wild enthusiasm by some but I think the sheer unexpectedness of RTD's return has got lost in the mix. Reading between the lines, it was very
last minute and not necessarily in the game-plan but RTD turned out to be up for it...'Yeah, absolutely, could see this, just the overriding vibe it'll be a bloke again this time but who knows Ma'am...'
As to what we actually get. Weelll...For the first time the Beeb themselves have talked (vaguely) of a Fourteen reveal 'in the next few weeks' following 'Colossal Aquatic Hot Mess of the Sea Devils'. Many seem to be getting hung up on May 14th at present. H'mm and double h'mm...This is likely a likely thing and cuts against me fanwank thortlets for the finale'n'60th. Which was a Tennant/Smith, plus possible McGann/Jo Martin return to assist a fragmenting/unregenerate Fourteen locate'n'ground 'emselves. Oh yes. And enough already. (Not a fan of the Ten returns/alternate Tennant Doc' theories- as good as an admission that it's dead in the water as any for my grotzits.) As to what we actually get.....activates Cobblersometer and squints a bit...'Very long odds but I think he'd be excellent.'
Seems likely we'll know of Fourteen's identity prior to (and see at the end of) Thirteen's finale...Could still lead into wobbly regeneration shenanigans in the 60th with past Doctor's on hand. But part of me thinks absolutely clean sheet- RTD ain't afraid of challenging any and all expectations. Plus I'm increasingly thinking Spring 2024 for Series 14/Series X at the earliest. What RTD/Bad Wolf/Sony'll make of it is anyone's guess. Heck, I'm just on incisive insight
here. I do think it's possible we'll get a very self-contained Series 14/X, possibly a high profile one shot Doctor. Happened with Eccleston in terms of structure- renewal not guaranteed although his jumping ship unexpected. May be planned in from the start this time and 2025-30 for Doctors Fifteen and Sixteen under RTD or an appointed pair of 'safe but visionary (to some extent) hands' as it were. But yeah, all bets off is an understatement and then some...'Beyond long odds, seems to have got overlooked in the 'Worked with RTD' stakes but yeah, he'd ace it too.'
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