Doctor Who: Turn Left

Warning up front: I’m going to spoil this episode on the next page. Majorly. It’s the only way I can post about it. Also, I’m going to include some other text and screensnap bits for, um, contrast and effect.

Russell T Davies works his humanistic magic again — big time — in yesterday’s episode, season four’s eleventh of thirteen, of Doctor Who, called Turn Left.

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Thank you to whoever put it on the Net last night. It really did appear in what had to be record time! I’ve never encountered it on the Net before on a Saturday night!

I watched this episode twice. I couldn’t do it last night, so I plopped it on my LifeDrive’s SD and watched it with headphones. Two things about that:

1) Headphones really bring out the music. It was truly an excellent job done there. I recommend a separate viewing that way, just to savor the music.

2) It was an emotional episode and I really shouldn’t have watched it while in public! Geez!

OK, past this point are spoilers. Do not proceed until after you’ve viewed the episode!

Update: Some corrections within.

I don’t think this is a spoiler. She was shown in the next episode preview last week!

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I must again give credit to the director:

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There were some very nice touches done. But I’m shocked to see it’s the same guy who did what’s possibly the worst Doctor Who ever!

I have to confess that:

1) I haven’t yet seen all episodes of the new Doctor Who

2) I haven’t even seen all of just the Catherine Tate episodes (which includes her pre-Companion episode) Update: Seen it. I love the Internet!

So I’m probably missing some touches that everyone else will catch.

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When I saw all that, I immediately thought: Firefly!

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For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. — Jeremiah 29:8

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Chipo Chung. She was simply excellent!

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The most important turn signal — ever!

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The Road Not Taken!

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She can’t see what is there but not there.

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The first thread from a prior episode. Update: The Runaway Bride, Xmas Special.

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The absolutely unthinkable.

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Rose Tyler appears for the first time.

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Second tie-in to a prior episode.

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With a tie-in to a whole other TV series!

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It’s always good to see Bernard Cribbins! He’s granddad.

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Davies does some visual humor.

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A tie-in to the recent Christmas special. Donna Noble wasn’t in it. Now go figure! Bernard Cribbins, however, was.

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This was all wrong. They see the worst and those are their reactions?

No. It should have been like this:

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I guess you have to live there to understand the Leeds reference. If this was America and that stamp said Chicago, I’d understand!

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Davies pulls out all the stops for universal brotherhood here.

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Billeted.

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Hardship.

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Another tie-in to a past episode.

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“Who’s gonna listen to us? Refugees! We haven’t even got a vote. We’re just no one, Donna. We don’t exist.”

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Davies really pulls one off with that song! More of his humor.

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Yet another prior episode referenced.

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He thinks he can see what can’t be seen.

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Granddad: “Call yourself a soldier? Pointing guns at innocent women? You’re a disgrace!”

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Something bad happens in the sky.

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Another past episode gets tied-in. Update: This is also from The Runaway Bride, Xmas Special.

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The first sign of tears — at the program’s mid-point!

Donna: “Why do you keep telling me for? What am I supposed to do? I’m nothing special. I mean … I’m … I’m nothing special. I’m a temp! I’m not even that. I’m nothing!”

Rose: “Donna Noble, you’re the most important woman in the whole of Creation!”

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“It’s the new law. England for the English, et cetera. They can’t send us home, the oceans are closed. They build labor camps.”

Donna: “But labor doing what? There aren’t any jobs.”

“Sewing. Digging. Is good!”

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Granddad: “‘Labor camps.’ That’s what they called them last time. …

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“… It’s happening again.”

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Donna: “You were right. I should have worked harder at school. I suppose I’ve always been a disappointment.”

Mum: “Yeah.”

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Seeing what is not supposed to happen.

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A decision is made.

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Donna encounters the TARDIS for the first time.

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Donna: “And it … it belonged to the Doctor?”

Rose: “And he was a Time Lord. The last of his kind.”

Donna: “But if he was so special, what was he doing with me?”

Rose: “He thought you were brilliant.”

Donna: “Don’t be stupid.”

Rose: “Well, you are. It just took the Doctor to show you that, simply by being with him. He did the same to me. To everyone he touches.”

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And then she encounters the unseen thing on her back!

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“You liar! You told me I was special. It’s this thing. I’m just a host!”

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“This — is to combat dehydration.”

Davies really gets humor in at a very exciting and dramatic point! It’s funnier because it was so unexpected!

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Almost … back.

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Another critical decision reached.

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“Tell the Doctor …”

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“You were so strong! What are you?!!? What will you be?!! What will you be?!!?”

So our society, for all its mediocrity and corruption, is still occasionally based on the absolute of our common soul, and a human being can at times be as strong as God. — Nightmare in the Street by Derek Raymond, page 12

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The Doctor is told what Rose said.

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What a set-up for the next episode and season conclusion!!

I guess I need to see all of the other episodes with Donna to really understand her character. It was difficult for me to get a handle on her in this one. Something just seemed missing to me. Or not right. Perhaps when I see everything in sequence later it will all fall into place for me.

What really astonishes me is the way Davies weaved everything together. How long had he been planning to do Doctor Who before he got it? It really is incredible, the way it seems he was planning everything out to reach this point. It’s the kind of thing that Christopher Fowler does with his brilliant Bryant & May mystery series (which, by the way, Doctor Who fans would love!)

Previously here:

Doctor Who: Midnight
I Am Living In The Future
Doctor Who: Forest Of The Dead
Doctor Who: Silence In The Library
Thank God It’s Not Gareth Roberts!
Doctor Who Jumps The Gay Shark
Doctor Who: The Hair Years

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Explore posts in the same categories: TV, Writers - Living, Writing

One Comment on “Doctor Who: Turn Left”


  1. Davies had been wanting to do Who for *years* before he got the job — and even wrote a novel for the Virgin New Adventures lines (in which a family with the last name of Tyler turns up, living in Council housing…hmmmm….) His initial pitch for the series must have bowled over the BBC commissioners, because the original brief was a six episode one-shot series…and that quickly became thirteen episodes for the initial series. Now they commission the thing in whacking great chunks.

    As far as it goes, I think he had the firs tthree years mapped out, as he planned to stay on for only three years. When he decided to stay for the fourth year and the specials, he salted in elements for the fourth year. I don’t think there’ll be much in the way of arc stuff for the 2009 specials.


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