Fear her (spoilers)

June 25th, 2006 by Reinder

So there is hope.

"Fear Her" was actually quite silly and too much like "The Idiot's Lantern" in basic plot, but at least the ingredients were all there: the episode got a few good frights in, had some funny moments that actually worked, and was at least directed and performed in a way that allowed me to lose myself in the story, rather than what happened last week, when small mistakes of timing and cutting (not to mention some really obvious clichés) broke the illusion for me.
I could have done without the animated child's drawings, and I could have done without the black road construction worker as comic relief - I don't think the team intended to single out a black character for that, after all the central character and her mum were also dark-skinned, but something about him left a bad taste in my mouth. I also could have done with tighter plotting, with less of the coincidence and the convenient plot resolution. So the alien of the week just happened to land in a pot hole that the road worker was pouring hot tarmac over, that just happened to be in the vicinity of a house where a child was feeling lonely, and happened to do that in the year of the London Olympics, and it just happened to need the Olympic Flame and its symbolism to reboot its spacecraft? Give me a break, and in any case that last aspect of it was bloody silly even without the coincidence. I also could have done without Rose's daddy issues, although I now realise that's all been part of the setup.

Nevertheless, for all that didn't work about this episode, it ended up clearing the bar, if only just. By the end, I was happy for the little girl and her mum as well as sympathetic to the Doctor and Rose as they separated themselves from the festivities at the end. I could even put up with them musing portentously in the final 30 seconds.

Next week: Surprise, surprise, the parallel-earth Cybermen will be back!But you know, it could just turn out all right. Though the narrative format may be a bit of a hindrance here, as that sort of stuff makes things heavy-handed.

Some people have been giving out marks out of 10 for these episodes. I haven't, but if I did this one would be 6/10. Delivers the goods, could have been really good if the scriptwriter had tried harder.

Random thought: This episode could be characterised as a bit of a filler, a cheaply-made item to fit between the last epic two-parter and the two-part finale. So could "Love and Monsters" which was set up so it could be filmed simultaneously with another ep. Two fillers in a row can't be good for a series' momentum - but why have fillers at all? There are only 13 episodes in each series! "The Girl in the Fireplace" basically screamed to be expanded into a two-parter, and there were one or two more that would have benefited from a slower pace. No wonder people are getting fed up.

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