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The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust

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The Stolen Earth - 11th Hour Review
Autumn - sunlitdays
WARNING: I will attempt to be objective in this review, except where it concerns one of the three Joneses, in which case, I make no apologies for my fangirling.

Good to see this start right from where we left off. The Doctor likes Saturdays, don't we all? But seriously, do milk floats have ANY glass bottles any more? (Yes, I know, it wouldn't make a nice sound if plastic bottles fell out, but come on.) I was really pleased to see that RTD did not gloss over the fact that Rose returning also meant the fabric of the universe was being ripped into shreds.

Meanwhile (nice little homage to the X-Files with the typing there), Martha Jones is in New York, looking very sleek and doing her awesome thing of trying to help people. In Cardiff, the Torchwood team are also doing their thing.

JONES FANGIRL #1: "No broken bones, slight loss of dignity: no change there, then."

If I didn't love Luke Smith before, I would love him now. "Felt like some sort of cross-dimensional spacial transference." I actually let out a great big "HA!" when he said this: it's so Luke and he does it so naturally as if EVERYBODY talks like that. And that music IS Mr Smith's fanfare. Hey, it beats Windows.

The usual check-in on Donna's family. Wilf, I'm actually pretty sure that the aliens wouldn't want your daughter. Or maybe they would until she opened her mouth.

First bad point of the episode: please don't rub our faces in that what's happening is impossible, Rusty, kthanxbye. And then Rose appears with a whole CHOIR serenading her arrival. But she kicks arse with the gun so I'll forgive them for that. But how come she knows what's going to happen? Has it already happened in her world?

*pause for squee at titles*

Donna's devastation about losing Earth is so real, bravo Catherine Tate. And the Doctor not really registering her distress as an emotion, more involved in the logistical problem of actually MOVING a planet. We'll just kind of ignore what moving the Earth would do to the moon and the other planets in the solar system, yes? Yes.

"I'm taking you to the Shadow Proclamation." DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN! Is that clunk I hear some enormous foreshadowing finally developing?

And the prize for most wooden delivery goes to Richard Dawkins. Paul O'Grady: yes, he's funny, but what is Ianto doing watching him? Shouldn't he be a little more concerned? The last time aliens invaded Earth, his girlfriend was turned into a robot. I know that as far as that goes, Jack can't die, so Ianto's happy, but come on! Gwen & Rhys: the promise to come home was bad enough but "I love you" at the end? She's definitely dead.

"Whoever's done this wants the human race alive. That's a plus." GAH, no, it isn't, Ianto, and you of all people should know that. See my previous point.

I love the contrasting attitudes of the Smiths here: Luke's excitement and Sarah Jane's wariness. The way she smiles for him but quickly goes on guard again. It's all good. <3 (Just wait until Mickey turns up, then I'll be a Smith AND Jones fangirl, har har.)

Okay, Colonel Sanchez. I get that RTD may be trying to envision a future where you have Latinos high up in the US military command, which is great... but this guy doesn't even look slightly Hispanic. Unless I'm totally wrong and he has Mexican/Puerto Rican/Central or Southern American ancestry, anyone? The point kinda falls flat. And Martha is cut off from the Doctor, oh dear.

Why is Rose wandering around? She seems to be looking for something, what? It can't be Donna's house, she already knew about that in the last episode. Unless she suddenly forgot. Of course, I suppose there isn't much chance of taking a taxi. The gun line is bad, I'm sorry, it's just BAD. And so is Wilf's worry about Donna, which is unusual for Mr Cribbins.

I didn't realise before now but the exchange between Martha & Jack is actually quite flirtatious: "Tell me you put something in my drink last night." "No such luck!" You just don't notice it because John and Freema are being SERIOUSBIZNESS. I love that we got that brief reference to Martha having the voice of a nightingale again: I know Jack flirts with everyone, but I always think that with Martha, there's genuine affection behind the flirting. He respects her, she respects him, they know they've got each other's back, nothing negative at all! Such a nice relationship. Not that I blame Ianto for being twitchy about Jack seeing other people. Hell, if I were Ianto, I'd keep Jack handcuffed to me. (He'd probably like it.) I love Gareth's expression here! "Soldier? WHEN? >:("

Sarah Jane and Jack's reactions to the Daleks are fantastic. The sheer terror in their eyes and Jack grabbing his little team, hugging and kissing them because he knows what's coming. Sarah Jane crying for Luke and saying "You're so young." Great contrast with Rose's resignation and sadness. The Daleks must be on her world, too, she doesn't even flinch at the explosion.

We finally get a hint at what the CRUCIBLE is all about.

Ultimate Code Red: the last Code Red you'll ever need. *snark* And Martha witnesses the destruction of Earth... again. There's a line in Last of the Time Lords when she talks about walking through "the ruins of New York". Just think about how much it must SUCK to stand there and see New York get razed to the ground for a SECOND TIME and she still can't do anything to stop it! And nobody around her would understand if she said anything.

Am I the only person who thinks the Supreme Dalek is reminiscent of Darth Vader?

The Shadow Proclamation has very pretty headquarters. But why is the TARDIS not translating Judoon? Donna's expression at the Doctor speaking Judoon is brilliant. Apparently the Time Lords are now a myth (back in The Unquiet Dead, the Gelf said that the Time War only affected "higher beings", I suppose you can't get much higher than the Shadow Proclamation). Donna flies the flag for the human race and is her generally awesome self and Ten loves her for it. But why does the Shadow Lady look like that when she declares herself a human being? And Donna works out the missing planets. Who DOESN'T love her by now? (But why is the Judoon now speaking English?)

DONNA FANGIRLING: "Oi, don't get all spaceman, tell me what it MEANS!"

SPECULATION ALERT: the Master said that the Doctor sealed the rift in the Medusa Cascade during the Time War. The Doctor says the planets are like parts of an engine: an engine designed to open up the rift again?

Jack being worried about Martha warms my heart. The sign on the desk as they leave the room says "Mid-West": is that a nod to John Barrowman?

I wonder what the Osterhagen Key does. Not even Jack knows about it.

And feel Jack's rage and frustration as Martha disappears. Aww, Jack. But did anyone actually expect her to die halfway through the episode? Come on, she's tougher than that!

Dalek Caan is the creepiest New Who villain, hands down. He's utterly sick and twisted, what a triumph for the design department. The Doctor gets another New Who title: the Three-Fold Man.

ZOMG, IT'S THE CLAW FROM INSPECTOR GADGET! I've been trying to work out what our first glimpse of Davros reminds me of, and that's it! Come on, you know it's there!

And then the scene which had most of us salivating: the echoing heartbeat! I would love Donna to be a Time Lord, but we already had that plot device last year. Would RTD really use that again? Anyway, according to the other Shadow Lady, she is "something new". Why does she give Donna "purifying" water? Why does she say "God" save you? I don't think it's just a phrase.

Haha, Melissa Majoria, nice nod to us language geeks, it means 'Great Honey Bee', though 'melissa' is Greek and 'majoria' is presumably Latin.

"You saying bees are aliens?!"

"Don't be so daft... not all of them."

Another bad point of the episode: Ten talking so fast we don't actually understand what he's saying and miss the exposition. SLOW. DOWN.

Oh, Ten's face as the Shadow Lady tells him that he will lead them into battle. You just know he's having a very painful flashback. But seriously, what idiot lets him go back into a time machine? Nobody's disobeyed for a long time, that's all I can say.

And now we come to Rose's best moment in the episode and she comes full circle from the child who pitied the Dalek to the woman who now kills them (with much less compunction than the Doctor, fortunately). Sadly, it's also the start of Rose obsessing about the Doctor. Ho-hum. I applaud Wilf's attempt to blind the Dalek, even if it was doomed from the start.

JONES FANGIRL #2: HARRIET!!!! ZOMG, I was so happy to see her back, from the moment I saw her face on the trailer, I was just waiting for this moment and SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I am so glad she has no regrets about her actions. That's what makes her a marvellous woman, as Wilf says.

Well done, Sylvia, you've just ruined Rose's night. Bet Rose wishes she'd nicked a webcam from that computer shop now! Note that she starts getting annoyed about Martha when Jack's so pleased to see her. Apart from being excluded, she knows nothing about this other girl and Jack obviously knows her very well. Oh, the Doctor has Martha's PHONE. Rose probably assumed Donna was the companion who came after her, why wouldn't she? And Donna's older and she and Rose are similar. But Martha, Martha is younger and prettier and works at UNIT and Jack loves her and Harriet Jones is giving her the official title. So I can completely understand her reaction. But no, Rose, sweetie, you weren't there first, Sarah Jane was. ;P I love Harriet's weariness with Jack's flirting and the way Ianto steps in front of the screen when Jack asks who's the kid. No, Jack, you are not flirting with the jailbait.

And Harriet sacrifices herself. ;_; And I mourn her and celebrate her life.

"The Dark Lord is come!" Voldemort's arrived? Where? *snark* And once again, Dalek Caan wins Creepiest Villain of New Who.

I'm not a big fan of Ten/Rose but the way he says her name when the screen goes blank is heartbreaking, the fact he can't help himself hoping that she might be there. And then his expression when he heas Davros's voice and Sarah Jane's utter horror. Donna is more horrified by the look on the Doctor's face, so much so that she tries to comfort him by saying they're inside the TARDIS so they're safe (oh Donna, if ONLY that were true).

So Davros was at the Gates of Elysium? That's the second time a mythical paradise has been mentioned in this series - the first was River Song talking about a picnic at Asgaard. I wonder if they're linked. :3 Oh Mr Moffat, please, PLEASE take us to these places!

We really did NOT need to see Davros's body. :X It's like something from Miss Havisham's house.

"After all this time... everything we saw... everything we lost... I have only one thing to say to you: BYE!" - one of the best Ten lines ever

So... everlasting death for the most faithful companion? But who is it? I refuse to believe it's the TARDIS, so that leaves us with: Sarah Jane, the original; Jack, the longest serving; and Rose, who's crossed time and space. Of course, it also depends what he means by "most faithful". How do you measure faith?

Okay Jack, the Daleks are coming. You'll come back all right, you'll come back and find their corpses! I can only hope you put plasitc bullets in your guns. Gwen gets her one funny line:


"They're here."

Oh, Sarah Jane, Luke does not look like he's resigned to being left at home. And given his intellect, I'm not sure if home is the best place for him, but you are his mother, so I'm not surprised.

Who's Control? I bet you it's Mickey or Jackie.

And the final scene: forget Billie Piper, how pretty does Catherine Tate look in that light? Her skin is like porcelain. There is a magic moment when Ten and Rose see each other for the first time, mainly because it's almost silent. But seriously, who actually thought they were going to meet up? I knew one of them was going to get shot, I was a little surprised it was the Doctor but oh well. At least we were spared the mush. And Jack has the Dalek gun. So Ianto and Gwen have... ordinary guns. Great.

"I'm going down fighting. Like Owen. Like Tosh." - if any line was guaranteed to make me tear up, this was it.

Rose's WORST MOMENT EVER: the entire universe is in danger and you're weeping over all the hardships you went through? Suck it up and get some damn perspective. YOU have been through all this before. Donna hasn't. Poor Donna, she had absolutely no idea what was going on. If I'd been Jack, I would have slapped Rose (I know, not his style). And for the record, I don't believe Ten is really dying (*whispers* more's the pity, that would have been a SUPERB PR coup).

Sarah Jane, you do NOT stop for Daleks! Put your hands on the wheel and your foot DOWN, woman! This is the one time when a hit and run is TOTALLY okay!

QUESTIONS: How did David Tennant manage to speak Judoon with a straight face? How many times did he have to practise those lines? Are the planets going to open the rift? Is Donna really human? Are Rose and Martha going to meet up? How excited am I to have MICKEY SMITH back?

Not long now.

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and there's no way that she's in peril. that was just a cheap cliffie. luke stowed away in the back with k-9 or something.
and then she's gonna go in the tardis and jack and donna and sarah jane are gonna have a huge group hug.

also, they can't have a group like that and not have a group hug. I only wish that harriet jones, protector of the universe, were there to join in. well, and that catherine tate would be in every episode for the rest of forever and somehow manage to go back in time and hang out with the ninth doctor.
but I will settle for a group hug and jack inappropriately groping somebody.

catherine tate would be in every episode for the rest of forever and somehow manage to go back in time and hang out with the ninth doctor.

OMG, Donna and Nine! The bolshiness would be off the scale, it would be so AWESOME! XD

I kind of die inside when I think of donna and the ninth doctor hanging out. because of the awesome.
I think it begs for fic.
the only thing in my head that begs harder for fic is that I really really want the ninth doctor to get a hug from sarah jane. he responded really well to hugs, I noticed.
I would die. and it would be all awesome's fault.

How did David Tennant manage to speak Judoon with a straight face? How many times did he have to practise those lines? Are the planets going to open the rift? Is Donna really human? Are Rose and Martha going to meet up? How excited am I to have MICKEY SMITH back?

Is OMGOMGOMG!! an acceptable answer to any of those questions? No?

I wondered the same thing about the Judoon lines though. I would've cracked up. But then, I cannot act. Oh, and didn't they have an explanation of the translation situation in "Smith and Jones"? They also switched languages in that one.

Fangirling Ianto and Mickey is fun. :D

Oh, and didn't they have an explanation of the translation situation in "Smith and Jones"? They also switched languages in that one.

Yeah, that's like...nearly two series ago! It's like expecting casual reviewers to get the significance of "Bad Wolf".

Fangirling Ianto and Mickey is fun. :D


Good point! Since I didn't start watching for real until December, I've seen it much more recently than the original air date. :D I guess maybe they need to find the middle ground between redundant explanations and no explanations. (Casual viewers? Who're they? :P )

My flatmate, for instance, who didn't understand why Jack was alive. Backstory was too long so I just said that due to an accident with the TARDIS, he was immortal.

Oh look, ABN is backreading again!

It's like expecting casual reviewers to get the significance of "Bad Wolf".

I wondered too about fans who have never seen an episode of Torchwood - why would they care about Gwen and Ianto? And if they hadn't seen all of Torchwood, wouldn't they wonder where on earth Owen and Tosh were?

Of course, I did love their inclusion, mostly because it annoyed me before when Big Events happened and we got nothing from Torchwood. I enjoyed seeing it, although I momentarily was confused as to where Tosh and Owen were until I realized they were dead at that point.

Re: Oh look, ABN is backreading again!

Well, they'd know what Torchwood was, because Series 2 was all about it and they'd get that Owen and Tosh were dead, but it wouldn't MEAN anything to them. I liked seeing them, I was just disappointed that they were basically shown and then stashed back in the wardrobe.

Just one nitpicky correction -- "Hispanic" and "white" aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. My fiance is a sephardic Jew, blonde-haired, and blue eyed, whose father is from Venezuela, whose ancestors are from spain, and whose last name is "Pardo." He's very proud of his hispanic heritage, and assuming that someone's 'lying' about their hispanic heritage because of their skin color is a pretty offensive ting to do.

Sorry, didn't mean to cause offence. I realise that Caucasian and Hispanic aren't mutually exclusive, but I never said General Sanchez was "lying" about his heritage. I was actually thinking more along the lines that the BBC was rather lazy about casting him. Is that okay?

That's fine. My fiance has suffered enough grief about it, though, that it's a touchy subject, and I felt it'd be best to bring it up, just incase you were just innocently unaware. :)

Oh, so they've accused HIM of lying about his heritage? The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.

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