Doctor Who: XI and Mr. Sofa Man

July 8, 2010 at 11:56 pm (BBC, Geekery, TV) (, , , , )

“The Lodger” still isn’t up on On Demand; what, did they not air it yet on BBC America? Wankers. It’s also not on iTunes, which is interesting. How did I see it? Don’t ask. Mysterious guy in a parking lot.  Paper bag. A few thousand pounds. Or something. And I haven’t seen the whole thing, which is, I take it, the Catch… Anyway.

No, actually, in the end I went here, which is my new go-to for just about everything Who, bless his buttons, even with a lamentable lack of punctuation skills. (And thank you very much for the last four minutes!) So.

The Lodger

The TARDIS lands, the Doctor sticks his head out –

Doctor (sounding a bit disgusted): No, Amy, it’s definitely not the fifth moon of Syndacalista.  I think I can see a Ryman’s.

(For the England-impaired, Ryman’s is a large chain of stationers.)

And there’s a Whomp and a flash, and he’s knocked out of the doorway – and the TARDIS dematerializes, with Amy still aboard – and without the Doctor.  Oh dear.

So he takes a room in a house with a bloke called Craig – and where he got the 3,000 pounds in a sack perhaps it’s better we don’t know. Where he got Craig’s address is a note from Amy of the future/past directing him to a specific flatmate-wanted ad.

Craig: Has anyone ever told you you’re a bit weird?
D: They never really stop.

That is utterly wonderful.

Craig outlines House Rules…

Craig: …In case you want to bring someone ’round – a girlfriend … (eyes bowtie) or a boyfriend …

It is established that Craig has a best friend, Sophie, and he silently would very much like her to be more than that, but hasn’t gotten up the nerve to tell her. When he does decide to, his “I love you” is wasted on the Doctor. Well, not wasted entirely – the Doctor did rather appreciate the sentiment. It is also established that there is an odd upstairs neighbor, who periodically makes a great deal of noise and is obviously responsible for the strange spreading stain on Craig’s ceiling.  Also, unbeknownst to the flatmates on the ground floor so far, the man upstairs is luring people in by asking for help, and the people who try to help are never seen again. The Doctor needs to do something about him – but not head-on… Not yet.

And that stain on the ceiling? Don’t touch it.

Next day, the Doctor’s in the shower, and apparently has been for a while – he likes a good soak.  Craig hears a massive thud upstairs, and tells the Doctor he’s going to make sure the fellow upstairs is okay – which is a very, very bad idea.  And so the Doctor makes a dash out of the shower to prevent it … gets tangled in the shower curtain, loses his towel … All very very strange for the Doctor.  A little disturbing.  Which didn’t stop me taking screencaps…

Soap-bleared, I suppose, he grabbed for the toothbrush holder where he had his sonic screwdriver stashed, and … grabs Craig’s toothbrush.  In the comic this was based on, the Doctor moves in with Mickey Smith, to Mickey’s surprise, and the latter grabs for his toothbrush – getting the sonic instead.  (The comic can be found on the same site as the video link above.)

Really, the towel’s riding a bit low in front, i’n’t it?  Right.  *ahem*  Well.

I was even more startled to find an actual screencap of the moment he drops his towel, and the camera is a half-second behind it … In all the blur, it could have been … startling, but Matt Smith has said he was wearing flesh-colored bloomers or whatever they were, so there is no Doctor-nudity, for which I am exceedingly grateful. And no, I don’t remember where I saw the screencap. I will not be a party to such depravity.

Sophie: You didn’t say he was gorgeous!

Well, awfully cute, yes; gorgeous?  Poor Craig.

Doctor: Football’s the one with the sticks, right?

Of course, XI has a natural and human-obliterating gift for footie (it’s not “footy”, is it?  That looks sillier), and he steals Craig’s thunder in the worst way. 

Sean: You are so on the team. Next week we’ve got the Crown & Anchor. We’re going to annihilate them!
The Doctor (all in one breath): Annihilate, no. No violence, do you understand me, not while I’m around, not today, not ever. I’m the Doctor. The oncoming storm… And you basically meant beat them in a football match didn’t you?
Sean: Yeah.
D: Lovely.

The Doctor must figure out how to find out more about the bloke upstairs, without him knowing the Doctor is about; so he proceeds to create high technology out of low technology. Oh, and he is also in touch with Amy via bluetooth, luckily for her; she’s clever, but I doubt she’d be able to fly the TARDIS on her own. (River Song, yes; Amy Pond, no.) (Hm: River; Pond … )

D (holding up screwdriver): Where’s the on switch for this?

Sophie: Life can seem pretty much pointless, you know Doctor – work weekend work weekend – and there’s six billion people on the planet doing pretty much the same thing.

She would, it seems, like to work with – was it orangutans? I think it was orangutans.

D: What’s stopping you? …
Well, lack of education, inertia … People asking stupid questions like “What’s stopping you” …
Craig: What’s wrong with staying here? I can’t see the point of London.
D: Well, perhaps that’s you then. Perhaps you’ll just have to stay here, secure and a little bit miserable, till the day you drop – better than trying and failing, eh?
S: You think I’ve failed?
D: Oh, everybody’s got dreams, Sophie. Very few are going to achieve them. So why pretend? Perhaps, you know, in the whole wide universe a call center is where you should be.
S: That’s horrible! Why’re you saying that?
D: Is it true?
S: Of course it’s not true! I’m not staying in a call center all my life, I can do anything I want. … Look what you did!
D: It’s a big old world, Sophie – work out what’s really keeping you here.

Right. It’s that simple.

Disgruntled because of the Doctor’s influence on Sophie – the voice of the ultimate Traveler weighed against the man who is beginning to look like his sofa, the man who said “I don’t see the point of Paris” and ditto “London” – Craig goes and touches the nastiness on his ceiling. Remember how the Doctor said not to touch it? Unsurprisingly, he was right.

The Doctor saves his life – with stewed tea, basically, just like #10 needed at the beginning … interesting …

… And then goes to the office Craig was so worried about not being in.  And, of course, becomes a hero there too. 

D: I had some time to kill, I was curious, I’ve never worked in an office – never worked in anywhere.

He was a star at the planning meeting – as Craig’s representative, of course – and now is taking over Craig’s calls, and Sophie is serving him cookies.  Craig is gobsmacked.

D: Hullo, Mr. Jorgensen – can you hold, I have to eat a biscuit.
– I want to use that.  If I ever have a customer named Jorgensen, I’m in trouble.

Craig goes home in a daze, and lets himself into the Doctor’s room, to find the extraordinary contraption the Doctor’s built.  XI comes home, talks to the cat, and Craig abruptly evicts him.  ‘And Sophie’s all “Monkeys! Monkeys!” ‘Well, XI can’t leave, not yet, so he has to let Craig in on everything … which is accomplished with a couple or three impressive head-butts.  Well, I guess he didn’t particularly want to kiss him like he did Reinette.  Look!  William Hartnell again! 

I liked that several victims of the upstairs neighbor said “Help you?”  Creepy.  Good. 

Craig is caught up now, and horrified, and noises start fromt the latest victim of upstairs – who happens to be Sophie.  The two of them rush out and up to rescue whoever it is – and both shortly realize (based on the keys left in the door when she was called upstairs) just who it is, which lights a fire under them both.  Then Amy, having accessed the plans to the building, stops them –

A: You can’t be upstairs, it’s a one-story building! There is no upstairs!

Instead of another recurrence of an XI line, there was, from Craig: What??  What?!

So – the neighbor upstairs is, basically, “someone’s attempt to build a TARDIS” – TARDIS used generically in place of “time machine”?  Or literally?  And it’s been hidden as the first floor (second for you Americans) by – wait for it … a perception filter.  THERE’s the Season V recurrence.

D: Hello, I’m captain Troy Hansen of International Rescue – please state the nature of your emergency.

It’s an emergency hologram for a ship that crashed, and it’s trying to get out of there, and that’s why it keeps grabbing people – to try to replace the deceased pilot.  It didn’t want Craig, because he doesn’t want to go anywhere.  Thanks to the Doctor and the monkeys, Sophie now does, which was why she was dragged in.  Well, now the Doctor’s looking pretty good …

D: Any questions no good.

Hologram: The correct pilot has now been found.
D: Yes, I was a bit worried you were going to say that.

But that would be a very bad thing.  Explosion, solar system gone, that kind of bad. 

However, love conquers all, including memory loss when Amy finds Rory’s ring while looking for a red pen to write the note to leave to bring the Doctor to Craig’s flat…  For a second I thought she might think that the Doctor was going to propose, but she suddenly had a flash.  She may not know what, who, she’s remembering, but she’s remembering something.

And there’s a crack behind Craig’s fridge. 

I liked it; I laughed, I … well, didn’t cry, but pondered; I enjoyed the writing and the acting and kind of wish this had been the episode before Vincent (except for that ending with the ring), because this would have had a better tone, in a way.  Maybe. 

And now I don’t know whether to seek out and watch the last two episodes of the season, or sit tight and wait for On Demand … After that there will be a drought until Christmas – well, no, some time after Christmas for us poor benighted colonists… Only a hundred sixty-odd days till they get it …

Anyway.  I’m happy about the redecoration of the console chamber:

And someone pointed out the weird painting in Craig’s hall, so I took a screencap and lightened it up and holy mackerel, it is weird…

And …. This was quite interesting:
Fairy Tale arc of Season V

And … Can I just add, at the last, that it worries me deeply to see this:

on the Doctor Who related website I linked to at the top? Ohhh … dear.


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