Doctor Who: 42

Recap
In the 42nd century, a ship is about fall into a star- and the Doctor has just landed the Tardis on it- and when it becomes stuck in an inaccessibly hot room, he is forced to find a way to save the ship if he, Martha and the crew want to survive. Unfortunately, not only does he have only 42 minutes in which to do it, but the reason the ship is even in this situation is because something infected a crewmember and caused them to sabotage it! Can even the Doctor hope to beat those odds?

Alien Guide

  • Living Sun: Although it seems like a normal star, it has a consciousness of its own. It can invade the consciousness of a human being and invest them with the power to burn at a touch, although it is susceptible to low temperatures.

Episode Thoughts

With its space setting, this was the first ‘real’ sci-fi episode of the season for me, but unfortunately, like episode six, it failed to reach its potential. With so many plot threads crammed in yet again, there was no time for decent pacing, and hence the tension this type of Alien rip-off needs in order to be successful was completely lacking. Obvious contrivances such as making the Tardis inaccessible (again) and giant holes in the physics also went a long way towards making this episode something of a weak effort.

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • Discounting the strangeness of a sentient ball of hydrogen, why didn’t the sun just envelop the ship in a solar flare instead of going to the trouble of possessing and killing crew members? How did it choose who to kill and who to possess? How did it have any knowledge of human physiology and alter it? Why did it bother with the eyes if it could kill with a touch?
  • Also, Time Lord or not, I have a hard time swallowing that the Doctor could withstand such extremes of hot and cold- especially when going out to rescue Martha.
  • Why was the magnetising switch for the pod on the outside instead of situated indoors for this sort of situation? Would just magnetising the pod work effectively at that distance without a fatal and probably hard to create magnetic field strength?
  • In one scene, the stasis chamber instantly creates a temperature of -273oC (which is absolute zero and unattainable anyway), but later on it takes a while to get the Doctor down to the relatively balmy -200 oC.
  • Not a nitpick, but it is worth talking about the Saxon people who used Martha’s mother as a way to get to Martha and the Doctor.
  • How did Martha’s mobile know what time to contact her mother (for example, how does it choose to call her at say 9am Friday instead of 3pm next Saturday? Does it connect to the era specified by its internal clock, so if the phone still thinks its on Earth twenty four hours after the events of last episode, is that the time it connects to?

To illustrate what I mean, here’s an example:

1.      Martha goes to her own time period and sets her phone to match the local time.

2.      Martha leaves, and twelve hours later in her own timeline, calls her mother.

3.      The phone calls through to her mother at a time twelve hours after Martha left in mother’s timeline.

…or maybe the Tardis magically handles it all.

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