Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 7: The Curse of Fenric

The guy who organised this little trip through Who history has, from day one, made it abundantly clear the Curse of Fenric is, by far and away, his favourite Who story ever! In fact, tt is only referred to as Curse of Mother Fucking Fenric.

To me, this felt like a Bad Wolf - which is suppose is an amusing pun. The pay off after a lot of build up that was a little lost on me. The finale comes down to a big battle of the words between Fenric and the Doctor was full of references I was just nodding along to. But it was still pretty awesome.

Fair warning, I was drinking and watching it with a mate so I might have missed some finer points. Anyway, the Doctor and Ace turn up in WW2 at some remote British outpost and stumble across all manor of shit going down. Russians are trying to steal an enigma-like device, sort-of vampires turn up. Viking prophecies. It's all incredibly epic. And even without me getting the references it works brillaintly. Lots of moving parts that all come to pay off in the finale.

That said Sophie Aldred, Ace, can not act. I like the the idea behind her character, a tomboy who has much to learn, and a few demons to excise along the way. It sort of feels like RTD and Moffat took quite a few lessons here and used them to structure new Who. Apparently she has a fear of the water, which was totally lost on me, and when she goes for a swim at the end it made no fucking sense without it. Which is the main problem for Ace throughout, apart from Aldred's acting. She's off doing so much that pays off all this stuff from previous episodes without it being properly explained.

That whole flirting scene was like watching something from a David Lynch movie. She has a huge over-reaction to a baby's name that just comes across as rude, just because the baby shares her mum's name. It was obviously her mother, and it was a nice touch, but again I didn't know she hated her mum. The bond that develops is rather well done. The romance with the Russian captain came out of nowhere, it was probably meant to be tied into them both being Wolves of Fenric, but this is never explored. Even a line of dialogue between Ace and the Doctor to establish that she was interested because of some vague connection would have done it. Everything about Ace is the long pay-off and because of that, barely any of it worked for me.

McCoy on the other hand was great, but the serial was so swamped with being epic I didn't get a proper grip on him. I'm reserving judgement as Troughton suffered the same in War Games, and look at my opinion of him now.

Just to reiterate, great story, but if you're following me in anyway, watch a few of the proceeding serials for context.
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