Saturday, May 23, 2015

Charley Goes Off With A Younger Man - The Condemned

The Condemned starts with a fantastic opening sequence as Charley does everything she can to avoid the Doctor’s questions, which obviously only raises his suspicions more. The fact she seems to know so much about the TARDIS and isn't surprised it’s a time machine adds to it.

However, the best bit might be rather simple in comparison when she utters her infamous “My friends call me Charley”. and the Sixth Doctor replies with “I’ll bear that in mind if we become friends.” Such a foreign thing for Eight to say, but for the more prickly Six it rings totally true. Or perhaps the Doctor's shocked at her not being that amazed at the TARDIS being “bigger on the inside” and Charley mutter she thinks it’s kinda small.

Only when they come out in 2008, she starts making things more obvious as to her true time. Asking for an operator on the phone, being confused that you can get Indian food in Manchester, but then her travels start to show as she asks for proper Indian food and totally confuses her ‘host’.

But the two of them are split up for the majority of the serial, mainly because if the Doctor spends too much time with her then things get a little problematic for them. Instead the Doctor hangs around with a Mancurian Copper, DI Menzies, who at first suspects him to be a murderer, quickly comes to accept aliens are real and shits weird. She’s a really nice character, and I love her quick acceptance of the strange when faced with facts. She comes across as a proper policewoman when faced with the evidence. Her no-nonsense approach to it all is a very different take on this then we’re used to seeing.

Meanwhile, Charley gets to play hostage, but as the Doctor has only just met her, he doesn't massively worry about her absence and gets stuck into the mystery of the locked room murder mystery. Again it’s a nice twist, and we focus on a Manchester that is seemingly rife with aliens making dodgy deals which fits Menzie’s involvement. I also know that she’s coming back in a few serials time, so I'm not going to do my usual and wish about seeing more of this.

The final reveal about the murder, and how Charley’s disappearance ties into it is properly Doctor Who. The one thing this serial doesn't do is really address the Sixth Doctor and Charley. This entire season hangs on the mystery of how they hang out, but he doesn't remember when they meet again in two regenerations time. However, The Condemned manages to do address it brilliantly. It doesn't feel forced, but I'm not sure how long that will keep.
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