Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks”

Last week I had the opportunity to watch the 1985 Doctor Who serial “Revelation of the Daleks”, starring Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown.

I can envision the eye-rolling from here (“The Sixth Doctor? Really? He was one of the worst!”), but just listen to me for a minute. It’s true that the Sixth and Seventh Doctors often get a bad rap (Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy both played the Doctor during a time when the BBC was actively trying to kill the show), but a lot of their episodes are better than most people would have you believe. “Revelation of the Daleks”, while not one of the best episodes of classic Who, certainly wasn’t the worst, either.

The Doctor and Peri arrive on the planet Necros for the funeral of Professor Stengos, a good friend of the Doctor’s, but the Doctor has some suspicions about Tranquil Repose, the funerary parlor that is arranging the professor’s funeral. Turns out his suspicions are well-founded–Tranquil Repose is run by Davros, the mad creator of the Daleks, and he is using the bodies of the dead to try to create a new Dalek army…and also to solve that solar systems famine issue…which is dark even for Davros. Throw in some political intrigue, attempted assassinations, and a body count higher than many modern episodes of Doctor Who (you think Moffat kills all the characters now? You should see what these writers did!), and you have what is, at the very least, a memorable serial from the classic era.

I was surprised with how dark this episode went–seriously, how did this even get aired the first time around? But there were some pretty neat little moments, too, such as Davros’s initial interactions with Kara, a woman who provides funds for his research. Seeing Davros actually being polite and not shouting, actually attempting to be charming, was something of a shock. Then I remembered that when he was on Skaro, he must have had to persuade similar people to fund his research there, too, and it made me kind of want to learn more about a younger Davros. There’d be a lot to explore there, I’m sure.

One of the characters I really liked in this episode was Orcini, a disgraced member of the Knights of Oberon that Kara hired to kill Davros. Once a member of one of the most distinguished military branches in the galaxy, Orcini is now an assassin-for-hire, yet he is still something of a noble knight. In fact, in the middle of all the political intrigue and backstabbing, he was the only character who conducted himself with any honor–and he was a criminal! There was something about him that vaguely reminded me of Don Quixote–I’m not sure why, but there you have it.

Would I recommend “Revelation of the Daleks”? I’m not sure. I mean, it wasn’t as terrible as I’d heard, but it’s still not the best that Doctor Who has to offer. I think maybe I would; it does have some good parts that I think people would enjoy.

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Reacting to “Once Upon a Time: Operation Mongoose Parts 1 and 2″: *MASSIVE SPOILERS*

Okay, first things first: if you haven’t watched the Once Upon a Time season 4 finale yet, TURN BACK NOW! It was a massive game-changer, and I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Still here? Okay, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The two-part finale “Operation Mongoose” saw Isaac fulfill Rumpelstiltskin’s request of writing a new story where the villains could get their happy endings. Titled Heroes and Villains, this new book featured Snow White as a surprisingly effective Evil Queen, Prince Charming as her number-one lackey controlled through his ripped-out heart, Regina as the forest-dwelling object of Snow’s wrath, Rumpelstiltskin as a cheesy knight in shining armor known as the Ogre-Slayer or the Light One (I know, it doesn’t have quite the same ring as the Dark One), and Captain Hook as a bumbling, nerdy deckhand (seriously, he doesn’t know how to fight and drinks goat’s milk instead of rum because he’s allergic to the latter). Basically the heroes and the villains have swapped places and backstories, with the notable exceptions of Robin Hood and Belle. Robin Hood is still stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and Belle is just as sweet and kind as ever.

Of course, no one remembers the truth of the situation except Emma, whom Snow has locked in a tower to prevent her from undermining her rule. Fortunately for Emma, Henry finds a way to enter Heroes and Villains (after the book was finished, he was left in an abandoned Storybrooke as he had not been born in the Enchanted Forest, so there was no place for him in the story), rescue his birth mother, and convince his adopted mother that he and Emma are telling the truth.

In the end, Henry becomes the new Author and uses his power to undo everything Isaac has written. All’s well, a happy ending is in sight…except for Rumple, whose heart is quickly turning black. The Dark Curse is about to completely consume him; the good in him, the part that Belle loved, is almost gone. Rumple is about to die, and there will be nothing left of him to fight against the Dark One.

Here’s where things get crazy–the Sorcerer’s Apprentice attempts to save Rumple’s life by sucking the darkness out of his heart and trapping it inside the Sorcerer’s Hat, effectively shearing Rumple of his power–long story short, he is no longer the Dark One. But the darkness is too powerful for the hat to contain, and it breaks free and seeks out a new host.

At first it targets the Apprentice, but Emma uses her magic to drive it off. It then seeps out into the night and targets Regina as a suitable candidate, but Emma refuses to watch Regina become evil again after her struggle to regain her goodness. Instead, Emma offers herself to the darkness as its new host.

As the darkness eventually fades, Emma is nowhere to be seen…but the Dark One’s dagger is lying in the road, and a new name is engraved upon the blade: Emma Swan.

So that was the big cliffhanger for season 4–Rumpelstiltskin is no longer the Dark One; Emma now possesses that power. Oh, and apparently the Sorcerer is Merlin; he’s the one who bound the darkness to the dagger in the first place so there was a way of controlling it, and our heroes have to find him because he’s the only one who can drive the darkness from Emma and destroy it completely (never mind that we know from season 1’s “Skin Deep” that True Love’s Kiss is powerful enough to break even the Dark One’s power). Season 5 should certainly be interesting!

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Osgood’s Back!

Remember in the season 8 finale “Death in Heaven” when Missy cold-bloodedly killed Osgood? Well, the Moff has spoken, and he has informed us that our dearly departed fellow fangirl will return in season 9. How is this possible, you ask? Well, Radio Times has listed seven theories on how this might happen–personally I think it’ll be the Zygon Osgood from “The Day of the Doctor” especially since Moffat also announced the Zygons are returning in season 9 as well. As of now, though, we just have to continue waiting.

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May the Fourth be with You

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone. :)

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Movie Review: “Into the Woods”

I’ll be up front and honest with all of you; there were three reasons and three reasons alone I wanted to see this movie:

  1. The plot sounded interesting.
  2. Craig Owens
  3. Captain Kirk

Because, really, how can you pass up a musical after you learn that Craig and Kirk are going to be singing in it? I was right, too, in that the plot was interesting although the ending was a tad depressing. It was something along the lines of, “And those that didn’t get killed lived happily ever after.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Into the Woods is the story of a childless baker and his wife who must venture…into the woods…near their village to collect the ingredients that their next-door witch needs to reverse the curse that rendered them childless in the first place. Along the way, they cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and his beanstalks, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. All of these fairytale characters have wishes of their own they want to come true, but the witch shows them all that they have to be careful what they wish for…and that there comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your own choices.

All in all, it was good–not bad, not great, just a solid good. It wasn’t a happy ending per se, but I still think the characters all learned something greatly important, namely that we are all responsible for the choices we make. Blaming others for our bad decisions doesn’t accomplish anything.

I must say that I really liked Meryl Streep as the witch. I haven’t seen a lot of movies with her, but she gave a pretty powerful performance, especially with “Stay with Me” and “Last Midnight”. As a Whovian, I was thrilled to see James Corden in this, and he brought his solid, sensible charm to his role as the baker. Honestly, I’d like to see him in more movies; he’s extremely talented. And the award for Most Surprising Performance goes to Chris Pine for the simple fact that I did not know he could sing (and for all I knew, this was going to be another Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman miscasting debacle), but he actually wasn’t too bad. In fact, if they wanted to slip a musical number into Star Trek Beyond (the next Star Trek movie), I wouldn’t complain.

Oh, and I wanted to mention how I impressed I was that they included more of the original Cinderella story than you usually see in adaptations of that particular fairytale. By that, I mean they included the parts where her stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to get the slipper to fit so they can marry the prince. That part is usually edited out of most versions, so I was somewhat surprised to see it included.

Would I recommend Into the Woods? Yes, I think I would. I’m not saying you’ll like it, but I think you should at least give it a chance.

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Probably the Most Awesome Middle-Earth Thing I’ve Ever Learned

Remember back in October when I was pondering the importance of Men in Middle-Earth and wondered if the Incarnation was supposed to have happened since Middle-Earth was supposed to be an older version of our world? Well, I found my answer.

It was. It totally was going to happen.

In the tenth volume of The History of Middle-Earth, titled Morgoth’s Ring, there’s a section called “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”; it’s a conversation between the Elven king Finrod Fegalund and the human lore master Andreth on the differences between Elves and Men (mainly immortality vs. death). During the course of the conversation, Andreth mentioned a prophecy passed down among the humans that Eru (the Middle-Earth name for God) would enter Ea (one of their names for Earth) to save his Children. This was the first time Finrod had heard of this prophecy, and both he and Andreth were confused as to how Eru could enter Ea in the first place.

But did you see that part? Eru was going to enter Ea and save his children. The Incarnation was totally going to happen, folks. Of course, there are more questions now–was He still going to be human? (Probably yes, since Men were the first ones to learn about it.) Would the effects of the Redemption (however it would be achieved here) apply to Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits, too, or only to Men? Are we going to shoehorn Ents in here, too? Is it possible that one of the tasks of the Blue Wizards, in addition to battling Sauron in the Eastern countries, was to prepare those countries for Eru’s coming? Could I overthink this any more?

As far as I know, Tolkien never got as far as actually writing the Incarnation into the rest of the Middle-Earth legendarium, but just the fact that it was slated to be in there is, in my completely unimportant nerdy Catholic fangirl opinion, pretty awesome.

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Two-for-One Nerd Update: “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Force Awakens”

It seems that a lot has been going on in geeky realms while I have been busy with other, less-exciting aspects of life, but now that I have some free time again, I am determined to summarize some of what I’ve learned about the two movies I am getting really excited to see, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Wow, that was a long sentence.

Beauty and the Beast

I may have been disappointed about my dream cast not coming through, but this little bit of casting news almost completely makes up for it–Ian McKellan is going to be in it! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Magneto/Gandalf/elderly Sherlock Holmes has joined the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth. That’s not necessarily a role I would have associated with him, but, hey, it’s Ian McKellan. He’ll be awesome.

They’ve also cast Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Martha’s sister Tish from Doctor Who‘s third season) as Plumette (Lumiere’s feather duster girlfriend), and Audra McDonald as Madame de la Grande Bouche (Belle’s wardrobe). Yep, this is shaping up to be a pretty exciting movie.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

So…this happened yesterday.

I can feel my skepticism melting away each time I watch this trailer, which is not necessarily a good thing. Return of the Jedi was a good way to end the series; I’m still not sure The Force Awakens is a necessary addition. But…I watch the ships and the battles and the light sabers, and I can’t muster enough energy to care that it will likely end badly like another franchise I could name (coughHobbitTrilogycough). My younger, more pathetically nerdy self is just excited that Star Wars is returning to the big screen.

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