Monthly Archives: September 2015

Doctor Who Review: The Witch’s Familiar *Contains Spoilers*

Before I begin this week’s review, I’d like to share with everyone that the season 9 episodes of Doctor Who are starting to be released on the BBC America YouTube channel. Last week they posted “The Magician’s Apprentice”, so I’m assuming they’re going to post “The Witch’s Familiar” as well. They only leave the episodes posted for about a week–“The Magician’s Apprentice” is gone now–so you have to be quick!

Okay, onto the review. This was certainly a vast improvement over last week; the pacing felt much more even, and it felt like stuff was actually happening in this episode in general. There wasn’t as much off-keel, out-of-character wackiness for the Doctor this week, just regular wackiness–like stealing Davros’s chair.

Davros himself was something of a surprise this week. He opened his real eyes for the first time since he was introduced in 1974’s immortal “Genesis of the Daleks”, and there was something oddly poignant and tragic about it. The same could be said of his statement of having given the Doctor “the only other chair on Skaro”. That chair was a stark reminder of what the Daleks used to be and how much they’ve lost. Davros appeared to understand the magnitude of this loss…but it was all just a ruse to trick the Doctor into giving regeneration energy to the Daleks (which, by the way, the Doctor knew was a trick). Julian Bleach did an outstanding job in that scene of taking Davros from a pitiable and sympathetic character back to the cold-hearted villain we all know and love.

Missy went on to prove that either as a man or a woman, she will always be rotten to the core. Her attempt to trick the Doctor into killing Clara in her Dalek disguise was one of the worst subterfuges she ever tried to pull on the Doctor. Missy may claim to be the Doctor’s friend, but at the end of the day, the only person she cares about is herself.

Speaking of Missy, it was established today that she, too, had a family on Gallifrey; she mentioned her daughter in passing to Clara. Although it’s well known that the Doctor had a family on his home planet, this is the first time we received confirmation that the Master had a family as well. I mean, yes, in season 3 he was married to Lucy Saxon, but they did not have any children. On Gallifrey, however, he had at least one child.

Circling back to Clara now, it struck me today that Moffat is wasting an opportunity with her. Why does Clara never flash back to what she’s seen in the Doctor’s time stream? She saw all of his past lives, so she should have known about the Master, the Daleks, and Davros all along. Also, it would have been interesting to see her flash back to being Oswin when Missy made her climb into the Dalek container.

All in all, I think “The Witch’s Familiar” was much better done than “The Magician’s Apprentice”. Here’s hoping they can keep up their streak with next week’s “Under the Lake”.

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Tolkien Week: The Tales That Really Mattered

It seems hard to believe that Tolkien Week is over already–we need at least two weeks. Or maybe a celebration that’s held twice a year.

Either way, it seemed apropos to end Tolkien Week on a high note–a reminder of why, at its core, The Lord of the Rings is one of the Tales That Really Mattered.

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Tolkien Week: Blunt the Knives!

It’s the Friday of Tolkien Week, and what better way to celebrate Friday than by partying with Thorin Oakenshield and Co.?

For all of my complaints about the Hobbit trilogy, this was one scene I thought they did well.

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Tolkien Week: The Battle of Dol Guldur

When I first learned of the plans for a movie adaptation of The Hobbit, one of the scenes I was really looking forward to seeing was the White Council’s attack on Dol Guldur. Granted, the scene did not play out in the movie the way I had envisioned it in my head, and there were supposed to be a few more people here, but all in all, I did kind of like this part.

And for an added bonus, we have some examples of Catholic prayers that Tolkien translated into Elvish. Ever wanted to know how to say the Hail Mary in Quenya Elvish? Well, now you can learn.

http://www.elvish.org/VT/VT43sample.pdf

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Tolkien Week: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Today for Tolkien Week, we commemorate one of the most epic scenes not just in the Lord of the Rings films but in any movie ever made: the charge of the Rohirrim at the Pelennor Fields.

The raw epicness of this scene gets me every time. Every. Time.

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Tolkien Week: Hobbit Day!

It’s September 22, so you know what that means–it’s Hobbit Day! Today we celebrate the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two of the most famous Hobbits in all the land.

We also welcome Pope Francis to America today. We hope you have a safe and uneventful stay, Holy Father!

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Tolkien Week: Song of the Lonely Mountain

For this year’s Tolkien Week, I decided to also post some clips from the Hobbit trilogy. Yes, my relationship with that trilogy is messy and complicated, but there were a few good things to come out of it. This haunting rendition of “Song of the Lonely Mountain” is one of them.

I’m with Bilbo. I would totally go off on an adventure after hearing this song.

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