Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Doctor Who 'Silence in the Library' and 'Forest of the Dead'

I started watching Doctor Who about a month or so ago after watching 'Planet of the Dead' one evening on BBC America and I completely fell in love with it. It's weird because I LOVE Torchwood and never got into Doctor Who and now David Tennant is through with his run. And I can't sing the praises of David Tennant enough. He's charming as all get out on Doctor Who, but he's incredibly charming in real life. To quote him regarding Billie Piper, he's "buttered many parnsips" as far as I'm concerned. Does that even make sense? I don't care, he's awesome. So I'm sad because I'm watching episodes with him and it's the end, when the show comes back he won't be on it. I also plan on covering the best episodes of the entire series after I'm completely through

Anyway, on to what this post is originally for, the show and not gushing over David Tennant. I arrived at the season 4 episodes 'Silence in the Library' and 'Forest of the Dead' last night and today. And my stars, these two are two of the best episodes I've ever seen. There may be spoilers coming, so...

In the very beginning, pre-titles, we see a little girl in a library who is crying about people trying to get into her library and as the doors bust open we see the Doctor and Donna.

The Doctor and Donna (I love Catherine Tate on this show, by the way, she is so funny) arrive on a planet that is a giant library. There is no one else on the planet, no one. But there is a giant computer at the center of the planet and it shows that there are 1 million million lifeforms on the planet and 4,000 some-odd number of people saved. This intrigues the Doctor and Donna and soon they come across a statue with a living face (they are a type of computer-human interface device for the planet/library) that tells them that there is one message to be shared. The message says that they have to run, that something is coming and to run. So they run. And end up finding out that the shadows are what needs to be feared.

But this episode isn't that simple. There is another storyline weaved throughout and that is what makes this episode so incredibly awesome. As the Doctor and Donna are trying to figure out how to get out of the room they are in, the doors open and 5 people come busting in. One of the women, River, says that she knows the Doctor but he clearly doesn't remember her. She says she knows so much about him. She even has a sonic screwdriver that he gave her, but he doesn't get why he would have given her his screwdriver. She tells him that that is a spoiler.

As they are all now trying to figure out how to get out of the room, they find out that the shadows are eating people and the Doctor tells them that they are called Vashta Narada and they live in the shadows and take people. They are on every planet, but live in the forests and usually don't cause mass harm. You can see them in the dust in the sunshine. The Vashta Narada start killing the people and they find out that the reason they are on this planet is that they came from here. When further questioned the Doctor finds out that they weren't brought here, and weren't already here, but were in fact in the paper that the books were made from. The entire library is their forest and they want it back and the people are their meat. The Doctor sends Donna off to the TARDIS, but on the way she gets "saved".

Donna appears in this other world where a mysterious man, Dr. Moon (the kick-ass Colin Salmon, who I think should be a future Bond), talks to her at CAL (a hospital it is assumed) and tells her, even though she seems to forget things and keeps talking about a Doctor and a library, that she is recovering well. She meets a man who stutters, they date, get married and have children all within seconds. Later she gets a letter from a woman to meet her the next day and they meet in the park. The woman tells her that it is all fake and that all the children are the same; it's all fake.

Meanwhile, the Doctor finds out the the computer at the middle of the planet had literally "saved" everyone to the hard drive when the Vashta Narada came. It had nowhere to take them so that's where it put them. But, the little girl, who keeps hearing things and seeing the Doctor and Donna on the TV, throws her remote to the ground causing an alarm to go off in the library setting the computer self-destruct countdown on. The Doctor decides that if he can get the computer to shut down and reboot, he can get everyone out. But he has to hook himself up to free the computer's memory. Oh yeah, the computer IS the little girl. She's hooked up to it. Dr. Moon is the fake moon set up to monitor the library and protect it. So yeah, anyway, River knocks the Doctor out and hooks herself up. She handcuffs the Doctor and when he wakes he asks her who she is and how she knew his name (she whispered something to him earlier to prove that she can be trusted) because there is only one person and reason why someone would know that. She hooks herself up and saves everyone, killing herself in the process.

In the end the Doctor, who questioned why he would give someone his screwdriver and realizes that he did it in the future to save her now. Another paradox and I love it!

This episode is presumably setting up some future goings-on since River mentions that he shows up at her doorway with a new haircut and suit. No one spoil it for me if you've already seen anything related to this. She knows his name and knows him intimately in the future and that is intriguing. The episode is creepy, scary, sad, heart-wrenching and funny. Stephen Moffet is really one of their best writers and I look forward to him being at the helm of Doctor Who.

Here's a clip from the episode.

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