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Here’s Not Here… A Walking Dead Review

Yes, yes, I’m a fan of The Walking Dead.  If gore is one of those things you (as a believer) are lead to stay away from, please don’t go out and watch The Walking Dead just because I’ve mentioned it on my blog, and I also know the various arguments presented for Christians not to watch such things in the first place, let’s just skip ahead to the part where I disagree with blanket restrictions on watching TV shows (though I do think there are some movies, books, shows, etc.. that have no redeeming qualities, I don’t think The Walking Dead (TWD) is one of them for me).

So, this is an episode review and it is written solely for one reason… I can find no other reviews close to my thoughts on this episode and I had to ask myself why, and then blog about it.  I think I have the answer… it’s because many out there on the ‘net writing reviews are not Christian, nor do they have a degree in psychology, nor have they taught college philosophy courses, nor studied comparative religions.  In short, I found this particular episode one of the best TWD episodes ever for many and layered reasons and I’m not seeing others “get it” in quite the way I expected.  This review is going to proceed as if you, dear reader, have seen TWD on a fairly regular basis and have seen the latest eppy Here’s Not Here.  So, if you are not a fan you can stop reading without any guilt.

SPOILERS for all past episodes ahead, you’ve been warned.

If you are a watcher, you realize that Glenn’s “death cliffhanger” was the previous episode, and there is a  certain group of fans out there in TWD fandom whose heads were exploding because Glenn was not directly in this episode.  We still don’t know if he is alive or dead, or is now zombieGlenn, and that is apparently an unacceptable situation for many fans to be put in.  There are indeed several reviews praising the episode but hating the timing of it.  Here’s what they are missing: that’s one of the points of this episode.  The powers that be wanted you to go through a car wreck… not for sadistic reasons, but for effect.  They had everyone hurtling 80 miles an hour down the road, only to come to a dead stop with a seemingly out of place episode all about good ol’ crazy Morgan-gone-Zen.

One thing I thought everyone agreed on (Rick spelled it out for the group and the audience blatantly in an episode) is that “The Walking Dead” does not refer to the zombies, but rather to the humans having to live in, and adapt to, this new world.  The humans going through Hell on Earth are indeed the walking dead, and most of the characters we have come to know and love are suffering from PTSD.  The two characters in the latest episode, Morgan and Eastman, are the two characters picked to showcase the roller coaster that all the characters worth anything on TWD are on.  This show was not “just about Morgan” nor was it just about his backstory.  Morgan is the character chosen to carry the psychological and philosophical revelations for the whole audience.  Glenn was in the show.  Rick was in the show. Carol was in the show, etc… etc…  They were all represented, one just has to look for them.

This eppy raised deep philosophical and practical questions that have been around for thousands of years.  Our religions debate them, our fellow humans struggle with them, and to be truly human I hope we’ve all at least pondered them at some point in our lives.  Are you a pacifist?  If yes, are there times when your pacifism is actually morally reprehensible?  If no, when is killing ok?  Is killing animals ok?  How about people?  Only when necessary?  Are you for or against the death penalty? Under what circumstances?  Can humans be forgiven?  Can they be redeemed? Is there such a thing as evil?  What is PTSD?  How is it cured?  Is it possible to be mindful during a zombie attack?  And on and on… how can someone watch such an eppy and not be philosophically geeked out?

Let’s look at the character “Eastman.”  East-man.  He was used to show what the eastern philosophies may look like in this world of TWD.  I’ve seen people mocking the Way of Peace online (the book Eastman leans on for his own philosophy and the book Morgan uses to help return to sanity, and yes, the book is real), in essence arguing that some of the most ancient practices and philosophies “are like so stoopid, no, man, like really reallllly dumb, Carol should just off Morgan, cuz stoopid.”  We’ve ran into humans in the show that have given up their compassion and humanity and we’ve seen how they’ve turned out (Termites anyone?  How ’bout those Wolves?)  Did literally the whole internet miss that Carol was having this very revelation in the previous episode?  How ’bout Glenn’s treatment and forgiveness of the despised Nicholas?  How ’bout Rick’s descent into darkness?

In Eastman and Morgan we have two characters that are not cowards, are not stoopid, are not naive, and yet decide to not kill a fellow human unless absolutely necessary.   We also have these characters showing us a different side of nature (again, a central theme in eastern philosophy); we are used to the beautiful environment of Georgia turning into a enemy at the worst of times, and a forgotten background the rest of the time.  In this eppy we have the environment reintroduced as a thing of beauty and life.  It’s all about balance and this season is centered (pun intended) on that theme.  Eastern philosophy captures that perfectly.  Life/death, black/white, good/evil, male/female, love/hate, active/passive, bravery/cowardice… and that is just scratching the surface.

This episode had it all; the themes of man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, and I just happen to think the powers that be did a wonderful job presenting those themes in a way that was trying to force the audience to stop and think, which again is why we were slammed to a stop with Glenn’s cliffy.  This eppy was to help us see that there are other ways of dying, and there are other ways of becoming a walker, rather than just in the literal sense.  The fact that many on the net are howling in anguish and are now spitting on Morgan, but holding Carol up as the perfect human are proving that this was a much-needed episode.  I have no idea how it will all turn out. Perhaps the writers are all nihilists.  Perhaps they are all naturalists/materialists.  Perhaps they will paint a picture of the world I’ll disagree with, but man, Here’s Not Here was surely one of the writing highlights of the show that put forth that humans have a choice to become animals, or to rise above.  As a Christian this episode was everything I had wished for Gabriel’s character, but, I’ll take it in eastern guise if I have to.

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Ministry Review; World Vision

Sponsoring a child in need.  Many times that conjures up old commercials from the 80’s begging for funds… that turned out to be lining the pockets of a few of the people in charge, with no money going to the children.  Also, the old model was based upon the idea that Western outsiders knew best how to help a community rather than the community itself knowing what they need.

Gratefully those days are gone for the most part.  If you wish to sponsor a child there are now an array of charitable organizations that have tossed out the old model, in favor of a new sustainable grassroots model.  Also, with watchdog groups constantly checking on these charities it is far less likely that someone is simply pocketing the money.

One such organization is World Vision International.  Each country that is  a part of WV, has their own website; so for example World Vision US is:  www.worldvision.org  This website is a hub that you can use to get news, learn about the organization, sponsor a child, browse their catalog and send gifts such as goats, chickens, microfinance a loan, etc…  World Vision used to catch a bit of flak for advertising as though your money went directly to the sponsored child, but now they have made it much clearer that your money goes to the child’s community, and not just to the child itself.

Each child that is sponsored is assured to be a part of the programs for education, schooling, etc… and you can send extra gifts to the child’s family or community.  This system tends to work better, since the whole community is involved and less jealousy is likely to occur.  Also, the grassroots touch is that each community gives feedback as to what is needed, and what would most help.  Sustainability is one of the main goals of World Vision and they work to make a perpetual change.

Why do I call this a ministry?  Because they are indeed a Christian organization.  This does not mean that they push or proselytize.  Their belief is that they live out part of Jesus’ message by helping those that need a bit of encouragement or a leg up.  There are some areas in the world where Christianity can be taught, they can hand out Bibles, etc… but there are also some areas where Christianity, it active proselytizing, is not allowed.  They still serve those communities, hoping to make an impact for Jesus based on love and action.

The pros of this ministry; it connects you with an individual child, it is a large organization, so can make a big impact.  They have disaster response that is second to none.  They are so well known, so they are also watch to make sure there is no fraud.

Some cons; each country has its own people in charge (which is good too), but this makes it hard to police and constantly insure no one is conning the system, and that funds are being well used.  (However, the organization does indeed run checks, and takes any reports of problems seriously.)  For us more conservative minded Christians, there is a bit of unease when the “social gospel” is focused on, instead of the more salvational message of Jesus, but that is the purpose of this organization.

I don’t usually like to talk about charitable acts, but yes, we’ve just started sponsoring 2 World Vision children, and I’d love to share my experiences on here, and can wait to start writing letters and sending small trinkets along to them via mail.  If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them, or point you to a phone number or webpage.  If you have any WV stories to share, I’d love to see them in the “comments” section here.

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Lost; The End Review

I haven’t talked about Lost much on here, but it is a show that I’ve watched since the very first episode, and now that it ended the way that it did, I have to comment on it. SPOILERS abound; if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on!

Ok, the main thing everyone is asking is, “Did you like the ending?” Well…that is an odd question for me. I can honestly say that I give it a 4/10…but that score requires some explaining.

First, the writers did a good job with the character arcs. They wrote a scenario that gave the audience a sense of closure without putting in much detail. So, all of our Losties wind up dead one way or another, surprise surprise, and in our world we are not sure when or where the off screen deaths took place. Take Hurley for example; we know he was the Protector for a bit, but did indeed pass away at some unspecified time and place in our future.

We know that their souls (the essence of who they were) all wound up together in what is now popularly labeled “Purgatory.”  I have to say, I think the writers kind of went PC overboard on the Universalist style church…how many religious symbols, statues, books, artwork, etc… can one crew put into one set dressing?  I would point out that to do that, but then have Christ prominently displayed outside the church in many shots, “Christian Shepherd” being the one to open the door to the “next step,” and the Christian faith of several of the Characters throughout the seasons, is an odd choice, since that is enough to get all those against the Christian faith riled up without fully committing.

Now, here’s the thing about a story…it has a plot and it has characters.  The characters are there to further a plot and to enrich it.  They are not the plot, they are a part of the plot, they are part of the story.  That is what I think the creators of the show either neglected to remember, or deliberately ignored in the finale.  So, the second part of this review is about the plot in general, not the characters.  The plot was, for all intents and purposes, completely ignored.  Think about it; we know absolutely nothing about the island or the surrounding mysteries.

We don’t know what the light is, energy of some sort, perhaps tied to spirituality, perhaps not.  We don’t know who first populated the island, who the “mother” of Jacob and “Esau” was and why we should believe anything she’d say (or her nutty sons), who built the “plug” that keeps the energy in, why certain people can see dead people, why Walt could control the island off and on the island, why did Kate see a black horse, why did the smoke beastie peer into people’s souls for no ultimate apparent reason, and on and on and on…  The island was the main setting, and the main plot device, and it was completely neglected during the finale.

Look, I like good books, movies, and tv shows that make people think and ask questions…so a lot of people really liked the ending.  But, here’s the thing…I know about the afterlife, I know about spirituality, I know about the love of a group of people, and friendship, and adventure.  I don’t need some vague reference to what happens after someone dies.  I was hooked on the show because of the mystery of the island, not the mystery of the humans on the island except as it pertained to the island itself.  I love character driven shows too; but the plot is what needs to be advanced through the advancement of the characters.  To me, the writers did a fine job on the characters, and a bad job on the plot.

Could this be for future profits and storytelling?  I do hope for future storytelling, or answers.  The writers did a bang-up job setting a scene and a world full of possibility as far as the island is concerned, they just didn’t give any answers in this series.

To be fair, I’ve seen many criticisms of the show, or aspects of the show, that are based on people just not thinking things through (surprise surprise).  For example; no, Jack did not just dream the whole island and all the people up; it really happened.  The rules put in place that people are nitpicking; who could and could not leave the island, who could come to the island, were set in place by Jacob (remember the game Jake and his brother were playing, and the brother told him someday Jake could make up his own rules for his own game?  Jake used the island to do just that). Purgatory was transcendent, and that is why they could all be there at the same time.  Jake picked who he did because they had issues to deal with and needed a life change anyway, so he brought ’em there for his own ends, but also to try to get them to change, etc… etc…

So, there ya have it.  I’m glad I watched the show, didn’t love the ending but have my reasons why.

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Doctor Who review; The Eleventh Hour…

This is the latest eppy of Doctor Who to air (in the US, that is), and also the first to feature the new Doctor.  This is the Eleventh Doctor (and we won’t mention Ten… *sob*), and he is played by Matt Smith.  Other “firsts” in this eppy?  The unveiling of the new TARDIS, both the outside and inside got a bit of renovation, a new companion (Amy Pond), a new sonic screwdriver, and this ep is also the first with Steven Moffat at the helm instead of RTD.

As always on the Christian Scribbler, I look into any religious implications, or discussions that arise from the actors, the writers, the script, the directors, etc… This new incarnation of Doctor Who seems it will also set up nicely for me to comment upon from time to time.  With Moffat as the showrunner, will we see as much of the Doctor’s Messiah complex?  I dunno, but we already have religious/spiritual implications creeping into the show.

A quick summary of the ep follows, with mild spoilers, and then I’d touch upon the religious bit.  Ok, Eleventh Hour sets up a plot line to introduce us to all the new stuff in Doctor Who, so we have a basic episode with a basic alien baddie.  We meet Amy Pond as a young girl who has a suspicious crack in her bedroom wall.  It is a creepy crack to be sure, and we are left to no other conclusion than the Doctor is directly involved.  Said Doctor, in his newly regenerated body, crashes the TARDIS in Amy’s back yard.

One of the funniest moments in the show ensues as Eleven tries to figure out his favorite food…MAJOR SPOILER…fish fingers and custard. hahaha…Anywho, we also find out the alien baddie of the week is; “prisoner zero.”  The Doc has to take off for a bit and promises to return in five minutes in the TARDIS…twelve years later he does manage a return and we get to meet Amy again.  Teaming up with various extras results in Eleven and his human helpers saving the day in a basic Who plot carried out very well.  Another standout scene was a montage of all the previous Doctors (including Ten…*sob*) leading up to Eleven.

So, my opinion?  Matt Smith did the role proud and I will happily tune in every week.  I really enjoyed Amy’s character  as well (played by Karen Gillan), and she seems like the perfect companion for The Doctor.  The new control room for the TARDIS is going to take some getting used to; I liked the organic feel to Nine and Ten’s TARDIS a bit better.  I also realized after watching all the Tennant specials and this episode, that the changes to the show were needed to advance the storyline past the Rose/Nine&Ten romance subplot.  I’m a fan who really enjoyed the romance aspect, and am also glad they found a way to move the story on now.

Anything really negative?  No, I just hope that Smith relaxes into the role and makes it his own…I don’t know his acting well enough to tell if the manic edge to Eleven was a deliberate overlap in the transition from Ten to Eleven, or he’s trying too hard to match Tennant, or that’s simply his acting style.  I hope that there is unifying storyline through the season, as in seasons past, and that all the writers are on the same page as to where to take the Doctor as far as character goes.  And I would absolutely love a TARDIS centered episode or two…or three..or…

As to the religious aspect, once more, it can’t be helped: the theme of the Doctor arriving in the nick of time, as if it was arranged and orchestrated by a higher power was definitely there.  In fact, attention was drawn to it by having the child-version of Amy Pond praying at the very beginning of the show for help with the crack in her wall; and what a blatant prayer it was with kneeling and prayerful hands and everything ;).  The perhaps (atheist) dig of having her pray to Santa instead of God is easily overlooked by the underlying point; her prayer was answered regardless (she was a little kid too, and these misunderstandings do happen)…perhaps she’s Roman Catholic and was indeed seeking Saint Nick’s aid?

For readers just joining in on my Doctor Who discussions, I’ve blogged about the interesting themes I see in Doctor Who, esp. when those themes that are religious in nature are coming from atheist writers; for those blogs that will help explain my interest and where I’m coming from in my reviews go here:  Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 1 and Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 2

Overall?  Two thumbs up; like the new Doc and companion and am looking forward to all the new episodes!

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; First Impressions…

In another post, I explained my relatively unique position of being Christian, female, and a gamer.  As such, I’ll periodically have video game reviews here at The Christian Scribbler.

Today, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, was…well, unleashed.  After work I went out and snagged a copy for the XBox 360, as I’ve been waiting for this one forever (I’m also a Star Wars nerd).  I don’t think anyone has to worry about spoilers, unless you don’t want to know anything about the game at all (then why are you reading this? 😉 )…I’m only on the second level.  This is truly a “first impressions” post.

So far, so good. The story is as advertised; you play Darth Vader’s secret apprentice.  The game starts with a bit of back story; and you get to play as Vader just for a bit.  After that, you, as the apprentice “Starkiller” are sent out to hunt rogue Jedi.

The gameplay takes a bit to catch onto, as I don’t really like to use my LB (left button) and RB (right button) as much as this game will call for; however, the game teaches you as you go, and also has an in-game tutorial you can pull up in the menu for your different force powers.

I can tell you right now that this really makes me miss Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR 1 and 2)…I prefer the gaming system in those RPG’s.  Unleashed is a lot more “linear” in that there are no dialogue trees as of yet; you are playing a linear storyline.  In my other post on games I brought up morality; in a game like Unleashed, you don’t really have a morality choice all the time…you are sent on a mission and are to complete that mission.  Also, you do not get to choose your dialogue, so far they are “forced” cut scenes with no input from the player…this may change later, I don’t know, you may get to choose missions and outcomes later too, don’t know that yet either.

The force powers are neat, but I have to be honest and say I don’t like having to do “combo” moves (button mashing) to do my force combo’s; it’s just not my preferred style of play.  I do like the force powers that are straight forward like force push, and force lightening.  One big gripe; what I call “cheap falls;” you can easily (and accidentally) fall off high spots and die…your guy may be bashing an enemy with a combo that you can’t break out of and walk right off the edge…

One of the side missions for every level is finding holocrons…and, yes, you have to search pretty meticulously to find them all.  They include force points, force powers (really the “spheres” you need to up your force powers), lightsaber crystals (Yes! you can change the color of your lightsaber, it starts as red, of course), etc…  That is actually a favorite addition thus far; certain crystals make your lightsaber blade react differently…for example I found a “compressed yellow” crystal that does change the color to yellow, and causes the blade to “ripple.”

You also get new outfits along the way…right now I suspiciously look very much like Raziel from Soul Reaver…hmmm…. Anywho, thus far I’m met two main traveling companions; a droid programmed to try to kill me like any good Sith’s robot companion (yes, you consider him a friend), and my new pilot.  Side note; you do indeed have to play as a male, no gender switching in this one.  I do understand; this is supposed to be like a “playable” movie, not a customizable RPG (did I mention that I miss KoToR?).

Also, you get to “visit” and hear about planets from other Star Wars games (like Battlefronts, and KoToR) ; some of the graphics look similar, though the “viewpoints” are different.

My opinion so far?  I like it…not a “love it” yet, but a “like it.”  I can tell I personally won’t want to play it in long stretches as the action is pretty non-stop.  Yes, the force powers are a lot stronger in this one, and are a main game point…the programmers definitely wanted you to use them a lot in fighting and in navigating the terrain.  Is it worth the money and the wait?  Can’t say yet…will keep you updated.  If anyone has any questions for me about the game, I’ll attempt an answer.

It is rated for “Teen;” thus far “violence” has been the main thing some may be concerned about…and as Vader’s apprentice you go after Empire soldiers and Rebels alike.

UPDATE: A more complete review by me can be found here: The Force Unleashed; Final Review.

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Doctor Who; Journey’s End Review…

Here we have the season ender, also written by Russell T. Davies.  There is no way I can cover everything that happened, so I’ll have to stick to the high points, and even then, this is a long review because it was an extra long episode.  You need to watch the episode anyway; it was a really interesting one packed with a lot of information, and leaves viewers asking many questions.  (Tennant did really well in this eppy too.)

If you’ll recall last time in The Stolen Earth, we left off with a universal-level catastrophe; the Daleks with Davros in tow had stolen 27 planets including Earth to function as a giant engine.  Also, we saw the Doctor zapped by a Dalek; Jack, Rose, and Donna managed to get him back inside the TARDIS and the golden glow of regeneration had taken over.

The Doctor manages to redirect the energy into his hand that had been cut off after his regeneration from Nine to Ten.  This does two things; puts all the energy onto the severed hand in its case; in its little bubbling preservative fluid, and lets the Doctor keep Ten’s visage, memories, voice, etc… Essentially he bypassed regenerating (though the debate rages as to whether or not this counts as one of the Doctor’s twelve regens…I vote it does, any thoughts? ).

So, The TARDIS gets caught up by the Daleks’ temporal hoolahoop…I mean temporal prison, and whisked off to the Crucible, which is the Dalek ship at the center of the 27 planet formation.  Think the Death star with spikes coming off of it.

Everyone exists the TARDIS to face the Daleks, everyone but Donna that is; something is holding her back and it sounds suspiciously like a heartbeat.  So, she hangs back and the TARDIS door swings shut and locks.  Who precisely shut the door?  Dunno, and we never really find out, though we know it wasn’t Donna, the Doctor, or any of the crew.  We do find out that the Daleks consider the TARDIS a weapon, not just a ship, and they want it destroyed.  Of course whilst being destroyed in the core of the Crucible, what should happen but the Doctor’s hand grows a whole new Doctor.  Donna, seeing what is happening touches the new Doctor and “hilarity” ensues.

The new Doctor is naked, and seemingly quite proud of that fact…he has also picked up some of Donna’s mannerisms and has but one heart being part human because of the regeneration situation.  He jumps to the helm and whisks the TARDIS out of danger.  After he dons a blue suit, I will now call him BlueDoctor.  (BrownDoctor is the proper Doctor; “full” Timelord, and is in a brown suit.)

Donna and Blue have a short but significant discussion about Destiny.  Donna displays doubt that there is any such thing, while BlueDoctor seems to come down on the side of there being a Destiny of some sort since he mutters about all the pieces not being in place, that the “pattern” is not yet complete.

Anywho, back on the Crucible, BrownDoctor and crew are being twitted by the Daleks.  Captain Jack, in a planned fit, pulls a gun and shoots at one of them, of course he is struck down and presumed dead.  Any good fan, and the BrownDoctor, knows that Jack can’t be killed, so it is a Jack-scheme in action.  The Daleks haul him off and throw him in, of all things, a fiery furnace…later Jack emerges and his greatcoat isn’t even singed…hmmm…I’ve read this story before.  Oh, yeah;

Daniel 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Long story short, Jack meets up with Mickey and Jackie (they both wound up jumping to our dimension the same as Rose did), and Sarah Jane.  The whole crew (minus BlueDoctor and Donna), are captive in the vault talking with Davros; so that’s BrownDoctor, Rose, Sarah Jane, Mickey, Jackie, and Captain Jack all there; with Martha being zapped in later. BTW, there is talk from Davros about the fact that all the helplessness, and death will make the Doctor reveal his soul; which turns out to be a sad state of affairs, as the Doctor seems to suffer from guilt, loneliness, and sorrow.

This is brought about by the revelation that the Crucible is actually a giant Death Star…I mean weapon.  It has a “reality bomb” which is capable of dissolving every form of matter to dust, into atoms, and then into nothing.  (At this point I have to ask; what’s there really to get upset over?  Shouldn’t evolution just be able to reverse it in a matter of billions of years?  You know, from nothing to atoms to dust to human and Timelord, which are, from an atheistic standpoint mere matter? Heh.)

Then the BlueDoctor and Donna arrive, and who winds up saving the day?  Donna…who, through a Human-Timelord Metacrisis (don’t ask) is now part Timelord herself.  Donna + the Doctor’s mind = major Dalek butt-kicking. Longer story short; BlueDoctor winds up committing Dalek-genocide.  This is a huge contention point amongst fans; was BlueDoctor justified?  BrownDoctor is shocked appalled at Blue’s action…which doesn’t really make much sense, unless Brown sees himself reflected in Blue and just doesn’t like what he sees.

Everyone piles on board the TARDIS, and with a final invitation to Davros to come with them, which is turned down, BrownDoctor closes the door.  Daleks dead (how long do you think that will last?), whole crew safe and sound on board the TARDIS.  The Earth still needs to be returned home so, in the best scene this whole season, both Doctors, and the whole crew pilot and fly the TARDIS back “home.”  You see, the TARDIS was built for a crew of at least six, so now we get to see how it should really be flown.  Give me a sci-fi scene where everyone is pitching in, joking around, and enjoying themselves while doing something meaningful, with a great music score, and you’ve got me.  Loved the scene; how it was written, acted, and shot.

You then have the parting of the ways for this episode; Sarah Jane goes back to her son Luke, Martha, Captain Jack, and Mickey head off together.  BrownDoctor drops Rose, BlueDoctor, and Jackie back in the alternate dimension…and then BrownDoctor and Donna have a reckoning; Donna’s mind cannot handle having the mind of a Timelord within it; it will kill her.  So, the Doctor wipes all memory from her about him, the TARDIS, the planets they visited…everything.  Then drops her back at her house to resume her normal everyday life…with her old personality in place.  We are left with a very alone, very forlorn Doctor…and several ethical questions.  I will explore these more in depth in my next post; hopefully it will be up by tomorrow, and I will link it here (the post is now up, which you can find here: Ethics and Morality in Doctor Who; Journey’s End).

1) Did BrownDoctor treat Rose and BlueDoctor right/in a morally correct way?

2) Did Brown violate Donna’s free will and essentially wipe her memory against her will?  Did he have the right to do so?

3) Was BlueDoctor right for killing the Daleks?  Was BrownDoctor hypocritical, and hence illogical for scolding Blue for doing the killing?

There is a ton of apocalyptic language used in this episode; “At the end of everything,” the “End of Days,” etc… that of course has a whiff of the book of Revelation on it.  There is also a lot of fire imagery present.

At one point in the show, Davros accuses the Doctor of forming his companions into weapons, and also lays upon him the guilt of them “dying in his name.”  I felt that this was a slap in the face to all the people that gave their lives for the Doctor, and the universe…how is sacrificing oneself for another mere mortal “dying in his name” as though the Doctor was God to his acquaintances…what bothered me most was that BrownDoctor stood there mute, not trying to correct Davros in the least…perhaps he has deluded himself as well, does he have a god-complex?  Either that or the guilt was just too overwhelming…

Overall, I thought it was a lovely wrap up to the season, and leaves fans chatting away; Will we see Rose and Blue again? (I bet we do.)  Will Martha and Mickey join Torchwood?  Who will join up with the Doctor now, and will his character and personality be changed?  Will Donna regain her memory?  If so, how will she survive?  Are there a few stray Daleks floating around space? (I bet there are.)  And, why didn’t Eccleston come back to play the Doctor that formed from the hand; the part was made for him!

I’m sad the season is over for us in the US, but I look forward to the specials in 2009, and I do believe that this episode was worthy of being a season ender.

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Doctor Who; The Stolen Earth (pt. 1) Review

This episode was written by Russell T. Davies (RTD), and is the first of a two-part season finale.  Season finales are always exciting…and the first part is usually a setup of the second, The Stolen Earth, part 1 is no exception.  First, as this was only the first part, it’s hard to say how the whole show will play out, but it worked really well as a hook, and to get the storyline underway.

Guess what — the Earth is in danger again; and, this time, the whole Scooby gang is on the case.  When the Earth is snatched out of orbit, literally jerked out from under the TARDIS (how exactly did this not effect our solar system?…I know, I know, that’s for part 2 probably…) the gang is on it: Donna, The Doctor, the TARDIS, Martha, Captain Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Sarah Jane, Luke, Mr. Smith, Wilf, Sylvia (Donna’s mum), and of course…Rose.

The first commercial break of the night, here in the states, comes on and in wonderful irony it was an advert for Preparation H…yes, The Doctor might have need of it before the story plays out.  So, back to the show; we see the world in the midst of panic, while the news services suggest to everyone, “Don’t Panic.”  Perhaps the human populace would have heeded the order if they had a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide on hand.

In the midst of the panic, Ianto is channel surfing, and in a great setup for my blog, who should appear on the TV to offer their wise opinion on the situation but Dick Dawkins, Ph.D., the proselytizing atheist himself (I had the passing thought that maybe the Preparation H was actually for the audience at this point…)  Now who in their right mind would choose Dawkins to publicly broadcast during a universal crisis?  Apparently RTD would….but wait, of course! Dawkins is smarter than everyone…he has a science degree; however, he shouldn’t quit his day job to pursue an acting career…

Ianto apparently agrees with me, and quickly changes the channel.  Anywho, we now get a “clue” who’s behind the Earth snatching as “EXTERMINATE!” blares through every speaker on the globe.  And that can mean only one thing; the Daleks. Now, the actors do a great and wonderful job communicating their characters’ fear, helplessness, and terror, esp. John Barrowman as Captain Jack…but I have to ask; is anyone in the audience actually fearful?  I mean, when I used to hear, “Resistance is futile,” whilst watching Star Trek, my blood would run cold while Captain Jean Luc Picard’s face became more stern than normal as we knew the Borg was on the scene…with the Daleks…not so much.  I mean, every time they show they get pwned by the Doctor and/or his Scooby gang.

The Doctor, meanwhile is having trouble locating Earth, it is gone without a trace to track, so he whisks himself and Donna to the Shadow Proclamation, the cops of the ‘verse, to track down the missing globe (and the other 26 planets that have gone missing as well).  With the help of Donna, he succeeds, and is off again in the TARDIS to the Medusa Cascade…where he can’t find the Earth…again.

Of course “The Children of Time” as Davros (the big bad returned from the old days) calls the Doctor’s Scooby gang, manage to link together online thanks to Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister).  They come up with a plan to call on The Doctor…seeming very much like an energy-form of prayer, and Rose manages to add in a “real” prayer as well, beseeching the heavens, I mean the Doctor, to find her.

On the TARDIS, Donna is having to give the Doctor a pep talk whilst he leans James-Dean like against a bulkhead, sulking in his Converse sneakers.  The prayer…I mean the call finally comes through, is answered, and The Doctor, after a conversation with Davros, finds his way to land on Earth…right in front of a cathedral.

Coming to the end of the hour, we know everyone is going to be stuck in a dangerous situation, but wait just a minute!  The Doctor and Donna stand yammering outside the TARDIS, and who should appear on the horizon but a certain blonde ex-companion, and love of The Doctor’s: Rose.  He’s happy, Rose fans are happy, The Ten/Rose shippers are happy…but blast it, we know that the cliffhanger is coming, and sure enough as Ten and Rose sprint toward one another in glee, the Doctor gets shot by a Dalek.  Cap’n Jack with his “great” timing pops in and destroys the Dalek only after it zaps the Doctor, and then he helps a crying Rose get the Doctor back into the TARDIS.

What’s the cliffhanger?  The Doctor is apparently regenerating; glowing golden energy and all, while Rose, Jack, and Donna watch.  TO BE CONTINUED…

This was a “fun” episode, lots of excitement, and I loved the graphics of the 27 stolen planets floating around.  I have to say that I do know that this is meant to be a season ender, and so big villains and big plots are expected, but isn’t that a bit of a problem?  We, as the audience, know that these things are going to occur, does that not take away some of the suspense?  The acting in this eppy was as good as always, and I enjoyed seeing all the major players on the screen helping each other out.  It will be interesting to see the last installment, and to see more interaction between the cast.

I’ve already touched upon most of the “spiritual” aspects that jumped out at me in this episode, the only other ones being a lot of references to pride and arrogance, as well as the focus on humanity and humans on the show.  As I said I look forward to the second part, to see if these themes persist.  I do feel the Messiah-like concept is still full force in the Who ‘verse, but we again see the limits of a limited being like the Doctor, even if being forced into a Messiah-like position; for example, not being able to be at all places at once, in all times at once.

Good episode overall, and one you need to watch to get set for part 2…

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