Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TV Review: Doctor Who- School Reunion (S02E03)

With School Reunion heralding the return of K9 and Sarah Jane Smith, I’m reluctant to put a bad light on it. These were my childhood heroes, and instead I’ll begin with the bright spots that I love in the furious pace of the script.

Anthony Stewart Head was perfect in his role of Mr. Finch and his chips were just as salty as they needed to be. If there was any fan rumor that I wish I could bring true, it is the Mr. Head was playing the prominent character of the Master, instead of a possibly one and done villain.

His acting and menace was fantastic, as was his performance – much like Billie Piper‘s Cassandra impersonation in New Earth and Pauline Collins‘ Queen Elisabeth character in Tooth & Claw were the brightest points in their respective episodes.

K9 also begs for an affirmative response for his all too brief appearance in the show. Again an icon of the series was treated in the right way and the sounds, voice, as well as his look made me really believe I was watching a continuation of the classic series.

Sarah Jane too, made me believe that David Tennant was once Tom Baker. The South Croydon reference relating to The Hand of Fear made me feel almost sad for Sarah’s abandonment, and made use of the drama element that made series one such a breakthrough, to say nothing of the Doctor’s speech about his extended life span.

Noel Clarke also gets kudos for some much needed laughs and being the tin dog we know he is. David Tennant also had some great lines in this story, and I wish my physics teacher just would have repeated the word physics humorously I might have passed.

Now sadly to the nitpicking. Like most of this second series, School Reunion seems rushed. Not enough time to me was spent on the motives and meat of Fitch’s plan, and the series as a whole should be given an extra fifteen minutes of screen time to get the most of the brilliant characters the series creates.

Although I’d had hoped that I’d left it behind once a different author had taken the reign’s from Russell T Davies, I was still surprised at the abundance of running through corridors that had to me taken over the first two episodes of series two.

Now, I’m not against running in corridors. That’s part of Doctor Who old and new and the last thing I want to do is seem ungrateful in the middle of the renaissance of the series.

That said, Doctor Who’s corridor marathon works best when you don’t notice it because you’re too wrapped up in the wonderful story. The End of The World pulled this off flawlessly, much like the past classics of Earthshock and The War Games.

All in all, School Reunion was a romp through past continuity that didn’t over do the fact that this episode was likely to be preordained by the shows fans to make it into the pantheon of Doctor Who classics. It was a chance to catch up, a chance to meet old friends.

-Thomas Spychalski

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