MATT RAUB Reviews Doctor Who season 3 premiere
The Doctor is back, and not only does he get a new companion but a new Sonic Screwdriver to boot! I just set my peepers on a back-to-back marathon of last year’s “The Runaway Bride” and the brand-spanking-new season 3 premiere, “Smith and Jones”, and I figured I’d drop in to throw down my two cents on the episode. Be forewarned, there are some spoilerific parts to this review, so if you decide you want to wait until Sci-Fi finally airs the show in 2023, then I’d turn away now.
From the first episode in season 1, I was a huge fan of Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, I thought she was gorgeous, and had incredible range. Though there were a good 12 episodes or so where she cried through the majority of the program, I still couldn’t dislike her. With that said, I was pretty hesitant to like this new companion, the intelligent and attractive medical student Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman. We first get a taste of Agyeman in last season’s “Army of Ghosts” as she was one of first victim of the Cybermen. We now find out she was the cousin of Martha Jones, and that’s a clever touch.
Looking back, this episode can very easily be put in stark comparison to season 1’s opener, “Rose.” Much like in that episode, the majority of this episode is exposition on our new companion’s life, an unexpected conflict, and the random entrance of the Doctor to save the day. Also, there is a scene very reminiscent of “Rose” where the Doctor grabs Martha’s hand and tells her to run…sound familiar? Of course, the doctor is still pining over the loss of Rose, but as established in “Runaway Bride,” it was time to find someone new.
The concept: the hospital where Martha Jones works gets transported to the moon. The Doctor, posing as the meandering patient John Smith, discovers that the transportation as by an intergalactic rhino-police (that’s intergalactic police that look like rhinos, not intergalactic police that only police the rhino population). The transportation was to single out a fugitive that they believe is hiding out in the hospital. The Doctor and Martha jump on the case to find the criminal and get the inhabitants back to Earth before they all lose oxygen.
In taking out one of the fugitive’s henchmen, the Doctor loses both his shoes and his Sonic Screwdriver. Don’t worry, this upset me very much too, seeing as how I only own like four different Sonic Screwdriver toys for when I throw on my grandmother’s scarf and solve mysteries around the house (don’t ask!). But fear not, Whovians. Because through TV magic and one line of dialogue, the Doctor picks up a new one by the end of the episode.
By far, my favorite element in this episode, which is more than likely going to get me in the most amount of trouble with my non-American audience, is an homage to the film Die Hard. Now before you go screaming that Doctor Who could kick John McClane’s butt any day of the week or whatever your argument is… hear me out. I’m only comparing one element here, and that is halfway through the episode, the Doctor loses his shoes, leaving him barefoot and going up against essentially an army of rhino-people.
Some of you may remember this from Die Hard, which is good, because that means I’m not crazy. Studies have been done that people feel extremely vulnerable when barefoot. Now imagine that feeling going up against an army of rhino-cops or an evil Alan Rickman. This was my favorite element from Die Hard because the act of removing the shoes makes the audience empathetically just as vulnerable. Same theory applies to this episode, and I found it to have the same effect. In fact, I just watched the episode, and I’m now wearing two pairs of shoes.
The episode of course, finishes off with The Doctor convincing Martha to come traveling with his famous pick-up line “Did I mention it’s a time machine, too?” Considering where I was when they wrote off Rose last season, I’ve wiped the tears and grown ready to accept this new saucy companion. I enjoyed Agyeman’s nerdy-yet-cute personality, and I think it will prove to be excellent chemistry with the Doctor over the next year. Overall, the episode gets an astounding 10/10, with the only downfall that I have to wait seven days for more!
Matt Raub reviews movies and television for ComicMix.com as well as the incredible ComicMix Podcast. Check back for his take on Grindhouse.