MATT RAUB: Who Are Two?
So we’re into week two of the Doctor’s new adventures with his shiny new companion in “The Shakespeare Code,” and much as I was last week, I’m still giddy with excitement. Last week we were introduced to Martha Jones, a med student from the present time. And in this week, the Doctor takes Jones on her first trip inside the T.A.R.D.I.S. to the late 1500s, where they meet one of the Doctor’s personal heroes, William Shakespeare.
While this episode got to play a lot with what I like to call the Shanghai Knights jokes. To explain, in the film Shanghai Knights the two main characters would run into famous names in history that only we the audience would know, and reference their lives through punn-ish dialogue, such as telling a adolescent Charlie Chaplin that he talks too much. Either way, the same thing stood for this episode, in which the Doctor is constantly using lines from Shakespeare’s unwritten plays. To which the playwright responds “I should use that!” Cute little dialogue, but lets move onto the nitty-gritty.
Going along with my last review, when I mentioned that the first episode resembled the season one’s episode “Rose,” this episode was very much like season one’s “The Unquiet Dead.” In that episode, a very green Rose tags along with the Doctor to the 1800s where they meet Charles Dickens and solve yet another perplexing mystery. That episode dealt with alien entities possessing corpses making them look like “zombies” to the anybody else but our Doctor, while this week’s episode dealt with ancient aliens who pose as “witches” and get Shakespeare to use his “new words” to open a portal to their home world. Very similar episodes indeed.
With that theory in place, there should be hints of this season’s overall arch. In episode three of season one, they started mentioning “Bad Wolf” and how it was a harbinger of things to come. Now, before the re-launched series, I was never a huge Doctor Who fan, but with the writing and pure concept of continuity that thick over an entire season, I was hooked. I’m only hoping that this episode can keep with that formula.
Another fun little tidbit from this episode was the entrance of Queen Elizabeth I. I was waiting for a reference to the Queen throughout the episode, and was hoping that they would touch on the fact that her and the Doctor were sworn enemies. And of course, as soon as the Queen enters the Globe Theater, she remembers him, and my hopes were met. Like I’ve said, the continuity of this show is truly the best on television today.
Now I’m not really a big fan of the “past” episodes, rather than the future or even alternate present. I know that the episode lies more in the dialogue and plot rather than the amazing visual effects, and call me spoiled, but I need visual effects in a science fiction show. By far, my favorite line in the episode is when Martha starts to question the rule that “one can’t go back in their personal timeline” and the Doctor uses Back To The Future to explain how it works. His example didn’t explain anything at all, but it was still fun to hear him reference Marty McFly.
Overall, while the episode was pretty formulaic, I was still enthralled for the full 50 minutes. Next week brings us to New New York, where we get to see the Face of Bo for the third and final time! My fingers can barely hit the keys due to the shaking. For those of you who still need some kind of grade for this bad boy, I give it a 8/10, only because I’m biased against episodes that take place in the past. You can complain, but hey, it’s my review!
See ya next week!