The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for "Partners In Crime," the first episode from the fourth season of BBC?s "Doctor Who."
If you think obesity is a problem now, just wait until your fat waves at you as it jumps straight through the cat flap.
?Partners In Crime? watches as a runaway Saturday morning cartoon in desperate need to a solid story, filled with some very obvious gags and some cutesy creatures that wouldn?t be out of place in a ?Pokemon? adventure ... not to mention the worst villain to make a mark on the series -- an outer-space super nanny named Miss Foster (Sarah Lancahire).
The episode sensibly spends more time introducing the domestic situation that Donna (Catherine Tate) is so desperate to escape and also her quest to locate the man in a blue box.
Less gobby than her ?Runaway Bride? counterpart, this Donna Noble has a lot of smarts and drive behind her, and shows that she can match up to the Doctor (David Tennant) at each and every turn. Prepared for anything Donna may actually have what it takes to carry the series in the same way as her predecessors. She?s not a guest companion anymore.
And wasn?t that the space ship from ?Close Encounters of the Third Kind??
Surprisingly, Catherine Tate was marvelous to watch in action. Donna Noble was a shrieking banshee in ?The Runaway Bride,? a festive story that was spoiled with the need to have yet another alien race invade planet Earth (or more specifically, London) and also clean up the remnants of the Torchwood Institute.
?Partners In Crime? however gets back to classic ?Doctor Who? tales of the legendary Time Lord and his faithful companion getting into one scrape or another. Too bad the episode was burdened by a ludicrous plot line featuring an army of fatty babies.
There was some nice parallels between the investigations of Donna and The Doctor as they obliviously crossed paths and followed up the same leads in their own unique and individualistic ways ... not to mention the interesting contrast of The Doctor?s Tardis versus Donna?s blue car.
As an added bonus, ?Partners In Crime? had some nice little references to the previous seasons (including the furry faced Cat-people) and a shocking cameo appearance from Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) herself at the very end.
And, it looks like the new rocked out theme song wasn?t just a Christmas jingle and is here to stay.
What Didn?t Work
The slapstickness of the ?is that the printer over there?? scene wasn?t exactly up to the usual brand of ?Doctor Who? wit (over the last three seasons, showrunner Russell T. Davies has set the bar incredibly high), and Murray Gold?s elevator music didn?t help matters ? especially since it ran through the entire episode from start to finish. This is one track he can leave off the season four soundtrack.
That same mediocre tone continued to resonate throughout the whole episode as people taking the Adipose pills suddenly drop out little fatty people who jump into the sink and run away like a Cbeebies nightmare. The only solid laughs were The Doctor and Donna?s interrupted sign language conversation and the baby Adipose that waved to his surrogate father before jumping through his cat flap.
Oonna?s mother doesn?t have the same appeal that Jackie Tyler had. Her Gramps, on the other hand, carries enough natural charisma to make him a valuable member of the extended Whovian family.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Doctor Who" stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and airs Saturday nights at 6.20 p.m. GMT on BBC 1. It launches on the SciFi Channel on Friday, April. 18, at 8.30 p.m. ET. "Partners In Crime" was written by showrunner Russell T. Davies and was directed by James Strong.
Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha and its sister site Rabid Doll. Contributing from his home country of Scotland, he is currently studying for a diploma in freelance journalism and can be reached at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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