Thursday, 10 January 2013

Doctor Who 'Curse of the Fatal Death' Review

The five Doctors featured in 'Curse of the Fatal Death'.

‘Curse of the Fatal Death’ is a special comic relief episode of Doctor Who aired in 1999.  It is notable amongst other non-cannon comic relief specials as it features many of the crew that would later go on to work on the revived series of Doctor Who, including Stephen Moffat, special effects company The Mill and Richard Curtis.

The story begins with the Master pursuing the Doctor in his Tardis, gloating over his latest plot to kill the Doctor, unfortunately for him however he is accidentally transmitting to the Doctors Tardis, informing the Doctor of his plans.  The Doctor in returns asks the Master to meet him on the planet Tersurus as he has something important to tell him.

On Tersurus the Master attempts to kill the Doctor several times, though the Doctor easily manages to avoid these traps.  Once he manages to convince the Master to stop trying to kill him and let him talk he informs the Master of his intention to retire, instead opting for a quiet married life with his companion Emma.  The Master, finding such an idea disgusting, continues with his attempts to kill the Doctor and is in turn sent into the sewer system of Tersurus, which takes him over three hundred years to find his way out of.
Jonathan Pryce plays an excellent Master.
Using his Tardis to return to just after the point he fell into the trap an elderly Master returns with a group of Daleks, intent on destroying the Doctor.  Now a prisoner of the Daleks and the Master, the Doctor must stop the destruction of them all from an exploding Zektronic energy weapon.  The Doctor is injured and forced to regenerate, three times.

The Doctor finally manages to disable the machine but is hit by a burst of Zektronic energy that kills him, stopping him from using his twelfth and final regeneration.  Believing the Doctor dead the Master and the Daleks, whom he saved, renounce their evil ways and vow to honour his memory by protecting the universe in his place.
The Doctor plans to retire and marry his companion Emma.
Suddenly the Doctor begins to regenerate, his twelfth form being that of a beautiful woman.  Emma is stunned by the change and confesses that she can no longer marry the Doctor.  The Doctor and the Master however begin to feel a mutual attraction to each other and leave together, arm in arm.

‘Curse of the Fatal Death’ is a quick twenty minute skit that pokes fun at Doctor Who but is made by people that love the show.  This results in a nice little comedy episode that is respectful to the legacy of the show and fans will enjoy.
The twelfth Doctor discovers the vibrate function on the Sonic Screwdriver....
The five Doctors featured in the episode are great, each bringing something new to their own versions of the Doctor, even though most are only the Doctor for less than a minute.  Jonathan Pryce makes a wonderful Master, one that brilliantly carries on the legacy left by Rodger Delgado and Anthony Ainley and feels more like the Master than the later Jon Simm.  The part of Emma, the Doctors companion in this story, is played by Julia Sawalha, who was planned on being a cat-burglar like companion in the cancelled twenty seventh season of the show and would have replaced Ace alongside Sylvester McCoy.

A fun little episode that is made by people who love the show for people who love the show.  Respects the source material but isn’t afraid to point out some of its funnier faults.  An entertaining watch for any fans of Doctor Who.  7/10

1 comment:

  1. Moffat has gotten more confident, powerful and is a braver writer since then. It's reminiscent of a Star Trek TNG episode though where a couple fall in love, he changes, she adjusts, he changes again and its too much to handle as she is not attracted to same sex. It's something of a revelation to me that we have come so far when I see my children with friends. My kids accept and don't judge them on sexual preference etc They see being gay and lesbian as positive and not abhorrent behavior. Like them I cheered during the xmas episode at the line "I'm a lizard lady from the dawn of time and this is my wife"