Well, the Doctor is having problems with his current companion’s mother…nothing new there. And hey, Mark Gatiss! Sure, he was a writer for the show, but the guy has done enough acting to make himself recognizable to the public and…
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?!
So, this episode starts off normally enough. We have the Doctor dropping Martha off at her flat…from her living room. The TARDIS doesn’t take up much room on the outside. And her sister Tish is on the TV because Tish does PR for some old guy named Professor Lazarus (Gatiss in bad old age make-up) whose company promises the change the human race forever.
You know, little phrases like that means the Doctor probably isn’t going anywhere even if he promised Martha only one trip. So, one black tie gala later, the Doctor meets TIsh, Martha’s brother Leo, and Martha’s mother Francine, a woman who will slap the Doctor before the episode ends, something he’s finding a little too familiar.
Anyway, bad old age make-up on an obviously younger actor means there will be some reverse aging, and that’s fine but then…WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?!
See, Lazarus’s TARDIS-like gizmo, something the Doctor somewhat recognizes as something that produces an effect not that different from his own regeneration, does make Lazarus younger but it also activates a lot of old DNA, turning him into a giant scorpion monster that drains people dry but somehow still has a human face.
And, like, I know this is CGI from over a decade ago, and the BBC never exactly splurged for the best of that stuff anyway, and even the best Doctor Who special effects often look a little silly and fake, but my god does that monster look bad. So bad, I can’t seem to speak about other developments and moments, like the Doctor defeating the thing in the end with a Cathedral’s pipe organ and the most famous line from This Is Spinal Tap.
Yes, he turned it up to 11.
Cripes, was it a bad effect.
Oh, the Doctor ends the episode by offering Martha a chance to be a more permanent (or as permanent as any companion is) spot on the TARDIS while the mysterious Mr. Saxon warned Francine all about the Doctor in ways that doesn’t sound both mysterious and wrong at all.
Cripes, what the hell was that thing?