July 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Technophobia”

The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble deal with an alien invasion that seems to be attacking through technology. Or is it?

Man, I may be hooked on these Big Finish audio plays.  They’re just a lot of fun and often really capture the spirit of Doctor Who.

Plus, it helps when the original actors come back, such as this story with David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble.

Donna and the Doctor are visiting the London Technology Museum, when it seems as if something is attacking everyone there.  That includes Jill Meadows, a brilliant programmer and businesswoman who invented a responsive AI digital assistant, who was supposed to be doing an interview on an upper floor.  But people are panicking, but whenever the Doctor looks into whatever anyone is running away from, he doesn’t see anything.

Now, it’s probably worth noting that Donna is largely unimpressed by everything around her, and that tracks.  Donna’s lack of enthusiasm for a lot of the stuff the Doctor is into seems to be a major key to what they do.  Or maybe Donna just isn’t into gadgets.  That’s what she says.

But when Ms Meadows finds herself unable to get anything done because it looks like nothing makes sense, and a cleaning man says there’s a monster in the elevator (which also freaks him out), the Doctor eventually realizes it’s not the technology going crazy.  No, it’s something that’s making the people crazy.  Essentially, some alien force (because of course it’s aliens, Donna even got a glimpse of them in the Underground) is making people kinda dumb, making them easier to conquer, and the first symptom is a fear of technology.

Oh, and when the Doctor finds the sonic screwdriver stops working, and then he’s too scared to enter the TARDIS, he realizes he’s not immune.

See, the alien Koggnossenti send out some ultrasonic pulses or something, and it makes people gradually dumber.  That makes it easy to conquer the planet and get a lot of slave labor.  Sure, a small percentage of people are immune, but what are the odds one of those people will show up?

Oh, Donna is not one of those people.  She gets caught when she forgets how to use a doorknob.

But that comes after she met Kevin, a hunky guy (the Doctor keeps teasing Donna about that) who is very nice and also immune.  The Doctor was able to pull himself together long enough to basically explain to Kevin how to save the day, so while Donna and the Doctor keep the aliens busy, he manages to take out the stupefying machine with a subway train and the sonic screwdriver.  Sure, the aliens fix it, but the Doctor had already reversed the thing to make them stupid instead, and that means…well, they flew off and blew up or something.

So yes, technology is a wonderful thing.  The Doctor is right about that.  But it also helps when people can actually do stuff.  Donna was right about that.

I was right to get into Big Finish.  But that’s not important right now.