Chris Chibnall. Chris Chibnall. Chris Chibnall.
YOU BAFFLE ME, MAN.
I want to know how much research Chris did on the mathematical question - whether it was pure bollocks or whether he's like the Futurama geeks and knows all of that uselessly trivial sort of stuff.
Chriiiiiiis, why don't you write dialogue like;
"And Martha, be careful. There may be something else on board the ship."
"Any time you wanna unnerve me, feel free."
"Will do, thanks."
In Torchwood? That was gold. GOLD.
Answering pub quiz questions to unlock the doors? UNMITIGATED GENIUS. Getting the Doctor flustered with it? More genius. 'JUST DO IT WILL YOU? --- Heh.' = GENIUS.
The Doctor standing there shouting, "I'll save you." - Not so genius, I'll admit (not when you think there are lots of other things he could be doing at that moment.) But quite emotionally wrenching, which I'm sure is what Chris was going for. Fear and pathos, baby.
And then having the whole episode actually be about humans plundering all we can? Yay for message of the week! :D Almost as effective as Captain Planet. (No, actually, if I were a kid, this episode would scare the shit out of me. I'd probably really take the message to heart.)
"If you don't get rid of it, I could kill you. I could kill you all." - And being the moral degenerate I am, I go, "YAY!" And then there's, "I'm so scared. I'm so scared." And I go, "Awww."
"Survival estimate projection - zero percent." - Just to really drive the point home. Up the jeopardy. Hee.
Oh God! "Burn with me. Burn with me, Martha!" = "YAAAAY!" Especially because it was so Zombie-like. Graarrrrrghhh!
And then Chris uses what he learned from Life on Mars - that a "thank you" can have more impact than a thousand other words. I kind of love him for it.
This still wasn't up to Life on Mars s1.7 or s2.2 standards, but I still think it was pretty bloody great - given the parameters it was working within. And so I'm still totally perplexed as to how Chibnall manages to write so well in one venue and so craptastically in another.
I mean, yes, it was over the top - but then again, so much of Doctor Who is. I don't watch DW for subtlety. I watch it for --- well, I'm really watching it for David Tennant, and soon John Barrowman and John Simm - but I watch it for entertainment, for its campness and familiar genre fun.
Using a time constraint like that - it's such a time honoured device and yet it's so difficult to pull off. I found it really worked for me here. The structure of the episode worked for me as much as the character development.
I can't tell you how GLAD I was that Anthony Flanagan hadn't been typecast again. I was so expecting Scannell to be evil. And he wasn't. He was merely a miserable git. And I love that. Him in the background as Martha and Riley kissed had me in stitches. Good actors always act.
All in all - it was obvious, contrived and thoroughly enjoyable. I wish Chris would apply those skills he's got to Torchwood and no doubt I'll be ranting about that again next year.