Season 28 Episode 12 – Army Of Ghosts, by Russell T. Davies

May 9, 2008

review by Martin Odoni.

*Blows out cheeks.*

Well, it was pretty awful at times, with all the usual hallmarks of Russell T Davies glueing sudden whims together at random – making it up as he went along in fact – but it was done in such a gripping way that I found I really enjoyed the later stages.

The first twenty minutes had a lot of tiresome guff in it, mind, and the Ghostbusters gag was particularly feeble, but once the episode managed to drag itself to the point it got fairly good. I do quite like the idea of these echoes-from-the-void emerging in our dimension as ghosts, although I find it thoroughly implausible that the whole world would just decide at once that they liked them, especially as no reason whatever is given for such a decision. It’s there just for convenience of the plot, which depends on the humans being complacent for its tension.

Tracy Ann Oberman is coming across as a right smug b*tch, but I enjoyed her ‘staring contest’ with the Doctor before she finally backed down and called off one of the ghost shifts. Good to see Mickey back as well – told you he would be – I hope he takes over from Rose as the Doc’s regular companion.

All that talk about Rose’s life ending is clearly meant to be misinterpreted as discussing her imminent death, when it simply means the end of her fantasy life travelling the stars.

The ending was genuinely shocking, although I do feel that, just like with last season’s final story, RTD has taken a concept fairly well handled earlier in the year and then reused it without anything like the same degree of subtlety or plot-flow. Hence the Cybermen, whose numbers were probably only hundreds before, suddenly number countless tens of thousands. In which case why did they feel the need to leave their own world? So we have another traditional enemy of the Doctor building an unbelievably huge army plucked from the human race, and are now on the brink of occupying Earth. Not actually different from the cliffhanger at the end of Bad Wolf last year then.

There is also more than a hint of RTD dishing out the crowbar once more by adding the Daleks in at the end completely out of nowhere. The story had nothing whatsoever to do with them, and so adding them in smacks of desperation to increase the hype factor. But then I suppose a story involving both the Cybermen and the Daleks has been long overdue, and I can’t deny I jumped in astonishment when I saw the Daleks emerge from the Dimension ship.

It’s still a bit lazy, with more gratuitous, ill-placed pop culture references – the EastEnders walk-on jarred most of all – and in many ways it’s also a blatant fanw*nk. But there’s also no denying that it’s an intriguing scenario, with a possible three-way war for control of the Earth in the offing. It’s managed to make me impatient to see the conclusion, which I kind of wasn’t expecting.

I’ll give it 7 out of 10, with a bonus point awarded for genuinely managing to catch me by surprise by the ending, in spite of how fanw*nky it is.

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