Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Eek... The return of the Slitheen. Or just one of them. This episode had some connotations with "Dalek" as the lone Slitheen survivor makes a break for it. I was fairly critical of the two earlier episodes involving the Slitheen though I did enjoy the episodes, I felt the farting monsters were a bit infantile. So it was with some trepidation when I discovered last week that Boom Town was to see the return of the bug eyed B-list monster!

But Russell T Davies deserves a lot of credit for this episode which I throughly enjoyed from start to finish. It was fresh, slick and investigated the Dr's ultimate decision in administering death. The surrounding sub-plot of Mickey and Rose was nicely done, and Captain Jack is becoming quite a star on his own, adding another dimension to the Tardis crew. I was not sure whether I was going to like Captain Jack or not... but the character has grown on me and I hope he stays around for the next series.

Thankfully, the Slitheen business was kept pretty much to a minimum and the acting was superb. Some great sequences involving the Dr and the Slitheen in its female form as the Mayor of Cardiff. There was some very good close up camera shots of some fairly frosty confrontations involving whether the Dr is doing God's work for him. What gives him the right to make him decide who should live and who should die? All very profound stuff ... and in a rather civilised setting in a top class Welsh restaurant!

It appears that Doctor Who is now reaching its end in the series but this episode along with The Doctor Dances have both been brilliant (while The Empty Child was a little bit plodding and never really got going in my view).

The business involving Rose and Mickey was well done but I kind of felt it was going over old ground already investigated in Aliens of London and did not really offer anything new. Christopher Eccleston's portrayal of the Dr is very enjoyable and I still feel it is a great shame that he is leaving. He manages to hit the right balance of being a wee bit loopy ... but nice with it too. I felt the likes of Slyvestor McCoy and Colin Baker never quite managed that. But Eccleston has certainly delivered a somewhat vulnerable Dr more in keeping with Peter Davison's likeness.

The episode was more about relationships and the true character of the Dr in confronation with a villain who he gets the chance to exchange pleasantries with over dinner. There was a bit of all out action at the end but that added to it in many respects.

There have been some very good shock scenes in the series so far and this is where I have really enjoyed Dr Who. Examples being the the Dr entering the shell of the Tardis in Father's Day, Rose's supposed last words to the Dr as the Dalek approaches her, and the early Auton attack in "Rose" are among the stand outs. I liked the Dr's stunned shock on seeing the local newspaper in the cafe and realising the Slitheen had escaped. That was in keeping with this.

The other element of shock, though there was quite a lot of intrigue, was the Dr''s realisation of the words "Bad Wolf" following him about on his travels. While it has been inescapable (even for the good Dr one would have thought!) to escape spoilers about the forthcoming episodes. I thought this short piece was neatly done and then the Dr just dismissed it out of hand.

The ending and the power of the Tardis being something of an unknown quantity was a delightful final touch to a well-made, expertly crafted story. While it did not have all the doom and disaster of other episodes, Boom Town featured a lot more character development and finished in style. The episode might not be rememebered as the best of the new series but I think it was actually a jolly good romp with a myriad of nice touches thrown in for good measure. While it was under-stated at times because of its general lack of action, I think that was a good thing, and was more of an investigaton of the rights and wrongs of the Dr's time-travelling. When one life is expendable, where could it all end. Very profound stuff. A searching story which leaves plenty to ponder over.

So despite my initial fears about the Slitheen, I thought the show was very well handled, funny and sad at times, and full of intrigue.

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