Doctor Who
The Idiot's Lantern

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | 2 USERS: A+
The Dutch Tilt

Magpie enters from the back, asking what the hell is going on. "I want my friend restored and I think that's beyond a little backstreet electrician so tell me, who's really in charge here?" thunders the Doctor; Magpie flinches. The Wire speaks. "Yoohoo! I think that must be me." The Doctor turns to her -- that is to say, her stolen image -- with jaw dropped. "Ooh, this one's smart as paint," she says approvingly. Bishop wonders aloud whether it's real, this image, as the Doctor approaches her. "Sorry gentlemen, I'm...I'm afraid you've brought this on yourselves. May I introduce you to my new...friend." She nods in a friendly, psychotic way. "Jolly nice to meet you!" Bishop recognizes her from television, and the Doctor explains the '50s once again: "No, it's just using her image." Tommy asks her what she really is, and she smiles. "I'm the Wire! And I will gobble you up, pretty boy. Every last morsel. And when I have feasted, I shall regain the corporeal body, which my fellow-kind denied me." She breaks into color, decades ahead of the world. Bishop explains, still fascinated by the image -- "Color television!" -- and the Doctor narrows his eyes. "So your own people tried to stop you?" She nods. "They executed me. But I escaped, in this form, and fled across the stars." Good call, Wirefolk. "And now you're trapped in the television," he says, and her smile fades, taking with it all her color. "Not for much longer," she says darkly.

The Doctor confirms they're facing the thing that took Gran: "It feeds off the electrical activity of the brain, but it gorges itself like a great overfed pig. Taking people's faces, their essences, it stuffs itself." And Bishop, conveniently forgetting how he covered it up, how he kept the image going: "And you let her do it, Magpie." Magpie squeals that he had to do it: "She allowed me my face! She's promised to release me at the time of manifestation!" Tommy wonders what that means, and the Wire taunts them with a hint: "The appointed time? My crowning glory?" Bishop and the Doctor put it together: "For the first time in history, millions gathered around a television set." And the world changes again. He approaches her, smiling with pride and rage: "But you're not strong enough yet, are you? You can't do it all from here." He brandishes the portable set. "You need something more powerful! This will turn a big transmitter into a big receiver." She calls him clever and wonders at him. "But why fret about it? Why not just relax? Kick off your shoes and enjoy the Coronation. Believe me, you'll be glued to the screen..." Red sparking light grabs all three of them suddenly; Tommy and the Bishop call on the Doctor for help. "Hungry! Hungry! The Wire is hungry!...Ah, this one is tasty!" She means the Doctor, the lights of the Doctor. "Oh! I'll have lashings of him! Delicious! Ah!" I may not like Maureen Lipman, or her politics, but I defy you to make anything uncheesy of those lines of dialogue. As he pulls out the screwdriver, she laughs, then screams. "Armed! He's armed and clever! Withdraw! Withdraw!" She withdraws; they drop to the floor. Magpie, at her command, steps over them with the portable television and she arcs herself inside. "Conduct me to my victory, Magpie," she says, and he runs outside to the van, with her still screaming hunger.

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Doctor Who




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