Doctor Who
The Second Coming, Part I

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
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Reach Out And Touch Crazy

Frank walks out of his house with a beer, further away still.

Fiona and Dave watch, the children happy, Fiona lit with a crazy religion. Something to believe.

Johnny runs screaming down the street, ducking into his doorway, whimpering to himself like a cat. He begins to bash his head against the wall.

More and more people stare up. Jude runs back into the pub, and finds the TV remote: "Reports of a fire are now being denied..." They show a live feed, with the reporters -- and this is an issue throughout the film -- getting really super-repetitive like they forgot we could see it. "It's daylight inside the stadium! And it's night outside! This isn't a hoax! There's no explanation!" It's the perfection of the script that makes this shit so irritating. "It's daylight inside the stadium! And it's night outside!" And on TV, Steve begins to speak: "This is the work of God, and I am his son. God in human form. No halos, no white robes, no floatin' about. Flesh and blood. Got that?" Jude watches, sad and afraid for Steve. "Because God is real. Fact. Heaven is real. Fact. Hell is real, and burning, and waiting. Fact. I am salvation, and I'm talking you forward. All of you. A brand-new gospel, for the entire human race. Coming soon." The smile. "Stay tuned." The TV goes wack.

"ANGEL OF THE NORTH?" Lots of news talking and repetition. You have to have it, to show that it's not just some kind of fairy tale where something happens and the world will never know. You have to do this, to show the scope, to show how badly Steve's warping the world, but it's still clenchy to sit through: "Now referred to as the Maine Road Event...faded only at dawn...Over three hundred cameras from every TV station in the world were in Manchester...How can it be fake? The question is, how can it be real?; half of England could see it...." On and on like this, for a million years. Different countries, languages, cultures. Might as well turn it off and listen to something appropriate. That one song from the Six Feet Under finale. None of the governments or religious bodies is willing to comment, on Steve's legitimacy or whether the Maine Road Event is a real miracle. I love the word "synod." In the United States, suicide rates rocketed. I like that too. It's tough. Empires eating themselves in the face of judgment. Jenny Jones-style talk shows with "Men Who Think They're God," investigations into Steve's history as a clerk at a video store, the U.S. Senate making demands, Frank's criminal record (possession, theft). At which Frank laughs, turning the channel. "The Son of God; God made flesh." Frank leans forward. In Houston they're calling it an Annunciation. The event is welcoming "the Son of God, and awaiting his judgment and salvation." A man drops himself at Steve's feet. He almost weeps as more and more people beg for healing. A French woman with a baby comes forward and Steve's driven to screaming: "It doesn't work like that! You can't test me. If he's dying, he's dying. And going to Paradise." The woman screams at him, enraged, but I mean: whoa. David talks shit about how he and Steve are best friends and whatever, Pete screams at Steve through his television. It's an impressively fucked-up mess; everybody on earth going nuts all at once. It's convincing.

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Doctor Who

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