Doctor Who: School Reunion Review

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By Will Barber – Taylor

The Doctor: So, physics! Physics, eh? Physics! Phyyyysics! I hope you’re getting all this down!

The Doctor and Rose are called back to Earth by Mickey; he has discovered something odd about Deffry Vale comprehensive school. The children are strangely, super intelligent. Most of the teachers have been replaced six months ago by the new head master, Mr Finch. Posing as a teacher, The Doctor begins to investigate. He is shocked to discover two old friends are also looking into the mystery of Deffry Vale School.

David Tennant sparkles in this episode. His joy at seeing Sarah Jane again is wonderfully played as is the way he acts mournful when he tells Rose of the curse of the Timelords. His obvious inward battle about helping Finch is extremely convincing. His difficulty at answering the questions that were left hanging after The Hand of Fear (1976) is very truthful. Tennant’s Doctor revels  (as noted in my reviews of New Earth and Tooth and Claw.) when facing the monster’s one to one. An excellent scene for him and Antony Head is the confrontation between The Doctor and Finch by the swimming pool. The Doctor is Doctor Faustus and Finch is the Devil, offering him power as a god and the prospect of bringing the Timelords back.

Elisabeth Sladen stuns us as Sarah Jane Smith with her first return to Doctor Who since The Five Doctors.  Sarah’s joy at seeing The Doctor again is evident. Sladen is brilliant in her face offs with Rose before they become friends. She is also excellent in the poignant scene where she reminds The Doctor that everything has its time and everything must end. Sladen’s return to Doctor Who as Sarah is the best return that the show has ever done and always will be.

Antony Head is marvellous as Mr Finch.  Finch is the ultimate Doctor Who bad guy, yearning for power. He is a mix between Delgardo’s Master, Wisher’s Davros and The Dream Lord. He is so slick and evil you feel as though you could punch him. His casual manner when discussing his diabolical scheme is delicious. Head never over eggs the villain part.  He does not go for the cartoon Master of Eric Roberts. Instead, we are invited to be manipulated by the double slyness of both the actor and character.  It’s a shame Finch ends up dead, it would be interesting to witness him tempting Matt Smith’s Doctor onto the path of evil.

The CGI on the Krillitanes is stunning. They look like evil bat creatures that have conquered and invaded hundreds of worlds. Well done to the Mill for making such realistic CGI creatures. Who would imagine they were originally green tennis balls?

School Reunion is a fantastic Doctor Who story by Toby Whithouse (I hope that his up and coming Series Seven story is as good as this one.)  As long time readers of The Cult Den will now have gathered, (If you are not a long time reader of The Cult Den then why not read my previous review for Series Two?) I am very much enjoying Series Two of the New Series of Doctor Who.  The early New Who series are very much like the Classic Series but with better effects. The stories are fantastic, witty dialogue, good pacing, awesome monsters, a likeable Doctor/Companion team and lots of fun. Now I hope you’ve got that all written down for Series Seven, Steven?

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