Category Archives: review

Battlestar Galactica S04 E01

Summary (mild SPOILERS): Starbuck makes an unexpected return as the Cylon fleet attacks the Colonial fleet. While the Galactica and her fighters put up a valiant effort, things look bad until a Cylon Raider scans the fighter that Anders is in and the whole Cylon fleet retreat and leave. Starbuck is tested and questioned about her whereabouts as she thinks she’s been gone six hours but she’s been gone two months, her fighter looking brand new. The fleet jumps and each jump takes them further way from where Starbuck feels Earth is and it drives her spare. Meanwhile, Baltar is taken in by a cult, where he ultimately offers “God” his life in exchange for a child’s life. Baltar’s Six asks if he means it and the child lives, as does Baltar.

Thoughts: The opening sequence was just amazing. I sat there, giddy as a school boy at the battle, the FX were just amazing. Not that amazing FX are anything new to the series (I cite the BSG movie Razor as proof) but somehow, things were just different and felt fresh and exciting. Good stuff all the way around. With the Cylons having bugged out after scanning Anders, does this mean that we won’t have the Cylons as villains any more? Something happened, that’s for sure and unless some Cylons don’t get the message or decide to rebel, I’m not sure how they remain as villains.

Now, the Baltar stuff with its clear, Christ-like implications is something I don’t like. But, I was glad they had Baltar shave and cut his “Jesus locks” off. *_* So now is he going to be a new prophet or something, going around healing the sick and bringing miracles to the fleet?

The Starbuck story will be very interesting. Being returned to the fleet in a new fighter and unharmed is certainly something, as is her story of having found Earth. The fact that she’s got a gun on the president when the episode ended was just pure evil, but I guess that’s one way to ensure a high return rate of visitors.

Good stuff all the way around here over all.

Doctor Who Children in Need: Time Crash

*SPOILERS*

I rather enjoyed the Children in Need 2005 special because it added a little more to when the Doctor regenerated and Rose having to deal with that. It was a nice little fan moment that didn’t fit into the Christmas Special that year, but does fit onto the 2nd series DVD. So when I heard there was going to be a Children in Need special for this year, I was interested but hadn’t bothered to do any research on it. As such, when I saw the episode, I squealed like a fanboy.

This mini-episode inserts itself between the 3rd and 4th series, specifically into the end of the final episode last series where Martha is leaving the TARDIS, but before the Titanic apparently crashes into it. Doctor-10 forgets to put up the TARDIS shields and as such, accidentally crashes into an earlier version of himself — Doctor 5 (ah, good old Peter Davison). Doctor 10 beams about seeing his earlier self and even has an explanation for not only why Doctor 5 looks older, grayer, has less hair, and is slightly bigger around the middle, but also why they have so few minutes together.

Doctor 5 is working to try to fix the mess, even remarking on the change of the console room. When Doctor 10 tries to explain who he is, Doctor 5 assumes he is some big fan, since the Doctor has done all these wonderful things and naturally would draw fans. The Cloister Bell brings Doctor 10 into action and he quickly manages to fix the mess. It is then that Doctor 5 realizes who he’s dealing with and how Doctor 10 had managed to avert catastrophe so quickly. I loved how Doctor 10 waxed on at how Doctor 5 was his favorite, because Peter Davison was always my favorite Doctor as well in addition to being the first Doctor I ever saw.

The episode managed to name-drop Nyssa and Tigan, and even had the two briefly gossip about the Master. Apparently, it is a gay joke where Doctor 5 asks if the Master still has that daft beard but Doctor 10 mentions he has a wife. Apparently, “beard” is a gay slang for a homosexual who pretends to have a wife or girlfriend to disguise he’s gay. I didn’t know the Master was supposed to be gay, but apparently, many of our British cousins have believed this for ages and so there you go. I think these people are just desperate to have gay stuff forced on the rest of us, much like there was pressure to do so in the new Battlestar Galactica.

This mini-episode was pure fanservice with the return of Peter Davison’s Doctor. While the show’s executive producer has long voiced opposition to having a multi-Doctor episode, I guess that this was his way of tossing a bone to the fans since it is considered official canon to the Doctor Who story. The writer, Peter Moffat, again shows why he is a great Doctor Who writer with a good understanding of the past Doctor’s in addition to an understanding of the present Doctor, to say nothing of understanding what will get fans going.

Live Free or Die Hard — Check Your IQ At The Door

I dedicate this to my good friend Marc, who has suffered much teasing about this movie. ^_^

This has been a summer of movies that I’ve been interested in really seeing. Sure, they’ve mostly been sequels to date and the latest Die Hard is no exception. The Die Hard movies are in my DVD collection because they are fun popcorn movies. Yeah, there’s a lot of implausible stuff that happens in those movies, but nearly 20-years ago, my threshold for tolerating that stuff was a lot higher. Still, knowing there will be some impossible stuff that happens, I went with a group of friends to see Live Free or Die Hard expecting a certain level of implausibility. Too bad we weren’t the only ones in the theater, otherwise we could have done a MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) on the movie.

So we have a bunch of hackers who’ve been working for the movie’s villains producing bits of code. Once the villains have all the code, its time to kill these hackers. Why would they do that? I suppose they were afraid the hackers could then stop the villains’ plan. So how do we kill these hackers? We hire French assassins. I know they are French because they mostly talk in French. Heck, when they report in to the English-speaking villains at their HQ, the assassins speak in French and the folks at HQ respond in English. I literally laughed out loud by this. Maybe their cell phones have universal translators. That way the French could understand the English spoken to them and the Americans could understand the French spoken to them. Yeah, that MUST be it.

Anyway, these heavily armed assassins have to kill the hackers. So they roll up on the target’s residence, and then upload a virus via wireless connection to the hackers machine. Wow. That’s pretty impressive because they have to know the hacker’s IP address. Not only that, but I rather doubt a hacker would not have his machine well protected against intrusion. However, our French assassins have no trouble not only uploading the virus to the hacker’s machine, but somehow they are also able to execute the virus because it then activates the bomb attached to the hacker’s PC. How a bomb got into or on the hacker’s machine is a mystery, to say nothing of the fact that it has to fit within the case of the machine (assuming it was placed in the machine) and it has to take power to be armed. Good thing the hacker’s PC has plenty or room and a big, big power supply.

So, to get the bomb to activate, the hacker has to press the “Delete” key. Apparently, hackers use the delete key often. After all, we all know that when an application starts acting wonky, the delete key is what will fix everything. Yeah! I’ll be safe from the bomb in my PC because I can’t remember when I last used the delete key. Now, if the space bar or enter key triggered the bomb, well…

Meanwhile at the FBI Command Center, the villains hack in and shut off every monitor in the place, including the giant ones on the walls. Then a little later, they turn all the monitors back on. I know they only turned off the monitors rather than crash the systems because 1) the monitors don’t complain about losing signal from their PC’s (even the giant monitors are connected to PC’s) and 2) when the monitors come back on, everyone’s applications are still running, meaning neither their PC nor server nor mainframe were rebooted. I have to admit that this is an impressive hack to be able to kill the power to every monitor in a Command Center and then turn them back on.

Naturally, the FBI is panicked about this and Assistant Director Bowman is on the case to round up those dirty hackers who could have done this. However, he issues no orders to the FBI’s IT department. Clearly, having Network Support check out the firewalls and connections and the System Admin folks check out things (to say nothing of the IT security team involved in investigating intrusions) escaped everyone. Then I thought, “Does the FBI have their IT work contracted out to The Company (where I work)?” Considering the recent removal of entire support departments, that could explain the lack of IT support for the FBI.

Anyway, good old McClane has to bring in one hacker — Matt Farrell (Justin Long, the guy on all those Mac commercials). Matt doesn’t use a Mac in the movie and like the other hackers, he’s sent code to the villains and is set up to be killed. Before Matt can press the old delete key to reset his wonky system, McClane knocking on the door stops him. The French assassins are anxiously awaiting for that delete key to be pressed. It isn’t pressed fast enough, so they have to use their guns. Wow. They went through all that work to get a bomb into a hacker’s computer but can’t wait for it to go off. So they come with big guns a blazing and McClane has to defend Matt with his hand gun. This is McClane we are talking about so he gets to kill several assassins and even though the bomb goes off while they are in the apartment (because a figure falls on the delete key during the shootout), they naturally survive.

The French report their failure and the villain leaders send them to try again. Meanwhile, they decide to start disrupting traffic all over the U.S. by turning all traffic lights green. Apparently, this means that in 25-MPH zones, cars can go 80, thus making sure to have really good wrecks. Oh, and we don’t bother checking for traffic either because even though traffic is still going in across in front of you, you have a green light so clearly you must get in the path of the oncoming traffic. Yeah, its a regular bumper car crash derby out there, y’all. Come on and join the fun.

So the villains are having their fun by now crashing the stock markets. The French assassins have located McClane and Matt and with their helicopter, try to shoot them as they flee in a car. They flee to a tunnel and so the villains change everything to make it so that all lanes are open in both directions, meaning traffic will collide with each other. That will trap McClane, but the villains decide to kill the lights as well. Turning off the lights was a signal for everyone to speed up, keep their lights off, and start crashing into each other. Even when they turn on their lights, they just can’t keep the foot off the accelerator. McClane and Matt, having left the car, duck a car that has come flying toward them. That gives McClane an idea and he manages to send his car flying at the French assassins’ helicopter and destroys it, though one Frenchman survives without a scratch. What a ride!

So, its time to get another car and Matt lets McClane know that the next target would be an east coast electric hub. For reasons that are a mystery, the villains can’t hack into this hub, so they have to go to the site to take over the computers. I guess the electric folks have a little better security. However, it doesn’t matter because the remaining assassins and “Ninja Chick” arrive in an FBI helicopter dressed as FBI agents. The local rent-a-security actually challenge Ninja Chick, which surprised me. As dopey as everything else had been, I expected the security to just let them in and only later start asking questions at which point they’d be killed. But not this time as the villains kill them immediately.

When McLane and Matt arrive on scene, Matt is supposed to do whatever to undo the villains’ work while McLane kills all bad guys. They get down to Ninja Chick, whom we learn is actually the female version of Colossus from X-Men. She takes a beating that would knock out anyone else and keeps on ticking. Even when McClane hits her at high speed with an SUV and send her through a few walls, she not only isn’t hurt, but barely scratched as she clings to the hood. When McClane finally sends the SUV down an elevator shaft, it is presumed that she died. However, in the super-secret cut of the movie (which very, very few will ever see), she did survive having an SUV “rammed up her butt.”

McClane has his fun with the metro-sexual lead villain over the phone. So Metro-sexual has all the gas pumped to McClane’s location. As we all know, gas doesn’t need oxygen to combust, which explains why sealed gas lines started burning on their own before reaching the power plant and destroying it. It was the subsequent fire that apparently killed Ninja Chick as she was cooked within her metal skin, but alas you won’t get to see that version of the film.

Now, it is time for more hacker help, this time in the form of Silent Bob, who’s not so silent any more and demands to be addressed as Warlock after he accidentally killed Jay at the end of a 72-hour World of Warcraft marathon. Warlock has full power, thanks to some generators. He’s not happy that Matt has brought a cop into his “command center” but what are you going to do? Why if you are McClane, you note that Warlock has a CB radio and the frequency needed to contact him nicely taped to the front of it. Note that because it will come up later, children.

Elsewhere, Metro-sexual has had enough and kidnaps McLane’s daughter Lucy. She does the “check to make sure he’s a cop because my Dad trained me to do so” routine, but of course is still fooled. That’s not a slam, but it does make one think a bit on whether everyone who flashes a badge really is a cop.

Anyway, Metro-sexual and McClane have a nice chat over video and its time for McClane to come to the rescue. Matt’s coming along as well because you never know when the PC guy will want to battle the Mac guy. Thanks to Silent-no-more Bob, they know where Metro-sexual is hiding out at.

They arrive and Matt has to try to undo everything Metro-sexual’s bunch has been doing, or at least set up some security applications to block Metro-sexual since apparently all of our IT workers are in Brazil or India and couldn’t understand enough English to figure out they needed to enact a little computer security on their own. Luckily, Matt’s code from the beginning of the movie is what is needed to get into the secure area where the server where the backup of all financial data in the U.S. is currently being sent. Apparently, no one does a backup until doomsday hits and then everyone dumps to a central server. Good thing everyone was using Tivoli Storage Manager, otherwise it would have been a REAL nightmare. And I’m glad our tax dollars went into making sure there was plenty of bandwidth capacity to allow everyone to backup at the same time to the same server with no problems. And installing the little bar graph to let you know when all dumps to the server were complete was sheer genius, I tell you. It was as easy as putting water into a bucket and having several facets working at once. But I digress…

Naturally, Matt is captured and what’s left of Metro-sexual’s gang flees with Lucy and Matt, who are busy making plans to get busy later on (this was done off screen in case you wondered). McClane follows in the villains big-rig roving command center (where the villains had controlled every computer in the U.S., because a simple GUI interface allows you to control everything, no matter what O/S, application, firewall, whatever stands in your way) after dispatching the driver. Metro-sexual figures out it is McClane, so he quickly has his guy access the military’s system and order an F-35B that had been dispatched to take out his group to instead target McClane. McClane does a real fine job of going toe-to-toe with the newest fighter in the U.S. arsenal.

In the end, all the bridges the fighter took out meant the truck had no where to go. Fortunately, McClane’s favorite movie is True Lies, and so taking his queue from Arnold, McClane gets a short plane ride where he is flung to safety before the jet is destroyed, but not before the pilot safely ejected, and ran as fast as he could to get away from this movie. I hear he even refuses the money the studio has tried to pay him and is now living in a cave in the northern Alabama region.

Metro-sexual’s van deposits them in a hanger (or so it appeared to me) and Matt is forced to undo his work after being shot in the leg. McClane walks in all cocky and kills a few people before taking a bullet himself. Metro-sexual taunts McClane for a bit at close range before McClane puts a bullet through himself just to kill Metro-sexual. Fortunately for McClane, Metro-sexual wasn’t made of steel and died.

The FBI charges in now that all the hard work is done and its time to get McClane worked on in the ambulance, because we wouldn’t want to get him to an actual hospital any time soon now would we. After all, if you are the “hero” and can’t take at least two bullets and keep walking and talking like a man, John Wayne cries in his grave. McClane has to put up with Matt trying to hook up with his daughter, then with his daughter trying to hook up with Matt, the coolest nerd in the history of nerds (and soon to star in Revenge of the Nerds: Mac Rules! where he has to fight off rival nerds trying to make Linux the dominate O/S while at the same time controlling his massive online empire in the MMOG game Eve).

Eventually McLane has had enough and has to instruct the ambulance driver that he needs to go to the hospital. Considering that the driver had just lost 1-terabyte of rare, uncensored Japanese porn and hentai due to the things Metro-sexual had done, I supposed that explains why he had to be told how to do his job.

And so the movie finally came to an end. Did I have fun? Yeah, but in an MST3K kind of way. Its always fun to hook up with friends, even if you end up seeing a movie that won’t be in your DVD collection. Its just sad to see the Die Hard franchise go out like this.

Doctor Who S03 E02 (S29) *SPOILERS*

The Shakespeare Code

A young bard professes his love for a young lady below her bedroom window one fine eve, and the young lady invites him to her room. After a kiss, the young lady turns into a witch, and summers her companions Mother Dewfinger and Mother Bloodtide. The three then proceed to kill the young bard.

Meanwhile in the TARDIS, a bumpy ride causes Martha to question whether the Doctor had to get a license to fly the thing. He says he did, but he failed. With that, they land in 1599 England. Martha is filled with wonder at this, but worries about about being black in this time since slavery still existed. The Doctor tells her to walk about like they own the place and two black (and apparently free) women walk by. After a near-miss by the then modern-plumbing (toss it out the window), the two head to the Globe Theater and catch a play from Shakespeare. After the play, Martha says it was worth putting up with the smell and wants to see Shakespeare come out. He soon does and as he talks of the sequel to “Love’s Labor’s Lost” which will be “Love’s Labor’s Won.” After mentioning it will come out eventually, the young witch, Lilith, uses a doll to force Shakespeare into stating the first performance will be tomorrow night.

The Doctor and Martha discuss this sequel, which history only mentions but no manuscript was ever found. They head to a nearby inn where Shakespeare is working with some companions as they mention their concerns over this new play as Lilith, in human form, is there working. The Doctor arrives with Martha, and after looking at Martha, Shakespeare decides they can stay. After sending his companions away, the Doctor whips out his psychic paper and introduces himself as Sir Doctor of TARDIS. Shakespeare only sees a blank piece of paper while Martha sees exactly what the Doctor wants, showing that Shakespeare is indeed very sharp. Shakespeare continues to hit on Martha, and the Doctor explains that she’s from Freedonia.

The Master of the Revels arrives and is unhappy with Shakespeare’s announced new play since he hasn’t approved it. Since Shakespeare can’t produce a completed script, the Master of the Revels announces tomorrows performance is canceled. Because this interferes with the witches’ plan, Lilith (in human form) manages to snip some hair from the master. She informs her mothers of what is going on and they aid her in a spell whereby the Master of the Revels dies by drowning and heart stoppage, only without actually being in the water. The Doctor gives the mistress of the inn a 16th-century plausible explanation for the man’s death so that there isn’t panic about witchcraft. However, he confides to Martha that indeed this is witchcraft.

At their residence, the two mother witches give Lilith a potion so that Shakespeare will complete “Love’s Labor’s Won” in time for tomorrow nights performance, apparently needing his genius. Meanwhile, the mistress provides the Doctor and Martha a room in the inn while Shakespeare wonders in Freedonia, a woman can become a doctor and how the Doctor can look so young but have eyes so old. Martha and the Doctor retire to their room where the Doctor frets over the situation. The Doctor mentions that it looks like witchcraft, but it isn’t (meaning alien influence). As they lay in bed together, the Doctor mentions Rose which bothers Martha.

At Shakespeare’s room, Lilith unleashes fumes from her potion and controls Shakespeare into using his genius to think and write the final lines of the play. When the mistress of the inn comes in to check on Shakespeare, Lilith reveals her true form causing the mistress to die of fright. The Doctor and Martha rush over, where Martha sees Lilith fly away in classic witch style. Shakespeare is in his own mind again, and with Martha and the Doctor, they discuss the situation with the witches. Shakespeare recalls the architect of the Globe Theater, Peter Streete, spoke of witches before being sent to the mad house.

At the Globe Theater, the Doctor ponders over the 14 sides to the building and the meaning. After speaking of the power of words, the Doctor and company head off to the mad house (Bethlem Hospital, aka: Bedlam Asylum) with Shakespeare handing the completed manuscript to two of his actors. They look over the script, remarking on how sequels are never as good and as they look at the final lines, they are puzzled. Still, the actor playing The King of Navarre has those lines and begins to speak them. As a wind begins to pick up within the Globe, they see a creature they presume to be a spirit who then vanishes.

At Bedlam, the Doctor, Martha, and Shakespeare go to see Peter as Martha notes the deplorable conditions of the place. “Sir Doctor” is easily allowed in and the Doctor uses his abilites to stabilize Peter’s mental condition. Peter tells the story of the witches. This is felt by Lilith, who sends Doomfinger to put an end to it. She kills Peter but before she can kill the Doctor, the doctor figures out who they are — Carrionites. Since words and names have power, the Doctor saying the name of her species causes Doomfinger to teleport back to her residence at All Hallows Street. This causes the three Carrionites concern for which Lilith states she’ll take care of it while the mothers go to the Globe.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Martha, and Shakespeare discuss the Carrionites and current events to include the strange lines Shakespeare wrote at the end of his new play. The Doctor realizes the Carrionites plan and sends Shakespeare to stop the play while the Doctor and Martha head to All Hallows Street. Shakespeare tries to stop the play, but the Doomfinger and Bloodtide from their balcony seats stop him. The play continues as the Doctor explains the trouble they are in, using the movie Back to the Future as a reference (with how modern times changed due to changing the past). The Carrionite home’s door opens and upon entering, Lilith is waiting. She knocks Martha out with words but can’t kill her due to Martha being out of her time-stream. After mentioning that the Eternals found the right word to banish them, Lilith manages to get a bit of the Doctor’s hair and with that, stops his heart. She leaves thinking him dead, but since the Doctor has two hearts, he’s still alive. Using her medical skills and some coaching by the Doctor, Martha gets the other heart going again.

Rushing to the Globe, the Doctor and Martha are dismayed to see that Shakespeare had not stopped the play since the spell in the final lines had been spoken and the Carrionites were beginning to come through. Knowing the power of Shakespeare’s words, the Doctor has him improvise some lines that will send the Carrionites back to the place of banishment. As he struggles to find the final word, Martha suggests “Expelliarmus,” which is used in Harry Potter. The word spoken, the Carrionites are banished again, and the three Carrionites are ensnared within their “magic globe.” This globe is then taken by the Doctor.

The next day as Shakespeare flirts with Martha, Queen Elizabeth arrives. The Doctor is initially excited to meet her, but she’s not happy to see him, calling him her sworn enemy. Her guards pursue the Doctor and Martha to the TARDIS with Martha wondering what he’d done to make the queen angry. He says he’s never met her yet, which is the great thing about time travel. As they close the door to the TARDIS, and arrow hits the TARDIS door and embeds itself.

Thoughts

This was a really enjoyable episode until the resolution which was a bit cheesy if you ask me. There were at least two references to the Doctor Who story “Silver Nemesis” with the 7th Doctor’s line about acting like they own the place and the arrow at the end. I was also interested in hearing the Eternals mentioned since they were in the 5th Doctor’s story “Enlightenment.” Searching around, there are other Doctor Who references as well that I didn’t catch.

The joke about the 7th Harry Potter book was somewhat amusing considering the hype that novel is getting. I liked how the Doctor used Back to the Future to explain the perils of time travel. I’m not sure if this is a reference or not, but it also seemed to me that the writer of this episode, Gareth Roberts, may also be a fan of the CLAMP manga xxxHOLiC. I say this because the Doctor has his speech about the power of words and the power of a name. This is something the Time-Space Witch known as Yuuko-san has repeatedly stated in xxxHOLiC. However, at this point, I don’t know if there is an official reference to that or not, but I like to think there is since that’s a favorite manga of mine.

Still, as I said, I rather enjoyed the episode despite the cheesy resolution and I liked the various references to other Doctor Who stories. The Face of Boa comes back next week. ^_^

Doctor Who S03 E01 (S29) *SPOILERS*

I decided to add a new feature to the ramblings — a review of the lovely new Doctor Who series airing in Great Britain. Be warned, there will be SPOILERS!

Smith and Jones

A young woman makes her way to the Royal Hope Hospital while taking several phone calls from her family members. She encounters the Doctor, who makes a point of taking off his tie and talking to her. As she goes to enter the hospital, she’s run into by a person wearing black leather and a black motorcycle helmet. At her locker, she takes a nasty static discharge from the metal.

This woman, Martha Jones, is training to be a doctor and is making rounds with her other classmates with Dr. Stoker. One of the patients is an older woman who has a salt deficiency. Another patient they visit is the Doctor, who Martha mentions having seen though he denies it. She listens to the Doctor’s heart and discovers the two hearts. When Dr. Stroker asks her about him, she plays off what she’s heard, leading to a little ridicule on his part. When Dr. Stroker takes the Doctor’s chart, he’s hit with a static electric charge. The Doctor ends up telling the tale of Benjamin Franklin and how he was there when Mr. Franklin discovered electricity. Dr. Stroker orders psychiatric care for the Doctor, known in the hospital as John Smith.

During a break, Martha is again on the phone talking with her sister, who’s outside a mile or so outside the hospital, notices a storm building up right over the hospital. Its starts raining, but the weird thing is that that the rain is not falling but rising. After what appears to be a violent earthquake, people look outside and find themselves on the surface of the moon with Earth on the horizon. This leads to mass panic within the hospital while on Earth, there’s naught but a crater where the hospital was.

Martha is taking this sudden trip to the moon better than most and goes to open a window to look out better. One of her fellow students protests this, but Martha notes that the windows aren’t air tight and they haven’t suffocated yet. Therefore, there has to be air. The Doctor arrives and remarks on how brilliant Martha’s reasoning is. He asks if there is a balcony they can go out to and Martha takes him to it. There is air there and the Doctor discovers that the hospital is encased in a force field. Despite everything, Martha marvels that they are on the moon, and finds it amazing and beautiful.

When Martha asks what the Doctor thinks happen, he turns the question around on her. She states aliens must have done it based on recent events such as the space ship crashing into Big Ben, the Christmas deal, and the Cybermen, where her cousin Adeola disappeared. The Doctor introduces himself properly and they are interrupted when three cylinder spacecraft land on the moon. A large number of troops emerge from the ships, which the Doctor identifies as Judoon, a mercenary police force.

In the hospital, Dr. Stoker encounters the older lady patient (Finnegan), who turns out to be an alien in need of his blood. She produces a straw and with her two henchmen (the black leather-clad people) known as Slabs, she proceeds to consume this doctor. The Judoon (looking like rhino’s), begin scanning all the people, marking those confirmed as human with an X. They will kill anyone who tries to get in their way and when one person attacks them, they kill him.

Meanwhile, the Doctor discovers that the Judoon have wiped the hospital’s computer records, so the Doctor can’t easily determine who they are looking for. Martha goes to find Dr. Stoker, but finds Finnegan still drinking his blood. Figuring this is the alien, she leaves the room, pursued by one of the Slabs. The Doctor leads this Slab to the x-ray room, where he modifies the x-ray machine with his sonic screwdriver to make it a weapon. When the Slab breaks through, Martha activates the x-ray machine which kills the slab and destroys his sonic screwdriver. The Doctor absorbs the excess radiation in the room and expells it into his shoe, which he throws out. Martha figures the Doctor to be mad, so the Doctor tosses his other shoe into the trash as well.

The Doctor realizes Finnegan’s plan — to assimilate the human blood to fool the Judoon scanners. Sure enough, she passes the Judoon scan and they continue the search. The Judoon soon find the Doctor and ID him as an alien, leading the Doctor and Martha to run. They return to a floor already cleared by the Judoon since they won’t come back to recheck, being logical but thick. The oxygen is running out and the Doctor comes to Dr. Stoker’s office. He is dead, drained of all his blood.

The Judoon arrive on the floor and the Doctor needs the Judoon to be delayed. As such, he gives Martha a deep kiss before taking off. He comes to the MRI room where he sees Finnegan modifying the MRI machine. The Judoon scan Martha and discover alien traces with her. They do a deeper scan as the Doctor plays semi-dumb and encourages Finnegan to state that she’s building a weapon that will kill everything except for for 250,000 miles. That means, the light side of Earth will be wiped out as well. As they talk, the Doctor mentions the aliens are going to a level 2 scan. This causes Finnegan to pull out the straw and start drinking the Doctor’s blood because she feels this will keep her safe from the Judoon scans.

The Judoon enter the room and find the Doctor dead, so they consider the case closed. Martha tries to convince them to scan Finnegan, but they aren’t interested. So Martha does it for them, seeing that the Doctor gave his life to unmask Finnegan. They see that Finnegan is an alien and the one they were looking for. Finnegan confesses to this, seeing she’s been revealed, but activates her MRI weapon. The Judoon kill Finnegan and evacuate once they realize they are in danger. Martha performs CPR on the Doctor and manages to bring him round just as the last of the air is running out. The Doctor is without his sonic screwdriver, which causes him to say, “Oh, the sonic…” (which sounded an awful lot like “Ah! Smeg!”) The Doctor is still able to disable the MRI weapon, and carrying the unconsious Martha, he comes to the window to observe the Judoon leaving. However, it begins to rain and the Judoon return the hospital to its proper place on Earth.

In the aftermath, the Doctor leaves and disappears in the TARDIS. That evening, Martha’s family gets together with Martha’s dad bringing his white girlfriend. This causes a verbal fight with the family going their separate ways. Martha spots the Doctor, and going to where he disappeared behind a building, she sees him waiting in front of the police box. They talk and while she’s ready to believe him an alien, she’s not sold that he’s a Time Lord and can travel in time. So he takes off in the TARDIS to prove it, returning with tie in hand. She remembers her initial encounter with him and is surprised. She is more surprised when she learns the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than out. He offers her a ride as thanks, but one trip only. She initially teases him because he’d kissed her, but then tells him she’s only into humans. With that, the two take off for the next adventure.

Thoughts: Martha as a companion is a plus. I like her a lot. I liked how the writers explained the actress’s appearance as a new character. Freema Agyeman was on Doctor Who last year in the episode “Army of Ghosts” as Adeola, who was taken over by the Cybermen. So making the characters cousins was a nice touch. The writers also took the Doctor’s do-everything tool, the sonic screwdriver, away which was a bit of a surprise. Of course, he produced a new one, but to be honest, that makes sense. I know some fans have complained about the sonic screwdriver, but I like it. There were a lot of fans who thought there was the apparent nod to Red Dwarf with the Doctor actually saying “smeg.” Unfortunately, while it did sound like “Ah! Smeg,” on closer inspection the Doctor actually said, “Oh, the sonic…” That was a bummer because I would have enjoyed having the Doctor use the term “smeg.”

As to the story, it was enjoyable enough. It wasn’t anything great or special, but we did get a hint that the Doctor may have had a brother based on a remark the Doctor made. I hope this gets explored. At the end, there’s a sign that says, “Vote Saxon,” which apparently will be this series “Bad Wolf.” I liked Bad Wolf in the first series, but I hope the writers do more with this Vote Saxon. Update: I just learned that Mr. Saxon was mentioned twice last year as someone in British politics. IF fan speculation about Mr. Saxon proves true, I will be VERY happy.

Golden Corral Experience

This past Wednesday evening, I got to try the Golden Corral @ 1970 WAYNOKA ROAD in Colorado Springs, CO. As such, I thought I’d give them a review and maybe tweak my younger brother at the same time. ^_~

The Golden Corral is an all you can eat buffet restaurant. Unlike some I’ve seen, this establishment is fairly large. After passing through the line “barricades” (for lack of a better term), one reaches a cashier at a cash register. In addition to wanting to now how many people you are paying for, the cashier wants to know what you want to drink. That’s because Golden Corral has a beverage service, so a waitress will be by frequently not only to clear away your used plates, but to refill you glass.

Currently, Golden Corral uses Coke products and even has Mellow Yellow. However, I am told that they will convert to Pepsi come this March (2007). They also have lemonade, sweet and unsweetened tea, coffee, water (of course) and more. Had I thought about it, I would have noted all of the drinks they have. Maybe I’ll get my brother to make a response to state them all.

After leaving the cash register, immediately in front of us was a station where steaks were being grilled up. I certainly didn’t expect that, making it a nice surprise. On either side of the grill, there were lots of other hot foods that you’d expect to find (and some you might not expect) such as chicken, fried catfish, fried okra, mashed potatoes, mac-and-cheese, rice, green beans, and tons more items to numerous to name. The staff worked hard to keep items filled, so rarely were things out.

To the right was another station which was for the salad bar. It was loaded with many of the normal items you expect there — lettuce (2-types), tomato, cheese, egg, ham, cottage cheese, and just tons more items. There were no salad bowls initially, but the manager quickly rectified the situation. The items on the salad bar all looked very fresh. Indeed, in the employee area behind the salad bar, there were a wide variety of items looking like a supermarket produce section containing many fruits and vegetables. I’d never seen the like before.

To the left was the desert station. Talk about evil, there were so many deserts ranging from cookies, cakes, pies (including chocolate cheese pie), banana pudding, soft serve ice cream, and lots of candies like candy corns or other items one might put on their ice cream (I suppose). Simply amazing.

In the end, I had a large salad, some chicken tenders, some salmon, some steak, some catfish, mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, mac-and-cheese, & green beans before I ran out of room. At our table were (where we had a large group), we had two baskets of fresh, large rolls which were just awesome. Add the honey butter that was also plentiful at the table and MAN! *drool* For desert, I was only going to get banana pudding, but in the end I got fudge, & chocolate cheese pie.

The service was pretty good, but since my brother is a manager there, I would expect some sucking up. ^_~

Anyway, if you ever are in Colorado Springs, I can say that this Golden Corral is one to visit should you be in the mood for a buffet-styled restaurant.