Monday, November 2, 2009

7th Doctor - The Settling

Serial 7W/D – The Crossing
The Crossing
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Riddles of the Styx


Serial 7W/D - The Crossing -

Hex and Ace are sharing a Turkish hookah and sitting peacefully in the TARDIS control room. They are still recovering from their tough adventure on Colony 34, and decide to watch another installment of unrealized history on the scanner, featuring a different Doctor and a different companion having much less angst-ridden adventures...

Part One

The Alternate Eighth Doctor, sick to death from the endless ‘realistic’ arguments between Kate and her father Sam, vows to show his companion how utterly inconsequential and pathetic her problems are. However, simply watching the Earth plunge into the heart of the sun wouldn’t be enough to dent Kate Tollinger’s ego, so he must be more imaginative...

"You’re not going to take me to the opera, are you?" asks Kate, worried at thought of the Doctor with football rattles and popcorn shouting out advice to the singers on stage – which is how the Doctor tends to utterly humiliate her on her birthday.

"Much more than just a bit of culture, child," the Doctor. "We’re off to the EDGE of the cosmos in an inestimably distant point in the future! The end of time, the end of the Universe!" he booms theatrically as he sets the coordinates. "The end of EVERYTHING!"

Laughing insanely, the Doctor sets the time machine in motion, hurtling them seconds, hours, days, years into the future – and as the TARDIS accelerates past the year one million, five trillion, fifty trillion, the Time Lord gleefully shouts, "The Earth is long destroyed, organic life has evolved to the point they’ve lost all need for physical form and become pure energy, capable of constructing whole worlds of raw matter, technology is now wielded by immortal warlocks, galaxies spread so far apart space travel is impossible! The universe will be unraveling, the laws of physics shall bend and change, soon, there'll be no ground, no sky, not even SPACE. You see?"

"Er, no, not really."

"Well, the fact your father made a living by selling drugs to school children is rather on the insignificant side, don’t you think?"

The TARDIS grinds to a halt just hours from Event Two, the destruction of the Omniverse – 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 001, 992 AD. The Doctor activates the viewer screen, warning Kate that some have looked upon the tiny, freezing grey corpse of the universe and gone so insane they’ve written to Points of View.

Instead of an icy, dying cosmos scattered with black holes, the screen shows a tree-lined river bathed in glorious sunshine, birds fluttering from flowers. "It looks like Provence," says Kate, unimpressed.

The Doctor kicks the console, but all the displays insist the time machine stands on the boundaries of existence itself, and certainly not in a South-Eastern French seaside town!

The Doctor and Kate step from the TARDIS where they see Princess Kara the Dipstick having her hair plaited by her servant Lucinda while a minstrel plays Greensleeves on his lute. Kara is so monumentally stupid she shows no surprise at a blue box appearing out of nowhere and waves happily at the travellers.

The Doctor asks if this is the year one hundred trillion trillion trillion trillion, but Kara is barely even sure if it’s lunch time. Her servant Lucinda needs to remind her who her father is and which house she lives in, and explains they have landed just outside the boundary of Verdeen city.

Kate’s Swiss finishing school training convinces her that they must be near the Alps and Italy, ergo it’s probably in Provence. The Doctor insists this must be the last refuge of the people of the universe in total denial about the collapse of reality and their imminent destruction.

"Perhaps some kind of Accidentally Left Behind When Everyone Else Transcended This Reality Interest Group?" the Doctor muses. "Still, there’s a day or so to explore, nick some souvenirs, check up the racing results for the forty-third segment of time..."

The Doctor heads off into the woods, taking a path that ensures Kate gets the most number of branches tearing at her hair as he hums Hedgehoppers Anonymous songs to himself.

Meanwhile, Kara is staring in wonder at her reflection in the water, amazed at the way it’s like a mirror, only not! It is then High Priest Lor, dressed fetchingly in his Mickey Mouse headdress, off the shoulder toga, golden kilt and open-toed sandals, arrives and see the princess seemingly trying to dunk her head in the river.

Completely unsurprised at this stupidity, Lor doesn’t even bother to comment until Kara starts squealing and say she can see crystals at the bottom of the river.

Lor assumes that Kara is just being a moron and patiently explains that crystals are a gift from the Gods and can only manifest in his power base, the Crystal Palace.

When she pulls out a handful of crystals, Lor realizes she is actually right for once, and offers her a nice pony to play with if she forgets all about the crystals. This proves all too easy, as Kara becomes so excited about the pony she genuinely forgets, and so Lor throws her into the river, taking her mind off the pony.

He then runs off, rubbing his hands and laughing evilly.

The Doctor and Kate reach the hills overlooking Verdeen City, a city dominated by a pyramid-like ziggurat temple of Aztec design, surrounded by a maze of streets and whitewashed stone buildings.

The Doctor is disappointed as he was expecting something more Frank Lloyd-Wright and non-Euclidean at the very end of time itself; and Kate is disappointed because a Mexican temple definitely isn’t to be found on the shores of Provence.

Bitterly, they decide to head into the city and generally cause trouble, and immediately ask one of the tanned, blonde locals if there are any anti-establishment rallies against organized religion.

Luckily, there is one just up the road – the People’s Front of Verdeen – whose spokesman is shouting incredibly cliched bollocks about how everyone can make a difference and change things, if they act together and strike now.

The Doctor and Kate listen to the rambling protestor shout, "We don’t need to listen to what the priests tell us! We can make our own choices! Tomorrow night we shall rise up against our oppressors. We shall overthrow their shrines and their temples. We shall build our own future and get the kind of government we deserve!"

Finally, the Doctor and Kate burst out laughing at such hopeless naivete and stagger off, struggling to breathe properly as the rebel leader fails to come up with a single original thought.

"Although, at the end of everything, I suppose all the good stuff has already been used," the Doctor suggests, before cracking up at the crowd shouting "We’re ready to act!" when there is less than a day before everything ends!

They are seemingly not the only one embarrassed at this rudimentary rebellion, and a good looking blond-haired fellow flees back to his home... the palace of the Emperor Damon of Verdeen.

It transpires that blondie is, in fact, Hal, the son of the Emperor. With all the subtlety of Ian Levine in a pie shop, he heads upstairs and starts whining about the harsh regime of seven family houses living in luxury and keeping the general populace in squalor while the priesthood reaps the rewards.

Despite having had this conversation many times, Damon has it again in an incredibly expositional manner to explain just why the Priests run the city, how they help trade with other cities, and generally control the economic crisis by hoarding all the wealth. "Verdeen City is paradise thanks to the Priesthood!"

Damon finishes up by insisting that the idea that the Priests have tons more money than they let on is clearly ridiculous – they are far too busy sexually molesting the young to waste time on such frivolity.

"And don’t forget, your sister is being ritualistically sacrificed this afternoon, followed by her husband’s burial. Don’t worry, once she’s beyond the Crossing, she’ll be in paradise."

Hal frowns. "I thought THIS was paradise?!"

Damon thinks about this for five minutes and then shouts at Hal to go to his room.

The Doctor and Kate stagger from the local tavern as Kate continues to bitch about her father and his buy-happiness philosophy. Desperate to change the topic, the Doctor notes a religious ceremony taking place and they head over for the river running past the ziggurat.

As the Doctor and Kate watch, a funeral barge is released down the river, heading straight for a waterfall. Then they notice the still-very-alive woman tied to the filled coffin, unable to scream through a gag as the boat hurtles towards the edge.

"People have the right to believe what they want, but only as long as they did not hurt others!" Kate shouts, clearly getting into the mood of relentless cliche.

"Is that agnosticism or apathy?" asks the Doctor, baffled.

Kate staggers in attempt to save the sacrificial victim, but proves too drunk and falls over before she can succeed. The barge goes over the edge of the waterfall and out of sight. Oops.

High Priest Lor arrives with Kara and starts shouting, "You have profaned our most sacred ceremony! The penalty for blasphemy is death!"

"How novel," the Doctor hiccups, and wanders off, bored, leaving Kate to face the music.


Ace and Hex review the episode as the credits run...

Hex: Dunno about you, but I was disappointed.

Ace: Yeah. It was pretty predictable. I mean, *I* predicted it, and that makes it really predictable. The cliches, the format, and the language...

Hex: The language was predictable?

Ace: Yeah. What’s more predictable than the English language?

Hex: Mark Gatiss?

Ace: Suppose so.

Hex: If it’s so predictable, what’ll happen in the next episode?

Ace: Oh, the high priest will be part of some conspiracy and either the Doctor or Kate will end up going over the waterfall.

Hex: Yeah. Safe money, that is...


Part Two

Kate desperately begs Princess Kara to speak up for her, but the silly dame has completely forgotten who Kate is and is trying to remember something about a pony.

Lor explains that, despite all appearances, he’s really quite a sensible, sophisticated chap and the fact he’s a knife-wielding, kilt-wearing religious maniac is entirely circumstantial.

"Would you like to make a confession?" Lor asks, and is quickly told about a rather disgusting lesbian orgy Kate once had at her finishing school with her pals Jack and Shell. "I MEANT about the blasphemy!" Lor adds quickly.

"Oh, no, you go ahead!"

Just then, a tall, bare-chest blond Adonis arrives and saves Kate! (NOTE: stop screaming in terror, it ISN’T Ben Chatham!!)

Hal, using his finely-honed potboiler cliches points out that since Kate does not know their laws, instead she should be educated about their religion, saving the fallen rather than punish them.

Realizing he cannot pontificate his way out of this, Lor grimly allows Kate to be released into Hal’s custody but starts referring to him as "Emperor’s Son" in the third person and by FUCK it’s IRRITATING!

Kate and Hal finally locate the Doctor sitting in front of the base of the ziggurat, staring blankly into space and generally acting like Tom Ballard in Waiting for God. He refuses to acknowledge Kate’s existence in any way shape or form.

"He gets like this sometimes," Kate explains awkwardly, and after reciting the first scene of 'Sale of the Century', finally reminds the Doctor who she is.

"I could have been killed while you’ve been sightseeing!"

"Killed? No, no, no. Certainly not. I knew you could take care of yourself. Wouldn’t have let you run off otherwise. And you’re still in one piece, which just goes to show that I was right. Worst luck."

The Doctor hastily explains he was trying to decipher the hieroglyphs on the temple wall, which apparently begin with the mystical phrase, "For a good time, call..."

The Doctor turns to Hal to asks for a further translation but he grimly reveals that the good time stuff is just graffiti; the symbols are just records of the god legends. Nothing interesting.

Disappointed, the Doctor decides to confront Lor and give him a piece of his mind over that spectacular failing to kill Kate. The Doctor soon learns from Hal that the high priest’s rooms are at the summit of the city, forcing people to travel further than anywhere else to see him.

"Very Freudian," the Doctor muses.

About an hour later, the Doctor reaches the top of the ziggurat and kicks in the door and demands an explanation... however, his gadfly mind has bounced away and forgets which particular explanation he wants and soon Lor is handing over some pamphlets and telling the Doctor about the legends.

Apparently there were six gods – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Life and Death, alone nothing, but combined they create a blue-skinned green-haired flying superhero known as Captain Planet!

Captain Planet created a world unlike any other, safe from the old, dark Universe, full of memories of past glories and devoid of anything fresh or new, and populated it with immortal godlike beings.

Unfortunately, all the immortal godlike beings were all complete pricks, and as punishment, Captain Planet made them all vulnerable and mortal, and started a death-worshipping religion JUST to rub it in!

The idea of sacrifice was added as part of pre-nuptial arrangements to stop spouses murdering each other for their fortunes, so if one half dies, the other is tied to their coffin and sent into the afterlife together. This also stops young people rushing into marriage, knowing they could literally be lumped together for all eternity.

The Doctor idly asks why they have a perfect wrought iron and glass-paneled replica of the Crystal Palace, which was destroyed ten trillion years previously.

Lor admits that Captain Planet was something of a Britannica freak, but they have found a use for the rather pointless construct: the Gods of Earth and Water reward the Priests by magically fill the palace with crystals, helpfully justifying the name.

"But what are the crystals actually FOR?"

Lor admits that, as most day-to-day trading in Verdeen City works on the barter principle, the crystals are actually useless as anything other than conversion rate; the crystals are a universal currency and collector’s item, much like cigarettes, tazzos or Pokémon.

"So most of the populace have never needed to use them!" the Doctor deduces. "Fascinating! A social structure based on a concept of which most of society has no day-to-day need! Honestly, at the very End of Days itself and we STILL can’t get a workable economy together!"

The Doctor steals Lor’s lunch and sods off.

Down at an ale carte restaurant, Hal takes the opportunity to moan and moan and moan about how harsh life is, how he blames himself for his mother’s death, how his sister has now been sacrificed, and how his father is merely a figurehead while the priests rule.

Kate retaliates by moaning and moaning about how harsh HER life is, how she blames her father for her mother leaving, how she secretly loves being a posh cat burglar, and how she still is haunted at night by the sound of the Seventh Doctor rolling his Rs.

"We cannot remove the High Priest because of the consequences!" Hal explains for the upteenth time this lunch hour. "The priesthood controls the Crystal Palace!"

Hal wonders why Kate keeps laughing at this.

The Doctor and Kara arrive at the restaurant where the Time Lord sadistically beats Kate with his silver-capped cane for her not trying to translate the carvings on the temple.

The Doctor then decides, that since it is the end of space, time and rice pudding, with the monogalaxy contracting as reality runs down... and he’d love to go over the waterfall in an extreme sports ride!

Kate points out that the Doctor could only be allowed to do that as part of the Crossing funeral barges, and to do that, the Doctor would have to be dead.

The Doctor giggles, rolls his eyes, and falls over, shaking all the humming birds from the tree overhead.

Kate starts hurling abuse at the lifeless Doctor, mainly that his ‘feigning death’ trick will mean that SHE will be the one tied to the barge and sacrificed! It then strikes her, this is probably EXACTLY what the Doctor intends and gets even more furious.

Kate is flung into a cell to await for the ceremony. Luckily, the companion is an incredible lockpicker... but that would screw up the plot, and so she is still caught after a predictable chase and capture sequence that might as well not have happened.

Kate is soon dragged through the streets, and onto an extra-large boat barely containing the Doctor as Kara points and laughs at her. Kate takes offense, but to be fair, Kara doesn’t even remember who she is.

The barge is cut free and several more muscular natives have to get into the river and push it, giving ample time for Kate to cut herself free, have a nice rest and easily escape from the barge as it hurtles over the edge of the waterfall.

"I hope you drown, you fat bastard!" Kate roars.


Ace and Hex review the episode as the credits run...

Hex: That was definitely disappointing. Did that work for you?

Ace: Not a chance. It was mistaken, misguided, badly chosen and limitations inherent in the format all to obvious.

Hex: Yeah, they’re limited by their own limitations.

Ace: You think the next episode will have a sense in which it’s not completely derivative and predictable.

Hex: No sense whatsoever. I’ve looked hard for a sense, but at the end of the day, we’re just senseless. I’m surprised that the Dustbins haven’t turned up by now.

Ace: Or the Bastard.

Hex: Yeah, the Rani, she could turn up, wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Ace: That’s interesting.

Hex: Well, it wasn’t meant to be.

Ace: Never mind, Hex. You got any weed?


Part Three

To start the episode off with a bit of drama, Kate is gang-bashed unconscious by some figures in hoodies. This actually looks rather strange since she is on an alien planet in the End-Time, and on a planet with the average temperature of 45 degrees in the shade, so the fact ANYONE would be wearing ANYTHING like hoodies beggars the imagination of anyone paying attention at this point.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is washed up in a reservoir held in place by a leaky dam. Two burly figures drag the Doctor from the ruins of the barge, but when he suddenly awakes and shouts, "That was a HOOT!" they scream in terror and run away.

The drenched and bedraggled Doctor is rather put off at this, mistakenly believing he is at some water palace fun park – since otherwise this is the most demented funeral service since he told Evelyn Waugh about his adventures on Nekros.

As he wanders around looking for the elevator back to the start of the ride when she bumps into a bedraggled Rea – Hal’s sister, for those who haven’t been paying attention – who quickly leads him out of the main cavern while he hums "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)".

The Doctor checks his pocket watch and realizes there is only a few hours left until the Apocalypse, and that he better get on with defeating the evil corrupt high priest of a phony religion in an otherwise idyllic society.

"Some call it dull and unoriginal," he confides to Rea. "Me? I find it rather comforting and traditional."

The Doctor plans to escape and a pig-headed stubborn refusal to accept Rea’s insistence there is nowhere to escape to leads us getting bored and returning to Kate’s plotline.

Kate wakes up finding herself in Hal’s bedroom, specifically in Hal’s bed. Hal himself has used his pathetic rebel friends to beat her up, drug her, remove her clothes, photograph her in compromising positions and then act like nothing happened.

Hal explains this has boosted the confidence of the rebels in their desperate plan to raid the Crystal Palace and depose Lor, but Hal hasn’t told the rebels that the Emperor’s son supports them: partly, because it might cause factions about anti-imperialism, but mainly because Hal is incredibly embarrassed to work with such losers.

Hal’s friend Bron turns up and tries to put the moves on Kate, but ends up being hurled out the first-story window with a grapefruit jammed in his screaming mouth.

Hal complains bitterly that this means they’ve now lost a valuable member, since the rest of the public are sheep-like morons who don’t like change and it’s times like this that Hal idly wishes the universe WAS about to be destroyed, just to see the expression on their faces.

Kate suggests that, if you want your government toppled and corrupt dictator overthrown, the Doctor’s your man – and she explains he has a respiratory bypass system that means he can stop breathing for short periods of time, and he also slows his metabolism to the point where he can easily be mistaken for a corpse. So he’s not dead. Basically.

"He keeps doing it to embarrass me," she complains. "One time he kept it going so long people thought I was some Norman Bates psychopath and locked me up. Worst birthday ever."

Hal decides to visit his father and ask for his allowance, and Kate tags along out of her habit of sucking up to royalty.

Back in the tunnels, Rea explains that all the surviving spouses are put to work in the mines digging up crystals for Lor to take to the Crystal Palace and continue his tax dodge, er, religion.

The Doctor bursts out laughing. "You do realize what this means, don't you? You society's whole religious basis is founded on a lie! You've been used, played for fools by the priesthood, condoning human sacrifice and being in denial the rest of the time!"

"Yes thank you, Doctor, I had worked that out for myself!"

"I know, but I just LOVE telling people that!"

At the Emperor’s yuppie apartment, a domestic goes down as Damon shouts at Hal that "stay out of trouble" does not mean "saving blasphemers from ritual sacrifice" and calls him a troubled young man with a deluded sense of his own importance and a disappointingly small collection of internet pornography.

As the argument moves to the time Hal pissed all over Damon and giggled, Hal defends his actions as he was a baby less than six hours old, but Damon is in fact referring to last Tuesday.

Kate finally gets sick of this and tries to change the subject by asking Damon if he can translate the hieroglyphs carved into the ziggurat, but he tells them all to get fucked.

As they leave, Kara stalks them but accidentally gets mistaken for a fruit cart seller – her class snobbery coupled with her incredible stupidity, leads to Kara going insane, falling over and twitching.

Hal and Kate meet Mr. Big, the head of the resistance and ask if he can put off the revolution for a few days, mount an incredible difficult and obvious rescue mission to save the Doctor from his fate at the Crossing, simply so he can chauffeur Miss Tollinger back billions of years to her estate.

Mr. Big tells her to take a running jump.

Furious, Kate instinctively starts threatening Mr. Big with all her social contacts... which solely consist of Hal. But revealing the resistance’s newest and most troublesome recruit is actually part of the fascist bourgeois imperial scum that have been persecuting the common man for generations, oddly enough, doesn’t help.

In fact, he tries to have them both executed.

Cue: another tedious chase and escape up and down corridors.

Finally, they are free and Hal has another tedious, drawn out whine about how he is so powerless and unpopular.

Kate points out that the people really idolize Hal as a hero who can change things for the better - partially to mess with Hal’s mind, but mainly to shut the fool up for five seconds.

At that moment they are then ambushed by armed guards dressed as Egyptian sex fantasies, lead by Lor – since Kara has sold them out! Perhaps even intentionally!

Then, Lor ACTUALLY says (and I’m not making this up) "I believe the charge is high treason - I told you I would break you, emperor's son!" He then, honest to god, goes on to add, " I know all about your little uprising tonight. You quaint little resistance movement is going to be in for quite a surprise. And I think I WILL get away with this!"

Kate and Hal burst out in uncontrollable laughter.

Back at the mine, the Doctor admits he can’t be arsed to come up with brilliant schemes to bring down the corrupt regime, and since they are at the end of the universe, people should be able to come up with pure anarchy on their own.

Rea concludes that the best thing to do is to free the other prisoners and expose the Crossing for the sham that it really is, and then, to destroy Lor’s power and influence on society. Trouble is, she has absolutely no idea HOW to do that.

The Doctor points out it’s easy – take away the crystal mine, the priesthood are completely buggered! "It’ll make a change for them being on the receiving end, I dare say..."

Rea asks exactly HOW they are supposed to "take away" a crystal mind and the Doctor blows out his cheeks and shrugs helplessly.

Suddenly, there is a momentary blip in the course of reality; like a spool of film becoming stuck in a projector, as if existence itself has hit a pot-hole and then just as abruptly, it ends. Some might assume their CD players are breaking down, but the Doctor announces it is a moment of null momentary moments!

"The space/time continuum has almost been exhausted! For a second we ceased to exist! That’ll happen again and again until the entire universe vanishes and doesn’t reappear!"

The Doctor checks his pocket watch and realizes he has just twenty five minutes left before the final end of everything!


Ace and Hex review the episode as the credits run...

Ace: The universe threatened at the part three.

Hex: Well, you see, Ace, they fell into the old trap, doing self-referential, postmodern material.

Ace: You sure it was pretending to be crap Doctor Who for ironic intent? And not just plain crap Doctor Who?

Hex: Not sure. Dunno about you, but I’m sick and tired and exhausted of postmodern bollocks. Knowing it’s crap doesn’t mean it’s not crap; why couldn’t they do something decent for a change?

Ace: Yeah. I mean there’s SOME talent there. If only we’d been there when they first wrote that drivel.

Hex: We could have pointed out to them where they went wrong, just nudged them in the right direction, it’s all they needed.

Ace: Why do they release this garbage without consulting us first?

Hex: They probably hate us.

Ace: That makes sense.


Part Four

As ultimate annihilation draws nearer and nearer, Kate is stuck in a primitive stone wall cell as Kara visits in the confused impression that this cellblock is actually an advice line about pony rental.

Kate demands Kara give her one good reason not to kick down the cell door and snap the princess’ pampered neck, and the moronic Kara struggles to pronounce her answer coherently: because she wanted to.

"What you did was wrong. It was against the law so it must be wrong. If it isn't, then what's the point of laws?"

"You're asking me? I'm the daughter of one of the biggest criminals of the seventies. What do I know about the law?"

Kara cannot answer this brilliant bit of logic and announces that she is stalking Hal and, in the occasional lucid moments she remembers this, she is incredibly jealous and obsessive.

Kate points out she would never lower her standards to cop off with Hal, even if he IS handsome, brave and has washboard abs, because he’s a primitive emo loser who doesn’t wear trousers.

Kara thinks about it, and by the time she works out what Kate means, the cat burglar has escaped and been on the loose for five minutes.

In the caves, the Doctor has gone catatonic with shock and simply sits on a stone step, head cradled in his hands, staring at the ceiling, humming the A-Team theme tune.

Rea manages to put with this for a full three minutes, until another null-moment strikes. So distraught at the hopeless of the situation, she repeatedly backhands the Doctor until his concussed, bleeding body falls into a stream.

The Doctor struggles out of the screen and explains that he is prone to become…distracted…at times and tt can take quite a shock to the system to snap him out of it.

"No hard feelings," he promises Rea, before headbutting her.

Meanwhile, Kate easily seduces the guard on Hal’s cell and – leaving the guard hog-tied with a knife to his neck, which happens to be the guard’s major turn on – listens to ANOTHER self-pitying monologue about how pathetic, useless and unlikable he is.

In a stunning moment of clarity, Kara announces that "Lor's lied to the people. He lied to me about the crystals. He's using the law to take power away from us, from your father, and use it for his own gain. I want to stop him, but I'm not strong enough, not alone. We need you Hal. I believe in you and I'm willing to bet the people believe in you. But ask yourself this: If not you, who? If not now, when?"

Kate is left dangerously nauseous at this point, but Hal finally grows some balls and decides to so something. With only twenty minutes until the destruction of all existence, too.

Guess it really IS never too late...

At his office, Damon finally translates the hieroglyphics and discovers the horrible truth, but before we can find out what that is, the Emperor starts screaming at Lor that despite the fact he is a decrepit old has-been with no real power over the people he will turn the locals against the priesthood in a bloody uprising.

He hasn’t even finished the rant before Lor gets tired and stabs Damon in the heart and wanders off for a slash.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is bitching: "You know, whenever I wondered what I would be doing in the last hour of the last day of the last year of the entire universe, I always just assumed it would be something along the lines of creating a capsule to send me into the next universe, a mental construct of myself that would be a God of all life as we know it that is meant to come after us...

"I admit, I never inspected that, instead, I would climbing up a crude wooden dam wall that’s already leaking in places! I should be running back to the TARDIS while there’s still time! I’ve got so much to do... I’ve never ridden a camel, sprayed graffiti on an opera house, murdered 18th century prostitutes, or eaten a Big Mac from the breasts of a Nepalese Maiden! This is SO unfair!"

For the upteenth time, Rea tells him to shut the fuck up.

The Doctor’s complaints have alerted a guard, who starts to run after the tubby Time Lord with an axe. Realizing that this is one last chance to prove if Ghandi’s belief in passive aggression might work, the Doctor tries to talk his way out of trouble.

"Why are you doing this? Do you really want to kill me? Do you really want my blood on your hands? Are you doing this because YOU want me dead or because the high priest wants it? What gives him the right to make you do this? You're the one who'll have to live with the consequences, not him. You'll get the sleepless nights, the fear of your children finding out that Daddy's a murderer. Is that really what you want? I won't run any more. My life is in your hands. What are you going to do?"

The guard pauses, considering... and Rea tackles him and throws him off the edge of the damn to his certain death.

"It’s times like this that really make me want to embrace a nihilistic view on life," the Doctor sighs, then jumps up and down, his weight causing the dam itself to come apart and flood the caves, drowning all the slaves and guards.

"Ten minutes to go!" the Doctor enthuses as he and Rea escape the carnage. "Imagine it – if I can kill everyone before then, we can cheat fate! And fate is SERIOUSLY pissing me off today!"

At the base of ziggurat, blissfully unaware the universe will end before he finishes digesting lunch, Lor addresses the people in a pitiful display of camp PR cow excrement.

He explains that Damon is dead, Hal is in jail, and that he offers himself, a humble and honest man, to guide the people through the dark times ahead. As he hams this up, he actually falls to his knees and sobs with amazement at his own lack of acting skills.

Tragically, it seems that not even the inhabitants of Verdeen City can only take so much blatant garbage at a time and immediately they revolt. It becomes obvious that every single citizen knew all about the fact the Crossing was a sham invented by Lor, they just never really gave a crap about it either way.

Kate, Hal and Kara arrive to expose the truth, only to be left standing on the sidelines looking like wallflowers since their revelations are completely useless.

Lor cheerfully grins with his usual wit, "It's never over! Not while I still have the crystals!"

At that moment, the Crystal Palace explodes for no adequately-explored reason and the Doctor strides into view with Rea. "Oh, dear, the dam’s burst, the mine’s flooded, everything’s gone, and there’s still three minutes left!"

"This is so unfair!" Lor wails. "Oh, my father used to beat me up for being an annoying wanker when I was a child! He beat my mother too, before she cut his bollocks off with a potato peeler... I swore I would never let another have power over me ever again! I built up this EMPIRE! I made sure I’m superior to everyone in it! But now it's all slipping away, like SAND through my FINGERS! But I will escape punishment this time! This time I will be safe! This time –-"

The Doctor decks Lor and throws him into the river, and the high priest is washed over the waterfall.

"God I hate that namby-pampy Los Angeles touchy-feely I-only-tried-to-poison-Gotham-City’s-water-supply-because-mommy-didn’t-breastfeed-me poofel dust!" he confides to Kate. "Come along, my dear. It's time we went back to the TARDIS. I think we've outstayed our welcome, hmm?"

The Doctor and Kate hurry off as Kara cheerfully announces she and Hal are getting married – much to Hal’s surprise, who then accidentally admits that he murdered Rea’s husband for conspiring with the resistance, and soon the last survivors of the entire universe are engaged in a massive argument.

By the river, the Doctor and Kate hurry back to the TARDIS with thirty seconds to spare. Kate still insists that they are in fact in Western Europe at some point pre-decimilization and that the Doctor’s wild claims the entire universe is going to end are entirely speculative.

The Doctor shouts at her to get into his fucking time machine and count herself lucky the Time Lord likes scrounging off her reformed gangster of a father, otherwise he’d leave her to rot!

With moments to spare, the TARDIS dematerializes, leaving Kara’s baffled minstrel to stare in awe at the vanishing police box.

"Well fancy that," the yokel draws.

Everything ends.


Ace and Hex review the episode as the credits run...

Hex: Is that it? What the hell was going on there?

Ace: Oh, they escaped with seconds to spare. Talk about trite!

Hex: Trite and predictable!

Ace: It’s like it was just ninety minutes of absolute drivel to make the other Doc and Princess Di there look good.

Hex: There are worse things.

Ace: Yeah, but at least they can be treated by antibiotics! So, Hexy. What did you think of the two central performances?

Hex: That this story needed them badly, and it was a shame they never turned up. Not my cup of tea.

Ace: No, it’s more a sort of TV story rather than a cup of tea.

Doctor: Ace! Hex! Are you two STILL watching all that drivel? Come along, come along! The TARDIS has landed in Droheda in 1649?

Ace: What’s that then, an alien colony world?

Doctor: No, it’s a small town in Ireland?

Hex: Isn’t that the one that was massacred by Oliver Cromwell’s army of 18, 000 ridiculously aggressive and psychotically violent footsoldiers in the worst atrocity in Irish history?

Doctor: The very same!

Hex: Brutal!

Doctor: Shall we go out there and make mischief?

Ace: Try and stop us!


Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who: Apocalypse Right This Bloody Second!
Religious Parodies at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock
More Cliches Than You Can Throw A Stone At

Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed freshly interred in this story.

Goofs -
That Ace and Hex would have kept watching after episode one.

Fashion Victims -
The Doctor puts on a black tuxedo to celebrate the death of all that is. Perhaps due to dimensional transcendentalism, the colour isn’t slimming on this incarnation.

Technobabble -
"My god! He’s reversed the herd mentality of the populace flow!"

Links and References -
Kate has many long winded rants about life that refer to "The Sale of the Century", "Addiction", "Animal" and "Illegal Alien". Maybe one day Big Finish will actually record these so these references make sense and don’t come across as bewildering gibberish personified.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The previous Christmas for the Tollingers had the Seventh Doctor perform slapstick in front of a Cyberleader, and then condemn the planet Monday to destruction along with all the human sex slaves on it, and incident Kate enjoys telling complete strangers as it is really rather embarrassing.

Groovy DVD Extras -
An extra disc for the outtakes of these respected British actors breaking up in giggles upon learning the crap they have to recite.

Dialogue Disasters -

Damon: One day, lad, all this will be yours?
Hal: What? The curtains?

Doctor: I just want people to think for themselves about what it is they’re doing for a change. I mean, after seven and a half trillion billion years, is that too much to ask?!
Kara: I dunno. Is it?
Doctor: Like the universe, sentience was just a passing phase for you, wasn’t it?

Hal: It isn’t right for the people to be oppressed as they are.
Damon: Oppressed? I think that is a little harsh, Hal.
Hal: Is it? We and the other six houses live in luxury while the general populace toils in squalor. The do the work for us, but we reap the rewards. And as for the priesthood, hoarding the wealth, with w hat little is allowed to trickle out is distributed solely among the seven houses PLUS I hear rumors that there is much more wealth locked up in the palace, but that the priesthood keeps it from us!
Damon: The priests are charged with our spiritual well being and they craft our laws. Without them our city would degenerate into anarchy. they control the Crystal Palace. They control the wealth that is our gift from on high. Without that we would have no kingdom. We would be unable to trade with our neighbours. We would still be the stunted farming community of our ancestors!
Hal: Er... why are you telling me all this stuff I already know?
Damon: Not sure. Why were YOU telling me all the stuff I already knew in the first place?
Hal: Filling in the audience of the background of this alien society.
Damon: You think they’re still awake?
Hal: [shrugs] It’s a slim chance.

Doctor: I’ve found a mystery and I like mysteries. What about you?
Lor: I prefer things that are known rather than those that are not.
Doctor: I thought you were a high priest.
Lor: Am I? Oh yes, so I am. Yes. Mystery good.
Doctor: This is a very depressing planet, I find.

Kara: Oh, Lucinda! Would that this moment could go on forever. My only wish is that darling Hal could share it with me. He does love me, Lucinda, does he not? I mean, I know he finds me attractive, but that’s not the same thing, is it? Is it? I suppose men are different creatures to us and their views on love are equally opposed. I never realised that I was such a good judge of character. Oh, I’m so excited. We shall have to start planning for the wedding. At once. The first thing we shall do is research this mysterious thing called "doggy style" Hal speaks so highly of...

Rea: Do you know what it's like to have your whole belief system pulled out from under you?
Doctor: Well, I do it to people often enough...

Damon: Do you really believe that one man has the power to change anything?
Kate: Yes, I do. I've seen it happen. We all have the power to change the future. We're not just puppets dancing to other people's tunes. We're living creatures, individuals with our own thoughts and emotions and dreams. We make our own choices, we can change the outcome and we can make our dreams a reality... oh my god! I’m starting to sound like one of you! This cliched posturing is infectious!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: The people are happy and content. Why should they want to discover something that might irrevocably change that?
Rea: But we're slaves.
Doctor: Well now. there’s an interesting point: How can you miss freedom when you've no idea it's even been taken away? Is a slave a slave if doesn’t KNOW he’s enslaved?
Rea: Yes.
Doctor: Oh. I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I’m going to get? ‘Yes’?
Rea: Yes.
Doctor: You’re not fun.

Doctor: You know, Rea, you and I are very alike. We've both been betrayed by our societies, both grew up believing what we were taught only to discover that we'd been lied to and that the world didn't really work like that. The difference between you and me, is that YOU are a complete loser who’s going to die in twenty-five minutes.

Kate: You know something, don’t you?
Doctor: Oh no, not a bit of it, but I am playing a hunch.
Kate: I know that look. We’re going to get 'involved', aren’t we?
Doctor: There’s a mystery here, too many unanswered questions! Surely you don’t expect me to leave without learning at least a few of the answers?!
Kate: Just as long as you don’t get us both killed.
Doctor: Well, it’s funny you should mention that...

UnQuotable Quote -

Doctor: I’m sorry, my dear. I have to use a four-syllable word every so often just to convince myself I’m still awake.

Smartarse DWM Preview!!
"The Crossing would prove to the first time Doctor Who had left Earth’s orbit since 1988’s The Greatest Blow in the Galaxy, and to celebrate the occasion, every effort was made to ensure the story showed the universe to be completely boring and dull compared to 1990s London. If ever there was an adventure to make you wish the TARDIS would explode and maroon the Doctor in the gritty realism of the here and now, this would be it.

With an incredibly predictable and unimaginative tale of a corrupt religious dictatorship being overthrown by hunky beach-bronzed resistance members, and some incredibly trite and unbelievably expositional dialogue being hurled at the story, not a single Who fan has ever been able to sit all the way through it.

Dispirited at this reaction, Johnson Duncan later abandoned his two other stories for the Doctor and Kate – The Order of Isis and The Shattered Serpent – to concentrate on more angsty fan fiction for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and his magnum opus "Doctor Who and Mina Harker Versus The Uncanny X-Men".

Johnson went into tax exile some years ago and is unable to comment."

Viewer Quotes -

"I’m not in it. So it can’t be any good, can it?"
– Nigel Verkoff Esq. (2007)

"All the more reason to buy it if you ask me."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2007)

"When I want YOUR opinion, Andrew, I’ll read your entrails!"
- Nigel Verkoff Esq. (2007)

"Oh, you can READ, can you?! I assumed you’d be blind by now!"
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2007)

"I hate you, you n00b." - Nigel Verkoff Esq. (2007)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Ah, such a well-ordered society with ideas such as co-operation at the heart of its mythological structure – PLUS it indulges in human sacrifice as a vital part of its religion! The future is looking so bright, I think I need shades!"

Richard Griffiths Speaks!
"The Roman Catholic Church taught me to lie – because otherwise I’d have to tell my parents I’d missed Mass for three weeks in a row, and they’ve have kicked nine colours of shit out of me. That, coupled with all the historical horrors of the Crusades and Inquisitions, have made me an atheist. How I loved throwing that high priest to his certain over a waterfall. Of course, the story says that the stupidity of organized religion lasts until the Heat Death of the Universe. Which is depressing. Not much of a surprise, but depressing all the same."

Julia Sawalha Speaks!
"I loves life and food and drink and to dance and to party – I’m a real bon viveur. But Kate Tollinger’s really a reaction to excess, what with her domineering father and high society life. Lucky bitch. Course, I get on great with my dad, but not having to worry about where the next diamond-encrusted soup spoon would be nice. Grass is always greener on the other side, huh?"

Trivia -
Nigel Verkoff takes absolutely no part in this story, though the character of Bron was specifically written with him in mind to play, since they could then beat him up for the sheer artistic triumph.

Rumors & Facts -

All in all ‘The Crossing’ is a solid story that incidentally improves with subsequent listens, but crucially it lacks the imaginative spark to really stand out from the crowd as anything special. That and the fact it’s complete drivel.

After the success of "Night Thoughts" (well, a new use of the word success most are usually not aware of) the idea of simply using the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex as an excuse to finally make the abandoned stories the BBC couldn’t be arsed to in the early 1990s in a move referred to in professional circles as Operation: Keep Sylvester McCoy Under Control Or Else.

Since the producers – Gay Russell, Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery – were looking for excuses not to use Sylvester McCoy, that left them limited to the scripts for the "Eighth" Doctor and Kate Tollinger: "The Last of the Dustbins (Honest!)" by Ben Aaaronovitch, "Animal" by Andrew Cartmel, "Hostage" by Neil Penswick, "Illegal Alien" by Max Tucker, "The Crossing" by Johnson Duncan, "Avatar" by David A McIntee, "A School for Glory!" by Tony Etchells, and "Network" by Marc Plate.

Quickly, they realized that over the last seventeen years, a lot of the scripts had since been turned into New Adventures novels or fan films, leaving them with only the Dustbin story, "The Crossing", "A School for Glory!" and a Mark Plate idea called "Shrine" about electrified rubber plants taking over Pre-Revolutionary Russia.

With RTD’s Doctor Who revival continually refusing to leave Earth or Cardiff it was ultimately decided to choose The Crossing story thanks to the incredibly complicated method of "eenie meenie minie moe".

Of course, the BBC guidelines on what can be said in family drama about religions were quite restrictive: "leave it before it becomes a jihad!" so it was decided to ensure that all the characters were as one-note and two-dimensional as possible, and all their dialogue relating to religious became so arch, incredible and unbelievable no one would be able to take it seriously enough to complain.

Clive Mantle – famous for his role as Little John’s stunt double for the nymph orgy scenes in "Robin of Sherwood" – was chosen to play High Priest Lor with an intensity that would make Colin Baker get a nose bleed simply by listening to.

Realizing that The Crossing was so derivative not even the subscribers would want to listen to it, Russell came up with a master stroke and released it as a gate-fold three-CD release, just like Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass and The Best Wife. Unfortunately, it became obvious that even with monstrous amounts of padding they could barely stretch The Crossing to fill two CDs, let alone three!

Thus, Russell had his second master stroke, and soon had another CD full of trailers for every single BF release, narrated by himself being postmodern and ironic.

This stunt lead to a record of thirty four effigies of Russell being burned at the stake by the fans – a full three MORE than normal!

Oh yeah, Russell was hip-deep in the smelly stuff over that.

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