‘The Word is Murder’ by A. Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz. As himself in his own book. Certainly not an original idea. But is certainly a first for me. Just shows how less I read. The Word is Murder. A name which till the latter part of the book, does not make any sense. I suppose it is time then to issue my customary warning.

SPOILER ALERT!
The following content will / may / may not contain precious information about said book which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by reading the book).PS;-(When did ‘learnt’ become a wrong word?).
This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

The Word is Murder is a book that is not an ode to the past, like its unrelated predecessor, Magpie Murders was. It is a book that does not have a single strand of white hair. Everything is black, with lots of hair gel and screens and  binary numbers whizzing about. It breathes, eats and sleeps in the present. Every single description of every single person and place oozes modernity. TV shows, contemporary books and acting. It certainly feels like a breath of fresh air after the slow, sleepy pace of the ancient story of Magpie Murders. I hasten to add that Magpie Murders was in no way boring.

The Word is Murder is a book that takes an old yet engaging subject of one planning one’s funeral just before one’s death. Fast paced, sometimes emotionally torturing, and all the time, interesting The Word is Murder keeps you engaged and keeps you turning the pages. Even though they are unnecessarily big. The pages I mean. And that’s all you want from a book. Isn’t it? The fact that you long for the next page in that tiny fraction of a few seconds where you finish the current page and have to go to the top again, is all that is needed for an author to be a good one.

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The story as I said before is about a woman who plans her own funeral and consequently ends up dead. This invariably has the police baffled. And they are forced into calling a consulting detective, who, refreshingly, is not the first one of his profession. A raw, bad mannered, swear-er, Daniel Hawthorne is an ex-policeman. For reasons, uptil then, untold. But he, is interested in making his cases into books. And here comes in the Watson. Except, here, it is the first two words of this article. Anthony and Daniel embark upon a journey that will uncover hidden truths and forbidden secrets. And sometimes, as it turns out reality is strange than fiction.

And the characters, I have to say are not as clichéd as in the previous book. The main character hated gay people. (Yes. Ready the pitchforks.) But to be true it was refreshing change. Something new is always welcome. Being politically correct all the time is not the way for all characters in all books to go. And it was also nice to see that, it was not just a ploy for us to hate him. I certainly didn’t. I like cynical characters. Though I probably am not one, how much ever I try.  Anthony’s character is probably the utopian character the we love to love. The other characters are all very different yet united by one single characteristic. And that is selfishness.

My only misgiving about this book is that it was just too big. And I don’t mean the length, I mean, literally big. It was such a waste of space and paper. That too in this time and age. The publishing house should do much better next time around. What is wrong with keeping the distance between the edge of the print and the edge of the page to a minimum?

For me, a good book is one where I can clearly visualize what is happening. And here, Anthony outdoes himself. He’s always been very good in making you understand the situation, but here its like you’re right with them. And that perhaps is the beauty of his books. And this one in particular. And may I just say, the cover looks absolutely amazing..

GordonW

 

Maigret: A Crime in Holland

A French detective in Holland. A fish out of water. That is the premise of the book. The book, which having been read now, is a book out of time, yet is perfectly and adequately contemporary. Jules Maigret, the commissioner of the Police Judiciaire of Paris is heavy set man, with a penchant of solving crimes through , rather basic yet profound psychology. A Crime in Holland is a Maigret story for the simple reason that it is the crime of a Frenchman in Holland. More specifically, the murder of a Frenchman.

I have found, with the modest number of Maigret books that I’ve read, that these are on the smaller. I have certain many other books which could be double their size. And yet, you do not feel that emptiness that you do feel, when you read other short books. The sheer concentration of information has you turning over the page in a hurry so as to not get sucked back into the boring abyss that is reality. And when you need to take break from the constant pile of facts and knowledge that is being dumped on you, you notice, you’ve not read much at all. That is the basic feeling that I got from the Maigret books that I have read.

Sorry, got a bit side tracked there. Back again. A Crime in Holland is a whodunnit. Simple as that. But is also an old fashioned tribute to the old fashioned customs and traditions that  preceded the current stock of ‘old fashioned’ customs. And is also an ode to the necessity of society to be respectful and scandal free. Hollander’s (taken from the book) apparently, look down on the French, for their disgustfully modern behavior. Without giving anything away, A Crime in Holland very much has a Poirot-esque ending with Maigret assembling everyone concerned in one place. Perhaps not for the same reason as Poirot, but similar nevertheless.

Affairs, Boredom,Youth and ‘shady’ characters in the ‘shadows’ take the reader on a journey through the darkness of the night and through the social intricacies of a respectful society with one exception to every rule. The Police Commissioner from Paris. The fish which is out of water, is as calm as the weather on midsummer morning.(I have no idea if that is ‘meteorolical-ly’ accurate.) I just realized this sounds like something out of a movie trailer. Never mind.  I give no character names, no plot developments, no hints as to whodunnit and I keep it short and sweet. Like the book.

GordonW

Without hope. Without witness. Without reward.

SPOILER ALERT!
The following content will / may contain precious information about said episode which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by watching the episodes.)

This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

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So let’s get straight to business. ‘World Enough and Time’ was the first of a two-part story, constituting as the season’s finale. This episode starts off with The Doctor regenerating. (Yes,I know!) But this is only a sneak preview of the regeneration to come. The bulk of the episode consisted of a  400 mile long ship, reversing away from the gravitational pull of a black hole. And this problem is tasked to Missy, who is undertaking a test, conducted by the Doctor to see if there has been any change in her character. And she, being her old charming self, does not kill anyone she sees, and actually ‘tries’ to participate. Surely enough after some time a blue man, emerges with a gun, and shoots Bill, in fear of strange creatures coming up in the elevators. These creatures enter and take away Bill, claiming to be able to repair her. The blue man then tells his side of the story, claiming that it had been two days since they had been reversing from the black hole. A team of engineers had been sent to set the engines in reverse, and had never returned. Immediately after which numerous life signs showed up in the ship. It is then explained by the Doctor, that time is passing slower at the end that is closer to the black hole, than that at the further end. Meanwhile Bill, is repaired and is living in a hospital with the ‘janitor’. The hospital had been serving as conversion centre for humans, as they are ‘healed’. The wards are full of creepy gowned people with their heads wrapped in white cloth.  She waits for the Doctor for ten years, whereas above, only a few moments have passed. Team Doctor then hurries to go down the lift to rescue Bill, but by then Bill has already been tricked by the janitor, and is ‘converted’.  The episode ends with the reveal of the conversion, as being more of an ‘upgrade’ into a Cyberman, a Mondasian Cyberman. Meanwhile, the janitor is revealed to be The Master. And, oh yes, Bill, presumably becomes the first Cyberman, for like, ever.

A brilliant episode is one which takes you through the motions and also, emotions. And this is one such episode. The reveal of The Master and The Mondasian Cybermen, was already spoiled by the trailer released by the BBC. So it was just a formality that had to be taken out of the way.  But it was far from a formality. A beautiful score, wonderful acting, directing and amazing writing, transformed a routine disclosing into a something mysterious and wonderfully eerie. This was perhaps the eeriest episode of Doctor Who, ever, with a forever sense of doom lurking over the audience’s mind for the entirety of the episode. Peter didn’t have much to do in this episode. All the honors were taken away by Pearl. She was absolutely magnificent. Michelle, her cheery self. And John Simm, VERY restrained, for his version of The Master. The hospital was creepy, very creepy. The patients were suitably, very scary. As a whole, this episode easily takes the top spot on any DW episode list. This was perhaps the best DW episode in history, although slightly ruined by the BBC.

Episode 11- World Enough and Time-9.7/10

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The Doctor Falls. Ominous words. And that was what he did. The episode started off, a bit chaotically, with The Doctor having been captured by the Masters. The Doctor somehow converts the core programming of the Cybermen by telling them to upgrade, Time Lords rather than humans. This forces The Doctor and Team Master to work together to get out of the hospital. Team Doctor(now joined by Nardole, who found a spaceship in the loading bay, and the Mondasian CyberBill) and Team Master, make their way to the top of the ship. But as time is passing faster downstairs, the Cybermen have already developed and upgraded themselves to really shiny, metallic versions that we know so well. Once The Doctor and the rest reach Floor 1507, they get ready for an onslaught from the Cybermen. Missy and the Master contemplate leaving the Doctor and driving in their TARDIS, and decide for it. The Doctor tries to persuade them, but they don’t listen to him. Meanwhile, Bill struggle with the prospect of her being a Cybermen, and how she’ll never get to lead a normal life. The Doctor sets up base in a farm which was a home for many children. The Cybermen breach Floor 1057 and attack, while team Doctor fight back. The Doctor tells Nardole to evacuate the floor,along with the children. He then fights back to back with CyberBill, against the Cybermen. He holds them off for a while, but finally, is forced to blow the entire Floor. Bill and the Doctor are the only beings left alive. When all hope seems to be lost, The Pilot, from the first episode, in the form of Heather, comes to their rescue. Takes them back to the TARDIS. And makes Bill, human again. Bill and Heather decide to see the universe together, and leave. Meanwhile, The Doctor wakes up, and struggle with the proposition of regeneration. The TARDIS then takes him to a mysterious place, where he still does not want to regenerate, and constantly, forcefully tries to stop his body from regenerating. While, his denial to regenerate, he meets the First Doctor, played by David Bradley. “You may be a doctor, but I’m THE Doctor. The original, you might say”.

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This episode was more or less, a no win scenario for both, The Doctor, and the audiences. This is because, after such a wonderfully, perfect episode in ‘World Enough and Time’, it was almost impossible to top that with a more spectacular ending. And that was exactly the case. It did not live up to the hype created by its predecessor. But this, in no way means that ‘The Doctor Falls’, was in any way, bad. It was the best season finale, in DW history for a very long time. Although the start seemed a bit rushed and chaotic, once the episode settled down, and once we settled down in our sofas, the episode started to blossom, and unravel its enormous beauty. The speeches, the constant turn towards death and destruction, every emotion ever created bundled together, in perfect harmony, made the episode an unforgettable one. Plus, who can turn down the return of a doctor, The Doctor, in fact. The original, you might say.

Episode 12-The Doctor Falls-9.5/10

Overall- Doctor Who Season 10-9/10

GordonW

Doctor Who-X: The calm before the storm.

I’m a bit behind on the scheduled set of 5 episodes. But I suppose it’s always better late than never.

SPOILER ALERT!
The following content will / may contain precious information about said episode which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by watching the episodes.)
This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

The summary and review of the previous five episodes can be accessed by clicking below.

https://haroldreese.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/doctor-who-x-the-story-so-far/

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This article will review the next five episodes of the Tenth Season of the Time Lord’s resurrection.

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After a very good episode in Oxygen, Doctor Who kicked on to make an even more impressive episode named ‘Extremis’. I feel, that any episode named ‘that’ has to directly qualify as one of the best. But still, Doctor Who has let people down in the past.  This was not one of those cases. Extremis was the best episode of Doctor Who for a very long time. The episode was the first in a three parter. The episode takes The Doctor and his companions to the Vatican, the Pentagon, the CERN headquarters and the White House. The Doctor gains his eyesight back, temporarily, or should I say momentarily. We are introduced to an alien race called The Monks. And we find out how the whole world is not the world. So, overall a very, very good stretch of 40 odd minutes indeed. The creepiness, and the sense of doom, that the episode sets out to instill in us, is done so VERY successfully. But as is the case with The Doctor of Peter Capaldi, he does not solve anything until the final moments. Until then, it’s just the Doctor being in the dark. Literally and metaphorically. So, overall, I felt that this episode was the best one yet of the Tenth season.

Episode 6- Extremis-9.5/10

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So, now that the world that is not the world has been exited by the Doctor, he can set about finding out more about the Monks and how to stop them. But immediately, we are thrown into the middle of a stress zone (is that what they’re called?) between the armies of China, Russia and obviously, the US. In the middle of which there is a 5000 year old pyramid which “wasn’t there yesterday”. The ‘Pyramid’ at the end of the World, also the name of the episode, houses the Monks, who can see and deduce the future result of current events. The Monks also make every clock in the world the ‘Doomsday’ clock. With it constantly reducing the time interval to midnight, at which the end of the world will occur. The generals of the armies decide to surrender but they can only do so if they WANT the Monks to rule over the Earth. The Monks do not accept their surrender as it was not ‘pure’, and turn them into dust. Meanwhile, the Doctor tracks the apocalypse causing event to a genetics lab in Yorkshire, which, due to a misplaced decimal point, created a bacteria that turns any living thing into gunk. Still the Doctor decides to burn up the lab, thereby sterilizing it, and killing the bacteria. He makes a bomb, he puts a timer, and leaves. Only problem, he’s still blind. He finally has to tell the truth to Bill, to say goodbye, but Bill turns and asks the Monks for help. Since this consent is out of love, they accept and return his eye sight, so he can escape the chamber that was going to be blown up. And that, is that.

This episode was not particularly my favorite. I never liked the Zygon two parter too. So perhaps it was the director’s fault. But never mind that. The story was a good one. But perhaps the ending could have been avoided. But obviously it being a three parter, it could not be done so.

Episode 7- The Pyramid at the End of the World.-8.5/10

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This next episode was a very disappointing one for me.  The ‘Lie of the land’ was more or less, shown only from the perspective of Bill and the Doctor and not at all from the side of the Monks. I personally, would have liked more resistance and more obstacles caused by the Monks. But it turned out to be pretty easy for Team Doctor to overpower them, and send them back from where they came from. The one silver lining from this episode was the Doctor’s speech about how humanity is regressing and needs help to evolve. It was the best moment of the 10th season yet.

Episode 8- Lie of the Land-7.5/10

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After a trilogy, that more or less failed to live up to its expectations, Mark Gatiss, brought the show back on the road with a refreshing standalone episode in ‘Empress of Mars’. The episode was not very ‘jolly’, but was much less ‘grave’ that the previous two episodes. The notion of Britishers on Mars itself is a marvelous one. Add to that the return of two Classic Who characters, The Ice Warriors and Alpha Centauri, you’ve got an amazing combination. But perhaps amidst all the excitement of their return, the story itself did not have much material. And can barely hold its own with the other standalone episodes of this season.

Episode 9- The Empress of Mars-8/10

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The final story before the ‘final’ story, was ‘The Eaters of Light’. And this too, along with Extremis, had got a far too good name to be let down like the previous two episodes. And it wasn’t. This was more of a joy ride than a thriller in which you are emotionally invested. Moffat does not take the audience anywhere, but brings them to his home. Scotland. And to the time, of the Roman Empire.  The disappearance of the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army, the disappearance of Bill Potts, and to when The Doctor’s patience shattered into a million pieces. The episode was a very good one, and can be attributed to the mathematical set containing all the good episodes of the tenth season of Doctor Who. I myself was speaking a bit of Scottish English at the end of it. So I would say that that’s more or less, job done.

Episode 10- The Eaters of Light-8.5/10

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Throughout the season, the serialized storyline had been the Vault and Missy’s repentance of her evil-ness. And the prospect of her and the Doctor fighting side-by-side. And for once, there are no buts coming up. Perhaps Missy will complete her ‘defection’ to the good side. And perhaps we’ll get to see her and The Doctor fighting hand-in-hand. But that was all to come.

Overall, it had been a not so good second half of the season. It started off, absolutely amazing, at then tripped again, and again, and again till it started crashing down the stairs. But luckily it was constantly stopped by the acting of the cast, and a return to just above par writing.

Overall-8/10

Next up, it was the sad starting of the farewell of the Twelfth Doctor. And a last chance to see the attack eyebrows and the crazy smile of the mad old man.

GordonW

 

Prevention, Cure and some Silver Tongued-ness.

‘Prevention is better than cure’, is how the saying goes, I think. But there are times when things become so bad, so terribly appalling that a cure is all that maybe left. This statement may have been true a few decades ago, but not now. Things have worsened and have become more terrible than ever before.Earth can barely contain the mass of populace that is humanity. But as it has done so for thousands of years, humanity never ever kicks the proverbial bucket. They keep enduring, surviving. But that no longer is enough. The haven of a planet, that is this Earth, is no longer the sanctuary that it once was. It is dying. Not that they did not have a say in the matter.DSCN1109.JPG So now this generation is tasked with the enormous responsibility of saving said planet. And maybe ‘Hybrid’ is the way to go. I’m not going to start elaborating about what hybrid means or what it entails, I’m pretty sure most people know. Others, Google it.

The harmonization of two opposite aspects of the spectrum of life. Economic growth and ecological preservation. That is the goal here. But are they truly ‘opposite’? They are only opposites because we make them out to be. They can be an amazing combination. Their harmony can bring to life a symphony of success and failure .We fall only to rise again. A word for this idea, is one that was coined not a very long time ago. ‘Sustainable Development.’ This form of development keeps in mind the consequences of said development and also considers the environment and costs that humanity has to pay. Genetically modified seeds, green spaces, solar and wind energy, crop rotation among many are examples of these revolutionary idea. But after we start practicing all this, another important question is raised. What is the effect of this on the Earth? Is it getting any better? The simple answer is yes.

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But just not fast enough. The damage that had to be done, has been done. And unless we find a way to reverse the process of pollution and global warming, there is no way out of this. Another factor for sustainable development’s minimal effect is the scale of it. Compared to the old practices, the portion that practices the former is very small. The problem with the people of Earth is that they are, like tantrumming children. They don’t exactly know what they want. Do they want to live happily, or do they want their children to live happily. If it is the latter, then their behavior has to improve. They have to be the best of humanity. They have to be the best of the only known inhabited planet in the universe. And also, they owe it to her. She’s given them so much. And after expelling so much emotion and hard work for her and on her, is it right to wither away with a whimper?is it right to give up this planet so easily? It most certainly is not. Humanity deserves to be here. This planet chose its inhabitants. So it becomes their responsibility to honor that choice, and to make her proud. Even if that means giving up all their creature comforts and living in complete agony, because, they deserve it. They deserve what is coming to them. But as I said in the beginning, they never give up. They learn from their mistakes. So, the summers can keep getting hotter, and winters, colder, but humanity has decided that it will not budge. It will not go quietly into the night. They will survive. So, to do one last act of kindness, to get one last victory over this homicidal planet, lets save this Earth of theirs!

GordonW

A new lease, to a Portuguese-Not a poem.

Tormenting. Stormy. Flawed. Chaotic. One could use a large variety of derogatory terms to describe Manchester United’s last four years. The Chosen One, The Boring One (Yes . I just made that one.) and The Special One. All the Ones have tried, and have failed. At least for the time being. Moyes lost a lot of matches. Van Gaal won matches but the style of play was too ‘sideward’. And now José is drawing every match he can find. So let me pose to you, a question. If three, more or less world-class managers have tried and failed to get to the expectations of the fans, then does that tell you about the managers or the team? Probably a wrong question…… Um.. Yes. Forget I ever wrote this.

Possibly all this failure can be credited to a few wrong turns by all the managers. David Moyes let go of some good players. Van Gaal bought some very uninteresting players. And Mourinho has kept his tactics defensive at best. But I also suppose that the fans still live in a dream that is no longer possible. Football has become more equal. No longer, are the big clubs dominating the leagues as they used. And one of the most equal and unpredictable leagues in the world is the Premier League. So I believe it would be foolish to criticize them, if they don’t end up winning the Europa League. So what if we don’t play the Champions League? We’ll get it next year. Those who don’t play in Europe are doing pretty well, in the league.

In fact I feel , if we lose the final in Stockholm, next year, we should give up on the Europa League and focus on the PL. Perhaps we could end up winning it. So, in fact Man United is actually brilliantly positioned for the future. Winning or losing the final isn’t going to decide the future of José. He’s going to be the manager regardless.

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There can be no talk of a club managed by José Mourinho without talking about, José Mourinho. He was the Special One. He became the Happy One, and now he is the Calm One.  He’s been changing the Ones for a while now. And he doesn’t seem to be the same charming Portuguese who sauntered his way into English football, and had everyone completely under his spell. Gone are his witty retorts, his funny little insults and his eye twinkling smile. He’s become The Ebenezer Scrooge  of the Premier League. The frowns, the kicking bottles, the sending offs, all of them add to his Scrooge routine. He’s become the grumpy old uncle with whom nobody wants to converse.

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But enough about him. United are on the cusp of becoming great again. They are playing wonderful football, even though very drab in recent times. The back passes and Cruyff turns are running amok at Old Trafford. One thing that is not, is the goal scoring. Missing sitters is what ails the patient that Manchester United. And Dr. Mourinho hasn’t done much to cure it. Ibrahimovic and Rashford bring down the temperature for a while but then again it worsens. And in recent times, even the antibodies have reduced their potency. The defence may start to leak goals. United only beat Celta Vigo, because some City old-timer missed kicking the ball from 5 yards out.  So MU are riding this Europa League wave on sheer luck. And probably because of City. Also, Manchester United have given up all hopes of finishing in the top four. If this had been the immediate season after of Sir Alex’s retirement, José would have been fired already, like Moyes had been. But since then United fans have become a bit more mature. They have realized that they no longer can dominate football like they used to.  And hence allow more leeway and more time for a manager to get settled in.

So as I was saying a few paragraphs ago, this season is not a total failure. In fact I don’t think it is a failure at all. We are in the final of a European Cup(albeit the second tier), we won the EFL Cup, and we were undefeated for 25 odd games in the Premier League. So  all this adds up to a very good season indeed. Hopefully we can end the season very well,  and with the last piece of the Trophy jigsaw filled in.

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GordonW

Doctor Who-X: The story so far.

SPOILER ALERT!
The following content will / may contain precious information about said episode which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by watching the episodes.)
This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

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The tenth season of this very Scottish,British show began with a clean slate on the 15th of April . And in the weeks that have followed, we’ve visited rubbish robots from the ‘future’,  rather than the ‘dawn of time’. We’ve visited the biggest fish the Thames had ever been home to. (hopefully)  We’ve had ‘lice’ and intelligent water. And then the old clichéd theme of danger in space.

And I have to say, this installment of Dr.Who has been very positive and sunny.- with daisies, and peonies and probably the odd tulip, hanging out with each other.  And I can’t say that I’m actually a fan of that. I’m a really big advocate of the whole grumpy old man routine The Doctor pulled in the first season of the return of the old men, but that has overtime faded and the good ol’  madman in a blue box returned to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy and satisfied.  But this is probably the best character of The Doctor that Peter has had to adorn. Cruel, cold and calculating in some places, and emotional, passionate and kind in others. 

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And the new Martha Jones is  Bill Potts. Her frizzled-frazzled hair has got people bewitched into liking her. Honorable mentions to her acting too.  Nardole, who when last scene before 25th of December 2016 was the AI interface of King Hydroflax, has now been reassembled, with the odd screw making his life hell.

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The first episode featured the intelligent water that I mentioned. The whole atmosphere of the episode was different than that of the preceding ones. There was a lighter tone to the picture. The music was less ‘grave’ and The Doctor was, as usual up to his own eccentric antics. (almost spelled that antiques). The whole ‘new companion in the TARDIS for the first time’  rigmarole was  not a ‘knock through’ and took longer than usual, but finally got there. We get an peek into Bill’s love interests, or at the least the…. genre.  And she falls for the victim… as usual. Usual for cinema, not for Bill..I hope.  The episode featured one of my favorite scenes, the water versus a Dalek. “Exterminate”!. The episode changed the whole positive feel at the end when The Doctor decides to wipe the memory of Bill, but she realises what he’s doing and pleads him to stop.(Should have used  neuralyzer Doctor… ) He, for once , listens to his friend and doesn’t go through with the mind wiping. And then ends up inviting her to travel in all of space and time. (A bit cheesy if you ask me..)

Another part of the story I forgot to mention is something called The Vault that is being guarded by The Doctor and Nardole, and hence he’s had to go undercover as a teacher/professor in a university.

Episode 1- The Pilot- 8.5/10

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The second episode, was a bulk load of positivity inside a smiling plane that had crashed on the road to extinction.  Robots keeping people happy, start converting them into fertilizer. A new planet, new civilization of humans, new set of Vardys, and a new companion make one hell of a combination. We all know half information is very dangerous. Well, in this case, it almost blew up humanity’s last hope to kingdom come. The Doctor thought this was a trap for the incoming human colony, but it turned out that the colony were already there,. And hence had to abort his childish impulse to blow it up.

This was not one of the Doctor’s clever episodes because he misunderstood every single thing until the last moment. The Vardys had begun to consider themselves as a species. And as a result, when the humans attacked them (as usual), the Vardys identified themselves as under threat and retaliated. The Doctor eventually reset everything and told the humans to basically sod off. But then decided to negotiate rent for the humans in the planet of the emoji robots.

  Episode 2-Smile-9/10  

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The third episode was more of a traditional storyline of a big scary thing hidden somewhere, eating people up. In this case the ‘thing’ was a big fish, and the ‘where’ was the Thames. The last of the great ice fair, where The Doctor has also taken River Song. This was more of a distant and impersonal story, and was only documenting the adventures of The Doctor and his companion, which was great fun to see. It’s been a long time since Doctor Who has given us a joyride of an episode. Even the Christmas special was a tiny bit emotionally investing. But this one, to a great extent did not need that kind of emotional investing.  The characters other than Bill and The Doctor were basically non-existent. And the fish got a big happy ending, even though it had eaten innumerable people.

Episode 3- Thin Ice-8/10  

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After that came my favorite episode off this season, ‘Knock knock’. Guest Appearance by David Suchet, a house that eats people, and The Doctor out  of his depth with teenagers, what more does one need to enjoy this episode? Bill and her newly formed friends decide to rent a house, and a strange landlord (played by Monsieur Suchet) offers them a deal of a lifetime. They move in and strange things start to happen. This episode does not deserve a dissection of a review. You just need to it behind the sofa, with your eyes popping out and whimpering at every creak of wood. David Suchet puts up an enthralling performance,with it varying from a dangerous man, who is prepared to do anything and everything and to a child at heart, who loves his mother a lot and doesn’t want to leave her.

Episode 4-Knock knock-9.5/10

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The fifth episode is a well named episode called Oxygen. This involves the ever present hunger for money, and hence the air we breath is also paid for. This story, which I presume is just a passing through one, is not the most impressive. Probably the second worst after Thin Ice, the third one. I know, this contradicts my view about that episode, but story wise the third episode was indeed the worst, and now this comes a close second worst. But this does not mean that the story is bad. It is very good. The suits have been programmed to deactivate the organic component of themselves. That means killing the human. And all for what? To gain a profit. The height of capitalism. I suppose the story should have ended with a shock, but I didn’t exactly feel very shocked. (Probably Person Of Interest’s fault).

Episode 5-Oxygen- 8/10

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The Vault’s story line is also coming along pretty well, with Nardole quite frightened of what it holds  and The Doctor having dinner with it/him/her. Nardole’s job up until now, has only been failing to keep The Doctor ‘on’ world and constantly reminding him of this ‘vow’ he had taken to guard the Vault.

So overall, the Doctor Who revamp has been a success, for now. And it is truly promising to be a above average, wonderful season. And  hopefully is the perfect sending off for the Best Doctor of them all.

Overall-8.5/10

GordonW

A new lease, to a Portuguese. – A poem. 

This is my first attempt… So it’s not going to be very good. I hope you can enjoy.
Something had happened to Manchester United,

Their once brilliant play had long since departed.

From the days when they were so brilliant,

Now they were struggling – and it showed, so evident. 
The Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson,

Had had a great 20 year run.

And for the last three, they’ve faced chaos and flack,

But now, its time for them to come back.

For they have Barça’s least favourite son,

José , the special one.

This arrogant little Portuguese,

Has got his hands on the big Red keys, 

With 10 million as his new lease,

Has got Old Trafford, buzzing like bees.
Rooney is suffering too,

He has to prove – or retire with the crew,

“Able were they ere they saw Elba”,

Along with Martial, now they’ve got Pogba.

Our hearts are with you, Man United.

The Theatre of Dreams you will have lighted.

To the very top of football you will go,

Welcome,the very special, José Mourinho.

– With ‘excerpts ‘ from ” What has happened to Manchester United, by Darryl Ashton.

GordonW

Arrival.

There are some movies that give gunshots and bomb blasts, utmost priority, and there are others which do not. This movie just happens to be the latter.Which is quite strange, when one looks at the premise of said movie. Obviously, it(the premise) would include words like, ‘Unknown Flying Object’ or ‘Extra Terrestrials’. And whenever words of these ‘genres’ comes up, tanks and warships firing missiles into oblivion is a certainty, or at least , a requirement.

But Arrival pulls it off without having any explosions and attacks. Well, except for one instance. Even the aliens seem pretty friendly. Saying that this a movie of surprises, would be an understatement. But, it delivers them so silently and to your subconscious, that you do not bask in its glory, but silently admire it.

SPOILER ALERT!
The following content will / may contain precious information about said episode which should not be learnt by reading a review. ( So to be clear, should be learnt by watching the movie.)
This SPOILER ALERT was brought to you by Gordon Watson.

Another surprise, for me at least, was that Jeremy had next no role, until the end. Sure, he partially understands the language of the beings, but other than that, he has no role. All the focus, is on Louise Banks-Amy’s character, how she suffered a tragic and an incomprehensible  loss, and faced it with great solidarity and bravery to become a university teacher, who teaches the languages. Or thats what THEY  want you to think. And then come along the aliens. And as she is the foremost language.. translator?? I’m searching for a better word. Linguist perhaps? Well, whatever it may be, she is the best ‘America’ has got. And she along with Ian  Donnelly, a physics professor,… I got it! Linguistic professor! So,.. with Ian, she has to translate their language and ask the big question, that is, what is their purpose of coming to Earth.. At first its only vocal,with strange groans and loud clickings, but then its turns optical, with octopus/squid ink like circular writing. And all of the writing on the part, happens on the barrier. ( The barrier is a translucent wall that the two species use to communicate.Without it, Louise would still be teaching Portuguese to an auditorium of students with sleek,silver, Apple laptops.)

And this is the first half of the story.

If one were to think of the basic idea behind this movie, then it would be that ‘Learning a new language can essentially rewire one’s brain.’ Apparently, its the theory that the language of a person decides how that thinks or processes information. Well, perhaps not apparently. So as she learns the language of the aliens, she starts to think differently. Supposedly, writing is timeless. Its speech that requires time. So, it is finally decided, that their (the aliens’) writing and thought process is essentially timeless. They can know the future and the past at the same time. And the present, obviously. So as she learns the language, she begins to know the future.  And she uses this ability to ‘remember’ the future, where she has saved the Earth or the aliens from the Chinese, and to convince the Communist countries of the world not to attack the Shell.(That is what the spaceship is called.)

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And there’s the second half of the story.

Unlike other alien movies, in this one, Americans acted pretty smartly and wisely, except for one group of incredibly naive soldiers, who put a bomb near the barrier.

The intentions of Abbot and Costello, the two aliens (and no,they are not their real names) is not quite clear, at least for me. Apparently, they need the help of humans in 300 years…..so they have come now to form a union, so that their relationship may be symbiotic? That is what I inferred from the movie. Maybe THEY meant for us to draw our own conclusions, but I highly doubt that THEY would give us such freedom.

But , all the effort, struggle and the overall unworldly-ness is delivered, with wonderful suspense and timelessness, with a touch of doom and despair.

No planetary alien story is complete without classic territorial agendas, and said territories reluctant to play a non zero sum game. And this is escalated even further, when the big question is popped, and the answer is translated to be ‘offer weapon’.Countries start readying their armies, navies and the air force for battle.  Essentially, this is what provokes those soldiers to bomb the vessel. But then Louise and Ian try to convince their superiors that, it might also mean that they are asking the humans to offer a tool. (They had to do a whole lot of convincing.)

I guess one cannot truly say that this actor acted very well, but they did their job. No one looked like they were uninterested. Forest Whitaker was as good as ever. The aliens were spectacularly scary. Heptopods. Thats what the whole of the alien species were called. Especially when Amy day dreams one, in her room. Jeremy as I said didn’t have much of a role, but still had the same Hawk-eye charisma.  Nevertheless, it was truly an enthralling movie, with enthralling performances from everyone, especially from Ms.Adams.

There is a lot more that happens than what has been written here. The ending is especially good, considering the whole movie is just a tiny bit mono-tonal. A touching moment with a cruel general, a heart in the mouth moment on one side of call, to China and a final realization that touches your heart ever so slightly, and slightly raises the hairs on the back of your neck.

I would easily give this a 10, but since I didn’t exactly understand the purpose of the aliens coming to our planet, a 9 perhaps?

GordonW