May 5, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: May 5, 2008
I finally got home early enough on a Friday to watch GHOST WHISPERER. (I absolutely loathe tuning in after a show has begun, and try to avoid ever doing that.) This week's episode featured LAS VEGAS' Nikki Cox (also known as ex-Gina, GENERAL HOSPITAL) as Nina, a grifter out to con Rick into thinking he fathered her child. But he hates kids. Hilarity ensued. Not. Was it too coincidental that Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and hubby Jim were also wrestling with the question of having kids?
One thing that was out of the ordinary: Prof. Rick had a collection of Zuni fetishes (as seen in the classic TRILOGY OF TERROR). Of course Hewitt was called upon to cry — and she does that beautifully — and she decided to try for a baby with the words, "Life's too short — what the hell are we waiting for?"
I've been waiting for this week's episode of DOCTOR WHO for months — ever since I heard it was being filmed on the same Italian sets that HBO used for ROME. Bound for the Eternal City, the Doctor accidentally took Donna to Pompeii in A.D. 79 on the day before Vesuvius erupted. But it was a good thing the TARDIS crew was there, because the alien Pyrovile threatened to change history by stopping the volcano's eruption.
When the Doctor noted that he'd visited ancient Rome "ages ago," he was referring to an adventure of his first persona, who visited Rome in A.D. 64 and, despite the current Doctor's bleating to the contrary, actually (accidentally) inspired Nero to set the Great Fire by absent-mindedly setting Nero's architectural plans ablaze. The running gag about the TARDIS' translation circuit converting English to Latin and actual Latin to Celtic was hilarious and harkened back to that First Doctor adventure — "The Romans" was controversial in its day for being the first all-out comedic episode of the series.
I loved Lucius and Evelina battling to prove their sooth-saying bona fides, especially Lucius warning the Doctor that "She is returning" — he must be referring to Rose (okay, maybe Martha…but no, it's Rose!) — but was creeped out by his telling Donna, "There is something on your back!" (Wait until you see what he means...*shudders*). The bit with the water pistol was priceless. There could not be a more Whovian weapon than a water pistol!
The most interesting kind of story is when the Doctor has to make a decision with lives on the line. In this case, he had to balance 20,000 lives in Pompeii vs. letting the Pyrovile take over the planet by harnessing Vesuvius' power. The Doctor had to face his memories of causing the destruction of his home planet as he pondered throwing the switch to incinerate the city (and ensure that history "happens" the way it was recorded). Of course he did foil the Pyrovile, but Donna — acting in the companion's role as humanist — prevailed upon him to save one family from the inferno. The Doctor rescued Caecillius' family, and they repaid the Doctor and Donna by etching their images in stone as their household gods. Which was fitting, after all, since the Time Lord did descended from the heavens to save their lives — making the Doctor quite literally a deus ex machina. But far from any delusions of godhood, his decision actually reflected his humanity. When he told Donna, "You were right; sometimes I need someone," he meant he needed someone to remind him that he's half-human. Which is the role of the companion in the TARDIS &mdsah; to bring the last survivor of Gallifrey down to Earth.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA continued the religious theme of the evening, but with a decided twist. Baltar insisted that the gods of Kobol do not exist — then went about his business of letting everyone else treat him like a god. He noted that he joined the fleet as a scientist, but was evolving into a man of faith. Meanwhile, aboard Demetrius, the search for Earth was not going well. Leoben, who had escaped last week's internecine Cylon slaughter, tried to convince Anders that God does exist by asking, "What is the most basic article of faith? That this is not all that we are." He said the Cylons are split among lines of those who embrace their nature, and those who fear it. Leoben said his basestar's Hybrid knows about Earth — but does he know the Hybrids think Starbuck will lead mankind to their doom? Is that why he wants an alliance — to facilitate Kara Thrace's destruction of mankind?
Aaron Douglas had a good week as Tyrol, even though I don't like his bald look. I caught my breath as Galen toyed with the gun. Seems like all the Sharons are trouble; perhaps the Eights were designed to be contrarians. In this case, Athena agitated for mutiny aboard Demetrius, and as the episode ended, Agathon and Gaeta refused to follow Kara's orders. "To be continued…" Ya think?
This blog will be continued in the next Night Shift...