Relativity Media via Everett Collection
It's easy to compare 3 Days to Kill to Luc Besson's flagship franchise Taken. The film itself practically encourages those comparisons, what with the older man who reluctantly returns to a life of killing for the good of his daughter. The hero's quest of hunting down international criminals in a stunning foreign locale is punctuated by all of the explosions and gore your heart could desire. Neither 3 Days screenwriter Besson nor director McG are attempting to blaze a trail or reinvent a wheel. They're simply attempting to create a film that will keep you entertained for two hours, and on that front, at least, they succeed.
Stepping into the Liam Neeson role this time around is Kevin Costner as Ethan Renner, who is either an assasssin or a spy that works for either the CIA or the Secret Service (it's not really all that important in the end), forced to walk away from the job after he is diagnosed with cancer (or maybe a brain tumor). In an attempt to spend his remaining months bonding with his estranged daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), he moves to Paris to settle down. Of course, that's when Vivi (Amber Heard), a CIA agent/spy/assassin arrives, along with an experimental new drug that could extend Ethan's life, which she will happily pass along... if he takes out their two most wanted criminals within three days.
From there, the film veers wildly between graphic fight sequences, with enough chaos and destruction to equal both Taken movies, and the story of Ethan and Zoey’s growing relationship. Much of the plot is confusing and barely explained – Ethan and Vivi vaguely work for the CIA, although they're unconcerned by the devastating destruction they leave in their wake. The drug is “experimental,” but how it helps or why it’s only available through a giant purple syringe is waived away by the presence of a stack of “research.” Ethan only has three days to complete his mission, but seems to hang around Paris for a lot longer. The villains are wanted by the government for being tangentially involved with a “dirty bomb.” There's a shoehorned-in subplot about family of African immigrants squatting in Ethan's apartment. But despite the fact that so many of these elements never find a way to coalesce into a coherent whole, once the body count starts to rise and the buildings start to fall, it's easy to simply ignore all of that in favor of massive explosions.
When the film works, Ethan's job and his relationship with Zoey blend together in a way that gives 3 Days to Kill some much needed heart and humor — like when he's interrupted in torturing a target by her constant phone calls — but when it doesn’t, the transitions between Ethan taking out the criminals he's hunting and his slightly cloying bonding experience with Zoey can be jarring. As Ethan, Costner is a serviceable action hero; he growls threateningly and stares fondly at Steinfeld when the script calls for it, but for the most part, he appears to be phoning it in. Of course, for this kind of film, that’s all he really needs to do, but it means that by the time the credits roll, much of his performance is already forgotten. As Zoey, Steinfeld does her best with the material, and makes some of the more emotional scenes between herself and Costner affecting. However, even she can’t save the father-daughter plot of the film from becoming trite and stale at times, and so her scenes mostly feel like a quick breather in between the rounds of graphic violence.
Relativity Media via Everett Collection
Heard feels out-of-place as Vivi, who is introduced as the buttoned-down second-in-command to the head of the CIA, but then proceeds to spend the rest of the film speeding around Paris in sports cars, and prancing about in a wardrobe of leather, corsets, and high heels. Costner is clearly in an older-man action film, but Heard is in another film entirely, one in which she’s a sexy super spy single-handedly taking down international criminals. Despite the fact that she’s mostly there to provide exposition and to look pretty, there are moments where you almost wish that she was the focus of 3 Days to Kill instead — or, at the very least, that one of the many subplots had been dropped in favor of expanding her character.
And yet, despite all of the unanswered questions and the weird disparities in tone, 3 Days to Kill is a surprisingly entertaining film. The fact that one of the best fight sequences in the film takes place in a supermarket, while Ethan and an unnamed hitman grapple behind a deli counter, means that it's ridiculous enough to keep you engaged, but it's still able to amp up the tension when it needs to. And when you need a break from watching people come perilously close to being decapitated, there's a well-timed visual gag already lined up. It hits all of the notes required of a cheesy action film, and even though it gets far too bogged down in sentiment at times, it's still got enough heart to add a little substance to the flimsy plot.
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3 Days to Kill does exactly what it needs to, and little more. It doesn't want to make you think — in fact, it actively encourages you not to — and it doesn't try to accomplish anything that will stay with you after the credits have rolled. All 3 Days to Kill wants is to keep you amused for a few hours, with a few explosions and some mindless fun. In the end, that's sometimes that's all you really need out of a movie.
Lord Of The Rings moviemaker Peter Jackson has restated his interest in taking charge of a Doctor Who episode, inviting BBC bosses to allow him to create a special in his native New Zealand. Jackson, who shot the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films Down Under, is urging Doctor Who producer Stephen Moffatt to give him the reins of the franchise, and he admits that discussions between himself and BBC chiefs are "actually kind of serious".
Jackson says, "I'd love to try my hand at television, because I've never had the discipline of having to shoot for those impossibly tiny schedules. I think I could do it OK now.
"I did suggest that they did a New Zealand story - something to do with the (rugby union team) All Blacks versus the Daleks. There's a good story in there, although obviously the All Blacks would have to win!"
Earlier this year (13), Jackson, a lifelong Doctor Who fan, told Entertainment Weekly magazine he'd be willing to direct an episode of the cult sci-fi show for nothing but a prop Dalek.
The filmmaker revealed his wife Fran Walsh has bought him two Daleks in the past as Christmas gifts.
He explained, "I have a very early one and another from (former Doctor Who star) Sylvester's (McCoy) time.
"I've also collected a few Doctor Who costumes, including a Tom Baker outfit with a scarf."
Glee actress Nene Leakes has blamed her jet-setting lifestyle for her recent health crisis. The TV star, who also appears on reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, alerted fans to her medical scare on Monday (18Nov13) by posting a photo of herself in a hospital bed with intravenous (IV) drips in her arm, receiving treatment for blood clots in her lung.
In a series of Twitter.com posts, she explained, "I have been very sick for the past couple of days... My arms are hurting wit (with) these IVs. Blessed to be alive..."
Leakes offered up no further information about the nature of her condition in the Twitter posts, but she has now opened up about her illness in a candid post on her website.
Updating fans on Tuesday (19Nov13), she wrote, "Late last week I wasn't feeling well and was feeling a little short of breath. I know my body and I know when I should be concerned so I went to the hospital to get checked out. After some routine tests I was diagnosed with blood clots in my lung.
"I'm told this happened to me because of the constant travelling around the country that I do for my job. I'm thankful to be alive as the doctor advised me that most people don't recognise the symptoms of blood clots and don't go to the doctor and that's when the big problems start happening."
Leakes has since been discharged from the hospital and is currently recovering at home.
Actor Dean Mcdermott has played down reports of his family's financial struggles after his wife Tori Spelling revealed they could not afford a vasectomy procedure in her new book. The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star confessed she and her husband have put off plans for the actor to undergo the procedure in a bid to halt their baby making, after realising they lacked the funds to pay for it.
In a recent People magazine interview, she explained, "We're in the entertainment business, and things change year to year. We don't have a series on the air right now, so we have to be more restrictive of what we can spend, just like anyone who doesn't currently have a steady job."
But her husband insists her vasectomy reveal has been blown out of proportion - they simply chose not to go forward with a top doctor's plans for the reversal operation, because his fees were too high.
McDermott explains, "We're human and life has ups and downs and sometimes your bank account is flush and sometimes it's not and it happens... I went to this particular doctor, because he's the best at the reversal. He doesn't take insurance and the estimate was pretty high and we told the business manager and he was like, 'That's a lot'.
"I didn't pursue it. It's not that we couldn't afford the vasectomy... I just didn't look for another doctor."
But the actor, a dad of five, insists the couple won't be having any more kids - vasectomy or not: "Tori doesn't like the idea of a vasectomy because it's so final... but I don't think we'd have more (children), especially after what she went through with (last child) Finn - she had a placenta previa and she spent two months in the hospital... We could have lost the baby and her. And physically, it took a lot out of her - four kids in six years, that's tough on a body."
Rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard is recovering after recently suffering a heart attack while at home with his family. The Tutti Frutti singer, who turned 80 last year (12), reveals he was overcome with a coughing fit and started to feel a shooting pain in his arm and it was only after self-medicating that he started to feel OK.
His doctor later advised him that he had suffered a heart attack, and revealed that he saved his own life with his quick-thinking actions.
During a chat with Cee Lo Green for a Recording Academy fundraiser in Georgia on Sunday (29Sep13), he explained, "The other night, I didn't know I was having a heart attack. I was coughing, and my right arm was aching. I told my son, 'Make the room as cold as ice.' So he turned the air conditioning on, and I took a baby aspirin. The doctor told me that saved my life. Jesus had something for me. He brought me through."
The veteran entertainer has stepped away from performing since almost collapsing on stage during a gig in Washington, D.C. last summer (Jun12).
Edgar Wright's Ant-Man has just been moved from a potential release date of November 2015 to July 31 of that year, just months after The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and mere weeks after Warner Brothers' Batman Vs. Superman, making it a truly packed summer for superhero fans. But not only will Wright's film be hitting theaters sooner, it will also mark the transition into "Phase 3" of Marvel films – a slate of new characters that might include Marvel's first heroine and whatever mystery project Vin Diesel is working on (Groot spinoff?). While it will be sad to see old favorites go, Phase 3 seems like a shot in the arm for the audience and studio alike, and kicking it off in summer is a great sign. Perhaps they're so confident Ultron will impress that audiences' Marvel fever will lead them to a smaller film, boosting the box office from modest to huge. Or, maybe Disney thought fans might dig the scientific background to Ant-Man's story (he's a biochemist) what with Star Wars: Episode VII hype set to peak in the summer of 2015. Or, maybe they saw The World's End's respectable box office this summer, and decided another Wright flick was hardly a risk at all.
While in the comics, Ant-Man created the Ultron system, Avengers director Joss Whedon has already explained he's writing a different origin for the villain for his Avengers sequel. But even if Ant-Man isn't responsible for the creation of Ultron, he and his wife, Wasp, were founding members of the Avengers... all leading to a stew of elements from the comics that could potentially be reworked so that, while we may lose Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, we might not have to lose the team or the sense of fun that they bring through collaboration.
Wright, who managed to bring the CGI-laden Scott Pilgrim Vs. World in at only a $60 million budget, is being given the reins on what now seems like a full fledged piece of the Marvel canon. It might sound risky, but Thor was a fantasy film with an unknown lead and unknown villian, both of whom are now bona fide stars and huge pieces of the Avengers. Ant Man seems to be following in those footsteps. Now all we have to do is wait for it... at least that wait is a couple months shorter now.
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Conrad Murray's lawyer has filed documents in a California appeals court in a bid to overturn the medic's involuntary manslaughter conviction, relating to the death of Michael Jackson, as he prepares to walk free from prison later this year (13). Murray is currently serving a four-year term behind bars after he was found guilty of administering the fatal dose of Propofol which led to the King of Pop's death in 2009, weeks before he was due to kick off his mammoth This Is It residency in London.
The embattled physician, who pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge, previously insisted he would fight the verdict to clear his name and his legal representative, Valerie Wass, has now filed a series of appellate briefs in the California Second District Court of Appeal to argue her client's case.
In her latest filing on Wednesday (10Jul13), she claimed jurors should have been allowed to view Jackson's contract with concert promoters AEG Live during the trial in order to understand the pressures the singer faced to perform the 50 shows and consider Murray's argument that the Thriller hitmaker had self-administered the drugs which killed him, even though witnesses had testified during the case that it was the doctor who had administered painkillers and anaesthetics.
Wass writes, "Admission of the contract or evidence of its terms was necessary to show what was at stake for Jackson if he could not meet his contractual obligations, which was pertinent to establish his state of mind which may have explained his conduct on the day he died, and supported the defense theory of the case."
In the documents, Wass also repeated her previous concerns about Judge Michael Pastor's refusal to sequester the jury and ban TV cameras from the courtroom, suggesting the "unprecedented fame of Jackson" and the heavy media coverage ruined any chances of Murray receiving a fair trial.
According to the attorney, Murray is due for release on 27 October (13).
Wass' appeal filings come as a separate lawsuit rages between the Jackson family and AEG Live executives over allegations of wrongful death. The singer's mum Katherine and his three children are seeking damages amid claims promoters failed to recognise the superstar was seriously ill in the weeks leading up to his passing. The Jacksons also claim AEG bosses were responsible for hiring Murray to look after their famous client.
The wrongful death trial has entered its 46th day.
Holy. Crap. The penultimate episode of Arrow Season 1 had so many OMG moments and shocking reveals that I’m pretty sure that this could have functioned as a season finale for any other series. But since this is Arrow, this was just a normal, action-packed episode. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The first scene of "Darkness On the Edge of Town" is the one we released early, where Malcolm decides to "pay" seismologist Dr. Brion Markov for his services… only, not with money, but with an arrow to the chest. The Dark Archer killed all the Unidac employees, destroyed the lab and all their notes, covering up his tracks. When he does use the Markov device, there will be nothing to tie Malcolm to the “natural” earthquake that destroyed The Glades. Basically, the lesson here is never do a favor for Malcolm.
Back at the Arrow lair, Diggle and Felicity update Oliver on their tracking of Moira now that they know she is in league with Malcolm for The Undertaking, but so far she hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary. Oliver, however, doesn’t know how to process the fact that his family and oldest friends (the Merlyns) are behind all the evil he’s been fighting ever since he returned from the island. He decides it’s time to ask Moira, face to face, as her son, for the truth.
Before he can leave Verdant, he’s ambushed by Laurel who wants to discuss that little matter of Oliver confessing that he still loves her. She realized that she was ready to admit that she has feelings for Oliver, too. She caught Oliver when he was embroiled in an Arrow mission that only reiterated his belief that he can’t be with anyone thanks to his life. So, he lied and said he hasn’t changed, leaving Laurel confused and heartbroken.
Back at the Queen’s mansion, Walter finally came home! It’s hugs all around and a delicious brunch to welcome him home, but he isn’t exactly in the brunch mood. Something tells me he isn’t going to want to dive back into to the family life with Moira after his 6-month captivity, as evidenced by the kiss brush-off he gave her.
Thea and Roy are getting their Veronica Mars on, with a bit more of a criminal side. They’re still hot in their pursuit of the vigilante, but they haven’t found any real clues to lead them to the Hood. They did find out via eavesdropping at the police department that the copycat archer is connected to Merlyn Global.
When Oliver confronted Moira about Walter’s kidnapping, he started to drop his façade, and you could tell that Moira saw something different in her son that shocked her. But before he could get any real answers, they were both knocked out by tranquilizer darts. I bet the hooded assailant is Diggle in Arrow’s hood!
And look at that, I was right! It’s Diggle in the Arrow suit, just absolutely going to town on beating up Oliver in order to scare the truth out of Moira. As much as Diggle and Oliver made up last week, you can tell he’s enjoying beating up Oliver just a little bit after their fight over Floyd Lawton. Just don’t hurt Ollie’s face too much!
Their plan worked: Moira spilled the truth on everything. Unidac Industries. The Markov device. Malcolm’s plans to level The Glades. Robert Queen’s involvement with the plans before he died. Once they were sure she told them all she knew, Diggle cut Moira and Oliver loose, and left. Oliver couldn’t even look Moira in the eyes knowing what she had done!
Now that Team Arrow has new information, it’s back to the Arrow lair! Felicity looks up Unidac Industries – noting that Queen Consolidated acquired them seven months ago, the same time Felicity and Oliver met! Anniversary! – and figure out that Malcolm plans to level The Glades with a device that creates man-made earthquakes. They also figure out that since the other archer was the one responsible for what the media is calling the Unidac Massacre, that means the other archer works for Malcolm. Little do they know it’s actually Malcolm, but that will come later.
Since Det. Lance found a connection between the copycat archer and Merlyn Global, he asked to speak with someone at the company… and of course they sent Tommy. That’s just adding so many levels of awkward to the conversation, especially when Laurel walks in on their meeting. After Tommy leaves, Lance puts a tech guy on the job of snooping around their network… hey, isn’t that exactly what Felicity is trying to do? Lance and Laurel also got in some father/daughter bonding when she told him the reason she and Tommy broke up was because of Oliver. Lance’s two least favorite guys in all of Starling City, and his daughter has to date both of them. Poor guy. Silver lining? Lance has noticed the difference in post-island Oliver and gave his kind-of approval to Laurel. That’s a huge win, and also made Laurel realize that Oliver lied earlier about not being any different now.
Felicity wasn’t getting anywhere hacking into the Merlyn Global network, so Oliver figures out a way to get her inside the actual building to download the files they need to find the Markov device. Shenanigans ensue when some random paper pusher guy tried to get on the same elevator as Felicity and Oliver, and even tried flirting with her! But Ollie shut that down and knocked him right out of the elevator car. Was that a hint of jealousy from Ollie? #Olicity shippers, discuss!
While Felicity works her tech magic, Oliver uses his time to confront Tommy about Laurel. While Tommy came off as misogynistic, referring to Laurel as a consolation prize, Oliver put him in his place. He reminded Tommy that Laurel isn’t property, and makes her own decisions. She chose Tommy, and that should be all that matters. Oliver isn’t to blame for their break-up.
On his way out, Oliver ran into his sister, and finally got the chance to meet Roy. That handshake is going down as one of the scariest encounters ever. Oliver warned Roy and Thea away from pursuing the vigilante since everyone who gets close to the vigilante ends up dead. Oliver plays the disapproving older brother part well! Too bad it didn’t work on Roy: he’s still set on finding the hood, so he can teach Roy to be like him. Apparently, Roy lost someone a while ago and doesn’t want it to ever happen again. Thea made him choose, though, the vigilante or her, and Roy chose the vigilante.
Walter’s chilly demeanor when he first got home is finally explained: he knows that Moira had something to do with his abduction, and served her with divorce papers.
Det. Lance’s tech guy struck out trying to hack into Merlyn Global – duh – but he did notice Felicity Smoak had tried to do the same thing. Looks like part of Team Arrow is being brought in for questioning... again!
Back in the Arrow lair, Oliver had an epiphany: his father’s mission to clean up the city meant to stop The Undertaking. Once he did that, he’ll have cured the disease, and his work will be done. He could be done with being the vigilante, live a normal life, and could actually have a life with Laurel. Is there truly a light at the end of the tunnel? Oliver seems more hopeful than we’ve seen him all season!
It truly does look like Oliver thinks there’s hope for him and Laurel, since he went straight to her place. With a real smile on his face, he told her he’s ready to admit she’s the one who means the most to him, and cue the passionate sexytime! Too bad Laurel didn’t shut the drapes first: Tommy got quite the eyeful. This is officially the beginning of Tommy going dark.
Oliver went to confront Malcolm as the Hood, because the Markov device wasn’t where they thought it would be. When Malcolm refused to give it up, Oliver shot an arrow, meant to kill him… but Malcolm CAUGHT IT WITH HIS BARE HAND. Ollie’s wide-eyed surprise meant he understood now that Malcolm was the Dark Archer. Cue one of the greatest fight scenes Arrow has yet to show. In the ensuing chaos, Malcolm broke Oliver’s bow, and knocked him out to dehood him. When he realized the vigilante was Oliver, he let out a horrifed, “Oh no…”
In this week’s island flashbacks, we finally learn the entirety of Fyers’ plans: he’s following orders to shoot down any incoming and outgoing aircrafts near China, thus grounding all air travel in and out of China indefinitely. That would cripple China’s economy, especially once Yao Fei, a rogue element from China’s own military, took the fall – which he will, since Fyers shot both Slade and Shado. He does manage to slip Oliver a knife before donning his old uniform and recording a video taking responsibility for the destruction of all the aircrafts. We also got the glimpse of the high heeled feet of Fyers’ boss… who could she be? And after Yao Fei finished his video, Fyers SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD.
Once again, I say: whoa. While this could certainly have been a season finale, we still have one more hour left to go of Season 1. I could try to predict what’s coming, but honestly, all bets are off at this point. Who will survive The Undertaking? Will The Undertaking happen? Will Tommy go dark? Will anyone else find out Oliver’s identity? What will Malcolm do with Oliver? We’ll find out next week in the season finale of Arrow, “Sacrifice.”
The best quotes from “Darkness On the Edge of Town:”
Felicity: Are you okay?Oliver: My mom and my best friend’s dad are involved in a conspiracy that may have dire consequences for the city and I’m pretty sure they murdered my father. I’m not planning on using the word okay anytime soon.
Felicity: The last time the vigilante paid your mom a visit you got shot and I got to play doctor with you. Ugh, my brain thinks of the worst way to say things.
Thea: I’m really sick of us all having to go through a lot, you know?
Det. Lance: The arrows are black, not green.Police Chief: The copycat archer again.Det. Lance: The psychopaths are color-coding themselves now. That’s helpful.
Felicity: Let me get you an icepack for… everything.
Oliver: Felicity, are you hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe?Felicity: Hacking is such an ugly word, no… Yeah, totally hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe!
Oliver: Anything?Felicity: Just for the record, I will pump my fists in the air and scream ‘Yes!’ if I get in.
Felicity, dressed as a Big Belly Burger delivery girl: I have a super deluxe big belly buster for a Mr. Andrews. I think he’s in security. He a good tipper?
Oliver: Don’t look down.Felicity: Too late! I should mention that I’m afraid of heights… which I just learned right now!Oliver: Hold on to me tight.Felicity: You know I imagined you saying that to me under different circumstances. Very platonic circumstances.
Felicity: This is my hack face. I always look like this when I’m about to hack.
Tommy: Why so serious?
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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Rapper Macklemore dropped by a hospital in Vermont on Thursday (25Apr13) to visit an ailing university student who was too ill to attend his show. The Thrift Shop hitmaker was in town for a performance at Saint Michael's College when he learned about the plight of a fan named Sam, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
In a bid to cheer him up, the 29 year old, real name Ben Haggerty, made a special trip to his bedside and even held a moment of silence for Sam at his gig.
Opening up about the emotional experience in a post on his official webpage, he writes, "When my girl told me about Sam's story and that we would have some free time on Thursday, it was a no-brainer to visit him in the hospital.
"The email we received was from one of Sam's friends who explained the situation. Sam is in his junior year in college, and up until last Friday his life was going great. He hadn't been feeling well the last month, and went to the doctor to get some blood tests late last week.
"The doctors got the results, sat him down, told him he had leukemia and would immediately need to start chemotherapy in order to hopefully beat the disease. Just like that.
"Sam's story resonated with me. I can't imagine being a healthy kid, at the end of my junior year in college, and getting diagnosed with leukemia. It's one of those stories that reminds you how fragile life is, gives you a reality check on your own issues, and make you appreciate the health of you and your loved ones more than ever...
"I've done these types of hospital visits before, and sometimes they can be a little awkward. What do you say to someone in Sam's position? This is a complete stranger, who is going through a life-altering trauma, abruptly disconnected to the world they once knew. No amount of 'you'll get through this' pep talk seems substantial enough. You want to say something that might leave a lasting impression but the words aren't there. But when I first shook Sam's hand I could tell he was connected. He's the type of kid that immediately puts the room at ease. He makes eye contact and speaks from his heart, not sugarcoating what he's going through, but not feeling sorry for himself either."
And the rapper admits he got more out the hospital visit than his fan did: "These types of experiences are important for me. They bring me back to a place of gratitude and give life a tangible value, beyond the instant gratification that my job provides. Being a rapper is one of the most narcissistic careers in the world... Fame suffocates the spirit and consumes you if you let it. You wake up thinking about you, and go to bed thinking about you. That's not a good place to be.
"With over 200 shows booked for the year, I barely get to see my family and spend time with the people that remind me where I come from and what's really important... In all honesty, it's the Sams of the world and the situations they go through that give us perspective on our own lives."
No takesies backsies, tonight's Doctor Who was really fun. The kind of fun that we haven't seen in awhile — in that it was light, eerie, and (I hate this word but I'm still going to say it) whimsical, without a lesson in morality or any real gravity to bog the thing down. Will we remember this story or its creepy, spider-like villain years down the line? Probably not. But I was definitely caught up in it moment by moment, and Matt Smith— who just turned a great, soulful performance in "Rings of Akhaten" — got to show some of his best comedy chops as he gleefully took on this Ghostbusters adventure.
If there is any lasting affect from this week's episode, it will come from the reveal that the Doctor wasn't actually chasing the ghost-that-wasn't, he was chasing the psychic empath assistant (who he called "companion", aw) so that she might read Clara's feelings. Oh Doctor, you sneaky mom. Luckily Clara never caught on, but it can't be too long before she figures out just how deeply he cares about her origins.
So to start, it was quite literally a dark and stormy night. Dougray Scott, who disappeared for years but is now EVERYWHERE this weekend as Hemlock Grove just started on Netflix, was hanging out with a bookish Emily Mortimer type in a haunted mansion back in '74. We know it was 1974 because they immediately said a recorder that it was night four of their attempt, November 25, 1974, at 11:04PM. Also they had just received an interference in their old fashioned ghost-hunting radio equipment, that I was thinking was the TARDIS. I mean, it was the TARDIS, right?
They went through with it anyway, because the bookish Emily Mortimer type, Emma, said that the ghost they were chasing was "So lonely." Lonely and apparently very powerful, as her spirit was shown zipping through the house Evil Dead-style, until it was too much, and a creepy-as-f**k white figure ran right into Emma's face, physically winding her. "She's… dead," Emma said in hysterics, until an ominous knock at the door ruined the moment. Was it the ghost? Had she been brought to life in physical form? Of course not, it was just an enthusiastic Doctor and Clara. "Boo!" the Doctor exclaimed, clearly giddy at the whole haunted house prospect. Clara made a Ghostbusters joke but duh, it's 1974, no one knows what you're talking about. Roll credits.
I must say, the Doctor's one-liners and rampant enthusiasm were probably my favorite part of this episode. He just barged into this house with the enthusiasm of a school girl given an unlimited allowance at Forever 21, and started rattling off The Professor's long list of achievements — "The Ministry of Un-Gentlemanly Warfare," which specialized in wartime espionage, being the most interesting. But the Doctor — posing as military intelligence — loved him, and all of his antiquated equipment. (But wouldn't all equipment look antiquated to the Doctor? Anyway.)
"I like the word 'toggle', the Doctor mused, as he examined the Professor's equipment. "Nice noun, excellent verb." All seemed to be in tip-top shape, so the Doctor was ready to meet. His. Ghost! But the Professor wasn't happy — this was his house and his ghost, and no Doctor could take that away from him, understood? "Um, no, not really, sorry!" the Doctor replied. So ghost hunting they would go.
This particular ghost, the "Witch of the Well" has apparently been around for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Her appearances were marked by a mysterious knocking, "As if the devil himself demanded entry," and she just, for the love of God, would not stop screaming. Clara instantly noticed that something was off — mainly, that in every photo (and there were many) the ghost was in the exact same position. She never changed. And apparently, she (the ghost, not Clara) now knew that Emma the Empath was there — and she was saying, "Help Me." This all
None of this sat well with Clara, who isn't one to go wandering off in a haunted house (read: She's not Amy Pond). So when the Doctor tried to convince her to investigate the house while Emma and the Professor did their thing, he had to resort to drastic measures. Mainly, cute faces and dares. "I'm giving you a face," the Doctor said. "Can you see me? Look at my face." Clara would do it under one condition — if it was a dare. A triple dog dare. "I dare you," he said. "No takesies-backsies."
So they went to the center of the house — the music room — while Emma and the Professor acted out their romantic subplot that was meant to serve as a metaphor for the Doctor and Clara's relationship. "Experience makes liars out of us all," the Professor said, talking about the Doctor but also, himself. Did this mean that the Professor would also lie about his feelings towards Emma? He didn't answer that particular question, but the romantic tension in the room was palpable.
Speaking of possibly romantic scenarios, the Doctor and Clara were now alone in the most swoon-worthy of settings — a haunted music room, by candlelight. Both of them quickly felt a cold, dark presence… and Clara, for one, was not happy. Was this because the lost spirit's ghost had empathically connected to Clara as well? I'm not sure, but the dreadful knocking sound referenced earlier was enough to shake me out of wondering about the question. Calm down ghost, we get it!
But as scary as it was, it wasn't enough for the Clara to be okay with the Doctor holding her hand. Except, wait, no — HE WASN'T. So they ran back to the main room with the Professor and Emma, where a giant DISH Hopper-like thing was floating through the air with ghostly interference. Emma suddenly saw the image of a forest through a darkened doorway, as well as the white image of the spirit looking very lost. "Help me!" she screamed, right as the Doctor snapped a picture. She also wrote it on the wall, for dramatic emphasis.
Everyone was spooked, and Clara went off to comfort Emma and chat about boys, while the boys (boy and Time Lord) discussed the Professor's darkness and death-filled history over the developing photos in the darkroom. "We think people are feeling the way we want them to feel, when they're special to us," Emma said of her feelings toward the Professor, who, for the record, still totally likes her. Also, her statement could totally apply to some of the Doctor's past companions (cough cough Martha).
However, the most interesting thing Emma said was regarding the Doctor and Clara's relationship. Clara insisted that there was nothing going on (though, was it just me, or did it look like she might have wanted there to be?) and Emma said, good. "Don't trust him," she said. "There's a sliver of ice in his heart." Woah woah woah, lady. We know our Doctor has a tragic history and that all of the empathy in the world wouldn't be able to cover it, but I'm not quite sure that "ice in his heart" is the diagnosis I would give. Should Clara fall for him? Probably not, given the obvious fact that the Doctor always peaces out when his companions age. But should she trusthim? Absolutely! The Doctor does whatever he can for his companions, though it sometimes goes very, very badly. Maybe that's what Emma was referring to. Anywho.
At this point, things got weird. The Doctor and Clara ran back outside, seemingly abandoning their mission to re-board the TARDIS. Clara remarked that the TARDIS seemed to be staring at her, to which the Doctor replied — "The TARDIS is like a cat. A bit slow to trust. You'll get there in the end!" So basically, the TARDIS pees on the Doctor's bed during thunderstorms, knocks over every glass of water and/or wine in its line of vision, screams for no reason every morning at 5AM, sits on top of his laptop, and turns toilet paper into its own personal confetti. That, Doctor, is like a cat.
But the TARDIS let Clara in of course, on an epic journey through time — or as the Doctor calls it, always — just in the same exact spot in front of the house, throughout eternity. They make several stops ranging from the Big Bang to the Jurassic era to the Victorian era to the End of Days. This all made Clara very, very sad — and, keeping Emma's words in mind, she was disturbed by the fact that the Doctor could observe the death of an entire species with no discernible reaction.
"What's wrong?" the Doctor asked. "Did the TARDIS say something to you?" No, Clara explained, as the Doctor's face turned full-on adorable (this is his "I don't f**king understand you but I WANT to face, which is one of my favorites). More like, "To you I haven't even been born yet, and to you I've been dead a hundred billion years. Is my body out there somewhere — in the ground?" she replied. I empathize (word of the episode) with Clara — it's all really heavy stuff. But the Doctor can't focus on things like that, or it would kill him. It's too much. He just doesn't get it. But when Clara said "we're all ghosts to you… we must be nothing," he perked up. "No," he said with a sense of gravity. "You're not that. You are the only mystery worth solving." Boom. Poignant stuff.
Back to modern times they went, where Emma the Empath immediately empathed Clara's muddled feelings — she couldn't shake the feeling that "everything ends." Not everything, Emma empathed. "Not love." Or fear, apparently — the Doctor put on a little slideshow with the pictures he took throughout eternity, and all of them featured the Witch of the Well. But that, explained the Doctor, did not make her a tormented ghost. In fact, she was merely trapped in a pocket universe where time runs more slowly (like "The Girl Who Waited"). A second to her was roughly 100,000 years for us, hence her all-encompassing presence in the history books.
And this non-ghost was facing a huge dilemma — the time traveler "Hila" was stuck in a world that would collapse in, oh, a few minutes. (She'd only been there for three, so it makes sense.) Her only hope was Emma, the Empathic Lantern that would guide her home. Well her and the Doctor, who would make the journey to the pocket universe — which contained an arachnid-esque monster — to pull her out.
In order to do this all the Doctor had to was put a giant blue crystal-thingy on Emma's head (it would increase her abilities, "like a pooper scooper") to open up the wormhole to the pocket universe, then jump in himself using an incredibly long rope. ("Geronimo!") The pocket universe was slightly creepy — a giant, enchanted-looking forrest permeated by a blue mist. It was also apparently rather small, as the Doctor and Hila ran into each other fairly quickly. They ran back into the portal — while the yet-unseen creature chased them — where Hila was quickly snatched up. The Doctor? Not so much. He got stuck.
Clara started freaking out, and Emma wasn't helping — opening up that wormhole had weakened her, and she didn't want to try it again. So Clara ran out to the TARDIS — and something magical happened. The TARDIS came to life as a hologram to talk to Clara, only she acted like a total bitch — literally appearing as a hologram of Clara. She had pored through all of the millions of options in her database, and, "This one best meets your criterion." To which REAL Clara responded — "You cow!" Seriously. The TARDIS is kind of a bitch now, guys.
Clara begged the TARDIS to enter the pocket universe to save the Doctor, and Ms. TARDIS was initially very hesitant. But off they went, and in good time — the Doctor was by himself in the dark forest, not having a very good time. "I am the Doctor, and I am afraid" he said to the still unseen beast that stalked him. The the beast — who was absolutely heinous — finally showed up, just in time for the TARDIS to rescue him, and for Emma to mentally rescue the TARDIS. Got all that?
Good. The next day, Emma asked the Doctor why the Doctor had come to visit — she knew it was to see her. "Clara — what is she?" he asked. "She's a perfectly ordinary girl," Emma replied. "Pretty, very clever… more scared than she lets on." This apparently did not appease the Doctor, who wanted more concrete answers. "Why?" Emma asked. "Is that not enough?" Good question — if Clara's insolvable mystery truly is, will he be willing to look past it and enjoy her not as the Impossible Girl, but as a regular human?
Emma also fit in a chat with Hila the lost time traveler, as both ladies felt as if they'd met before. This was impossible, but as the Doctor said, "she can be your "Great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter." Woah! "Yours too, of course," he added, staring at the Professor. As River Song would say — SPOILERS!
Since the Professor and Emma's relationship past present and future was just given away by the Doctor, the Professor asked what they should do next. "Hold hands," he said. "Keep doing that and don't let go. That's the secret." With this, a bell went off — earlier when something was holding Clara's hand, it must have been the monster from the pocket dimension trying to reach out to a monster in our own, or something. This part didn't really work for me, but it led us to the wonderful line "Every lonely monster needs a companion," so I'm okay with it. Get it? The monster is him! Oh, metaphors.
So in the end, the Doctor reuited the two monsters, helped unite two adorable non-monsters, and got... well, not at all closer to the mystery that is Clara. Still, what a fun week! Shout out your thoughts in the comments!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
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