“A traitor is someone who doesn’t know who the enemy is.”
— Commander Millington
This is my first McCoy episode which also means that this is also my first Ace episode. I went in with a cautious attitude because many people disliked McCoy as a Doctor and say he killed the Doctor Who franchise under his watch. That’s pretty strong words and seeing a picture of him didn’t help. When I initially laid eyes on McCoy, for whatever reason I thought his version of The Doctor would be like Jason Alexander as The Doctor. One could how I was both apprehensive and curious.
Upon first seeing The Doctor in his question mark vest my opinion of him didn’t improve. I couldn’t believe that they’d resort to such gimmicks as QUESTION MARK VEST. It was super lame. Ace didn’t make a great first impression either. She looked like a 35 year old, burly woman-baby milk maid/ bar wench. Her outfit was so dowdy and the hairnet or whatever it was just infuriated me. Who wears that? Even in the 80′s? If I hadn’t made the promise to watch every episode, I would have turned it off there. Then something strange happened. I got pulled in by the story. It had a sense of urgency and there’s nothing like Nazis(?) building a church on Viking graves… or… that’s what was happening right? I’m not sure if it is or not but the St. Jude’s church looked like the one that Donna got married in (‘The End of Time’) and the same one where Clyde of The Sarah Jane Adventures had is run in with Nazis (‘Lost In Time’).
The gist of the story is that there’s an evil guy trying to bring back an ancient evil so that he or it can rule and/or destroy the world with the Ultima Machine. There are girls who has a stern mother-figure who doesn’t want to them to swim at Maiden’s Point because it’s “a place where girls go with evil in their hearts”. It’s swimming… In a lake… In a small town… If it weren’t in the Whoverse, her warning would seem over-bearing and unreasonable. Because it is the Whoverse, the girls should have heeded the advice because they turned into the aquatic vampire-zombie Haemovores who get even by knocking over chess sets. The Haemovores caught my attention because the first time I saw those were in ‘Vampires in Venice’. They at least seemed like the same creatures to me.
The scenes with the officer lady with the baby in the bunker reminded me of ‘Victory of the Daleks’. While the soldier lady didn’t have a baby in ‘Victory of the Daleks’, she had basically the same outfit and the same hair as the soldier lady in ‘Curse of Fenric’. Both of the soldier ladies husbands die in action and we had to see them deal with grief. What I found interesting about Ace’s interaction with the soldier lady and the baby is the first meeting. Ace behaved horribly. She practically told the lady that she hated her baby’s name because hated her mom. Because this is this my first time ever seeing Ace, it’s off-putting and bizarre.
Another bizarre Ace thing was her attempted ladder escape. I think she had just used a C4/Nitro bomb that impressed the hell out of me and soften me to the character only to back it up with trying to escape down a ridiculous ladder built for a hobbit-sized person just to get captured. I seriously think I pulled some hair out on that one. Also, when Ace stood up to The Doctor and went off to prove that she wasn’t a little girl anymore was strange. I believe she was trying to seduce a soldier. What it looked like was a crazy woman looking off into the distance babbling like a maniac. I won’t knock it because it worked. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot indeed soldier.
Overall, I liked the action and pacing of this episode. When The Doctor started saying things like he didn’t know his family and when he realized who he was dealing with, he started to feel like “The Doctor” not just some guy playing a being The Doctor. The rest of the episode was filled with explosions, gun fighting, Haemovores soul-sucking, more doe eyes from Ace, chemical weapons, a game of traps, Audrey is really Ace’s mother and my favorite “see you in HELLLLL!” I did not like Ace and McCoy as The Doctor at the beginning of this episode. By the end of ‘Curse of Fenric’, both of them turned me around and it felt like they both belonged in the Whoverse. I think the story-telling and yes, even the acting contributed to taking me from hate to great in the span of 75 minutes.
1989 Sylvester McCoy ♦§♛ The Curse of Fenric (★★★★ – 5/31/2011 ❤)
Season 26, Episodes 8 – 11
Cat’s Doctor Who Watchlist