A Special Look at: The Lazarus Experiment

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The Lazarus Experiment is yet another great episode I have come to adore. According to the IGN review:

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At the end of the day, the driving force behind the entire history of Doctor Who is the “hide behind the couch” monster that The Doctor and his companions face. Aliens, mutants, robots, and the occasional “might actually be The Devil” beasties have scarred many a young fan of the series. This episode does not have aims much loftier than “give the Doctor and Martha a big bad monster to face” – and to that end it does its job quite well.

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The enemy, in the form of an arachnid (didn’t we just see one of these recently?) mutant mad scientist named Dr. Lazarus, is one of the better critters cooked up in this reinvention of the series. While the effects are still not quite up to par with something you’d see on American television, they are quite effective. To be fair, I can’t think of a single show on American television that tries to pull off anything as elaborate or as outlandish as the monsters, aliens and environments you see in Doctor Who on a regular basis.

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There is a general undercurrent of “science run amok” and a tossed away question of “what it means to be human” but for the most part this is about getting away from and then killing this monster. The Doctor has a classic action movie moment where he uses gas in a lab to try and blow up Lazarus, jumping away as the explosion goes up in a ball of fire. The pursuit is fun, with Lazarus leaping onto railings and skittering up and down walls in a generally creepy way. And spiders with faces is just wrong – like monkeys with sweaters wrong (anyone who thinks monkeys wearing clothing is cute is both wrong and creepy).

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It was also only a matter of time before Martha’s family started to play a role in the series. Since Rose’s entire family (and Mickey) ended up involved in so many of their adventures, he really couldn’t keep Martha’s kin at bay. And it doesn’t help that a stranger whispers things into Martha’s mother’s ear, telling her just how dangerous The Doctor really is. This results in The Doctor being slapped, and proclaiming “Again with the mothers! It’s always the mothers!”

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Martha once again proves she’s willing to throw herself into the action, refusing to abandon The Doctor when he’s alone with Lazarus. For the final battle, her sister joins in and the two of them manage to lure Lazarus into a church where the Doctor brings him down with ultrasonic organ music in a gothically inspired sequence. It was predictable that The Doctor would change his mind and decide to bring Martha along for more adventures, but it’s still fairly clear that she wants to be more than she is in his eyes. It’s fun to watch this relationship develop and gradually change, and makes it somewhat less painful that Rose isn’t around anymore.

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One thought on “A Special Look at: The Lazarus Experiment

  1. Pingback: The Best and Worst of Doctor Who: Series 9 | The Progressive Democrat

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