The Big-Bang Teary

It’s episode 2, it’s a historical, and it has a big SFX finale. Sound familiar? It’s no lie to say that The Fires of Pompeii follows the tried and true formula of previous seasons, but happily manages to mine deeper and darker than romps around Scottish castles and the Globe Theatre.

The episode started a little like it was heading down an Up Pompeii route, with our ‘oh so very modern’ family discussing modern art and teenage hangovers. Luckily, no phallic vegetables presented themselves, and just as it was about to get all ‘Ancient Sexy Money’ on us, the early fluffy tone came crashing down with soothsayer prophecies of returning women and things on backs. Obviously another nod to the series arc, and of the return of Rose, but ‘something on your back’? The fanboy in me automatically thought ‘Metebelis Spiders!’, but then I had a lie down and dismissed it. A great scene though – unsettling, ominous and just what was required to really get the episode started.


The journey however wasn’t without bumps – this episode is filled with characters, so many in fact that a fair few of them get next to no screen time (particularly the members of the sisterhood, and the son and daughter). The plot also feels rushed in parts, the alien threat playing second fiddle to the moral dilemma present throughout. Still, it makes a nice change not for it to be all about the monsters, and I’ll forgive any episode that references a story 44 years previous.


Tennant was his usual good self (downplaying more than usual, even when paired with a water pistol and lava puns), and Catherine Tate built on a good start, though with not really much to do except run. That said, her role as the Doctor’s conscience is a great place for her character to be, and the ending with the Doctor admitting that he needed her was really quite lovely. Good to see some good emotional range from Tate as well, proving through a teary moment that she’s more than just an loud amusement. Donna crying in episode 2… who’d have picked it?


Kudos too for the art direction and visual effects. The location filming on the Rome sets really gives the episode space and an excellent sense of realism, and the mountain and subsequent eruption thereof were stunning. The rock monsters are also beautifully rendered (looking very Balrog-esque, and every bit as good), and from a make-up perspective, the leader of the sisterhood is absolutely brilliant and quite terrifying.


This series really does seem different to the previous 3 – I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, but it just seems more… adult. Which is ironic, given fat monsters and the appearance of Tate, but there does seem to be a much darker undercurrent with the series so far compared to what I think we’ve seen before. If it keeps going this way, then I cannot think what the finale is going to be like. Dark as hell hopefully.

So we’re two down, both with good pass marks, and with next week looking Ood-tastic.  


3 Responses to “The Big-Bang Teary”

  1. Peter A Says:

    ‘Still, it makes a nice change not for it to be all about the monsters, and I’ll forgive any episode that references a story 44 years previous.’

    My, how we’ve all changed since ‘Attack of the Cybermen’, eh? :)

  2. the_other_dave Says:

    “something on your back”? The fanboy in me automatically thought ‘Metebelis Spiders!’,

    Oddly I thought Racknoss spiders….

    As long as it isn’t a tatoo with “bad Wolf” on it…

  3. Peter A Says:

    As long as it’s not a tattoo of a snake. On her arm. Yeth.

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