"Don't you ever change?!"I didn't get to see much of Season 3 (or Season 29, depending on how we're counting it) of Doctor Who, apart from its premiere episode, and the ending triptych of episodes that saw the return of the Master. Catching-up is on my short list of things to do, especially the three-part story about the Daleks. Meanwhile, Season 4 of the revived Doctor Who series began this past weekend. Many thanks to our Brittish brethren across the pond for putting it on the torrents for download...
"Just like old times!"
"That's him! That's him! YEEEEEHAAAAA!! That's him!"
So I just got finished watching "Partners in Crime" and if this is any indication then Season 4 is bound for greatness, because this was the absolutely best season premiere yet of Doctor Who's new run. "Partners in Crime" has the Doctor (David Tennant) investigating Adipose Industries: supposedly a pharmaceutical firm that is marketing a revolutionary diet drug. But the Doctor isn't the only one trying to get behind Adipose: Donna Noble (once again played by Catherine Tate) from the 2006 Doctor Who Christmas special is also lurking around. We find out later on that ever since the events of "The Runaway Bride" that Donna has been out looking for trouble... because wherever trouble is, the Doctor is sure to follow.
I thought this episode was the perfect mixture of classic Doctor Who sci-fi, horror, and slapstick comedy. So far as the humor goes it works much better than what happened in the abominable "Love & Monsters" from two seasons ago. The scene where the Doctor and Donna finally discover each other is extremely fun to watch. The one thing that kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the Adipose themselves: yech! Talk about your fat babies! Then I think about "Love & Monsters", and realize it could have been much worse...
There is a lot of reference to previous Doctor Who episodes in "Partners in Crime", but it's never so much that a newcomer to the show could watch this one and feel lost or confused. For the most part anyway. Because there is a moment toward the end of "Partners in Crime" - if you've been watching this show you'll know it when you see it - that dropped my jaw right on the desk and made me holler "What the...?!" loud enough for my wife to hear two rooms away. Let me just say: a very familiar and much-beloved face appears right after Donna goes running off to join the Doctor. And it's enough to wonderfully tantalize about whatever is in store for this new season of Doctor Who.
I'll give "Partners in Crime" 3 and 1/2 Sonic Screwdrivers out of 5. Next week: the Doctor and Donna in Pompeii, on a certain day in 79 A.D.
EDIT 10:10 p.m.: I forgot to mention, there is a new orchestral score for the main Doctor Who theme in this episode! Sounds very good. It reminds me a lot of the one from the 1996 Doctor Who television movie.