Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chronic Conflict XI: Get Over It Already!

[The main cast are sitting in rehearsals, flipping through scripts. A4 pages lie everywhere, crumpled pages overflowing from waste paper bins.]

Doctor: So. If we cut out all the moralistic speeching, the self-pitying monologues, the sexual political discussion and stick only the really important plot points, what will actually happen in this episode?

[Everyone starts tearing pages out of their scripts.]

Doctor: Come on, there's got to be something about the Time War! Surely!

Narvin: Um... there's bit here where you spit on the Dalek Supreme.

Doctor: Let me guess, the Dalek Supreme winds me up, I bite, she threatens to kill me afterwards? These are more predictable than Little Britain punchlines! Is there an action scene?

Charley: You listen to some records off the author's iPod playlist...

Doctor: Keep looking!

Romana: And then you read out really lengthy and verbose entries from your 500 year diary reflecting the author's belief everything went wrong with JNT.

Doctor: For fuck's sake!

Susan: Apparently you're "a little touched by the poignance of the writing."

Doctor: It's "poignancy", r-tard! And there's no such word as "inedgible". God damn it, I never used to require all these emotional pep talks - I used to be able to do stuff and I had more interests than sitting around wallowing in nostalgia.

Susan: Don't blame me, Grandfather. I didn't write this. You think I'd be so bloody passive in this plot if the writer had listened to Lucie Miller/To the Death. Now that, that actually was a story worth telling.

Doctor: Look, find the first bit of the script where the plot actually progresses from where we were in the last episode.

Dalek 3: Why do we get all the hard stuff to do?

Romana: Um... Oooh! Look, a bit where I beg the Monan Host to help me!

Monk: Didn't we already do that one?

Romana: No, it's a completely different scene! Well, apart from them telling me the Time Lords can go fuck themselves and they're not helping. Just like last time.

Doctor: We'll skip it.

Romana: But this time I'm asking for people to take the Sisters off our hands but oddly enough their bitch factor means no one else in the entire universe wants to put up with them.

Doctor: Yeah, I think that was already implied. Skip it.

Monk: You know, TARDISes can travel in time. We could dump them on Karn in the past...

Selestru: Nope, apparently that won't work. Neither will dumping them on Jago and Litefoot.

Davros: Good. I like them. They don't deserve those daft bints.

Reldaf: But it turns out there's an anti-Dalek conflict in the Cyclops Nebula!

Susan: Are we invited?

Reldaf: No. Apparently it's on Archetryx.

Monan Host: So it'd basically just be a remake of The Apocalypse Element again?

Reldaf: Pretty much. Actually this is practically a sequel... there's a mention of it on every page, you read a diary entry about it calling it "vivid, unrelenting furious midnight vitriol so palpable it makes you internally quake a little, even now."

Drax: That's a minority view.

Rani: In fact, that whole thing about exterminating the slaves is basically them torching Seriphia again? The bluff calling, the mindless slaughter...

Samara: Rani, please, if we look for originality as well as something not being introspective wank we're going to be here for months!

Selestru: It says here that "the breakdown of human society right now is inevitable. When humans endure hopeless times for long enough they have a terrible tendency to turn on each other like Russian dogs." So saving the human race from the Daleks was a total waste of time. Wonderful. Why are we even bothering?

Drax: Russian dogs? That sounds pretty racist.

Nebrin: Hang on! There's something, 587 pages in...

Doctor: Yes! An actual plot development! What is it?

Nebrin: Wait, false alarm.

[Everyone sighs.]

Nebrin: Yeah, you dropped the sisters back on Karn but they changed their mind for some reason. You also took time out to read 226 pages of The Brothers Karamazov.

Keelia: And apparently the Rani really likes Avril Lavigne's "Bad Reputation."

Rani: [incredulous] Who writes this drivel?

Dalek 2: Hang on, you get attacked by a Weeping Angel... no, wait, you don't. Just grabs your ankle but you escape easily.

Monk: And apparently the pilot fish are going to turn up at some point. Off-screen. Five days in the future.

Charley: And the Sisters want to heal the Dalek Supreme with homeopathic medicine.

Narvin: Of course there's another thirty pages of arguing to get through before they do.

Davros: That's pretty much the best on offer.

[Dalek cell. The Doctor zaps the Dalek Supreme with the sonic screwdriver. The lid pops open and the Sisters empty a kettle inside, then add some onions, celery and some garlic cloves.]

Dalek Supreme: How is this going to help me again?

Keelia: Let us cushion your pain with Pythia’s love.

Dalek Supreme: Do you have any medical qualifications whatsoever?

Mescaline: Hang on, this ceremony is just a recipe for gazpacho soup!

Samara: Whoops. We always get those two mixed up.

[Romana storms in waving a script.]

Romana: Look at this, the last line is "And with that Romana turned about and strided out in a tizzy." Strided? STRIDED?!

Doctor: There's nothing else for it. We'll have to skip to the next episode.

- to be continued in Chronic Conflict XII: No Guarantee Of Quality

Chronic Conflict X: Give Me Strength!

Dalek 4: Well, Emperor, it seems that not a single Time Lord has left the HADS switched on so we're blowing them up like pez and cola in a pig stomach. Damn, how did they ever manage to become a super power? Zarbi put up more of a fight!

Emperor Dalek: Right, prepare to nuke Karn! We don't want any of those Weeping Angels attacking us even though we don't actually blink and thus are completely the natural enemy of the Weeping Angels!

Dalek 4: I'm sure Karn is there in the New Series.

Emperor Dalek: So is Skaro, let the fans sort it out.

[The Dalek fleet opens fire on the planet Karn, carpet bombing it.]

[In practical terms this means there are some fireworks going off in a quarry as the Master runs to his TARDIS which looks like a police box due to budget restraints. Suddenly he is rugby-tackled by Broton.]

Broton: Hah! You didn't see that one coming, did you?

[The Master looks up and sees a Weeping Angel right behind Broton.]

Master: Funny you should say that, sweetheart.

[The Master closes his eyes, gets up and runs into the TARDIS and Broton lets out hideous screams as the Weeping Angel does ANOTHER Octavian headlock.]

Broton: You can't do this me! I have a Wheetabix Character Card, dammit! Argh!

[Up on a hill. The Doctor wakes from his doze and checks his watch.]

Doctor: Holy crap, I'm going to miss that repeat of Warriors of the Deep! I must away!

[He runs into the TARDIS and takes off.]

[The Panopticon. Romana and Samara are standing around idly.]

Romana: So... we sent in 427 bowships and now we only have 119 and the Daleks can now turn that whole solar system into a Russell T Davies dues ex machina gravity engine instead of something original? Thank goodness I have high esteem because I truly suck at leading any kind of military conflict... No, wait, if I send all the survivors in an ill-equipped suicide mission I'm sure we'll turn the conflict our way! That'd work, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Samara: Somehow I don't think the storyline is interested in your character arc.

Romana: What would you know? This is an epic dramatization of the Last Great Time War! Just because absolutely no time travel has occurred and it's just been a collage of Daleks exterminating people while I agonize over the moral dimension...

Samara: Nope, only Weeping Angels and sexual politics matter now.

Romana: Oh well, hopefully that should provide some padding.

[Drax hobbles in.]

Drax: Wow, you're a real fox, you are. Stunning young bird!

Romana: That's the sophistication on offer, Samara. Take it or leave it.

Drax: You fancy a little boom-shaka-laka-boom-shaka-laka?

Samara: Um, sorry. I'm busy.

Drax: Washing your hair?

Samara: Actually, there's a Weeping Angel inside my brain.

[The TARDIS materializes.]

Doctor: Never fear! I watched Flesh and Stone on iPlayer! I know how to sort this out!

[What follows is that whole countdown, blink dream bollocks. Life's too short.]

Narvin: Well, there's the rest of the episode buggered.

Romana: Unless...

Narvin: What?

Romana: Unless we just synch up all the characters with their post-Time-War fates right now instead of waiting till further installments?

Narvin: [shrugs] Well, it's better than The Weeping Angel's Greatest Hits.

Romana: Right. Who's first on the list?

[Cut to the Master taking off from Karn.]

Master: It appears the Daleks have taken the Cruciform, and I am very scared. I better chameleon arch myself to human and flee to the end of the universe. Hang about, I still look like that bald bloke from the Thick of It. I can't flee until I look like Sir De'ek himself! How am I going to do that?

[Leela drops onto his back and stabs him repeatedly. He screams]

Master: FML! First Susan, then Ace, now Leela! When will I learn only empowered young women can trigger my regenerations?

Leela: Got you! At last I got you! I've been stabbing thin air in this TARDIS for hours! You are done for! Enjoy your death fiend, as I enjoyed killing you!

Master: [groans] Oh, you want to recycle dialogue, do you? Well... HERE COME THE DRUMS!

[The Master regenerates and grabs Leela, and she blazes with energy as well. Then the Master transforms into his Derek Jacobi body and Leela stumbles away.]

New Master: Hahah, savage! Now you a simultaneous biological metacrisis and your brain will explode...

[Leela picks up a knife and attacks him.]

New Master: Or your eyes will heal and you'll try to murder me again. Six of one, half a dozen of the others!

Leela: I can still, mofo! And I shall cut through all your lives!

[She stabs him, but he glows and keeps the face.]

New Master: Fifteen hour rule, bitch!

[He picks up a time ring and shoves it on her wrist.]

New Master: Say hello to the Z'nai, Mrs. Tarzan!

[Leela fades away.]

[Leela reappears in an alien ocean and swims to shore for no other reason than it gets her leather bikini all clingy and wet and see through. As she crashes to the shore, she is surrounded by cheap knock-offs of the Sontarans.]

Leela: Oh, nadgers! [brightly] Tune in to The Catalyst by Nigel Fairs to see what happens next to me, or just check out my entry on TardisWiki!

[Back on Gallifrey, Romana crosses a name off a list.]

Romana: Right, that's Leela. Onto the Master.

[In his TARDIS, the New Master freaks.]

New Master: Oh no! I forgot TARDISes can be controlled by remote! Luckily, if I travel to the end of the universe I will be out of their reach. Of course I will be trapped facing an inevitable apocalypse, but I'm sure something will work out.

[He picks up a chameleon arch.]

New Master: Oooh, I should like a hat like that...

[He accidentally switches it on and convulses in agony.]

Narvin: He's escaped to the end of the universe and turned himself human!

Romana: Then we set his TARDIS to collapse around him, that should work.

[In his TARDIS, the New Master has become Yana due to Jacobi's terrifying acting talent. No, I'm not being sarcastic.]

Yana: Gosh. I have no idea who I am, what I'm doing here or why I'm wearing this stupid hat. Dear me, I'll just tell everyone I'm a refugee and hope they don't ask questions, that should sort everything. Hang on? Is it me or are the walls closing in?

New Master: Get out! Make for the doors you human fool! Run!

Yana: Whoa. My fobwatch is talking to me. I must be a total stoner.

[Yana grabs the watch and runs out into a withered purple forest out of the TARDIS which collapses into nothingness.]

Yana: Well, looks like I'm screwed. [brightly] Tune in to Utopia by Russell T Davies to see what happens next to me, or just log onto bbc.co.uk/doctorwho.

[Back on Gallifrey, Romana crosses another name off the list.]

Romana: OK... next up, the Emperor of the Daleks.

[The Dalek flagship descends towards Karn.]

Dalek 4: You know, it strikes me that if there IS a remote stellar manipulator on Karn, maybe firing thermonuclear warheads at the planet could be a bad idea.

Emperor Dalek: Pfft! Name time I've ever been wrong?

Dalek 4: Um, well, the first two series of Dalek Empire, plus The Mutant Phase, Time of the Daleks, The Genocide Machine, The Apocalypse Element...

Emperor Dalek: Exactly. Statistically speaking, I must be right this time.

[There is a massive explosion on Karn and a torrent of fire shoots up into space and engulfs the Emperor's flagship.]

[Deep space. The burning flagship appears. The Emperor Dalek is the only survivor.]

Emperor Dalek: Wooo... Oh yeah! That was a hoot! I must be god! [brightly] Tune in to The Parting of the Ways by Russell T Davies to see what happens next to me, and be a devil and just get the Season One box set. God says so! Whee...


Romana: Right, the Weeping Angels!

[A Weeping Angel sinks into lava like the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.]

Samara: Oh alas. All that remains of the Sisterhood of Karn are us, the stereotypical maiden, mother and crone! I really hope Steven Moffat comes to our aide...

Doctor: Right, so I've effortlessly defeated the Weeping Angels. I really hope I don't forget that useful bit of information.

[Samara kisses him passionately.]

Doctor: Ugh! No, please, we established I'm assexual and aloof! Do you want the cliquey bunny-boiler losers to win? I mean, I'm 900 years old with a granddaughter and a string of blonde bimbos screaming for my underwear! Actually I'm confused - am I against this or not?

[The Doctor gets out his script.]

Doctor: Wow. There is a lot of this devoted to my emotional immaturity and sexual neurosis which curiously enough suggest the author ain't getting any.

[He throws the whole thing in the bin.]

Doctor: OK, Samara, let's try the zero-g karma sutra!

Narvin: But... but... we don't have any plot left for this episode! All the stuff about you being all shy and prepubescent and then torturing Drax by telling him the Divergent Universe story arc until he begged for death, or us wondering what happened to Leela... you've cut the fat so much there's nothing left!

Doctor: I'm sure Davros will provide some quality thought-provoking dialogue.

[Cut to Davros shouting and frothing at the mouth.]

Davros: All Dalek units! Listen to me! Your Emperor is dead! Your Dalek Supreme remains a prisoner of the accursed Time Lords! Now authority falls firmly to me. It is in your very command protocols to follow my orders!

Dalek 5: Based on past performance, you won't last one battle with the enemy.

Davros: I am your leader now! I command you all! You will all obey my will! I am your creator! Your master! It is of no matter you cringing fools! The Doctor will learn to bitterly regret the day he ever crossed me!

Dalek 5: He's still got his eyes, both arms and his legs so he's still doing pretty well.

[Cut back to the Panopticon.]

Doctor: Hrm. Disappointing.

Romana: I know! Maybe the Sisters can overhear the bits of Susan Mendes' mind inside the Supreme Dalek and get into a transparent metaphor for women's rights, asylum seekers and of course Dave Sims' nervous breakdown.

Narvin: Well, er, we better lock them up then.

[The Doctor goes rigid.]

Doctor: No! We should let these refugees undermine both the war effort and security! You should let me win their hearts and minds

Samara: Yes! That Dalek in the cell is being mistrated! It is in pain, crying out for mercy which we Sisters - you know, the mass-murdering serial killers into human sacrifice - must provide! Men cannot tolerate pain!

Drax: But if women can and the Dalek is a woman, why are you fussed?

Samara: SHUT UP! Just because you saved all our lives because we were too stupid and stubborn to do it ourselves three times in a row doesn't mean we have to listen to your sensible and coherent arguments!

Doctor: Oh, fine, let them in. I'm just bored even thinking about arguing with them.

[Narvin weeps and tears more pages out of the script.]

Narvin: God, at this rate we'll be improving by the end of the episode.

[The Sisterhood of Karn enter the Dalek Supreme Cell.]

Samara: We must help this creature.

Dalek Supreme: Help – me! Help - me! I am so pathetic and helpless!

Keelia: Yes. You might have murdered our people, but at least you're not a man!

Mescaline: Yeah, men are cruel!

Samara: Not like us! That's why we burn them at the stake!

Keelia: Yeah, they're not malicious at all and they purify the soul!

Samara: I bet you've been interrogating it to find out who the traitor is! Typical of your self-interested species. In our culture, every sister is loyal to our coven. We do not have treachery or corruption. It is not our way because we respect what we have together.

Doctor: Apart from that sister who betrayed you to Morbius.

Samara: Yeah, and he was a man. So we win the argument. Oh how can we live in a male society like this who treat women so badly!

Doctor: You don't have to.

Samara: But if we did that we wouldn't have anything to complain about!

[Canned audience laughter.]

- to be continued in Chronic Conflict XI: Get Over It Already!