Published on October 5th, 2011 | by Scott Varnham
Death Is The Only Answer Reviewed!
The citizens of Great Britain may have been too busy mourning the demise of Doctor Who Confidential to really pay any attention yesterday’s culmination of the running “Script To Screen” segment. Death Is The Only Answer, a script written by four schoolchildren, aired as part of last Saturday’s episode “When Time Froze”.
Regular readers of Kasterborous may recall our various articles about this episode (including one where this very writer cocked it up big time, necessitating a rewrite), so it’s nice to finally see the episode we were waiting for. And if I had to pick one word to describe it, that word would be ‘weird’.
The episode’s roots are kind of obvious when you think about it, with Einstein (former Sheriff of Nottingham Nikolas Grace) being a universally recognised historical figure with wacky hair, the Ood being one of the most popular monsters to children nowadays (not to mention you can just slap a guy into a suit) and the fact that if they’d written the Weeping Angel (as I initially predicted) appearing in the TARDIS, that’s a situation that’s hard to write yourself out of. And Einstein turning into an Ood is just the sort of deliciously bonkers idea that young Doctor Who fans should come up with. Naturally it doesn’t make any narrative sense, but then the whole thing is only four minutes long…
(There may be some serious fans who will no doubt worry about where this fits into the Doctor’s timeline and how canonical it is; ultimately it makes more sense than the acid trip of Dimensions in Time.)
While the Einstein into Ood thing made little sense (as we saw in Planet Of The Ood, the last time we saw a change like that it happened gradually) I’m willing to allow it for the sake of these clearly passionate young writers. One thing that did bug me was in the editing of the episode, where a mysterious piece of music is interrupted by a triumphant one, with no apparent purpose other than to end the episode on a relatively happy note.
I also feel that the episode would’ve been better served if it hadn’t aired as part of a Confidential episode that was about the series finale and I hope that whatever response this episode receives won’t stop the BBC from running any similar competitions in the future (perhaps to older writers this time, hint), perhaps in a new series of Confidential (that’s another hint, BBC).
In any case, the entire thing is available here if you want to watch it and judge for yourself how well it turned out, although you might prefer to simply check the screen captures…