But Torchwood will be first.
Non-spoilery comments: Honestly, this episode was really quite meh, except for the bits that were extremely non-meh, if that makes sense. The good stuff was utterly stunning, and I look forward to seeing where we go from here, but it felt oddly detached from most of the episode, which was... less good.
To point out the bloody obvious, the good is, of course, Tosh and Owen's death, and then the fallout with the others. I'll admit I cried - several times - and despite the fact, to be honest I don't care all that much for Tosh
Though that is possible down to the utterly tragic goodbye video. Wonder if the reason Owen didn't get a big goodbye or anything was due to already getting it in his zombification arc, or what?
On that note, I'd like to second what I've seen a few others say: Though I have no problems whatsoever with seeing Tosh or Owen again in flashbacks or so on, please don't resurrect them. Their death's hurt, they meant something, and bringing them back would cheapen that and turn it into just some cheap ratings ploy.
As for the replacements: I'd say Martha is pretty much a given, and if the rumour about Mickey being as well I would squee so very much, since that's my two fave companions on a show together (with Jack!). I'm not entirely certain how much I believe that, though, since it's entirely based on the characters walking away together during filming, which strikes me as lousy evidence.
On the rest of the episode, it was, well, meh. Which is bad given this what the season arc has been building to. But it was just... there. Gray was dull (which is pretty much a complete failure in a Big Bad), Captain John wasn't nearly as much fun, the random explosions and monsters seemed incoherant and not well tied into the plot, and we never really got to feel the horror of the buried alive schtick. John Barrowman was surprisingly good, given I've always found him to be probably the weak link in acting in Torchwood (but he's fine in Doctor Who. Weird).
Just... yeah. It should have been big and dramatic and emotional, and it failed, except for with Tosh and Owen. *sigh* It's a pity, really.
And, onto Doctor Who, which was rather better - or at least more consistant.
Partners in Crime probably fits in my rankings of New Who season openers as second, but a not too distant second. (Smith and Jones is first, 'cos I loved it; whereas I found Rose boring and though I found New Earth entertaining at the time, it's rather painful to rewatch)
Donna seems rather more toned down - or at least more like the second half of her first episode, which is of the good. Still pushy and says what she thinks, but likable, and not at all shouty or a joke character. (Except with her mother. For some reason, those scenes didn't work for me, and I felt like Tate was doing the comedy skit acting there)
The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the fact she seemed inching towards just a little too hung up on the Doctor. I mean, it was fun when played for laughs (ala the bags scene), but not looking for a job, just hunting weird shit because the Doctor might be there, going on about how even seeing the world is dull in comparison? (She had a point in the over-touristy stuff, but wilderness/nature tours do exist, you know...)
Yes, travelling with the Doctor is awesome and wonderful and shiny and all that. But life on Earth doesn't have to be crap just because of this - To quote the SJA, "Life on Earth can be an adventure, too". To use my pet phrase, there's extraordinary in the ordinary, you just have to look for it. Small beautiful things, you know? Seriously, even Torchwood started with the life on Earth can be wonderful stuff in S2, and when even Torchwood is more positive about human existance... It just rubs me wrong that this makes two out of three lead companions explicitely being all "life on Earth is crappy."
Oh, and while we are being Donna related, her Granddad is adorable. I've no real opinion on her mother, but I do wonder what the official retcon will be for the disappearance of Donna's Dad (due to the actor's unfortunate death)
Onto our other lead: The Doctor.
On good form, for the most part I felt - he was cheery enough when busy, but obviously hurting when stopping to think for a minute. Terribly, terribly lonely it was obvious (honestly, I think this episode had one of the best subtle indications of loneliness from Ten we've gotten so far. S2 a lot of mention was made of it, but it wasn't seen so much, and for all the stupid fics about how Martha didn't make him happy like Rose did, he seemed for the most part happy and all when she was around, excluding Pasted On Yaye Rose Angst. Or when the Master showed up. I'm hoping having someone around helps get back that way). Wonder how long it has been for him since Titanic and Astrid?
The other thing was his, well, restraint. Even Donna pointed out he has changed for the better - anyone who claims Martha didn't help gets bullshit called on them. He was also far, far less overt in trying to get Donna on the TARDIS, after the whole alley seductions Rose and Martha got. He wants the company, but is really holding back about it
Actually, now seems a good time to bring it up: The Martha references.
Going by the Torchwood episodes, the way S2 of Torchwood changed, and these, it's pretty obvious that for all his denial, RTD does listen in to fandom, and try to fix things that people have issues with.
So: Acknowledgment that the Doctor thinks Martha is brilliant, check. The Doctor being aware he badly messed up her life, check. Acknowledgment (from Donna), that Martha did change the Doctor for the better, check. Awareness of her feelings, about damned time. And ackowledging how the Doctor played a major role in screwing up their relationship, check. Guess he listened to that goodbye speech. The fact he's so reluctant to pressure Donna into going... there's some serious guilt going on there. Seeing Martha again (and being as awesome as always in UNIT) will obviously lighten that load. But it's good to see him squirm for a bit.
...Say, I wonder how much of the guilt is down to the fact that all his recent reunions with companions have all had them in less than happy conditions? Sarah Jane, having felt abandoned and missed out on experiences to lack of closure. Rose crying on a beach, Donna obsessing about seeing him again. I'd like to see him a little miffed to come across Martha and see her going fine on her own.
Oh, and just because I can't leave it alone: For someone who supposedly didn't requite Martha's love, he really seemed terribly smug with the fact she fancied him. (Donna's reaction to this was amusing as she poked fun at him. Though I'm going to be pissed if people take the lines out of context and make it sound like Donna is bashing Martha).
All in all, that's about two more mentions than I expected in this episode, and a hell of a lot more content. I was expecting it'd only be when they met up again we'd see the Doctor acknowledging he'd wronged Martha.
And onto other stuff:
I think my main issues with this episode came down to these few things.
1, that the death of Ms Foster/Matron/whatever, was cartoony beyond words, and to the point of silliness.
2, that the way the Adipose separated from the humans didn't make the faintest amount of sense - how does fat form a solid body, and then separate without breaking human skin. Yeah, it couldn't be all bloody and gorey, but still...
3, the CGI on the Adipose was a bit too cartoony.
I cannot criticise the Adipose themselves, though, as they are the cutest things ever. I want one as a pet.
And finally (and inevitably, I suppose), on the Unexpected Rose appearance.
I have been, though not actually looking forward to it, resigned to Rose's appearance, and hopeful that this time we'll actually get to see her walk away with a bit of dignity and maturity.
That being the case, after getting over the initial DO NOT WANT reaction, the scene itself worked fine for me, being what it was (the mini-teaser into the finale plot ala Saxon, I assume) Not entirely sure what was going on with Rose there, honestly: She looked like she was about to cry
No, my main problem with this scene is the shadow it's casting, on the show itself (It was bad enough with the Doctor forcing Martha into Rose's shadow. Having the show push Donna into it - on her big series debut, no less - is rather cruel) and fandom. I think the stuff showing up online gives a pretty good indication of what I mean, what with the way people are focusing on a couple of freaking seconds to the exclusion of everything else. And I don't think I can stand spending the next couple of months being all about people asking if Rose is in this one, how the episode sucked because there was no Rose cameo, blah blah blah. Donna's not even my favourite character, and it already irks me to see her ignored in favour of Rose
So, that would be that. The plot was rather silly, if fun, but the character stuff was good. Onto Pompeii!
Oh, and a couple of bits that aren't episodes reactions, but just interesting Whoniverse interview quotes.
DT: Everybody is desperate for all the assistants to start fighting each other, some kind of mud bath with Freema and Billie and Catherine in it - it's not gonna happen! The Doctor picks the cream of Earth's crop, so these are fine human beings! Can you imagine if I had a favourite?! I love them all in their own unique, special, idiosyncratic ways.
Interviewer: I bet you do have a favourite...
DT: D'you know, I don't think I do. I love them all.
- David Tennant on some radio interview.
The moment in which David Tennant was declared patron saint of loves_them_all. Nice to have the Doctor onside.
"The main distinction between her and the majority of other companions is that she's a grown-up. Some of the Doctor's show-off technique, which he has honed on the young and impressionable girls that he likes to pick up, won't work so well on a fully grown woman. I think she's equally gobsmacked by the universe and the marvels that she sees, but she's maybe not always quite as gobsmacked by the Doctor, who can at times seem to be, to any adult, a bit of a prat".
- Steven Moffat on Donna and the Doctor in DWM.
You know, for all Moffat has his issues with women and all, I think he really is dead on when it comes to the Doctor's character. Which gives us Moffat onside the whole slutboi alien tease thing, as well. And acknowledging the prattishness, too - the Doctor isn't necessarily a nice guy.