Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sarah Jane, Standing Great And Tall

ELISABETH SLADEN
1946-2011

Cancer did what the Sontarans, Cybermen and Daleks could never do: take our beloved Sarah Jane.  Less than a couple of months after the death of The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) comes the news of the death of Elisabeth Sladen, better known to Doctor Who fans as Companion Sarah Jane Smith.  It's even more shocking when you consider that at 65 she was still rather young, which makes the news all the more sad.  Sladen and Sarah Jane had some firsts and onlys:
  • She was the first Companion to ever be in a Doctor Who spin-off (K-9 and Company)
  • She was the first and only Companion to have more than one spin-off built around her (the aforementioned K-9 & Company and The Sarah Jane Adventures)
  • She was the first and (at the time of her death) only Companion from the classic series to guest star in the revived series
  • She was the only Companion to have had The Doctor guest star on HER program 
It's interesting that Sladen's tenure as Sarah Jane Smith was actually longer than some of the Doctors.  Starting in 1973 in The Time Warrior with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, she stayed on through the end of his time and went on to work with Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor, leaving in 1976 at the end of The Hand of Fear.  In an interesting bit of history, Sladen has the honor of being the Companion to have worked with the most Doctors as a Companion from both the classic and revived series: a total of Four Doctors (Pertwee, Baker, David Tennant, and Matt Smith), that is if you don't count her appearance in The Five Doctors, which would bump her Doctor Count to seven.  (Side note: in The Five Doctors, how could you NOT have had an anniversary special without Sarah Jane Smith?  Sadly, she will not be here for the 50th Anniversary in 2013.  Breaks my heart). 

As stated, Sladen is the only (so far) Companion to have returned to Doctor Who itself after the show's revival.  It would make sense since her job as an investigative journalist would put her in a position to uncover secrets.  In fact, her character Sarah Jane Smith was something quite different when she came on the scene.  The intent was to make this Companion stronger, less of a screamer.  Sarah Jane is very open about being a feminist, a person who won't stand by helplessly as previous Companions might have.  In The Time Warrior, if memory serves correct, she seems rather appalled at how the characters, particularly the women, appear to not take stands against the Sontarans.  Sarah Jane was different than previous Companions in that she wasn't going to be patronized by The Doctor.  The fact that he was a male was not a reason to be talked down to or put aside 'for her own protection'.  In later years Sladen may have thought her character was very 'cardboard', but I never got that impression when she was performing.  I got Sarah Jane's intelligence, strength, and warmth both in the classic and revived series, and it's a credit to her acting ability that those qualities came through even when the scripts didn't quite measure up or when she was placed in ridiculous situations (prime example, her 'rescue' from a gentle slope as writer Terrance Dicks put it in The Five Doctors--not to mention her terrible costume in the same episode). 

In a Doctor Who Magazine poll in 2009, Sarah Jane Smith was voted Favourite Companion, and it is an interesting result given how vast the history of the show is.  She was the clear winner with 22.51%, putting her 7% higher than the second choice (Donna Noble, Companion to the Tenth Doctor--I personally feel that Catherine Tate's second-place win was due more to the fact that she was THE Companion at the time of the polling than to her overall effectiveness as a Companion, so she may have been better remembered, but I digress).   It wasn't as if she didn't have some stiff competition: some of the Doctor's Companions have been simply wonderful: from Jamie McCrimmon to Jo Grant to Leela and both Romanas right down to Ace and Rose Tyler, there have been some truly brilliant characters that were not alien.

Still, why was it that Sarah Jane Smith, a character that had not appeared on Doctor Who since 1976 (barring The Five Doctors and Dimensions in Time) and that many of the revived Doctor Who viewers were not even alive to have seen her on the show, ended up the winner?  I think that it was because Sarah Jane Smith was a perfect combination of strength and vulnerability.  She was tough, she was fearless, but she also knew the dangers involved.  Someone like Jamie or Leela would go rushing into a fight, while other Companions like Susan Foreman or Peri would be more wary.  Sarah Jane could do it, and do it well, but she wasn't belligerent.  Sarah Jane knew enough to understand fighting was necessary, but that there was a cost to it.

Also, there was something likeable about Sarah Jane Smith and Elisabeth Sladen.  I'll say it if no one else will: she was pretty, and she had a genuine sweetness to her.  However, there was more: we saw a caring nature to Sarah Jane, both for The Doctor and her own adopted family on The Sarah Jane Adventures.   The genuine affection she had came through, and I think that was the case not just for Sarah Jane Smith but for Elisabeth Sladen.  There didn't seem to be a drop of maliciousness in her.  She seems a likeable person, witty, pretty, and highly intelligent.   

It is difficult to identify with some Companions: the aristocratic Romana or the aggressive Leela or the Queen of Scream Mel Bush for example.  There was never that problem with Sarah Jane; she was someone we could relate to: a mix of fighter and mother (she did adopt Luke in The Sarah Jane Adventures), a person whom you could rely to protect you and fight alongside you.  In short, we LIKED Sarah Jane: we liked her when she was putting up with The Doctor, we liked her when she mocked The Doctor (as she did when sharing stories with Rose Tyler in School Reunion).  It's that likeability (both of Sarah Jane and Elisabeth Sladen) that made her such a hit with fans. 

I figure The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as Sarah Jane's Alien Files, will come to an end if they hadn't already.  That's the technical aspects of Sladen's death.  The emotional one is more daunting: a woman who appeared pleasant and warm, joyful and brave, one who didn't shrink from a fight--it could describe both character and actress.  It pains Doctor Who fans to know that she is gone, and it is one of those curious notes of history that both The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith (two of the most iconic humans in the Doctor Who canon) both left us within such a short span of time. 
 
I freely admit that when I heard the news, I was overwhelmed and did what I don't remember doing for any actor: I cried when I heard that Elisabeth Sladen died.  I cried deep tears of sorrow, and felt so sad that I had to go into the bathroom to collect myself. 

The Eye of Harmony, having been dimmed for The Brigadier, now dims in tribute to Elisabeth Sladen.  Fare thee well, Our Sarah Jane Smith. 




The Reasons We Love The Smiths.

IN MEMORIAM

Monday, April 11, 2011

Daleks Experiencing Mechanoid Issues

STORY 016: THE CHASE

We see now that the Daleks are somehow indestructible. Having already had two adventures with them (The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth) we now get two types of stories for the price of one: a historic piece and a science-fiction story collectively called The Chase. Whether it's a good or bad thing to have such a long story in The Chase depends on your tolerance. Over the course of six episodes (The Executioners, The Death of Time, Flight Through Eternity, Journey Into Terror, The Death of Doctor Who*, and Planet of Decision), we see both the good and bad of the Daleks, both as villains and as comic pieces.

The Doctor (William Hartnell), and his companions Ian Chesterton (William Russell), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), and Vicki (Maureen O'Sullivan) have just left the Space Museum.  Unbeknown to them, the Daleks have been tracking their movements, and are now in pursuit of the travellers.   They land on the planet Aridus.  While the Doctor and Barbara are content to stay and get some sun (courtesy of the dual suns in the sky--pre Tattoine), Vicki goes exploring with Ian guarding her.  The Doctor and Barbara soon discover, thanks to the Time & Space Visualizer that the Daleks are after them.   While Vicki and Ian attempt to escape from the Mire Beasts which have taken over this once-watery world, The Doctor and Babs get help from the Aridians, fish-like people who are barely surviving in this now-desert world.  The Daleks attempt to take the TARDIS but cannot, and then try to take the Travellers.  However, they manage to escape Aridus and fly off, with the Daleks in furious pursuit.

Now it becomes a chase.  They first arrive at the Empire State Building in 1966 New York, much to the befuddlement of Alabama native Morton Dill (Peter Purves), with the Daleks coming soon after.  Next, they give them the slip aboard a sailing ship, and when the Daleks arrive there, the crew flees in terror...off the Mary Celeste.  Next, they arrive at what the Doctor calls a world of dreams, filled with the Frankenstein monster and Dracula, and at first we think the Daleks will be overcome, but in the confusion Vicki becomes separated from the others.  With no way of going back for her, it's decided that the Travellers will make a stand.  Vicki, however, discovers the Daleks have made a robot Doctor, with the intent to infiltrate and kill.

They arrive on Mechanus, a planet filled with large fungi.  Vicki and the others are reunited, and the False Doctor is destroyed, but they are not out of the woods yet.  Trapped in a cave, they find rescue with a Mechanoid, a gigantic round machine.  At first, it is believed they are saved, but they discover that they are now prisoners of the Mechanoids, as is astronaut Steven Taylor (Peter Purves...again).  It is decided to make an escape while the Daleks and Mechanoids are battling it out.  They destroy each other, and the travellers believe Steven has been killed when he went back to get Hi-Fi, his teddy bear (in reality, he had survived and was last seeing fleeing into the forest with his bear in his hands).  Barbara and Ian realize that the Dalek time machine could take them back to their own time, and after a furious argument with the Doctor he reluctantly agrees to show them how to operate it.  The Coal Hill teachers safely arrive in 1965 London, delighted to be back home.  The Doctor and Vicki see them on the Time & Space Visualizer, and while he is happy, he is also sad. 

As a whole, The Chase holds up remarkably well, especially for such a long story.  Terry Nation wrote some wonderful moments of adventure and even comedy.  For example, in Episode One the Doctor is singing when Barbara hears something off.  "What is that awful noise?" she asks.  The Doctor is insulted, telling her that's no way to refer to his singing.  "No, not THAT awful noise," she replies perfectly straight.  Most of the time in New York with the country bumpkin Dill was just for comedy.  We even have comedy from the Daleks...one Dalek stutters (The Dalek's Speech, anyone), and in Episode Two when a Dalek is told to get backup and he doesn't move, Dalek One turns back and tells him, "Well, get to it". 

Maybe it was a way to lighten the Daleks up, and in retrospect, given how evil they were to become, these funny bits come off as a bit peculiar.  It isn't so much that they end up looking like a joke, but it doesn't really flow naturally from the story or from the limited Dalek mythos already established from earlier stories.  I think that in retrospect, where the comedy comes into The Chase, the story actually suffers.  The arrival of the travellers and the Daleks at the Empire State building feels as if the story is being stretched out.

In fact, part of the problem within The Chase is that, like most long stories, it feels rather stretched out.  Looking at it now, I can't help think that Episodes Three, Four, and Five could have been either collapsed into one episode or cut altogether.  This is especially true in Episode Four, especially when we are given the resolution of how the Frankenstein monster and Dracula and a banshee are all appearing out of nowhere.  When we discover the real reason, it is an eye-rolling moment. 

In short, Episode Four is not merely the weakest of the six-part story, but also the most patently idiotic.  Terry Nation's script for this episode had great promise: what if they had somehow truly ended up within a world of dreams?  Think of the possibilities, of how real people (and Daleks) could enter and escape a world of unreality.  Instead, we are given the BBC version of The Haunted Mansion, and it's such a blatant disappointment.

Now, there are also a couple of other problems within The Chase.  Chief among them, the Mechanoids themselves.  For those who think the Daleks are pretty useless monsters, what with their inability to go up the stairs, well, get a load of the Mechanoids (perhaps we should call them Make-A-Noise or Make-Annoys).  This rotund robots with thin pincers for arms appear even less mobile than Daleks, and while the battle between the Mechanoids and the Daleks is shot beautifully, as full-formed monsters they fall flat. 

Another problem is with the False Doctor (which to my mind is reminiscent of the False Maria from Metropolis).  Even from the wide shot it is obvious that the False Doctor looks nothing like William Hartnell, and having the real Doctor give the chilling last line in Episode Four fails to mask the technical aspects.  On the contrary, they only serve to enhance them.  Granted, given the limitations of technology at the time, one extends a bit of generosity to them and appreciates that they tried the best they could. 

Of course, one can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, and The Chase has some wonderful moments.  The rising of the Dalek at the end of Episode One (while reminiscent of The Dalek Invasion of Earth) is still shot beautifully by director Richard Martin.  The scenes aboard the Mary Celeste are also filmed quite well and do give as probable a solution to the mystery as any other.  The early scenes in Episode One, where they see the Gettysburg Address and Shakespeare summoned to an audience with Queen Elizabeth I are extremely clever and well-filmed (although if one looks carefully, Pennsylvania has a rather desert look...not unlike Arius, but again, a minor glitch).  Side note: sadly, The Beatles' performance of Ticket to Ride, which is the 'classical music' Vicki requested to see in the Time & Space Visualiser, could not be included in the DVD release of The Chase, and more bizarrely, it is the ONLY surviving footage of the Beatles performance of the song for the BBC's Top of the Pops.  The Beatles had wanted to make a cameo appearance as older versions of themselves but the idea was vetoed by their manager Brian Epstein. Of course, no one in 1966 could have contemplated the fate of John Lennon. 

There are wonderful performances all around.  Purves has to be singled out.  First, he had to play TWO characters (the Alabama hick and the British astronaut), and he had to do one of them with a foreign accent.  Second, he has to make it believable that a sensible astronaut would go back for a teddy bear (!).  Granted, when we last see him, he looks slightly crazed and appears to be chastising the bear...which comes off unintentionally comedic, but that's a minor point.  Side note: I figure it's a curiosity that the bear is named Hi-Fi--if The Chase had been made today, he would have probably be named Wi-Fi, but I digress.   His dual performances rightly earn praise--both as the innocent and naive hillbilly and the brooding and intense (albeit a bit daft) space traveller.  Purves had to be comedic and dramatic, and that he handled both well is a sign of why he was brought back.  (Of course, it's curious that the travellers never question why Steven Taylor looks a lot like Morton Dill...).  O'Sullivan's Vicki maintains a balance between the youthful enthusiasm for adventure and fear of a young girl.  Her best moment is in Episode Six, where she calmly tells the furious Doctor that in the end, the decision to stay or go is not his to make. 

It is in the last episode that the original crew's performances really rise to new levels.  Both Hill and Russell in Episode Six capture the need for stability and the desire to go home with the tinge of regret for leaving.  They communicate that they are not so much tired of the adventures but desire to be back in their own time, in their own world.  Hartnell is also wonderful: when he's railing against their idea it doesn't appear so much a fear that using the Dalek's machine will kill them, but that he is personally wounded by their desire to leave HIM.  It doesn't come off as egocentric because at the end, we see in his face a genuine sorrow to see them leave...happy they made it safe, but sadness that they will no longer be with him.  It is curious that Hartnell is best when he plays the Doctor not as a daring adventurer but as a caring, grandfather-type figure.  However cantankerous he may have been (especially with O'Sullivan) the best acting scenes are always whenever the Doctor shows his tender side with Vicki and previously Susan. 

The technical aspects have some excellent work too.  Raymond Cusick and John Woods' set designs cover a vast spectrum, from the deserts and underworld city of Aridus and the Mary Celeste to the organic architecture of Mechanus.  Daphne Dare's costumes, especially for the Aridians, are beautiful.  I would question Dudley Simpson's score, which struck me as rather jazzy for the story.  A Gershwin-type score works when they arrive in New York, but the music was curiously upbeat for a story like The Chase

The Chase is, unfortunately, a bit too long for the story it told.  The midsection of the story falters and appears to stretch the story (both the Empire State Building scene and almost all of Episode Four especially so).  The comedy with the Daleks doesn't work (and in retrospect, is bizarre), and one almost has to resist the temptation to laugh at the Aridians (beautiful-looking costumes can't hide acting that draws from the Menoptra in The Web Planet).  Still, the story is lifted by some wonderful acting, especially the final part of the story between Barbara, Ian, the Doctor, and Vicki, as well as both Barbara and Ian/the Doctor and Vicki. 

Adieu, Miss Wright and Mr. Chesterton...

6/10

Next Story: The Time Meddler

*Episode Five of The Chase, The Death of Doctor Who, is one of only two times the actual term Doctor Who is used in a title.  The only other time I can think of is the Jon Pertwee story Doctor Who & The Silurians, which might have actually been a mistake.  In fact, overall, again with few exceptions, the Doctor himself is never referred to or refers to himself as Doctor Who, so this is a curious bit of trivia.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Editor's Note

STORY 166: THE LONG GAME

It seems a most curious thing to my mind, that Russell T Davies, a man who has made his fame and fortune on television, should turn around and be highly critical of the power and influence television has on the masses. Perhaps, to use a Vulcan expression, only Nixon can go to China. It is good for us to examine what a force the telly has on our lives. Given that, The Long Game could have been a sharp critique of the industry. However, Davies appears to be unable to control himself in introducing certain running motifs in his Doctor Who scripts, one that push this story down.
The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) along with his regular Companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and newbie Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley) arrive on Satellite Five in the year 200,000 (why a Conan O'Brien skit comes to mind, I don't know) during the Fourth Great & Bountiful Human Empire. The station broadcasts all the news there is to the galaxies in the great beyond (talk about Sky Television--perhaps a sly jab from the BBC?) and while Rose and Adam marvel at it all, the Doctor senses something is wrong. The heat on Satellite Five, the lack of non-humans, there is something off.

Aboard Satellite Five is Cathica (Christine Adams) and Suki (Anna Maxwell-Martin), journalists aboard the station who mistake the trio for Senior Management. Deciding to show them just how good they are at their jobs, Cathica locks her mind into the master computer while a group of men, women, multisexuals, undecideds, and robots use the chips in their own minds to show how they can link up and get information into Cathica's mind. Observing all this is The Editor (Simon Pegg) who suspects something is amiss...but it isn't the three new people. Instead, he zeroes in on Suki, who gets "Promoted" to Floor 500, much to Cathica's irritation. When Suki goes up to Floor 500, she does not find walls of gold but a frozen level. Coming upon the Editor, she is unmasked as the last of the Freedom Fifteen, which I figure is trying to bring down Satellite Five. Suki attempts to kill the Editor, but the Editor-In-Chief takes care of her.

Adam goes off on his own, allegedly to recover from the shock of seeing the future, but really to get at future information so as to profit for when he gets back to his own time (apparently like in Back to the Future II). He goes and has the chip (along with the outlet to connect into the mainframe) inserted into his own brain so as to get all the information he wishes. Cathica now sees that something is off with The Doctor and Rose, and so does the Editor. The latter two go up to Floor 500 and discover who the Editor-In-Chief is. Unbeknownst to them, Cathica secretly follows them to Floor 500; meanwhile, Adam is starting to get all the information he desires, calling his parents via Rose's supercell phone and leaving a message on their answering machine.

We discover that The Doctor's suspicions are correct: Satellite Five has been controlling the information given to the Fourth Great & Bountiful Human Empire, manipulating the news to keep the humans in check. This is done at the bidding of the...get ready for it...The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe (Max for short), a giant monster who emits so much heat that he has to be kept in a cold environment (hence, the heat in all the lower floors). The Doctor sees Cathica, and subtly gives her clues to help them, while he and Rose see to their horror that Adam, instead of receiving information from Satellite Five, is giving information to the Editor and Editor-in-Chief (aka Max). Cathica locks into the system, bringing the information she has about Satellite Five to the universe. This allows the three travellers to escape and raise the temperature of the Satellite. The Editor attempts to escape, but Suki (who I should point out is technically dead but whose chip is still being used to get information) grabs his leg and forces him to remain underneath the collapsing Max.

The Doctor, furious with Adam's duplicity, takes him to his parent's home, destroys the answering machine, and exiles him from the TARDIS. Unfortunately for Adam, he still has this outlet inside of his head, which can be opened by the mere snapping of fingers. The Doctor and Rose leave him there, just as his mom is coming back from apparently a shopping trip. She is thrilled to see her son back, and comments how long it's been: six months, which flash by like that...

It may be just my imagination since I've no way of reading Davies' mind (I have no outlet to connect my brain to), but I sense a certain series of motifs and themes running in anything he writes for Doctor Who. There is a penchant for strange and excessively long names (the Moxx of Balhoon from The End of the World, the planet Raxacoricofallapatorious from Aliens of London Parts I & II, now the Mighty....). There is the motive for all the mayhem: whenever evil is done, be sure Money (and by extension, the evil of profits) is involved (making money off the deaths or enslavement of beings being the motives in The End of the World, Aliens of London Parts I & II, and now The Long Game, since the Editor represents in his own words, "a consortium of banks"). I think I see yet a third motif within Davies' scripts: namely, his utter hatred and fury about the Iraq Intervention. This one I'll grant is the one I have the least evidence for and is purely speculation, but think a moment. Aliens of London Parts I & II was in subtext about how the government (in this case the more evil than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, those bloodthirsty tyrants George W. Bush and his poodle Tony Blair) lied to the public in order to enter into an illegal and immoral war against a thoroughly benevolent foreign government that loved its people. While it is only speculation, The Long Game may be Davies' response to how the press also lied to the public, manipulating the news to keep the people docile.

I don't think it's so far out of the realm of possibility to speculate that this is a subtext of The Long Game.

No one will stop you because you've bred a human race which doesn't ask questions...believing every lie

The Doctor shouts at the Editor and Editor-in-Chief. Davies is a smart man, so would it really be a far-out idea that he would include his private views on the press' complicity in the Mass Deception around the Iraq Intervention?

I think it is possible that I'm reading far too much into the story, so I digress. The Long Game, as I've stated, could have been a far richer story, not necessarily about the manipulation of the press on an unsuspecting public, but on how we instinctively trust what we see and what we're told. One only needs to look at the quiz show scandals of the 1950s to see the public can be hoodwinked by this medium called television. The Long Game could have tackled how the search for truth and knowledge can have a high cost and what power those who control the information have, whether it's the BBC or MSNBC or FOX News or the New York Times. However, this theme was done in by other outside factors.

For example, it is hard to take any monster seriously when you give him such a silly, almost unpronounceable name (apparently, guest star Pegg had such a hard time with the name that Max's roar had to cover up part of the line so as to not show how hard it was to actually say). Second, director Brian Grant used the trick of seeing things from the monsters point of view until near the end (which perhaps may have been unavoidable), but once we see the actual brains behind the operation, it is such a disappointment. The Editor-in-Chief is really just a giant slug. When he meets his fiery end, all that crossed my mind was, "I'm melting, MELTING!"

Second, we have the character of Suki to consider. She was fine until we discover she's really not this sweet and bumbling girl, but a fierce revolutionary. It isn't so much this twist that causes problems in The Long Game, it's the fact that if you take it at face value she certainly isn't a smart revolutionary. If this had been a story from the classic era, over two or three episodes we could have been given a hint of her true identity, but because it's only a forty-odd minute show, she just is...and in an ironic twist on a story about accepting everything we're given, we HAVE to accept that she is a revolutionary, who apparently never thought that once on Floor 500 she would have to face the actual source of the evil she was fighting against.

As a sublet to Suki's problem, it strikes me as a convenient deus ex machina that once we're told she is dead (but the chip inside her is still working), she suddenly comes alive in a roundabout way to stop the Editor from fleeing. How does a corpse (which is what she basically is) know to grab hold of her adversary's leg? It is just a little TOO convenient.

Langley and Adams give good performances, mainly because The Long Game is really about them, not about the Doctor, or Rose, or even the Editor or Editor-in-Chief. Adams' frustration as Cathica is relate-able, for most people feel the irritation of being passed over for promotion they have worked long for. In an odd way, so is Adam's fall into the temptation of profiting from future knowledge. He does falter slightly when he tries to have comedic moments prior to the operation, I think because there appears an attempt to make these moments lighter. They don't work.

Pegg is unrecognizable as the Editor, with great makeup work by Supervisor Davy Jones. He appears to be relishing a chance to be a bit over-the-top, but since the Editor is really just a stooge for a more powerful force, we can accept that. Eccleston and Tyler, unfortunately, don't seem to be a major part of The Long Game. In fact, it's Cathica, not the Doctor, who saves the day in the end.

As for kicking Adam out of the TARDIS, I don't see this as controversial in any way. Rather, I see this as the only logical thing to do. Adam has proven himself not just untrustworthy, but downright dangerous. If he were to go on another adventure (say, into the past), what is to stop him from trying to change history and profitting from it? His greed (perhaps not for money, but for inside information) shows him to be a weak man, and a weak man is the last thing the Doctor needs. As a side note, there are a couple of good moments in The Long Game: when the Doctor comments to Rose, "You and your boyfriends" (referring to Adam and Mickey), he shows an unexpected light side that adds a touch of true levity to the story.

I can't get over the feeling that The Long Game was really a lost opportunity; what could have been a sharp commentary on the power of the visual medium are human's reliance and unquestioning acceptance on the news we're given gave way to a second-rate monster and a less-than-thrilling story. Granted, it may tie in to another future story, but the title never really fits into the story itself. We don't have an idea as to what the long game actually is. In the end, The Long Game is not a story that will stop the presses.

4/10

Next Story: Father's Day