Sunday, April 29, 2018

Season 12, Episodes 8-10

Episode 8: Peace on Venus
3800 AD. For nearly a millennium, the planet Venus has lived in military peace, economic prosperity and political independence under the gynocratic rule of the Amazon caste. And then someone tried to assassinate the Prima Dona, shattering the serenity of the Pax Veneris. Can the Time Lady alter history? Should she? A tale of power, gender and red herrings.   

Episode 9: The Redemption Option
Continuing Dorian’s mini-grand tour of the universe, Lady Penelope comes back to the vibrant, multicultural Myriad of Aldebaran. There, she meets its new saintly icon, the revered Lady of the Sanctuary, Healer of Millions and Savior of Countless Lives, also known as the Rani. Yes, the Rani. Reformed, redeemed and regenerated. Could it be too good to be true?

Episode 10: The Quantum Phantom
After a brief stop on Avalon, Lady Penelope takes Dorian to her beloved Florence, in the beautiful summer of 1894. In a city full of memories, the Time Lady soon finds herself retracing her own steps, through a strange maze of déjà-vu, forgotten moments and echoes of the past. A tale of regrets and choices, featuring Vernon Lee (and a few of her acquaintances).

A few additional notes for the faithful Lady Penelope's Odyssey fans:

So, yes, following episode 9, the Rani is back - and NOT the short-lived redeemed version but the cold-hearted manipulative scientist we all love to hate. And she's back on Gallifrey, too. Yes, I'm definitely seeding sows for season 13 here...

Episode 10 had a definite "Room With a View" vibe - with quite a few historical celebrities: the extraordinary Vernon Lee (I had wanted to include her in an episode for quite some time - and this was the perfect opportunity) and "a few of her acquaintances" - namely the famous Henry James, Edith Wharton (who hadn't published anything yet) and the Italian artist Telemaco Signorini...

It was a very emotional episode, built as a "narrative backlash" of Episodes 10 and 11 of our Tenth Season (check them out HERE), which involved the character of Reginald Stanhope, a young, melancholic Englishman from the 1820s whose timeline had been manipulated by the (now defunct) Sirens of Time. Unbeknownst to Penelope (that is, until "The Quantum Phantom"), the resolution of this diptych had had some terrible temporal side-effects on the unfortunate young gentleman, turning him into a "Schrödinger ghost" (hence the title), constantly hovering in a state of quantum flux, between existence and non-existence - and becoming less and less real as time marched on, erasing the traces and memories of his former life. 

This new episode allowed Lady Penelope to make things right - she managed to rescue the poor lost soul from oblivion, stabilized his existence in a temporary manner and brought him to Avalon, where the Doctor will (hoperfully) be able to fix his existential problem once and for all...

These last three episodes also allowed us to explore Penelope's relationship with Dorian/Miranda and here me are moving into some new dramatic territory. 

For many years now, Lady Penelope had refused to take new travelling companions - sure, she did welcome quite a few temporary passengers onboard of  her timeship but she seemed to remain adamant that, unlike the Doctor, she now preferred to Travel Alone, that (unlike the Doctor). 

The most obvious reasons for this decision were Penelope's nostalgic attachment to her "best companion ever" (Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, the brig's grandson and now one of Torchwood leaders), whom she tended to see as The One and Only Companion with whom nobody could compare or compete, as well as the somewhat disappointing trial period of her relative Bernice Ashworth as a possible new travelling companion - this was back in season 5. All this to say that, as far as Lady Penelope was concerned, her "companion days" were over - barring, as mentioned above, a few adventures and escapades with temporary passengers. The main reason for this was NOT a desire for solitude (Lady Penelope being rather super-sociable) but her unwillingness to be responsible for someone else's safety and survival or, to put it more bluntly, her fear of putting a friend or close one in mortal danger. So rather than being constantly overprotective, Penelope decided to Travel Mostly Alone...

But since (s)he has joined Penelope for "a few travels", Dorian-Miranda and the Time Lady simply seem to get on like the proverbial house on fire... And of course Penelope tends to be overprotective: the more she gets to know and like her new guest-passenger, the more she fears for Dorian's safety. 

Neither Sylvie nor I know how this new relationship will evolve - but I'm pretty sure we'll have a fairly good idea by the time this twelfth season ends... but for now, the future IS unwritten!

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