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< 3.3 - The Beast of Orlok
3.5 - The Scapegoat >

3.4 - Wirrn Dawn

Rating Votes
10
5%
6
9
5%
5
8
37%
41
7
20%
22
6
18%
20
5
10%
11
4
2%
2
3
3%
3
2
0%
0
1
1%
1
Average Rating
7.0
Votes
111

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User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 4/13/15 2:35 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Wirrn Dawn is Doctor Who does Starship Troopers which you think would lead to it being a rip off of that film, but it can be allowed when dealing with the Wirrn due to The Ark in Space already inspiring Alien. This story however leads you down into a gray area of who are in the right, the Wirrn or the humans. What brings this out is that the Doctor doesn't take a side putting one party in the right. He admits that the Wirrn shouldn't put their eggs into humans or expect sacrifices, but the humans shouldn't destroy the Wirrn who are developing. Lucie gets some nice character moments where she tries to do what the Doctor would do while Salway goes insane and Farroll turns into a Wirrn by her sides. The real problem is that pacing is a little bit off in places and there is this weird racist undertone with Daniel Anthony's Delong.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
3
Plot Rating:
3
Acting Rating:
5
Replay Rating:
2
Effects Rating:
4
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/13/15 5:49 am
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This story of a war between human colonists and the Wirrin starts out strongly enough as a bit of Starship Troopers meets Doctor Who before collapsing in on itself.

There were four problems:

1) Our guest characters were pretty bland. Once the ship crashes onto the planet, we have a screaming female admiral, and then we have a stereotypical overly macho cowardly bully and a bullied outsider who I guess is supposed to be like a space version of a native American or aboriginal. Performances are okay but a tad stereotypical.

2) The dialogue is weak. I love Sheridan Smith, but some of the dialogue put in her mouth was just awful.

3) The Doctor praises a society that decided to offer up one of their own each year as a sacrifice for the Wirrn Queen to infest and take over in order to keep peace with the Wirrn and immediately tries to remind the Wirrn of these "good times." at the place where the sacrifice was usually done. The Eight Doctor says they did what was necessary to survive and that this wasn't about right or wrong but survival. And that it was disgusting but disgusting things happened in nature. However, the problem is that a society sacrificing one of its own isn't nature, it's barbarism and murder. The Doctor has condemned this sort of "ends justify the means" survival matters most thinking numerous times before and since, but it's irksome that writer Nicholas Briggs introduces the idea here and is excuse is flimsy that he was trying to match it to how the 4th Doctor when he first encountered the Wirrn. The episode in which the Fourth Doctor delivered his best, "Humanity is awesome" speech because he was separating from humanity.

4) They say that the Wirrn have become so aggressive because they've been gestating inside of cows rather than humans and that if they gestate inside humans they'll understand they need peace with humanity. That's a very hard conclusion to draw from "Ark in Space" given that on their own the Wirrn pretty much was setting out to destroy humanity after gestating inside humans and the poor Space. It's not only regular science dumb, it's Doctor Who science dumb.

The story has good moments early on and some nice interactions between the Doctor and Lucie and Lucie and stereotypical bully guy but overall I found myself disappointed in this release.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: jemgoodyReview Date: 10/3/12 7:20 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Yeah the Wirrn. I enjoyed the exchanges between Lucie and the Doctor. Wish this could have been longer. 7 of 10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
NR
Acting Rating:
NR
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Reviewed By: EiphelReview Date: 11/8/10 4:51 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Not bad, this one. Wasn't expecting much, but enjoyed what I got. The chief triumph was Lucie Miller. I'd forgotten just what an enjoyable character she is, and she's no less enjoyable here. Her take on the war is sweetly idealistic and traumatic and very sympathetic. She also gets some great one-liners, once again.

'I have a bullet for each of us.'

'I'd prefer a latte.'

She's also got back the old rapport with the Doctor, after it took a knock following the events of Orbis. Whilst I enjoyed the shake-up that began the series, I was never sure it was quite traded on effectively, and felt we maybe lost more in their chemistry than we gained in interest. Everything has hit a sweet spot now, though, and a scene with spacesuit comms which could have been painful is enjoyably daft.

McGann, likewise, has got the old joy back. This story, like the others in this season, casts him as the older, wearier Eighth Doctor, something I've never been entirely keen on. In principle I like it, but I've found McGann himself tends to sound bored, rather than making the Doctor sound tired. This time around it works, however. The Doctor seems unhappy and disappointed with the war, and it's a fully immersive disaffection. If the other 'weary Doctor' stories had achieved this level, they would probably have been fab.

Outside those two, the most interesting characters are actually secondary and tertiary ones. Central supporters Salway and Delong are painted with slightly too broad strokes to really be compelling, and whilst Delong gets something of a development, it comes too late in the day. In fact, it's an oddly paced turnaround. After the dust has settled he hasn't changed, but then with very little prompting, he suddenly has an about turn. Meanwhile, Colin Salmon is sadly unremarkable as a scared veteran, whose scenes are largely raised up by Sheridan Smith's playing off him.

As I mentioned though, characters further in the background are more interesting, perhaps because they do not to be fully portrayed but only sketched out, and so can leave much to the imagination. The Admiral, the old man who is more discussed than featured, and - pleasingly - the Wirrn Queen herself, all provide a measure of interest. In fact the queen is a bit memorable.

The plot and direction is a standard Briggs Bundle, and it delivers much as you'd expect. The Ark in Space is itself a fairly Briggsian story, with its cold steel spaceship setting and humans vs. aliens conflict. Briggs is fairly good at this stuff, now, and though he never makes it breakout, he usual keeps things quite tight. So, we have two pacy half-hours that never got boring, with solid if expected set pieces that were pleasingly visual (Lucie adrift in space, seeing starships torn apart. It reminded me of a rather striking sequence from Metroid Prime 3, in fact).

The wirrn and human backstory is well fleshed out, in true Briggs style, delivering something rounded and credible, but without anything hugely innovative or conceptual. Still, it was nice to hear, and the quandary presented is pleasingly ambiguous. There is one particularly nice touch, portraying the changes on the Doctor of his time on Orbis. Where he would have always been troubled by the situation, it is reasonable to assume that once he would have edged toward the human point of view. Now he is rather less inclined to take a side. Decades spent away from his usual human interaction has changed him, subtly. It's also nice that Lucie is developing into a bit of an old hand, though it is rather told than shown in its execution.

At the bottom line, Briggs sets out to tell a war story, and as a war story, Wirrn Dawn delivers what you'd expect of it. It's pacy, and there's good fun in the expansion of wirrn backstory and in seeing Lucie and the Doctor's reaction to a full scale war. There's even a bit of that elusive Future-Historical feel, the regulars being more observers than agents.

7/10
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