047 – The Unicorn and the Wasp

What do a Unicorn and a Wasp have in common? I have no idea honestly but they’re both in the title of this episode. When Agatha Christie basically gets stuck in her own story the Doctor has to solve the mystery.

Super-short Recap

This is the one where the Doctor and Donna retroactively steal credit for most of Agatha Christie’s good ideas.

The TARDIS lands in the 1920’s just in time for a murder mystery to get started. People are dropping like flies, but something weird is happening. Donna saw an enormous wasp. Seriously, like 2-foot long stinger stuck in the door and everything. Agatha thinks Donna and the Doctor are nuts, but can’t help getting sucked into helping solve the mystery.

Several Poirot cliches, Clue parallels, and Agatha Christie allusions later, we end up in the study where Agatha and the Doctor slowly lay out how it all happened. Reverend Green did it! I mean, Reverend Golightly did it. That is, he’s a wasp. His dad was a vespiform, an amorphous insectivorous life form who’d crashed to earth. Through some jiberty jaberty, he got his little bug brain all mixed up and became a murderer.

After a ridiculously low-speed 1920’s car chase, Donna tricks the wasp into drowning itself which causes Agatha to end up with amnesia. The Doctor, remembering the details of her mysterious amnesia and disappearance, drops her off at the hotel where she was historically found. Turns out, the Doctor and Donna were there the whole time, and even inspired some future novels.

The end.

Production notes

  • Story # 194
  • Originally aired and May 17, 2008 to 8.41 million viewers
  • Written by: Gareth Roberts
  • Directed by: Graeme Harper

Cast

  • Agatha Christie – Fenella Woolgar    
    • Starred alongside Tennant in the 2004 miniseries He Knew He Was Right
  • Footman – Sandy McDonald, David Tennant’s dad    
    • He visited the set and was offered a role for the day

Misc Trivia

  • In the original ending, the Doctor actually used the car to push the wasp into the water. Tennant objected saying it didn’t fit the Doctor’s new attitude and was re-written. The re-write pushes it home hard when the Doctor says “Donna, that thing couldn’t help itself.”
  • The writers made direct references to 21 different Agatha Christie novel titles throughout the episode
  • The Doctor had suggested to Martha during Last of the Time Lords that they go visit Agatha Christie.
  • The Doctor’s flashback to when he rescued Charlemagne from an insane computer was turned into a short story this same year. You can read it at the BBC website.
  • Strong allusions to Clue/Cluedo

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Checklist

  • Baddie of the week    
    • Vespiform – a shape-shifting(?) giant wasp
  • Well… count    
    • Episode count – 2    
      • Fool me everytime, well… almost every time, well… Once or twice… well, once but it was a good one!
       
      • You’d never think it to look at her. Well, she’s British. It’s what they do.
     
    • Running count – 52
  • Oi!    
    • Episode count: 1    
      • Oi, fly boy!
     
    • Running count: 5
  • Impossible    
    • The giant wasp was impossible to the Professor and Donna and Agatha
     
    • Agatha called the Doctor impossible
  • Jiberty Jaberty    
    • Morphic residue
     
    • Well, tons of amorphous insectivorous life forms, but none in this galactic vector.
     
    • Vespiform sting.
     
    • Vespiform telepathic recorder

Who’s Who?

Not a lot here this week. Just a fun adventure story. We’ll get a little more character development next week.

Other stuff we noticed

  • I love when time travel stories have characters who “accidentally” inspire some of their fav work    
    • Charles Dickens
     
    • Shakespeare
     
    • Agatha Christie
     
    • Later with Van Gogh
     
    • Back to the Future – Marty inspires Chuck Berry

Let’s talk about ontological paradoxes

  • The only reason the Doctor traveled 10 days in the future and took Agatha to the hotel was because that’s what history recorded had happened. But that was only recorded because the Doctor did so…

Classic Who Connection

  • Director Graeme Harper also did Revelation of the Daleks and the Caves of Androzani

Overall impressions

  • Overall rating out of 10 –    
    • Austin – 7.5 broken wasp stingers stuck in the door
     
    • Corbin – 8 vespiforms
     
    • Tripp – 9 buzz noises
     
    • Jared – 7.5
  • Creep Level – out of 500    
    • Austin – 311
     
    • Corbin –  200
     
    • Tripp – 196
     
    • Jared – 200

Theories

  • Is Jenny Susan’s mother?

Listener Input

  • We’ve launched a Patreon!

The Game Plan

  • Our next Timey Wimey episode is in a few weeks and will cover Harry Potter: The Prisoner Azkaban.
  • We’ll be covering the movie, not the book.
  • You can get your copy at Amazon. If you use these links, your experience won’t change at all but you’ll be helping to support Noobs and the Whovian.      
    • Get caught up with this two-movie combo set of The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets

Next Time…

Join us next time as we discuss Season 4 episodes 8 & 9: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead

Closing

Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Tripp Reason. Corbin Reason is our Production Editor. Special thanks to tardis.wikia.com for the trivia and Jared for the Classic Who Connection.

You can find us at Facebook and email us at noobsandthewhovian@gmail.com. Please subscribe and leave a rating wherever you found us, and share us with a friend not because we’re a great show but because we watch one.

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