Saturday, August 01, 2020

News from the Brains

I think it's fair nowadays to get the impression news media are controlled by a ravenous meat blob fixed to a ceiling. But only in the 2005 Doctor Who episode, "The Long Game", was this literally the case. Presumably.

The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), Rose (Billie Piper), and Adam (Bruno Langley) wind up on a space station in the distant future where the food is lousy and the aliens are scarce--which is odd, as Adam points out, earning praise from the Doctor for the insightful comment. Sadly, Adam is about to betray the Doctor in his very first adventure as a companion.

Introduced in the previous episode, "Dalek", Adam is an intriguing "failed" companion, one who turns out not to have the ethical fortitude to be trusted with time travel. Which I'm surprised doesn't happen more often--or maybe it does, I'm sure Big Finish could fill in some gaps with companions who don't pass muster after only one or two trips in the TARDIS.

It's a little odd the Doctor isn't upset with Rose for giving the TARDIS key and her rigged cell phone to Adam. But I guess that's love for you.

The station turns out to be the headquarters of the Earth news organisation. I like the Sci Fi metaphor writer Russell T. Davies came up with for how the operation works. First, you've got a half dozen or so people pumping information through their brains to a single person who then passes it from their brain into the system which feeds it back to everyone. The Doctor comments that no-one's brain is big enough to actually hold all that information so it's all gone moments after it's passed through.

Then, the "lucky" few who get promoted are sent up to the 500th floor where, unbeknownst to the majority of employees, they're killed so their corpses can be put to work, overseen by none other than Simon Pegg.

Look at his round, full cheeks! He's quite good in the episode being cocky and sadistic.

Despite being journalists of a kind, the Doctor derides them for failing to question any of the odd things happening around them, like the fact that no-one ever visits other floors and that it's getting increasingly warm. Of course people who have been trained not to think critically would be complacent with the information fed through their brains. I like the idea that it passes through multiple brains, though, because it suggests the information is filtered by perspective, however passive. And, of course, the higher up the ladder they get, the closer they get to a single, communal perspective, in other words, death.

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