Doctor Who: TIME LAPSE Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: TIME LAPSE Review

Christopher Morley takes a short trip.

Originally released just in time for a certain big anniversary, before Puffin went & expanded it with Lights Out, featuring the then relatively new Twelfth Doctor, their short story anthology now finds itself welcoming Peter Capaldi's successor into its ranks with Time Lapse, part of the Thirteen Doctors, 13 Stories collection.

It would seem the peoples of the Earth have been rather careless & somehow managed to lose an entire year! Unfortunately, simply looking down the back of the sofa won't be enough to find the entirety of 2004 again. Bit of a pickle. But fret not, for there must be some kind of explanation.

What starts out as a retrospective discussion on a 2019 edition of the BBC's Sportswatch around the Olympics of that year soon gets rather awkward, with both host Ian Glendennis & Team GB long jumper/silver medallist Mallika Montgomery finding a unique way to in their respective cases avoiding having to ask & indeed answer the usual stock questions about how it must've felt to pull off such a feat in front of such massive crowds by randomly forgetting the whole thing.

Unbeknownst to either of them or indeed the rest of the world's population, help is at hand - or at least winding its way through the Time Vortex! And the Doctor is busy getting used to her new position of mother hen, encouraging Ryan to correctly solve a Janganarthi visual riddle which has had Graham scratching his head. At some point since the events of Kerblam! she's also been doing a little tinkering with the TARDIS, installing a letter alarm which promptly goes into overdrive once an item of post arrives. Its question is simple - does she remember the year 2004?

As if including an addressed envelope somehow able to arrive at its destination with precisely none of the capabilities of a hypercube weren't impressive enough, the sender somehow has access to the serial number of the Type 40 itself. Proving herself just as fallible to the amnesia affecting everyone else, the Doctor can't answer the question posed in the letter. Back to 2004 it is, then.

And its a return journey to the United States for the first time since she went back to the height of the space race two incarnations ago! Washington DC's National Air & Space Museum at around lunchtime is the setting as Richard Somerset, on liason from the US Air Force to help with the museum's collection of post-Iraq War artefacts, meets new colleague Maria Hackett.

There then follows a jump forward to the British Museum of 2019 which is having a refit very kindly paid for by the sponsor of the Robertson Wing. And while Jack Robertson may well be thanked for his generosity to his own people for that act of cultural preservation, any giant spiders in the vicinity will be forgiven for shaking at least one if not all of their eight legs in fury!

One of its musical exhibits will also ring a bell to anyone who remembers the events of Arachnids In The UK, dubstep somehow deemed worthy of a place in the high points of British culture. The Doctor is presumably by this point just a little miffed that Stormzy wasn't available the last time the scourge of anyone suffering from arachnophobia were on her radar!

Before she can get too caught up in that, though, she's presented with physical evidence of the missing year in the shape of a whacking great gap in a thousand or so years of recorded history presented by the soon to be spanking new museum.

Who should turn up but Somerset? Turns out he's made a very big mistake & needs some help repairing a rather large temporal puncture. Instead of simply asking nicely, he incapacitates everyone! How is he able to do so using the webs of the moths of Exabin Seven when nobody but he & the Doctor have a clue where that is? Unless he isn't really an American on secondment after all.....

What & who he really is may well prove a big surprise. The last time we saw one of his fellow agents, Captain Jack Harkness had found himself in the unenviable position of losing two years of his own memories before proceeding to flirt with everyone he met then becoming immortal & managing to hang on while the Doctor who first picked him up regenerated. In the aftermath of which there's the whole business of hanging on for dear life having clung to the outside of good old Sexy. It would seem Somerset has had considerably less luck in looking for love, a disastrous attempt at wooing Maria making him want to cause her to forget he'd asked her out in the first place.

The things we do for love, hmm? He's even managed to violate the Hexbane Treaties in the process, the naughty boy. On the way to a twenty thousand year sentence it seems the jig is up - only the threat of being reported to the Time Agency convinces him he has to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of blowing the whistle, though, the Doctor simply fixes his faulty Time Adjustor & memories of 2004 come flooding back - the Boscastle floods & Arsenal winning the Premier League after an unbeaten season among the events mentioned.

In a display of mercy, Richard is allowed to keep his museum job & have a second go at the whole thing with Maria - the Doctor presumably heeding her past self's advice from the moments before he let himself go & decided one more lifetime wouldn't hurt after all.

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