The Fires of Pompeii
By James Moran
“That's just it. Don't you see, Donna? Can't you understand? If I could go back and save them, then I would. But I can't. I can never go back. I can't. I just can't, I can't.”
Series 4 foray into the past takes us back to ancient Rome. Actually it is to Pompeii or as The Doctor refers to it “It’s volcano day.” The past couple of stories that have happened in Earth past have been very enjoyable and The Fires of Pompeii is just as good as those if not better.
I liked how there was an alien living in the heart of the volcano and the fumes that it was giving off was giving some of those a second site to see into the future. A really good scene is when The Doctor is grilling Lucius about having a special power and then they were having a battle of wills and Lucius starts revealing to The Doctor about himself and his way of life and then Spurrina adds to the conversation and starts revealing more about The Doctor. Not vet often do you see The Doctor flustered and it was pretty good seeing that happen.
Liked how The Doctor and Donna befriended the family who bought the TARDIS. It becomes even funnier now that Caecilius who was the one who bought the TARDIS and claimed it to be modern art is in fact Peter Capaldi who will be the 12th Doctor when series 8 hits our screens. Maybe it was a 12th Doctor plot to buy the TARDIS to mess with his younger self. Anyway looking back on that it does seem humorous now considering the events that have taken place. Plus future companion Karen Gillan is in The Fires of Pompeii also playing one of the Sisterhood and in fact the one who spots the TARDIS that was part of the prophecy.
The Firs of Pompeii had some good dialog in it. Especially the puns early on in the story those were pretty funny. The best dialog has to go to Donna. The way she pleads with the Doctor to save someone not all of Pompeii but just one person was really powerful and a great moment in the show. The thing with the 10th Doctor is he needs a companion to keep him centered and grounded to prevent him from getting out of control. Donna’s speech at that time snaps him back to reality and does the right thing by saving Caecilius family.
Donna’s development as a character has grown so much that she brings a real human aspect to the show. What she brings is a caring and person who questions people who are mean or do odd stuff that she feels is not right. She gets it and having her bring that up while she talks to The Doctor or the villain is something we haven’t seen before and is a refreshing to see in a companion. The Fires of Pompeii solidifies Donna as one of the best companions and not just the caricature of the loud mouth fool she was portrayed as in Runaway Bride.
The Pyrovale were pretty cool creatures inhabiting humans and turning them into stone and giving them powers to see the future. Plus I loved the creature in the volcano. It looked pretty impressive and the rock features on fire made it look similar to the Balrog but not to similar just the way the fire was on it. The Fires of Pompeii was a really good story where we get to learn something about Donna and what she is made off and we get to see a side of The Doctor that we rarely see.