In the interest of fairness I will say that if you have made it this far into the series this is, comparatively, not a bad episode. Please note that this comment should in no way be read as implying that it is a good episode. It just hurt less than the others. This episode gives us another look into a different set of pocket dimensions. This episode of ….
So let’s have a look at my predictions shall we. First off there is no evil Sam Vimes, which to be fair the show did say, instead we just get a campier, sillier, Sam Vimes. We also don’t get a trousers of time quote to explain it all. I would be tempted to give them a mark for this second one but instead of them giving us a more nuanced Sam Vimes who isn’t just baddly parroting said in the book it makes him feel all that more small and cliché as we drag out the boots theory once again. If this show was ever popular enough to get fans and merchandise I expect to a see a Captain Vimes doll akin to Woody. So seen as I am poor humble reviewer who needs to pad out this review somewhat I’ll be using it.
Down one leg we have our normal cast and crew who have to deal with Vimes from the other leg. The other leg being something close to a Big Brother held super max. Now on the one hand I guess this makes sense seen as how we’ve eschewed the steampunk for cyber punk and every good cyber punk needs an all controlling super state to keep it’s free thinking people in line. However we don’t really commit to it in any real way. Like we have Lady Sybil in control but it’s less drastic than where we saw her at the start of the series. Even the likes of Carrot who is a cruel jail warden in this leg don’t seem really drastic. Like he’s stricter but we haven’t seen that much of our Carrot to really tell if this is a heartless, cruel Carrot or if he’s just playing strict for his job and clocks out and heads to the pub for a laugh and a joke. The fact that he walks round with a cuddly Carrot in his boiler suit and a dorky haircut is probably supposed to tell us something but I’m not really sure what. You know how when Star Trek goes to the Mirror Universe they go all out to show us these different versions of the character’s we’ve come to know and love. Well it feels like that was the intention but like everything in this show we just can’t follow through.
Speaking of supposed to be telling us something Cheery is running aorund in her mother’s beard this week. This may be to show us some deep growth in her character but it came across as this episode happening right on the heels of that one and she just hasn’t got around to taking it off yet.
Now the only difference, that I can guess at, between that leg and ours is that in that leg Carcer went into the watch as a lad instead of Sam. But then you have to ask why the supermax is still standing in one and not the other, or why Detritus is locked up in one and a police officer in the other. I say you have to ask but I don’t get the feeling the writers did at all and you probably won’t either. Speaking of Detritus he’s here and his job is simply to keep the story moving. Sam is trapped in a reality where he is a crazed criminal and he must get back home before it’s too late. Thanks to the magic of rocks Detritus believes him and helps him along. It’s pure hand-wavium at its worst. Once again the show is happy to just tell us things instead of showing them to us. Sam is alone and runs into the mirror version of someone he has said was his only friend. Why not use that. Have them talk about the old times or what connected them in the first place so Sam can win this troll over. It could have also explained how he got locked up and told us more about this parallel universe but instead the writers can’t be bothered and just say magic rocks over and over again until we get it and the plot carries on.
As for our leg of these rather drab pair of pants; evil Sam is recruited by Carcer to hunt down and Kill Lady Sybil as it seems she might be the third key after all. We had a fake out with Carrot last week that keeps threatening to lead to some character for the boy but so far no. This plot involves leading the Watch to the remains of the supermax in order to cut down on the set budget before he goes to do the job he was called here to do. So let’s look at the supermax first. This really doesn’t work. Like we could have just had Sam order the Watch to stay at their post while he sneaks off, as he had done at the start of the episode but that just won’t do. Thus they are locked away and who should arrive but Death. Do you remember how there used to be some logic behind this. Like someone looking down the barrel of a crossbow or a nursing home full of people ready to kick the bucket at any second. Well now it’s because we haven’t seen him in a while and the actor and costume probably cost a fair bit. Also once again we get a song because when we need wacky and funny that’s apparently what we fall back on. So we get Death jamming on a Theremin. If that idea gives you a giggle I would advise against watching the show as I’m fairly certain this episode can not live up to that scene in your head. Once that is done our heroes go and break out with some bed springs and bicycle tyres. Please note they don’t race to the rescue of Sybil from this evil version of Sam. They just meet them on the street later so, as stated prior, this whole section can be lost and I don’t think anyone would care and or notice. If they insisted on using everyone every episode I wouldn’t mind if they did actually use them. But if they’re not going to then why not leave them out this week to focus on the characters you want to.
There isn’t much to say on the crazy Sam plotline. The voices in the filing cabinets said he won’t kill Sybil and surprise surprise he doesn’t. About the only other thing worth complaining about is the real third key that we find this week. We had the potential of something for Carrot to do. Then we looked at giving the role to Sybil perhaps to push her and Sam into doing something. Then it could be Sam himself. They discuss this and the ideas are silly but at least they’re having some. Finally we find out it’s the badge and as much as you rolled your eyes at the other suggestions put forward you wish they’d gone that route instead. I know they were bad but I think they were better than grabbing the closest prop to hand and saying never mind it was this let’s carry on to the end of the show now. Come on single file everyone; no pushing. Nobby stop hitting Fred or I’ll pull this series over and we can go right back to episode one.