While the first episode of Series 3 was a bit weak, imo, the second episode "The Shakespeare Code," more than makes up for it! This episode was every bit as strong as the better episodes of Series 1 & 2. I felt the BBC did a pretty good job on the budget for this one too, not just for the obvious special effects shots (for the spectacular finish, of course), but also in the cityscapes of London in 1599.
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The opening of the episode actually felt more like the start of an episode of "Angel" of "Buffy" than "Doctor Who," but that's a GOOD thing so far as I'm concerned. They also bring up something I specifically recall from an episode of "Angel" regarding the power of words and a universe where magic IS the science. It becomes quite obvious in this one just why the Doctor has been so careful not to let anyone ever know his TRUE name, for that would give others potential power over him.
The portrayal of William Shakespeare is refreshing - that he's unlike the way history has remembered him. The constant "line dropping" is actually a good running gag through the episode too. Quite interesting that he sees right through the Doctor and Martha, and was "too smart" to be fooled by the Doctor's "psychic paper."
The big question remaining at the end of the episode is what is the Doctor going to do that makes Queen Elizabeth I so mad at him? However, since the Doctor hadn't ever met her before he had no clue! Time travel is funny that way. Perhaps that story will be revealed later in the season?
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Next weeks episode looks to be a good one as well - with the Doctor once again meeting the Face of Bo in New New York. The question on my mind? In Series 2 didn't the Face of Bo say he would only meet the Doctor one more time, and that some great secret would be revealed then? Definitely a must-see one!