Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Crooked World
Book - The Crooked World
The Crooked World
(Steve Lyons)

 Name: The Crooked World

 Format: Book

 Time of Origin: A planet in the far future, some distance from Earth

 Appearances: "The Crooked World"

 Doctor: Eighth Doctor

 Companions: Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor

 History: While the Crooked World was not a threat to The Doctor in itself, it was the location of an incident that will definitely be long remembered by The Doctor as one of his craziest trips ever. Although a planet rather than a different dimension, its existence in a state or region of malleable reality allowed its fabric and the beings that inhabit it to be shaped by the thoughts of outsiders; analogies have been made to the world of The Gods of the Latter-Day Pantheon ("Salvation"), which were also based around perception, but it is unclear if the two worlds were the same as the Crooked World was better able to hold itself together after the death of its 'inspiration' where The Gods apparently lost cohesion and identity fairly quickly when left on their own. When The Doctor and his companions arrived there, the Crooked World was shaped around a child's perception of reality, as influenced by old cartoons, a little girl having crash-landed on the planet in an old escape pod centuries ago and shaping her new world accordingly before her death.

As a result of its childish origins, the Crooked World was possessed by various anomalies that fit with a child's view of the world, but made no actual sense when analysed by an adult mind. Guns and dynamite exploding in peoples' faces merely turned them black and left them looking frazzled rather than actually causing harm, babies were delivered by storks - the people of the Crooked World had a doll-like anatomy when unclothed due to their natural ignorance about even the existence of sex - a talking weasel assumed a rather basic disguise to try and steal the prize money from his race-driver ward - who had already won pots of money that she shared with him and never seemed to spend anyway - ambulances took you in when injured and drove you around for a while before letting you out again completely healed, and eyes glowed in the dark and could be seen even when nothing else was visible. Even after the child's death, the people of the Crooked World continued in their pre-assigned 'habits' as the lives she had created for them continued, each resident continuing to try and achieve their pointless goals because they just didn't know any better.

Upon arriving on the Crooked World, the Eighth Doctor, Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor began to introduce new concepts to the world due to the fresh perspective provided by their adult minds, as well as creating a break in the routines that people had established. Unfortunately, their presence also introduced the concept of death for the first time; while The Doctor survived being shot by pig farmer Streaky Bacon - a pig who ran a farm rather than a farmer who bred pigs - when he was mistaken for the bird-like Whatchamacallit that stole Streaky's crops, Fitz's genuine concern for The Doctor's life and the fact that The Doctor started bleeding after being shot forced Streaky to confront the possibility that he could have genuinely ended another being's life, as well as confirming that the Crooked World's cartoon-esque antics could potentially kill the TARDIS crew (Buckshot disappeared after it penetrated The Doctor's skin without going deeper and bombs initially just turned The Doctor's companions black and frazzled, but that would change as the world adapted to the perceptions of the TARDIS crew).

Having become separated from The Doctor and Fitz when she remained in the TARDIS after it was knocked over a cliff, Anji found herself dealing with the Skeleton Crew - variations of the Mystery Inc. gang from Scooby-Doo - by helping them lock up the criminal Grunewald after he tried to attack them in a ghost costume, subsequently pointing out the lack of logic in them constantly acting as though every supernatural creature they encountered was genuine when none of their past encounters had turned out to be real. As the TARDIS crew met up once more, The Doctor confirmed that the Crooked World's inhabitants were developing sentience and the ability to operate outside their old 'rules' due to their arrival, telling Fitz and Anji that they had to remain to ensure that the people of the Crooked World were able to cope with the burden of free will without enforcing their rules and perceptions on the natives. However, this evolution was hampered by the efforts of Boss Dogg, the local sheriff who sought to end the 'plague of questions' so that people could return to their original roles, with his theories being apparently proven when the villains of the crooked world began to gather.

With the TARDIS crew inspiring new ideas, Grunewald was inspired to escape his prison cell - adopting the new alias of the Green Ghost - and gather the villains of the Crooked World into a new team. These 'villains' included Mr Weasley, AKA the Masked Weasel, the guardian and enemy of famous racer Angel Falls who posed as the Masked Weasel to try and steal her money, Angel's racing rival Dirty Duck, and the witch-hag Repugna (Although a hunter had declined to join them from the beginning as he didn't like being considered evil simply because he wanted to kill a rabbit). With this new team, the Green Ghost had his minions capture Fitz to offer them new insight into how to succeed in their schemes. However, Fitz's 'suggestions' to the villains fortunately included a series of clich├ęs and misconceptions, such as the idea that all villain headquarters should have a secret rear entrance and a countdown that would stop at 0:01, or telling them about the 'A-bomb' without revealing what it actually was or how it should work (Their version was just a bomb that exploded and sent large 'A's flying around).

While Anji travelled with the Skeleton Crew to investigate the most haunted location on the Crooked World in the hopes of finding answers, The Doctor ended up defending Jasper the cat for killing his mouse opponent Squeak, essentially the local equivalent of Tom and Jerry. Although Boss Dogg was still trying to argue for things to go back to normal, The Doctor noted that recent riots proved that was impossible while encouraging everyone to think about their ability to go beyond their old roles. He also used the examples of the old routine to point out that his client's attack on Squeak had only been him doing what he had always been ordered to do, and that nobody could blame Jasper for acting according to instinct when he was unaware that the old rules no longer applied and he was now capable of actually killing Squeak. Having given the jury the chance to think about the benefits of free will as opposed to the problems Boss Dogg was trying to emphasise, The Doctor was able to not only rescue Fitz, but used the Crooked World's malleable physical laws against their enemies by closing his eyes and running across a canyon (Much like cartoons often have characters not notice that they are over a hole or have run off a cliff until they look down and realise they should be falling as there's nothing below them).

Although the Green Ghost continued his plans to try and hold the Crooked World hostage by threatening to destroy Zanytown, he soon realised that he was losing his grip on his 'team'; Dirty Duck left the group as he feared the consequences of destroying Zanytown, Repugna set up shop selling herbal remedies, and even Mr Weasley was only staying with the Ghost out of a lack of options as he wanted to go back to his old life with Angel. After The Doctor discovered the Green Ghost's lair - based on Fitz's 'advice', the lair was located in a dormant volcano which was accessed via the back entrance - he was able to defeat the Ghost while Anji and the Skeleton Crew learned the origin of the Crooked World after finding the grave of the little girl at the haunted mansion (Also learning that Boss Dogg had remembered the girl's existence as he had acted as her guardian when she was alive before starting to fear the consequences of free will). With the Ghost defeated and locked up - now unable to escape despite his awareness of the flawed 'rules' of his world as everyone else wanted him to remain in prison more than he wanted to escape - while Mr Weasely reconciled with Angel, The Doctor, Fitz and Anji departed, optimistic that the world they had unintentionally re-shaped would continue to thrive as the inhabitants learned to take responsibility for their actions (Squeak was even resurrected before the TARDIS left, implied to be a result of The Doctor's belief in the possibility of happy endings).

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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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