Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Doctor Who: Army Of Ghosts (1)

Doctor: 'How long you going to stay with me?'
Rose: 'Forever.'

'Army of Ghosts' and 'Doomsday' will forever be remembered as Rose's swansong. It was the end of a two year adventure which saw her transformed from inexperienced shop girl into seasoned time traveller. Rose swearing to stay with the Doctor forever, shows us just how strong her commitment to that new life is. She's in it for the long haul. Her and the Doctor are as 'together' as they're ever likely to be—but that's all about to change. Rose's monologue at the start of the episode prepares us for the worst. And despite the Doctor's reassurances to the contrary, it appears that the Beast was right, after all. Rose is going to die.

I never thought we'd actually see Jackie kiss the Doctor. Things have certainly moved on since season one—she couldn't stand the sight of him back then. The Doctor was hilarious as he wiped his mouth in mild disgust. It brought back memories of my Grandma kissing me when I was young. Why do grandparent insist on doing that shit? But it was a nice slice of normality, with Rose visiting mum, and the Doctor tagging along. What a shame it didn't last. Almost immediately the ghosts started arriving and things took a turn for the worst.

I can understand why Jackie would want to believe in ghosts. The dead coming back to life (as well as being the staple hope of virtually every faith) is the most powerful story in existence. It appeals to us in the deepest way imaginable. And after 'Love and Monsters', we know that Jackie's lonely, so it made perfect sense that she'd respond favourably to a visit from the great beyond—particularly when the rest of the world seems to be experiencing similar visitations. Of course, the ghosts weren't dead relatives at all—they were Cybermen—and to their credit, they looked excellent this week. They didn't seem half as plasticky as they did in 'Rise of the Cybermen'. And what a cliff hanger! Daleks and Cybermen in the same episode! It's a fanboy's wet dream.

And we finally got our Torchwood pay-off. After fifteen episodes of having Torchwood not-so-subtly rammed down our throats, we finally got to see inside of the Torchwood Institute. I'd completely forgotten that Freema Agyeman was in this episode. Of course, here she plays Adeola Oshodi, cousin of the now famous Martha Jones, and as with Gwyneth in 'The Unquiet Dead', the likeness is startling. I'm not sure why they insist on reusing actors from past seasons, but there we go. So, was the Torchwood pay-off worth it? Nope. Talk about a wet squib. I understand that the whole endeavour has been more about setting up sister-show Torchwood than creating a satisfactory season conclusion, but it would've been nice to have both. That doesn't seem like too much to ask.

There were some lovely moments between Jackie and Rose, however. Jackie can see the changes in Rose and, like any mother, is worried about her daughter's future. Rose is slowly becoming more and more like the Doctor—which prompts Jackie to wonder what will happen to Rose after she's gone. Will she ever settle down? In fifty years time, will she even be recognisable? But Rose has her own future planned—or at least, she thinks she has. Back in 'School Reunion' the Doctor promised never to leave her, and at the start of this episode, Rose reciprocates in kind. She's too in love with him and her new life to ever go back to normality. Till death them do part... which let's face it, is looking pretty imminent.

Other Thoughts:

—What's with the 3D glasses?

—Three days after her appearance is this episode it was announced that Freema Agyemen would be replacing Billie Piper as the Doctor's new companion.

—Barbara Windsor (of Eastenders and Carry On fame) had a brief cameo in this episode. As Peggy Mitchell, she barred a ghostly Dirty Den from the Queen Vic. Lovely bubbly!

Quotes:

Rose: 'Planet Earth. This is where I was born. And this is where I died.'

Doctor: 'Who you gonna call?'
Rose: 'Ghostbusters!'
Doctor: 'I ain't afraid of no ghost.'

Rose: 'Doctor. They've got guns.'
Doctor: 'And I haven't. Which makes me the better person, don't you think? They can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine.'

Doctor: 'Here she is, Rose Tyler. Hmmm. She's not the best I've ever had. Bit too blonde. Not too steady on her pins, lot of that. And just last week she stared into the heart of the time vortex and aged 57 years. But she'll do.'
Jackie: 'I'm 40!'
Doctor: 'Deluded.'

Doctor: 'Anyway, lead on! Allons-y! But not too fast. Her ankle's going.'
Jackie: 'I'll show you where my ankle's going.'

Doctor: 'My people called it The Void. The Eternals called it The Howling. But some people call it Hell.'

Doctor: 'Please. When Torchwood comes to write my complete history, don't tell people I travelled through time and space with her mother.'

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