Monday, 23 February 2009

Doctor Who: World War Three (2)

Rose: 'Mum, if you saw it out there, you'd never stay home.'

Well, at least Jackie believes in aliens now. That's just made Rose's life a whole lot easier. Or maybe more difficult—I can't decide.

Mickey and Jackie finally made amends this week after what's been a turbulent year for both of them. Now that Rose is back, Jackie no longer hates Mickey, particularly after he risked his life to save her from Sip Fel Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen (I kid ye not!).

There's also been a thawing of Jackie/Doctor relations. Of course, if anything, Jackie has less reason than ever to trust the Doctor. Last week her fears were based on worst case scenarios and supposition, this week she knows for certain that the Doctor's an alien, and that danger stalks him like a... dangerous stalky thing. And to make matters worse, she knows that Rose will never leave him. She puts it down to infatuation—and maybe there's some truth to that—but if Jackie's ever going to be comfortable with the idea of Rose travelling with the Doctor, she's going to need some hefty reassurances that he can keep her safe.

Unfortunately, keeping Rose safe isn't something that the Doctor's particularly good at. She's already had three near death experiences in as many episodes, and no sooner had the words 'Will she always be safe?' left Jackie's mouth, the Doctor was risking her life again. Of course, it's always in the noblest of causes—saving the world and all—but it's not the kind of reassurance that Jackie was hoping for.

There was also a begrudging acceptance of the Doctor's unique talents this week. Despite the Doctor's faults, Mickey did seem to concede that the he was only person capable of saving them. Who else is qualified to deal with an alien invasion? And although Jackie clearly wasn't overjoyed at the prospect of putting her safety in the Doctor's hands, she did seem to accept the truth of Mickey's words. I suppose with aliens running all over the place, she didn't have much choice.

The Slitheen grew on me a little this episode. In general, I liked their story—I also liked the premise behind the invasion—but the comedy aspect of their species, with their slightly comic-book baddie personalities, their poorly realised CGI/rubber suited bods, and their incessant farting, seems to sap them of all menace. They're supposed to be ferocious killer aliens, but any sense of tension just shrivels and dies the minute one of them farts.

I do love Harriet Jones. An MP with a conscience? You can tell this is fiction—who'd ever believe such a thing? Despite all manner of pandemonium breaking out, it was Harriet who helped the Doctor deduce the Slitheen's genetic weakness. Without her, there would have been no gherkin and picked onion alien killer juice. I also found her repeated apologies for saying 'fart' both charming and perfectly in character. I do hope we see more of her in future episodes.

We also caught a glimpse of the Doctor's broodier side again this week. He said to Jackie, 'This is my life. It's not fun or smart—it's just standing up, making a decision because nobody else will.' One of the downsides to being the last of the Time Lords is that there's a dearth of underlings to delegate to. Who else can do what he does? Sure, travelling through time and space is a blast, but sometimes he has to kill people, and sometimes he loses those he loves.

Rose also had her own decisions to make this week, and to her credit, when the options became few, she didn't shy away from danger—she's stepped up to the plate, fully cognisant that one stroke of bad luck could've spelled disaster. I love that about Rose. She's not just in it for the good times, she sees the bigger picture, and realises that the issues are sometimes greater than herself. Plus, she's slowly starting to trust the Doctor—even at times when he doesn't fully trust himself.

Other Thoughts: 

—An amazingly hidden reference to Bad Wolf this week (particularly if you don't speak French). The American newsreader is called Mal Loup (French for Bad Wolf). Her name doesn't appear in the episode itself, but is revealed on Mickey's website 'Who is Doctor Who?'

—We got to know more about the Slitheen this week. Slitheen is their surname, not their species. And they appear to be intergalactic scavengers, intent on turning earth into a nuclear wasteland and selling off the radioactive slag as ship fuel.

—The English reporter was played by actual news reporter Andrew Marr. Previously, he was editor of the Independent newspaper and currently hosts The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One.


Doctor: 'I think you'll find that the Prime Minister is an alien in disguise. (pause) That's never going to work, is it?'
Police man: 'No.'
Doctor: 'Fair enough.'

Harriet: 'Who's not human?'
Rose: 'He's not human.'
Harriet: 'He's not human?'
Doctor: 'Can I have a bit of hush?'
Harriet: 'Sorry. But he's got a northern accent.'
Rose: 'Lots of planets have a north.'

Jackie: 'Got anything stronger?'
Mickey: 'Not a chance. I've seen you when you've had a few. This ain't time for a conga.'

Jackie: 'Gherkins! Pickled onions! Pickled eggs!'
Doctor: (to Rose) 'And you kiss this man?'

Harriet: 'Voice mail dooms us all.'

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