Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Doctor Who: The Girl In The Fireplace

Reinette: 'Godspeed, my lonely angel.'

After last week's episode, I wasn't expecting another emotionally charged story—but this was an absolute delight! It didn't resonate in quite the same way as 'School Reunion'—Sarah Jane was a well known and much loved companion, whereas Jean Antoinette Poisson (apart from clanging some vague historical bells), was a bit of an unknown quantity—but by the end of the 45 minutes, my heart strings definitely felt moderately jangled.

This was very much the Doctor's episode. He even fell in love, didn't he? It wasn't explicit, but it was certainly implied. Not that I blame him—Reinette was unquestionably lovely. On top of her beauty, she was intelligent, romantic, eloquent and possessed a charming sort of dignity. Not a bad combination if you can pull it off. Clockwork men and time travel are a notoriously difficult sell, but she adapted to the improbability of her situation with ease. I'm not sure why. Did she truly believe that the Doctor was an angel? I suppose that would explain her putting her faith in him.

It was fascinating to watch Rose's reaction to the Doctor and Reinette's burgeoning relationship. There was definitely a pained expression or two, but in the end—and maybe reluctantly—Rose seemed to accept that there was something blossoming between them, and simply let them get on with it. She was actually quite sweet to Reinette. In fact, after the silliness of 'Tooth and Claw', I found myself warming to her again. It felt as though she'd grown a little.

Tennant, again, was a revelation. He seems to be growing into his role episode by episode. I've really enjoyed his portrayal of the Doctor so far: he's a dab hand at the humour, has an edge when required, and makes for a plausible romantic figure when called upon to be so. Plus, he oozes boyish charm, and the history they're wrapping around his Doctor—this lonely god, Oncoming Storm, lonely angel nonsense—I love all that! I know it's essentially meaningless, but it all helps give the Doctor both gravitas and a sense of history.

I was a little concerned at first by him falling in love so quickly, then I remembered the whole Vulcan mind-meld thing, and it kind of made sense. When you've wandered through someone's mind, you no doubt do feel a special closeness. I'm not sure which doors Reinette left open, but my imagination tells me they were naughty doors. (Of course, my imagination tells me this about a lot of things—and is frequently wrong.) And Reinette likewise saw inside the Doctor's head, so there was an intimate bonding of sorts for her, too—hence their unnatural closeness.

Him losing Reinette at the end was obviously devastating. One moment she was there, the next she was gone, but she never gave up hoping in the Doctor. In her letter she called him 'my love' and 'my lonely angel', and expressed her heart's desire to see him one last time—but six years passed in the blink of an eye, enough time for her to succumb to tuberculosis (according to history) and to pass out of existence. Those final scenes were beautiful: with the Doctor watching the fire go out and the time window closing forever.

And surprise, surprise, I actually enjoyed Mickey again this week, although someone obviously ballsed up the continuity. Wasn't Rose supposed to be pissed off at the Doctor for taking Mickey with them? What happened to that plot thread? Regardless, Mickey was fun. He actually fitted into the ensemble surprisingly well and, dare I say it, even enhanced the story?

So another great yarn from Steven Moffat, soon to be head writer of Doctor Who. More scripts from him can only be a good thing, methinks.

Other Thoughts:

—No Torchwood reference this week. Thank goodness for that—I'm growing weary of them.

—This was Mickey's first trip as a proper companion.

—Some funny dialogue this week. Rose's reaction to the Doctor stumbling in drunk—'Oh, look at what the cat dragged in... the Oncoming Storm'—was priceless!

—Was Reinette's offer to 'dance' the same kind of 'dancing' referred to in 'The Doctor Dances?' He did turn up not long after, saying he'd been to a great party. I wonder what made it so great?

—I assume that the TARDIS was translating Reinette's speech, hence her sounding so English, but why didn't it translate her saying "monsieur"?


Doctor: 'Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink.'
Mickey: 'What's that?'
Doctor: 'No idea, just made it up. Didn't want to say 'magic door'.'

Reinette: 'Reason tells me you cannot be real.'
Doctor: 'Oh, you never want to listen to reason.'

Doctor: 'No, no, no, no way. Reinette Poisson. Later Madame d'Etioles. Later still, mistress of Louis XV, uncrowned Queen of France. Actress, artist, musician, dancer, courtesan. Fantastic gardener!'
Man: 'Who the hell are you?'
Doctor: 'I'm the Doctor. And I just snogged Madame de Pompadour.'

Mickey: 'Is this, like, normal for you? Is this an average day?'
Rose: 'Life with the Doctor, Mickey. No more average days.'

Rose: 'Oh, here's trouble. What have you been up to?'
Doctor: 'Oh, this and that. Became the imaginary friend of a future French aristocrat. Picked a fight with a clockwork man. (Horse whinnies in the background) Oh, and I met a horse.'
Mickey: 'What's a horse doing on a spaceship?'
Doctor: 'Mickey, what's pre-revolutionary France doing on a spaceship? Get a little perspective.'

Rose: 'The Queen must have loved her.'
Doctor: 'No, she did. They got on very well.'
Mickey: 'The King's wife and the King's girlfriend?'
Doctor: 'France. It's a different planet.'

Rose: 'No, you're not keeping the horse.'
Doctor: 'I let you keep Mickey.'

Doctor: 'I think I just invented the banana daiquiri a couple of centuries early.'

Reinette: 'This is my lover, the King of France.'
Doctor: 'Yeah? Well I'm the Lord of Time.'

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