The Christmas Invasion
What happened: Rose and the tenth incarnation of the Doctor go back to Rose’s original time and place. The Doctor collapses and is carried to Jackie’s house by Jackie and Mickey. Rose and Mickey are attacked by Santa Claus robots (because it’s Christmas, we guess). The Doctor wakes up long enough to tell them that he needs to rest and the energy from regenerating brought enemies here looking for him. As it turns out, these baddies are an alien group called the Sycorax, and they want to take over Earth and enslave half of its population. Prime Minister Harriet Jones (last seen the first time we saw the Slitheen) balks at that and goes to the Sycorax ship to negotiate. The Sycorax have demanded surrender, or they will execute 1/3rd of the population. Rose, Mickey, and Jackie hid with the unconscious Doctor on the TARDIS just as the Sycorax transport the TARDIS onto their ship. The Doctor wakes up just in time to save 1/3rd of the population and challenge the leader of the Sycorax to a duel for the planet. The Doctor wins and lets the ship go, but Harriet Jones calls on something called Torchwood to destroy the departing Sycorax. The Doctor views this as murder.
What we thought: Can it be that we miss the old Doctor a little bit? After all the complaining we did? We’re sure this one will grow on us. Mickey is really starting to get on our nerves. He doesn’t want to hear her stories about the Doctor and the TARDIS? He sucks. No, Mickey, she’s never gonna stay. We liked that Harriet made such a bad call and is now something of an enemy. It was interesting. Is her political career over? Torchwood really interests us. We’ve heard hints of it in a few episodes. We’re glad Rose’s angst about how the Doctor has changed was short lived. He’s not THAT different. His ears are much smaller, and for that we should be grateful. The Sycorax aren’t going to make our list of “top ten best Doctor Who baddies,” were we to ever make such a list. The swordfight was a little silly.
Episode grade: B-
What happened: The Doctor and Rose go billions of years into the future, after the Earth was destroyed by the Sun. Humans have built a New Earth, much like the last one. There, the Doctor and Rose go to a hospital and Rose faces Lady Cassandra again. She has stripped her back skin and made something of a resurrection. Cassandra possesses Rose’s body and meets up with the Doctor. Together, they find hundreds of humans that were grown by science, only to be infected with diseases to help the medical staff find cures. Thousands die every day. Cassandra releases several of them, but then they all get out and roam the hospitals like zombies. One touch infects people. The Doctor cures them with the help of a disinfecting shower. The Doctor then orders Cassandra out of Rose. Cassandra moves into her slave, Chip, but then his body fails. Cassandra decides to accept death and be grateful for the beautiful years she lived. The Doctor gives her a final gift: He takes her back in time to see herself in her last good days and pay herself a last compliment. The Doctor also converses briefly with the Face of Boe, who has information for the Doctor…later.
What we thought: We love the Doctor’s new trenchcoat. The fashion on this show has greatly improved. Rose’s hair is better this season too. It would be weird to fall in love with someone and have them change bodies and parts of their personality overnight. Of course, we all change eventually, slowly, but that would be confusing so quick. Lady Cassandra!!!! We missed her. When the Doctor and Rose slid down that cable cord, it would have burnt his legs something awful, Time Lord or not. Why were the Doctor and Rose so nice to that treacherous Lady Cassandra? She got nice, wise, and sensible overnight. We guess it was nice…but we didn’t really buy it. How lame and shallow is it that she was so touched by her own damn compliment? Cassandra is fun. We’re sad she’s dead. The acting in this episode was fantastic and really fun because both David Tennant and Billie Piper had to play Lady Cassandra. Billie was especially good. Ern thinks this episode is conclusive proof that cats are the Devil.
Episode grade: B
Tooth and Claw
What happened: The year is 1879, and the location is Scotland. The Doctor and Rose run into Queen Victoria on her way to the Torchwood Estate, which has been taken by a bunch of monks who want the queen to get infected by a werewolf. They provide the werewolf, naturally. The werewolf chases everyone around the estate for most of the hour, but then the Doctor figures out that the estate was designed to defeat werewolves. Victoria is scratched or something by the werewolf, contracting a blood disorder. Even though she’s grateful to the Doctor and Rose for saving her, Queen Victoria doesn’t think she’s classy, so she banishes them. Then she founds the Torchwood Institute to defend the kingdom from otherworldy forces.
What we thought: We love how just anything can show up on this series. Orange-clothed ninjas, androids, zombies, diseased people, and talking strips of skin/trampolines. Anything. There sure is a lot of running around on this show. The Doctor spends a lot of time getting chased. No wonder he’s skinny. The running around dragged this episode down a little. We thought the husband was pretty cute, so it was sad when he got eaten by the werewolf. We’re sure his wife was sadder though, natch. You have to love a cult built around a werewolf. The CGI was, as always, hideous, but we’re starting to find it endearing. Tell us the secrets of Torchwood, show!
Episode grade: B-
What happened: When Mickey sends word of suspicious activity at a local grade school, the Doctor poses as a teacher and Rose works as a lunch lady. They realize that the French fries make students more intelligent and harm the kitchen staff. Mr. Finch, the new headmaster, has replaced the staff and had great success educating the kids. A journalist, who just happens to be a former companion of the Doctor’s, comes to investigate. She still has her robotic dog, K-9. The gang joins with her and find out that the teachers and headmaster are Krillitanes (aliens) seeking to use the children to get full control of time and space. Mr. Finch offers the Doctor a place with them, but he declines and takes all the kids out of the school. K-9 blows the Kirllitanes and the school up. The Doctor offers his old companion a place on the TARDIS, but she turns him down. Mickey, however, asks to join and is accepted. The Doctor gives his old companion a new K-9.
What we thought: We did NOT like seeing an old companion. First of all, we don’t know her, since we aren’t going to watch Doctor Who episodes from decades ago. Not no way, not no how. Second of all, it was sad. It made Rose feel insecure. How could it be satisfying for people who loved the Sarah Jane Smith character and her dog? Seeing her sad that the Doctor left her? It’s just a bummer. She took it all well in the end, but man. Maybe we’ve got it all wrong and it was a great nod to the show’s history and the older fans. The episode plot wasn’t that interesting either. We could have done with more scenes of the Doctor teaching schoolchildren. Also, there was all that running around. This show should be called, “Doctor Who Runs Around While Things Chase Him.”
Episode grade: C+
The Girl in the Fireplace
What happened: The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey land on an old spaceship that has “time windows” where you can peer into and enter a woman’s life. The woman is the gorgeous Madame de Pompadour/Reinette, a French king’s mistress in the 18th century. The Doctor through a time window to meet her when she was a child and saves her from a “clockwork man” hiding under her bed, scanning her brain to see if she is “ready.” The Doctor goes back to his time and figures out that the clockwork men are droids that are stalking Reinette and checking in with her every couple of years to see if she is “complete.” The droids need Reinette’s brain to fix their abandoned spaceship. Reinette falls in love with the Doctor, and he saves her from the droids.
What we thought: We like the TARDIS with three passengers, but we don’t like that it’s Mickey. How many rich, aristocratic black women were there in Paris in the 1700s? There should have been some, but we doubt there were. It’s weird how the Doctor is portrayed as more of a player this season, and we don’t think we’re fans of that, but it was funny when he came out singing “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Poor Rose. That’s two episodes in a row she’s learned this lesson. The Doctor doesn’t have a one-and-only. He’s so old and immortal that many women enter his life, even though he never seems to bone any of them. How does Reinette know what her voice sounds like? It’s not like she’s ever heard a recording and we sound a lot different in our heads than to others. She got to wear the most fantastic dresses. Too bad we can’t dress that way now, or we’d get made fun of. Maybe Reinette was smart and accomplished, but we can only get so choked up about someone’s mistress (not very). It was a VERY creative idea for an episode and there wasn’t as much chasing, so that’s good.
Episode grade: B
Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel
What happened: The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey are sucked out of the time vortex and into a parallel universe. They hang around London, where Rose’s father is still alive, but her parents never had her. All of the people wear little ear pieces, but they are not so much a source of information as an evil plan by a man named John Lumic to turn all the humans into Cybermen. John Lumic ends up dead, of course, his plan thwarted. Mickey decides his place is in the parallel universe, helping to defeat the last remains of this enemy, and that Rose loves the Doctor more than him. Mickey stays. Plus, his gran is alive there. The Doctor and Rose approve. Then they leave.
What we thought: Parallel universes, eh? Because other planets aren’t enough? In this one, Barty Crouch, Jr. meets Barty Crouch, Sr. That’s a nice reunion. We weren’t nuts about this one. It was a two-part one, and we think in order to justify splitting one adventure into two episodes, it has to be a truly remarkable adventure. But hardly anything happened in the first half except set-up, and this wasn’t even our universe, so none of it really mattered. We did NOT need to see Peter Tyler again. His death and last episode was so touching that this couldn’t top it. We liked that Mickey’s alternate name was “Rickey.” Nice. We didn’t like that alternate Jackie was such a rhymes-with-punt. We’re glad to be rid of Mickey forever though. Seriously, he shows up way too much for someone hardly anyone likes.
Episode grades: C
The Idiot’s Lantern
What happened: Year- 1952. Place- London. Event- Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. The Doctor meets a teen boy named Tommy who is angry at his dad for locking up his maternal grandmother. She is hidden because she has to face and seems drained of life. Rose traces the condition to a TV set store and meets Mr. Magpie, a man being controlled by an alien presence called “The Wire.” The Wire is using the TVs to eat minds and build a body. The Wire takes Rose’s face and mind, and when the Doctor finds this out, he’s pretty mad. He creates a device that shuts down The Wire’s activities. All the faces and minds are returned. Tommy’s mom kicks his dad out for treating her mother badly.
What we thought: We enjoyed literally nothing about this episode. There was nothing bad about it. It was just forgettable, and there wasn’t anything that made us smile. We almost liked when Rose told Tommy Connolly to go after his dad. We didn’t think the commentary was well done. What was this episode trying to say anyway? That we shouldn’t be watching too much TV? We love when TV SHOWS try to say that. It’s like, “No, you’re the culprit.” Was it about youngsters being allowed to rebel, stand, and be who they are? Was there political stuff here? In the end, we don’t care because this episode overstayed its welcome.
Episode grade: C-