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The story starts simply enough. London High-school dropout Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) goes to work at her dead-end job in a department store. Unfortunately, as she closes up shop at the end of the day, the shop-window dummies come to life ...
This is an exciting start to the new season of the show. Because it has been almost two decades since the last one, it has to cater for a new generation. But SPFX are far superior now to what they were back then, especially when you consider the costs involved.
Piper and Eccleston are great, and will hold together as the centre of the Season. The supporting cast are a bit cheesy, but we do not have to put up with them much so it is no great loss. And the script? Squeezed into an American-format 45 minutes, we are bombarded with witty lines and a few great visual set-ups. Billie goes a bit Ace at the climax, but that is standard in TV shows these days.
All in all, a great start to the new-look BBC. Hopefully they will bring back Blake's Seven too! :-)
This is a direct continuation of Episode One. The Doc takes Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) five billion years into the future, to the end of the Earth. They join a lot of dignitaries on a space station, like Milliways without the food. There are lots of aliens - great prosthetics and SPFX. Of note is Cassandra ( Zoe Wanamaker ), the last human.
Robot spiders are on the loose - sabotage! Rose is too caught up in her own problems to worry about that. She gets homesick, and now queries the sanity in starting to time travel with a complete stranger!
The Doc is now an action hero (smart and brave), to rescue the girl and save the day. However, he also displays a very dark, disturbing side.
Of note, the soundtrack includes Tainted Love and Toxic!
An undead Granny is on the loose in Cardiff, 1869. The undertaker and his psychic housemaid search for her, and they find her at a lecture given by Charles Dickens!
The Doctor and Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) drop by to celebrate Xmas. Rose gets to compare her life with the housemaid's. The Doctor, meanwhile, wants to help some alien refugees from The War. He feels guilty or something ...
Of note, this was written by Mark Gattis ( League of Gentlemens' Apocalypse). ).
The Doctor takes Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) home, to tie up loose ends from the first episode. Then a spaceship crashes into Big Ben. We meet its occupant, in a hilarious and poigniant parody of a certain 1970s TV show.
The PM is MIA, so a low-level MP is his stand-in. Unfortunately, Aliens have infiltrated the UK Government, and plot world domination. Surprise, surprise.
The Doctor and UNIT meet (they get a brief mention, not in depth), and we get a great cliff-hanger!
Most of the ep is a continuation of the cliffhanger. We get the resolution of the Jackie-Mickey conflict - though they may be back in future episodes. The MP woman may reappear too.
Does the UN control the UK's nuclear deterrent? Certainly not in reality, but in the Doctor's universe?. Also, in Battlefield the Brigadier is brought out of retirement for UNIT, and that appears to be in our future. This would mean that Winifred was a UN weapons inspector in Iraq in 2002, not 1992!
The Doctor and Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) get a distress signal from a secret bunker in Utah, 2012. Unfortunately they are captured by the guards (a SWAT team). Rose meets a new friend (an English boy, about 20-years old, ex-Coronation St actor).
The owner (a mediocre American actor) and his aide (a babe from Stargate SG-1 ???) are torturing a mysterious alien - hmm ... What is the episode title again? Last week's trailer gave it away, but there's great suspense built up.
The alien escapes and goes on a kill-crazy rampage. It is far more hi-tech than previous versions. And the Doctor's new incarnation is a good match for it in a war of words.
There is a sappy ending, but lots of background on the Temporal Wars.
The Doctor takes Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) and Adam to a Space Station in the year 200k CE. Adam goes exploring, to get the maximum info home. Tamsin Geig (Black Books) is a nurse who oversees his surgery ...
The Doctor and Rose dscover something's wrong. The Editor (Simon Pegg - Black Books, Shaun of the Dead ) is up to no good.
The Doctor takes Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) to 1987, when her Father died. Before she was even born! Luckily he gets it exactly right the first time round. Unfortunately, she saves her dad and creates a paradox.
Rose and the Doctor have nothing better to do than hang around with her dad. She gets to know the father she never knew, and learns unpleasant truths about him. Rose's mum is twenty years younger, while we learn Mickey is older than Rose (he is a toddler).
The paradox weakens the interdimensional walls, and reapers (CGI monsters) fly in and eat everyone on Earth. The Time Lords used to keep them at bay ...
The rule you cannot touch yourself is used. It goes back to Mawdryn Undead, a Peter Davidson ep, and predates Timecop by ten years.
1941, London .. The Blitz! The Doctor teams up with local urchins, while Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) finds a Love Interest - Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ), a time-travelling con-man who thinks she is a Temporal Agent.
There is an alien ship and a strange plague. A Boy with a gas mask stalks the urchins, spreading the plague.
The explanation is obvious at the end of the episode, but it is a two-parter!
Can the Doctor save the world? Hmm.
There are lots of sonic screwdriver jokes. Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ) is a great character, but that does not mean he will be around forever.
The Doctor's relationship with Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) is very strange. He seems jealous of Jack!?
The TARDIS lands in Cardiff, 2005, where there has been a temporal rift since the Victorian era. This allows Mickey to meet the competition - Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow )!
Unfortunately the Slyveen female is still around, and is going to destroy the world again. Will the Doctor send the Slyveen home to face the death penalty? Since the TARDIS is refuelling it's an overnight stay, which gives her time to play mind games on the good guys. The Doctor treats her to dinner in a Carfiff restuarant, allowing for a nice duel of words and wits.
The Doctor is very cold-hearted in this regeneration. Luckily we get a Deus Ex Machina ending ...
The Doc, Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) and Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ) find themselves inside a parody of three contemporary TV shows - Weakest Link, Makeover, Big Brother (with Channel 4's consent!). The twist - robots and executions! This is not unlike the Simon Pegg ep - which is a deliberate reference!
The TV company is the Bad Wolf Corporation, causing the Doctor to list the other references ... The Victorian maid mentioned the Big bad wolf, in the Dalek episode the chopper callsign was Bad Wolf One and the Slyveen's project in Cardiff was Bad Wolf in Welsh. Are the words stalking the TARDIS through time?
We get more clues to who is behind it (the BBC trailer at the end of each ep ruins the suspense and cliffhangers). Apart from that, nice how the Season has a story arc. Also ... Cap'n Jack is humorously heroic, smart ... and bisexual!
Rose, meanwhile, finds out who the Bad Wolf is. And the conclusion? All the foreshadowing in the world cannot disguise a Deus Ex Machina. Worse, this is ripped from a pevious (much-derided) Doctor Who story!
This is a special teaser - a single scene, really. But it is better than nothing. And it is for charity.
To calm her he sets the TARDIS to take her somewhere safe - her mum's flat, on Xmas Eve. Unfortunately, just then something bad happens ...
Following on from the Children in Need clip, the new Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) takes Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) to her mum's for Xmas. Mickey is apparently back with Rose again, all flings forgotten. Unfortunately, some Aliens have decided to invade Earth.
The Doctor is recovering from a traumatic regeneration, so Rose and Mickey must do what they can to save the world. Luckily for the plot, he recovers in time to have a swordfight!
The climax is a bit predictable. However, the real twist is after the climax. It asks more questions than it answers. What happened 10 years ago?
Yes, the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) is back! The return of the show, much awaited since the Xmas Special, has been somewhat downplayed by the BBC. Not by the UK newspapers, however - they gave away half the plot!
Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) and the Doc (in his new costume, a nice suit in the mid-20th Century style) arrive on New Earth, the planet used as Humanity's new homeworld after the events of Season 1, Episode 2 The End of the World.
Their arrival is not unnoticed. A familar-looking spider-robot, and the voice of Zoe Wanamaker , give us some idea of what we are in for.
The Doctor and Rose visit a nearby hospital, run by cat-faced nuns. The Doc states he is not fond of hospitals, perhaps a reference to Season 1, Episode 10 The Doctor Dances (2) . These nuns can cure any disease, but naturally they conceal a terrible secret.
The ep is in some ways a rehash of a couple of eps from the previous Season. But there are some nice touches to it. There is a lot of development for the new Doctor - he is very stubborn, but a lot more forgiving and humane than the previous incarnation.
1879, Scotland, and a country mansion is taken over by mysterious monks. They are caucasian and bald, and they know kung-fu!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ), full of buddy-buddy banter, encounter Queen Victoria. She is en route to Balmoral with a military escort. The Doc and Rose tag along, pretending to be from Balamory, and spend the night with her at the monks' mansion ...
The monks have a caged beastie. It is the survivor of a crashed alien ship. A lot of that seems to have happened - a Sontaran, an Terraleptil and Julian Glover ( Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ) all ended up on Earth in similar stories.
The ending is quite dramatic. Queen Vic sets up the Torchwood Institute to defend the Empire from hostile aliens ... such as the Doctor!
There are suspicious goings-on at a London school. Tony Head ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer ) is a creepy school employee who manipulates the kids for supernatural reasons. Unlike Rupert Giles, he is Headmaster instead of Head Librarian!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) gets a job there as Physics teacher, while Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) is a Dinner lady. Mickey does tech support. He discovers that three months previously, at the time the new teachers arrived, there were UFO sightings. There are classified photos, but nobody is investigating. Not UNIT, not Torchwood ...
The kids get fish and chips for lunch. It seems to work - some of them are super-intelligent, and nobody at school has ring-tones or ASBOs! How terrible, a school that teaches children something. They even have freeze-dried rats in the biology labs, while Rose claims that A-level candidates have not dissected rats in years. Am I out of date, or is Rose just BSing? After all, she is a chav who dropped out of school and never amounted to anything.
Sarah Jane Smith ( Elizabeth Sladen ) arrives as a journalist. She was the Doctor's Assistant - 30 years ago! The IMDB reveals she is 58 years old, though she looks 20 younger. However, she and Rose have some issues ... And when K9 is re-activated, it is obvious that his modern counterpart is Mickey! Both these pairings lead on to some excellent dialogue scenes!
After seeing Sarah Jane Smith looking 20 years younger, we get guest star Sophia Myles . She is the UK's newest genre star, perhaps best known for being 20 years too young to convincingly play Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds . Here, she is Madame La Pompadour, from the ages of 22 through 37!
The Doc, Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) and Mickey land on a crippled spaceship in the year 5000. The clockwork repair robots harvest human organs to repair their ship, and have opened time-windows into 18th Century France.
The Doc is back to the creepy genius with kick-ass tendencies that we were introduced to in the Xmas Special.
The Tardis accidentally flips through a hole in space-time. The team end up trapped on a parallel Earth. Great Britain has a President - a corrupt politician, of course. Strangely no mention of the UK ... presumably NI was nationalised. No mention of the EU either!
Rose's mum is a shallow bitch - like she usually is, but with more cash. Rose's dad is still alive. He is a wheeler-dealer made good, on close terms with the Prez. By incredible coincidence, Ricky (the parallel Mickey) is a gun-toting revolutionary! Totally unlike the normally spineless Mickey!
Everyone in GB has upgraded their mobile phone to earplugs that download info into the brain. The next upgrade is to turn humans into ... Cybermen!
The Cybermen have been revamped with a nice retro look. They have a Dalek-style war-cry ... Delete!
Our heroes have to escape certain death, then somehow defeat the Cybermen.
Mickey bears the brunt of this ep. It is important in his character arc - and the behind-the-scenes bit shown afterwards is all about him.
1953, the run-up to the Queen's coronation. Everyone rushes out to buy a TV so they can watch it. But creepy TV presenter Maureen Lipman is sucking peoples' faces through the screen.
This was written by Mark Gatiss League of Gentlemens' Apocalypse , who also did the Dickens ep [Season 1, Episode 3] The Unquiet Dead last year.
Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) and the Doc appear on a space station. It is on an asteroid in the orbit of a black hole!
There are humans aboard the station, along with a race of helpful aliens called the Ood. They are trapped beyond time, and the asteroid's core was once inhabited by an alien race so powerful it could withstand the black hole, and so old that the Tardis cannot translate its writing.
Worse, an ancient evil from within the asteroid has been woken. Like in Event Horizon . Only they are actually ON an Event Horizon!
This is a wonderfully dramatic ep, with amazing SPFX. And a cliffhanger ending!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) is trapped down the mineshaft. With only an hours worth of air, he has no option but to keep exploring. Of course, everyone forgets that he went to find the TARDIS - so his imminent survival is obvious to the viewers!
Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) keeps things together on the surface, taking command of the military crew. Well, they are part of Torchwood rather than the SAS, but the point still stands. Last ep started as The Black Hole , but here it becomes Aliens .
The Beast, when discovered, looks like Eddie - mascottfor Iron Maiden! Great CGI, great production values, great plan and great conclusion.
The Beast claims precognition, and says Rose will die in battle soon. Presumably this is just blather, and it intends to kill her itself ...
This is told from the perspective of a 20-something Londoner named Elton (Marc Warren - Hogfather ). He is an amateur UFO-hunter who keeps a video-diary, and recounts his encounters with the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ).
Elton's UFO-Watcher group, LINDA, is taken over by a control-freak (Peter Kay - League of Gentlemens' Apocalypse). ) who vaguely resembles the guy from the pilot ep, Rose. He orders Elton to go undercover and seduce Rose's mum, Jackie!
This is an unusual ep - a lot of it is cliche, but it manages to avoid the usual Eastenders-In-Space feel to the Jackie eps. And we do not feel the loss of Mickey, which is quite nice.
There is yet more death of Rose foreshadowing ...
This story is like a strange echo of Nu Who [Season 2, Episode 7] The Idiot's Lantern. In 1953, around the time of the Coronation, London people were sucked into TV sets. In 2012, at the time of the Olympics, London people are sucked into a child's drawings.
The child is daughter of a single parent, played by Nina Sosanya (Tennant's co-star from Casanova).
Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) tells us she is going to die. Of course, this has been foreshadowed in previous eps, and the UK tabloids were full of spoilers, so this is no surprise.
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Rose arrive in London, which is now full of ghosts. This is part of popular culture, meaning that there are cameos by other BBC TV shows (Eastenders, ironically).
The problem stems from the Torchwood Institute, which is running experiments using unknown alien tech. Worse, their HQ's lack of security means that there are evil aliens running around it!
There are a couple of surprises which were not ruined by the trailer, though. One is an unexpected ally, another is an old enemy!
This is an incredible climax to the season, and involves two alien races having a planet-wide battle!
The resolution comes at a terrible cost. The whole Eastenders in Space bit comes to an end, as Billie Piper's two-Season contract expires. But it is actually well-written, and worth watching.
Torchwood is a bit crap, though. The soldiers may have cool guns (not SA80s or MP5s, oddly enough) but despite a bit of shoot-em-up on the streets there is no actual military stuff done by Torchwood itself. An organisation supposed to be over 100 years old, significantly older than UNIT, yet they have no idea how to deal with Cybermen!
Hopefully they will do things better in their own show, especially if they keep the patriotic Cyber-person!
We get to see the end of Ep 2.13 again, from the perspective of Donna the Bride ( Catherine Tate ). "Who is Catherine Tate" you are no doubt asking, echoing Cordelia in Angel . Ms Tate appeared overnight as a UK comedienne. She had her own sketch show on the BBC, and they are obviously trying hard to get their money's worth out of her. In comparison, Hale and Pace were famous long before they appeared in Survival, and now the biggest thing they have been in is the Extras Xmas Special!
The Runaway Bride is being chased by last year's robot santas, who are now being controlled by the spider queen. A race of spider-people are going to take over the world. They are survivors of an ancient war, and the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) thought them long extinct.
There is mention of Torchwood's London branch, but it is worse than useless at preventing alien invasions. OK, they shot down the Alien ship last Xmas, but at the least useful moment. Here they do nothing useful at all!
Young Doctor Martha Jones (cousin of a Canary Tower worker) is treating a patient who calls himself John Smith. Her hospital is stolen by an army of Sontaran-looking Rhino-men and transplanted to the moon!
It turns out that one of the patients is a vampiric Plasmavore, who uses a drinking straw (like the Sirens in Red Dwarf ). This is bad news for Dr Stoker!
Shakespeare is apparently a super-perfect genius that even the Doctor is in awe of. Well, I suppose this IS scifi, after all. The Doctor has already met Shakespeare - in City of Death and Empire of Glass.
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) takes Martha Jones to New New York, where he took Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) in Season 2. Martha gets kidnapped, and the Doctor must brave the Motorway to find her. Ardal O'Hanlon (a big cat-man with the voice of Father Ted's Dougal) helps.
The Motorway has flying vans, like Fifth Element - but the gridlock is so bad that people have been flying around trying to escape the slums for 23 years! Worse, something is lurking in the lowest level.
The Face of Boe is in charge of the city now, and sends a cat-faced nun to find the Doctor.
The Tardis appears in NYC, during the Great Depression. The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Martha Jones make friends with the hobos of Hooverville, a squatter camp in Central Park.
The Empire State Building is being completed. It has been extended and improved - it is already much taller than the Chrystler building. And its new owners are from a long way out of town!
The four super-daleks from the Canary Wharf battle are back. They are splicing humans with pigs, to create beastman minions. And they have a plan to empower the Dalek race ...
The new Dalek leader wants the Doctor's help. But the other Daleks are not overly happy about this.
The climax is predictable, and all in all it is a disappointing ep. That said, there have been very few decent Dalek eps in the revived series.
In modern Earth, a scientist named Dr Lazarus (Mark Gattis - League of Gentlemens' Apocalypse ) claims to have changed what it means to be human. His experiments are backed by the mysterious Mr Saxon. Lazarus publicly tests his machine on himself ...
Martha's sister is on Lazarus' staff. This is convenient, because it means that Martha and the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) are nearby when the Experiment all goes badly wrong.
The Tardis materialises aboard a spaceship that is about to crash into a sun. They have 42 minutes (the length of an episode, and a nice reversal of 24) to fix the ship and save themselves ...
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Martha Jones are pursued by hostile aliens, the Family of Blood. They hide in England, 1913. The Doctor turns himself human, and becomes a teacher. He even falls in love with a woman (from Spaced).
Martha stays on as a maidservant. She knows that the human teacher is more ruthless than the Doctor, an unpleasant change to come over him.
The Family of Blood are on the trail. Like the Slitheen, they can take over human bodies. And they start with an upper-class git with the initials J.B. [as in James Bond] ...
The Family of Blood besiege the school. This allows for a typical anti-War cliche, with the comparison with the First World War. Of course, this is quite comical as we see scarecrows get shot in slo-mo!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Martha Jones visit present-day England. They investigate a creepy old house, and run into the freakiest monster of the series!
This is most like last Season's episode [Season 2, Episode 10] Love and Monsters. The Doctor and Martha are peripheral figures, and the main protagonist is a young woman investigating disappearances at the house. The story has some light-hearted moments, but the climax is real hide-behind-the-sofa stuff!
The Tardis stops at Cardiff to refuel. Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ) hitches a lift, but the Tardis tries to ditch him. It goes to the end of the universe ...
The Tardis lands in a quarry, typical of the show in the old days. They get chased by extras from Ghosts of Mars !
The remains of the human race are a gaggle of refugees, led by The Professor (Derek Jacobi - Cadfael).
In one of the greatest anticlimactic escapes, our heroes end up in modern-day London. The election is over, and Mr Saxon (John Simmm - Life on Mars ) has won.
PM Saxon wipes out all his threats and rivals. Then he announces that he has been contacted by an alien race that he calls the Toclafane. They look like the flying death-spheres in the Phantasm movies. He and certain VIPs will meet the aliens aboard UNIT's flying HQ. Yes, UNIT has a Helicopter-Carrier, just like SHIELD in the Marvel Comics and Marvel Avengers Assemble .
Martha Jones is the only one who can thwart the Master's plan. She spends a year walking the Earth, gathering support ... while humanity is enslaved to build interstellar missiles so The Master (John Simm - Life on Mars ) can attack the rest of the galaxy.
We finally find out why the Face of Boe was such a great friend of the Doctor's! And the very last scene sets up the next Xmas special ...
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) boards the SS Titanic, and discovers that Kylie Minogue is one of the waitresses. Her skirt is too short for 1912 - but this is actually a starship from the Capricorn belt. How it came to be crewed by Humans when the year is 2007 is never explained.
Naturally, the Titanic hits rough circumstances. The Doctor must lead a handful of survivors to safety, like in The Poseidon Adventure .
In previous episodes the villains have been robot santas and evil angels. Here we have robot angels as the villains!
After the last two Xmas specials, the inhabitants of London have decided to spend Xmas elsewhere. Except the Queen, of course, which is ironic because Buckingham Palace is where the Titanic will crash!
Donna ( Catherine Tate ) is back! Back on Earth, that is - reminiscing with her amateur astronomer Grandad, Wilf (Bernard Cribbins from the Carry On films). She wants to see the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) again, and the Doctor is now getting over his recent loss.
Donna and the Doctor, unaware of each others investigations, are posing as Health & Safety Inspectors. The conspiracy is headed by Miss Foster ( Sarah Lancashire ), boss of a sinister Corporation - Adipose Industries. They sell a diet pill, and their slogan is The Fat just walks away. This is strangely reminiscent of the pilot episode of Sarah Jane Adventures , although Miss Foster is modelled on the TV show Super Nanny.
The Doctor and Donna seperately make their way to Miss Foster's HQ, which strangely resembles the location of the climax of Ep 2.1 of Torchwood !
Something strange is going on. The strangers are spied on by a creepy priestess ( Karen Gillan ), although they find shelter with friendly local Peter Capaldi ( Lair of the White Worm ). All the local soothsayers can genuinely see the future. One tells Donna There's something on your back, and another mentions the Cascade of Medusa. There is even mention of another planet gone missing. But the Romans do not have a word for volcano, and nobody knows that Vesuvius is about to erupt.
It is nice to see a culture that is significantly differentiated from contemporary London. That said, Pompeii is a mainstay of history class for young children. It is not exactly a great use of the imagination, although the budget is certaily well-spent.
The Doctor uses a water pistol because he knows it can hurt (or even kill) the malevolent aliens. Not exactly the actions of a gun-control pacifist! But it is nice that he has to make an actual moral choice at the end ...
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Donna ( Catherine Tate ) arrive in the year 4126. The Second Human Empire now covers three Galaxies. Their civilisation depends upon the Ood to run hospitals, public health and so on. But the ugly aliens are reverting to their natural state - murderous xenophobes.
The CEO of the Ood Corporation (Tim McInnerny - Blackadder) investigates goings-on at the breeding facility on the Ood Homeworld. The Doctor and Donna tag along on a guided tour. Unfortunately the CEO is a pompous arrogant fool and the guards only have 2000-year-old M-16 rifles!
Donna notes that the last time she was home, a newspaper said that the bees were disappearing. And the Ood call the pair Doctor-Donna, as if the pair are somehow linked ...
England, in the early years of the 21st Century. A new sat-nav system has been installed in all Government vehicles as standard. Even UNIT is no exception. But a whistle-blowing journalist uncovers suspicious activity ...
Martha Jones, now an officer with UNIT, summons the Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) to help investigate. Unfortunately, unlike the Doctor of the 1970s, the new one (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) has a dose of the trendy gun-phobia of bourgeois middle-England. He did not hesitate to use a broadsword against an alien invader on his first appearance, but now he denies people the right tools to defend their home-world. Ironically, this week’s alien invaders have a force-field technology that can neutralise the copper in UNIT’s standard-issue G36 ammo, rendering their guns useless. Nobody mentions they also have bayonets, side-arm batons, and probably tasers and CS gas too.
Catherine Tate makes herself useful by going through the ATMOS factory’s personnel records. The aliens never bothered to go to any great lengths when they falsified the data, so even an office temp like her can spot the inconsistencies. Then she goes home to see her grandfather Wilf (Bernard Cribbins - Invasion Earth: 2158 ) and her mum (a bossy cow).
The Doctor goes to the ATMOS company HQ, which is a bit like the astronaut training camp at the start of Moonraker . The head of the company is a child prodigy, a teenage-looking wunderkind who butts egos with the Doctor. Naturally, the Doctor senses a kindred spirit and acknowledges how difficult it is to be surrounded by people whose speed of cop-on is so incredibly slow. However, the Doctor decides to antagonise the wunderkind, not groom him as a potential ally. Naturally, the youngster’s alliance with the alien invaders is strengthened by this encounter.
The aliens planned for UNIT intervention. They want to replace a high-ranking officer with a clone loyal to the invaders.
UNIT face off against the Sontarans.
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) lands on a wartorn world named Messaline. One of the soldiers is Georgia Moffett , who may look familiar. Her mother is Sandra Dickinson , who played Trillian in the BBC TV show of Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy . Her father is none other than Peter Dickinson, AKA the Fifth Doctor! And after David Tennant ( Jessica Jones ) broke up with Sophia Myles (Guest Star from Girl In The Fireplace) he eventually married Ms Moffett!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Donna ( Catherine Tate ) arrive at an English Country House in 1926, and stay for the dinner party. The Lady of the Manor ( Felicity Kendal ) and her closet-case gay son are joined by a cluster of stereotypes. Unfortunately, one of them is a murderer who can transform into a giant wasp. There is also a subplot about a jewel thief named the Unicorn, but that is barely worth mentioning.
In a typical celebrity-of-the-week fashion, Agatha Christie is one of the guests. Naturally, we endure every cliche and Agatha Christie reference possible. It is all a bit contrived, but who cares?
Professor River Song ( Alex Kingston ) and her team of bio-suited archaeologists arrive, to discover where everyone went.
Donna ( Catherine Tate ) wakes up and finds herself living a perfect life. She gets married and has children - which RTD's Gay Dr Who Fan Club find offensive, but who cares?
It turns out that the planet has an AI and a massive planetary data-core (like in The Matrix ). So WTF did they need to pulp a planet's worth of forests to create a paper library? Also, the datacore is linked to a very convenient system of global Star Trek style teleporters. They can store a person's pattern for a century, and still materialise them. But as in Trek, nobody takes this to its natural logical conclusion!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) leaves Donna ( Catherine Tate ) so he can go on a day-trip. He is in an airtight passenger coach riding across Midnight, a planet devoid of atmosphere, bathed in deadly radiation. Nothing could survive on the planet's surface - but since nobody has ever been outside, they can never be certain!
Predicably, things go wrong. The Doctor and the other passengers are trapped, with a monster on the loose. However, the real danger is psychological. The Doctor must decide who the real monsters are - mind-controlling aliens, or an all-too-human lynch mob?
Donna ( Catherine Tate ) visits a fortune teller. Instead of seeing her future, she ends up living an alternate reality. We discover why several characters in prior eps this season told Donna There's something on your back ...
We get to see what would happen if Donna had not saved the Doctor on her wedding day. Sarah Jane Smith and the Torchwood crew try to stop the next Xmas invasions, with mixed results. The loss of livable land (when Starship Titanic nukes London and South-East England) and the loss of population (the Adipose-induced genocide) do not seem to cancel each other out. Instead the Government resorts to concentration camps and implies mass-murder ...
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) and Donna ( Catherine Tate ) return to Earth. But before the credits start, Earth is stolen (hence the title). The Doctor and Donna go to the Rhino-cops for help.
Earth is defended by the Doctor's former companions and associates:
As a familiar enemy invades Earth, we get multiple cliffhangers. To be continued!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) has said goodbye to his last assistant, and he is feeling a bit down. But for a time traveller, every day can be Xmas day - and what is more Xmas-y than Dickensian England?
Something evil is on the rampage - but the Doctor and his Victorian counterpart, David Morrissey ( The Reaping ), team up to fight it. The Doctor must discover the reason that his new self has amnesia. And there are certain conundrums about the newcomer ...
The climax involves an enormous robot stomping across Victorian London. Very Steampunk - and since this is set before Torchwood was founded, the Doctors are pretty much on their own. But for someone who claims to hate weapons and violence, the Doctor loves to kick arse!
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) ends up on a London double-decker bus with jewel thief Michelle Ryan . The Bus gets sucked through a wormhole and dumped on a dusty alien planet. The Doctor tries to work out how to get everyone home. The thief helps - will she be the new assistant? After all, she meets the only criteria - she is young, female and attractive!
Back in London, UNIT take over the scene. Their scientific expert is Lee Evans ( Mouse Hunt ), best known as a stand-up comedian back in the 1990s. This guest-appearance was not enough to reboot his career.
The Doctor may be opposed to guns and violence, but luckily UNIT have enough firepower to defend London from an invading force of armour-plated alien sand-sharks. The usual gun-control rhetoric is strangely absent, and in fact the Doctor actually recommends a couple
The title’s similarity to a certain John Carpenter film is not entirely coincidental. The plot is straightforward enough. Human colonists on Mars (Led by Lindsay Duncan ) awaken a malevolent alien force, buried deep in the planet. This time it is a viral life-form that lives in water. Naturally it can possess human hosts, and turns the infected against the free.
The plot may not be terribly original, but it is nice hide-behind-the-cushions stuff that the show used to do so well. And the real twist seems to be a setup for the big finale, which will be the Xmas 2009 special.
The Master (John Simm - Life on Mars ) is back. But his resurrection is interrupted, and he is damaged. His body is burning through its life energy at an accelerated rate, which allows him to use SPFX like Palpatine's Dark Force Lightning.
Timothy Dalton ( Flash Gordon ) narrates the first part. And this leads up to an incredible revelation and cliff-hanger ending.
We finally discover why The Master (John Simm - Life on Mars ) was driven insane.
The Doctor (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) takes on the entire population of Earth in a battle of wits. There is a Star Wars rip-off scene (badly shot, as well) as the good guys use gun turrets to shoot down incoming SAMs.
Like Lord of the Rings there are several extra endings tagged on, as Tennant's Doctor says goodbye to his favourite recurring characters. Mickey and Martha (!), Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ) and Alonso (!) ...
Former Doctor Who writer Laurence Miles has nothing better to do than use his Blog to slag off his former co-worker, Stephen Moffatt. Waste of time, really. Miles is talented enough to find better uses for his time - and despite Moffatt's flaws, they are less annoying than his predecessor's.
The tweenies are complaining that Matt Smith is being dissed because of his age. What if he is pure talent? Well, he could be the new Haley Joel Osment (an incredible actor), but that would not make him right for the role. After all, did Osment get cast as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings?
We get complaints of ageism from some over-achieving little Dougie Howser who claims that at the age of 21 he is married with two children and a mortgage, but does not worry because his job as head of Brain Surgery at Holby General covers all his financial worries.
Most 26-year-olds live with their parents or in crappy rented apartments. You are not an adult in modern western English-speaking culture unless you have experienced at least one major life event:
A 26 year-old who is not married, has no children and lives with their parents is NOT a grown-up.
Another point ... We are used to TV shows ( Buffy, Smallville , etc) using 20-something actors to play teenagers an average of ten years younger! Thus, by this standard we can say that Matt Smith could just as easily play a 16-year-old. Naturally this is quite unlikely, but should explain why many people are instinctively dubious of the casting decision.
So, what will the new series of Dr Who look like? Matt's sister (dancer in Eric Prydz' workout video) ought to guest-star! Also, will the new version of the Gay Agenda include an alien species with three genders?
The new Doctor crash-lands the Tardis, then makes friends with a wee girl with a Scottish accent so mild she could be from Ulster. The new Doctor needs a new companion. He gets Karen Gillan , who looks amazing in a miniskirt.
Much like Season-opener Rose , the Doctor teams up with a gorgeous teenage girl who has a BF (and an unhealthy attraction to the Time Lord) What are the chances she has something in common with Donna ( Catherine Tate ) other than being ginger? Amelia Pond seems like a Frankenstein's monster of the best bits of recent companions. She is young (like Billie Piper ), a redhead (like Catherine Tate ) and the Doctor meets her at various stages in her life (like Sophia Myles ).
The Doctor must hunt down a dangerous escaped prisoner, a shape-shifting villain. At least the character is CGI, not just an actor with putty on his nose like in Star Trek: DS9 .
Much like Season-opener Smith And Jones a few years ago, the shape-shifting fugitive villain holds a hospital hostage while alien law-keepers besiege the place and the fate of the Earth lies in the balance. This is SLIGHTLY different - the lawkeepers are the Atraxi, not the Judoon.
It has been suggested that the first ep of the season is deliberately reminiscent of Tennant-era eps because the mainstream TV audience is not interested in high-concept shows, and will stop watching if the show loses the star-factor of David Tennant and Russell T. Davies.
There is the start of a season plot arc, with reference to cracks in the universe. Hope it gets better from here.
This was made in 2010, an election year, so the story is set in a location where voting is central to life. 1300 years in the future, Starship UK is a police state in space run by a corrupt government. Luckily it still has a constitutional monarch!
The Doctor is the opposite of Starfleet. He ALWAYS interferes in other cultures, and the good of the many NEVER outweighs the good of the few.
The Doctor investigates mysterious goings on, as per usual. This time it is a bit more like Star Wars , with predictable dialogue and an exciting gunfight.
Naturally, the Doctor discovers what the Government has been hiding. It is a nasty little secret, of course, but not as bad as enslaving the Ood (or dozens of other nasty things humans have done in the show).
The alien species involved has a child fixation, not unlike the 456 in Torchwood: Children of Earth . What a pity we did not get them back again!
And finally, the companion is the one who saves the day. At least we did not get RTD's favourite trope of the heroic self-sacrifice. Well, not really.
As followed on from last episode's cliffhanger, the Doctor and Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) head to London, circa 1940.
Churchill and the Doctor get on very well, they have obviously known each other for a long time. In fact, Churchill is one of the people who has the Doctor's phone number! That said, it is the darkest days of the war and he is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
A team of soldiers explore an abandoned temple that had a starship crashland on it. They are some kind of Warrior monks led by Father Octavian (Iain Glen - Game of Thrones ). Their guide is a dangerous convict - River Song ( Alex Kingston ).
Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) gets to be the damsel in distress. But at least she is not an annoying know-it-all.
The Doctor leads the survivors into the ship, with the Angels hot in pursuit. Unfortunately, the crack in the universe is there and it is getting stronger.
River Song ( Alex Kingston )'s secret is revealed - sort of. She did something very bad, but the exact details are left a blank.
The Doctor takes Rose and Mickey (sorry, Amy and her groom-to-be) to Venice, circa 1580. The place is quarantined, supposedly because the Plague of 1573 has made a comeback. A Venetian Moor who looks like Lennie James ( Jericho, Prisoner 2010 ) knows that the local Girls School is full of Vampires!
Vampires? Is this a wonderful reference to the Haemeovores of Curse of Fenric? No, it is more like a rehash of The Annoying Bride, the first Catherine Tate story.
Despite the Doctor's avowed hatred of weapons (he did not object to soldiers with guns in the River Song double-episode) we get to see what happens when vampire-hunters get hold of barrels of gunpowder!
The Doctor comes to see his former companions, five years in the future. Rory has a ponytail, Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) has a huge pregnant belly.
The characters are flipped between two realities by the Dream Lord, the Doctor's greatest enemy (who has never been seen before). This is all satisfactorily explained in the story, however.
The Doctor tries to take Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) and Rory to Rio. Unfortunately the budget did not stretch that far, so they ended up in a quarry in Wales. Just like the good old days!
Something is sucking people into the ground. A classic villain species is on the attack AGAIN. It is just a sub-species, completely independant of previous species,
The Doctor refuses to let the humans defend themselves with weapons, although he does not think twice about using one himself.
The Doctor faces off against the Silurians. Can he convince them to make peace with the human race?
The Doctor tries to console himself for Amy's loss, since she has absolutely no memory of what happened. He takes her to an art gallery, where Bill Nighy ( Shaun of the Dead, POTC: At World's End ) tells everyone about Vincent Van Gogh. Then the Doctor realises that there is an alien monster in one of Vincent's paintings ...
The Doctor and Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) go to meet Vincent (Tony Curran - League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ) in a small village in late Victorian France. He has delusions about a monster. Or maybe it is invisible, and only he can see it.
The Doctor's response is unusually violent, for someone who acts like such an ignorant pacifist.
The Doctor arrives on Earth, where an unusual temporal phenomenon is taking place. Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) gets trapped on the Tardis, and the Doctor must solve the mystery to save her. He cannot use his sonic stuff because the villain will detect it, so he has to actually have an adventure for a change.
The Doctor goes undercover as flatmate to chubby English sitcom character James Corden ( The Three Musketeers ). Something creepy is having upstairs, just like always in this kind of episode.
Van Gogh (Tony Curran - Defiance ) has a nightmare. He paints it ... Churchill is shown the painting, so phones the Doctor. River Song ( Alex Kingston ) gets the phone call, so she escapes and steals the painting from Queen Liz.
The Pandorica, an infamous legendary interstellar prison, is opening. An armada of Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and other villainous races arrives.
Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) meets a familiar face ...
There is a proper cliffhanger this time, with no Next week trailer.
River Song ( Alex Kingston ) discovers that the daleks have another word in their vocabulary ... Mercy! This is actually explained in a few Seasons time.
Of all the starships that Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) and Rory could have taken their honeymoon on, the Doctor chooses them one that is about to crash. The only way he can save them is by intervening, saving the ship and changing history.
The Doctor journeys to a Steampunk world, where the Dickensian Xmas Carol tale takes off. He must melt the icy heart of an elderly miser (Michael Gambon - Dumbledore in Harry Potter ). The chosen tactic is by venturing back into the man's past to befriend him, like in The Girl In The Fireplace.
The Doctor takes Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) and Rory to the USA, where he has a violent and life-altering encounter with a mysterious person in an astronaut spacesuit. W. Morgan Sheppard ( SeaQuest DSV ) then appears, to help clean up the mess ...
The Doctor then takes Amy and Rory back to the 1960s, where they recruit Mark Sheppard ( Medium ) - the younger version of his father's character. They are facing an alien species called The Silence - a creature that you cannot remember if you are not looking at them. Their ability to affect a victim's perceptions is reminiscent of the Weeping Angels themselves.
The story takes up three months after it left off. The conclusion resolves the story, but not the cliffhanger.
The show features a trademark gay reference. But with River Song ( Alex Kingston ) and Agent Sheppard running around shooting at the villains, at least the leftie anti-gun propaganda is gone!
River Song explains that her relationship with the Doctor is like The Time-Traveller's Wife - since they are both time-travellers, they always meet out of sequence.
The Tardis arrives (silently) on Henry Avery's ship circa 1700. Avery is a real-life pirate who stole the treasure of the Moghul Emperor, and was never seen again. Now we know why.
This story is influenced very heavily by Treasure Island. The makers included every pirate reference they can think of, except an actual island and treasure map. For example, Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) does an impersonation of Keira Knightley , the sword-fighting Pirate Queen from Pirates of the Caribbean .
The Tardis visits a space junkyard. There are survivors there, like mad hatter's teaparty (including one of the creepy Ood). There is even a crazy woman - who has a lot in common with the Doctor himself.
Thanks to the pre-credits sequence, the main twist is spoiled at the very start. A pity, because this is the episode written by Neil Gaiman and it stands far above the rest of the Season.
As a side note, apparently at least one Time Lord has switched genders.
The Tardis pops up in the 22nd Century. Specifically, at a monastery that is now used to store a dangerous acid. The humans have not discovered or enslaved the Ood yet, so they use cloned Doppelgangers known as Gangers.
There is a Solar storm, and the inhuman creations come alive to challenge their creators - as in Frankenstein's Monster . Their faces are misshapen and their bodies are malleable - like Odo in Star Trek: DS9 .
The gangers continue their plotting. More of the same. All predictable enough.
The epilogue aboard the Tardis, however, clears up the mystery of Amy's pregnancy. It also sets up the story for the next episode.
The villains hold the distressed damsel aboard a space station, filled with troops and Headless Monks. But the Doctor calls in a few favours of his own, and has an army of his own to match them.
The villains have a trick of their own planned. The Doctor has to head off to save the day (to be continued ... after the mid-Season hiatus). But at least we discover the identity of River Song ( Alex Kingston )!
River Song ( Alex Kingston ) decides to kill Hitler. Unfortunately this will change history, so instead the Fuhrer must be humiliated horribly.
The Tardis is summoned to a Tower Block where creepy things are happening. But while the setting is reminiscent of the excellent film Attack the Block , the story is akin to the much-hated episode [Season 2, Episode 11]Fear Her .
Daniel Mays (DCI Jim Keats in the final Season of Ashes to Ashes ) guest-stars.
The Doctor and Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) arrive in a strange room with two doors. Each takes a different door. Unfortunately, splitting up was not a good idea.
Amy finds herself trapped in a maze filled with killer robots. She becomes a ginger version of Michonne from The Walking Dead . But by the time the Doctor gets the Tardis into the maze, she has waited for twenty years! And twenty years of nothing but killer androids for company has not been condusive to her mental health.
Our trio arrive at a hotel that is like something out of Sapphire and Steel . The rooms contain nightmares. It is like a maze with 1980s decor, where the victims are hunted by an alien minotaur.
Luckily there are a bunch of redshirts handy - other victims, including a humanoid alien played by David Walliams (Little Britain). They get picked off one by one. Naturally they are a cliched bunch, even the Muslim surgeon girl who comes across as a new Martha Jones. Self-sacrifice is a predictable occurance, reminding us of the days when RTD was in charge.
The emotional core of the ep is Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) and the Doctor. He still feels guilty for everything she has been through. And no companion has been permanent. She makes a passing reference to her daughter, but she is more than willing to end her travels with the Lonely God.
The Doctor is feeling lonely, so he decides to stalk his ex-flatmate James Corden ( The Three Musketeers ) from Dr Who (2005) [Season 5, Episode 11] The Lodger. Unfortunately Mr Corden is now thoroughly domesticated.
The Cybermen are in town, with a villainous plan for world domination. Luckily, the Doctor gets a part-time job working in the shop adjacent to their hideout!
The events portrayed in the Season Premiere must come true. But they do not, so a paradox is created. Winston Churchill becomes Holy Roman Emperor ...
River Song ( Alex Kingston ) is back.
The Doctor visits an Xmas home in the 1940s. In a predictable Narnia reference, the Doctor and the happy family go through a Magical door into a snowy wasteland.
Straight out of Red Dwarf are the hard-working space-lumberjack Bill Bailey ( ) and his two idiotic colleagues.
Can the Doctor stage an unrealistic happy ending?
There is even time for a final appearance of Rory and Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ).
The Doctor is captured by the Daleks, and forced to go on a mission by them. Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) and Rory, now divorcing each other, are forced to go along too. Particularly impressive is the new Stealth Dalek concept, where a Dalek can grow out of a human. And the Daleks are shown to have a presence on modern Earth, though they do not bother to exterminate anything there.
A human-crewed ship somehow crash-landed on a world the Daleks use as an Asylum. Presumably it was built and crewed by the same planet who built and crashed the Starship Titanic in Voyage of the Damned. There is a single survivor - gorgeous super-genius Jenna Louise Coleman , known to all tabloid readers as the Doctor's new companion. So as a future regular cast member, the Doctor is guaranteed to rescue her. Right?
There are a couple of great twists that keep the ball rolling. Dalek technology now seems to involve nanites that convert a human body into an exoskeleton. And despite having a fleshy creature at its core, the Dalek machines are treated as completely hackable.
The Doctor has a couple of new companions, cliched as heck. One is a Great White Hunter, portrayed as a gun-loving idiot. The other is Queen Nefertiti from Ancient Egypt. She is a kick-ass babe, everything that a Bronze Age pampered Princess would not be.
The ship's crew consists of a pair of robots (voiced by Mitchell and Webb).
The Doctor turns into a cold-blooded murderer, like in the old days of Eccleston.
The Doctor and the Ponds arrive in the Wild West. There are some anachronisms, due to a helpful Alien. In the wilderness is a Cyborg bounty hunter with a gatling-gun for a hand.
Will the Doctor sacrifice one life to save many? The Federation in Star Trek would (except in Star Trek 9: Insurrection ), because The need of the many outweighs the need of the few. But the Doctor's morality is supposed to be absolute, not merely relative.
Amy Pond ( Karen Gillan ) might not know about the Doctor's murderous turn last week, but she sees him in action this time.
Does this ep have the usual cliches? Is there a gratuitous reference to Lifestyle Choices? Is there an ally who turns villainous, and/or a villain who is misunderstood? Is the day saved by a character sacrificing their own life?
It was the Year of the Slow Invasion, a title reminiscent of thw works of Nigel Kneale. Strange alien cubes appear all over the place. They eventually get accepted as everyday objects and incorporated into daily life. This is bound to go wrong, like when the ghosts turned out to be Cybermen from a parallel universe.
The story concerns a pulpy paperback novel about the Weeping Angels in 1930s New York. The Doctor and his companions end up trapped in New York in the 1930s. They had no trouble getting in and out of there in the Great Depression episode with the Daleks, but apparently the timestream there is now unstable. But while the Tardis has trouble landing there, River Song ( Alex Kingston ) has an easier method.
The result is a contrived mess full of temporal paradoxes. Unfortunately Time Travel in fiction only works in ways that the writer feels benefit the plot. Nobody cares about getting it to make sense any more. If reading this paragraph gives you a sense of deja-vu, either you are a time traveller or else the facts in it are true of so many Time Travel stories that it tends to get repeated a lot.
The Doctor is still whiny after losing contact with the Ponds. Almost as bad as when he could no longer hang out with Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ). Luckily, in 1892 London he meets the tomboyishly anachronistic Jenna-Louise Coleman .
Victorian London is being covered in Telepathic snow. It reads peoples' minds, and takes the according form - like a smaller stay-puff man. Someone must be thinking of the murderous snowman from the low-budget schlock horror flick Jack Frost . Villainous Richard E. Grant (who played the Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death) is being manipulated like the woman in red was in the Cyber-king episode. He obeys a disembodied intelligence, like the plastic people in the first Eccleston episode, Rose.
The Doctor is helped by a handful of familiar faces from the Demon Run battle. The spud-headed Sontaran is servant to the married inter-species lesbians This would have been offensive to Victorians - not the bestiality or homosexuality, but a rich person marrying a servant? Victorian values get a bashing from the modernist Doctor, but if Victorian Values were such a bad thing why does the Gay Community place such emphasis on marriage?
The ep does leave a couple of mysteries that are set up for the folowing Season of the show. This is the second time a Jenna-Louise Coleman character has appeared in the show. They are seperate and distinct - so what is the link between them?
People are being soul-sucked into their Wi-Fi connections. Just like [Season 2, Episode 7] The Idiot's Lantern did with television. But this is a cautionary tale about our reliance on modern tech - like Bluetooth (Cybermen) or sat-nav (Sontarans).
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) phones the help-line, and gets The Doctor! The Doctor is hiding out in the Middle Ages - as a Monk! Strange how the profession of Monk tends to pop up in recent Seasons. The Doctor is not Headless, of course, but it is still yet another cliché.
The villains are commanded by a bossy Woman ( Celia Imrie ), not unlike the Space-Nanny. She controls her minions' minds, and answers to an unseen entity. They also have an army of creepy robot-people. How original!
Clara (AKA Oswin) is a good foil for the Doctor, thanks to her artificially-boosted mental skills. She is also a damsel in distress of sorts, but we know that even if she dies (AGAIN) she will always come back for more.
The Doctor stalks Clara Oswald through her childhood, but all he discovers is she had a relatively normal one. Then he takes adult Clara ( Jenna Louise Coleman ) on a joyride, to a star system ruled by a group of Monks. Yes, creepy monks pop up as a cliché AGAIN.
The Monks want to appease a sleeping god so it does not awaken and devour the entire Star System. However, this requires that a young girl be put in harm's way. The Doctor's one rule, as he explains to Clara, is that he NEVER walks away. Thus, he ALWAYS interferes with time - like Quantum Leap , always messing about with history. Totally unlike the Non-interference doctrine of Star Trek or any logical system of time-travel.
Will the religious Aliens worship The Doctor, as the entire Human Race did to help him defeat Mr Saxon? Will he be deified, like he was by the survivors of Pompeii?
The adventure starts under the polar ice-cap in 1983. Russian submarine commander Liam Cunningham ( Game of Thrones ) and mad scientist David Warner ( Time Bandits ) have discovered an unknown creature frozen in ice. But it is a Martian Ice-warrior - and the submarine ends up trapped on an underwater ledge. The Doctor and his newbie assistant, Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ), get mixed up in all this.
The Ice Warrior is recognisable from his big suit. But he also appears as a pair of big green hands that reach out and drag victims off-screen. The question is ... How can he communicate with the Russians? Clara and the Doctor are both affected by the Tardis' translation matrix, even after the Tardis disappears. But does the Ice Warrior have a translator of its own?
The TARDIS gets ram-raided by a salvage spaceship. The sidekick Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) gets lost in the TARDIS' internal labyrinth. The Doctor forces the salvage crew into helping him find her. Unfortunately, the TARDIS itself is going to explode.
There are weird mutated zombie creatures wandering around the innards of the TARDIS.
Can the Doctor hit the reset button in time? No pun intended ...
This ep takes place in the Victorian era, and features the lesbian bestiality detectives.
The Doctor takes Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) and the children she was babysitting on a trip. They go to an interstellar funfair, where they meet Herrick from Being Human and Warwick Davis ( Willow ). Unfortunately, the place is soon overrun with Cybermen.
The only effective tactic the military can suggest is to blow up the entire planet. That said, they are just a punishment unit, so even their own commanders consider them to be canaries ... Convict Army, Nearly All Retarded, Idiotic Expendable Sheepshaggers. The Doctor puts the Impossible Girl in command.
The villainous whispermen try to abduct the Companions in order to lure the Doctor to Trenzalore, site of The Doctor's grave.
Finally we get the explanation for The Impossible Girl. In an awesome piece of retrofitting, we see her interact with the Doctor's previous incarnations. This all leads up to surprise appearance by yet another incarnation ...
This is all a lead-up to the Fiftieth Anniversary episode of the show.
With the Impossible Girl arc all neatly tied up at the end of last Season, everything seems simple for the Doctor and Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ). She gets to keep her day job, while having the occasional time jaunt in the TARDIS.
UNIT (commanded by Kate Lethbridge-Stewart) calls in The Doctor to solve a mystery. Torchwood seems to be as dead as Cap'n Jack (John Barrowman - Arrow ) - he bequeathed his time-travel teleporter to them.
The mystery involves an alien invasion dating back to the early years of the reign of Elizabeth the First. Doctor Ten (David Tennant - Jessica Jones ) was there, so we learn why Queen Elizabeth later bore a grudge against him.
The alien invaders are monsters that can disguise themselves as art exhibits. On the face of it, this is a reference to the Weeping Angels (which are created out of any likeness of themselves). However, it is part of a piece of foreshadowing.
The ending is contrived, as always allowing the Doctor to use his magic technology to avoid difficult decisions. But this is given foreshadowing so as to avoid plot holes (up to a point).
The main plot involves getting three incarnations of the Doctor together - Eleven (Matt Smith), Ten (Tennant) and the newly-acknowledged War Doctor (John Hurt - Alien ) who appeared at the end of the last Season. Once they are together, they have to relive the Doctor's fateful decision to defeat the Daleks forever by destroying Galifrey itself. But was Galifrey actually literally destroyed? After all, it appeared briefly at the end of Tennant's final Season.
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) has problems cooking Xmas dinner for her parents and Granny. She tries to pass the Doctor off as her boyfriend to her family. This will not end well. Luckily, she still has the option of taking day-trips in the TARDIS.
The TARDIS gets summoned to a mysterious planet that has been blockaded by the Church of the Mainframe. Luckily, the boss is a Nun ( Orla Brady ) who is one of the Doctor's many love interests! She sends the Doctor and Clara down to investigate, while her Armada holds the others (Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, etc) at bay.
We discover how The Silence began, and it turns out they were behind every major plot in Moffat's reign. Yes, everything gets tied in here for the big pay-off. But the end of the Doctor's final regeneration is affected by the pay-off from the end of the 50-year anniversary. So it all makes sense - sort of.
A T-Rex appears in Victorian London, presenting a major threat to river traffic. Luckily the Lesbian bestiality detectives are on the job (so to speak)! Naturally the TARDIS was involved in transporting the beast out of its era. While helpful, the new Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) seems a bit mentally unstable ...
The LBDs spend most of their time helping Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) to adjust to the new Doctor. She preferred the old one, her pseudo-BF. Of course, that is not what the Doctor should be – he is meant to be the Grandfather figure, or at least the older brother. And the new one is a crazy old man, while Clara takes on the role of his part-time carer. Seriously!
The ep title takes on the newest version of the don’t blink theme that Moffatt pioneered, the new twist on hide behind the sofa. The villains can only detect humans through the sound of their breathing. Hence, to evade detection (and stay alive) the protagonists must hold their breath.
The villains are harvesting body parts from victims, and not just humans. It turns out that an alien ship crashed on earth, and the mysterious goings-on are linked to their attempts to repair it. This seems to be the plot of the vast majority of Dr Who episodes these days. When was the last time they did TIME travel (or SPACE travel)?
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ), Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) and some redshirts (including a girl who looks like Lenora Critchlow ) go on a quest ... miniaturised and then injected into a sick Dalek.
Clara is very bossy, telling the Doctor what to do all the time. This reviewer has no idea why he puts up with it. After all, she has a day job as a school-teacher and since they can apparently steer the Tardis properly now, there is no reason he cannot just take her home and leave her there.
The new Doctor does not like soldiers, so he will not be hanging around with UNIT (or Mickey and Martha). However, he still liked the lizard woman in last episode ... the one who EATS people!
This was written by Mark Gatis ( League of Gentlemens Apocalypse ). As noted in the previous episode, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) now has a part-time assistant and a fully steerable Tardis. On Clara’s request he takes them to Earth, England, Sherwood Forest – in the year 1190.
A stranger appears, and challenges the Doctor to a duel. The Doctor uses a spoon for self-defence. This is typical anti-weapon propaganda – even Tennant and Pertwee used proper swords.
Nearby the Evil Sheriff (Ben Miller - Primeval ) oppresses the poor peasants. Do not feel too sorry for them, because they are very photogenic.
The Doctor refuses to believe that the legend is true, and becomes very competitive with Robin Hood. Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) somehow managed to get her very own well-filled medieval dress, in seductive scarlet!
Some evil robots are lurking around, collecting materials to repair their crashed spaceship. Just like in the previous-but-one episode. Only three episodes into the new Season and this is already getting a bit repetitive.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) has been travelling alone for an unknown amount of time. He apparently spends his spare time meditating in unusual places. He muses aloud about why people muse aloud ...
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) finally goes on a date with Dan (the soldier man) Pink, her version of Mickey. For dramatic purposes it goes spectacularly badly. Her mobile phone still works in the Tardis, which implies the Doctor updated her phone the same way he did with Billie Piper ).
The Doctor plugs Clara into the Tardis, and lets it travel to relevant parts of her timeline. No, this does not access the infinite number of Impossible Girl timelines. Instead it takes them to some terrified boys who she is connected with.
Previously we have had the Silence and the Weeping Angels - do not blink or look away. Two episodes ago it was Deep Breath. But this episode is the ultimate hide behind the cushions story.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) and Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) wake up with their memories wiped. Someone known only as The Architect has recruited them (and a couple of other specialists) to rob an impregnable bank. Keeley Hawes is the Bank's head of security.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) gets himself a job as The Caretaker at Clara's school. It turns out that there is a cut-price Dalek impersonator on the loose.
As well as investigating mysterious goings-on, The Doctor investigates Clara's private life. His prejudice against soldiers will make things uncomfortable. He gets on far better with the Courtney, a teenage black girl who is also the most disruptive child in the school.
After her encounter with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) last week, Courtney is apparently worse than ever. When the Doctor put her in her place and refused to molly-coddle her, despite her disruptive behaviour, As a favour to Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ), the Doctor takes her and Courtney on a trip in the TARDIS.
Our heroes arrive on the moon and meet a group of astronauts, on a space mission the Doctor has never heard of - like in the Water of Mars episode. The Moon has now got Earth-standard gravity, which has caused tectonic shifts down on Earth itself.
It all boils down to a question of Morality. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one? It is a lot more clear-cut than the choice in the Starship Britannia episode.
Despite the Sci-Fi nature of the episode, which follows a typical Disaster movie storyline, There are a few other things we learn from this episode:
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) tries to cheer Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) up, so he takes her on a trip. There was a Starship Titanic, so it makes perfect sense there is also an Orient Express in Space.
A killer mummy is on the loose. Once you see it, you have exactly 66 seconds to live.
The Doctor realises he is being manipulated by a super-intelligent being.
Somehow the Tardis has shrunk. Worse, it has landed in Bristol. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is trapped inside, so he can offer advice but he cannot do anything of use this episode.
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) is on the outside, doing the actual work. She makes a new friend. As always, Young Black People are cool while the Old White Man (tm) is a villainous type.
The TARDIS delivers the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) to a strange forest, where a little girl in a red hooded coat delivers a message from Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ). Central London has been covered by an enormous forest, as has the rest of the world. However, except for an away trip led by Clara and Mr Pink, there is no sign of any other humans ... in the middle of a busy world capital.
The Doctor tries to save the kids from trouble, but Clara and even Mr Pink have a lot to do. The tree-growth is a symptom of a larger problem, not an invasion of trees. This does not exactly educate children about proper science!
The complaint about Season One was that the Doctor took Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) home to her mum in the slum every episode, reducing the show to Eastenders in Space. But now, the Doctor just visits Clara at her dayjob – she (and we) spend more time in the school with Pink than in the TARDIS with the Doctor.
Mister Pink gets written out of the plot. Yes, there was an actual reason for his over-exposure in previous episodes. Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) is distraught, driven nearly insane with grief. Rose Tyler ( Billie Piper ) tried this in Season One, with terrible results. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) does not refer to this directly, but he gives generic reasons for not being able to change history.
The Doctor offers to take Clara to the Afterlife, to see Pink again. Yes, this leads into the Missy sub-plot that has been brewing all Season. They discover an unhappy situation vis-à-vis the afterlife. It seems reminiscent of the USA season of Torchwood .
The Mistress starts her plan – a flying Cyberman is positioned over 91 different population centres in the UK. Strangely the Northern Ireland targets are not Belfast and Londonderry, but Antrim town and Enniskillen.
Luckily, UNIT is on the scene. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart takes over, and appoints the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) as President of Earth. Of course, Missy can easily outwit the UNIT troopers.
The climax is strangely unsatisfying. Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) is a vengeful bitch (as well as being a bossy control freak, the reason that Missy wanted to stick her and the Doctor together). However, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is made to seem as vicious as his enemy this time. Ironic that, while he has recently been anti-weaponry and anti-military, it is the military that he owes so much too.
The post-credits sequence sets up the next episode – the Xmas Special. Nick Frost ( Shaun of the Dead ) is Santa ...
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) hears a commotion on her roof on Xmas Eve. She discovers that Santa (Nick Frost – Paul ) and his elves (including the wee one from Misfits S4 ) have crashed the sled and spilt tangerines everywhere.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes Clara to a secret UK research facility at the North Pole. The crew there have been attacked by parasitic alien organisms. One crewman actually compares them to the face-huggers in Alien , which leads on to a hilarious discussion with the Doctor.
The parasitic aliens are the opposite of the Silence - they only see you when you think about them. The perfect cure would be to infect them with Silence DNA, so people never remember them (and thus never think about them).
Unfortunately, once the parasites attack they put the victim into a hallucinatory state. Worse, as the victims’ minds fuse in a shared dream, the Doctor invites a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s phrase Everything we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.
The episode starts on a battlefield in a war that has been going on for centuries. Not unlike Skaro, as seen in Genesis of the Daleks. A young boy wanders into a minefield by accident. Can the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) save him in time?
Back in modern-day London, part-time Assistant Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) juggles her career as a teacher with her hobby as leader of Earth’s defence forces. Yes, with The Doctor not to be found Ms Coleman is the only one that UNIT can call for help. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is still in charge, although why the Brigadier’s daughter needs a schoolteacher’s input is not explained. One might expect Rusty Davies to have an anti-Patriarchy agenda, but having one woman undermine another is not exactly pro-Feminist. Luckily, Jaye Griffith (last seen twenty years ago doing tech support in Bugs ) is now doing tech support for UNIT.
The teacher teams up with an unlikely ally to go looking for the Doctor. It turns out that there are THREE recurring villains in this episode, each with their own agenda.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is trapped with his greatest Nemesis. They have a lot to talk about, considering that BOTH their homeworlds were wrongly believed to have been destroyed in the Time War.
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) is stuck with the Doctor's OTHER greatest Nemesis. It is nice to see the bossy little girl get put in her place by an adult.
We discover a lot about the Daleks. They channel all emotion into violence. Even a positive statement such as I Love You is translated into the Daleks' traditional war-cry of Ex-ter-min-ate! And by working themselves into a berserker frenzy, they can recharge their weapons more quickly. Also, their word for sewer is the same as their word for graveyard. Shocking, especially for those who assumed that dying Daleks were dumped in the Asylum of the Daleks as shown in Dr Who (2005) [Season 7, Episode 1].
In the near future, a UK military crew are aboard an underwater exploration station. Not unlike the one in The Abyss , although this one is at the bottom of a deep Scottish Loch. They discover a strange alien artefact, and take it aboard. However, soon they are attacked by what seems to be a ghost!
A few days later, the Tardis materialises. The bossy little teacher Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) has decided to help the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) with his un-empathetic (i.e. Intellectual) attitude. To this end she has supplied him with a series of pre-written prompt cards that contain politically correct responses to bad situations. He thus offers to save the survivors by helping them catch the ghosts.
This is not entirely dissimilar to the Mummy on the Orient Express episode. The monsters follow certain rules - they only appear at night, and they can affect metal objects. It is obviously a form of technology, but the Doctor has to find out more.
This ends on a cliff-hanger - it seems there are a lot of two-parters this Season. The show may be going back to its roots as a multi-episode serial.
This starts with a special prelude. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly as he explains the Bootstrap Paradox.
The Doctor takes a couple of redshirts back in the Tardis. They arrive in the same place in 1980, when the base was a Scottish village with Russian signposting. Apparently the local garrison was training to fight through a thousand miles of Warsaw Pact territory, then invade Russia itself. Who says the Scottish lack ambition?
The village is abandoned except for an interstellar hearse and alien undertaker. And the corpse, it turns out. The monster of the week is an alien warlord named The Fisher King, and he plans to turn everyone into ghosts so they can send a homing signal so he gets rescued. Since the rescue has not happened within 150 years time, they could perhaps have found a more effective way to do things.
The Doctor tries to save the day by changing time. His plan is to go back and prevent them from picking up the coffin in the first place. Naturally this cannot work, but he does not see a reason not to try. It looks like the Reapers from the first Season of the Russell T Davies era have been expunged from the universe, Which is ironic because that is what they were meant to do to temporal paradoxes!
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) and his chipmunk Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) are kidnapped by Vikings and shipped off to Norway as slaves. Since the Vikings are impervious to sonics, the Doctor waits two whole days until he tries to talk his way out of the situation. By that stage he is back in the Norwegian village, where the children include Ashildur ( Maisie Williams ). Strangely, the Vikings seem to have 21st century morals and regard her (aged about 18yo) as a child. In real life they would have married her off at a much younger age. Also, it is ironic considering the character's fate.
The Viking village is threatened by a sky-god, Odin. The Doctor realises that this is an alien intervention, and leads the humans in resistance. Unfortunately, the Viking warriors are no match for the aliens' high technology. Can the Doctor outsmart the aliens? Will the victory come at too high a price? The Doctor remembers why he chose the face of Peter Capaldi as his current regeneration. After all, that is a face he last saw on Volcano Day in Pompeii in Dr Who (2005) [Season 4, Episode 2] The Fires of Pompeii.
This story is self-contained, but one strand of next episode's storyline is foreshadowed.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) arrives in 1651 in search of a mysterious amulet. He bumps into last week’s guest-star, Ashildur ( Maisie Williams ), now re-enacting the classic Dangerous Lady trope. She poses as the aristocratic Lady Me by day and lives the life of a Highwayman by night.
The Doctor and Lady Me team up as Highwaymen to steal the amulet. Unfortunately, the not-so-young woman has a secret agenda. She is bored with life on Earth because all her friends have died over the centuries - yes, she has not bothered to give anyone the spare Eternal Life pill. Instead she wants to team up with Lion-O and use the amulet to travel the galaxy. However, the Doctor is unhappy about this plan.
The Doctor’s reasoning seems inconsistent. First, his only objection is against the sacrifice of an innocent life. When a guilty life is found, his objection becomes that the partners in crime will eventually turn on each other, if only because of the necessity of sacrifice. Finally, the basic untrustworthiness of a criminal partnership becomes evident when the reason for travelling to an apparent warzone becomes clear.
UNIT has recovered from their encounter with the Mistress. Most of them - one of the nerdy Osgood girls was killed by her in the climax of last Season. We first met the Osgood nerds back in the Day of the Doctor Movie, when three different incarnations of the Doctor teamed up to help millions of alien shape-shifters arrive as immigrants on Earth. One of the nerdy girls was human, one was a shape-shifter copy, but they swore never to tell which was which.
The shape-shifters have integrated into human society perfectly. But now an extremist faction want to stop integrating. They kidnap the surviving nerdy girl, who handles all tech stuff for UNIT and thus knows backdoors into all their systems!
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) gets called in to help the all-female Unit HQ. As King - oops, President - of the World he is the only male in a position of power. But since the UK educational system has been female-biased for decades this is hardly a surprise. Even the aliens are a matriarchy! There are a few men around in UNIT as cannon fodder, expendable redshirts lining up to be shot. It is ironic that with the centenary of the Somme less than a year away, the sight of lions being led by donkeys makes no impact on the viewers.
Brigadier Kate gets sent to New Mexico, where she discovers the only survivor of an alien attack is police woman Gretchen Egolf . Wow, that is convenient! By incredible coincidence, Ms Egolf also appeared in Roswell - a show about alien shape-shifters in New Mexico!
The Doctor goes to the alien HQ in a post-Soviet Republic. He teams up with the female commanding officer in the ground - AKA the bossy nursing robot from Humans . The footsoldiers are predictably gullible when it comes to fighting aliens that can read their minds and shapeshift into their nearest and dearest.
The Zygon version of Clara (who the Doctor nicknames Zygella because she looks like Nigella Lawson) is actually a competent supervillain. Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) herself is able to fight the Zygon dream-state and resist the attempts at mind control. The Zygon bluffs by threatening her life, and attempts to measure her pulse-rate as a primative form of lie-detector.
When the Zygons switch into their natural state, their clothing does not rip like in The Incredible Hulk . No, it disappears altogether - then reappears when the Zygon reverts to human form again. Presumably then the clothing is part of the creature itself, so it cannot thus undress itself.
The Doctor's strategy hinges on a doomsday weapon called the Osgood box. It is an extension of the strategy used during the original settlement. Everything hinges on nobody knowing which side will benefit. Mutually assured destruction, in other words - or at least, equal chances of destruction. Ironic that current pacifist thought is that mutually-assured destruction was a crazy plan in the Cold War era.
This is a League of Gentlemen reunion of sorts, written by Mark Gatis and starring Reece Shearsmith. It is presented as a Found Footage story, but this is more complicated than it first seems.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) and Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) find themselves in a sealed habitation where the crew have been attacked by monsters. Not normal monsters, of course, but weird monsters that seem to follow an unusual set of rules. Yes, the basic storyline is more than a little similar to the Ghosts in a Submarine story a few weeks ago. Now it is Sleep Monsters on a Space Station.
Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ) gets a call from Rigsy, the token black guy from a previous episode. He has no memory of the previous day, he just woke up with a strange tattoo that is counting down.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) and Clara help Rigsy retrace his steps. They discover a secret street, like Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series. This street is a refugee camp for alien immigrants - Cybermen, Sontarans, Ood and other species. It is run by Ashildur ( Maisie Williams ), whose life-expectancy is unlimited but whose memory only lasts a couple of centuries. Unlike Captain Jack she has to rely on re-reading old diaries to work out her own past.
Rigsy's tattoo is from an alien monster that can cross any amount of space and time in order to steal your soul. This makes the death sentence seem devoid of loopholes. The show tends to make the Doctor seem invincible, because he always saves the day and nobody ever dies. Will we see the first on-screen death of a recurring good guy since Nu Who started in 2005?
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) steps out of the teleporter and finds himself in a castle, stalked by a strange slow-moving monster. He deduces that the castle is located within one light year of London, that it was constructed to torture him mentally as part of an interrogation, and that seven thousand years have passed.
Every time the Doctor's life is in danger he mentally returns to the TARDIS and talks the problem through with Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ). As a narrative device this is tiresome, but it nicely illustrates how much trouble he has coping with what happened.
The climax of the episode is a spectacular piece of science fiction, illustrating an idea mentioned in the Nick Frost comedy show. It really is worth the rest of the episode.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) finally finds himself in the desert of New Mexico. He stops off at a roadside diner, run by an English girl who looks like Clara Oswald ( Jenna-Louise Coleman ). Is she the original, or is she one of the Impossible Girl clones? He does not seem to recognise her, but he narrates his story in flashback to her.
After his time in the castle, the Doctor discovers he was on Gallifrey - four and a half Billion (thousand million) years in the future. Luckily, his old hovel is still there - just like he left it in Day of the Doctor. His next step is to start a popular insurrection against the mainstream Government. After all, he is a war hero while President Rassilon has aged from being Timothy Dalton ( The Living Daylights ) to being the creepy old man from Being Human . This politicking smacks of the current rejection of liberal, centrist politics (Cameron and Obama) and the emotive swing towards extremism (AKA the Protest Vote) epitomised by Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump.
Rassilon and the Council of Time Lords only wanted to protect Gallifrey from The Hybrid. The prophecies state it will endanger Gallifrey and the very time-stream itself. Presumably these are NEW ancient prophecies, which were never mentioned before. Of course, in the previous timeline Gallifrey was destroyed, so those prophecies could not have existed. Anyway, their only clue is that the Hybid is half Time Lord and half of some other warrior race. The main theory is that it is half Dalek, but the Doctor knows how ridiculous this is. Not that they did not try, in The Daleks Take New York. But whatever happened to the Doctor's half-human bloodline? After all, he is still obsessed with protecting Earth and socialising with humans.
The Doctor has the Time Lord scientists snatch Clara a second before her death. Nobody realises that she was the source of his obsession for the last few BILLION years. Naturally, he gives in and tries to cheat the system, something he has done before in this Season. They flee to the very end of the universe. Even further than when the Master created the Troclafane. Whatever happened to Ashildur ( Maisie Williams )? After all, we know what happened to the Face of Boe (who outlived the planet Earth).
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) discovers that River Song ( Alex Kingston ) is up to her old tricks again. He gets roped into saving her from herself. Ironically, she does not recognise him in his new incarnation.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) pays a visit to New York City, possibly to clean up the mess from the Weeping Angels invasion in the 1930s. He befriends an impressionable young boy, who is a fan of American comic-book heroes ( Superman, Spiderman ). With unintended irony, the boy ingests a magical stone (like in the Marvel Avengers universe) ...
The Doctor returns to New York a few decades later, with a new companion - Nardole (Matt Lucas), previously seen in last year's Xmas Special. They uncover an alien plot to take over the world, not unlike [Season 1, Episode 4] Aliens of London (1). Also on the aliens' trail is Lucy Fletcher ( Charity Wakefield ), a feisty girl reporter in the mould of Lois Lane.
Meanwhile, the boy has grown up to become super-hero. He also has a day-job as a Manny - a man-nanny to a busy career-woman. This is less about observing the No Personal Gain clause (after all, Clark Kent abused his super-powers just by commuting to work every day) and more about staying in touch with a woman he wanted to be with. In the olden days he would be called love-smitten, but this century he would be called a manipulative creep.
This episode is called The Pilot for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the term is referred to in the episode's dialogue. Secondly, this is a re-piloting of the show with its new show-runner, Chris Chibnall.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is now permanently anchored on Earth as guardian of a secret vault. He has taken a day-job as cover. Not burger-flipping or something like that - no, he is a lecturer at a big university, St Luke's in Bristol. Nobody knows what course he teaches, because he knows a lot about Quantum Physics but he uses a teaching style reminiscent of Dead Poet's Society. In other words, he would fit in well at Greendale Community College.
The Doctor decides he needs a new companion. Nardole (Matt Lucas) is still hanging around, but a few more boxes must be ticked. Rather than take a well-educated middle-class student he takes a girl who flips burgers (well, scoops chips) in the cafeteria. Most universities recruit minimum-wage staff from their own students, but this place is evidently too posh to have anyone worry about paying rent or tuition fees. As well as being working class like Rose (she literally uses Rose's biggest line) she is a person of colour, like Martha Jones. And most importantly, she is the first openly gay companion. Yes, apparently Captain Jack Harkness does not count, probably because his omnisexuality does not come under the LBGTQ umbrella. The real pity is that the one minority that does not get covered is the disabled, because only pretty girls can be companions and the only person in a wheelchair on this show is Davros the arch-villain.
The new companion meets a potential love interest, a girl with a star-shaped imperfection in her eye, who drags her into an encounter with an alien puddle. Luckily, by incredible coincidence the companion is the one person on Earth who can seek refuge with the Doctor. Unfortunately the puddle-monster chases the TARDIS through time and space, so it is possibly the most powerful creature the Doctor has ever encountered. He even tries to lure it into a conflict with the Daleks, which reduces the Daleks from conquerers of the universe to the equivalent of Imperial stormtroopers in Star Wars . Predictably, once violence has been ruled out as a solution the Doctor chooses to solve his problem with philosophy.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes his new companion, Bill, on a trip to the future. They end up on an M-Class planet, which has been settled as a colony for refugees from Earth. The colony is crewed by Robots that communicate with emojis. Unfortunately this leads into a Happiness Patrol situation.
Once the Doctor realises what has happened, he decides to interfere. He decides to destroy everything to save everyone, although this is a major interference in the timeline.
There is a non-violent solution, of course. All the humans have to do is stop caring about anything. It is surprising that none of the humans present have a sociopathic personality. After all, they represent one in twenty of the population.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes Bill to the winter of 1814, when the river Thames was frozen over. Her first worry is about being enslaved, which the Doctor fails to point out is irrelevant because slavery in England ceased to exist in 1066 and the international trade was outlawed in 1805. London turns out to be quite ethnically diverse, in part because it was capital of a global empire and because there was no slavery on English soil.
It turns out that there is a man-eating monster in the Nineteenth-century Thames. This storyline has already been done, in Dr Who (2005) [Season 8, Episode 1] Deep Breath (80 min). And as in that story, the monster is not the story's antagonist. Is the villain some sort of Fagin character, a member of the underclass who helps peasant children steal from other poor people? No, predictably it is a rich and powerful member of the aristocracy.
The story is a metaphor for slavery. The villain uses the monster to convert poor people into a super-fuel that allows for more efficient production of iron for the British empire. This is really a good system that allows everyone to win. The monster gets fed, the poor are saved from a slow death in poverty, the workers get to stay in business, there is less pollution from industry than there was in the coal-fired era, and everyone in the world gets the benefits of cheap mass-produced iron. Everyone wins!
There is, as always, a lot of hypocrisy on the Doctor's part. He points out that people die all the time, and that Bill should get used to it. Then he turns around and says that a society should not be judged by its economic wealth, but by the value it puts on life. However, he himself interferes (as always) and treats some lives as if they have more value than others.
Finally, the Doctor predictably condemns people getting wealth they have not earned. After all, if a boy is born as a Duke then it is merely the accident of birth. However, a boy born as a peasant, equally an accident, he is somehow entitled to a vast hand-out.
Bill moves into new digs. It is a room in a shared house, an HMO (house of multiple occupancy). Her flat-mates are a bunch of students, although she is just a townie who serves chips in the kitchen.
The landlord is David Suchet. He is very creepy, but also quite under-used. An actor of his stature does not normally take a bit part, even in a prime-time family show.
Something creepy lives in the new apartment. Not unlike the time that James Corden had a creepy house a few years ago. In fact, this episode is pretty much a re-tread.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) drops by, posing as Bill's grandfather.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes Bill on another joyride. This time Nardole (Matt Lucas) comes along, reluctantly so.
Our heroes arrive aboard a space station. It is overrun with zombies in space-suits. Well, just like in the first River Song episodes the suits are automated and carry the bodies around with them.
The station is owned by a greedy mining corporation, and the oxygen there is strictly rationed. This is probably a political reference to the American healthcare debate, where one right-wing politician claimed nobody ever died because they didn't have healthcare. The point is that when things that are essential to life (clean air, clean water, healthcare) are treated as luxuries then anyone who is not rich is in serious trouble.
The Doctor and his friends team up with a handful of survivors. They get chased around the station, and the guest-stars get picked off one at a time. Just like in many other episodes.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is still blind after the previous episode. However, he has a hi-tech pair of sunglasses that let him compensate for this.
A group of Catholic Cardinals drop by the Doctor's place to recruit him on a secret mission inside the Vatican. He takes Bill along, even though she is on a date. The job is reminiscent of the works of Dan Brown. It concerns an ancient manuscript ( Da Vinci Code ) that terrifies both the Catholic Clergy and the scientists at CERN ( Angels and Demons ).
This episode has a few hide-behind-the-sofa moments, but as usual these are quite tame compared to actual suspense movies. However, once the story itself gets going it is quite impressive. In fact, it is on a par with the episode at the end of the previous Season where the Doctor was stranded by himself in a mysterious castle. Also, Nardole (Matt Lucas) actually gets something useful to do for a change.
In flashbacks, we get to see why the Doctor has to guard the mysterious vault. We also discover what is in it (it is a reference to the Dr Who movie from 1996) and why it looks like the Pandorica. Also, it turns out he has been guarding it for a thousand years, which is why he is now two thousand years old while last Season he was still in his nine hundreds.
This is an immediate follow-up to the previous episode. Last time Bill's date was interrupted by the Pope, but this time it is UNIT and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. They want the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) to deal with their newest problem. A mysterious pyramid has appeared in Afghanistan, and is now surrounded by Russian, Chinese and American forces. However, since the Doctor is the President of Earth he is the man who gets called in to negotiate.
The aliens do not want to conquer Earth. They merely want to control it with consent. They insist on enthusiastic consent, rather than by fear or with an ulterior motive. In fact, if one attempts to give consent without enthusiasm one will be instantly disentigrated.
Because the aliens are not conquerers, they will not use their incredible technology to attack the humans. Instead they will merely sit back and let the humans destroy themselves. What the aliens (and the audience) know, but the Doctor and UNIT do not, is that there is a biology lab that is about to accidentally release a super-disease. The boss, a female dwarf, is world-class at her job. However, her sidekick - a white (probably heterosexual) CIS-gendered male is an incompetent fool who does not seal his protective suit or close the airlock doors around the secure zone.
The Doctor eventually goes to save the lady scientist. Ironically, she is not a Mary Sue. If this was a working-class woman, with no education, she would be portrayed as self-sufficient and even smarter than the Doctor. Unfortunately this one has a doctorate in a STEM subject, so we are forced to endure the stale male pale Doctor man-splaining simple scientific facts to a differently-abled woman.
The lab has one minor design flaw. It is not disabled-accessible, because the combination lock does not have braille. This leads on to a dramatic finale.
This is part two of the story that began in the previous episode. The monks have taken over Earth and re-written history. This is enforced by the Ministry of Truth, who round up and execute so-called memory Criminals.
Bill has survived, and teams up with Nardole (Matt Lucas). They plan to break the Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) out of prison. However, the monks have been using the Doctor as a mouthpiece for their propaganda. Has he secumbed to the brainwashing too?
It turns out that Missy has some special insight into the Monks. The aliens have a mind-screw, just like the Weeping Angels and the Silence. There is a work-around, to give everyone a walkman with a pre-recorded tape. It might be a better idea to leave the redshirts at home, rather than expose their vulnerable minds to intense alien brainwashing.
Back in the old days - the Russell T Davies era - every story seemed to have a sacrificial lamb who died to save the day. Is this a return to that era?
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes Bill and Nardole (Matt Lucas) to gatecrash a NASA mission. Just in Mission Control, however. The mission is to use a robot probe to explore the poles of Mars. Unfortunately someone else has got there first.
The Doctor takes his companions to Mars to have a closer look. Bill is a show-off, and lets the Doctor know she has seen a lot of movies ( Terminator, The Thing, The Vikings ). Ironically it turns out she has never watched or read Robinson Crusoe !
In a steampunk twist, it turns out they are circa 1889. Our heroes encounter an expedition of Victorian soldiers, complete with red coats and pith helmets. A lot of cliches are evoked. The Colonel is a dreamer, and the Major is an arrogant swine who is always trying to usurp his position. The soldiers are poor and greedy, although their larcenous habits may be related to their poverty.
The expedition uncovers a hive of Martian Ice Warriors. Not unlike the first appearance of the Cybermen, over fifty years ago. The Doctor is caught in a dilemma. He thinks the Ice Warriors, despite being tecnologically superior and having virtually lured the humans into an ambush, are somehow the victims of an invasion. Meanwhile, he casts the Victorians - who claimed a dead world in the name of their democracy the same way Neil Armstrong (who gets a name-check!) claimed the moon - as a force of invaders. The reality of the British Empire is that it was a trading network. For example, it allowed Indian tea, Jamaican sugar and British milk to be combined so that all three nations could enjoy a delicious and affordable drink.
The ending evokes the old bootstrap paradox. However, the Doctor has bigger things to worry about. Nardole is not the best person to be trusted to guard The Vault.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) takes Bill and Nardole to Scotland, circa 121 CE. Bill has read a book about the Roman IX Hispana Legion, probably The Eagle (Of the Ninth) . She wants to prove her theory of what happens to them, so she heads off alone into the woods.
Bill encounters a Roman soldier. It turns out that the IX Hispana, recruited in what is now Spain, has a few Afro-Carribean soldiers. This is more realistic than the token black Victorian last episode. These Romans are also very open-minded when it comes to sexual preferences. This is also historically accurate.
The Doctor and Nardole encounter the other side - the Picts. Their great leader is a teenage girl, and the Doctor mocks her for her youth and inexperience. Her one high point is when she delivers a speech that the Roman historian Tacitus attributed to a real-life Pictish leader. They create a wasteland and call it peace. How ironic it is to hear a Scot, one of the people who colonised Canada and Australia, complain about the terrors of Imperialism!
The Picts have been guarding what they call a cairn. It is not just a pile of stones, it is an underground temple build around a stargate. A monster has escaped, and eaten the entire Legion. Only a handful of deserters are left. The result seems a bit like the movie Outlander , only the Doctor tries to insert some heavy-handed moralising.
Missy arrives on an apparently abandoned starship. She introduces herself as Doctor Who, and refers to her companions Bill and Nardole as my disposables - exposition and comic relief. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) has her on day-release, and is training her to be a hero instead of a villain.
The starship is four hundred miles long, and the people who built it managed to send it directly towards a black hole. This leads to visuals reminiscent of Nu Who [Season 2, Episode 8] The Satan Pit (1). However, this is more like Pandorum .
The creatures living in the bowels of the ship detect Bill's human life signs, and abduct her so they can make her one of them. Clad in hospital gowns and with their faces masked in white gauze, they are mysterious and yet strangely familiar-looking. Ironically, even though most of Steven Moffatt's monsters are ripped off from well-loved creatures in previous episodes, this time the references are deliberate because they are from an actual pre-existing monster.
Bill ends up in a hospital, where she is patched up and appointed as one of the janitorial staff. The bad news is, time travels more quickly there so in the ten minutes it takes the Doctor to work out where she is, several years must have passed for Bill. The good news is, she is befriended by the creepy Head Janitor. He looks like Rasputin crossed with a vampire, and evidently is not human himself or he would have been converted into one of the patients.
This starts in a blissful countryside, where a school full of children is besieged by scarecrows. Yes, the whole thing is pulled from Dr Who (2005) [Season 3, Episode 9] Family of Blood (2) .
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is now in the hands of his arch-enemies, The Master (John Simm - Life on Mars ) and Missy. However, he also has the chance to make them his allies. He is lucky to have them, insofar as they keep the episode going. In fact, they steal every scene they are in.
Bill is trapped in a cyberman's body. Not unlike a certain other companion who was a Dalek! The ending is a bit Deus Ex Machina. However, one might regard the first episode of the season as an exercise in foreshadowing.
Finally, there is setup for the Xmas episode. The Doctor will regenerate - and there is another Doctor in the mix!
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi – Lair of the White Worm ) is at the South Pole, contemplating not regenerating. He bumps into the First Doctor (David Bradley – The Strain ), who apparently also considered not regenerating. It seems that the idea is to show the contrast between the two Doctors. They may both be stale, male and pale but the 1960s one makes a few throw-away remarks that may seem sexist. For example, he refers to women in the context of nursing and cleaning. Only a society that devalues pink-collar work would regard this as insulting.
The Doctors are joined by a British Army Officer (Mark Gattis - League of Gentlemens' Apocalypse ). His name is not given until the end of the story, so one can easily assume that his identity is part of an ironic twist. For example, one might assume that he is an ancestor of another Gattis character, Doctor Lazarus from Dr Who (2005) [Season 3, Episode 6] The Lazarus Experiment .
Bill makes a comeback. However, the Doctor is convinced that she is a replica. He tries to get to the bottom of who sent her to him. Apparently the Galifrey database is not big enough, so he has to get access to the Daleks' network instead.
At the end, both Doctors regenerate. Capaldi becomes the newest incarnation. The surprise revelation was made many months ago, so it is not a spoiler. The new Doctor is the first female version - Jodi Whittaker . She is a veteran of UK Sci-Fi, having starred alongside John Boyega ( Star Wars: The Force Awakens ) in recent feature film Attack The Block . Also, unlike Matt Smith ( Terminator: Genisys ) she was not too young. The Doctor is a grandparent's role, and in Hollywood casting circles a woman of Whittaker's age (mid thirties) may as well be a grandmother.