Archive for November, 2011


SIE4: Aliens of London (Part 1)

In this episode, the Doctor and Rose return back to earth; however, the Doctor makes a mistake and brings them back one year after they had left earth instead of twelve hours after, as they had planned. Jackie is bewildered by Rose’s appearance since she had been missing for 12 months. She then demonstrates how distraught with fear and worry she was as she talks to Rose and the Doctor about Rose’s whereabouts. The side of the Doctor that is not much human is seen as he does not seem to understand why Jackie is so distressed. Yet, we also see the human side of the Doctor, the sympathy he had for aliens or what could be considered as his “people.” When the pig that was driving the spaceship started running around, the humans naturally became afraid. Even though the Doctor ordered those armed not to shoot, they still did out of fear of the alien creature. The Doctor then says angrily, “What did you do that for?! It was scared…..it was scared.”

Mickey grows in his character as Rose’s boyfriend. He was really upset over Rose’s disappearance and even mentioned how he looked every day in the streets for the blue box (the TARDIS). He then tells Rose that he missed her and Rose replies, expressing the same sentiments. However, I don’t think Rose missed him much, if not, at all. Even her actions did not express much concern for Mickey anymore. I may be wrong, though, because it could just be bad acting. After watching the previous episode though, I had began thinking about the possible romantic relationship between Rose and the Doctor. Surely, something must have sprung from all the times they have spent with each other. Perhaps, in this episode, they haven’t realized it yet, but there have been hints as to how much they mean to each other. One would be Rose saying, with so much feeling and passion in her eyes how “much, much more important” to her than a boyfriend. I am pretty sure that the producers will make their romance develop in the next episodes, although I’m not sure if I’d like that. I suppose I’ll just see how it would be executed first before I make any judgements.

Still on the topic of characterization, I would just like to mention how Doctor Who featured an Asian to be the genius technical expert. It follows the usual stereotype of Asians possessing great intellect that Asians usually play doctors, scientists, researchers, and the like in American/British television shows.

When the spaceship crashed into the Big Ben and the news, naturally, broadcasted it, there were banners welcoming aliens on the streets. The one that made me giggle said “ello E.T.” This could mean two things, that 1. humans do welcome and are excited to meet aliens or 2. they take it as a joke and are just kidding around. Personally, if an alien spaceship were to crash on earth, especially if it were in the Philippines, I’d be pretty skeptical about it. I’d most likely think that it’s a mere hoax, as there have been many of those in the past.

While Rose, Jackie, and the Doctor were watching the news on the television, it was funny to me how suddenly, there seemed to be a lot of people in Rose’s living room. I mean, one moment, it was just the three of them, and after some news were delivered, there were suddenly so many people in the room. I had never seen any of Rose’s or Jackie’s friends before but this just proves what had been mentioned in class about how the television, especially when there is breaking news, bring people together.

The episode makes use of small details to make the alien atmosphere even freakier. The Slitheen used humans as their bodies to make profit out of the humans. They however, use humans as costumes, with actual zippers to unzip when they want to be their “naked” selves. I thought that it was absolutely weird and that they could have used less conspicuous mechanisms to use humans as their bodies but I think it added to the humor and silliness of the episode to keep things, as always, light. The fact that they fart every once in a while also supports my previous sentence. In class, however, it was discussed that the zipper in their costumes had a greater use to the episode, as it was some sort of parody to old movies where there was nto much technology available to make costumes look really legitimate.

The episode ends in a cliffhanger, although as it was mentioned in class, the Doctor surely won’t die because there would be no following episode without.. well, the Doctor. The suspense here would be on how the Doctor would escape and save the day. Also, I thought about whether Jackie Tyler would die or not since a Slitheen was in here home, ready to attack her, and there was no one else in the house. Because she was not the main character nor did she have any supernatural power to defeat the alien creature, there was a possibility that she would die.Moreover, I thought it should be noted that this is the first in this series where the story is to be continued in another episode. Since I do not watch sci-fi shows, I do not know if part 1-part 2 episodes are normal in these shows. I had expected them from dramas, like One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl, since every other episode in the series ends shockingly or with a twist such that the audience is left hanging.  Then again, drama has been starting to rise in the show, with Jackie devastated about Rose leaving and Mickey starting to assert himself as Rose’s boyfriend.

On another note, the TARDIS makes an appearance in the episode again, however, with “BAD WOLF” spray-painted on it. I had mentioned this in the previous episode and I am still puzzled over what it exactly means.

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S1E6: Dalek

The Dalek has to be the most lame-looking alien I have ever encountered in the series so far. I mean, compared to the Gelths and the Slitheens who definitely embody a certain other-worldliness, the Dalek looks just like an ordinary dustbin. But alas! Just like how I got fooled by the Adherents of the Repeated Memes and the Gelths, I was sadly mistaken about the dustbi-I mean the Dalek, too. Seems it’s the series’ hobby to preach “Do not judge a book by its cover” to its audience, which is cool since it’s practically saying don’t give in to the stereotypes. Anyways, back to the Dalek! This episode is all about giving a more details than usual about the Time War, which, as discovered in this episode, was a war between the Time Lords and the Daleks. Why and how did it happen? Didn’t say but a frustratingly vague hint was dropped when van Statten and the Doctor were talking about the Dalek being the last survivor of its kind from the war.

 

van Statten: “But you survived, too.”

Doctor: “Not by choice.”

 

DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Speaking of Henry van Statten, like Cassandra in “The End of the World”, he’s such an amusing character to watch. He’s like consumerism on legs. That and the idea that possibly someone owns the Internet had my mind blown away.

 

The most interesting bit in the episode, personally, is the Doctor’s first encounter with the Dalek.  For someone who’s always so happy-go-lucky about everything, seeing the Doctor’s dark side was somewhat confusing and intriguing at the same time. It was a show of character depth as I learn that behind that confident smile and arrogant attitude lie hatred and vengeance. As the story progressed, I bore witness to the Doctor’s transformation from a worry-free time traveler into a person being swallowed by its dark past. Even Rose pointed that out near the end, which sort of snapped him right back to reality.

 

This echoes back an earlier scene where Rose touches the Dalek, which gave it the ability to regenerate but also unknowingly gave it emotions, a sense of humanity. Later on, it submerges itself in frustration as it is left confounded on the fact that it can no longer kill and starts going all philosophical (“What am I?”, “Why do we survive?”). Perhaps this is a premonition of how Rose can help the insensitive Doctor be in touch with his emotions. Yet another factor to add to the brewing pot of romance simmering between the two. Not to mention the cheesy line made by the Dalek as he held hostage apparently the woman the Doctor loves (in all fairness, he didn’t deny it).

 

Aside from that and the awkward sight of a shirtless Doctor being strapped down and tortured, this episode mostly consists of gun shots and the Dalek killing people. I’m not sure why but this episode has more than the usual dose of testosterone in it. Maybe because there wasn’t much to play around with? I mean, the whole gist of the thing is to give a little more info about the Time War and get the point across that Daleks aren’t to be taken lightly.

S1E5: World War Three

Once again, there’s a good balance of action, suspense and humor in this episode (though a joke or two fell flat for me).  And yet again, the whole plot runs around the idea of money as motivation for evil-doing. It turns out that the Slitheens don’t want anything to do with the invasion of the Earth but rather are in it for the money — plotting countries against each other, starting a World War III and ending with them having an abundance of sellable lumps of rock. I guess it’s a staple theme for TV series, people’s obsessive love for money.

 

Speaking of TV series, this episode continues to rally its message about television from the previous episode. If last time it hinted at a redefinition of television’s function in everyone’s life and the possible consequences of such, this one talks of how television can be (and is already) used as a powerful tool for deceit and destruction, subtly basing it on (the then) recent event of the US declaring war on Iraq for the greater good. It’s by this episode that I really started to appreciate the series’ practice to make its stories be socially and politically relevant in its own subtle and humorous ways. And in this particular issue, the writers don’t just point out the problem but offers a rather ideal solution in the form of vinegar. Yes, vinegar. Big and nasty-looking the Slitheens may be, just shower them with a bit of this “domestic” acid and poof! So long, Slitheens. This scenario harbors the ideal that big nasty things could be solved through simple means rather than through destructive weaponry.

 

At the climax of the story, the Doctor hesitates to go through with his plan of setting a non-nuclear missile into 10 Downing Street because of the probability of getting Rose killed. Hesitation, I sense, isn’t part of the Doctor’s normal behavior. I mean, he wouldn’t be the Doctor if he hasn’t got a one-track mind and a happy-go-lucky attitude most of the time. This shows the development of his character as he learns to think of something or someone other than himself. There’s a touch of humanity in him now. He isn’t so alien after all. Of course, that whole but-I-don’t-want-Rose-to-die scene fueled the starting fire of romance between the two which is all well and great for romance suckers out there.

 

One thing that bothered me though (because I always get bothered with at least one thing in every Doctor Who episode) is why use fat people as the “other face” of the villains? I know it was explained that it’s because they need bigger bodies to accompany their size but I don’t know. Maybe the writers were secretly taking a jab at obesity. Is obesity, like in the US, a rampant thing in Britain?

 

Overall, it was a typical Doctor Who episode. Lots of alien encounters, couple of laughter lines here and there, socio-political theme underlying everything, and shedding just a bit more light on the mysterious Doctor that keeps the viewers coming back for more. And oh! It was a nice touch to end the whole Slitheen fiasco with a show of girl power with the Harriet Jones, future Prime Minister of the Golden Age bit.

S1E4: Aliens of London

First and foremost, I don’t get the fart jokes. At all. It’s just plain disgusting to me.

 

And since I’ve already started the discussion with the aliens of the day – the Slitheens – at first, I thought the aliens “de-skinning” via zipper-on-the-forehead was just one of the show’s silly stunts. Never knew it was some kind of tribute to the old days of sci-fi costumes where computer graphics was in its infancy and people have to literally zip up to transform into an extraterrestrial. I sometimes have this notion that I’m not really getting all the jokes and references in the show since (a) I’m not British and (b) they’re sci-fi related, and there’s this some kind of disappointment that I’m not really getting the best out of the show. But oh well. That’s what all the class notes are for is.

 

This episode gives another glimpse at the Doctor’s lack of “humanity”, with him not really getting why the mother’s so upset with Rose’s one-year “traveling” and his blatant aversion for anything domestic. He’s an “alien” in more than one sense of the word. As revealed in the previous episode, he’s the only survivor of his race. He’s practically a nomad, with no family and no planet to call home. Of course, he wouldn’t have the understanding of a mother’s constant worry for her daughter’s safety and well-being. Or would he? Yet, the “Who is the Doctor, really?” subplot thickens.

 

The most interesting bit in this whole episode, personally, is when the Doctor, a fictional TV character, watches news of the crash landing on the telly. Why would he need the telly when he can just use the TARDIS to get a real-life view of the whole thing? And that’s when it hit me. The TARDIS, a big blue police box, is a metaphor for the television! It fits, doesn’t it? I mean, people even refer to television as “the (idiot) box”. And, just like pretty much what the TARDIS does, the television “transports” the viewer to any time and place at a touch of a button (much less complicated than all the “jiggery-pokery” the Doctor does when traveling).

 

Then it gets funnier and definitely more interesting when everyone else in the room was talking about one topic or another and the Doctor’s trying to concentrate on the news. It works for a while but then the scene suddenly shifts to a cooking channel and then the Doctor (after a rather feisty wrestling match with a kid) grumpily puts it back on to the news. It’s crystal clear what the writers were trying to bring out – the idea that society has subconsciously redefined television’s function. It’s still the go-to for information and entertainment, no doubt about that, but it has always been there and has always been accessible with just a push of a button that it’s so easy to take for granted. Taken for granted in what way, exactly? That it’s harmless? That it’s us, the holders of the remote control, who’s in charge? Well, seeing how, in this episode, the subtle trivialization of an alien crash-landing by a cooking show was so successful, I think not. After all, we are the ones being displaced by the box’s discontinuity of channels.

 

Overall, the episode was such a cliffhanger (as it’s meant to be). What do these Slitheens want with the humans? Another attempt in invading planet Earth? Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

 

S1E3: The Unquiet Dead

had no other option but to do so.

In the episode, the Doctor and Rose travel to Cardiff in 1869 by mistake, originally intending to go to Naples in 1860. Here, the Doctor faces yet again beings from another world.

I would like to commend the producers of this episode as, as was mentioned in class, the horrific elements of the show are enough to evoke the chills but are not enough to drive the audience away in fear. The special effects used were wonderful and once again, I wanted to keep watching it. The aliens in this episode were, as mentioned in class, more classic as it used the traditional ghosts instead of more unusual-looking creatures. I think it was a wise move since they wanted to create a nightmarish ambiance. Had they used aliens similar to the previous episode, it would not have had the same frightful effect.

The appearance of Charles Dickens drew me to the episode even more. I liked how the producers/screenwriters included a famous personality from the past in the show. I wanted to see how the events would have twisted the story of Charles Dickens somehow. The happenings in the episode added  at twist to the life of Dickens but did not necessarily change it as The Mystery of  Edwin Drood still remained a mystery.

Charles Dickens’s life was altered a little by the episode in that he was actually able to see the ghosts which he never believed in. When he first saw them before his eyes, he still would not believe, saying that he was wrong about everything he knew. The Doctor then tells him that what Dickens knew was right; he just had more to learn. This shows that people should be more open-minded about new things, perhaps alternate realities. Despite the overwhelming amount of information we know about the world, the universe is a vast expanse, and we still do not know a lot about it. Perhaps there really are aliens out there, we just haven’t discovered them yet.

In this episode, the Doctor who supposedly knows everything makes a wrong move out of sympathy for his “people” (people meaning aliens like him), the Gelths, whose bodies got destroyed during the Time War. The Doctor allowed their use of corpses only until he can transport them through the Rift using Gwyneth. Rose was against it since she did not want the Gelths to cross the Rift at the expense of Gwyneth and she did not want them to use the bodies she wanted the dead to be respected. However, the Doctor did not listen to her and he puts the earth in peril. He endangers the way history happens in that Rose might never be born. Rose here proves that the Doctor needs her to be his companion as she was right this time. She could prevent the Doctor from making life-altering mistakes like these in the future.

In that situation, the difference between the Doctor and Rose can be seen in that the Doctor cares more for the welfare of mankind while Rose sympathizes for individual lives, especially for Gwyneth who she had just met, and for the dead. I think this shows that the Doctor is truly detached from the earth since he had no problem sacrificing corpses for the Gelths, which are his people (even though they were not from his race). In the end, Gwyneth had to sacrifice her life for the greater good, and even though Rose did not want her to do so, they all had no choice.

Once again, a glimpse of the Doctor’s humanity appears when his face changes noticeably when the Time War was mentioned by the Gelths. It is clear that his past, whatever happened during the Time War, affects him so much. He seems so burdened to help the victims from it. I think that this is one of the reasons why he was so quick to help the Gelth when they said they lost their bodies from the Time War. It seems evident to me that he carries some sort of guilt for being the only one of the Time Lords, as he mentioned in the last episode, to have survived the war.

Over-all, I really liked this episode. Even though it was not as comical as the previous episode, I really like the plot and the visual scenery. Moreover, I was able to watch a horror episode! I am looking forward

One line that puzzled me though was what Gwyneth said to Rose when she read her: “You’ve flown so far–farther than anyone. The things you’ve seen. The darkness.. the big bad wolf.” I was puzzled by what she meant by “big, bad wolf.” I am assuming that it was an allusion to the big bad wolf in the story of the Three Little Pigs. Perhaps, the “evil” she meant was the aliens she presumed to be the result of witchcraft.

S1E3: The Unquiet Dead

From a space ship five billion years into the future, we are taken way, way back into the past in this next episode. The Doctor miscalculates their travel and instead of bringing to Rose to Naples in 1860, they end up elsewhere . We are taken to Cardiff in the year 1869, to be exact.

From the beginning, this episode already felt different form the last two ones, probably because we are not faced with aliens, talking trees or living plastics, but instead the Doctor and Rose save the world form good old-fashioned ghosts. Or not. They turn out to be Gelths, creatures from the other side of the universe, much like the Doctor himself.

These “ghosts” appear in the very beginning of the episode. It is set in a funeral parlor where corpse of an old lady is possessed by some kind of blue gas and she kills her grandson. She then goes off to watch a Charles Dickens reading, which was what she was supposed to before she passed away. The undertaker, Mr. Sneed and his servant girl, Gwyneth, set off to look for her. Here’s the thing, though, apparently, this is not the first time they’ve witnessed such a thing. Suspicious.

This is where Mr. Sneed and Gwyneth get mixed up with the Doctor and Rose. Oh, and with Charles Dickens, too. A riot caused by the possessed old woman in Charles Dickens’ reading leads to Rose getting drugged and brought back to the funeral parlor and the Doctor and Charles Dickens going after her.

Once again, Rose needs saving. I am starting to think this is going to be a prevailing theme in the show. I wish it wouldn’t be , though. I really liked the fact that it was her who saved the Doctor in the pilot episode, I was hoping to see more of that. It’s going to be very annoying if they put her in danger every episode and have the Doctor save her all the time. Also, I find it kind of a setback for a show that’s very modern and, at times, futuristic, to portray the woman as the damsel in distress. I’d like to Rose save herself or the Doctor in future episodes.

Anyway..

One thing I noticed about this episode is how, although it cannot exactly be considered as a horror episode, there were lots of horror movie or TV show staples that were featured. One, is the presence of a clairvoyant or a medium, the servant girl, Gwyneth. The fact that she died trying to help the “spirits” too can be considered a normal occurrence in a horror film. The presence of the Rift or the “ghost portal” is also one and the old, abandoned house setting is an something we see all the time. The ending, too, is kind of generic if you think about it, with them thinking that they’ve figured things out and then almost getting killed but then saved by the one person in the group who has “escaped (In this case, that person was Charles Dickens.).

Again, we are reminded that the Doctor is not human through his interactions with Rose. He does not feel the same emotions she does. This is seen in the part when he was willing to give the corpses to the Gelth to help them, he feels compassion for them because he is like them, victims of the Time War while Rose feels for compassion for the dead because they were once human, too.

Another thing about this episode is that we start o see that the relationship between the Doctor and Rose start to grow. Being a fan of chick flicks and teen television shows, I usually lean towards the possibility of a romantic relationship anywhere in a show that I watch. With a sci-fi show like Doctor Who, however, I am not quite certain if this something that I want to see, dues mostly to the fact that they are together all the time and there really is no space for personal drama. Although, I do enjoy their scenes very much. If they were characters on the CW, I would probably ship them.

Besides my problem with how Rose was portrayed in the episode (and the last two), I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It was witty and it played around with history jokes, which I found very entertaining with I like the history that was inserted in it, my favorite being the part where Charles Dickens asks the Doctor how ling his books are going to last and he says “Forever”. That was very good touch to add, in my opinion.

When we are first introduced to the episode, something in the back of my mind registered that this would be an episode falling under the genre horror. It’s a little cliché but yes, it is because of the gaseous beings that I mislabeled as ghosts, especially when they start taking over dead bodies. The element of horror only kept piling when it was revealed that Gwyneth could reach out and read the spirits.

The involvement of Charles Dickens also made me think that yes, perhaps there is an element of horror unfolding here. My theory, when the episode started, was that this episode will eventually be his inspiration for A Christmas Carol (because, think about it: ghosts, Christmastime—it could have worked). Sadly, that theory went down the drain when the Doctor started praising his works.

Anyway. As the Doctor provides an explanation for the appearance of the Gelth, as the spirits are called, the episode progresses back into sci-fi, the genre Doctor Who is more commonly identified as such. There is nothing to be afraid of! Well, in the supernatural sense. These spirits merely wanted new bodies and the Doctor is willing to help them, first by letting them have temporary ones, using corpses.

This is where the conflict between the Doctor and Rose spikes. Once again, they fall into these roles where Rose is the compassionate one while the Doctor is in the wrong. Rose argues that it is wrong and disrespectful to use corpses and while that is a good point, I can’t help but sympathize with the Doctor. The Doctor is only trying to be helpful. He feels guilty; has to, since the Gleth are there due to the Time War (something I’m sure the Doctor played a big role in). He feels that he should take care of the living so he provides a solution, even if it is unorthodox.

Rose, meanwhile, uses her compassion and understanding to get close to Gwyneth. This closeness helps the audience understand Gwyneth’s background, makes it easier for us to empathize with her. This closeness also leads to another spike between Rose and the Doctor when Gwyneth is told that she has to be the bridge for the Rift.

Amidst their differences though, the two still manage to work as a team, in order to escape when the Gelth turn out to be evil. By the end of the episode, they are friends once more, as though they hadn’t been at opposite sides of the court.

This raises several questions: Given that they don’t seem to agree on a lot of things, why is Rose still insistent to going around with the Doctor? Is she sticking by him, in order to see these amazing things, go backwards or forwards in history? How about the Doctor? Is he willing to put up with their differences in views because he doesn’t want to be lonely? In order to brag about the things he can do or to avoid thinking about his past? If so, won’t these two be using each other? I’d like to believe that Rose is genuinely there to help the Doctor, to keep reminding him that his isn’t the only opinion.

I have a feeling that there really will be a break up coming soon (if it hasn’t already happened) between Mickey and Rose. There were moments between Rose and the Doctor when there was chemistry being boiled up, such as when the Doctor told Rose she looked beautiful—then ruined the moment by adding “considering you’re human”, a small moment often found in romance.

If indeed Davies wants to go down that road, I don’t think I’d appreciate that. I am not bothered by what will be a big age gap or that Rose has just probably entered the legal stages in her life. I am bothered by the Doctor having a romantic companion in general. It’s a fun thing to read in fanfiction (I myself ship the Doctor with River, although that’s a discussion for later on) but I just don’t see it happening in the show. I do believe the Doctor has the power to love but I don’t think he has to be in love.

Out of the two episodes that I had seen, this was definitely the more interesting one. Perhaps it was because I was done with the introductions, in the general sense. I knew who the Doctor was (more or less) and who Rose was and why they were traveling together. I could focus on the adventure of the episode and the problem that they faced.

What makes this episode more interesting? For me, it was because of where they were: the end of the world; Rose’s world, for that matter, where Earth was abandoned and emptied and ready to be blasted into chunks. It wasn’t the event itself that was interested me (although that in itself is already pretty interesting, especially the difference with Rose’s reaction in comparison to the Doctor) but rather, the species who were in attendance to the event. I was excited to see other aliens! In the first episode, the Doctor may have fought with an alien force, but there was barely any active interaction between them (unless one counts the attack of the Anti-Plastics). In this episode, it was as though the Doctor had taken Rose, and consequently us, smack in the middle of an intergalactic gala, where members from all over where represented.

The introduction of Jabe, an alien from the Forest of Cheem, was a brilliant addition, in my opinion. Jabe has plant-like qualities and she revealed that had roots all the way back to Earth. It was a bit of a wake up call: hello, humans aren’t the only living beings on Earth.

I was both amused and disturbed by Cassandra, the last human. It got me thinking: if I were Cassandra, would I truly let myself turn into that—a patch of overly stretched skin— just to survive? I wouldn’t, not because I wouldn’t be visually appealing (although I do have to consider that different aliens could find different things appealing), but because I couldn’t bare to do it. Who would I live for? There’s no one left on Earth. Also, it would such a hassle keeping herself alive (with the operations and always the moisturizing).

What amused me about Cassandra were the objects she brought as gifts. I am taking the ostrich egg out of this because obviously, it was used as a hiding place for her pets. However, the jukebox— or rather, the iPod, as it was known— was unexpected. Even more unexpected were the music selection she had. It’s an amusing thought; for all we know, these could be the music people will consider as classics. Given how the current generation seems to have an affinity for mixing pop into almost every genre, it is probably for some future generation to consider Ms. Spears as a classic. (Don’t we already? At least, her younger years.)

One issue that scene that struck me was Rose’s reaction when she figured out what the event was about. She was indignant, upset; clearly affected by the destruction of her planet, her home. While she was busy being mad. It made me ask myself: am I desensitized? I couldn’t understand Rose’s reaction. I still don’t to be quite honest. After all, technically speaking, everyone she knew was still living their lives. The Earth that was to be blown up was empty. What was the big deal?

But, and this is coming from someone who merely has an inkling of what’s happened to the Doctor’s previous regenerations, Rose had to react like that. Rose represented this aspect of compassion and sympathy that the Doctor seemed to lack. The one thing she was determined to do was call back home, to check that the people she loves were all right. (Surprisingly, she only called her mom. Being Mickey’s girlfriend, you’d think she’d be just as concerned about him. However, this is me merely connecting my theory on how Rose actually broke up with Mickey at the end of the first episode.)

On the other hand, there’s something feisty and unforgiving with the Doctor; how he called humans apes with ordinary lives, making it sound like an insult. He came from a time of war and destruction; when he regenerated into this current Doctor, he carried feelings of war (of bitterness, regret, etc) with him, making him slightly cynical. Rose was his balance then and this kind of relationship would probably develop over the season.

S1E1: Rose

First of all, I found it amusing how Davies entitled the first episode as Rose because, one would think that the focus of the episode would be, well, Rose. For me, Rose was never really the focus of the episode. Instead, she was merely a coincidence that the Doctor had bumped into. However, because the title of the episode is Rose, it gave the audience a sort of foreshadowing that this girl that the Doctor randomly bumped into will actually play an important role in the episode. (But more on that in a while.)

The focus, for me, was the search for the Anti-Plastic. Forget about Rose; without the Anti-Plastic, the Doctor wouldn’t have some Evil Plan to stop. Heck, maybe one can even go as far as to argue that without the Anti-Plastic (or rather, the situations that they managed to generate), the Doctor would never have met Rose. The Anti-Plastic sets the motion for the entire season because if they weren’t there causing mayhem, the Doctor would have nothing to save, he wouldn’t have to rescue and be curious by Rose, would have no other thing to do except, perhaps, dilly-dally in the TARDIS.

All right; watching the show, one at least gets the grasp that the Doctor is some form of superhero. However, what I appreciate about this episode is that it attempts to unearth the Doctor’s personality, or maybe even little tidbits about his identity. I don’t mean scenes like when Rose is first introduced to the TARDIS or even the long talk between Rose and the Doctor after he traces the plastic hand back to her. Those are obvious scenes and, while they are appreciated, I appreciate the smaller details too.

One such detail I’m talking is the scene when the Doctor finds Rose’s house. Rose is rambling on about the incident that had taken place, unmindful of what the Doctor had been doing in the next room. The Doctor picks up objects: a book, which he flips through and comments about, giving the impression that he managed to finish it quick as a snap; a pile of cards he attempts to shuffle but fails. These details tell us that the Doctor is more-than-average smart and even contains an ability so unusual, it adds to his background as an alien. The attempt to shuffle cards also tells me that there is an aspect of the Doctor that loves to have fun, even if he doesn’t quite do it normally (for lack of a better word).

Of course, my favorite character is obviously the Doctor (so far; treating this as if it’s my first time watching the series). Rose is memorable too. I think one of my favorite characters may be Jackie, because she pulls off such an impression, despite having shorter screen time than the other characters. Her attempt to flirt with the Doctor is cute and funny. She also adds to this characteristic of Rose as compassionate and protective of the people she loves; in the midst of trouble, Rose finds it in her heart to call her mom.

This leads me to another character: Mickey. I love the opening montage, how he interacts with Rose over lunch. However, I never got that they were romantically involved until they kissed, to be honest. I never truly felt their chemistry as lovers. That last scene at the end sort of threw me off as well. In the end, when Mickey goes, “Thanks for what?” and Rose replies, “Exactly” It made me think: what was Rose implying? Did she mean yes, exactly Mickey, act as I’m not about to run away with a stranger or did she mean Exactly Mickey; I’ve nothing to thank you for, I realize that now. The former is nothing new, in a sense that it’s been used as a joke in previous shows, but the latter could that she’s breaking up with him. Is she? For me, it would be smart if that’s what it meant; it serves as another sort of foreshadowing the audience isn’t aware of.

I read the entry written by my professor regarding the episode and he commented on how silly the show was, giving the audience villains in the form of plastic and trash cans eating people, to begin with. I found that comment striking, mostly because I didn’t. I mean, I didn’t find the plastic aspect of it silly at all. Reflecting upon it, I suppose it is amusing. But what had stopped me from thinking of it as such was the fact that I knew I was watching a show that involved a bit of sci-fi. While there might be almost nothing scientific about moving plastic, it does have that flair of fantasy, especially with flaming blob at the end. In fact, I think I would have been disappointed if the villains turned out to be something ordinary, such as human.

At the same time though, I liked that they used something as ordinary as the London Eye as part of the villain’s evil plot. It made the possibility of aliens co-existing with humans more probable because they have the capacity to adapt to things that humans have built and twist it to serve their needs. The possibilities that your wristwatch might be a communicator or your umbrella might be a transmitter is open and leaves your mind open to the imagination; everything may not be what it seems. This, for one, feels like one of Doctor Who’s messages, a message the Davies wants to instill to his audience from the very beginning.

S1E3: The Unquiet Dead

The Unquiet Dead is a ghost story.

Set in Cardiff on Christmas Eve of 1869 we find that a local undertaker is haunted by the Gelths, a ghostly yet advanced lifeform that has been severely affected by the repercussions of the time war. The Gelths ask for the Doctor’s help which he willingly provides and even exceeds by promising to transport them into another place where they could find more permanent bodies to inhabit. The Gelths however had other plans, they reveal their true color and state that they were actually ready to invade Earth instead of being weak and few in numbers. With the help of Charles Dickens, the Doctor and Rose beat back the Gelths but not without a cost, their new friend, Gwyneth, the local undertaker’s servant girl had to sacrifice herself to ensure that the Gelth threat will be permanently eradicated.

This episode further implicates Rose into the actions of the Doctor, highlighted by their argument on whether or not Gwyneth should sacrifice herself to “save” the Gelths. She refuses to let them let the Gelths take the bodies of the deceased as their vessels into Earth. We also see the hard choices that the Doctor has to deal with and that he also has to deal with it afterwards, especially if they are wrong or terribly miscalculated. Lives hang in the balance with every move and choice the Doctor makes. You can see the character development between the two time travelers.

I have earlier stated that this episode is a ghost story. As discussed in the class, a lot of elements from ghost stories are adapted specifically for this story. Gwyneth being dead even though still looking like she was alive, the dead rising up from the grave, the séance to find out what the ghosts wanted, the lost adventurers  are all elements of a ghost story that were seen in the third episode. The atmosphere of gloom was well established, rarely being broken.

The special effects were, at least for me, noticeably better than the special effects found in the first and second episodes. Although most of the special effects consisted of the depiction of the gaseous state of the Gelths.

I’ve also come to like the argument between the Doctor and Charles Dickens, wherein Charles sees his entire life’s invalidated by what he is currently experiencing, thinking that he has been living a lie all this time. The Doctor corrects him by assuring him that the real world is still the same but there was just so much more in it that he had initially thought. I like the idea presented that we are limited but it does not mean that the world or even the universe is as limited as we are.

This episode presents the idea that maybe ghosts are not necessarily supernatural or paranormal but just a part of nature that we have yet to understand as Charles Dickens saw it or basically ghosts are extraterrestrial life forms found in Earth.

It also brings us back to Earth, although we find that it is an earth of a different time period, we, as the audience, can still relate as we are already familiar with period pieces of earth’s various cultures. The episode also brings us a fictional Charles Dickens and inserts him into the story line. Honestly, I found his addition to be clever and tasteful. As a part of the audience I was completely surprised that Charles Dickens would be included in a science fiction show but as I found out, Doctor Who isn’t merely an ordinary science fiction show, it is a sort amalgamation of different genres that people would never think would fit.