For the past few months, one of my most visited posts is about what I consider to be the Top 10 Doctor Who monologues.. There must be a lot of Whovians out there! On a blog I used to mostly keep for myself, I included recaps of Doctor Who episodes. I have officially shut that blog down and will share the recaps here.
I tried to write them in the spirit of the now-defunct Television Without Pity website which was started to hate on Dawson’s Creek and had some of the finest writing I’ve ever come across. (In fact, the night I found it, I was a night supervisor at a homeless shelter, and I was howling so loud and hard I kept the residents awake.) So, beginning with the 9th Doctor:
Doctor Who – Series 1 – “Rose” Written by Russell T. Davies
The moment the intro began I started squirming with embarrassment; it appeared so dated. Though I have come to love the intro music, I didn’t in the beginning. The camera first targeted on the moon and then paned over to Earth and zoomed into London. An alarm clock goes off and… Oh God… Is that a synthesizer? A synthesizer? How do I make it stop? I outgrew the 80s.
A hand slaps off the alarm clock and a girl in Pepto Bismol pink bed linens dislodges her teddy bear to sit up. Commence the speedy “every girl” montage of life in London, taking a bus to a shop, working, lunch with a boy she laughs with and kisses (so boyfriend, and is that him breakdancing?) and some aeriel shots of Trafalgar Square. (You know, I was in London in ’08 during the Olympics, and I remember watching it on the screen set up at Trafalgar Square. The whole city was taking notes and getting ready for the ’12 Olympics.)
Then she’s back at the shop – still with the synthesizer! – and just as she’s leaving the store at the end of the day, she’s stopped by a manager-like man shaking a baggie of money at her. She sets her jaw and grabs the bag grudgingly, then runs off to handle it. She descends to the basement, and the music stops when the elevator door opens, signifying that time is normal again.
“Wilson?” She calls, the first time we’ve heard her speak. “I’ve got the lo-ery money.” Cockney? She tries to summon Wilson for a few more seconds, then seeks out some strange noises that began down the dark hallway. “Hello Wilson; it’s Rose. Hello?” She’s clearly getting more nervous, and turns on a light to assure herself of solitude. As she’s trying to open another door, the one she came through closes, and she runs back to try to open it, unsuccessfully. So she’s trapped.
“Is that someone muckin’ about?” No answer. “Who is it?” No answer, but a mannequin’s head turns and that someone is with her. Lots of someones, actually, as the hall is lined with mannequins that are stalking towards her. She’s still trying to put up a front, like all is well. “Is this Derek? Derek, is this you?” She is backed into a corner by the plastic men. (Actually Plastic Men. That would be a good band name.) As they simultaneously raise their arms to “kill” her and she squeezes her eyes shut, a surprising human hand takes hers. She turns and sees a big-earred man in a leather jacket say. “Run.”
The synthesizer resumes in earnest and she and Leather Man (LM) run to evade the plastic men. They slice their hands down and break one of the basement pipes that Rose barely evades. They about being chased by this frat of mannequins, all these guys trying to run stiffly. Rose and LM make it to an elevator, but the door is kept from closing by one of the mannequins’ arms. It is barely in the elevator and it’s fingers are snapping like a present duck’s beak. LM rips the arm off to allow the door to close and throws it to Rose.
“You pulled his arm off.” Rose said disgustedly.
The girl is snapping questions at Leather Man who is a fast talker and seems to be on edge.
“Are they students?”
“Why would they be students?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, you said it, why students?”
“To get that many people dressed up and being silly, they gotta be students.”
“That makes sense. Well done.”
“They’re not students.”
She comments that Wilson’s gonna be pissed when he finds out about them, he says, “Wilson’s dead.” This makes her pause, then she gets angry. Who are you? Who are they?
Leather Man doesn’t really pay attention to her anger, but explains she encountered living plastic that is being controlled by a relay device on the roof . But not to worry! He’ll handle it with a blue tipped buzzy thing!
He pushes her out the back door and entreats her to enjoy her beans on toast. (What is it with beans on toast? I’ve heard of that before.)
He also cautions her not to tell anyone because they might be killed. before he slams the door shut. He immediately reopens it and says, “I’m the Doctor, by they way, what’s your name?” “Rose.” She says. “Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!” He says, waving a brick shaped thing at her. The synthesizer begins again as she runs, the shop exploding in her background. She’s still clutching the arm.
The next shot is presumably at Rose’s house, that night maybe? The news is on explaining that the whole of central London is closed while police investigate the fire, and we see a shot of the plastic arm laying innocuously on an easy chair.
A woman walks into the room with a coffee cup chatting with someone on the phone.. “I know, it’s on the telly!” A guy (boyfriend?) bursts into the apartment, sick with worry. “I can’t believe it; it’s on the news and everyfing!” He kneels down in front of Rose to hug her and she says, “I’m fine, don’t make a fuss.” He asked what happened and she says she doesn’t know, denies being in the shop at all. (I just noticed that. She denied being in the shop. Because the Doctor told her to.)
The woman (turns out it’s her mother) comes to the living room with the phone, says the person she’s talking to knows a man who will pay good money for an interview. Rose pronounces the idea as “brilliant” and demands the phone.
“Give it ‘ere.” Then promptly hanging up.
“Well, you’ve got a find some way of making money. Your job’s kaput and I’m not bailin’ you out.”
The phone rang again and Rose’s mother answers to a new friend, repeating the dramatic chatter. The boyfriend offers to take Rose to the pub for a “proper drink” for her to recover from her shock, “my treat.” She asks softly, “Is there a match on?” He says he doesn’t know, but she does. “There’s a match on.”
“But we could catch the last five minutes.” Even though he insists he’s just thinking about her. She’s smiling at him, though, and tells him to go on and to take the plastic arm with him to throw away, which he does. He waves her forward for a kiss, which she gives him, then he pushes her playfully back on the love seat. As he leaves to pick up the arm, she trips him. They’re obviously playful and comfortable with each other, which we see as he uses the hand to wave goodbye and then pretends to choke himself with it. We see him leave and toss the arm into a garbage can, but hear sinister music.
Show of hands (geddit?): who thinks this is over?
The next morning, same alarm, same hand slam, though she doesn’t have a job to attend today. Once she get’s up, her mom is talking to her about other places she might work and then tells her that she should still try to get damages and there was a friend of her who got a settlement because because because… Rose is clearly not listening anymore, (girlfriend is TALKER) and stares ahead of her. She hears a disturbance – it sounds like little foot taps – at the cat flap on the door, and goes to investigate.
She pokes it open and the Doctor’s face is looking in. “What are you doin’ here?” He asks her. “I live here,” She replied.
“Well what’d you do that for?”
“‘Cause I do.”
He waved out his blue-tipped buzzer again and said the signal must be wrong. He wondered if she’s plastic and then reaches out and knocks on her forehead. “Nope, bonehead. Bye then.” He was about to step away when she grabs his coat and pulls him into the apartment and closes the door. They bicker like they’ve been around each other for years.
Her mother wants to know what’s going on, and Rose tells her it’s about the explosion inquery. As he walks past the door, Rose’s mum yells that “she deserves compensation” and the Doctor picks up on this. “We’re talking millions.” Mum touches herself oddly and puts on an airy voice. “There’s a strange man in my bedroom… Anything can happen.” Ew. He shuts that shit down quickly.
They go into the front part of the apartment. Rose goes to make him coffee and keeps up a stream of chatter as she prepares it. He’s not listening as he makes comments on the apartment and examines himself in the mirror. “Ah, could have been worse,” he says, playing with both earlobes. “But look at the ears!” Ha! He hears those soft foot taps and goes to investigate. It’s the the plastic arm, still on the armchair, and it jumps at him and takes him by the throat. That really did make me gasp, it was so unexpected. Rose spots it and thinks he’s playing until he gets it off his neck and it goes for her face.
The synthesizer again, and they smash into a coffee table as he’s trying to get it off her. Finally he does, and he jabs the palm with his blue-tipped buzzer. After a few seconds, the fingers stop and he says “There you go, stopped it. You see? Armless.” Geddit? She swats his real arm with the plastic one.
He goes “swanning off” and Rose follows with a quick stream of questions about who he is and what happens next, but he’s cagey with his answers.
“You’ve got to tell me what’s going on.”
“No, I don’t.”
She says, fine, I’ll go to the police and tell everyone, which you specifically told me not to do. Ah, a threat.
He was like, is that supposed to sound tough? It doesn’t work. She’s still trying to figure it out, though, and begins asking him about himself. Doctor what? What sort of Doctor are you? He evades her questions and is physically trying to evade her: she practically has to jog to keep up with his longer legs and intense pace.
Then, what have I done wrong? Why are these things coming after me? She asks. He says it’s not about her at all, she was just in the wrong place and she “blonded” it. As a blond, I’m so glad that joke hasn’t died. /sarcasm
“So what you’re saying is that the entire world revolves around you.” She surmises.
“Sort of, yeah.”
“You’re full of it!”
“Sort of, yeah.” He’s smiling big here and so is she.
“And you’re all alone in this.”
He said it’s a fight, a war, and “you lot – you just each chips and watch telly.” You can tell by her body language that Rose wants to help him and says. “Okay, start from the beginning.”
Those mannequins? Thought control is projecting life into them, including the arm he shut down.
What for? They joke a bit about about Britain shops and prices. The Doctor (who is walking slower now, by the way, so she doesn’t have to run) says they are trying to take over the human race. “Do you believe me?” He checks in.
“But you’re still listening.”
Then she stops and asks, “Really though. Who are you?”
He smiles and says, “Do you know like when we were saying, about the Earth revolving?” He walks closer to her. “It’s like when you’re a kid. The first time they tell you the world’s turning and you just can’t quite believe it because it looks like it’s standing still.”
He looks into her eyes intently. “I can feel it.”
He takes her hand and starts to look into the distance.
“The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at 1,000 miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world and if we let go.” He lets go of her hand and looks at her again.
“That’s who I am. Now forget me, Rose Tyler.” He picks up the arm from the ground and waves it at her. “Go home.” And he walks towards the blue box, a stricken look on his face. A very pretty vocalization starts that we hear thorough the rest of the season. She starts to leave but hears a noise coming from where she had been and runs back to see what’s up. The Doctor and his blue box are gone.
We see the boyfriend open the door and she’s standing outside of it, presumably from where she just walked from the Doctor. He smacks her bottom as she passes and says jokingly. “There’s my woman.” They both laugh and he offers her coffee. She says she’d love some, in a clean mug. “Wash,” she said, “not rinse.” She asks to use his computer, and he says okay, “any excuse to get in the bedroom,” but cautions her not to read his emails. Heh. Once there, she begins to look up the Doctor, trying several different search terms and finally finding the site “Doctor Who?” She clicked on it and found a picture of the Doctor with instructions to call Clive if he’d been seen.
The next day, the boyfriend (Have we heard his name yet in this episode? It’s Mickey, but I don’t know if we’ve yet been formally introduced) is bickering with Rose about the wisdom of meeting a strange man, but he drives her to Clive’s house anyway. Rose goes in and Clive tells her all the points in history that the Doctor’s been seen: JFK’s assassination in 1963, in April 1912 the night before a family was supposed to voyage with the Titanic, 1883 drawn into a picture that washed up out of the ocean. The night the Krakatoa exploded. in Sumatra. (The most powerful volcano recorded in human history.)
When disaster comes, he’s there. He brings the storm in his wake, and he has one constant companion: death. (Actually, this is interesting. We later learn he was called The Oncoming Storm in the ancient legends of the Dalek home world, and he does always have a companion, but it isn’t always death. Also, I heard some head canon about these appearances: That after the Time War and he had seen and caused so much death, he went back to different points in time to try to change them.)
Meanwhile, the plastic garbage can in front of Mickey’s car is coming to life, and when Mickey goes to investigate, it swallows him. It even belches like something from a stupid kid’s movie. When Rose gets back to his car, he had clearly been absorbed by the Nestene consciousness, but she doesn’t notice. She’s wondering what kind of job to get next, like working in a hospital cafeteria. “Is that it, then? Dishing out chips?”
Mickey’s just staring at her with a plastic smile and starts talking over her all Max Headroom.
As she realizes something’s wrong, the waiter/Doctor is proffering champagne, and he uncorks it directly into Mickey’s head. His head absorbs it (absorbs) and he fights with the Doctor, who pops Mickey’s head off. That blasted synthesizer. It just makes me laugh at what is supposed to be serious. His body keeps fighting, though, using his hands, which have become large cutting boards. (So is Mickey dead?)
Rose has presence of mind to push the fire alarm and yells for everyone to get out. Rose and the Doctor get on the other side of a metal door for a moment of breathing room, but she freaks out because she doesn’t know where to go. But that police box we saw before is in the alley, and he invites Rose in.
The Doctor takes Rose into his police box, and she’s can’t believe what she sees inside. She runs back out, but is is compelled by the pounding on the door to go back in. She stands shocked while the Doctor explains his plans that the head allows him to trace the signal to its original source. That pretty vocalization is in the background.
and then stands before her to answer her questions.
“It’s bigger on the inside.” (We later find out this is a big thing for him.)
“Yes.” He affirms.
“It’s alien?” She asks.
“Are you alien?” she asks. “Yes.” After a moment of silence, he asks her, “That alright?” She quickly says, “Yeah.” He explains the box is called the TARDIS. She starts to cry, which the Doctor attributes to culture shock. She get angry at what she sees as the doctor’s heartlessness for leaving Mickey behind, particularly as his head melts into the dashboard.
We hear a whooshing sound and open the door to find they have moved to the banks of the Thames, what he called the source of the signal. She realizes it moves through space, but the Doctor isn’t worried about that. He’s angry that he lost the signal.
She’s like, I’ll have to tell his mother he’s dead and you’re not even thinking about him. The Doctor lashes out that he’s not thinking about Mickey “…because I’m busy trying to save the life of every stupid ape blundering about on this planet, aright?”
“Yes! It is!”
“If you are an alien, how come you sound like you’re from the north?” she asked. “Lots of planets have a north!”
Antiplastic, he says, is the answer to the Nestene Conscisouness problem. He paces the sidewalk and questions how can you hide a round and massive transmitter in the middle of London. He thinks it must be invisible, but as he’s pacing and pondering, his head becomes framed by the blue-lighted London Eye. Rose give him a significant look, and several times he asks, truly confused. “What? What is it?” Then it dawns on him. Good blocking there. “Fantastic.” He says, and then the synthesizers begin. Again.
They run across the river, using the bridge by Parliment (I remember crossing the Thames on that one, too) and he’s listing off all the things that are plastic that the Nestene Consciousness is trying to hijack, toys and soda bottles. “Breast implants.” Rose offers. They descend into the sewers to an orange pool of what looks like lava. She tells him to tip in his antiplastic, but he says “I”m not here to kill it. I’ve got to give it a chance.” Aw. He has a moral compass.
He “seeks audience” and is very respectful in his attempted conversation with the Consciousness. Rose finds Mickey down there and rushes over to him. The Doctor talks to the Consciousness, but it sounds like one way conversation until he suggests it “shunt off.” The lava seems to be yelling at the Doctor, who is begins to yell at it as well “I. Am. Talking!” (I gasped at this, because 11 says this as well – parallel?) Eccleston is looking very confident and handsome in this shot and he asks the Consciousness to “just go.”
But he’s about to be attacked from behind by plastic dummies. They hold his arms capture and pull out the vial of antiplastic. He tells the furious Consciousness that he’s here to help, the vial was just insurance. The Consciousness says something, and the Doctor says, “No, that’s not true. I was there, I fought in the war! I couldn’t save your world, I couldn’t save any of them!” What’s that about?
Rose asks what’s happening, and the Doctor explains that the final invasion is beginning. “Just leg it, Rose!” Instead, she calls her mum who is leaving the police station. She tells her mom to go home, and watches as the Nestene Consciousness begins to transmit through the London Eye. Some B-level special effects, here. We see all the dummies in London come alive, and then one of them raises it’s hand, the fingers drop down, and it begins shooting.
Rose tries to open the TARDIS, unsuccessfully, as mayhem ensues above ground.. A golden moment dawns on Rose as she evaluates her surroundings. “I’ve got no A-levels. Not job. No future. I’ll tell you what I do got.” She says, as she chops free a rope. “A bronze medal” in a gymnastics contest and she swings like Tarzan to where the Doctor is fighting the mannequins. She knocks them and the antiplastic into the Nestene Consciousness and they all begin to die.
They all meet at the TARDIS back above ground. As Rose and Mickey flee the TARDIS, the Doctor brags that what they just did was easy. Rose protests, proud of herself. “You were useless in there. You’d be dead if it weren’t for me.” The Doctor looks sheepish, “Yes, I would. Thank you.” He hopefully invites her to come with him, says that the box will go anywhere in the Universe. “Is it always his dangerous?” she asked. “Yeah.” He nods, a little excitedly. Mickey, who is sitting on the ground by her side and telling her not to trust him because he’s an alien, gets up and wraps his arms around her waist at this point, glaring at the Doctor.
She turns the Doctor down, citing a need to look after her mom and “this stupid lug,” beating Mickey’s back. She doesn’t look sure of her choice, however. He’s disappointed, but says, “See you around.” Rose is disappointed. She and Mickey start to walk away, and the TARDIS reappears. “Did I mention it travels also in time?” The Doctor asks, leaning against the door. At this, happy to have a second chance to go, Rose runs for the door.
Verdict? I’ll try the next one.