Monsters and Wank
Monsters: yes, zombie-ish, about a hundred maybe
Emotional Wank: 1 out of 10
Intended Destination: none – pursuit of dangerous object
Actual Destination: WWII, height of the London Blitz
In hot pursuit of a fast-moving and dangerous piece of time-jumping alien tech, the Doctor and Rose land in London about a month behind it. They discover a club where the Doctor asks about anything that might have fallen from the sky. Ensuing hilarity reveals he has arrived in the middle of the Blitz. Meanwhile, Rose, attracted by a mysterious child on top of a building, winds up dangling from a barrage balloon during an air raid. The Doctor uncovers a mystery involving a child with a gas mask who can speak through disconnected machinery whose sister, Nancy, steals food for homeless children. The child, Jamie, is single-mindedly looking for his mother, and Nancy warns the Doctor not to touch the empty child, else he’ll become just like him. Jamie was fatally injured by a bomb, but the thing that crashed made him ss he is now. Rose is rescued by handsome pilot Jack with an invisible Chula spaceship. He uses microscopic machines called nanogenes to heal her injured hands, then proposes to sell her and the Doctor the piece of alien tech they’d been pusuing, but warns it will be destroyed by bomb within hours. They meet the Doctor at the hospital, where he is trying to find out what the space junk did to Jamie and then everyone else. The hospital is full of people with gas masks and the same injuries as Jamie. The Empty Child ends with the people surrounding Rose, Jack, and the Doctor, about to convert them.
The Doctor Dances begins with the Doctor delivering a scolding and the instruction, “Go to your room!” The gamble pays off and all the gas-mask cretures return to bed. They investigate the room Jamie was first brought to in the hospital. As this is Jamie’s room, he arrives and begins to pursue them with the other creatures. After a few chases and escapes, our heroes wind up trapped in a basement. Jack confesses that the sale of the artifact is a con, and that the item is a harmless Chula ambulance. He teleports out, but reconfigures his ship so the Doctor and Rose can follow. Meanwhile, Nancy has been caught stealing food, but blackmails the householder into giving her wirecutters and a torch. She returns to the site where the alien tech fell, but is captured. The Doctor, Rose, and Jack arrive also to find the troops transforming, and they free her. Jack, eager to show that the ambulance is harmless, accidentally trips the alarm that calls the gas-mask creatures to the site. He gets the capsule open, whereupon the Doctor explains that it was full of nanogenes like Jack’s, which took Jamie as a template for a healthy human and began “healing” everyone else. The bomb is coming any second, so Jack telephorts away, but returns in the ship to capture the bomb in a tractor beam and take it away. Jamie arrives to lead the gas-mask creatures. Nancy admits to the child that he is actually her son, hugging him tightly. The nanogenes pick up her DNA and compare it to Jamie’s, then depart to correct the mistakes they made to the rest of the population, using Nancy’s condition as a template instead. The Doctor and Rose then rescue Jack before the bomb goes off in his ship, saving him from certain death.
- The period stuff. 40s tech. 40s fashion.
- Barrage balloons.
- Special effects – aerial view of an air raid.
- Jack’s Chula ship.
- Dancing next to Big Ben.
- Doctor Constantine. Something charismatic about him.
- This was one of the few episodes I found genuinely creepy. I have brain fears, and the mindlessness of the empty people was fairly scary.
- Not a fan of blackmail, but after the way the housholder was treating her, I liked her reversal of the situation.
- The idea that 51st-century humanity is omnisexual. I feel a bit ahead of my time.
- Nanogenes. It’s a cool idea. The oncom is a bit creepy though. I can see it being useful, but damn.
- Jack’s story about the execurtioners.
- The Doctor’s story about the banana groves.
- The blaster/banana switcheroo. I like also that Let’s Kill Hitler contains a callback to this.
- Nancy wonders if the Doctor’s ears have special powers. That glimmer of humor saved her from being a completely dreary character.
- Binoculars. Both Jack and the Doctor have excellent binoculars.
- “What about you? You’re the one who’s out of focus.” Hee!
- Squareness gun. There’s a callback to this in Forest of the Dead. It is rumored that River got hold of Jack’s blaster because he left it in the TARDIS.
- Mauve and dangerous. Why red alerts are confusing to anyone but humans.
- The Doctor’s complete lack of drawing skills. It’s a cylinder with something like a wheel at each end. I would expect him to be able to draw something at least better than this:
- It’s hard to do a good dangling-from-a-rope with consistency. You need several takes and things change. These guys didn’t pull it off, but to be fair, it’s hard.
Comments, Questions, Speculation
- I wonder if we will ever find out what happened to Jack’s Time Agency years and his missing memories. Torchwood went a completely different direction.
- I miss omnisexual Jack. Torchwood Jack seems to just be gay, and that’s boring.
- Liz at timewimey.tv once pointed out that at this time, there are three separate instances of Jack on Earth at the same time, during the month between the landing of the Chula ambulance and his taking the bomb away. There’s Jack as we see him now. Then there’s Jack after his departure from Rose and the Doctor in The Parting of the Ways lands him in the mid-1800s – he’s running about Cardiff working for Torchwood and waiting for the Doctor to turn up again. Then there’s Torchwood Jack much later in his timeline, in stasis in the Torchwood vaults after having been buried alive deep in the past by his deranged brother, waiting for modern times again as penance for his assumed negligence in his brother’s capture by invaders when they were children. If Jack lives forever, I have to wonder how many time loops he’s got going.
- If this lock on the front of Albion Hospital looks a bit familiar, here’s Amy picking one a bit like it in The Beast Below.
Raw Caps: 559 for The Empty Child and 454 for The Doctor Dances
Finished Caps: 105 for The Empty child and 75 for The Doctor Dances
Didn’t get too many shots of the air raid. A great deal of motion blur. Disappointed also not to get the first shot of Jack’s face. Motion blur again.