TARDIS Thoughts: Series 2 Christmas Special - "The Runaway Bride"


Series 2 Christmas Special - "The Runaway Bride"


And with the end of Series 2 proper, we come into something no Doctor Who series/season can do without: the Christmas Special. This particular special, called "The Runaway Bride," is set after the events of "Doomsday" and is teased somewhat at the end of that episode with an unknown bride randomly appearing in the TARDIS.

The episode begins on Earth in London, at a rather lavish church wedding. The bride (who we later learn is named Donna) is all set to go down the aisle, when all the sudden she dissolves into golden dust. Next thing she knows, she's onboard the TARDIS, wedding dress and all, to the surprise of both her AND the Doctor.


As for the Doctor, we last left him alone on the TARDIS, orbiting around a supernova out in the middle of space somewhere, grief-stricken over having lost Rose. (Well, she's still alive. She's just in a parallel world that for some reason even the Doctor has no access to, and is considered dead in her home world). And while he's lost in thought, Donna appears. This is the moment teased at the end of "Doomsday," where she appears and the confused Doctor asks her who she is.

Anyway, neither Donna or the Doctor has any idea how she got in the TARDIS. I mean, he's orbiting around a supernova, so it's not like she could've just walked in or something (and besides, the Doctor carries the keys to the thing - btw, I find it odd that he has to use actual keys to unlock the door; you'd think the Time Lords would have created some more complex lock system for their TARDISes). Donna, meanwhile, is pretty freaked out and wants to leave, but the Doctor points out that they're in space and so she can't just leave. Then the subject of him having traveled with someone else (Rose) comes up, and the Doctor sadly admits that he lost her, but doesn't elaborate. And frankly I think Donna could care less. She just wants to get back to her wedding.

So the Doctor obliges and takes Donna back to London, though he's still stumped as to how she got onto the TARDIS. Donna tries to get a taxi back to the church but learns she must pay extra cause it's Christmas Day. The Doctor gets in with her and then they ride a bit, but get off a short time after, with Donna mad about the higher fare she had to pay. Then, all the sudden these creepy Santa guys show up and seem to be interested in Donna. Donna looks for another cab while the Doctor wanders off assumedly to get her some money for the cab. He finds an ATM and, through the wonders of the Sonic Screwdriver, is able to get the ATM to give him money without using a ATM or debit card. (This reminds me of the movie Race to Witch Mountain, where the kids were able to use their powers to get money out of an ATM). Then he sees the creepy Santas, and provides a distraction to the locals by making the ATM eject wads of cash (again thanks to his trusty Screwdriver) while he pursues the Santas. Donna meanwhile has found another cab and is on her way to the church, but unbeknownst to her, the cab is actually being driven by one of the crazy Santas. The creepy Santa bypasses her stop and takes her out onto a freeway, going who knows where.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has figured out the Santas are after Donna and pursues the cab she is in with the TARDIS. A hilarious scene ensues where he tries to get her out of the car, she won't jump, etc., etc. We also learn that, despite being a great time-and-space-traveling spaceship, the TARDIS doesn't actually fly all that well through normal air. Also the Sonic Screwdriver can unlock the locks on a normal Earthling car. Though I guess that makes sense.


The two rest on top of a building, in which scene the Doctor admits to Donna that the TARDIS is a spaceship. She thinks he's from Mars (classic human reaction). The Doctor, figuring that the Santas are tracking her, gives her a ring that he says will "biodamper" her, making it so the Santas can't find her. (In a nice wedding homage, he slips it on her finger with the words "With this ring, I thee biodamper"). After a short dialogue, Donna admits that her wedding guests probably aren't having that much fun without her.

Cut to a rather wild wedding reception, with dancing and lights and the whole shebang. Donna is livid that they had the reception without her (and also probably that her fiancé is dancing with another girl). Her parents are surprised to see her, naturally. We also meet Donna's fiancé Lance, who she met at H.C. Clements, where they both work, six months previously. Donna eventually decides to just enjoy the party, while the socially awkward Doctor hangs out at the bar. Later, we see him talking to a guy who was in charge of filming the wedding. He shows the Doctor footage of the moment Donna disappeared. The Doctor realizes that Donna's body is full of huon particles, some sort of ancient energy the Doctor believed didn't exist anymore. He realizes that her body, combined with Donna's stress over the wedding, must have reacted with the only other huon particles in the universe - those in the heart of the TARDIS - which is why she got teleported into the TARDIS. He also realizes that the biodamper won't mask such particles, and therefore the Santas have tracked them to the reception as well. The Santas attack, mostly through taking control of the ornaments on the Christmas tree and making them explode, causing mass panic. The Doctor saves the day by thrusting his Sonic Screwdriver into a sound system, causing a high-pitched sound that drives the Santas away.


The Doctor still isn't sure what the Santas want with Donna, though he now knows it must have to do with the huon particles. He gets Lance and Donna to take him to H.C. Clements. Through some research he finds that H.C. Clements is owned by the Torchwood Institute, that pesky "anything that's alien is ours" organization that appeared in the Series 2 finale and which is the subject of the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood. He discovers the building has a secret basement, which leads to a secret tunnel under the Thames River. Down there they find a big hole that seems to go down forever, seemingly into the center of the Earth.


Oh and by the way they also find a big honking spider with a creepily human face. She's the main bad guy for this episode. Earlier in the episode she is seen approaching Earth in a spaceship shaped somewhat like a Christmas star. That scene reminded me so much of the Sailor Moon S movie scene when Snow Kaguya is approaching Earth. Not sure why. Maybe because the spider lady's face reminds me of Snow Kaguya's? Turns out she's the Empress of the Racnoss, a spider-like species that the Doctor says are from the Dark Times but which were wiped out back then by the Time Lords - or so he thought, I guess. She seems to be responsible for the pit; there's something down there that she wants. Meanwhile, Lance is revealed to actually be in cahoots with the Empress (how that happened I have no idea) and has actually been dosing Donna for months with huon particles via the coffee he's been making for her every day. How did he get said particles? Well somehow the Empress figured out how to make them synthetically. Not sure how but apparently she used some of that basement space to do so.

The Empress intends to throw Donna into the pit, but the Doctor saves her and they escape. The Empress decides to then use Lance instead and begins feeding him huon particles against his will. The Doctor and Donna meanwhile head back to the TARDIS, since the Doctor wants to find out what the Empress is looking for down in the depths of the Earth. He takes them back billions of years to when the Earth was just forming, and discovers that a Racnoss ship somehow managed to wedge its way into the center of the Earth back then. The two return to the present, but Donna gets caught by the Empress and the Empress's robotic lackeys (a.k.a. the robotic Santas, now as hooded robots) hold the Doctor at gunpoint. The Doctor then reveals that he is not from Mars, as Donna had told the Empress he was, but from Gallifrey. This reveals to the Empress that he is a Time Lord, at which she is furious because the Time Lords destroyed her kind. The enraged spider lady then brings her ship to Earth - where the unsuspecting Earthlings believe it to be a Christmas star. (It is Christmas Eve, after all). But then said "star" starts firing at anything that breathes. Yeah, ok, not so good.

Long story short, the Doctor manages to flood the place and escape with Donna. Unfortunately, they learn that they drained all the water out of the Thames. Oops.


The Doctor takes Donna home so her parents can know she's all right, but not before offering her the chance to travel with him. She declines. He finally does tell her more about Rose, before letting her go and flying off into the sky. End of episode.

I have to admit, Donna kinda annoyed the heck out of me. And I know I'll be seeing more of her, because she's going to take the Doctor up on his offer after all later on in Series 4 and become his Companion. Hopefully she gets better later on. But in this episode she was just annoying. Maybe because all she really cared about was her wedding, and so she whined a lot. She also did not seem to get along with the Doctor at all. Again, this might all change in Series 4.

I don't have much else to say about this episode. I did sympathize with how devastated the Doctor was over Rose though. I'd be too!

Well, that's it for this episode! Now on to Series 3!

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