TARDIS Thoughts: Series 2, Episode 10 - "Love & Monsters"


Series 2, Episode 10 - "Love & Monsters"


Hi, everybody! Welcome to my first "analysis"! As explained in the introduction post, I am starting with this episode because it was the oldest on my DVR. So here goes.

"Love & Monsters" is an odd episode because the Doctor isn't in it very much at all. You could pretty much write the Doctor out and turn it into an episode of any other sci-fi show. Supposedly the explanation for this is that David Tennant (Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose) were off filming other episodes. Hey, if that works, sure.

Instead, the episode is essentially a video diary recorded by a guy named Elton Pope, who became obsessed with the Doctor and the TARDIS after having encountered the Doctor in his house at a young age and also had a variety of strange things happen to him, from witnessing an alien ship flying overhead (a reference to an earlier episode) to having his apartment window spontaneously break. Oh and he also met up with the Doctor and Rose, it seems, in some abandoned warehouse. He does some searching on the Internet, and through this finds a blog run by a girl named Ursula.

I admit, I laughed a bit when I saw Ursula's blog. You have to remember, this episode is from 2006. And Ursula's blog header looks a little...well, outdated now in terms of graphic design. But then I'm pretty bad at graphic design myself, so who am I to judge? I think I probably made a header image just like this back then:


Oh, and the scene I mentioned earlier with Elton meeting the Doctor and Rose features a fair amount of this going on:


This sort of sequence is a classic comedy bit, in which the set is a stationary hallway with doors going off of it, and the camera remains focused on the center hallway. All the viewer then sees are the characters rushing by from one or more of the doors, either chasing their enemy or being chased themselves. For some reason this scene reminded me of Star Wars, though I can't remember if Star Wars has a scene like this or not. 

Anyway, back to the main plot. So, Elton finds this blog, sees a picture of the Doctor he remembers on it, and gets together with its writer, Ursula. My first impression of Ursula is that she looks a lot like Velma from Scooby-Doo. I mean, compare the two and tell me she does not look like Velma.

Photobucket     Photobucket  

So Ursula and Elton become friends, and she invites him to be part of a group of people who get together every week and talk about the Doctor. The other members of the group, besides Elton and Ursula, are a guy named Mr. Skinner, a girl named Bliss, and a lady named Bridget who is in London to look for her daughter, who she thinks was taken by the Doctor.


Their group meets in the basement of a library, and gradually becomes just an excuse for them to hang out together. They start a band at one point, then at another point they spend time enjoying Bridget's cooking, and at yet another point they become an informal sort of writing workshop for Mr. Skinner's novel. 

And then this guy shows up:


Victor Kennedy. Man, is he creepy. Generally, I distrust people in trenchcoats even in real life. And this guy's got a trenchcoat, a big scary hat, and a cane worthy of Lucius Malfoy. He says that the group (which by now has been named LINDA, or the London Investigation 'N' Detective Agency) has lost their focus and immediately sets them to work researching the Doctor. It's revealed that it was during this process that Elton's previously shown encounter with the Doctor and Rose actually occurred. Unfortunately, since Elton did nothing but stand there like an idiot during that scene, Kennedy is not so pleased with him. 

So Kennedy decides to take a different approach - find the Doctor through his Companion. Unfortunately, he can't find any decent data on her because her files are messed up. So he gives each member of LINDA a rather indistinct photo of the Doctor's Companion (Rose) and sends them out to find her. Elton notes that when he encountered her before she had a London accent, so they do their searching there. There's a nice reference in this scene for those who have watched Series 1 - Rose's file is said to be infected with the "Bad Wolf virus," a reference to the Bad Wolf arc in Series 1. It's also mentioned that the files Kennedy has are from Torchwood, an organization whose name was sprinkled throughout Series 2 (as a way of leading into the spin-off show of that name) and who finally appears in the Series 2 finale.

Elton gets lucky and finds someone who identifies the girl in his picture as Rose Tyler. He gets luckier still when he encounters her mother Jackie at a laundromat and manages to become friends with her. To be honest, I find the amount of good luck he has during this process hard to believe, but I guess it makes sense for moving the plot along.

Jackie on the other hand seems to develop feelings for Elton, in an almost Mrs. Robinson sort of way, and even attempts to seduce him to the tune of a romantic Il Divo song. But their relationship ends when Elton runs out for pizza and Jackie finds his photograph of Rose in his coat pocket. She swears she'll keep the Doctor and Rose's secrets safe to the end of her life, and tells him to leave her alone.

Victor Kennedy gets mad at Elton again, and Elton gets mad right back, pointing out the disappearances of Bliss and Bridget, both of whom had been asked by Kennedy earlier in the episode to stay back a moment when the group was leaving. He convinces Ursula and Mr. Skinner to both quit along with him, and manages to actually ask Ursula out while he's at it, since he's realized he loves her. Mr. Kennedy asks Mr. Skinner to stay back a moment. He hesitates, but then complies when Kennedy says he might have a number to reach Bridget. Elton and Ursula then leave, but Ursula realizes she forgot her phone, so they go back.

When they return, Kennedy has a newspaper in front of his face, and tries to excuse Mr. Skinner's absence by saying he must be in the restroom. Elton notes that Kennedy's hands look weird, and the newspaper comes down to reveal:


This dude. A freaky alien dude (designed by a kid for a contest btw), which Elton names an Abzorbaloff. It turns out that whoever touches this guy gets absorbed into his body, a process which is irreversible. The two try to stop him, but Ursula ends up getting absorbed. Thankfully, she is able to read the alien's mind and warn Elton that he's next. Elton makes a break for it, with the Abzorbaloff not far behind.

Unfortunately, Elton ends up in a dead end. The Abzorbaloff is about to absorb him too, when what should appear but...the TARDIS!

I love how the Doctor is at this moment. He just says nonchalantly, "Someone wants to talk to you," and then backs away to reveal Rose. He doesn't seem concerned at all.

Anyway, apparently Rose has been chatting with her mum about how Elton treated Jackie, and Rose is p-ed off. She goes off on Elton for upsetting her mum. Elton, meanwhile, is like, "Hello, dangerous alien here, and you're going off on ME?" The Abzorbaloff notices the Doctor is there and is overjoyed, since the Doctor was his ultimate target all along. Rose comments that he looks Siltheenish, and the Doctor asks him if he is from the planet of the Siltheens (which has a really-hard-to-pronounce name). The alien says he spits on those swine and is in fact from the planet Clom, the twin planet of the Siltheens' planet. He is about to go for the Doctor, but Ursula has a better idea and tells all the other members of LINDA to pull as hard as they can on the monster's body. This forces the alien to drop his cane. Ursula then tells Elton to break the cane, which he does, causing the Abzorbaloff to dissolve into a puddle of goo. The Doctor explains that the cane contained a sort of force field keeping the Abzorbaloff's body together. Elton, however, is sad about losing Ursula.

We go back to Elton filming his video diary, during which he comments about what happened. He also reveals that the Doctor told him why he was in Elton's house the day the young Elton saw him - he was chasing an elemental shade. He defeated the shade, but was unable to save Elton's mother. Elton admits to his diary that he had forgotten that his mother had died that same night. (Suppressed the memory, most likely). 

Elton feels he has paid a price for encountering the Doctor, and wonders when Rose and her mother will have to do the same (prophetic words considering what happens a couple episodes later in the 2-part Series 2 finale). We then hear a voice telling him to cheer up, and Elton tells us that the Doctor did him one last favor - he used the Sonic Screwdriver to kinda-sorta save Ursula. She couldn't be fully reconstituted after being absorbed by the alien, but the Doctor was able to keep Ursula's essence and face alive inside of a paving stone from the area the Abzorbaloff was absorbed by, by way of the Screwdriver. Elton keeps said paver in his room and says he and Ursula even have a sort of love life.

In the end, Elton admits his life isn't exactly normal or conventional, but says "the real world is much stranger than that; it is so much darker, madder, and so much better."

Like I said, this is an odd episode. But not a terrible one. The alien was pretty creepy but I've seen creepier things. (My parents watch Fringe. Nuff said). And not a bad intro to the Doctor and Rose either.

So, that's my first analysis! Hope you liked it! Stay tuned for more!

Screencaps are from the website Sonic Biro. Velma image I found via Google Images.

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