And here we are, the Series 2 Finale, Part 1 - "Army of Ghosts."
The episode begins with a cold open of Rose standing on a beach, remembering her time with the Doctor. The voice-over ends on an ominous note: "This is the story of how I died."
Anyway, in this episode the Doctor and Rose head back to London so Rose can visit her mum. They soon become aware that something odd is going on, especially when Rose's mum Jackie announces that Rose's grandfather, who's been dead for 10 years, is coming to visit.
Jackie fills them in - for the last few months, strange "ghosts" have been appearing in shifts throughout London. She seriously thinks that one of them is her late father, but the Doctor says it isn't really him.
Meanwhile, we find out - through the power of third-person omniscient TV narration - that the Torchwood Institute, headed by Yvonne Hartman, is behind the ghost shifts. The shifts occurred cause Torchwood discovered a breach between our universe and other universes and has decided to exploit it while they can instead of closing it. This leads the Doctor to go investigate the place, only to get taken captive along with his TARDIS and Jackie, who he pretends is Rose while the real Rose hides inside the TARDIS.
The rest of the episode, therefore, involves the Doctor, Jackie, and Rose all in Torchwood trying to figure out what's going on. The Doctor identifies the strange spherical object Torchwood captured as a Void ship, a ship meant to travel in the nothingness between universes. It's supposed to be impossible, but what do you know, it exists. Rose, meanwhile, gets sealed into the room with the Void Ship and reunites with her old friend Mickey.
Things get drastic when three Torchwood employees, who seem to be under some mind control via their com line headsets (which look suspiciously like standard-issue Motorola hands-free headsets), start up an unscheduled ghost shift. The shift, which doesn't end as soon as it's supposed to, results in the "ghosts" being revealed to be Cybermen, these soulless, emotionless robot things. The Cybermen then begin invading everything in sight, including people's homes. When they show up in Torchwood, the Doctor questions their leader on how they got the Void ship, since the Cybermen aren't capable of that kind of technology, to which their leader replies that they did not make it, but simply followed it through the breach.
The sphere activates while all this is going on and starts to open. Mickey, thinking it'll be full of Cybermen, prepares to fire at it, but to his, Rose, and Mickey's Torchwood colleague's horror, the Void Ship is revealed to be full of Daleks. And...that's where the episode ends. To Be Continued.
I admit, I probably was not as into this episode as I was the following one. Less action in this one. Still, I liked it.
One funny moment is when Jackie fills the Doctor and Rose in on the ghosts, leaving the Doctor bewildered:
What do you mean, shift? Since when did ghosts have shifts? Since when did shifts have ghosts? What's going on?
To which Jackie says to Rose:
Oh, he's not happy when I know more than him, is he?
Of course he's not happy, Mrs. Tyler. The Doctor's supposed to be essentially omniscient. Or at least he can see all time at once.
The sequence where the Doctor watches the things about the Ghosts on TV is pretty funny. It starts with some program called Ghostwatch, hosted by a rather enthusiastic dude. Followed by a weather report predicting ghosts. Followed by what is apparently a parody of Trisha Goddard, a British talk show that seems to be kinda like Jerry Springer a little bit, starring Trisha Goddard herself interviewing a woman who has fallen in love with a ghost (and who, I noticed, has the exact same type of accent as Amy Pond). Followed by a short clip of a ghost hunter, then an advertisement for a cleaning solution called "Ectoshine" that keeps ghosts looking white and fresh. These are then followed by news reports from France, India, and Japan, which clue the Doctor in to the fact that the Ghosts are all over the world, not just in London.
I found the Japanese news bit the funniest. The lady comes on and says something like "Nihonjin wa min'na okashi!" (roughly, "All the Japanese people are unusual"). And then we see two excited young Japanese girls wearing these shirts:
Leave it to the Japanese to turn something like this into a pop culture phenomenon. LOL.
Also, coincidentally, this episode marks the debut of Freema Agyeman to Doctor Who, in this case as a Torchwood employee named Adeola:
Apparently Agyeman's performance in this episode so impressed the showrunner Russell T Davies that he invited her back to the show to play Martha Jones, the Doctor's Companion in Series 3!
Being that this episode is about ghosts, the writers couldn't resist throwing in a funny Ghostbusters reference or two, as seen here with the Doctor's backpack:
DOCTOR: Who you going to call?The whole sequence when the Doctor claims Jackie is Rose is pretty funny:
DOCTOR: I ain't afraid of no ghosts.
YVONNE: Oh, plenty of time for that. But according to the records, you're not one for travelling alone. The Doctor and his companion. That's a pattern, isn't it, right? There's no point hiding anything. Not from us. So where is she?
DOCTOR: Yes. Sorry. Good point. She's just a bit shy, that's all.
(The Doctor reaches in through the slightly open door and grabs the first person he can.)
DOCTOR: But here she is, Rose Tyler.
(Oh no it isn't.)
DOCTOR: Hmm. She's not the best I've ever had. Bit too blonde. Not too steady on her pins. A lot of that.
DOCTOR: And just last week, she stared into the heart of the Time Vortex and aged fifty seven years. But she'll do.
JACKIE: I'm forty.
DOCTOR: Deluded. Bless. I'll have to trade her in. Do you need anyone? She's very good at tea. Well, I say very good, I mean not bad. Well, I say not bad. Anyway, lead on. Allons y. But not too fast. Her ankle's going.
JACKIE: (sotto) I'll show you where my ankle's going.
Oh and also when Jackie is revealed to be not Rose but Rose's mother, the dialogue is great:
RAJESH [OC]: Yvonne? I think you should see this. We've got a visitor. We don't know who she is, but funnily enough, she arrived at the same time as the Doctor.
(Yvonne turns her laptop so the Doctor can see Rose and Rajesh on the webcam.)
YVONNE: She one of yours?
DOCTOR: Never seen her before in my life.
YVONNE: Good. Then we can have her shot.
DOCTOR: Oh, all right then. It was worth a try. That's, that's Rose Tyler.
ROSE [on screen]: Sorry. Hello.
YVONNE: Well, if that's Rose Tyler, who's she?
JACKIE: I'm her mother.
YVONNE: Oh, you travel with her mother?
JACKIE: He kidnapped me.
DOCTOR: Please, when Torchwood comes to write my complete history, don't tell people I travelled through time and space with her mother.
DOCTOR: I've got a reputation to uphold.
Well, that's all I really have to say about this episode. Cheerio!
Screencaps are from the website Sonic Biro. Highlighted quotes taken from The Doctor Who Transcripts.
Edit: I apologize that there is not much analysis in this post. When I wrote this I was very tired, having just come from a fun night seeing a performance of Jekyll & Hyde starring one of my favorite American Idol alums, Constantine Maroulis. (It's definitely worth seeing - it'll be leaving my area after tonight and starting a national tour before hitting Broadway next April, so check it out if it hits your area!) I would've waited till this morning to write the post, but I had it scheduled to post at 8 a.m. so I wanted to have it actually written by then. I also wrote the finale posts backwards, doing "Doomsday" before this one. I promise to do better on the analysis part of this blog from now on. I'm still figuring stuff out at the moment. Please forgive me.