TARDIS Thoughts: NaBloPoMo (catchup): Series 2, Episode 1 - "New Earth"

2.27.2013

NaBloPoMo (catchup): Series 2, Episode 1 - "New Earth"

WARNING: THIS ANALYSIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT WATCHED DOCTOR WHO OR AT THE VERY LEAST HAVE NOT SEEN THIS EPISODE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. 

Hello everyone! I'm back. I realized that the month is ending so I better play catchup with my NaBloPoMo posts. Here's the fifteenth post, devoted to the proper first episode of Series 2, "New Earth."

In this episode, Rose and the Tenth Doctor take their first trip together in the TARDIS. He takes her to the year 5 billion 23, at which point humankind has gotten nostalgic regarding their lost planet (which was destroyed in the year 5 billion when the sun expanded, as shown in "The End of the World") and founded a new home on a planet very similar to Earth, which they have called (somewhat uncreatively) New Earth. The place they've landed is a field of apple grass near the city of New New York. (Or rather, "New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York," as the Doctor states it, since it's the 15th version after the original New York City). As much as Rose wants to go explore New New York, the Doctor postpones any such idea, saying he must first answer a call from the nearby hospital that was sent to his psychic paper.

And then the craziness begins. For one, cat-like beings are working in the hospital and breeding a bunch of homunculi (man-made humans) as living experiments for curing diseases. As if that wasn't weird enough...guess who's back!



Yep, Cassandra. Somehow she survived being blown up on Platform One and has come to reside in a secret room deep down in the hospital, with her man-made assistant Chip. Her brain and eyes somehow survived the incident, and the skin is from her backside (leading to Rose attempting to make a joke about Cassandra speaking out of her butt before getting interrupted).

And Cassandra has a grudge against the Doctor and Rose. What's more, she suspects the cat-like Sisters of Plenitude that run the hospital are hiding something, and she wants Rose to help her find out what. Rose refuses, naturally, but Cassandra has other plans and clamps Rose to a psychograft machine and does a little "Freaky Friday" thing where she basically puts her mind into Rose's body. She takes some time to check out her new body before the Doctor calls, asking for Rose to join him.

The Doctor soon becomes wise to the fact that Rose isn't herself, and confronts Cassandra when she reveals her intentions. But they aren't able to really fight due to the fact that Cassandra, with Chip's help, releases all the homunculi after the Sisters refuse to pay her for her silence, resulting in a pretty crazy zombie scenario which the Doctor and Rose have to try to escape.

Thankfully, the Doctor has an idea: he dumps the IV bags containing treatments for all the different diseases the Sisters were trying to cure into the tank of the disinfection system all the hospital's elevators have. He then lures the zombies into the elevator, where they are sprayed by the liquid and cured. The cured homunculi then go on to touch others, curing them all. The Doctor rejoices in the happy ending:

DOCTOR: I'm the Doctor, and I cured them.
(A woman hugs the Doctor.)
DOCTOR: That's right. Hey, there we go, sweetheart. Go to him. Go on, that's it. That's it. It's a new sub-species, Cassandra. A brand new form of life. New humans! Look at them. Look! Grown by cats, kept in the dark, fed by tubes, but completely, completely alive. You can't deny them, because you helped create them. The human race just keeps on going, keeps on changing. Life will out! Ha!
The NNYPD (had to laugh at the initials) then take over things, and the Doctor and Rose are finally able to leave, though not without a visit to the person the Doctor had been called to see, and who he visited with earlier - the Face of Boe. The Face of Boe hints at a secret he has to tell the Doctor, but says he can't reveal it yet:

DOCTOR: The Face of Boe!
(They run to the last person left on the ward.)
DOCTOR: You were supposed to be dying.
FACE OF BOE [OC]: There are better things to do today. Dying can wait.
CASS-ROSE: Oh, I hate telepathy. Just what I need, a head full of big face.
DOCTOR: Shh!
FACE OF BOE [OC]: I have grown tired with the universe, Doctor, but you have taught me to look at it anew.
DOCTOR: There are legends, you know, saying that you're millions of years old.
FACE OF BOE [OC]: There are? That would be impossible.
DOCTOR: Wouldn't it just. I got the impression there was something you wanted to tell me.
FACE OF BOE [OC]: A great secret.
DOCTOR: So the legend says.
FACE OF BOE [OC]: It can wait.
DOCTOR: Oh, does it have to?
FACE OF BOE [OC]: We shall meet again, Doctor, for the third time, for the last time, and the truth shall be told. Until that day
(Boe beams away.)
DOCTOR: That is enigmatic. That, that is, that is textbook enigmatic.
The secret in question, by the way, is the secret the Face of Boe tells the Doctor in their final meeting in Series 3 Episode 3. Which I won't reveal now.

As the episode ends, Cassandra still has control of Rose's body, so the Doctor orders her out. She ends up transferring her consciousness to Chip, but his cloned body cannot take it for long. The Doctor, out of pity, takes Cass-Chip back in time to a scene Cassandra was watching on a home video earlier in the episode, a party for the Ambassador of Thrace, which she claims was the last time anyone ever told her she was beautiful. And here we see, for the first time, the original Cassandra, before all the crazy surgeries, who looks kind of like Sarah Jessica Parker's character in Sex and the City:



Chip approaches her as the Doctor and Rose look on:

CASS-CHIP: Excuse me, Lady Cassandra.
CASSANDRA: I'm sorry, I don't need anything right now. I'm fine, thank you.
CASS-CHIP: No, I just wanted to say you look beautiful.
CASSANDRA: Well, that's very kind, you strange little thing. Thank you very much.
CASS-CHIP: I mean it. You look so beautiful.
CASSANDRA: Thank you.
(Chip's body collapses. Lady Cassandra cradles him.)
CASSANDRA: Oh, my Lord. Are you all right? What is it? What's wrong? Someone get some help! Call a medic or something, quickly!
WOMAN: Who is he?
CASSANDRA: I don't know. He just came up to me. I don't even know his name. He just collapsed. I think he's dying. Someone do something! I've got you, sweetheart. It's all right. There you are. There you are, I've got you. It'll be all right. There, there, you poor little thing. 

Seeing Cassandra cradle Chip, the Doctor and Rose, happy with the results, slowly walk back in the TARDIS and dematerialize.

And that's the end. Tune in for more analyses. I'm going to have a crazy time trying to catch up! I may not catch up by the end of tomorrow. Eh well. If I ever do this again, I'm going to plan better. For sure. Good night!

 
***

NaBloPoMo Special:
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler
Part Fifteen:"You've Thought So Too"

Since the theme of NaBloPoMo this month is "Love and Sex" (probably because of Valentine's Day), I feel compelled to write something about love in my posts. Hence, since I am exploring Series 1 and 2 in this challenge, I am going to write a little special essay throughout the month about the growing love between the Doctor and Rose. Please note I am in no way an expert on relationships.

This episode is kind of weird in terms of the Rose/Doctor dynamic. Rose and the Doctor seem to be hitting it off at the beginning of the episode, now that Rose has accepted that Ten is still her Doctor. This is the first time Rose travels in the TARDIS somewhere with the Tenth Doctor as well, which makes it a different episode altogether. And if not for the note the Doctor got on his psychic paper, they probably would've spent a nice afternoon together in New New York. But nope, they have to go to the hospital first, and that's where things get complicated.

Basically, Cassandra - who somehow survived her previous encounter with the Doctor and Rose on Platform One - takes over Rose's body, causing Rose to be a lot more sexually charged than she usually is. It takes the Doctor a while to notice (or maybe he noticed before but just didn't say anything), and once he does, he's pretty adamant that Cassandra leave Rose's body, even after Cass-Rose gives him a rather passionate kiss, and seems relieved at the end of the episode when he finally gets Rose back for good.

Hard to say how Rose's feelings for the Doctor develop in this episode, as she's not really herself. But the possibility of some feelings are lampshaded in this episode by Cassandra when she takes over the Doctor's body:


CASS-DOCTOR: Oo, he's slim, and a little bit foxy. You've thought so too. I've been inside your head. You've been looking. You like it.
...

CASS-DOCTOR: Yap, yap, yap. God, it was tedious inside your head. Hormone city.  
The second line is a less-obvious reference, but still is likely a reference to something going on Rose's head that would cause her hormones to rage, which feelings of love could certainly do.

A key lesson of this episode, though, is about loving yourself - a lesson Cassandra finds she must learn, and which is the reason the Doctor and Rose take Chip, now possessed by Cassandra, back in time to tell Cassandra's past self that she's truly beautiful. And I think this will be a lesson Rose will learn this season as well, becoming a stronger woman as time goes on, even as she learns to love the Doctor. So in a way it's a good lesson to start off Series 2 with.

How will the relationship develop during Series 2? We'll see!

***

Keep tuning in for more posts in this series!  

Pictures from Sonic Biro. Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.

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