TARDIS Thoughts: NaBloPoMo: Series 1 Christmas Special, "The Christmas Invasion"

2.14.2013

NaBloPoMo: Series 1 Christmas Special, "The Christmas Invasion"

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.

Hi there! Happy Valentine's Day Whovians! It's Day 14 of my NaBloPoMo challenge, and today we're finishing off Series 1 with the Christmas Special that links Series 1 and 2 (and which is counted as part of Series 2 for production purposes), "The Christmas Invasion."

This episode is the first proper adventure for the newly-regenerated Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, and is the first time he is credited in the opening credits. Sadly, he is asleep for most of the episode, since he's still not fully regenerated and thus can't stay awake for long periods of time. But when he does finally properly arrive on the scene, he does so with all the aplomb you'd expect, making it clear that The Doctor is Back.

Having already seen the Christmas Special for Series 2, I noticed that this Christmas Special makes use of mechanical Santas as well. I don't know if intergalactic villains in this series just like using those or if it's just a Christmas Special thing.

Due to the Doctor being ill, this episode is the first time we actually hear an alien language in the series (possibly just in the reboot series), due to the fact that the TARDIS translation field is nonoperational. Thankfully, we have Alex, secretary to the Prime Minister, and his handy-dandy tablet's translation program to help translate the alien speech (because apparently the BBC didn't want to invest in subtitlers, which would have been easy enough I would think).

Speaking of the Prime Minister, Harriet Jones returns in this episode! And this time, she's now Prime Minister of Britain, just as the Ninth Doctor predicted previously. She spends most of her time with UNIT (an organization that figured prominently in the Third Doctor era, when the exiled-to-Earth Doctor worked for them, but has appeared elsewhere, like in "Aliens of London" and "The Power of Three") trying to figure out what the aliens want with Earth. She is once again a well-played character, even with the running gag of her showing her ID to people and them replying "Yes, we know who you are." In the last scene, where she authorizes Torchwood to fire on the departing Sycorax ship, Penelope Wilton does a good job defending her position against the less-than-happy Doctor, nailing the necessary emotion.

The Sycorax, the enemy-of-the-episode, are basically these aliens (from where we don't know) that kinda reminded me of the Tusken Raiders from Star Wars, but with these weird bug-like helmets:






It's not really clear why they're on Earth to begin with, though the Doctor does mention they're drawn to the energy he's currently bursting with due to not being fully regenerated yet. (If you wonder why the Doctor occasionally exhales golden energy in this episode, that's why). The Guinevere One unmanned space probe (love the Arthurian name btw), which Harriet Jones helped get up into space, is also a reason given in the episode for their presence, and is how they were able to gain control over the blood of people who are A-positive and make them stand on the edges of roofs, ready to jump off. (Please tell me I am not the only one who thought of bloodbending when this issue of "blood control" came up. I can't be the only Whovian who's also an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan).


(The image above is from The Legend of Korra, the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it works for my point).

I was a little confused how, when the TARDIS translation field started working again, Harriet and her secretary Alex were able to hear the Sycorax leader speaking English. The translation field supposedly works on a telepathic level and - as far as I can tell - affects those who have been in the TARDIS, which both Rose and Mickey have. Harriet and Alex have not, however. I guess since the TARDIS was close by, maybe it affected everyone in the vicinity of it, including Harriet and Alex.

The episode contains a rather funny line referencing The Lion King that I caught the source of before the Doctor even realized it (the line is from the film's theme song, "Circle of Life"):

DOCTOR: Well, yeah, you could, yeah, you could do that, of course you could. But why? Look at these people. These human beings. Consider their potential. From the day they arrive on the planet and blinking step into the sun, there is more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than. No, hold on. Sorry, that's The Lion King. But the point still stands. Leave them alone!

I also liked the running gag about the Doctor finding strange food items in his dressing gown, which are attributed to Jackie Tyler's boyfriend Howard (for whom she bought the dressing gown - and the pajamas the Doctor wears throughout the episode) getting hungry when he's sleeping. First he finds an apple and later a satsuma (a type of orange thought to be of Japanese origin, which, appropriately for this episode, is also called a "Christmas orange"). He also mentions that him wearing the dressing gown is "very Arthur Dent," which is apparently a reference to the protagonist of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (I looked it up). The Doctor's very up on his pop culture, it seems.

Not much else to say about this episode. I did, however, like the little homage they wrote in to show that the Tenth Doctor still had the memories of Nine: his line "And it is going to be [pause] fantastic." ("Fantastic," of course, being the Ninth Doctor's catchphrase).

Well, that does it for Series 1. Series 2, allons-y!

First Impression of the Tenth Doctor

Again, as with Rose, this episode actually isn't the first time I've seen Ten - that honor going to the first episode I posted an analysis of, "Love & Monsters." But this is his proper "introduction" episode so I was able to get a better feel for him in this episode.

Now, I've said before that I like Ten a lot. I'm hoping I don't jynx myself like I did with Nine, where I went into Series 1 expecting to like him and came out of it disappointed. But, unlike Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant got a lot of time to perfect the Doctor (3 full TV seasons plus the specials between Series 4 and 5), so I'll have more time to ease into him. (As I posted in the last post, even Eccleston admitted recently he didn't really have enough time to develop the character in just one season).

What we see of Ten in this episode -- which actually isn't a lot because he mostly sleeps -- is still really good. He manages to save the day even though he's still figuring himself out. And he shows that he has learned stuff from his time with Rose and become a better man, a man who cares about humans, as evidenced by his speech to the Sycorax telling them what to tell others about Earth:

DOCTOR: By the ancient rites of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when go you back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of it's riches, it's people, it's potential. When you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this. It is defended.
It's also worth noting that even alien life is important to this Doctor, since when Harriet Jones authorizes Torchwood to fire on the Sycorax ship, he is pretty angry:

DOCTOR: That was murder.
HARRIET: That was defence. It's adapted from alien technology. A ship that fell to Earth ten years ago.
DOCTOR: But they were leaving.
HARRIET: You said yourself, Doctor, they'd go back to the stars and tell others about the Earth. I'm sorry, Doctor, but you're not here all the time. You come and go. It happened today. Mister Llewellyn and the Major, they were murdered. They died right in front of me while you were sleeping. In which case we have to defend ourselves.
DOCTOR: Britain's Golden Age.
HARRIET: It comes with a price.
DOCTOR: I gave them the wrong warning. I should've told them to run as fast as they can, run and hide because the monsters are coming. The human race.
HARRIET: Those are the people I represent. I did it on their behalf.
DOCTOR: Then I should have stopped you.
HARRIET: What does that make you, Doctor? Another alien threat?
DOCTOR: Don't challenge me, Harriet Jones, because I'm a completely new man. I could bring down your Government with a single word. 

I think this is going to be a good Doctor, Ten. I just hope I'm right. Cause I didn't like Nine because he was a jerk, and I don't care for Eleven because he feels too inhuman to me, so hopefully Ten will be just right.


***

NaBloPoMo Special:
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler
Part Fourteen: New Face, Same Doctor?

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.

Definitely can't skip the love talk on Valentine's Day!

In this episode, a sort of transition episode between Series 1 and 2, Rose is in a lot of doubt about her relationship with the Doctor, since now that he's regenerated, he doesn't seem like the Doctor she'd grown to love. She's finding it hard to accept that, despite his new look, he's still the same old Doctor she's been traveling with. And to be honest, I get it. If I'd fallen for a man like she'd fallen for the Doctor, and then some wrench gets thrown in the works and he no longer seems to be who I thought he was - especially if he doesn't even LOOK like the guy I fell in love with, I'd be pretty thrown for a loop too.

We don't get much on the Doctor's end this time around though, as he's asleep for most of the episode, and when he wakes up, he's still adjusting to his new self and plugging into all his past memories. But he and Rose still share a sweet moment at the end of the episode where they hold hands and try to decide where they'll go next, which is nice.

Well, Series 2 is a-comin'. What will it have in store for the show's star couple? We'll see!!


***

We're over the halfway mark! Tune in tomorrow for Day 15 of my NaBloPoMo challenge!

Doctor Who pics from Sonic Biro. Tusken Raider pic from Wookieepedia. Bloodbending pic from The Avatar Wiki. Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.

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