Well, it's February 1st, which means my NaBloPoMo challenge - posting here every day in February - has begun. This month, I'll be analyzing Series 1 and 2.
For Day 1, we're going back to where the reboot Doctor Who began: Series 1, Episode 1, "Rose." Otherwise known as "Creepy Mannequins Try to Destroy London."
This episode, being the start of everything, is meant to at least start to fill you in on the basics of the show in case you didn't watch it back in the Classic Era (or weren't born yet). It introduces the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston); the first Companion of the reboot series, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper); Rose's boyfriend, Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke); and Rose's seemingly perpetually tanned mum Jackie (Camille Coduri). As well as of course re-introducing the TARDIS (which, we're informed here, stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space) for the new series's audience.
My first thought watching this episode was that the opening sequence really hasn't changed significantly from the beginning of the reboot series till now. Even with the new opening sequence introduced with "The Snowmen," the basics of it are still the same.
Anyway, as the title of the episode suggests, this episode is pretty much all about Rose. The Doctor does not appear in it much at all. But somehow that's ok, because it gives us a chance to get to know Rose and figure out how much her everyday life basically sucks, in preparation for her heading off on a life of adventure with the Doctor. And Billie Piper does a great job overall, trying to maintain a semi-normal life of living with her mother and dating Mickey even after meeting the Doctor, getting attacked by creepy mannequins, and watching her workplace get blown up.
I admit, I'm not crazy about Mickey in this episode, even though I know, from watching the end of Series 2, that he gets a LOT better. He's particularly weird after the plastic takes control of him, leaving him looking like a member of the Jackson 5. Rose could do so much better in terms of boyfriends.
Jackie Tyler, Rose's mum, is pretty funny as usual. She keeps telling Rose she should get compensation from the police for the incident where her work got blown up, which Rose apparently doesn't care about. Her scene where she kind of tries to seduce the Doctor is kinda funny too, especially with the Doctor's reactions.
The overall evil plot of this episode is that the Nestene Consciousness is taking over plastic mannequins in an attempt to destroy the human race so it can feed off the planet. The Nestene Consciousness is apparently a really old Doctor Who enemy, dating back to the Third Doctor's first episode. And it's clear that the Nestene Consciousness recognizes the Doctor when he finally confronts it. Or at least recognizes the TARDIS. Interesting how they keep bringing back old enemies on this show.
I like how in the end it is Rose who saves the day, using her gymnastics skills to swing on a chain, free the Doctor from the mannequins, and knock the anti-plastic into the tank where the main part of the Consciousness is residing. (How this uses gymnastics skills I'm not quite sure). Just goes to show, the Doctor's anything but invincible.
At the end I was surprised when Rose actually declined the chance to travel with the Doctor; I mean, she said herself she has no future on Earth anyway. But apparently the chance to travel in time was more alluring to her than traveling in space, because that's what changes her mind. Guess she must be a history buff.
Funny moments in this ep: Mickey and Jackie in many cases, the Doctor not noticing the London Eye, and Rose asking the Doctor "If you are an alien, how comes you sound like you're from the North?" (Christopher Eccleston is from Lancashire, hence the Ninth Doctor's North Country accent). Also, the burp sound effect from the trashcan after it swallowed Mickey, which was both funny and a little disturbing.
Also, the scene with the Consciousness has some vague references to a war the Doctor was in, which is probably the Time War. I assume we'll find out more about that later.
First Impression of the Ninth Doctor
I was rather interested in this Doctor from the specials I watched last year, because he seemed to fit my view of what I imagined the Doctor to be like: a battle-scarred, rough, tough soldier type. And he does seem to fit that bill even in this first episode, though it's not blatantly obvious. He's actually kinda goofy in this episode, which is weird. And he has these very noticeable ears, noticeable in the way President Obama's ears are.
It isn't stated, but it appears in this episode that the Doctor might be newly regenerated. During the scene when he's in Rose's flat, he looks at himself in the mirror and makes a comment about his ears. Then again, given his fighting in the Time War and the sightings of him Clive shows Rose later, that might not be the case.
Another thing I noticed about this Doctor is he's kinda arrogant. When Rose asks him if the world revolves around him, he says "Sort of, yeah." He also has an arrogant attitude toward Earthlings; his comments about them more or less indicate that he thinks they're stupid and that he is much better than they are. Seeing as later Doctors have shown much more sympathy for the Earth (see the quote accompanying my Kaufda badge), I imagine this attitude kind of goes away eventually. Maybe as the Doctor has more experiences, he becomes a better person? Or maybe it's the Companions that rub off on him, making him better.
Speaking of Companions...
First Impression of Rose Tyler
Well, ok, this episode isn't the first time I've seen Rose, as my previous Series 2 posts indicate. But here I'm seeing her in her first ever episode. Surprisingly, she does not have that awful hair you see her with in some Series 1 promo photos. At least not in this episode; maybe she acquires it later.
The thing about Rose is that, like Amy Pond, she's a strong girl. Yeah, sure, she doesn't have much of a life at this point, but she doesn't take no c*** either. Even when the Doctor tries to brush her off and make her forget him, she remains persistent and tries to get info out of him. She even stands up to him by telling him off for what happened to Mickey.
I guess we'll see how she develops...
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler
Part One: The First Meeting
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.
Anyone who knows even a little about Doctor Who is probably aware that the biggest ship in the fandom is the Doctor and Rose Tyler. There were genuine feelings of love on both sides, but before they could share those feelings, they were torn apart by forces beyond their control.
But where did that love begin? Well, initially, it began with their meeting -- which occurs in this episode and is thus the focus of Part One of this special. And that meeting takes place in a dark, shadowy basement storage room at Henrik's, the department store Rose works at, where Rose has gone to try to find Wilson, the Chief Electrician, who she's supposed to give the lottery money to that she got from the shop guard. As she wanders in, looking for Wilson, the mannequins stored there start to move, getting creepily closer by the minute. And just when it seems she's cornered, someone grabs her wrist...
...and says "Run."
And the camera pans to reveal the Doctor, portrayed in all his b.a. minimalist glory by Christopher Eccleston.
Now the thing about all the running the Doctor and his Companions have to do is kind of a running gag in the series, so it almost seems appropriate that "Run" is the first word he says to her. Still, he remains pretty matter-of-fact with her throughout the scene, explaining the living plastic and such to her in a fairly deadpan way. He doesn't even seem worried when he reveals he has a bomb with which he's going to destroy the transmitter controlling the mannequins. He just reveals it, then warns Rose not to tell anyone about what she's just witnessed, else they'll end up dead. He then shuts the door, before re-opening it a second later to introduce himself briefly ("I'm the Doctor, by the way") before telling Rose to run for her life.
The next time they meet is when he somehow unintentionally tracks the living plastic's signal to her flat. Upon realizing his mistake, he begins to leave but Rose pulls him in -- telling her mother he's part of the police inquiry into Henrik's blowing up. After the Doctor has an awkward moment where Jackie tries to come on to him, he follows Rose into the main part of the flat, where she demands an explanation, so that at the very least she'll have something to tell the police. He refuses, though he does still save her from the plastic arm he broke off one of the mannequins earlier, which Rose brought home but which she had told Mickey to throw in the trash. When she follows him, still demanding an explanation, he just brushes her off, not telling her anything conclusive, before revealing to her that he can feel the Earth revolve - which is supposed to mean something to her, I guess - and asking her to forget him. He then walks away, getting in the TARDIS, which is parked nearby. When Rose next looks that way, he's gone.
They next meet when he saves her from the plastic Mickey thanks to a bottle of champagne, and they spend the rest of the episode tracking down the enemy de jour (the Necene Consciousness). And Rose basically saves his butt, a point she makes plain at the end of the episode. It's only at this point that the Doctor seems to have warmed to Rose; he actually finds enough humility to thank her genuinely for saving his life before deciding to head off. He then offers her a chance to come with him, which she declines. Therefore he decides to leave and the TARDIS dematerializes. But before Rose can leave with Mickey, the TARDIS reappears and the Doctor pops his head out the TARDIS door to mention that the TARDIS doesn't just travel through space - it can also travel through time. Somehow, this is enough to pique Rose's interest, and she goes running (in slo-mo no less) toward the TARDIS after giving Mickey a kiss goodbye.
So now Rose's adventures with the Doctor have begun. Will their love, established with this first meeting, continue to grow? We'll see!
***Hope you enjoyed my first NaBloPoMo post!! See you tomorrow!
Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.