TARDIS Thoughts: NaBloPoMo: Series 1, Episode 5, "World War Three"

2.05.2013

NaBloPoMo: Series 1, Episode 5, "World War Three"

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. 

It's Day 5 of my NaBloPoMo challenge! Today's episode: Series 1, Episode 5, "World War Three."

This is the second part of the 2-parter begun last time. And in this episode, the world goes into full-on war mode as the Slitheen launch their plan into full force. Jackie and Mickey come to terms (sorta) with Rose being with the Doctor, and Rose officially "signs up" as a Companion.

So, continuing from last episode, the Slitheen have basically infiltrated the highest government and social positions in Great Britain. They manipulate people into thinking there is an alien emergency (not caused by the Slitheen of course) and that the mothership of the alien attacking force is prepared to go nuclear. Therefore, they ask that the U.N. release the nuclear weapon access codes so that the British government can retaliate against this threat.

Now why would they do that, you ask? Well, turns out "Slitheen" isn't these aliens' race. It's their surname. They're actually a family of aliens made of living calcium and hail from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius. And basically the Slitheen are kinda like a mob family. They kill whoever they have to in order to obtain "skins" to disguise themselves with, while hoping to make a profit while they're at it. Their plan for profit in this episode is to instigate World War III, reducing the planet to a crisp so that they can sell off the remaining radioactive chunks as spaceship fuel for cheap (since apparently there's a recession out in space too).

Unfortunately, at this point in this 2-parter, the Doctor, Rose, and Harriet Jones are trapped in 10 Downing Street, and the cunning Slitheen have basically murdered anyone in the building who might be of any help. The Doctor corrals Harriet, Rose, and himself into the Cabinet Room, and after confronting the Slitheen briefly, seals off the Cabinet Room. Still, in order to save the world, he has to think of something, and fast.

Meanwhile, out in London, Mickey saves Rose's mom from the Slitheen (disguised as a policeman) who was attacking her in her flat and brings her to his flat. But before leaving Jackie's flat, he snaps a picture of the Slitheen on his cell phone and sends it to Rose.

Thanks to the Doctor "upgrading" her phone in episode 2, Rose gets cell service inside the Cabinet Room and shows the Doctor the picture Mickey sent. Via Rose's phone and a conference table speakerphone system, the Doctor helps Mickey hack into a secret part of the UNIT website to try to identify the signal the Slitheens' spaceship - which the Doctor already determined was hidden in the North Sea - is sending out into space. In the meantime, a (understandably) distressed Jackie decides to confront the Doctor about her daughter's safety:
JACKIE: Well, I've got a question, if you don't mind. Since that man walked into our lives, I have been attacked in the streets. I have had creatures from the pits of hell in my own living room, and my daughter disappear off the face of the Earth.
ROSE: I told you what happened.

JACKIE: I'm talking to him. 'Cos I've seen this life of yours, Doctor. And maybe you get off on it, and maybe you think it's all clever and smart, but you tell me. [pause] Just answer me this. Is my daughter safe?
ROSE: I'm fine.
JACKIE: Is she safe?
Will she always be safe? Can you promise me that?

Before he can answer, Mickey takes the phone back to inform the Doctor's he gotten into the site. The Doctor tries to make out what the message is saying, but he can't. Meanwhile, the Slitheen that attacked Jackie finds her and attacks again. The Doctor, Harriet, and Rose try to narrow down what planet the Slitheen could be from, finally narrowing it down to Raxacoricofallapatorius. At this point, the Doctor also realizes the Slitheen are living calcium and thus have acetic acid (a.k.a. vinegar) as a weakness. So he tells Mickey and Jackie to get to the kitchen and find anything with vinegar in it. Jackie happily volunteers (cause apparently Mickey doesn't know what's in his own kitchen cupboards), and starts going through Mickey's cupboard, pouring stuff in a bowl, which leads to a funny comment from the Doctor:

JACKIE: Oh, give it here. What do you need?
DOCTOR [OC]: Anything with vinegar!
(Jackie grabs a large jug and starts pouring stuff in.)
JACKIE: Gherkins. Yeah, pickled onions. Pickled eggs.

DOCTOR (to Rose): And you kiss this man?

This takes care of the Slitheen, but the other members of the "family" sense his death, which makes them pretty angry that someone even got lucky enough to kill one of them. The head of the family, Jocrassa Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day-Slitheen, who is pretending to be the acting Prime Minister, heads outside to make a televised statement, which Mickey transmits to the Doctor and co. via his phone:
GREEN: Ladies and gentlemen, nations of the world, humankind. The greatest experts in extra-terrestrial events came here tonight. They gathered in the common cause, but the news I bring you now is grave indeed. The experts are dead, murdered right in front of me by alien hands. Peoples of the Earth, heed my words. These visitors do not come in peace.
MICKEY: Listen to this.
(He holds the phone in front of the television.)
GREEN [on TV]: Our inspectors have searched the sky above our heads
and they have found massive weapons of destruction capable of being deployed within forty five seconds.
DOCTOR: What?
GREEN: Our technicians can baffle the alien probes, but not for long.We are facing extinction, unless we strike first. The United Kingdom stands directly beneath the belly of the mother ship. I beg of the United Nations, pass an emergency resolution. Give us the access codes. A nuclear strike at the heart of the beast is our only chance of survival. Because from this moment on it is my solemn duty to inform you planet Earth is at war.
The Doctor recognizes this speech for the rubbish it is and prepares to take action, after confronting the Slitheen with his newly-acquired information while he's at it. He also finally answers Jackie's question about Rose's safety, saying he can't promise Rose will be safe. Rose tells him to go ahead and dare to do whatever he's planning to do to save the world, and Harriet follows suit, claiming authority to do so as the only elected representative in the room. 

The Doctor springs into action. He gets Mickey to hack into the Royal Navy (dang Mickey's a pretty darn good hacker) in order to launch a missile at the Slitheen, who are currently gathered in the Prime Minister's office waiting for the UN to call with the defense codes. Rose then decides they're not going to die and, with Harriet's help, clears out a cupboard for the three of them to hide in during the explosion (like, she figures, standing in a door frame during an earthquake). Meanwhile, the military people downstairs see the missile on their radar and evacuate the building of everyone but Rose, the Doctor, Harriet, and the Slitheen. The Slitheen are killed, but thanks to Rose's quick thinking she, the Doctor, and Harriet survive. 

Harriet hurries off to speak with the press, as the Doctor reveals to Rose that Harriet will one day be Prime Minister - which is why Harriet's name rang a bell with him.  At home, Rose and her mother watch Harriet's speech on TV, while Jackie complains that Rose and the Doctor should get the credit for saving the world, not Harriet. Jackie tells Rose she's finally ready to hear all about the Doctor and where they went, and promises to prepare tea for everyone. Just then, though, Rose's phone rings, and the caller ID says "TARDIS." It's the Doctor, who apparently has a phone inside the TARDIS (which Rose didn't know about...but then considering its disguise is a telephone box, I guess it makes sense). He refuses the tea invitation and invites Rose to go see this amazing nebula.

The next thing we know, Rose is packing a large duffle bag. Her mom begs her not to leave, but Rose still does. Outside, the Doctor has the kid from last episode clean the graffiti off the TARDIS and briefly talks with Mickey, who shows him a newspaper stating the recent alien-instigated events were all a hoax. The Doctor replies by saying Earthlings are just not ready yet to admit aliens exist. He then gives Mickey a disc containing a virus that, if put online, will destroy every mention of him. (This is an interesting point given the fact that later in the series, in Series 5, the Doctor erases himself from history to close the cracks in the universe, while in Series 7 Oswin Oswald erases him from the Dalek Pathnet). He says it's because he doesn't want to be followed, because he's dangerous. Mickey asks him how he can say that and still take Rose away with him. The Doctor offers Mickey the chance to go along, but Mickey turns it down, saying he can't handle the Doctor's life - but not to tell Rose he said that. Rose then appears, and she too invites Mickey, but the Doctor, to keep Mickey's secret, acts like he won't allow Mickey to come.

Rose then throws her duffle into the Doctor's hands, saying she's "signing up" and that he's stuck with her. Jackie tries to get one last bit of worry about her daughter in for good measure:


JACKIE: You still can't promise me. What if she gets lost? What if something happens to you, Doctor, and she's left all alone standing on some moon a million light years away. How long do I wait then?


The Doctor doesn't answer. Rose reassures her mom, saying she'll be back in ten seconds Earth time. The TARDIS dematerializes, and Jackie looks at her watch, saying "Ten seconds" and then realizing Rose isn't back. She then walks away, while Mickey goes back to reading the paper.

I was really grossed out by the Slitheen in this episode. I wanted them to quit unzipping their heads and shedding those human skins and stuff...that's just creepy. *shudder* Plus I really wished they would quit farting, even if it was just a down-side to them wearing skins.

Jackie really stood up for herself in this episode, which I thought was great. She's the kind of person who will fight tooth and nail for her child. Granted, she comes across as a tad bit overprotective, but still that she is so concerned for Rose's safety shows the kind of mother she is. We know Rose's dad died years ago, so Rose has basically been raised by her mom. There's got to be a closeness there, a really important bond. 

Mickey redeemed himself in this episode as well. Who knew a seemingly idiotic guy was actually such a good hacker? Still think Rose could possibly do better, but I guess I'm biased.

Penelope Wilton did a good job in this episode and the last one as Harriet Jones. Despite being a supposedly unassuming Parliament member, she is actually a strong and clever woman, and she wins over the Doctor quite easily. You can see how in the future she becomes the Prime Minister.  

Ok, well...till next time. In the next episode, the Daleks finally enter the reboot series. Uh-oh.


***

NaBloPoMo Special:
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler
Part Five: Can You Keep Her Safe?

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.

Given that war and the impending end of the Earth are at stake in this episode, you wouldn't expect there to be any time for the Doctor and Rose's romance to develop in this episode. And that is true. But one important thing does happen in this episode: the Doctor is faced with the question of whether, by sharing his dangerous life with Rose, he can still keep her safe.

At first, the Doctor doesn't answer - well, actually, because Mickey takes the phone back from Jackie, he doesn't have time to answer. Later, right before enacting the plan to launch the missile, he gives Jackie his answer:
DOCTOR: There's a way out.
ROSE: What?
DOCTOR: There's always been a way out.
ROSE: Then why don't we use it?
DOCTOR: Because I can't guarantee your daughter will be safe.

JACKIE: Don't you dare. Whatever it is, don't you dare.
DOCTOR: That's the thing. If I don't dare, everyone dies.
ROSE: Do it.
DOCTOR: You don't even know what it is. You'd just let me?
ROSE: Yeah.
JACKIE [OC]: Please. Doctor. Please. She's my daughter. She's just a kid.

DOCTOR: Do you think I don't know that? Because this is my life, Jackie. It's not fun, it's not smart, it's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.
ROSE: Then what're you waiting for?
DOCTOR: I could save the world but lose you.
The Doctor knows the risk he's taking in firing the missile straight at 10 Downing Street with him and Rose still trapped in it. But Rose is willing to take that risk anyway. And, frankly, it's Rose's quick thinking that gets them out alive at all. But this conversation with Jackie shows that the Doctor is starting to actually care about Rose's well-being and realize just how dangerous his life is to other people. I mean, he's said before that it was dangerous, but I'm not sure the reality of that statement really hit him till this moment.

Rose doesn't really show any clear feelings to the Doctor in this episode, other than when she encourages him to go ahead and dare to do what he needs to do to save the world. But she does decide to officially "sign on" as a Companion, and proves it by packing a large duffle bag to take with her. So something about the Doctor must appeal to her, even if he and his life are dangerous.

Where will this lead? Nobody knows...yet. We'll see!

***

Tune in tomorrow for Day 6 of the NaBloPoMo challenge! 

Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts. 

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