So, this is how the BBC brought back Doctor Who - to a skeptical viewing public. At the time, it was ever-so-slightly ruined by a certain Graham Norton, but now, watching it back having purchased the series on iTunes, it’s as it should be. It’s fun watching things with the benefit of hindsight, but I tried to go into this with an open mind.
The first thing I noticed was that you can instantly tell Rose is not scared of a lot of things. Or rather, she is scared but she’s not afraid to face up to it. For starters, just going down in to the basement of her shop clutching lottery money is pretty brave. Especially as the shop was about to close and there were a lot of mannequins down there.
She didn’t flinch. Just like she didn’t really flinch when the shop blew up, or when a plastic arm attacked her face. It’s immediately obvious why the Doctor likes her.
He’s going through a bit of a complicated time. I didn’t notice when I first saw this, but looking back, I can pick up on a few more things. He checks himself in the mirror, suggesting he’s regenerated recently enough to still be unsure what he looks like, but not so recently that he’s going to pass out like he did when turning into David Tennant.
He seems pretty annoyed at the human race, and he’s certainly very sarcastic towards Rose when he first meets her.
“I live here,” she says. He frowns. “What do you do that for?” He is equally irritated when he chastises her for thinking the world revolves around her. He’s quite intense, can feel the earth turning beneath his feet, and seems more than aware that no one else can.
Having said that, though, he is more than happy to admit she helped save his life, gives her some very sincere thanks and asks her to join him. Perhaps he’s not quite so mad at humans as he makes out. (Also, I love that it is the time travel bit that makes her join him - yay for time travel!)
It’s also pretty clear that he needs someone, whether it is Rose or not. She helps him see the bigger picture of the London Eye, and she saves his life (although I refuse to believe he couldn’t have got out of it somehow). The scene reminds me of the one where Donna makes her first appearance. Stuck underground, and the Doctor needs her - albeit for emotional support rather than more physical help.
The story is a great one to open the series - it doesn’t have an enemy as vast as the Daleks, and not as terrifying as the Angels, but they are scary and they are things you see in your normal run-of-the-mill life. Well, not the bit underground. That’s not something you see every day. It’s good that nearly everyone survives, but the fact that Clive doesn’t make it proves that the powers-that-be behind the series aren’t afraid of killing someone off. Also, they couldn’t really have kept him alive. He knew too much.
The other notable thing this episode was Mickey. He’s introduced as being a bit dopey, and that’s fine. The Doctor thinks he’s an idiot and that’s amusing. His first appearance in Doctor Who and he becomes living plastic, melts away and is held hostage by what amounts to a pool of consciousness. He also drives a yellow car which just shouldn’t be allowed. He’s set up with plenty of room to grow in the future.
My final question is: Who is Jimmy Stone and why did Rose leave school because of him?