I mentioned this in my recent Life List recap of 2010, but it bears repeating here. I’ve been finding these episodes of Doctor Who a bit of a struggle to get through. It turns out that I’m really just not that big a fan of Christopher Ecclestone. I still think he was absolutely necessary as the Doctor, and it wouldn’t have worked if David Tennant had just dived right in and started running about in his big, long coat, but still… these episodes don’t do it for me.
Lukeh also pointed out in the comments on a previous episode that these stories just don’t seem as strong as subsequent series’. It’s understandable, a first series is always tentative and you don’t know how far you can push the characters and the audience. It’s just slow going.
Nevertheless, this episode I did enjoy more than others I’ve seen so far, despite the fact that I didn’t really understand the story 100%. I couldn’t quite work out why the spaceship was holding back the development of the human race, and I’m not at all confident I could explain what was going on with those laser things directly into the brain.
There were still other bits and pieces I enjoyed though, and liked picking up on. First, is Rose supposed to look like she’s coming out of an episode of Star Trek? A tight asymmetrical top? If so, she really shouldn’t have chosen a red one. Also, poor Mickey, she moves on quite quickly, doesn’t she?
Her choice in boyfriends could be better. At first you feel sorry for Todd from Corrie, who’s name it turns out is Adam. He doesn’t seem able to handle things, gets a bit nervous. He gets to grips with it all quite quickly, though, and is soon having surgery on his brain, and chatting away to the lovely Tamsin Grieg. I would probably have surgery if she talked me into it too, to be honest.
Simon Pegg was fabulous. I vaguely remember seeing a behind the scenes peek at him trying to remember the name of The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. (Yes, I did just google and paste that.) There was no sign of that in the episode itself, he was both brilliant and terrifyingly manic, which was great to watch. I do think I got a peek of his bloodshot eyes though, no doubt brought about by the evil contact lenses. The things these people do for their art.
Then there is the Doctor. He goes through a whole myriad of things this episode, starting with the revelation that he really will hug anyone. We also saw him manipulate a cashpoint to get the funds that later paid for Adam’s surgery. Is this the first time we see him sonic an ATM? It’s certainly not the last. The Doctor falls for Adam’s naivety, which is unusual as he’s normally so good at judging and reading people from afar. I liked his explanation of how you must be to travel with him. “You can’t just read the guidebook.” I think I’m a “just read the guidebook” type of person which is quite disappointing.
Towards the end, the Doctor is building Rose as though she’s the best thing ever, which makes sense because in the next episode she lets him down quite considerably. Pride comes before a fall, I guess.