Doctor Who: Series 1, Episode 9 - The Empty Child

Published March 12, 2011

Doctor Who Spoiler

It’s been quite hard to get the enthusiasm up to finish this series off. I’m desperate to get to David Tennant but finding time and motivation for these is hard. However, this two part is written by Steven Moffat, so already I’m convinced it’s going to be an improvement on what we’ve seen so far.

Doctor Who series 1 episode 9

The story begins with The Doctor and Rose being bounced around the TARDIS. Rose is a bit peeved at the lack of sci-fi-ness he is displaying. “Give me some Spock!”

It takes three seconds for them to land, and her to wander off, before she gets herself into trouble. Before you know it, there’s Captain Jack ready to save her, and finally she gets the Spock she is looking for.

Captain Jack is introduced by way of some super duper hi-tech binoculars so you instantly know he is more than just a 1940s serviceman. I can’t say I’ve ever found Jack particularly attractive, but I guess if he pulls you out of the sky in the middle of a German air raid, you might think he was a bit of a hero. Plus he has champagne.

He did light up Big Ben in the middle of said air raid though, which doesn’t seem so smart.

A couple of random things to note:

  • Mauve alert! Much better than a red alert.
  • The Doctor talks to a cat. It doesn’t reply but I wonder if this was an early indication of what happened in The Lodger.
  • I love that psychic paper plays quite a big part in this. Psychic paper has always been a bit of a cheat but it’s nice when they can have a bit of fun with it.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is chasing around after Nancy, a girl who takes care of a bunch of homeless kids. Did I accidentally start watching Oliver? She’s even got a rough cockney accent to go with it.

After stalking her for a bit, the Doctor finds Dr Constantine at the hospital surrounded by patients with gas masks for faces. It isn’t long before Dr Constantine becomes a gas mask himself, which must be the most disturbing bit of CGI of the modern Doctor Who era. It’s the bulgy eyes that get me.

Lots of people find this double episode creepy because of the little kid asking for his mummy all the time. For me, it’s not necessarily that but the empty-headed repetition. The idea that these creatures aren’t dead but are just a shell of something… a gas-mask with legs.

The cliff-hanger sees everyone we care about, Doctor, Rose, Captain Jack and separately Nancy, all cornered with gas-masks staring at them.

I do remember the twist at the end of this one, but even so, I’m keen to watch part two already. God bless Mr Moffat.

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