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20 April 2010 @ 10:25 am
1x09 The Empty Child and 1x10 The Doctor Dances  
1x09 – “The Empty Child”
Grade: B

Are you my mummy?

Ah Rose. Wandering off again. Oh and once more she is a damsel in distress. Seriously, I hadn’t noticed how often that happens until I did this rewatch. I mean, her character is still a strong female character, but DANG, she gets herself into trouble. As the Doctor says in “The Doctor Dances”: I've traveled with a lot of people, but you're setting new records for jeopardy friendly.

I think this might be the first instance of Moffat writing the Doctor stupid. It takes him way too long to pick up on the fact that they were in London the middle in the Battle of Britain when London was being bombed. He was all like “what? Have I said something funny? Have you seen anything fall from the sky?” WHILE THE AIR RAID SIREN WAS GOING ON. It’s not like I have a huge problem with it taking him a second to get it (see also: The London Eye in “Rose”), but this goes on a bit too long and moves from funny to “how stupid is the Doctor?”.

Now before I jump into more interesting and fun stuff, I’m going to spend a bit of time on the character of Nancy. Moffat is crap at writing female characters. He has an unfortunate track record of defining his female character in terms of either their romantic relationships with men or their role as mothers. I mean, I have absolutely nothing against women being wives and mothers. But when a writer continuously writes women that are pretty much solely characterized as that, I raise my eyebrows. Especially because in this case, the entire plot revolves around Nancy being a mother. It’s the key to the plot.

But in spite of these quibbles, I do enjoy the interaction between Jack and Rose. It’s fun. And unlike most of Moffat’s writing, I find that their scenes do hold up to rewatching.

Captain Jack Harkness: I've got you. You're fine, you're just fine. The tractor beam, it can scramble your head just a little.
Rose Tyler: Hello.
Captain Jack Harkness: Hello.
Rose Tyler: Hello. Sorry, there was 'hello' twice there. Dull, but, you know, thorough.
Captain Jack Harkness: Are you all right?
Rose Tyler: I'm fine! Why, you expecting me to faint?
Captain Jack Harkness: You look a little dizzy.
Rose Tyler: What about you? You're not even in focus...! Oh, boll...

We also get the beginning of the Nine and Jack dynamic which I love so much.

[on the Doctor and Rose's outfits]
Captain Jack Harkness: Oh, should've known, the way you guys are blending in with the local colour. I mean, Flag Girl was bad enough, but U-boat Captain?

I also like that brief moment of Time War Angst with the Doctor and Doctor Constantine.

Doctor Constantine: Before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I'm neither; but I'm still a doctor.
The Doctor: Yeah. Know the feeling.

1x10 – “The Doctor Dances”
Grade: B

After the previous episode set up the dynamic and relationship between Rose and Jack, this episode really delves into what Nine and Jack’s relationship will be. It’s amusing to see the Doctor’s jealousy over Rose and Jack here in an episode that MOFFAT wrote, seeing as Moffat’s justification for the Doctor’s insensitivity in The Girl in the Fireplace is that “the Doctor doesn’t understand jealousy”. Sure. Ok.

Rose Tyler: OK, so he's disappeared into thin air. Why is it always the great looking ones who do that?
The Doctor: I'm making an effort not to be insulted.
Rose Tyler: I mean... men.
The Doctor: Okay. That's... that really helped.

And then at the end the Doctor feels the need to establish his territory.

[last lines]
Rose Tyler: Actually, Doctor, I thought Jack might like this dance.
The Doctor: I'm sure he would, Rose, I'm absolutely certain. But who with?
[she laughs, and steps forward to dance with the Doctor]

But the interaction between Jack and the Doctor goes deeper than just jealousy nonsense about Rose. Jack was a conman before meeting the Doctor and Rose, but through meeting them he became a better man, willing to die to save others. His experience with the Doctor allows him to be the leader of Torchwood later on.

Ok, great. At the end the mother’s DNA is recognized as superior, so the kid shouldn’t be all creepy “are you my mummy?” anymore. Buuut, the nanogenes are still supposed to be preparing the people they’re fixing for battle. So shouldn’t all the people affected by the nanogenes (and then the entire world…) have the super strength omcom Cthula warrior stuff?

I think it’s kind of amusing how Nine wasn’t exactly humanity’s number one fan. Previous incarnations of the Doctor seem to be a lot more fond of them than Nine was, and Ten was a huge human fanboy.

The Doctor: Funny little human brains... How do you get around in those things?
Rose Tyler: When he's stressed, he likes to insult species.
The Doctor: Rose, I'm thinking.
Rose Tyler: Cuts himself shaving, does half an hour on life forms he's cleverer than.

And of course that final scene with the Doctor and Rose dancing is just plain adorable

Current Mood: rushedrushed
Her Eminence the Very Viscountessbreathingbooks on April 20th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
I really liked those episodes. The three of them play nicely off each other.

Ten was a huge human fanboy.

Huh. I never got that sense. He was quite protective of humans, sure, but...
fauxkarenfauxkaren on April 20th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
I loooove the Rose/Doctor/Jack dynamic. It's a big part of the reason why I like the next episode (Boomtown) so much.

As far as the "Ten loving humans" thing goes:

From The Christmas Invasion - The Doctor: Well... you could do that. Yeah, you could do that. Of course you could! But why? Look at these people, these human beings. Consider their potential! From the day they arrive on the planet, blinking, step into the sun, there is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than- no, hold on. Sorry, that's The Lion King. But the point still stands: Leave them alone!

From New Earth - The Doctor: So the year five billion, the Sun expands, the Earth gets roasted.
Rose: That was our first date.
The Doctor: We had chips. [Rose chuckles] So anyway, planet gone. All rocks and dust, but the human race lives on spread out across the stars. Soon as the Earth burns up, ooh, they get all nostalgic, big revival movement. So they find this place. Same size as the Earth. Same air, same orbit. Lovely. All those outer humans move in.

From The Lazarus Experiment - Lazarus: I call it progress! I'm more now than I was; more than just an ordinary human.
The Doctor: There's no such thing as an ordinary human.

From Utopia - [speaking on human evolution and the refugees]
The Doctor: Oh, might have spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas ... and another million as downloads, but you always revert to the same basic shape: the fundamental human. End of the universe and here you are. Indomitable, that's the word! Indomitable! Ha!

From The Last of the Time Lords - The Doctor: The one thing you can't do... is stop them thinking. [He begins rising upwards angelically] Tell me the human race is degenerate now... when they can do this.

From The End of Time Part 1 - Original Master: The human race was always your favourite, Doctor. But now, there is no human race. There is only... the Master race!

Maybe calling him a fanboy is overstating it a bit, but more so than the other Doctors, Ten really seems to have a genuine affection for them. He admires their ingenuity and ability to survive. And whenever humans screw up, he always comes off as more of a disappointed parent to me than someone genuinely mad at them. To me it seems more like he's sad and angry because he expected better of them or at least he wanted to be able to expect better.
Her Eminence the Very Viscountessbreathingbooks on April 20th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
I think maybe I'd split it into liking humanity as a whole, with all its inventions and stubbornness, and liking people as individual humans. He's definitely on board with the first, but the latter seems harder for him because he gets really, really, really passionate about abstract stuff (Ravenclaw not Hufflepuff?).

But of course I haven't watched most of S2 or any of the specials, so I am going on 50% data.

He admires their ingenuity and ability to survive. And whenever humans screw up, he always comes off as more of a disappointed parent to me than someone genuinely mad at them.

He does come off that way sometimes. It actually makes me less inclined to call him a fanboy since it's not exactly the attitude of equals. Dunno.
fauxkarenfauxkaren on April 20th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
I dunno. I feel like the Doctor in general (not just Ten) tends to get chummy with humans really fast. I mean, most of his companions are human (the only exception to that that I can think of right now are K9 and Romana. Oh! And Leela! I think she was non-human.). Nine becomes BFFs with Lynda really quickly. And Ten makes friends with humans all the time. Reinette in TGitF, the kid (Charlie?) in The Idiot's Lantern, Ida in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, Chloe (the little girl) in Fear Her, he fanboys Shakespeare (and Harry Potter) in The Shakespeare Code, Frank and Solomon from Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, the Professor in Utopia, he totally fanboys Agatha Christie in The Unicorn and the Wasp, basically all the humans in Midnight (which is what makes that episode so sad. The humans that he loves so much are turning against him.), Wilf in The Last of the Timelords (and other episodes with Wilf). I don't think Ten automatically likes all humans. But I do think that in general, he really likes humanity and human culture (moreso than other Doctors, but it's not like other Doctors hate humans, I just think Ten is a bigger fan than others).