Episode by Russell T. Davies, smashingly directed by Joe Ahearne (favorites "Dalek," "Father's Day," and these last three). In many ways it's the best-directed episode yet, with a really stylish turn that recalls the plastic brightness of "The End Of The World," or the opening of "Rose," and matures it immeasurably. This is the only really risky one, in terms of the experimental take in certain scenes, but it certainly adds an edge I fear would be missing from another rendition. This is really not my favorite episode storywise, and unless something really crazy happens next week (which it probably will), "The Long Game" will end up being my favorite of the lot. But since this week is (a) gorgeous; and (b) connected intimately with my favorite episode, I'm down. I like Lynda, I love the last act, and I like the (fair warning) intense thinkery that it inspires.
After the credits, we find Rose lying in a beam of light, waking slowly up. And whom does she see crouching beside her but the Marquis De Carabas, named Rodrick here, checking out her vitals and telling her, again, that the transmat does your head in: "Just remember,do what the Android says. Don't provoke it. The Android's word is law." This is a joke that doesn't work on paper as I'm relating it to you -- and, to be honest, works out just a bit better aloud. "Like a robot?" asks Rose. So I guess she's stupid again this week. I miss Rose. She was really great in "The End Of The World." Billie Piper is always the same amount of awesome in the role, don't get me wrong, but after "The Empty Child" the show's seemed almost irritated at having to include her, and her development has seemed tacked on as we get more and more into the Doctor's head. Which I guess is as it should be, given that the point of the companion is to make sense of the Doctor. But I like her, and I don't know whether I really want to see her screeching and getting rescued and fucking up timelines indefinitely, because it's like she's just peeking her head in. A producer's sharp voice calls everyone to positions, and as Rodrick helps Rose up, she babbles, beginning to sound worried: "I was travellin'. With the Doctor and a man called Captain Jack.... The Doctor wouldn't just leave me." Rodrick helps her get her bearings at her podium, which bears her name. Rose begins to realize that she's standing on the set of The Weakest Link. (Another U.S./UK note: our version did include Anne Robinson, and her whole deal, but Americans have a weirdly accepting relationship with critical and brutal Brits, because the accent goes to a harsh schoolmistress/movie villain place, which means even the biggest British bastard is still somewhat kittenish and adorable, or -- if that's just me -- at the least, that you would punch an American for saying the shit that will earn a Brit a dirty look at most.) Rose starts to exclaim about it when "the Android" is activated, and comes to life: it's the Anne Droid! Bottle of whiskey and notice from Child Services sold separately.