The Doctor and Rose follow a distress signal to 2012 Utah, where a megalomaniacal American businessman is collecting -- and experimenting on -- alien artifacts and creatures. The jewel of his collection is the last surviving Dalek, and we learn that the Time War of which we've heard tell was the final showdown between the Time Lords and the Daleks, and that both species were wiped out as a result. An elegant and rather beautiful comparison between the Doctor and the last surviving Dalek is somewhat marred by clunky expository dialogue; but altogether, it's more than satisfying, and isn't afraid to criticize the Doctor's own stance on the War and his enemies. Now that we, and Rose, have seen the Doctor's dark side, I wonder if we'll ever go further into that. Long-standing show staples -- the terrifying single-mindedness of the Daleks, their ongoing war with the Time Lords, the impermanence of the Doctor/Companion relationship -- all undergo redirection here, to great effect: by eliminating both the Time Lords and their most popular enemies after forty years of good times, the show has managed to focus and strengthen the more character-based and emotional facets of the show and the character himself. Rose and Doctor pick up an extra Companion -- a British kid from 2012 named Adam, who may or may not grow to annoy in time. Rose's DNA is metabolized by the Dalek, making it confusedly sympathetic, while the Doctor's grief and hatred cloud his own stance to such a degree that at one point he's told he would make a good Dalek his own self. Rose picks the middle ground, and eventually allows the frightened and purposeless Dalek to exterminate himself -- after letting him feel the sun on his face. Altogether, as good as or better than it's portrayed in the fandom, if a tad repetitive and overly helpful with the underlying themes.
So the Future Architect of Britain's Golden Age called me Thursday. It was on my red phone, which is only for threats from fictional characters. And the first thing she said was, "Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. Why do your translator microbes hate me?" And I didn't want to give offense, so I just said: "I don't know my dessert wines, brandy, and port, and sherry, and the rest. And you're weird! I can see you fermenting a porch. And 'Made In Britain'? Everybody knows that 10 Downing Street was transported from Wichita Kansas, a brick at a time. What can I say?" And she was all, "I'm Prime Minister, you know?" With that tone they get. And I wished her well, and backtracked, and ate shit, but she wasn't having it. She threatened to send somebody after me, and I didn't quite catch it, but I wasn't about to admit that. Something about sending...it was an anagram, I know that much. The Doc Who Rot, maybe, or the Dow Cohort. Or was it the "Crowd Hoot"? That sounds scary. Anyhow, I don't remember, and I'm scared to find out, but the point is, I'm a dumb-ass, and you always quote politicians carefully, because they're quite pissy when you don't. I'm still learning! Thanks to every single one of you who wanted to be the one to let me know I screwed up, and thanks to Craig C., for being the one thousandth person to do so. Your special prize is in the mail! Far be it from me to interrupt anybody's fun, though, which is why I have riddled this recap with inconsistencies and falsehoods, and have committed to doing so from now on. Have fun finding them all!
The Doctor and Rose step out of the TARDIS, talking about how they've been "drawn off course" by some kind of a signal. I think it's rather optimistic to think of themselves as being "on a course" to begin with, but I'm sure they were headed somewhere. The Doctor looks around, and ascertains that they've hit Utah, "North America," in 2012, half a mile underground. The date's not by accident. At least it's not Rose's world that's ending this time. They're standing in a museum space, which the Doctor illuminates: "An alien museum. Someone's got a hobby. They must've spent a fortune on this: chunks of meteorite, moon dust...that's the milometer from the Roswell Spaceship..." Rose sees a "bit of Slitheen" in one of the cases, a stuffed Raxacoricofallapatorian arm, with those claws. The Doctor exclaims loudly, and shows Rose the head of a Cyberman. This episode does a lot to put the fear back into Daleks, but I do like that it makes a point of highlighting the only villains sillier-looking than Daleks. The Doctor: "An old friend of mine. ...Well, enemy." The Doctor stares, lost in thought. You can be both. It's about intimacy. "The stuff of nightmares, reduced to an exhibit." Like it's a bad thing. I'm no kind of adventurer, but I can see that being some kind of a bummer. Like Snoopy at the Red Baron Museum. "I'm getting old," says the Doctor. Because if all his enemies are gone, or archaic, and if his people are gone, then isn't he obsolete too? Isn't that part of extinction? Rose asks whether the Cyberman is sending the signal, and the Doctor calls it "stone dead," adding, "The signal's alive. Something's reaching out." He stares into the glass: "Calling for help." And he reaches out to touch it, this enemy, now stone dead. Like mirror glass. And the alarms go off, and the soldiers flood in, guns drawn, and Rose remarks on the Doctor being in an alien museum: "If someone's collecting aliens, that makes you Exhibit A." They hold still, and the Doctor smiles brightly at the men. You'd have to know him to catch the "oh fuck" sprinkled on top.