Meet Elton. He's blondish, middle-height, buggy eyes, hyper air about him. Like he's looking for something he's never going to touch. Stands in an abandoned building site, where he spots a faint TARDIS outline in the distance, and begins running madly for it. You can hear the VWORP. He reaches the top of a hill, panting, and stares across at a row of crunk storage units, the TARDIS standing bright blue in the middle of everything. He stares, and then runs for her, and as he touches the door, he hears voices. "Doctor! Doctor, the trap!" He heads off in the direction of Rose's shout, through one of the doors into a warehouse complex, hearing the echoes and shouts of a scuffle happening up above. Far, far up above him. Up, up, up. Where the real story is happening. "Where's he gone? Can you see him?" shouts the Doctor, and Rose spots "him," and tells the Doctor to watch out, and Elton climbs the stairs. He's young, but not young enough to live with his mum, which is probably where he'd live, if she were around. The way he's dressed, he could be Rose's next-door neighbor. He could be. He is. He runs up the stairs, toward the noise and toward the Doctor, clanging metal as he goes. Up at the top is a long corridor, down which he proceeds; at the end is a door, and on the other side of the door, a howling. A grunting, like a pig, and bright light. He opens the door, revealing a ferocious snarling monster like a Weevil on roids, called a Hoix, snarling and roaring at him.
Cut to Elton, sitting in front of a video camera. He even fucking looks like Tom Lenk. I hate this episode so much. (And if you haven't seen that Buffy episode, take a sec to do so. God knows Davies did.) "That's what it did," Elton says, eyes bugging out twice as much as usual. "It went RRROOOOAAAAAAAAARRR! And if you think that was the most exciting day of my life -- wait 'til you hear the rest. Oh boy..."
Aaaand credits. That has to be one of the least inviting openings I've ever seen. "I've got this huge abscess on my ass, wanna see? But wait til you hear the rest, oh boy!" I give RTD a certain gigantic amount of credit, and I guess we have enough clues that Elton's not the reliablest of narrators, but that doesn't stop him, or this section of the episode, from being more fucking annoying than anybody has a right to be. It's not the subject matter, which is brilliant, and it's not the characters, which are lovable, and it's not the story, which is really good and well written. It's...everything else. The frenetic, self-conscious pacing. The idiotic cutting to and fro. The pomo thing that's going on. Marc Warren's big stupid face in my face. It's not the fucking gaywad '90s anymore; everything is self-aware now. It's not the creativity solution anymore, it's the natural state of things. This is a great story wasted on a moment of low creativity, and I hate it. You can have a liminal POV story -- I like those. You can have voice-overs, you can shove Shirley Henderson in my sweet and charming ears, you can hurt my Jackie, even get a blowjob from the ground beneath our feet. You can have three -- count them, three -- different anvils to hurl at my head in the last ten minutes, from three different directions (and bonus cheers for next week's nightmarishly retarded denouement). But you cannot have all of these. This is not What The Kids Are Doing These Days. This is a simulacrum of the future of TV, not the future of TV. This is the idea of what should be done, not what should be done; I don't know about the entire five billion-year history of this show, but I do know that this is the idea of what RTD would do, not What RTD Would Do. This is faking what normally comes from a place inside. This is what happens when inspiration takes a nap: things get hard.