Then, the TARDIS console explodes. EXPLODES, I mean. Madly, sparks and flames and crazy all over timespace. She falls through flames. And when she stops, there's still no time vortex. As we watch the TARDIS move in ways we've not seen before, the Doctor freaks out about the time vortex disappearing. They crash down, somewhere. Gas masks fall from the ceiling, which is fucking hilarious, and then all the lights are out and it's very dark. "Everyone all right? Rose? ...Mickey?" Mickey's okay. Everybody stands up, and the Doctor checks out the system: "She's dead." Don't believe it for a second, of course, so it becomes more of a logical -- or spiritual -- problem, related to getting her right again. Smoke rises. "The TARDIS is dead," whispers the Doctor. "There's nothing to fix. She's perished. The last TARDIS in the universe: extinct." Pretty chilling, even though you have to suspend the disbelief: if she's what connects you to the whole world, the universe and everything in it, then either you're dead or the universe is, or you're somewhere other. We're going to do all three by the end.
"We can get help, yeah?" asks Rose. "We've landed, we've gotta be somewhere." The Doctor shakes his head sadly: "We fell out of the vortex, through the void, into nothingness. We're in some sort of no-place. The silent realm. The lost dimension..." Warren Ellis calls it "the Bleed," so we'll start there. The show (and I doubt very much this was stated before RTD) sees a great (or quantum-tiny) space between alternates. A no-place. A silent realm. Makes sense, or at least sci-fi sense. But think about touch: think about everything we've seen this season. They've crossed into a place that doesn't touch their lives. "The space between you and me, or Victoria and Albert, or the Doctor and Harriet, or even Rose and her sweet Doctor, is subject to Zeno's Paradox: as wide across as a three-way kiss, as thin as pity, or a nine-letter anagram, or Hell itself. This isn't allegory..." What's worse than the space between two worlds? Nothing. It is Hell. "Otherwise known as London!" laughs Mickey, stepping out into twenty-first century London. Rose and the Doctor follow him. "London, England, Earth..." He jumps down and grabs a newspaper: "First of February this year..." Rose pops over his shoulder to look, and the Doctor gets snide(r): "So, this is London." Yep. "Your city." That's the one! "Just as we left it." Bang on. "And that includes the zeppelins?" Oh, just spit it out. Yeah, there are zeppelins, and they're awesome -- Rose agrees that they're beautiful -- and Mickey immediately rights himself: "So it's London with a big international zeppelin festival." The Doctor shakes his head: "This is not your world." Mickey thinks: "It's parallel, right? Am I right? Like a parallel Earth where they've got Zeppelins, am I right?" Rose is like, "Um," and Mickey says that it's just like in films: "Traffic lights are blue, Tony Blair never got elected..." And Rose points at the poster in front of them: "And he's still alive."