Hand in hand, laughing joyfully, Rose and the Doctor run across London Bridge toward the Eye. I like them best when they're like this: wild and happy and just getting on with it. "Think of it," says the Doctor, once they've reached the Eye. "Plastic, all over the world. Every artificial thing waiting to come alive. The shop-window dummies, the phones, the wires, the cables..." Rose nods: "The breast implants..." He shakes that off: "Still, we've found the transmitter. The Consciousness must be somewhere underneath." Rose finds the entrance, and they head into the underground. As usually happens in this sort of story, toward the end.
At the bottom of the ladder, everything is red and creepy. The Doctor leads the way into a huge chamber, at the bottom of which is a big pit full of glowing orange goo: "The Nestene Consciousness, that's it, inside the vat. A living, plastic creature." Rose is easy-breezy: "Well, then. Tip in your anti-plastic and let's go." But that's not how the Doctor rolls. (This week.) "I'm not here to kill it," he tells Rose. "I've got to give it a chance." Even the Doctor can't muster a whole lot of enthusiasm or belief in this strategy. The Doctor leans over a lower railing and addresses the giant glob: "I seek audience with the Nestene Consciousness, under peaceful contract according to Convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamation." It wobbles and roars. "Thank you. If I might have permission to approach." Rose spots Real Mickey as she paces, and runs down to him, much to the Doctor's disdain. "Doctor, they kept him alive!" she cries. The Doctor admits that they would have likely done that to maintain the copy. Rose is aghast that he never told her this -- but then, when the copy melted, what would have been the point? -- and the Doctor asks her, peevishly and hilariously, "Can we keep the domestics outside, thank you?" ("Domestic" as in "dispute," not "aid" or "kitchen help" or whatever.)
As Rose helps Mickey up, the Doctor addresses the Consciousness: "If I might observe, you infiltrated this civilization by means of warp shunt technology. So, may I suggest, with the greatest respect, that you shunt off?" The beastie gets pissed, and so does the Doctor: "Oh don't give me that, it's an invasion, plain and simple! Don't talk about constitutional rights!" The plastic whirls a head-shape around and calls the Doctor "Time Lord," and he cuts it off: "I. Am. Talking. This planet is just starting. These stupid little people have only just learnt how to walk, but they're capable of so much more. I'm asking you on their behalf -- please, just go." When has that kind of thing ever worked on a bastard like the NC? Never, that's when. Two Autons approach the Doctor from behind, as Rose yells a warning, and they immediately discover his anti-plastic. Ouch. He tries to explain that it's just "insurance," that he wasn't going to use it, but you can't blame the NC for ignoring him and getting more and more angry. As the Doctor apologizes and tries to explain further, the TARDIS is also uncovered. The plastic goes insane and we hear a lot of what sounds like gibberish but is actually totally depressing and important: "That's not true! I should know, I was there! I fought in the War -- it wasn't my fault! I couldn't save your world! I couldn't save any of them!" Chaos. The Doctor yells to Rose a partial explanation -- that the NC is scared to death of the TARDIS, because it's a "superior technology," and that it is scared enough to be going "to the final base" and starting the invasion. He tells her to run. Again.