Doctor Who
The Empty Child (1)

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B+ | 5 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Jack Attack!

Weird monster-vision again, this time as though through a piece of warped plastic, from above. They head off to do their investigating thing, and the Doctor -- does he have a cold? Is it me, because I keep switching between watching these on the computer and on TV? Anyway, his voice sounds very deep -- locates them in space and time. The space thing's where is: within a mile; and the when is: less than a month ago. Time travel is cool; I love the whole "the enemy's gate is down" factor. Rose asks an Excellent Question about how they were just behind it and now it's a month, and the Doctor explains again about the "time tracks." The Doctor asks if she'd feel better driving, and she says yes, but changes the subject. They have a cutesy conversation (one of MANY this week) about what they just talked about. It's weird; sometimes this episode -- which I dearly love; it was my first Eccleston story -- feels like the script got shuffled together with some pages from a fairly decent episode of Friends. Maybe it's just not my kind of humor, but it sticks out, like. The monster-vision watches, and Rose asks if the Doctor's "gonna do a scan for alien tech or somefing," and the Doctor points out that people probably noticed that it "hit the middle of London with a very loud bang," so they can just wander around and find the nearest Cathica to explain it all. This series likes to hit the "why go high-tech?" button a lot more than previously, although it's always been in the Doctor's makeup. It's one of my favorite things, honestly -- this vibe of "if we're doing all this on a lark, why would I use science? Then we wouldn't meet awesome people like Van Statten, Adam Mitchell, or the Bitchy Trampoline!" I bring it up here specifically because it doesn't jibe with Rose's ideas, as we'll see, of what a real time traveler should be like, with the high-tech doodads and making out. The Doctor shows Rose the slightly psychic paper, which reads, "Doctor John Smith, Ministry of Asteroids," and catch us up on the slightly psychic paper quite Excellently, and she says that if that's the best he can do, it's not very "Spock." Please. Better to be "not very Spock" than "a little too Darmok," because it means he's still at least fun to be around. Although he has his moments.

The Doctor listens at the door of a speakeasy kind of place, and Rose again advises him -- being led by the hand to a joke is so much more fun if it happens at least a dozen times, no? -- that he should scan for alien tech. (By which we are meant to understand that, someday, somebody's going to scan for alien tech, and we're going to laugh uproariously.) The Doctor holds his sonic screwdriver to the door, and Rose begs him to give her "some Spock" for once. He changes the subject to her Union Jack t-shirt, asking if she's "sure" about it, which is hilarious, although...I think what I'm pinging here is the "Dalek" issue again, which is: my eyeballs see the t-shirt, so even though on the page you feel you need to remind me of the t-shirt for later, I...still have eyeballs and they can still see the t-shirt. I feel like maybe there was too much editing, or I guess not enough, depending, at the script stage, and the rottiest lines were in the middle of good scenes, so it's just a little more primary colors than this series has been before. It's not a huge deal or a write-off at all, but it's frustrating to spend a third of the episode going, "I know! I know! Stop telling me! The Doctor and the Dalek have things in common! You broke it!" Rose redeems the pointless conversation about the shirt handily, though: "Too early to say. I'm taking it out for a spin." At least this conversation is fun on its own, unlike some of the plot-only discussions that go on.

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Doctor Who

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