Doctor Who
The Empty Child (1)

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

Some kids run down the road toward the Lloyds' under monster-little-boy-vision surveillance. It's a very creepy little mood-setter, this: one kid reaches down to tie his shoelace, and the scary child steps toward him, and the kid ties his shoelace and runs into the house, and the child comes closer to the front door. Creepy, that is, until yet again we get a commercial break where God intended no commercial break to be.

Nancy cuts the Lloyds' meat for what has grown to be quite a large meeting of the Central Casting Waifs & Strays Society. Ernie says again that you could never get that much food on coupons alone, so this has to be black-market stuff, and Nancy, exasperated, gives him washing-up duties after dinner: "We are guests in this house!" The other kids laugh at Ernie, and Nancy notices another little boy she hasn't seen before. He says that one of the others told him about her dinner parties, and asks if he's sleeping rough. I've always liked that term since I first heard it in the old Warren Ellis gay Superman/Batman stories. Good times. Nancy tells them they get a slice each, and that she wants "to see everyone chewing properly," and then one by one they pass the platter and thank her: "Thank ya, miss!" "Thanks, miss!" "Thank you miss." And then the Doctor: "Thanks, miss!" Lots of appearing and disappearing in this episode. It's evocative. Where did he come from?

All the kids gasp, and Nancy tells them to chill. Jim stares at the Doctor with a piece of meat just hanging out of his face. The Doctor: "Good here, innit? Who's got the salt?" Nancy tells everybody to sit down: "He shouldn't be here either." I remember the first time I ever saw this, I was like, "This is the coolest young woman I've seen in a while. She's very even-handed." The Doctor smiles and asks them what their story is. They ask if he's a copper, and he goes all sad-funny: "What's a copper gonna do with you lot anyway? Arrest you for starving?" So that makes them like him, because children have effed-up senses of humor. "I make it 1941," he says. "You lot shouldn't be in London. You should've been evacuated to the country by now." One little boy says he was evacuated, sent to a farm, and came running back because of some interference, and Jim says the same thing happened to Ernie. Because Ernie didn't want anybody to know that, he then sends the entire group over the cliff in a bus, because being molested always makes you gay or a mass murderer. Bitter? No. Just tired. "It's better on the streets anyway," says Ernie. "Better food." The Doctor's basically dismantled, at this point, and just watches Nancy as they praise her. "So, that's what you do, is it, Nancy? As soon as the sirens go, you find a big fat family meal, still warm on the table with everyone down in the air raid shelter, and bingo, feeding frenzy for the homeless kids of London Town. Puddings for all!" He gets a little darker: "As long as the bombs don't get you." She asks if there's something wrong with being a superhero, and the Doctor almost laughs: "Wrong with it? It's brilliant. I'm not sure if it's Marxism in action or a West End musical!"

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Doctor Who




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