Inside the crowded living room, Auntie Betty asks about the row: "What was all that, then?" And Rita sits down, and for the first time you can see her face. It's sad, and strong, and angry, and tired, but it's awake. "That was...that was the sound of something ending. And about time too. Everyone all right?" She looks around, they nod. "Smashing. Nothing's gonna spoil our big day, is it?" They turn to the television; the Queen's carriage rolls through the crowds.
Everybody's happy, in the streets, waiting for the big party; the new Elizabethan age. They think they know what's coming; they don't. And I am sorry for that. The Doctor, Tommy, and Bishop walk along, discussing Gran. "She was just watching the telly." The Doctor clicks and stares up at the antennas everywhere. "Rose said it, she guessed it straight away, of course she did. All these aerials in one little street: how come?" As Tommy begins to explain about Magpie's cheap sets, the Doctor takes off, and Bishop and Tommy follow over. And while they run, let's consider this: Chip and Cassandra, Victoria and Albert, Sarah Jane and Reinette and the little Doctor. Kenny, Mickey, Tommy. Queen Elizabeth, and the Wire. Mothers, even looming large, are possibility and dreams, stories told moonwise, but Fathers are the rules, authority, the Emperor Trump, Jupiter and Saturn before him. The real world. (There's a reason there are no fathers in Sunnydale.) And there are three ways you can react to authority: you can give in unthinkingly: the default setting, and the reason we need the Doctor. You can scream and yell and get punk about it, as Tommy does, as teenagers and adolescents do. You can disobey, but only in your heart, like Rita, as they take away your sons and daughters and your mothers and fathers, and replace them with the image. After this episode everything changes, but it's been a good ride so far. Just remember that the Doctor is pure inspiration but not a lot of follow-through. Just remember the little boy and the woman, and the deals they made, and the adventures they went on; and remember the father, the real world, left out in the cold.
The Doctor smashes his way into Magpie's, ignoring Bishop's protests, and strides inside, calling out. "Shop? If you're here, come out and talk to me! Magpie?" Tommy figures he's gone out. The Doctor goes through Magpie's stuff and finds a strange device, half-radio and half-television, behind the counter. "Oh, hello...this isn't right. This is very much not right." Portable television; the devil in your pocket. Being the Doctor, he licks it, which surprises his companions who don't know better. "Tastes like iron. Bakelite." Steel. He puts it down and scans. "Put together with human hands, yes, but the design itself...oh, beautiful work. That is so simple." He points his sonic screwdriver at the televisions around the room, and they come alive in static. "It's not the only power source in this room...." Each screen, each image, resolves into a face, real and terrified, thinking and real. Screaming silently for help. The souls of the fascinated, captured like fireflies. The Doctor stares around at them; Tommy finds Gran and whimpers. The Doctor finds what he's looking for, and you already know what she's saying, silently, tears in her eyes, frightened and caged. " Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor." He kneels before her, that is to say before her image, sad and strong. "I'm on my way."