Doctor Who
The Idiot's Lantern

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
The Dutch Tilt

A woman begins to shout: it's Mrs. Gallagher, one of the first to get a Magpie's Marvelous: "Someone help me, please! Ted!" Two cops are bundling Ted Gallagher into a black police car, with a blanket over his head. He is not resisting. She begs them to stop; they ignore her. As the Doctor asks what's going on, Tommy runs out of the house, shouting at the policemen. While the Doctor faces off with the cops, Rose asks Tommy if he knew the mystery blanket man. "Must be Mr. Gallagher," Tommy breathes; the car drives off and Mrs. Gallagher despairs. Rita Connelly joins them, and Tommy begins to speak. "It's happening all over the place. They're turning into monsters..." Eddie, his father, comes storming out of the house, warning him not to say another word. The Doctor and Rose stare. "Get inside! Now!" Eddie screams. Tommy apologizes to them and goes inside. The Doctor puts on his shades, kickstarts the moped, and calls to Rose: "All aboard!" Eddie watches them drive away suspiciously.

Inside the black car, slamming round a corner, the Inspector -- Bishop -- calls for "Operation Market Stall," and some tall metal gates open, allowing the car through, and then close. A wooden market barrow is wheeled in front of the gates, and two men start sweeping the floor, as if they'd been there all along. As if the image weren't deliberately fucked with; as if everything is the way it seems. The Doctor and Rose stop, and stare. The Doctor wonders how it happened, and Rose stares at the walls. "Surprised they didn't turn back and arrest you for reckless driving, have you actually passed your test?" The Doctor doesn't answer, because he's not listening. "Men in black? Vanishing police cars? This is Churchill's England, not Stalin's Russia!" Is that Torchwood, then? "Monsters," muses Rose. "That boy said..." The Doctor turns to Rose, and she suggests they visit the neighbors. "That's what I like about you," the Doctor says sweetly. "The domestic approach." She thanks him in a hilariously weird voice meant to evoke something I don't know about, and then realizes -- as the Doctor's kicking the bike started again -- that was kind of an insult. They take off, but I don't know. I think that's the question: it's never a matter of how you're being insulted as much why you think you are. Mention, say, "sexless anoraks," chances are people either recognize it doesn't apply to them and ignore it, or...they get insulted. You know? The "domestic approach" is only insulting if it's agreed upon by both the Doctor and Rose that it's insulting, and the question of whether or not that's true is both central to the season, and still ambiguous. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent, as Elizabeth's contemporary Eleanor would say. And if Rose is consenting that's an insult, then she kind of hates herself, because from whence I'm coming, what's cool about her in this episode is her entirely domestic approach.

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Doctor Who

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