Doctor Who
The Idiot's Lantern

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

"Hold on a minute. You've got hands, Mr. Connolly? Two big hands! Why is that your wife's job?" Eddie -- and this is the heartbreaking, completely understandable, completely repugnant part -- is legitimately confused. "It's housework, innit?" Which is a woman's job, the Doctor clarifies, and Eddie's relieved to hear him say it: back in the story that gives him his strength. "Mr. Connolly, what gender is the Queen?" Eddie, thrown off once again, goes into intense defensive pose: "She's a female." And then is he suggesting the Queen does the housework? Tommy gets it: a tiny smile. Rita gets it: her back goes straighter. Eddie gets it, and his shoulders go round. "No! Not at all!" The Doctor -- with a strong glare -- hands Eddie a string of small flags: "Then get busy." And Eddie goes to work. Enlightenment, futility, anger: that's Ten all over. Eddie starts hanging the flags, pretending enthusiasm; the Doctor, Tommy and Rose watch, unimpressed. "You'll be proud of us, sir! We'll have Union Jacks left, right and center!" Rose stands up, taking part in this breakdown of the Connelly ethic, hands on hips, Doctor pacing back across the room. "'Scuse me, Mr. Connolly. Hang on a minute. Union Jacks?" Eddie pauses and stares at her; asks this girl -- this teenager -- if that's right. "That's the Union Flag. It's the Union Jack only when it's flown at sea." Normally I'd call this bad form, and cruel to boot, but look at Tommy's smile shining brighter and brighter: this story isn't about Eddie and it never was. It's about Tommy, and it's a story that has to be told every single day. (And then flags: check out the last twenty years of American politics on this issue to see how easy it can be, to confuse an image with the reality behind it.) Eddie humbles himself, stumbles about, makes himself a mockery. "Well, don't get it wrong again, there's a good man," says Rose, and then gets hard. "Now get to it." She smiles coyly at the Doctor as Eddie hastens back to the job; even the Doctor is a bit weirded out by the intensity there. I'd say feminism and smacking jerkface dads around could possibly be a Prime Directive issue, except we're still there in so many ways. Any road, the Doctor's never been a teenage girl, or Tommy, or else he'd understand why you take these opportunities whenever you can.

Rose and the Doctor settle in on the sofa, "at Her Majesty's leisure," he says, and he murmurs quietly to Rose, "Union Flag?" She mumbles that Jackie went out with a sailor, and Ten gives a great "Ooohooohooo! Bet she did!" before addressing the Connellys at large again. "...anyway, I'm the Doctor, and this is Rose. And you are?" he's looking right at Tommy, who's surprised to be noticed. He introduces himself and the Doctor and Rose shift on the couch to make room for him; the Doctor motions for Rita to sit, too, and they all stare at the television. The Doctor and Tommy agree that telly is brilliant, and Tommy shines under the attention. The show's about fossils, metonymy at work: the Doctor remembers Eddie, turns around, tells him to keep working.

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