I’m rewatching the first series of the new Doctor Who with an eye toward looking where the show has gone since.
It’s “six months later,” Earth time, from the events of “Aliens of London” and “World War III,” and I think it’s pretty clear that it’s quite a bit of time on from just the previous episode, “The Doctor Dances,” too, at least in the Doctor’s subjective timeline (and Jack’s and Rose’s, too, of course). It sure feels like Jack has been with the Doctor and Rose for a goodly while as this episode opens. They’re all so cutesy and comfortable with one another — what with their “into time… and space!” nonsense and all the high-fiving and the teasing (“Buy me a drink first” / “Such hard work” / “But I’m worth it”). They’re very chummy… and that’s not something that happens till you’ve been through a lot together. Plus, Jack seems to be very familiar with the TARDIS systems — and the Doctor is okay with Jack messing about with the TARDIS! — which could not come about in a matter of days.
I say all this because this is catnip to writers of fan fiction, who are always looking for gaps in canon stories in which they can slot their own tales. (For instance, the story I’m in the middle of writing, “Tristan’s Father” — and will have another installment of soon — occurs between “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town.”)
Ah, so Rose didn’t really need her passport: she just wanted to see Mickey. For all Jack’s “how come I never get any of that,” I think he has been getting some of that from Rose — she seems as equally infatuated with her and she seems overwhelmed by him, like she thought that Jack wouldn’t be too intense and learns that hard way that he is… and now tries to retreat into the uncomplicated Mickey. And he turns out not to be so easygoing and forgiving as she’d expected! Not that I blame him for being pissed that she ran away, and pissed that all she can talk about now is all the cool places she’s been with the Doctor. And not that I can blame her for being unable to talk about anything else. I do blame her, though, for not fully appreciating either the Doctor or Jack… I mean, really: Mickey? When you’ve got these two at your beck and call? Sheesh.
Margaret the Slitheen is the first in what will become something of a tradition for the new Doctor Who: villains who really aren’t so different from the Doctor, or who at least get him far better than the baddies ever did before. The scene with the two of them on their “date,” when he refuses to hear her pleas and her excuses and dismisses her capriciousness as merely quirks of kindness, is brutal in its reassessment of the Doctor, when she turns it all back around onto him: “Only a killer” would understand her the way the Doctor does, would understand the whim of “sometimes, you let one go.” And he doesn’t dispute it. Granted, it’s probably mostly a matter him having far too much firsthand experience with psychopaths, and a matter of him being too hard on himself… or maybe not. We don’t know much of what he did during the Time War, but I bet most of it was very very bad indeed.
Oh, and the sting of her “I bet you’re always the first to leave, Doctor — never mind the consequences, off you go.” She’s got him pegged, all right. A “magpie mind” — that’s one of the best descriptions of him ever.
Here’s something that stings me, an an American: it’s only evil alien planets that have the death penalty, and what’s all that about the wrongness of delivering someone — even a criminal — to a place where you know they’ll be tortured and executed? Sounds familiar…
Random thoughts on “Boom Town”:
• I love Jack’s story about Brockovich and running naked from the thing with tusks, I mean tusks! There’s so much great material Jack could give us, and he’s hardly even gotten interesting yet… not like he will, at least.
• “As if they intended this city should be wiped off the map…” the doomed bloke notes who’s noticed how “poorly” designed the nuke plant seems to be. Makes a nice fictional change that it’s not London or New York that’s the center of destruction. Well, not so nice for the fine people of Cardiff, I guess…
• Bad Wolf Watch:
“Everywhere we go, two words, followin’ us: bad wolf.” –the Doctor
“How can they be followin’ us?” –Rose
[long dramatic pause]
“Nah, just a coincidence. Like hearin’ a word on the radio and then hearin’ it all day. Never mind.” –the Doctor
• Okay, it’s Jack’s messed up timeline again: at this point, Jack is “already” heading up a branch of Torchwood in Cardiff, and the Torchwood Hub is right beneath the TARDIS here:
I know Jack has to rebuild Torchwood after the Battle of Canary Wharf, and I used to think that the implication was that Torchwood in Cardiff came after Canary Wharf, but now I’m not so sure. It sure seems like all the stuff in the freezers and all the stuff in all the vaults under the Millennium Plaza have been there a long time, far longer than just a few years…
Whether the Hub is present or not at this point, surely future-Jack is hiding out so as not to run into “this” Jack at this point? And after Margaret’s “pandimensional surfboard” activates the Rift, is Torchwood — if the Hub is there — just hunkering down during this Rift event happening right over their heads?
• Margaret’s pandimensional surfboard looks like a big piece of LEGO to me:
• Speaking of…: The entrance to the Torchwood Hub — the one camouflaged as the tourist-info place — is usually right there, in the wall we see between Rose and Mickey:
But I guess they laid on some extra obscurement for this occasion…
• I tried to find this restaurant when I was in Cardiff:
But it seems to have been replaced by a French bistro…
• Wine for the Doctor and Margaret:
Though they don’t seem to actually ever get around to drinking it.
• More hugging!
• Great quotes:
“She’s got a teleport. That’s cheating!” –Jack
“What are you captain of, the innuendo squad?” –Mickey, to Jack
–Jack, to Mickey
“Don’t worship me: I’d make a very bad god. You wouldn’t get a day off, for starters.” –the Doctor
“Dinner and bondage — works for me.” –Margaret (we never would have heard anything like that on the old Doctor Who!)
(next: Episode 12: “Bad Wolf”)