Saturday, November 3, 2012

Diary of a Doctor Who newbie



Revival Series 1, Episode 3: The Unquiet Dead

After a long wait, here’s the third episode!

We open in a 1800’s era funeral home, while a young man mourns his aunt.  Suddenly, she wakes up , and starts on a rampage, knocking the director and the nephew out cold.  She leaves the building with a terrifying yell.

We then find the Doctor and Rose having some sort of issue on the TARDIS, but it gets cleared up quickly as the doctor decides to go to 1860.  Rose asks why, and he’s like: “I dunno, let’s find out!”

We cut back to the funeral home, where the director calls his houseclerk to help him find the walking dead woman.

The TARDIS touches down, and before the exit, the Doctor tells Rose she has to change, seeing as you don’t want to get thrown in jail for being indecent, now do you?  He gives her crazy directions involving no less than six turns, but she figures it out, and comes dressed in a very fancy 19th century gown.

Back with the director and houseclerk, we learn that the houseclerk has an ability: she has some sort of telepathy, and the director, Mr. Sneed, tells her to use it to find out where the old woman went.  Turns out, she wanted to go see a special reading at the theater of A Christmas Carol, read by none other than…
Charles Dickens!  Who is terrible depressed at this point, since he is old, and has no more ideas, or some such thing.  He sucks it up and goes on stage anyway, though.

The Doctor starts to walk out, but Rose calls him back.  She’s going out first, going to enjoy the amazingness that is Christmas in 1860.  The go, arm in arm, to explore the new area.  Unfortunately, the Doctor realizes they aren’t exactly where he expected, and are instead in Cardiff in 1869, but Rose doesn’t care.

We then see Charles Dickens reading his story, and suddenly!  The old woman makes herself known, and she starts howling like a banshee.  The theater-goers start screaming as well, and the Doctor and Rose are right outside the door, ready to jump into action.  Mr. Sneed and his houseclerk, Gwyneth, are there as well, and take the woman out, with Rose in hot pursuit.  They forcefully take Rose, and the Doctor figures out that the possession of the dead is make of gas.

He runs out to tell Rose, and sees her being taken by Mr. Sneed, and commanders Charles Dickens’ carriage to give chase.  Dickens jumps in as well, and the Doctor has a slight fangasm that he’s in with Charles Dickens, but soon they focus on catching up with Rose.


Who has now ended up unconscious at the funeral home.  Mr. Sneed and Gywneth stash Rose with the undead lady, and are soon interrupted by a loud knock at the door as the Doctor and Dickens arrive.

They demand to come in, and the Doctor notices something funny with the gas, all while Rose is trapped in the room with two undead, since the woman managed to kill her nephew on her first rampage.  She freaks out and starts screaming, alerting the Doctor to her whereabouts.

In a close call, the Doctor gets Rose out just in time, and attempts to figure out what the possessors want by, of all novel things, asking them.  Turns out ‘we’re dying, the rift is closing!’ and poof, they’re gone.

Next we see, Rose is mighty pissed at being drugged and left for dead with the undead people.  Mr. Sneed starts explaining that the house had a reputation for being haunted, but they hadn’t seen anything until three months before.  Gywneth shows off her telepathic abilities a bit, before Dickens goes off in an unbelieving rant, and goes to explore more to figure out what is going on.  The Doctor follows, and tries to convince him that it’s real.

Cut to the washroom, where Rose goes on all feminist on Gwyneth, and tries to convince her that she should want more for her life.  Gywneth then gets all telepathy on Rose, and freaks her out just a bit with Dad talk, and the whole coming a long way, and people running half naked around London.  Gwyneht freak herself out too, and outs herself to Rose, while the Doctor listens in the door.  The Doctor isn’t surprised, and tells her she’s the key, and that they are going to have a séance.

Dickens is still being all disbelieving, but when Gywneth calls out to the sprits, they appear, and everyone is astonished when a light being pops up behind Gywneth, asking for pity for the Gelf.  They want the rift to be opened, and tell the group that they lost their physical form due to the Time War, which strikes the Doctor the hardest.  He is insistent that Gwyneth open the rift, and the dead bodies in the basement be allowed to be used as hosts. 

Rose is not impressed, and tries to convince the Doctor that it’s not right, but he is insistent some more, even as Gwyneth faints away.  Rose won’t let Gwyneth fight the Doctor’s war, but Gwyneth wants a say.  She’s not impressed that Rose thinks she’s stupid(yay telepathy!), and wants to help her ‘angels.’

The group make their way to the morgue, were the majority of the sightings were.  Rose knows that the Gelf weren’t walking around in 1869, but the Doctor tells her time is always in flux.  Gwyneth opens the gateway, and tons of the Gelf come streaming through her now glowing mouth. 

The Doctor asks about their numbers, and that’s when things go sideways.  The Gelf turns red and demonic, and the Doctor concedes something may have gone wrong.  They lock themselves in a room, and get ready to die.  Rose is freaking out, saying that she can’t die, she’s not even been born yet.  The Doctor tells her that time isn’t a straight line, it can twist around in on itself.  They steel themselves for the end, but then Dickens comes back from his little ‘run away’ jaunt realizing that the creatures are gas, and if they fill the room with gas, it’ll draw them out of the bodies, so they do that.

The Doctor gets Gwyneth to close the rift, but she can’t send them back.  She can hold them, though, and they decide to blow up the room.  The Doctor shoos Rose and Dickens, and goes to get Gywneth, but when he takes her hand, he decides not to.  She lights the match, and whole place goes up.

The Doctor makes it out with Rose and Dickens, and tells Rose that Gywneth had been dead for probably the entirety of her rift opening. 

The Doctor and Rose then take their leave, with a newly invigorated Dickens talking about how he’s going to tell the world the story of the other worlds.  He asks the Doctor if his books last, and the Doctor assures him they do, forever.

The get in the TARDIS, and Rose wonders about changing history, but the Doctor tells her that Dickens dies next year, so nothing gained or lost, and we end with a  ‘God bless us, every one.’

This was a fun episode.  The ‘ghosts’ were sufficiently creepy, though the Gelf were not as creepy, they made me laugh more than be freaked out.

It was interesting to me how Rose was right about letting the Gelf use the bodies, but not for the reason she stated.  She’s still the strong woman we met in the first episode, but her 19 year old self shines through in interesting places, like when they were leaving the TARDIS to start the episode.

The Doctor hasn’t changed much yet, though he does seem to really care for Rose.  Their dynamic is fun, and I hope it stays that way through the season.

All in all, a good episode.  The effects were strong, the philosophical ideas were not too overwrought, and the story was serious, but not so serious that there was no fun at all.
As always, feel free to comment below, but no spoilers, please!  

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