It gets better! “Aliens of London” is on, and about 15 minutes in I see another familiar face.
Naoko Mori, who plays Doctor Toshiko Sato (Tosh) in Torchwood was just wandering around in a lab coat.
But onto topic. This is where the Doctor returns Rose 12 months late instead of 12 hours late. The first part of the episode is all about the fallout of that.
After a crash landing of a space ship in the middle of London, this is when the Doctor finally gives Rose a TARDIS key. I don’t remember a lot of keys being given out in the classic series, but maybe I need to go back and have a look. Anyway, although the Doctor says he won’t interfere, he goes into the hospital where the pilot was taken. Here we see Tosh. The “pilot” turns out to be a pig that was modified by alien technology, and the ship was really launched from Earth. The Doctor explains everything to Tosh before disappearing into the TARDIS. She’s actually playing the same character as in Torchwood, where they address this episode. She is a computer expert (not at all a pathologist) and was covering for a hung over friend/colleague.
Moving on, the TARDIS reappears and Rose’s mother learns where she really was. Jackie calls the emergency alien hotline and turns in the Doctor. This sets off all kinds of red flags because this is not the first time the world’s seen him.
There’s a disturbing scene with the government officials where the Slitheen are wearing suits of people, causing flatulence. Personally I feel it’s a little low brow humour and takes away from the show. However, the target audience is children, so perhaps that’s why someone thought it was a good idea.
This is also the first time we see UNIT in New-Who. As the Doctor, Mickey and Rose leave the TARDIS (with Bad Wolf painted on the side) they are taken into custody and delivered to Downing Street. Jones finds Rose and tells her all about the Slitheen, while the Doctor talks to UNIT. The Doctor realizes it’s a trap while Rose and Jones are caught with a member of the Slitheen, and Jackie has one of them in her apartment.
This is around the time everyone takes off their “skin suits”, there’s an electrical charge sent through the room with the Doctor/UNIT, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Now we move forward into “World War Three”.
But of course our favorite alien isn’t going to be killed so easily and turns the electrical charge back at the Slitheen. By doing so it actually electrifies all of them instead of just the one he “attacks”. Mickey saves Jackie with enough time left over to snap a photo, Rose and Jones get out of their room, the Doctor runs, and the Slitheen manage to stop the electrocution. Nice and fast paced. The “prime minister” manages to turn UNIT against the Doctor, but he gets into the elevator. Rose and Jones continue to run, and the Slitheen chase them down. The Doctor manages to get them out of the room of course, so now it’s a good old fashioned Scooby Doo style chase.
With a bit of a bluff (I’ll blow you up!) the Doctor sets up a question and answer session with the Slitheen to find out what was going on. The Slitheen are a family out for profit, not a race of aliens. Of course! He then seals himself, Rose and Jones into a room when the family realize his threat is a complete fabrication. The family realizes they’ve got the group trapped, so they shut off all communications to that room and go about their business. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t know that Rose’s cell still worked. So the Doctor contacts Mickey and walks him through how to log into UNIT to get some intel. With that information he figures out that the Slitheen are from Raxacoricofallapatorius. One member of the family came after Mickey and Jackie and the Doctor was able to have them throw vinegar on him to basically blow him up.
He learns from the family that they are planning to launch World War III. Once the Earth is destroyed they can sell the radioactive remains of the planet as a source of fuel. In usual fashion, he gives them the option of giving up and leaving or being destroyed.
There turns out to be a way to save the world, but The Doctor can’t promise Rose will survive. Harriott Jones orders him to do whatever must be done, and Rose agrees. He walks Mickey through the process to launch a missile at the building, with them all knowing they could kill Rose in the process. She doesn’t want to go without a fight, so she talks everyone into hiding in the closet. Their group get out alive, but the Slitheen are caught in the blast. This leaves Jones to clean up the mess, leading to her eventual election as prime minister.
I thought the Doctor pulled kind of a dirty trick when he called and basically asked Rose to choose between him and her mother/boyfriend/life. This was part of his dark and selfish side coming out. He wanted her as a companion and manipulated her to get what he wanted.
The Doctor instructs Mickey to wipe out all information on him using a disc he provides, and offers him a place in the TARDIS. Mickey declines, so the Doctor helps him out by telling Rose that he simply doesn’t want Mickey in his TARDIS. How sweet.
I have to admit that these couple of episodes were far from my favorites. Although they had their good points and didn’t feel too rushed, I just didn’t like the feel of them. I really think it came down to the flatulence jokes, which I’ve never been a fan of anyway. I found they just distracted from the story. If that plot point was necessary, I feel there are better ways it could have been done.
When Rose says goodbye to her mother I found it to be a bit more heartbreaking than the first time I watched it. After all, she assures her that she’ll be fine, and I know how it ends now.