This is a weekly feature where Christa of Hooked on Books and myself will be watching and discussing all of the reboot of Doctor Who. Posts will contain spoilers for that episode and ones before it, so you may want to watch the episode before reading. I hope you’ll join us in enjoying this fantastic show, and don’t forget to check out Christa’s post as well! Allons-y!
The Unquiet Dead by Mark Gatiss
They’ve seen the future, now it’s time to check out the past! The Doctor and Rose head back to Christmas Eve 1860 in Milan, except it’s actually 1869 and they’re in Cardiff. When the dead start walking it’s up to the Doctor and Rose to save the world!
One of my favourite things about Doctor Who in general is how they emphasize that every person, no matter how seemingly ordinary, is important and can do extraordinary things. Being around the Doctor gives ordinary people the opportunity to do the extraordinary…largely because they’re fighting for their lives/the lives of the entire planet/universe, but the point is that the Doctor brings out the best in people.
We get to see this happen with Gwenyth, who I like to pretend is Gwen Cooper of Torchwood’s great-great-great-great grand-aunt or something. I mean she’s even named after her! Gwenyth is everything that a proper 19th century serving girl should be: quiet, polite, and pious. I had the same reaction as Rose when I first met her. I saw her as someone to be pitied for not having the opportunities that modern women have, and in doing so I looked down on her. I was completely wrong to do so. Gwenyth may not have a modern education, but she knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She takes her life into her own hands and in the end saves everyone.
We also, of course, get to see more of the Doctor/Rose relationship. I love how the Doctor looks to Rose whenever he finds something funny, wanting to see her reaction. More than that, I love that Rose isn’t afraid to stand up to the Doctor, and he’s equally unafraid to bite back. They view each other’s as equals…well the Doctor is getting there. He still sees her as someone he needs to protect and someone who doesn’t understand the world as well as he does, but let’s give him some time. And who else caught the look of jealous directed at Dickens when Rose kissed him on the cheek?
In character development, we get to see two new sides of the Doctor: Doctor the fanboy and Doctor the coward. The Doctor’s reaction to Charles Dickens is fantastic, and if I had the ability to travel through time and space I think all I would do is visit all of my favourite authors. The relationship between the Doctor and Dickens made me smile, and when the Doctor told Dickens how his stories survived forever I may have had to wipe away a tear. But I think what I love even more is the Doctor’s cowardly moment when he realizes they’re about to die. Okay, so he’s a bit more upset by HOW and WHERE he’s going to die then the actual dying thing, I think, but you can still see a bit of panic at the idea. I don’t think the Doctor is ready to go, and this moment of human-ness makes his future development as a character all the more poignant.
With Rose we get to see her ability to bond with others once again and her wish to help people. The fact that she refuses to leave Gwenyth even when she’s choking on gas shows the kind of person that Rose is. She’s remarkably loyal, and considering she just met Gwenyth and was already willing to risk her life for her is more than admirable. We also get a hint of the fact that she’s been thinking about her father more than ever, which answers some questions in a future episode, AND we get our first mention of Bad Wolf! I LOVE foreshadowing!
“You look beautiful…considering.” – Doctor to Rose (My heart may have skipped a couple beats at this one.)
“I’m sorry.” – Doctor (the first time he says it when they’re going to die…though he says it twice more in the episode. Makes me think that Ten has a bit more Nine in him then one might assume.)
“She saved the world, a servant girl. No one will ever know.” -Rose
Death Toll: 3
New Irrational Fears: old women and funerals