Doctor Who Watch-a-Thon 2×5

This is a twice a week feature (Wednesdays and Fridays) 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 (with past posts over here) as well! Allons-y!

The Girl in the Fireplace by Steven Moffat

For Mickey Smith’s first ever trip in the TARDIS it’s off to a spaceship in the 51st century. But this is no ordinary spaceship in the 51st century. No, this spaceship has windows that follow the life of an extraordinary young French woman: Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress.


So, I have issues with this episode. On it’s own, it’s a beautiful episode. The plotting is wonderful and I love the twists and the romance is great, BUT as part of season 2 Doctor Who, I kind of hate it.

In a nice way.

I mean, continuity wise…it kind of sucks. We just finished watching School Reunion where the Doctor basically admits to loving Rose, and then he runs off with a French mistress? I am not okay with this. There are many things to do with this I am not okay with. Let’s make a list of all the things I’m not okay with in this episode.

1. Rose is suddenly fine with Mickey being there. Right. (Well maybe that’s because Moffat hadn’t read the script for School Reunion before writing his own episode. Apparently, he didn’t read anything from season 1 either because in this episode Rose means nothing to the Doctor.)

2. The Doctor falls in love with a woman he JUST met as a child. No. Bad Doctor.

3. Reinette kisses the Doctor after seeing him for the first time since she was a CHILD. I mean, it’s a pretty awesome kiss. BUT THE LAST TIME HE SAW HER SHE WAS A CHILD. A CHILD. CHILD.

4. The Doctor rescues Reinette knowing fully well that  he won’t be able to get back to Rose and Mickey and that they won’t be able to fly the TARDIS without him. Basically, he’s leaving them stranded on a non-functioning ship with no knowledge of how to repair or fly it or to escape. Had Reinette not saved the day, Rose and Mickey would have died. The Doctor chose to save Reinette knowing that it would mean Rose and Mickey would die. I’m sorry, this makes absolutely no sense to me. The Doctor died to save Rose’s life before, and now he’s just throwing her away?

Moffat is a fabulous writer, but he goes off and does his own thing. The more I watch this episode, the less I like it though there are a couple saving graces:

  • 1. At least there was less catty jealousy between the two girls than there was between Sarah Jane and Rose.
  •  2. I liked that Rose tried to comfort Reinette despite the fact the hurt she must have been feeling by the Doctor’s focus on this other woman.
  • 3. I liked the parallel of how the Doctor called for Rose on the spaceship and then he called for Reinette in the same way when he went to pick her up to bring her away.
  • 4. I felt bad for Reinette. She was an awesome lady with pretty dresses.
  • 5.  The setting was my favourite thing because yay France.
  • 6. Love the foreshadowing for season six/season seven.

But those are such small parts and elements of what overall is, I’m sorry, an overrated episode. Maybe if it had been in season 5 I wouldn’t have cared so much, but even then the leaving of the companion to die would be ridiculous. (I mean if he had done this to one of the other companions, how would you have felt?)

In short: Continuity–I like it. This episode doesn’t have it.

Favourite Quotes

  • Young Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
  • the Doctor: Me!
“Reason tells me you cannot be real.” – Reinette (love this because “reason” was a huge thing in France during this time period. I just had a bit of a French history fangirl attack from it.)

 “I’m always alright.” -the Doctor

wells: 3

deaths: 1

new irrational fear: my bed, particularly the under side


About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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9 Responses to Doctor Who Watch-a-Thon 2×5

  1. Angel says:

    You know my irrational love for this episode (which, surprisingly, has nothing to do with how I feel about Rose), but yeah, continuity would have been a great thing. Moffat’s never kept his hatred of Rose a secret, so I guess it was to be expected that he’d try to write her out as best he could. In a way, I feel like the differences between RTD’s intense love for Rose and Moffat’s hate made Ten’s characterization uneven, since they were the writers behind the reboot’s strongest and most memorable episodes.

    • megtao says:

      It is a great stand-alone episode, but as part of season 2 it doesn’t work for me anymore. I didn’t realize Moffat hated Rose’s character, but his treatment of her in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and this episode make better sense now. (And the mean part of me is rising up to say of course he would hate her because he didn’t create and control her and couldn’t do all the messed up things to her that he did to Amy and River, but I digress.)

      The only other Ten episode that I remember being written by Moffat is the library ones, and I’ll have to wait for the rewatch, but I don’t remember anything odd about Ten’s character there. I’m sure he wrote a S3 episode too. My bet would be the human Doctor and its sequel just because it follows his kind of formula.

    • megtao says:

      googled it. It was Blink (duh). Well, at least Sally Sparrow was awesome.

  2. Samantha says:

    I’ve never been a fan of this episode. Of course, the beauty of the scenery and the beautiful dresses suck me in, but what I’ve hated ever since my first viewing was the issues with the continuity. Stand alone episodes are all well and good but they still need to keep the continuity going. Aside from the fact that the Doctor had promised Rose only one episode earlier that he would never leave her behind, the Doctor doesn’t leave people behind unless he knows they’re safe. Rose got sent back to 21st century Earth at the end of Season 1, we know Sarah-Jane was dropped off on Earth before the Doctor disappeared from her life. Even Captain Jack at the end of The Doctor Dances (which was another Moffat episode, but apparently Moffat forgot about that) – the Doctor saves him before the bomb goes off. The Doctor doesn’t leave people stranded in a spaceship that doesn’t work in the 51st century, with a TARDIS that can’t be flown without him. He just doesn’t!

    I’m sorry, this episode always gets me worked up.

    • megtao says:

      No need to apologize, I completely understand. I feel like him leaving was a kind of cheap thrill thing that Moffat included, and it was pure ridiculousness. I just didn’t realize it on my first watching because, like you said, the beauty of the scenery and dresses sucked me in.

    • I totally agree with this comment! I just couldn’t buy that he would leave Rose and Mickey like that.

  3. Elizabeth R says:

    I didn’t like this episode because I felt the Doctor was all over the place, leaving Mickey and Rose helpless. And leaving them to repair a spaceship that neither know how to work, could not have been sitting right for Mickey. I think this is why Eleven sort of teaches Amy and Rory how to use the TARDIS.

  4. Pingback: Doctor Who Watch a Thon: Season 2 x 5 "The Girl in the Fireplace" - More Than Just Magic | More Than Just Magic

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