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Review of The Unquiet Dead (9th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Review of The Unquiet Dead (9th Doctor)
The Unquiet Dead - Episode 1.3

The Unquiet Dead is the first episode written by someone other than Russell T. Davies. Mark Gatiss gives us Rose’s first trip into the past. This is a bit of a seasonal episode. Yes, I do want Rose’s dress. How did you guess? Let’s get to the spoilery stuff.

Episode: The Unquiet Dead by Mark Gatiss
Rating (1 to 5): 3
Baddie: The Gelth
Rose is Trapped: In a locked room with Zombies. And in the basement with Zombies.
The Doctor is Trapped: in the basement with Zombies.
The Doctor Enjoys: Charles Dickens and Happy Mediums
The Doctor Dislikes: the American bit in Martin Chuzzlewit
Doctor-y Strangeness: his willingness to let the Gelth use dead bodies to live in.
Scary Stuff: The Gelth killing people in order to use their bodies.
Does someone local help out? Charles Dickens, Gwyneth, and Mr. Sneed.
Bad Wolf? Gwyneth sees it in Rose’s mind.
What we learn: The TARDIS still has a wardrobe room. The Doctor likes his tea with two sugars. There’s a spacial-temporal rift in Cardiff. Time’s in flux and it is not a straight line. It can twist into any shape. The books of Charles Dickens survive forever. Rose’s father is dead.
The Doctor’s Death Wish: The Doctor tries to get Gwyneth to let him blow up the house.
The Doctor Apologizes To: Dickens (for telling him to Shut Up) & Gwyneth
My Favorite Bits: The Doctor kicking open the door to save Rose. “What the Shakespeare is going on?” The Doctor’s love of Charles Dickens books. Rose’s dress.

Observations and musings:

Rose arrives in Victorian Cardiff for her first trip backwards in time. She has her first encounter with the wardrobe room, and I think that The Doctor was a bit startled by her appearance. Of course, he only changed his jumper, and he’s the one that made her change! Did he really have to add, “for a human”? Rose is intrigued by The Doctor’s ability to go back and see days that are dead and gone, and this time she gets to make the first step into the unknown. She doesn’t hold with his idea of letting the Gelth use the bodies of dead humans, or his plan to have Gwyneth help the Gelth arrive. It turns out that he should have listened to her, shouldn’t he?

The Doctor aimed to take Rose to Naples on Christmas Eve 1860. Instead, they landed in Cardiff on Christmas Eve 1869. Luckily, Rose is unfazed by his getting the flight a bit wrong, beacuse she will soon discover that this is a common occurence. Did you catch the small smile he had on his face after the “for a human” line? The Doctor is so very willing to believe that the Gelth need his help, especially once they tell him that their problems stem from the Time War. He won’t listen to Rose’s objections. (Well, not much anyway.) He sees the solution to a problem, and he wants the satisfaction of solving it. Too bad he’d never encountered the Gelth before.

Charles Dickens in Cardiff fighting ghostly aliens with Rose and The Doctor, only to be saved in the end by a psychic servant girl who was already dead? Yep, that about sums it up. Eve Myles who plays Gwyneth in this episode also plays Gwen on Torchwood. Torchwood also takes place in Cardiff and has to do with the Rift. Interesting parallels, eh? Charles Dickens certainly enjoys his adventure with The Doctor in the end. Simon Callow, who portrays Dickens in this episode, represented a bit of a casting coup for the Doctor Who team. He is well known for his previous portrayals of Mr. Dickens. So, it was a bit like really having Dickens on the set, apparently. Tune in next week for my review of “Aliens of London.”

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About the Author

Whochick is a huge Doctor Who fan. She loves the show so much that she not only co-authors a blog on the topic, but also a podcast that you should listen to. Whochick resides in California with her husband (the Shadow Architect), and occasionally refers to herself in the third person.

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