This is one of those Mark Gatiss episodes, and I love it. (Mark had more recently been working on the new version of Sherlock…) I really enjoyed the costuming on this one. The Doctor even did his hair and provided period-ish transport. He must like this time period. He doesn’t usually bother. Rose’s outfit was also really fun. I loved that poofy pink skirt. Well, I loved the whole pink outfit, actually. Okay, enough with the costume commentary. Let’s get started, shall we?
Episode: The Idiot’s Lantern by Mark Gatiss
Rating (1 to 5): 3
Baddie: The Wire, Eddie Connolly, and Mr. Magpie (in a secondary role)
Rose is trapped: in a Television
The Doctor is Trapped: nowhere this time around.
The Doctor enjoys: the sneaky police getaway.
Doctor-y Strangeness:He licks a small television.
Scary Stuff: The element of body horror brought about by the faceless ones.
Does someone local help out? Yes. Tommy saves the day with a last minute fix to The Doctor’s plan.
My Favorite bits: The Doctor completely taking over the police interview. “Are you suggesting that the Queen does housework?” Tommy arguing logically against his father. The Doctor completely tuning out the world when Rose is brought in faceless. The mention of “What’s My Line” (I love that show).
Observations and musings:
This episode sees further evolution of Rose’s character. She sees right away something that isn’t right, and does some independent work. She even has the necessary knowledge to help with the interrogation of the Connollys. Rose really shows herself to be more partner than sidekick. In fact, Rose seems to be slightly stronger than the others (except the Doctor) when being attacked by The Wire. She calls for help, instead of just screaming. And, in the end, it’s Rose who convinces Tommy to go after his Dad.
On the Doctor front we have his instant anger when Rose is in danger (as this Doctor seems to do regularly). He gets very focused the moment the problem becomes personal. He was interested before, but now? Now it affects him. Another interesting bit is during the conversation between The Doctor and Mr. Connolly. Mr. Connolly shouts “I am talking,” which is the same thing that The Doctor shouted at The Nestene Consciousness back in episode 1. It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that The Doctor has his speedy comeback ready: “And I’m not listening!” The only Doctor-related thing that I wish they had left in (it was cut at some point) was upon his arrival at Alexandra Palace, he stopped for a moment before approaching the tower, and said he just has this thing about towers, because he’d fallen off of one once. (That’s how the 4th Doctor died, you see.) Oh, did you see the Gallifreyan writing on the video-tape?
Plotwise, this story is fairly basic Doctor Who. Alien arrives on Earth intent to cause havoc. The Doctor appears and doesn’t approve. The Doctor makes the problem go away. Mind you, I think that only one person died this time. That is pretty rare in this show. The dialogue worked well for me, and the character interactions were believable. Mr. Connelly becomes progressively more annoying, though. I expect he’s supposed to. Tommy wins my nod as the favorite non-time traveler for the episode. That kid has brains and, dare I say it, moxie. I think he gets it from his mom.
So, I felt this was a very well done episode. Not too hard on the nerves, although, it was given a fear factor of 4. I hope that Mark Gatiss has another episode headed our way in the coming season. (Or, y’know, more Sherlock.) Now, I just need to see if I can find a Cliff Richard film to watch. What did you think?