Since it appears that literally dozens of people read my last recap of Doctor Who, my unrepentant ego and I shall continue assuming people enjoy reading about my adventures discovering this show. I think I shall continue this all through the summer because the 50th anniversary special is really, really far away and I needs my fix of the Doctor-stuff. *Twitches*
We open upon a sepia-toned Ye Olde Fashioned funeral parlour while an older gentleman lights some gas lights. Apparently, ‘tis the great Year of Our Old Timey Lord 1869. Since I know very little history, all I can tell you is that Canada has been a country for two whole years at this point. Is Queen Vicky still alive? We discover that the older gentleman lighting things afire is called “Sneed.” With a name like that, he has to be evil right? People with those consonant and vowel sounds are always evil. You know I’m right.
ANYWAY, Sneed here gives his condolences to some poor young man on his grandmama. Sneed leaves the grandson to grieve for his Maw Maw when blue smokey stuff goes around the woman’s face AND SHE BECOMES ALIVE and tries to suffocate the grandson. Sneed comes in and practically deadpans “Oh no, not again.” Ha.
Sneed, with great dignity, stuffs Grandma back into the coffin while screeching for a “Gwyneth” to come down here now, because “We’ve got another one!”
At this point, I would like to formally request a steam-punk Ghostbusters. Please and thank you.
Grandma, being tough English stock, fights back and knocks Sneed unconscious. She moans some blue stuff and escapes into the snowy streets.
We find ourselves on the TARDIS with the Doctor attempting to have Rose help him navigate. They are aiming to get to 1860.
Sneed has awoken! And is still yelling for Gwyneth! And now we’re all yelling! Sneed tells Gwyneth to saddle up the steed, because “The stiffs are getting lively again!” I live for such bon mots.
Gwyneth (rightly) complains that this shit has got to stop happening because FOR CHRIST’S SAKE THE CORPSES ARE WALKING AROUND.Except, she says it way more English-y: “You know, sir, this is becoming a tad untoward.”
Sneed is just all, “She’s 86! She can’t have gotten far! Also, she killed her grandson.”
Gwyneth’s “I fucking hate this job” face is pretty good.
Sneed assures Gwyneth that he’ll get help for the house. But he says it in that cheap employer’s voice: Of course I’ll be hiring more people soon! Of course I’ll get those light bulbs changed! Of course I’ll get hazmat suits for the asbestos cleaners!
But for now we’ve got to get that old dead woman back in her coffin. Chop chop, Gwenny! We’re going body snatching!
Vworp vworp! The TARDIS has arrived! With only a slightly battered crew. The Doctor announces it to be Naples, December 24, 1860. Oh, Doctor. How have you survived this long? Sometimes I think you’re Amanda Seyfried from Mean Girls.
Rose philosophizes that they are going to go see a day that has happened; it is dead and gone. But the Doctor can go see any day he wants, even a hundred thousand sunsets ago. I think riiiiight here is when these two start really falling for each other.
Rose starts to leave but the Doctor points out that jeans are just so déclassé and she should go change. He has a wardrobe?? Full of costumes?? Why hasn’t there just been an episode of them playing dress up? Oh wait, that’s the fan fiction I just started writing in my head. BRB.
Back to our poor Ghostbuster facsimiles! Sneed can’t seem to find the old lady, so he commands Gwyneth use her ‘sight’ to find her. You know, maybe Dr. Venkman would be more useful in this situation? I’m not telling you what to do, BBC, I’m just saying that I really want steam punk Ghostbusters now.
Gwen looks into the distance and reads the lady’s mind. Apparently, Old Lady was off to see a great, great man from London. And who is this great, great man?
Charles Dickens! And he’s about to do some stage show. Apparently, he likes to get chummy with stage hands and tells the poor stagehand he has no more ideas for any more cool stories. After that bit of depression, he’s ready to do the show!
The Doctor is on the TARDIS deck sonic-ing things and, I don’t know, fixing the flux capacitator, when Rose glides down the stairs in a rather fantastic gown. He does an internal “AAoooooGA!” but an external “Blimey! You look beautiful! Well, considering.” “Considering, what?” “That you’re human.” Nice save, Doctor.
Rose somehow manages not to slap him OR make out with him. Rose shows so much more considerable restraint than I would in these situations. Rose steps out, demanding first dibs at the New World. Arm in arm, they set out to explore history. When do you think they’ll figure out that the Doctor can’t drive for shit and they’ve ended up in Cardiff in 1869?
The Doctor, looking dashing in his all-black ensemble, and Rose, who kind of looks like a streetwalker with all that cleavage (SORRY ROSE), marvel at the buildings. Doc picks up a newspaper and FINALLY realizes that they didn’t land in Naples. Rose hilariously notes that she doesn’t care if it’s not the right year but breaks when she hears they’re in Cardiff. Poor Cardiff. I’m sure it’s not THAT big of a hell-hole. Right?
Our sleuths pull up to the theatre and Gwyneth assures Sneed that Old Lady is in it.
Dickens is on stage reading A Christmas Carol out loud. The crowd reacts as if it was a horror story. Which I suppose it was at the time? Maybe? Like how The Raven was supposed to be scary even when not read by James Earl Jones?
He sees Old Lady in the audience turn SUPER blue and gassy and freaks right the hell out. Old Lady stands and wisps of blue smoke chase people around the theatre.
The Doctor and Rose are outside and hear the screams. The Doctor grins and says “That’s more like it!” BECAUSE HE IS A SERIAL KILLER. If this show was on FX, Rose would stumble into a room on the TARDIS that was full of the preserved bodies of his previous companions.
Dickens tries to convince the audience (and himself) that it’s only a lantern show. The Doctor tries to figure out what’s going on and asks Dickens if he knows where the blue smoke monster came from. Dickens call the Doctor a ‘navvie’ which I assume is old-timey for ‘asshole’? Anyway, the Doctor sees a BSM go into the gas lights and deduces it’s made out of gas.
Our sleuths take Old Lady to their hearse and Rose goes after them to stop them. And gets chloroformed in the process. Ha.
Dickens tries to get how the Doctor made those ‘hobgoblins’ (Hee!) but the Doctor is more concerned that Rose has gone missing. Again. He and Dickens get in the coach with a cry of “Follow that hearse!” How many times have I heard THAT before! (Twice. It was twice.)
It is now that the Doctor finds out that Dickens is Dickens, and he fanboys all over himself. And explains ‘fanboying’ to Dickens, too.
Also, Rose is 19? Really? Okay.
Our sleuths take Rose and dump her rather unceremoniously on a table. Sneed wonders about getting a cheap exorcism from the Bishop who owes him a favour, when there is a knock-knock-knocking on (heaven’s) door (sorry not sorry.) Sneed tells Gwenny to tell whoever is out there that they are closed and to go away! The Wizard will not see anyone today!
Rose wakes up just in time to see a BSM enter the dead grandson. Uh oh.
Gwen opens the door to see our new favourite crime-solving duo (Dickens and the Doctor! Coming soon to a comic store near you!). They demand entrance!
Aaaaand Rose gets attacked by the grandma and grandson and HILARIOUSLY throws a vase at them. The Doctor figures out that something is living in the gas AND that he just heard Rose scream. He runs to her. And sexily kicks the door down and saves her from the dead family. Stupid, sexy doctor.
Dickens hopes it’s a prank, but the Doctor shuts that down. He also tells Rose that this is Charles Dickens, by the way. Rose takes it all in stride. Doc communicates with the walking dead, and they claim to need help. Something about a rift? I have a hard time hearing ghost-shriek. The BSMs evaporate out of the bodies.
Tea time! Rose is giving Sneed an earful and don’t think she doesn’t know you copped a quick feel, you dirty old man! The Doctor snickers in the background.
Sneed explains that this started happening about three months ago, and it is most annoying. Gwen gives the Doctor a tea with two sugars, just the way he likes it. I assume from the look on his face that he didn’t actually say so and he totally knows she’s an empath now.
The Doctor says that this place is by a rift, a link between two places. This explains everything! And by everything, I mean I hate these types of explanations.
Dickens has left the group to wander around. If this were a proper horror movie he’d be dead by now. He’s checking out the Dead Grandson and has a discussion with the Doctor (who creepily stands in doorways and just stands there. Looking), hoping to find out the trick.
The Doctor explains the BSMs are attracted to dead humans for our delicious, caramel gas centres and that the BSMs take us for a ride like a coach and driver. Dickens takes his sweet time realizing this world is full of crazy stuff.
Gwen and Rose come together in a cupboard somewhere and have a little chat. The usual girly things like boys, how crappy work is, skipping school, and how Gwen knows all of Rose’s secrets like how her father is dead and how modern London looks and a Big Bad Wolf (What? I don’t remember that. Maybe they heard my wish about playing with costumes?).
Isn’t the first rule of empath-ing is that you don’t talk about empath-ing? Unless you can make a TV show about how you use it help solve crimes with the police?
Having sufficiently freaked out Rose/given herself away, she admits she hears voices and has the Sight. The Doctor overhears and announces that they are going to have a séance.
And BAM! Séance time! Dickens is being cranky and the Doctor puns that we should be nice to Gwen, because he loves a “Happy Medium!” Rose groans for all of us.
Gwyneth does her thing, and they start hearing whispers. Blue Smoke Monsters appear. Doctor encourages her to make a link with them, and BSMs take on a more humanoid form. Apparently, they are called the Gelth and they should be pitied. They had bodies, but the Time War happened and they are now stuck in a gaseous state. The Doctor looks a tad guilty. So the Gelth would like corpses, please and thank you, so they can live. The Gelth dissipate.
The Doctor is all set to use Gwen to bring over the Gelth and let ‘em take all the dead folks, but Rose seems to object to that. The Doctor says it’s fine, dead people aren’t using their bodies, anyway! It’s like recycling! This doesn’t seem to placate Rose, so he roughly states that she should accept this new morality or go home. Way harsh, Tai.
Gwen says she will do what she needs to do to help her Angels.
Sneed says the weakest part of the house, the one with the most ghost sightings, is the morgue. Rose speaks for all of us when she asks why can’t it be the gazebo? It will never be the gazebo, Rose.
Rose says that this plan won’t work, because she doesn’t have walking corpses in her timeline. The Doctor crushes her idea and states that things can be changed, just like that.
Gwen gets under the arch, and the Doctor states that this is only a stop-gap: he’ll take them to a new world so they can build their own bodies. Gwen makes the connections and Gelth start pouring out of her mouth.
Spokesperson Gelth turns all fiery all of a sudden, saying that the Gelth will come through in force and that there are a few billion of them needing corpses. A freshly be-Gelthed corpse stands up and kills Mr. Sneed, preparing him for a Gelth of his very own. The Doctor finally admits that maaaaaybe something has gone a little wrong.
Dickens makes a run for it while Rose and the Doc are backed into a corner. A Gelth escapes the house and screams at Dickens like that ghost from Raiders. You know what I’m talking about.
Rose theorizes that she can’t die; she hasn’t even been born yet! Oh, Rose. Doc shoots that down. He apologizes. And gets mad that he doesn’t want to die in a dungeon in Cardiff of all places! He saw Troy and World War Five, dammit! They hold hands and agree to go down fighting.
Dickens comes back to house after realizing something about the gas. Apparently, flooding the place with gas will draw the Gelth from their hosts. And this works? Okelly.
The Doctor tries to talk Gwen into sending back the Gelth, but she’s too weak. She says she can light a match, though, and close the rift.
Rose is sad the Gwen didn’t make it out. Doctor says she was already dead, even though she spoke and helped them and stuff. How she did it is not satisfactorily explained. Or explained at all, really. She just managed it, okay??
At the TARDIS, Rose and the Doctor say their goodbyes to Dickens and realize this adventure has given him a new lease on life. Dickens tries to get some future information from the Doctor, and is told that his books last forever. That’s nice of the Doctor. They vworp-vworp away, giving Dickens a good laugh.
After last week’s episode of AWESOME ALIENS this one was kind of a letdown, but it has grown on me. Gwen is sweet and I enjoyed this portrayal of Dickens. Next time, aliens land in London. Say whaaaaat?