ARMY OF GHOSTS
Oh my gosh, what a good start. Rose is going to die. Well, by now everyone knows she didn't and I must say for once I didn't mind the trick double switch LIE. I love this story and this episode and I just think, that, the build up makes sense and is fun and interesting. I love Jackie and her return is just welcome. I love that she's stuck in the TARDIS during transit ("If we end up on Mars, I am going to kill you.") as she sits there. I also like her assertion that for one: Rose will not have any reason to come home and two: Rose won't be human any longer in fifty years time. Rose must wonder about how she will stay in the TARDIS and if they ever wanted to do a love story with the Doctor and a human it would have to have the TARDIS translate the human being's or beings' life span into that of a Time Lord, make it so that they too age slower unless we want a sad ending. I mean in 50 years is the Doctor THIS Doctor especially going to still want and love Rose? He does go for the young ones, almost all the time, again, especially this Doctor. Martha notices it later on ("Oh and she was blond, what a surprise!").
David Tennant makes his Doctor work and to be honest, here, he seems as if he's been the Doctor for years and years, so comfortable in the role, perhaps because he's really a fan boy at heart and always was the Doctor in his mind. He and Camille play off each other marvelously and Jackie's just such a good character in this. This being DW I have to admit that it makes sense that the ghosts are not real ghosts but...again RTD's faithless universe asserts itself...it has to be science and not supernatural and heaven forbid Heaven...not one of the aspects of DW that I love. I mean the Doc can use psychic paper and telepath across universes to Rose as a ghost himself in the next story but we can't have the dead coming back to life ("I think that's horrible") the Doctor is so very...non relgious and more importantly non spiritual. If you think about it, he really should be...I dunno, he really should be more mature, more quiet, more like KUNG FU's Caine. But how much fun would that be? Well it would save us from his singing briefly GHOSTBUSTERS. I don't really mind that bit, it's short.
The Torchwood stuff: I don't mind that either. I like the institute but as a villain or a heroic thing or something in between it makes an uneasy setting. Mind you I feel that ARMY OF GHOSTS and especially DOOMSDAY are the best DW stories ever made in either series, old or new and possibly the best DW stories ever told...but if you think about it, the Doc does very little here (not always a bad thing), is wrong (as Mickey said, "It's not the first time."), and the entire story really, while seemingly spanning Earth, takes place in this building...and it all really works. Glad to see Mickey back again. Man, I like him more than the Doctor.
There's also an ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEETS FRANKENSTEIN factor at work here. The story so works because of a colliding of histories: the Cybermen, the Daleks, Jackie, Mickey, Torchwood, the werewolf thing, AND Peter and the two universes. I mean for those who do not know in that movie Dracula and the Wolf Man also appear. And from the moment they do, we wonder when all three movie monsters will face off against each other and menace the two greatest comedians of all time Abbott and Costello. The thrill of each first appearance is only matched by the thrill of the finale as A and C run from Dracula vs the Wolfman while trying to avoid the rampaging Frankenstein Monster. Here we see...and is there any more thrilling moment than when the Daleks ----even if you know they were coming up out of this---rise from the circle and chant exterminate while knowing that Mickey and Jackie were back and that the Cybermen had already taken over the Earth! And that Rose was going to die! I don't know if there is any greater cliffhanger. This was just so fun and so promising and for once, we really get the promise lived up to. In the next episode and look at that, Jake and Pete return. Of course I worried Jake would die and maybe even Pete too. But Rose...at one point I thought since they were calling Jackie Rose, that Jackie would die and someone would say it was the death of Rose Tyler. Guess which one I'd pick to get the chop? Neither actually. I didn't want Rose, Jackie, Peter, Mickey or Jake to die. Since I really liked Jake a lot I figured he's be the one to die.
The psychic paper? How's it supposed to work actually? Is the person seeing it supposed to get the idea of what they thought you were in their head? Or does the person holding it up use it from their mind? Or is it that the holder has to put some idea in the other person's mind?
No matter, Billie's great in this episode in so many ways. As I rewatched this, with the idea that she would die on the back burner (she doesn't), I was freed up to think about how Rose is still really just a blip on the radar of the Doctor's life. I mean in FEAR HER he briefly mentioned being a father, he's had Sarah Jane, Jo, Liz, UNIT, Jamie, Zoe, Victoria, Susan, etc etc. In the spinoffs (he's had a ton of companions in the novels and comics and even a 16 year old lad named Wolfgang in DWAdventures along with a NEW blond named Heather) and the tv show specials and the fourth season, he's moved on which is as it should be (I guess but see my theory that the TARDIS might just be able to prolong a human who travels in time's life). A long time from now, Rose will just be another name on the list (in our reality and in the Doc's timeline) and it seems a shame the companions have to live like that and that the Doctor just has to go on without them ...or is it just this Doctor under RTD who thinks that way...if you get too old and unattractive, he'll leave you...?
Anyway, this story is just fantastic and flies by. The build up was a bit slow and Yvone was bit...too happy go lucky for me and a few of the scenes with the applause for the Doctor and Yvone's praise for the Doctor were a bit...uncomfortable and geeky for my tastes but at no time does it get sappy or totally embarassing as later stories would get. And remember they clapped for the Doctor. You'll need that when seeing NEXT DOCTOR. If you must. Still, all the parts of this story come together and make this season really count. Funny, I didn't want Rose to die but I didn't mind her leaving either. For some reason I felt there was no where they could go with her and she and the Doc's love seemed to either hit a plateau or it evolved and we weren't privy to it. RTD seems to have it both ways and the show isn't hurting from that...but it had to move on in one way or another. And was that Sargaphagus the Mummy from PYRAMIDS OF MARS?