Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E10 – The Doctor Dances

In the tenth episode of the first series of Doctor Who, the Doctor begins to figure out why the empty “zombies” act so much like children. When the truth of the source is revealed, it leads to awkward times with Nancy and Jack Harkness. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

I’m glad that I liked this episode so much because the second part of the last double-episode wasn’t quite as satisfying as the first one. We’ve got just as much character growth and emotion power as the first half, and all of it hangs under the dread of the Empty Children.

The Doctor takes a gamble during the continuation of the cliffhanger from “The Empty Child” by speaking to these weird zombie-like creatures as if he is their mummy. It works and, unbeknownst to him, it actually helps calm down the one that is after Nancy. It’s weird how right then and there, that is sort of the answer to everything, but I never picked up on it until the final reveal at the end of “The Doctor Dances.”

Jamie, the lead Empty Child, is controlling all these beings and this leads to a GREAT scene where they realize they’re standing inside his room. THANK YOU, STEVEN MOFFAT. Will these nightmares ever leave my subconscious? No, they won’t.

When Harkness teleported without them, I actually believed for a moment that he wouldn’t return. I know he liked Rose, but certainly not enough to care about saving them. (I was wrong.) Further proving that he always seems to know what to say or do in the right moments in order to win people to his side, Harkness plays Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” in an attempt to block out Jamie’s use of the radio to track our heroes.

This is when the title of this episode is finally explained. I’ve really grown to love how Rose and the Doctor interact with each other and, fresh off a round of flirting with Harkness, Rose is suddenly motivated to challenge the Doctor to dance with her. I get the feeling that she is truly attracted to Harkness, but she enjoys the company and dependability of the Doctor more. The Doctor’s clearly aware of this, as we watch him stumble just a bit trying to remember how to dance. Unfortunately, this adorable scene is interrupted when Harkness teleports them onto his ship.

On that ship, by the way, we do get some more background into the Captain. While the Doctor is amazed with the nanogenes on board, Harkness explains what exactly caused him to go on the run: the Time Agency stole two years of his memories. Seriously, guys, Moffat must have a heart of terror, because these two episodes he’s written are full of things that terrify me to no end. Thought stealing? Gas mask-growing zombies? Spooky children? Typewriters working on their own??? Oh god, this man is nightmare-inducing.

Nancy isn’t out of the clear either. Unfortunately, she knows the real key to all of this; Dr. Constantine had warned the Doctor that she knew more than she was letting on. When she tells the other children that they’re not safe with her, I wondered why Jaime was specifically targeting her over everyone else. Was it just because they were siblings? But it didn’t explain much of how this all happened. The key to it all is at the bomb site, surely, so Nancy heads there to doรขโ‚ฌยฆwell, I’m not sure what. I wondered if maybe Nancy wasn’t human, but the next scene confirms that she is very much a person and very much living in fear of whatever transformed. Nancy gets captured by soldiers at the site and then HANDCUFFED NEXT TO A GUARD WHO IS SICK WITH THE INFECTION. No, really, Steven Moffat, get out of my brain. It’s so horrible! I seriously could not imagine a more terrifying situation than being stuck with a living, walking disease that is highly contagious and completely fatal. (Sort of fatal? Whatever, STILL AWFUL.)

The resolution of all this does go by pretty fast but I was surprisingly still satisfied with the way things wrapped up. In short, the main plot is explained by those amazing nanogenes that were aboard Harkness’s ship: when the boy died in the air raid, he was wearing a gas mask. The nanogenes simply assumed this was part of the make up of humans, so it was never purposely killing them this entire time: IT WAS TRYING TO HEAL THEM. Again, I’ll say it a million times, but Steven Moffat, the things in your head scare me. How fucked up is that? The “villain” for this episode was never once trying to harm someone.

As for the strange behavior between Nancy and Jamie, we sadly learn that social shame caused Nancy to lie about who Jamie was: she is actually a teen mother, frightened by society into admitting who this boy was. The wonderful thing about the Doctor is how sympathetic and open he is to her, essentially assuring her to tell Jaime she is his mummy. There’s a great subtext to this scene about how Nancy should be proud of being a mother and that it’s really other people’s fault for the pain she’s gone through with her son. THEN THERE ARE HUGS AND MY HEART WARMS AND I ALMOST FORGET THE HORRIFYING THINGS IN THIS TWO-PARTER. I said almost.

The time for the German bomb to fall on the site is at hand and Captain Jack Harkness uses the Chula ship to trap the bomb in a tractor beam; he bids Rose and the Doctor goodbye, as he’ll be leaving to dispose of the bomb somewhere far out his space. Imagine my surprise, then, when Rose, on board the TARDIS, wonders why Harkness said goodbye to them at all. As it turns out, Harkness gets stuck with the bomb, unable to get rid of it and unable to leave his ship.

The Doctor to the rescue! The episode ends with Rose and the Doctor gaining a new companion via teleportation. It also ends with one of the stronger images of the series yet: The Doctor and Rose, finally dancing smoothly together, as Captain Jack Harkness watches on.


  • “Just this once, everybody lives!” I didn’t notice it, but someone has died in practically every episode so far. It’s a nice change of pace.
  • “Oh, I know. First day I met him, he blew my job up. That’s practically how he communicates.”
  • “I’ve traveled with a lot of people, but you’re setting new records for jeopardy friendly.”
  • “Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks, ‘Ooh, this could be a little more sonic’?”
  • “Who am I to argue with history?” “Usually the first in line.” SICK BURN.
  • Why is John Barrowman’s face so goddamn perfect? Like, HOW IS SKIN THAT PERFECT?
  • A new companion!! Yay!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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236 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E10 – The Doctor Dances

  1. Maddi says:

    How could you forget "Rose, I'm trying to resonate concrete"??

    • Wahlee says:

      And don't forget :

      "I like bananas. Bananas are good."

      "Don't drop the banana!"
      "Why not?"
      "Good source of potassium!"

    • psycicflower says:

      The Doctor: We were talking about dancing.
      Jack: It didn't look like talking.
      Rose: It didn't feel like dancing.

      Rose: ‘When he’s stressed he likes to insult species.’

      Nancy: ‘Oh look, there’s the sweat on your brow.’

    • Raoul Duke says:

      "I'm trying to resonate concrete" is now my goto line to my wife when she asks me to so something I don't want to do.

  2. Merrick says:

    "I didn’t notice it, but someone has died in practically every episode so far."

    This was in fact the first Doctor Who story other than one story in the very first season back in 1963 with zero fatalities, hence the Doctor's jubilation.

  3. bugs nixon says:

    I'm loving reading these [I came here from Reddit]. I'm so glad you're enjoying The Doctor. Fantastic.

  4. xghostproof says:


    Yes! These episodes give me the absolute creeps just thinking about them, but kdhdksfgljsdalkfgsadf! There's also heartfelt gooey bits that make me go "D'aaaawww" for a moment and almost forget how absolutely terrifying it is to me.

    The baddie being the nanogenes, who were just trying to help was just mind-blowing when I watched this episode. Talk about the best of alien technology at its worst, huh?

    ETA: Also, I just remembered I had this saved. Never more apt.

    <img src=""&gt;

  5. who cares says:

    Bananas are good.

  6. knut says:

    Seriously, Moffat is a nightmare genius.

    It's Barrowman's perfect teeth that freak me out- HE HAS SO MANY AND THEY'RE SO PERFECT! Or maybe I'm secretly jealous because of all the freak dentistry I had to go through and I STILL have wonky teeth :/

    • syntheticjesso says:

      HEAR HEAR. I had braces for something like 4.5 years, and my teeth are still wonky. Of course, that's probably because I never wore my retainer, but whatever. I choose to blame my orthodontist. He was a jerk, so he deserves it.

    • I get freaked out when he breaks out the Scottish accent. :/ It's weird because I remember him with his American one even when he was on kids TV back in the day

  7. Skiesfyre says:


    The entire exchange with "Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks 'oooh this could be a little more sonic'?" and after is STILL my favourite Doctor Who moment ever.

  8. kaleidoscoptics says:

    Yess this episode. There is so much that happens here and all the different plot threads are wrapped up so wonderfully. I love it. The whole thing keeps going back from hilarious lines to OH SHIT moments fast enough to give you whiplash. One moment it's THE MONSTER IS ALREADY HERE and the next it's WTF BANANA?

    Personally I like this episode more than the first part. There are a lot of great character moments from Nancy and Jack especially. Nancy singing to the former-soldier was an incredible part. Think of how terrifying that must have been. And then Jack goes from a kind of stereotypical conman to an actual character with a purpose–lost memories, actual empathy instead of flirting just to get the job done. The gallows humor was a nice touch, too. "Too much vermouth. See if I come here again!"

    Fun fact: The bomb that Jack picks up? It has the words schlechter wolf on it. (iirc the proper German should be böse wolf, but close enough. Any actual German-speakers here?)

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      That is by far the toughest Bad Wolf Reference to spot. Mark makes no mention of it, which suggests he missed it – hardly suprising, to be fair.

      • kaleidoscoptics says:

        I never would have caught it on my own, honestly. Forget where I heard it, but it was either a Confidential ep or a random interview where the writers were discussing the bad translation.

    • Stephanie says:

      I didn't catch that one until I was looking at screenshots and noticed the word "wolf" and just assumed what schlechter meant.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      Here's a pic (stolen from Tardis.wikia).

      <img src=>

      • jerseygirl93 says:

        I've never seen this! This is so cool!!!! i was just thinking that there were no bad wolf mentions in this episode, as there have been in the episodes so far, and this is just awesome!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • ferriswheeljunky says:

      Re. 'schlechter Wolf' – yes, 'böse' is probably better for the sense they want. 'Schlecht' means bad as in generally rubbish, eg. 'schlechtes Wetter' is bad weather. 'Böse' means bad as in evil, eg. 'böse Fee' is a bad fairy.

    • Blabbla says:

      Maybe it's not a grammatical error. Maybe the wolf is just of really bad quality, and we are simply assuming that "bad" refers to morals.

    • Amanda says:

      Wow, and I thought I'd spotted all of them. Watched this season about twenty times, too.

  9. Albion says:

    As scary as this story is I always have the biggest grin at the end. It's just full of joy ๐Ÿ˜€

    Can't believe you didn't mention this quote:

    Rose: Look at you beaming away like you're Father Christmas.

    Doctor: Who says I'm not? Redbicyclewhenyouweretwelve!

  10. Sara says:

    Moffat is the absolute King of Creepy. Basically, if an episode scares the shit out of you and makes you sleep with the lights on for a week, Moffat did it. He's pretty fantastic. I mean, even if he hadn't gone on to take over the show and give the world Sherlock besides, I would love him forever just for this two-parter. And for introducing us to Captain Jack, of course.

    • sabra_n says:

      Basically, if an episode scares the shit out of you and makes you sleep with the lights on for a week, Moffat did it.

      Except when he didn't. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then you get that extra frisson of terror that comes from the shock of a non-Moffat episode being that friggin' terrifying.

      • nanceoir says:

        Like the way people assume that all great thriller-type movies from the '40s to '60s are Hitchcock movies when they're not, Moffat is the brand name of terrifying Who episodes.

    • Tauriel says:

      Actually, Captain Jack Harkness was RTD's invention, he was only introduced in Moffat's episode, but he wasn't created by Moffat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Adn sorry if my writing is a bit off, it's already 3:30 AM where I live (Central Eureope), so HApPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!! *hugs all around*

    • bookling says:

      It's a spoiler to talk about future episodes.

  11. Stephanie says:

    "Just this once, EVERYBODY LIVES!!"
    "Doctor, where's Jack?"
    That shut him up really fast. The "could be more sonic" conversation is one of my favourites in all of NuWho. I also love (I'm paraphrasing because I can't remember exactly) "It blew up, though." "Like I said, I've only been there once. There's a banana grove there now. I like bananas. Bananas are good!"
    And, of course: "Don't drop the banana!" "Why not?" "Good source of potassium!"
    I love the Doctor. This episode always makes me want to eat a banana. I don't even like bananas

  12. psycicflower says:

    Dancing: the least subtle metaphor ever.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Two fun facts about the episode.
    1. They wanted to use the skull crunching noise when Dr Constantine changed but weren’t allowed and yet actually ended up using it for the transformations in this episode.
    2. The typewriter scene was a last minute add on because they needed more time but they could only get the actors for Nancy and the kids. How so creepy Moffat, even when under pressure?

    I continue to love Nancy. She's so no nonsense with the Dad of the house and getting what she needs for herself and the kids. Or that her possibly last words to the children was ‘Plenty of greens. Chew your food.’ She really is trying to be the best mother she can for everyone and it's not her fault she had to hide who she was.

    It's interesting to compare Jack to the previous mistakes of Adam and Rose. While he denies responsibility, it sounds like he did his best to make sure no one got hurt but he should know it’s more than coincident. Unlike Adam however, he does the right thing. Instead of getting the hell out of dodge, he does everything he can to help and even ends up risking his own life in order to save everyone else. The Doctor must believe that he's a good person if he's letting him become a companion. ‘Much bigger on the inside.’ ‘Better be.’

    This episode can never not be creepy between the tape that had stopped playing andthe typewriter working by itself but it just has such a happy ending.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    Look at that face and tell me you don't share his sheer joy in everybody getting to live. Not to mention dancing.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    (I'm very tempted to break out a bunch of dance gifs for a party.)

  13. Openattheclose says:

    The last fifteen minutes of this episode was the first I had ever seen of doctor who. Scifi was having a marathon and this was towards the beginning of it. Needless to say, I was hooked.

  14. who cares says:

    FYI dancing in the episode is a deliberate metaphor for sex.

    • Hanah says:

      Did they ever actually say specifically that it was? I thought that was all fandom speculation that made a lot of sense and was probably true but never offically confirmed?

      • who cares says:

        I'm pretty sure it was. I'd have to check but I think Moffat has gone on record saying that it was.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        The Doctor: “Relax, he's a 51st century guy. He's just a bit more flexible when it comes to dancing.”
        Rose: “How flexible?”
        The Doctor: “Well, by his time, you lot have spread out across half the galaxy.”
        Rose: “Meaning?”
        The Doctor: “So many species, so little time…”
        Rose: “What, that's what we do when we get out there? That's our mission? We seek new life, and… and…”
        The Doctor: (grinning) “Dance.”

        That's a pretty unsubtle metaphor, if you ask me. Not that I mind, I think it's hilarious.

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Yeah, the metaphor's about as subtle as a flying mallet.

          Not to mention poor Doctor's indignation about it all. "You just….you just assume I- that I don't dance!" *pouty face*

    • LadyLately says:

      Jack's a voyeur! Not surprised in the least!

  15. katherinemh says:

    "My leg's grown back! When I came to the hospital, I had one leg!"
    "Well… there's a war on. Is it possible you miscounted?"

    • xghostproof says:

      I don't think I could have laughed any harder than I did at those lines the first time I saw this episode.
      I hadn't even thought about missing limbs also being fixed when everything was finally righted, and the reply back was equally unexpected, breathing was so hard by the time I calmed down laughing.

  16. Pseudonymph says:

    "What’s life? Life’s easy. A quirk of matter. Nature’s way of keeping meat fresh."

  17. echinodermata says:

    I fangirl Whedon a lot, but when it comes to choosing specific episodes of television as my favorites, I think Moffat wins.

    I love how he does the creepiest villains, and his episodes are consistently the scariest, yet he doesn't even kill anyone here. And he's so good with one-off characters.

    I love Nancy, and okay I love Captain Jack but I'm pretty sure he's RTD's, but just in general he writes interesting, multi-faceted characters in his sleep.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Well, RTD gave him a basic outline, which included, `By the way, he's omnisexual, but I don't suppose that will come up`.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        "That won't come up?" It's one of Jack's main defining character traits!

      • rys says:

        With Jack, it always comes up.

      • Elliott Mason says:

        Trufax: I didn't see any New!Who for years after its airdate, but would occasionally click through to no-context-needed fanfics recced by my friends.

        I was convinced that Cap'n Jack was a fan-created character, because he's self-slashing and always cheerfully up for a shag.

        Imagine my shock when I saw this ep. I literally turned to my spouse and said "Oh my God, he's actually CANON!" It was like that point in the M&Ms commercials where the M&M's and Santa faint at each other. :->

  18. arctic_hare says:

    You are still not prepared for Moffat and his fucked-up terror-inducing ways. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    ALSO YAY FUCK YES I CAN FINALLY TALK ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE SCENES IN ANYTHING EVER! That scene being, of course, "Everybody lives!" My eyes well up EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it, and I've gone back and rewatched it a LOT. It's just… so beautiful. Moffat proved with that scene that you can do such an ending and have it be at least as moving as one where tons of people died, IMO. It really is a nice change of pace to see everything go right for the Doctor for once, and I think Eccleston really nailed it there with his delivery of the lines.

    When I first watched this pair of episodes, all I knew about Moffat were a) that he had taken over as head writer for series five and b) that he was apparently brilliant, so when his name popped up at the beginning, I was all "Ooh, yay, let's see what his writing is like!" because I was v. v. curious. They definitely made a fan out of me, I was so excited to see more of his episodes, and now I'm excited all over again, for YOU to see more of his episodes (methinks you need a tag for Steven Moffat to go with the RTD one?).

    • jackiep says:

      Everyone Lives, and yet they're standing in an air raid in the London Blitz with bombs raining down all around them, presumably onto many Londoners who don't live out the night at all.

      So even when everybody lives, they're surrounded by death!

  19. valdora says:

    These two episodes are possibly my favorite of any tv show ever. Flawless.

  20. Sierra says:

    Yay team TARDIS. Oh the shenanigans those three could get up to.

  21. who cares says:

    Also a Happy New Year everyone from a place where it's already 2011.

  22. Tilja says:

    In case you forgot, Mickey said before in Aliens of London about the Doctor that his name appears all throughout history… followed always by a list of the dead. Yeah, this show has a higher mortality rate than Firefly in its best day, not even exagerating. Speaking of that ep, don't feel bad about not liking World War Three; Slitheens are not very likable in any of their presentations anyway. Maybe that's why I don't watch SJA as they're main villains there.

    I will say like everyone else, Steven Moffat is the best at creepiest of creepy things. His head always goes to the worst kind of nightmares to portray in the scariest manner possible. Wait till you get to my favourite New Series episode, Blink. And by then you should've already completely fallen in love with this series or you don't have human feelings. =3


    • who cares says:

      Don't mention favourite episodes as they create expectations and ruin the element of surprise as per the spoiler rules.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Yeah- I really would avoid outright mentioning further episodes. Now he's 1) spoiled for the villains of SJA if he ever watches it and 2) has expectations for Blink.

      (But happy new year, all the same!)

      • Tilja says:

        Great. That reminds me why I never comment anymore. I can't even name my own preferences without a single detail without being considered spoilery. Doesn't matter anyway as Mark seems to never read the comments, a fact stated by his writing of posts. I figured this'd never get out and be completely forgotten in time as it is.

        If you want me to erase my comment just say the word. Not that it's been commented I can't edit, only erase, and the answers will go with it. So give a shout and I'll eliminate it all.

        Have a happy year ahead of you.

  23. thirty2flavors says:

    I think this is one of the few two-parters where I like the second half better. The screwdriver/banana exchange is hilarious, "in a pinch you could put up some shelves" is probably one of the funniest lines in the show IMO, and the dancing bits with Rose and the Doctor are definitely interesting character moments. Plus, the "everyone lives!" and Nine's glee at that fact is some very genuine emotion. I don't think this is the best episode of s1 or of Moffat's, but in the top end, definitely.

  24. studious_mom says:

    I adore Captain Jack. It's awesome reading this review, because I felt the same as you at the beginning of this two-parter: Captain Jack is slick, but a little *too* slick. By the end of this two-parter, I love Captain Jack forever.

    You need to watch Torchwood, which I'm sure has already been recommended to you. Also, I heard there may be an American version of Torchwood with John Barrowman starring as YES Captain Jack Harkness YES! Except American tv seems to ruin all that is good and wonderful, so I'm simultaneously excited and terrified about this possibility.. Has anyone watched Top Gear America? Ugh.

    • swimmingtrunks says:

      Actually, RTD is working with Starz, I think? to bring Torchwood to the US as a continuation of the British series, with all of the current cast on board. I think the fact that the creator is still involved as well as the UK cast, AND that it's coming here through a cable channel rather than one of the big networks is going to give it a fighting chance at least.

      • syntheticjesso says:

        Really? Oh man, this is fabulous news! I am so happy. I had heard about a possible American version and feared it, but this makes me feel so much better.

        [insert high-pitched noise of joy here]

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Yeah- I read the summary. Its a direct continuation of the other series, with the same characters (well…you know. The ones that can come back). It just takes place in America.

  25. Randomcheeses says:

    There is no explaining John Barrowman's complexion. It defies all attempts. It simply is.

    Just this once EVERBODY LIVES!!

    Best line ever? y/y/y

  26. Reed says:


    • FlameRaven says:

      I think the best part about this is that we don't really ever see the screwdriver used AS a screwdriver. XD It hacks electronics, resonates concrete, opens doors… but does not screw or unscrew anything.

  27. Fusionman says:

    Welcome back to Fusion's Random Facts! Someone in the studio audience reminded me that I forgot something about Barrowman. Barrowman is a singer! He was in the 1994 version of Grease in London as John Travolta's part. He has a couple CD's out. I recommend them. He is AMAZING!

    First trivia about this episode! This is one of the first times that it is mentioned that the Doctor does the nasty. We knew he did, I mean he had a granddaughter and all but the show never mentioned it. This is also one of the few times the Doctor dances. I mean dance not "DANCE"

    As mentioned there's usually some deaths every adventure. Of course it's always a high death count when the Daleks are involved. The setting the Doctor uses on the screwdriver is 2428-D.

    Now the first of Moff trivia!

    A. He's also Scottish. Very proud of it too.

    B. He was born in David Tennant's hometown.

    C. He's a huge fanboy. Here's what he said when he got the lead writer/producer job. "My entire career has been a secret plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back because the BBC wanted someone else. Also, I was seven."

    D. Most of his episodes are based on either his nightmares,paranoia or common nightmares.. HE WILL STEAL YOUR SLEEP MARK!

  28. Hypatia_ says:

    And here we have my favourite Ninth Doctor episode. I love practically everything about it.
    *The banana. Where the HELL did Nine get a banana in the middle of wartime London, particularly an offworld banana? Do I really want to know?

    *Jack and the Doctor comparing their…sonic devices. ::snerk:: Doctor Who is generally good about throwing in things that the kids won’t get but that’ll make the adults snicker, but this episode goes all out. Dancing indeed.

    *Nancy. She wins all things ever. When she faces down the man who catches her stealing, I could hardly keep from cheering.

    *“Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, EVERYBODY LIVES!” No, I’m not getting teary, I’ve just got something in my eye…brb…

    *Captain Jack, just in general. I love the character, but more than that I love that he’s there, being who he is, in what is ostensibly a children’s show. If someone tried to put a character like Jack in an American children’s program, there would be the biggest backlash since the Gay Teletubbie brouhaha. The producers would get enraged letters and death threats, people would picket outside the studio, conservative pundits, religious leaders and politicians would devote whole, rant-filled shows to the issue, everyone involved would get sued for exposing children to “immorality”, and then the producers, screenwriters and the actor would be forced to issue grovelling apologies. In the UK, it’s apparently not that big a deal. All of which convinces me that, given the choice between big-budget CGI on American shows and characters like Jack on British ones, I’ll take Jack any day (no innuendo intended. Really. We have yet to meet the character I actually have a crush on ;-).)

    • rys says:

      I love your point about Captain Jack. I read an interview with John Barrowman once where he said that sometimes kids see him in the street or somewhere and say they love him (Captain Jack) …and, yes, I have something in my eye also. Must be a bit dusty in here. :') But it's great that he has been so accepted and embraced. This is why I think its important to have good tv writers — they can actually make a difference to people's perceptions about things that might otherwise be treated as taboo/scandalous.

    • Cleo says:

      Honestly, being gay over here isn't really a big thing. With the huge majority of people here it's 'you're gay? oh… okay, I don't care.' There might be some of the older generation that are put off by it but I've only ever encountered grannies who think it's great.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        See, in the US it's still a big issue (not for everyone, of course, but as a general cultural thing). Less so in Canada, from what I've been able to tell living here. Still, as an American, it's a surprise to me to see non-heterosexual characters depicted positively in popular media and have it not be a big deal.

      • Elliott Mason says:

        It is sufficiently stigmatized here in the US that, if you are, say, a teacher at a public school, you are well-advised to be firmly closeted. Even if your principal has no personal problem with it, the likelihood that at least one set of parents of your students will storm in pearl-clutching over the fact that their kids happened to find out that their teacher HAZ TEH GHEY is exceedingly high, and can lead to dismissal.

        At least in states that haven't passed laws saying "you can't fire someone just because you don't like that they're gay, kthxbai."

      • kytten says:

        well, at least among everyone except the idiots of the current generation.

        I've heard some astonishingly homophobic people, but if you ask them if they think gay people should have the same rights as straight they look kind of confused and say "uhh, yeah?"

    • katherinemh says:

      Oh my god, I love when Nancy completely destroys the man she was stealing from. "There's the sweat on your brow." Four for you, Nancy, you go, Nancy.

      • Minish says:

        Nancy will always be the best thing ever <3

      • liliaeth says:

        I didn't like it so much, since she pretty much used the fact he was gay against him as a threat.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          I prefer to look at it as Nancy using the fact that he's *having an affair* against him. That would be damning enough for a `respectable man of the community` in the 1940s.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I didn't like it, but it was a good tie in to Nancy hiding the fact that she's a teen mom. She knows exactly how desperate people are to hide things that society finds unsavory. I can see self-loathing playing into her treatment of him.

    • Tauriel says:

      That's because Jack is much more than "just a gay character". He's cool, he's a hero (now that he's met the Doctor, that is), and he doesn't make a fuss aobut his sexuality – he's what he is. That's what I like about him – his (admittedly unusual) sexuality isn't shoved down anyone's throat, it's just…there. No big deal. As it should be, I believe.

  29. Karen says:

    To be honest, these are not my favorite episodes, although they are probably my favorite out of everything that Moffat has written. His style is just not for me, and these episodes do display some of the weaknesses in his writing. But they are definitely enjoyable enough. And, unlike some of the other stuff he's written, I think that these episodes hold up to multiple viewings pretty well.

    The thing about Moffat is that if he could just keep his mouth shut, I'd enjoy his work a lot more. But knowing his views on women, it's just a lot easier to read things into his writing. E.G. Rose in this episode is reduced to the role of love interest and Nancy is a plot device whose sole role is that of mother (both biologically to Jamie as well as a surrogate mother to the other kids). I wouldn't blink twice at that normally (well I would probably raise an eyebrow at Rose's OOC-ness), but in the context of Moffat's espoused views… I can't help but give him some major side eye.

    • thirty2flavors says:

      Yeah I do think I would like Moffat's writing a lot more if I wasn't in the fandom. Being in fandom means that I think about things way more than I would for other shows, and also exposes me to interviews and wank and all that. If you removed all those things from the equation and I was a casual viewer, I think I would like Moffat's stuff a lot. But alas.

      I do like these ones though, although I have to say I think even among Moffat's stuff they're maybe 3rd or 4th.

    • ?
      I hadn't heard he had anything negative to say.

      • Karen says:

        Moffat's brand of sexism isn't the obvious "I hate women. Argh!" kind. It's the more subtle "I am an idiot privileged male" kind of sexism.

        A couple of his shiny and sparkling views on men and women:
        "There’s this issue you’re not allowed to discuss: that women are needy. Men can go for longer, more happily, without women. That’s the truth. We don’t, as little boys, play at being married – we try to avoid it for as long as possible. Meanwhile women are out there hunting for husbands."
        "Well, the world is vastly counted in favour of men at every level – except if you live in a civilised country and you’re sort of educated and middle-class, because then you’re almost certainly junior in your relationship and in a state of permanent, crippled apology. Your preferences are routinely mocked. There’s a huge, unfortunate lack of respect for anything male."
        (from this interview:

        There are others, but those are spoilery, so I'll just leave it there.

        • vermillioncity says:

          AGREED. I have a LOT of issues with Moff's views on women, even though I love him as a writer. A lot of people (myself included) emailed the Beeb at one point about a comment he made on the Confidental for S05x01 about casting Karen (can't remember it word for word, but something along the lines of he saw a photo and thought she looked short and chubby, then when he saw he IRL she was tall and gorgeous and that was basically when he decided to cast her. I mean, paraphrasing, ofc, but it made me feel really uncomfortable. Um, you wouldn't cast her cause of her acting ability or anything? We all know women are only there to look at =|.

          He's also called Rose 'clingy' more than once, I think he compared her to a 'clingy ex-girlfriend'. Stfu, Moffat.

          Ahaha, I'm pissed off at him anew now that I've remembered that (and the comments you quoted). I've just been fangirling him a ton over these two episodes and now I'm annoyed again, lmao.

          • Karen says:

            Ugh. Yeah. I read about that quote re:casting Karen. I actually haven't seen it because I h aven't seen any of these series 5 Confidentials because I didn't want to be enjoying all the behind the scenes stuff only to be faced with surprise!Moffat! He never comes off well in interviews.

    • arctic_hare says:

      He gives such unfortunate interviews, but bizarrely I've tended to love his female characters (and in the context of this episode, I thought Nancy was pretty positive, I really liked her personality and enjoyed the subtext that Mark noted, of society being the bad guy for shaming her; I won't go into any others because: SPOILERS).

      • Karen says:

        I don't think that Nancy is a negative character. And I certainly think that Moffat believes that he is creating strong female characters. I just think that his view on women and male/female relationships limit the way that he writes them and in how they function as plot devices (usually either as a mother, wife or object of male sexual desire) rather than feeling like fully formed characters. I really can't say more without being spoilery, but I'm sure it'll come up again later.

  30. Thennary Nak says:

    As I mentioned yesterday I love these episodes. It's hard for me to see them as separate from each other though, probably because I've always watched them both together.

    But I love the plot twist with Nancy, as you really don't see it coming until the characters do and it makes so much sense. Just as the idea that the 'baddies' of the episode aren't bad at all, just confused.

    And while I tend to have issues with Moffat and some of his writing for characters he avoided that problem he has from time to time with these episodes as I never felt anyone was there to mainly be a plot device. And of course he does write wonderfully witty dialogue and I think most of the quotes I can remember from the first season comes from these episodes.

  31. jennywildcat says:

    Steven Moffat will haunt your nightmares and laugh maniacally while doing it. The man has a sick and twisted imagination – but he uses it beautifully and I love him for it.

    There are so many great little gems in these two episodes and I think most people have pointed out the best ones, but I haven't seen this – when the woman comes up to Dr. Constantine at the end asking why she has two legs when she only had one when she came to the hospital – "There's a war on. It is possible you miscounted?" XD XD XD XD

    And now, for a video – only spoilers are for "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" (which you have just reviewed, so you're okay):

    EVERYBODY LIVES! (sorry, couldn't help myself ^_^)

  32. rys says:

    I think these two episodes come together beautifully, and as others have said, fantastic dialogue and some great fleshing out of minor/secondary characters. I also really liked the theme that shaming Nancy into rejecting Jamie caused things to go awry for everyone. She was able to be so motherly to everyone (including telling off the Doctor!) except the one person who needed it.

    Also, dude, Captain Jack. I wasn't sure what to make of him at first but I was pretty smitten by the end of this episode.

  33. buyn says:

    Fear Forecast for The Doctor Dances also rates a 5 for scariness. To this day, the "Everyone lives" line gets me choked up. Because sci fi, generally kills someone in each episode. Murder mysteries? Yes. Just about any television/book that I read or watch involves death. How is it, that it took me until this episode to realize how many people die just for my entertainment?

  34. Araniapriime says:

    "To seek out new life… and dance." Welcome to Captain Jack Harkness, omnisexual time traveler, conman, reluctant hero and MY DREAM MAN. I don't know whether I want to fuck him or be him. But he's a fictional character, so I'll just have to have him as my role model. ๐Ÿ˜€

    BTW, also welcome to the famous RTD "gay agenda". It's not an official agenda, but he often puts non-heteronormative characters in the shows he runs without making them GAY CHARACTERS OMG. They're just fully realized people, and sometimes people happen to be gay. Bless him.

    Oh, P.S? Still ain't prepared.

  35. Cat says:

    "Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, everybody lives!"

    This two-parter was my first exposure to DW, and while I was hooked halfway through the first ep, it was this line and the sheer joy in Eccleston's delivery that sealed the deal. I couldn't get hold of the rest of the show fast enough.

  36. Danielle says:

    "Look at you, beaming away like you're Father Christmas."
    "Who says I'm not? Red bicycle when you were twelve."

  37. Minish says:


    Gotta love HasselMoff. Sure he'll terrify the shit out of you, but he'll still provide a genuinely amazing story. It almost seems appropriate to have an "everybody lives" story given the setting.

    "My leg's grown back! When I come to the hospital, I had one leg!"
    "Well… there's a war on. Is it possible you miscounted?"

    (Why is it that I always have a lot to say about an episode, but then forget it all when I actually have to post a comment?!"

    Best way to end the year Y/Y?

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      To be fair, I think the WW3 cliffhanger resolution was important to establish that things that are lethal to humans don't necessarily affect Time Lords as severely…

      …and perhaps vice versa?

      At least, that's how I viewed it.

  38. I'm trying to picture the Doctor staying up all night putting up shelves, now

    • grlgoddess says:

      I'm sure that night would end in at least five explosions and three averted alien invasions. And then he'd decide he didn't really need those shelves anyway, leaving the TARDIS to clean up his mess, so she'd drop him off at a boring afternoon in Antarctica as revenge.

    • Would they be sonic shelves?

  39. syntheticjesso says:

    The first time I watched these episodes, I had no idea it was a two-parter. It was late at night, and I had work the next morning, but I said "Okay, I'll watch just one more" and started The Empty Child. Naturally, I had all my windows open to the dark, and my back to said windows, so by the time I finished it and it was a cliffhanger, I COULDN'T MOVE. I was absolutely convinced that an empty child was about to come through the window and eat my soul or something. I immediately started the second part, and felt a little better when things were resolved, but the next day at work was rough from the lack of sleep.

    I kind of like that seeing Rose with Jack made the Doctor feel like he had to prove that he could be fun.

  40. rainbowsinside says:

    Yep, this whole storyline was completely terrifying. I'm not a fan of scary movies, so while it all intrigued me greatly, I just wanted it all to be over and happy again. And it was a great payoff at the end there. I loved the Doctor's happiness at nobody dying. It really puts into perspective how he lives his life, if he can be that elated at nobody dying.

  41. Tauriel says:

    The resolution to the cliffhanger from the previous episode ("Go to your room!") is all sorts of awesome BECAUSE it's so simple in its nature. And I think the same can be said about many (not all!!!) of Moffat's episodes – he takes ordinary things (gas mask, in this instance), and turn them into something scary. Which, somehow, makes it much more terrifying than if it was some weird alien or something. Steven Moffat is the Master of Fear, what can I say. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Gas masks are already COMPLETELY GODDAMN TERRIFYING. Not to say that putting them on undead zombie children in kneesocks doesn't make it worse.

  42. jerseygirl93 says:

    -"Actually, Doctor, I thought that Jack might like this dance…"
    -"Yes Rose, I bet he would, I know he would…….but who with???"
    aaaaaahhhhhh i love this line….. <3 ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Both of them, I expect.

      How many slashfics do you think spontaneously sprang into being upon the broadcasting of that line?

      • pica_scribit says:

        Jack is like the patron saint of slashfic or something. God's gift to slash writers, at the very least.

  43. Tauriel says:

    "So many species, so little time…" Teehee. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Anseflans says:

      Why is the first thing that pops up in my perverted mind 'Jack/Slitheen'??!?!?!? I HATE MYSELF.

    • kytten says:

      I have to admit the really pervy side of my nature likes the idea that the prominent impression of humans when we finally atart interacting with alien species is our willingness to have sex with them.

  44. Pingback:

  45. Suspicious Cookie says:

    Yes, Moffat feeds on fear. And he has at least one episode every season, so prepare yourself! But he's great at writing children, isn't he? And comedy, and timey wimey shenanigans.

  46. grlgoddess says:

    Because of this episode, I am no longer able to write/think about the word "dancing" without using suggestive quotation marks.

  47. Nakeefeet says:

    So much love for this episode. Moffat is a genius of creepy in the best possible way. This episode marks the first of many of which someone in my family has been a character for Halloween. My youngest was The Empty Child in '09, which nobody got, but we didn't care.

  48. pica_scribit says:

    Love these eps so much! Moffat is a great, great man who entertains me enormously, whether he's writing comedy or a creep-fest like this. And OH! We are getting close to the end of the series! How's the voting on classic Who episodes going?

  49. Lolua says:

    By Tealin Raintree (twirlynoodle on LJ): <img src="; border="0" alt="for MWDW 1.10">

  50. kelseyintherain says:

    There are so many great moments in this episode, it's really hard for me to pick a favorite. I love all the creepy moments Moffat puts in like the typewriter and the tape, and the Doctor being all embarrassed about his screwdriver. Then of course there's "dance" being a metaphor for sex, and the wonderful ending in which EVERYBODY LIVES, HURRAY! Really, I think the last might be the closest to what I can call a favorite moment in this episode. You can really tell how happy he is that just for once, no one has to die, and Nancy gets her son back.

    Moffat, you are awesome.

  51. wtrbrrl says:

    Bananas are a good source of potassium.

    Once again, THE MOFF IS BRILLIANT. And I love how Rose and The Doctor dance at the end; it just shows their lovely little relationship. And how The Doctor's open minded about things and Nancy being a teenage mum and all. I think Moff does it perfectly by using the idea of Jamie wanting to know who his mother is, and how they're all so innocent. "Are you my mummy?"

    And John Barrowman is just

    sometimes I think he's not even human but


    he definitely is and he is amazing.

  52. Liz says:

    Steven Moffat: Making me terrified of everyday life since 2005. YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

    This story was the one that finally made me say "okay basically I love this show more than any other show ever and I always will." (Then again, I'm a history nerd who is specifically interested in military history, especially WWII, so a WWII episode was guaranteed to be one that I loved.) "Everybody lives" will always be one of my all-time favorite television moments, and several other lines from the episodes (like "a little more sonic" and "bananas are good") are permanent parts of my vernacular now.

    And I *adore* Captain Jack. He's definitely one of Moffat's best gifts to fandom, lol. Plus, bonus, John Barrowman is wonderful all on his own.

  53. Kaderie says:

    You know, I actually never really liked that line, it's such major biology Fail.

    Doctor, you know that every female mammal gives milk, including the female mammal you're standing next to? ;P

    • kytten says:

      I suspect he means that out of all the species we DRINK milk from, cow is the most popular.

      It's weird, if you think about it. We drink a product intended for the youngv of a completely different species.

      • FlameRaven says:

        It's more impressive that we can drink milk at all, since most mammals end up lactose intolerant once they've gotten past infancy.

    • feanna says:

      I took it to mean that he offered her milk from all kinds of different and often very alien animals, but Rose insits upon cow milk (which is what people in out culture/time/planet/etc. usually drink) and now he's calling her boring.

  54. lisra says:

    <3 This episode. Really. It has everything in it and concludes the first one wonderfully. Just the best of season one.


  55. THE Nessa says:

    Captain Jack is love.

  56. monkeybutter says:

    I expressed my adoration for these episodes already, so I'll just add that I love Moffatt and Captain Jack for the reference to my favorite movie of all time.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

  57. Hotaru-hime says:

    When the Doctor shouts "Everybody lives!" it made me so unreasonably happy. This poor guy always goes on adventures and then people die. Poor thing.
    I also find it hilarious that the Doctor didn't want to tell Jack straightaway that it was a sonic screwdriver, but mostly for this line "Got a lot of cabinets to put up?!"

  58. Gembird says:

    "Seriously, guys, Moffat must have a heart of terror, because these two episodes he’s written are full of things that terrify me to no end. Thought stealing? Gas mask-growing zombies? Spooky children? Typewriters working on their own??? Oh god, this man is nightmare-inducing."





    I have nothing else to say on the matter.

  59. kytten says:

    Jack Harkness always reminds me of this song.
    90's indie-kid goodness

  60. flootzavut says:

    "This could be a little more sonic…"

    Gah I love this programme. Heh. I don't care what anyone says, I love NuWho. This is the televisual equivalent of MRHP for me, loving it ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS is there any good reason why my subscriptions to replies aren't working??? Though there is no guarantee I'll see a reply so… *brainmelt* Of course it could be that no one has replied to any of my comments, it's true.

  61. Beci says:

    The Doctor: It's afraid. Terribly afraid, and powerful. It doesn't know it yet, but it will do. It's got the power of a god, and I just sent it to its room!
    Rose Tyler: Doctor…
    The Empty Child: I'm here; can't you see me?
    Rose Tyler: What's that noise?
    The Doctor: End of the tape. It ran out about 30 seconds ago.
    The Empty Child: I'm here, now! Can't you see me?
    The Doctor: I sent it to its room. *This* is its room!


  62. Thehufflepuffproject says:

    So, I managed to completely forget that this is what you were watching on Mark Watches. Then, a couple of days ago, I started watching Doctor Who because my best friend was and because I had a bunch of free time because of a snow day. When I was watching this episode and the last one, I decided to google the episodes and then squealed for joy because you were watching Doctor Who too!!!! YAY!

    These episodes scared the pants off me and also made my love for the Doctor exploded like crazy.

    Favorite part: "Rose, I've just remembered! I can dance!"

  63. John says:

    Am I the only one who thinks John Barrowman is Tom Cruise's long lost brother?

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  74. hungriestgame says:

    just finished watching this with my friend. basically the whole 2-parter, the only thing we said to each other was "no. no. no. make it stop. no more. do not want."

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