Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E11 – Boom Town

In the eleventh episode of the first series of Doctor Who, our time travelers return to present-day Cardiff to recharge the TARDIS. There, multiple old wounds are re-opened as they find a Slitheen in hiding and Rose deals with the ramifications of leaving Mickey. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

If you remember (NOT THAT IT WAS A MILLION YEARS AGO), I didn’t really like the finale of the Slitheen episode. So when the image of Margaret Blaine flashed on the screen the first time, I was kind of upset, only because I didn’t really see what else they could have done with that story line. I mean, THE DOCTOR BLEW THEM UP.

That’s what incredibly awesome about this episode, though. Somehow, “Boom Town” as a whole is better than the entire two-parter earlier this series. Again, I’ll chalk it up to something this show has shown already to be fantastic at: emotional realism. It’s one of the things that consistently grounds the show for us so that it’s not all stuck in space-time and jargon.

The plot here is secondary to what the characters do with it. A Slitheen survived the attack via teleportation and is using the rift opened by the Gelth in 1869 to hopefully escape from earth through destruction of the earth. (Lots of aliens seem to want to destroy earth. Go pick on another planet!)

The first sign we get that this episode is not going to unfold like the last two is when a reporter named Cathy starts asking Margaret uncomfortable questions about the nuclear power plant she is building. (We’d seen her destroy anyone else who raised questions about the place, which is important to note. Her later conversations about her innocence are made much more complicated when you think of these moments.) Cathy follows Margaret into the bathroom and I expected a predictable scene where she kills the reporter, but things changed the second Cathy mentioned she was pregnant. This strange change of heart happens due to Margaret’s loneliness, as she is, like the Doctor, the last remaining member of her family. (Yes, the Doctor is actually the last of his species, but it’s still a very interesting parallel.)

After the Doctor catches her in a rather funny scene involving two teleporters being used at the same time, the episode’s tone switches dramatically. They discover Margaret’s plot (pan-dimensional surfboard!!!!!) and the Doctor decides it’s best to return the Slitheen to it’s home planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius. Of course, that action is not without a severe consequence: the Slitheen family are to be executed on site on that planet.

The Doctor briefly weighs this thought in his head and decides that after all, the Slitheen have murdered countless people and have plotted to destroy earth twice, he will take this last remaining one back to be executed.

The great part about this is the conversations that Margaret and the Doctor have about compassion. Their dinner “date”, for example, starts off humorously, as Margaret tries three times to kill the Doctor on the other side of the table, each time being immediately thwarted. Even though we now know that this was all part of a plan, I don’t think it’s fair to discount the things that Margaret says during their meal. Part of me wants to believe that this was a back-up plan, in case the device didn’t open the rift via the TARDIS, and that what she was saying was genuine. Of course, the acting between Eccleston and Annette Badland was so believable during this dinner that I forgot that this character had murdered people and then wore their skin. Should I feel as bad as I did? I’m still unsure. And I love Doctor Who for making me feel that way.

Parallel to this, we also watch Rose deal with her relationship with Mickey. And even though we don’t really know that much about him, Mickey’s story is still quite sympathetic and depressing. The truth is that Rose did up and leave him, and despite that we’ve loved their adventures together, it was unfair for Mickey to have to deal with this while Rose was off galavanting through space and time.

When Mickey admits he has started dating someone else, I didn’t feel bad for Rose. I felt bad for Mickey, because it’s clear he still has feelings for his old gal.

Plot-wise, you may dislike the way this episode ends (THE BEAM OF LIGHT SAVED HER OMG), but the forced poetry of the moment is commendable. We’ve known the TARDIS was telepathic this whole time, so after the rift is opened via Margaret’s long con, it reads her thoughts. Given that her thoughts were to have a second chance, this leads me to believe that a lot of what she was telling the Doctor this episode was entirely real. So it converts her back to a Slitheen egg, allowing her to have that second chance she so desperately wanted.

Too bad not everyone lived this time around.

That poetic ending also applies to Mickey, as Rose decides to let him go. She sadly states that he deserves better than her and it’s not hard to see that she wishes she could have done things differently with Mickey. Except this time, the TARDIS doesn’t do anything for her.

Poor Mickey. πŸ™


  • “She’s climbing out the window, isn’t she?” “Ò€¦Yes, she is.”
  • “It was a very icy patch.”
  • “We’re in Cardiff. London doesn’t care. The South Wales coast could fall into the sea and they wouldn’t notice! Ò€¦Ò€¦Ò€¦..OH. I sound like a Welshman. God help me, I’ve gone native.”
  • BAD WOLF. AGAIN. Finally, the characters on screen actually mention it. I DON’T GET IT.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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182 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E11 – Boom Town

  1. who cares says:

    That whole dining scene is just utter brilliance other than that this episode is pretty forgettable.

    • psycicflower says:

      I think it suffers when people remember series 1 for the same reasons The Long Game does, it just happens to be next to great episodes in Father's Day and the Moffat two parter.

      • who cares says:

        Well that and it's meant as a breather episode to begin with. It's not bad just meh whatever, NEXT.

  2. Steve M says:

    I really like Boomtown, it's a great change of pace, funny, and I will forever love Eccelstone's delivery of "It's not just a spaceship, it's the TARDIS. *My* TARDIS. The best ship in the universe". It also gives us chance to catch our breath after the nightmare fuel of Moffat's (re)introduction to the world of Who (he also wrote the Comic Relief special back in… 99 I thik it was called Curse of Fatal Death which should definately be in your viewing plans but only after you've seen enough old stuff to get all the affectionate parodies) and get ready for the end of the series.

    Must be said though, Rose didn't just up and leave Micky, she left him TRAUMATISED in a back alley during the aftermath of an alien invasion. Poor guy then gets blamed for her disaperance and (if I'm remembering right) questioned by the police. Frankly I have no idea why he didn't tell her to foxtrot oscar at the end of World War 3. I will never understand how people can love the character when you look back on her actions (let's not forget deliberately deceiving the Doctor in Father's Day and causing not only a major time paradox but the death of the Doctor!), really is the most selfish, self-absorbed and generally unlikeable person when you look beyond the surface of the episodes.

    • I <3 Curse of Fatal Death

      • Steve M says:

        Watched it the other day and it really does stand up well… and the last ten minutes or so was more-or-less every Who fan's dream at the time.

        Oh, and before I forget… we worship her shadow! Argh, now I want to watch Lexx again and I fear my only copies are on VHS.

    • Kaci says:

      I think I love you for your analysis of Rose. Could not possibly agree more.

    • psycicflower says:

      I think he was questioned multiple times and there's the implication that he suffered within his community like getting things in the door and constantly having people whisper about him.

      I can't talk about my thoughts on Rose because it's based too much on spoilers but aside from that I think a lot of people like the fact that she's flawed. I mean one of my favourite female characters (different show) is no saint at all but it's part of the appeal to see a female character who seems like a real person.

      • Thinking about it more now, I guess getting ostracised by your community is bad, but even worse is that Mickey possibly couldn't have afforded to move away from that estate.

        • psycicflower says:

          Yes, especially when you consider how closely knit such communities tend to be. The show even demonstrates it with everyone knowing who you're talking about, all the people that gathered in Jackie's during the Slitheen episode and Rose not only automatically knowing Trisha but also her job and Mickey clarifying by mentioning Trisha's brother.

    • Tauriel says:

      Agreed 100% with your second paragraph, Steve M!

      • Steve M says:

        Heh, I also appear to have invented a new game which I shall call "like-tennis". I can sit here refreshing every minute or so and watch my like figure bounce up and down seemingly at random! Weeeeeeeeeee.

        • swimmingtrunks says:

          While I don't necessarily agree completely with what you say, I will thumbs-up your right to post a well-formed opinion or point, sir.

    • NB2000 says:

      Your second paragraph is basically my thoughts on Rose and Rose/Mickey put into words. I'm all for characters having flaws but Rose's flaws make her really unappealing to me.

      • Steve M says:

        I think a lot of that is… actually really spoiler-filled, damn it! Let's just say that there's a certain lack of karmic retribution for her selfishness in the episodes we've seen so far shall we?

        • NB2000 says:


        • Tauriel says:

          "Lack of karmic retribution" is an understatement…. πŸ˜› And it's frustrating that we can't elaborate, because that would be spoilerish…

          • Steve M says:

            It's also kinda cool though… honestly, I'm enjoying following a newcomer to the show (and an enthusiastic one at that) far more than the endless petty squables and temper tantrums that you find in most well-populated Who forums these days.

    • Imogen says:

      Thank you for articulating one of the reasons I don't like Rose so clearly. Quite apart from the fact that Mickey is awesome and deserves better, she really shafts her poor mum as well.

    • MichelleZB says:

      I do like Rose, but I agree that she treats Mickey very callously.

      It's obviously the Doctor likes Rose, though. I think he likes how impulsive she is.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yes, thank you for summing up my issues with Rose and why she's my least favorite modern companion after some examination.

    • rys says:

      I think that Rose can be unfairly maligned. She is an immature character — deliberately so — and yes, she treats her mother and Mickey quite poorly. But she's, what 20 years old? And she's just been offered the adventure of a lifetime, and quite possibly fallen in love at the same time. I think its very realistic and understandable that she gets swept up in it and doesn't act as responsibly and carefully as we might want her to, sitting back in our chairs and seeing the right course of action. Part of travelling with the Doctor is that other people and connections get left behind. And part of Rose's story so far this season is about growing up and realising your behaviour has consequences for other people as well as yourself.

      • Yeah. I get the impression that Rose is about 18-20 and at least in my experience, the 18/19 year olds I lived with in my first 3 years at university were like that – just doing things and then realising the consequences only afterwards (in one case, it lead to our flat being burgled but luckily the more responsible flatmates had locked their room doors and windows so their rooms remained un-looted). Certainly I ended up know a lot of people who had frittered away all of their student loans on gadgets and booze and ended up living on 9p noodles for the rest of that semester!

        On the other hand, that kind of behaviour annoyed me then just as much as it annoyed me to see Rose doing it. :/

      • Hypatia_ says:

        I agree. I think having her behave with total maturity just isn't realistic (mind you, neither is much else that goes on in that show, but we're talking characterization here πŸ™‚ ). That doesn't mean that her bad behavior should be excused, of course. But she's nineteen, she'd lived an unworldly life, and she got the chance to see the entire universe with a charming guy with a time machine. Frankly, I think it would be odd if she behaved like a mature adult.

        Rose isn't my favorite companion, but she's not my least favorite of the new series either. Not by a long shot.

        • rys says:

          Yes, I think one thing RTD does well is write realistic characters. They have flaws, they can be annoying, but they have their good points as well. And they grow and change, unlike in Twilight. I don't think she's my favourite but I certainly like her and I think she was a good companion to open the new series with.

          I really want to ask you who your fave/least faves are now but argh, spoilers! πŸ™‚

          • Hypatia_ says:

            I know, right? We really need a board where we can have spoilery conversations, like during Harry Potter.

            Well, you'll know which companion is my least favorite when s/he turns up, because I'll start having ranty posts :-).

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      You definitely have an interesting opinion on Rose- and I have to agree, but only to a certain extent.

      On the topic of her disappearance. Oh, yes, that was definitely a bit cruel. (The particular line she says before leaving Mickey always struck me as callous). But we do need to remember that she didn't mean for all that to happen. However irresponsible it was to take off through time-and-space without an explanation, she didn't plan to be gone a year and get Mickey convicted for kidnapping. (I do think that Mickey should have dumped her sooner. He's like a sweet, innocent puppy dog!)

      On Father's Day; I don't think Rose planned to save Pete. I really don't. I think she acted on the spur of the moment, not out of any real deceit, out of a wish to save her dad. Was that a bit stupid? Definitely. But I feel that action and its consequences weren't premeditated at all.

      Rose /is/ a selfish character, and not one of my favourite companions. But I don't think she' s horrible, either.

      • I agree. I don't think Rose is doing anything intentionally malicious – just sometimes she's a bit oblivious to the feelings of the people who get stuck with the bad effects of her actions. More so for the people who are closest to her – she sympathises up the wazoo for Gwyneth and other characters, but I suppose as with everyone, it's easy for her to take her family and friends for granted to a certain extent. I think that's something that we all can be guilty of and helps us identify with her a bit more.

      • bookling says:

        Exactly. Rose isn't thinking about the long-term repercussions of her actions: she's thinking she's got a TIME MACHINE and that she can go gallivanting around the universe for a while, then come back ten seconds later and she won't have changed a thing. It's immature, yes, but how many of us would turn down the opportunity to travel with the Doctor? Especially if you were a 19-year-old sales clerk who was thoroughly bored with life?

    • sabra_n says:

      At least this episode was about Rose finally, finally starting to get how much she'd hurt Mickey. It's an education in consequences that started in "Aliens of London"/"World War Three", continued in "Father's Day", and came to something of a head in this episode.

  3. NB2000 says:

    I'm no fan of the slitheen but that very brief shot just before the opening credits of Margaret looming over the man framed through the doorway is really creepy.

    Poor Mickey but good on him for saying everything he did to Rose.

    The TARDIS is one of my favourite characters (yes character) so the Doctor talking about her getting ripped open by the rift is rather upsetting, seeing the console break open even more so.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I'm glad he wasn't left in the lurch again, because he's been pretty damn understanding. It was sad, but at least he finally addressed the fact that they couldn't go on like that.

    • Steve M says:

      How can anyone not like the TARDIS as a character? It is, after all, probably the longest running icon in TV at this point, barely changing from its first apperance back in 1963. She's definately got a sense of humour, is the most loyal companion the Doctor will ever have and makes the most wonderful sound in the universe. πŸ˜€

      • Openattheclose says:

        In a show where literally everything is always changing every couple of series, including the Doctor, the TARDIS is the only constant.

      • psycicflower says:

        TARDIS love!
        <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

        • Steve M says:

          While I really could wax lyrical about the TARDIS for quite some time the one thing I adore above all others is this: Throughout the universe (and the occasional universe beyond) there is an almost infinite number of evil, destructive races with the biggest, coolest, most shiny weapons of badness ever built who devastate worlds, slaughter billions and generally plot to take over the universe and who ALL collectively pap themselves whenever a battered old blue police box wheezes into being!

      • I dunno… Ken Barlow might have a couple of years on her. Though he's not quite so likeable.

  4. psycicflower says:

    Question for you Mark. Have you decided which episode of Old!Who you’ll be watching yet? If not could you let us know when you do so that those of us not familiar with the Classic series have a chance to watch it before the review?

    You know years later I still long for Rose’s scarf from this episode and I love Jack’s geekiness about the extrapolator. First time I noticed that Margaret said Cardiff Castle will be demolished. Wait, what? A big part of me cried out in despair 'Not the historical monument!' Also, 'dinner and bondage.' I do love how the show gets away with things like that despite being a family show.

    It is one of the great things about Doctor Who, you never know quite what to expect from an episode. A fun romp complete with cheesy music takes a serious turn into an episode about the death penalty. It's also great how they make Margaret sympathetic and yet keep reminding us that she has done terrible things, although I did love her giving hilariously unbelievable explanations for the deaths. I know it's a bit of a cop out but I like the fact that she gets such a unique second chance.

    While I understand that it hurts them both but I do feel worse for Mickey. You can't expect someone just to wait around for you when they have their own life to live, especially when you never know when you'll be there. Could be 1 minute, could be 1 year. I still feel bad though. She asked for her passport just so she could see him. Gah, they used to be so cute together.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    'This ship’s alive. You’ve opened it’s soul.' Here's the part where sentient TARDIS believers unite! I love this part because it opens up more questions about the nature of the TARDIS. She's clearly more than a machine but how alive is she. The Doctor specifically says that she has a heart and soul and I just want to know more about the TARDIS.

    I’m glad Mark doesn’t watch the promos at the end of the episodes because the one at the end of this is just unforgivable. I'd forgotten how unbelievably spoilery they can be.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • The passport thing kind of bugged me. Why didn't she ask her mum to bring it?

      Well. Other than it lets Mickey show up, be awesome and resolve things a bit.

      • psycicflower says:

        She said that she didn't really need her passport so the implication is that she asked Mickey to bring it purely so she had an excuse to see him and spend time together.

        • I guess that and that asking her mum would have meant her mum showing up and fussing about her and chatting and chatting and chatting and as much as I love Jackie…y'know. Sometimes less chatty is good.

      • Karen says:

        She wanted to see Mickey. I think that even if she isn't into him the same way that he's into her, she still cares about him.

    • fantasylover12001 says:

      Nothing real constructive to say here, but I love your Jack Harkness GIF πŸ˜‰ But you're right, the promos can be very spoilery but they do a good job of making you super excited for the next ep which I guess was the purpose of them.

    • whatsername says:

      Epic Jack gif. πŸ˜€

  5. monkeybutter says:

    Yeah, this episode is definitely an improvement because Margaret isn't just an evil fart monster. She's still awful, but she's a lot more interesting.

    Sad for Mickey and Rose. :/

    • Steve M says:

      Have to wonder, what would Aliens of London / WW3 have been like if they'd kept the silly stuff out and made the Slitheen as creepy as they should have been? Literal body-snatching monsters that hunt for sport and are smart enough to not only make long term and complex plans but to have plan B's as well…

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        Yeah. Farting is not creepy…its campy. And while campy is something essential to DW, I think wasted something which could have been a cool villain.

  6. Tauriel says:

    As much as I hate the Slitheen (farting aliens that wear skins of fat people? Come on… talk about infantile bathroom humour…), this was a pretty decent episode. And I do feel sorry for Mickey – Rose pretty much treated him like crap after she met the Doctor, and I don't think he deserves it – even though when we first met him, he was a bit of a whiny idiot… Also, love how Jack automatically took charge when they started planning on how to thwart Margaret. πŸ˜€

    • psycicflower says:

      I love it when Jack's military/in charge mode kicks in. Also the phones were funny to see. Mobiles have come a long way in 5 years.

      • jackiep says:

        What's so funny about the mobiles is that at the time, US Fandom (not aware of what pay as you go contracts were available in the UK at the time, which meant that everybody on those estates had phones like that – in Aliens of London they were at one point chatting about dodgy top-ups – i.e. stolen or forged top-up cards available door to door at a heavy "discount" on their estate) thought that the highly advanced phones that Rose and Mickey sported at the time were bloopers, given where they lived and their terrible standard of living. Now they look like ancient, underpowered bricks! Nothing dates like the future.

        Mickey's had an interesting character arc so far. Before the Doctor came along, he really was a useless boyfriend (come on, whilst he was supposed to be comforting Rose after her narrow escape from death due to an explosion at her workplace, he was trying to get away to watch a footy match!). Then his girlfriend disappeared in circumstances where he really couldn't explain to the police "My girl decided to go travelling with a bloke who has a time machine", yes even the Met's going to go along with that one). By the end of WW3, he'd obviously cleared his name after Rose turned up. He'd matured to the point where the Doctor was willing to invite him along (having rejected him previously as too useless) and then the Doctor was willing to cover for him when his real reason for not coming along was he didn't feel ready yet, pretending that he wasn't willing to have Mickey on board (just after issuing the invite). Now Mickey is trying to move on (though clearly still madly in love with Rose) and is strong enough to turn her down.

        Is it spoilery to mention that in 2005 there was a website which was Clive's website, updated weekly and by this point it was clear that Mickey had taken over management of the site at the request of Clive's widow? I hesitate to post a link due to the obvious risk of spoilers due to content, but it shows Mickey's on a character arc.

        • psycicflower says:

          Really? That is kind of hilarious given the fact they were all probably not overly fancy Nokias or something similar that everyone from their teens on had. I mean, I got my first mobile for my 13th birthday way back in 2000. (Thank god for pay as you go.)

          I was debating whether to mention the various tie in websites as well since WW3 because there's a UNIT site for that ep but was afraid of what the spoiler potential could be if linked.
          For those who haven't seen any of the websites there's a complete list available on wikipedia. Warning to Mark and those who are watching along for the first time, the list has websites from across the various series and so is spoilery.

          • jackiep says:

            We forget quickly. In 2005, these Nokias were available cheaply on PAYG all over the UK, but apparently were mainly only available on expensive contracts in the US. In 2000, my phone was a comparative brick on contract and any calls cost an arm and a leg. Emergencies only. Texting really took off well after 2000 for the majority of the population on both sides of the Atlantic.

            • psycicflower says:

              While it was a brick of a phone with the bare necessitites when I got my first one, in Ireland texting was doing well enough (although not up to later 2000s standards), at least among teens, in 2000/01 with PAYG and a lot people in my class got mobiles for bday or Christmas and we were/are really in no way a rich school at all. I assumed it would be the same in the UK or maybe it was just that the age group I was a part of was among the first to really take to using mobiles for texting.

              • I miss my brick phone. It had a pull out aerial and a bit of plastic over the keypad that could be flipped over when you wanted to use it. It was big enough to kosh people with. And was made of sparkly dark blue plastic. That was ace.

  7. Openattheclose says:

    I love this episode, it was the first full episode of Doctor Who that I ever watched. I really feel for Mickey here, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack are so smug in the beginning of this episode. As much as I love them, it comes off as a "cool kids" mentality and I'm glad Mickey kind of told them off about it. I'm glad for Mickey that he and Rose didn't make it to that hotel, because I don't think it would have changed anything, and just ended up with a more hurt Mickey.

  8. Randomcheeses says:

    Poor, poor Mickey. He deserves to be treated so much better by Rose.

  9. echinodermata says:

    Wow I hate the Slitheen so much, but luckily this episode cuts down on all that I dislike about them. I'm quite ready to forgive the writers for including the Slitheen once more because there are so many great moments in this episode.

    I love Jack's geeking out ant being knowledgeable about stuff, and I love how playful much of this episode is.

    But I most love Mickey getting to confront Rose – on rewatch, I'm just constantly reminded of how immature Rose can be, and taking off without really telling anyone and leaving Mickey behind just makes me think she's not really thinking of anything but having wacky space adventures.
    I mean, I like Rose, and I certainly love characters with flaws, but it may be that her characterization is entirely realistic so it's less easy to forgive and say "but it's fiction!" the way I do with say Benjamin Linus or Snape or other characters with massive, massive flaws.

    So yeah, I'm glad Rose got a reminder that her adventures aren't so fun for her loved ones.

    • Karen says:

      I like Rose, and I certainly love characters with flaws, but it may be that her characterization is entirely realistic so it's less easy to forgive and say "but it's fiction!" the way I do with say Benjamin Linus or Snape or other characters with massive, massive flaws.

      I don't think that Rose's flaws are on the same level as Snape's or Ben Linus's though. I mean, she isn't tormenting 11 year old kids or murdering people. She's just handling a relationship about as well as nineteen year olds tend to handle them- not very well. She's only 19 and she tends to take Mickey and her mum for granted. She's not a bad person by any stretch of the imagination.

      • echinodermata says:

        We're in agreement – I think Rose is an entirely realistic character, as in I've met people like her, whereas Ben and Snape are less realistic, and thus them being utter bastards is easier to watch for me since I can write them off as fictional characters.

        Basically, I know people like Rose exist, and the sort of actions she, and thus they, take are more irritating to me because I can plausibly expect myself or people I care about to be hurt by characters like Rose than to be hurt by characters like Ben and Snape.

  10. Tauriel says:

    Also, does anyone else dislike Jack's haircut in this episode? I really preferred the one he had in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, I think it suits him better, it's more stylish. This one is just meh…

    • psycicflower says:

      I agree his hair isn't exactly great but I guess Jack had to change his style since a 1940s hair do wouldn't necessarily fit in with his 2005 clothes. I think it was one of the episode commentaries where he actually talked about it and said that he wasn't allowed to cut his hair because they needed the length in case of reshoots.

      • Tauriel says:

        I would strongly argue with your first sentence, but can't because of the spoilers… πŸ˜‰ Suffice to say, IMHO Jack with a 40's hairstyle >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Jack with that weird cut he wears in Boom Town… But then again, I'm a sucker for all things retro. πŸ˜‰

  11. James says:

    Next episode, poop gets non fictional.

  12. Thennary Nak says:

    I like this episode though because it is after three really fantastic episodes I feel I don't like it as much as I could. Though I am very happy to see Mickey again as I like him more and more the more I see of him.

    IIRC, it's mentioned in the Confidential for this episode that shooting the scene of Margaret looking into the heart of the Tardis was incredibly difficult for Annette because of how bright the light was that she had to look straight into to do it.

  13. kelseyintherain says:

    I'm going to come out and say it now: I hate whenever the Rift is used. Why? Because it's one of many examples of Russel T Davis ripping off Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (which RTD has admitted are huge influences on his writing.) It's just too similar to the Hellmouth.

    However, ignoring the Rift, I think this is a very good episode overall. I particularly love the scene where Margaret tells the Doctor he isn't much better than her, using his power like a god. I love it whenever someone challenges the Doctor's actions and questions if he's really as good as we believe he is. I do love him, but it's still really interesting.
    And poor Mickey. πŸ™ I like Rose, but I like Mickey too, and he really has been hurt by her.

    • Steve M says:

      To be fair here, as with most things in TV Sci-Fi, Who got there first. In this case the Time Fissure in fourth Doctor serial Image of the Fendahl is more-or-less identical to the Rift in Cardiff including the side effects of growing up near it.

      • kelseyintherain says:

        Hm, I will be honest I never considered that. I still feel like RTD takes perhaps a little too much inspiration from Joss Whedon on certain occasions, but I will try to keep this in mind in the future.

  14. Maya says:

    I like this episode for the interaction between Nine, Rose and Jack. He just fits right in to their dynamic and adds a whole other dimension to it.

    *Mickey and Rose hug*
    Jack: Awww look at them, they're so cute. Why don't I get any of that?
    Nine: Buy me a drink first
    Jack: Such hard work
    Nine: But worth it!

    Seriously, MOAR OT3. "Into time…AND SPACE!" SO ADORABLE.

    Other than the morality discussion between Nine and Margaret and the awesomeness of the Trio + Mickey, this episode is mostly a little rest stop before the finale. And shit is about to get sooooooo real…

  15. thirty2flavors says:

    Rose definitely doesn't treat Mickey great, but I think that's kind of the point, and that's why Mickey tells her off in this episode (and good on him for doing so). But I think it's also important to remember that she asked him to come along and he turned it down (and what's more, made Nine cover for him rather than actually say "no, I don't want to"), so I mean…. she did try to include him back at the start.

    But yeah, their on again/off again relationship has not really been presented as healthy or beneficial for either character so far.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah. IA. Rose hasn't behaved spectacularly, but it's not all her fault. She did make the effort to include Mickey, but he didn't even have the stones to straight up tell her he didn't want to come. It's not a healthy relationship, for sure.

  16. swimmingtrunks says:

    One of the things that bugs me about RTD's writing is his tendency to get that emotional realism by having "let's sit down and talk about how we feel" scenes. While it can really mess with the pacing of more action-packed stories, I feel like it actually works in this episode. He played to his strengths here, instead of writing himself into a corner with missiles and impending apocalypses, he does a quieter episode that focuses on moral dilemmas and, well, relationships. If Moffat is the King of Scares, Davies is surely the King of um… Psychological Introspection or something like that. The progression of Mickey and Rose's relationship throughout the episode seems entirely real. Mickey acts tough, but the kid has some really bad doormat tendencies, so it's nice to see him get his say here. While it doesn't cast Rose in the best light, what she does and the whole situation is by no stretch unrealistic. To her credit, she does realize what she's doing (even if it's long after it was obvious), and she lets Mickey go.

    Margaret also shines through her mind games with the Doctor, more so when she's using her mind than tricks like poison darts or toxic breath. I would have thought the Doctor would've had the metaphorical balls to hold her eye in that one scene though; he's committed enough to the idea of being lawful good for this episode, and seems like he could very well bluff his resolve even if he wasn't feeling it. I actually wouldn't put it past the Doctor to have had "1. Get to Raxacoricofallapatorius, 2. Come up with plan to lessen Margaret's death sentence to something more in tune with my sense of morality" on his to do list- but then again, this is the Doctor that dried out Cassandra to exploding point, so maybe not.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      The Doctor has a…complex morality, that much is sure. You'd think if he really was that hooked up about it, he would've tried to lessen her sentence, but then, the Doctor's brain works in wweeeiiirrdd ways.

      "King of Physiological Introspection". Best. Title. Ever.

      • sabra_n says:

        Margaret's story wasn't just about Margaret – she deliberately tried to evoke the Doctor's empathy by comparing herself to him and she succeeded and making the parallel. But what she didn't count on was the Doctor having a bit of a death wish. He was willing to take her back to be punished because he believes that he should be punished for what he did in the Time War. That's why he looks at her little egg so longingly there, at the end – a new start away from his crimes is what he kind of wants as well, though he doesn't think he deserves it.

    • Well, the Doctor can be a filthy hypocrite. He's not human, but he's not infallible. His treatment of Cassandra and Margaret show that his morality is sometimes not based on fairness. Let's face it, he saved Margaret because they had more in common— he *liked* her more. It's not far off from him saying "guns are made of evil" yet destroying entire races or killing an alien in a different manner. Apparently executing an alien menace with panache suddenly makes it okay. πŸ˜›
      Please don't misunderstand, I love the Doctor, and would totally vote for him in most capacities, but sometimes is sense of justice is skewed.

  17. Minish says:

    I really like this episode, even if the resolution isn't that good. I suppose I like it more for its emotional depth. And yeah, it was 10x better than the two-parter. Though I have to agree, it is a bit forgettable. But I think this episode is a really good example of RTD's command of characters.

    What's a shame is that I originally watched this episode out of continuity. I missed it when I was watching the show on TV, but I later got to watch it while I was already in the middle of Series 3.

    What's interesting is that the resolution of this story was a duex ex machina, and earlier in the episode, Margret accused the TARDIS of being technology of the gods. So in a weird way, the episode sort of foreshadowed that it would end on a literal duex ex machina. (Okay, I admittedly stole that from Wikipedia, but it was a really cool connection!) I'll forgive the writing THIS TIME since the episode was redeeming in a lot of ways.

  18. Karen says:

    The plot here is secondary to what the characters do with it.
    EXACTLY. I really don't care about the plot here because it's just a structure through which RTD can explore his characters and the various ways in which they can interact with each other.

    <img src=""&gt;
    Oh man. I love this episode. I love character stuff. Plot? IDGAF. Just give me some character development and exploration. I love seeing these characters all having fun together eating lunch and telling stories and then all of them getting down to business as then storm into the mayor’s office like the A-Team. Seeing the Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Jack as a group is just a lot of fun. And then within that there are some great character interactions in pairs. So, let's talk about those pairings.

    Rose and Mickey. Oh Rose. I love and adore her, but she really is awful to Mickey. She just summons him to bring her a passport, like he’s supposed to be waiting for her and then just leave whatever he’s doing to come when she calls. Then Mickey is actually trying to spend time and connect with Rose, and she just goes on and on about adventures with the Doctor. She’s totally gone. She’s completely swept away by this new life, so to prove to Rose that he’s not waiting for her anymore, he stretches the truth a bit to try and make Rose a bit jealous. And it actually works. And then he rubs it in with “at least I know where she is!”. Poor Mickey is hurting and feeling like he was just pushed aside, so he tries to hurt Rose in return. And Rose is appropriately ashamed of herself. But in the end, she has to go running after the Doctor. As Mickey points out “it’s always going to be the Doctor! It’s never me!”. Anyway, at the end, Rose goes looking for Mickey, but he doesn’t want to be found. I think he’s decided that really and truly he’s not going to wait for her anymore. And Rose realizes that is the right thing. “He deserves better.”

    Mickey and Nine. I wouldn't say that Mickey gives as good as he gets here, exactly, but it is fun to see him jab at the Doctor by calling him “big ears” instead of just letting the Doctor insult him. Also I am absolutely convinced that by this point “Mickey the Idiot” is just a term of endearment. The Doctor is still insisting on calling him Rickey. But I think we also get to see that it’s just a front. He’s willing to wait around for Mickey at the end and I think there’s the beginning of genuine affection there, even if he is a bit jealous.

    Jack and Mickey. Jack and Mickey are amusingly antagonistic with each other. They don't really have a lot of scenes together, but what they do have is funny.

    Captain Jack Harkness: Who the hell are you?
    Mickey Smith: What do you mean who the hell am I? Who the hell are you?

    And of course the endlessly amusing,“What are you captain of? The innuendo squad?” by Mickey followed by Jack giving Mickey the "whatever" sign with his hands.

    Jack and the Doctor. Jack tries to take charge, but the Doctor shows that he’s the one in charge. But it’s all very good natured. You can tell that the Doctor has grown to really like Jack since we last saw them interact in “The Doctor Dances”.

    Captain Jack Harkness: Aww, sweet, look at these two. How come I never get any of that?
    The Doctor: Buy me a drink first.
    Captain Jack Harkness: You're such hard work.
    The Doctor: But worth it.

    <img src=""&gt;
    Rose and the Doctor. Aside from the adorable “Raxacoricofallapatorius!” moment, I also like that little moment of jealousy we see when the Doctor sees Rose and Mickey walking off together.

    The Doctor and Margaret. That dinner scene between Margaret and the Doctor is really a brilliant piece of writing and acting. It’s not this SUPER INTENSE ordeal, but there’s still this wonderful sort of light hearted tension as Margaret tries to outsmart the Doctor and as the Doctor out maneuvers her. Then she changes tactics and appeals to him on an emotional and personal level, trying to show that she’s changed. And the look on the Doctor’s face shows that maybe it’s working a bit. But of course, she’s been manipulating him all along. In spite of this, the Doctor manages to save her in his own way and give her a second chance at life. Maybe she really can change.

    Margaret: I spared her life.
    The Doctor: You let one of them go but that's nothing new. Every now and then a little victim's spared because she smiled, 'cause he's got freckles. 'Cause they begged. And that's how you live with yourself. That's how you slaughter millions. Because once in awhile—on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction—you happen to be kind.
    Margaret: Only a killer would know that.

    Again, the idea of the Doctor as a killer. I really love that recurring theme in this series. We saw it in the episode with the Dalek and it cropped up again here. I like it. Where exactly is the line that makes the Doctor so much better than the Slitheen? Has he ever crossed that line?

    • FlameRaven says:

      Yeah… without going into spoilers, the Doctor doesn't REALLY have a whole lot of moral high ground to judge from. Just wiping out the Daleks… even if they're nothing but living death machines programmed to kill everything else in the universe, that was still genocide. The truth is that in protecting Earth, the Doctor does kill an awful lot of other people/aliens. Yeah they were invading, but why exactly are humans so special?

      • sabra_n says:

        Yeah… without going into spoilers, the Doctor doesn't REALLY have a whole lot of moral high ground to judge from.

        And oh, he knows it. Margaret's little darts hit home in a very painful manner. She tried to draw parallels between him and her in order to evoke his empathy, but it didn't end up getting her clemency from him because he doesn't believe he should get clemency.

    • xiri says:

      I'd argue that the Slitheen were doing it for money, for profit. That was their original purpose in the WW3 arch.

      No, the Doctor doesn't have a lot of moral high ground to stand on, but I think there is a very big difference between genocide for money, and what the Doctor does. I think that he works with the ethics of utilitarianism. All he ever wants to achieve (at least, in the episodes we've seen so far) is the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The concept of utilitarianism is flawed, of course, since there is no perfect ethical code, but I do think it's how Nine has operated thusfar. I'm talking in past tense to strictly avoid spoilers, by the by.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Plus, the Doctor always gives his enemies a chance: Stop the invasion, get off this planet now and I'll leave you in peace. Refuse and I'll have stop you by whatever means necessary.

  19. xghostproof says:

    I think this is possibly one of my favourite episodes from season 1, actually. I think it's the first episode besides The Empty Child/Doctor Dances that I rewatched of my own accord from the season.

    I didn't like the Slitheen too much in the two-parter, either, but I really rather enjoyed all the development in this episode. The dinner scene and the teleportation bit of the chase scene will probably be two of my favourite scenes from any show ever. (edit: though I realise I will probably say that about a lot of scenes from this show as time goes by.)

    I also remember being so…incredibly frustrated about the Doctor actually bringing up bad wolf and then just dismissing it the first time that I just yelled at him through my computer. It's kind of maddening to keep seeing it and when you finally get confirmation that you're not going crazy…it feels like the Doctor just kind of tells you you're being silly. I'm sure if I had anyone to complain to at the time, my response would simply have just been a carefully constructed keysmash.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      I think it comes down to a certain line the Doctor has once said "Never ignore a coincidence- unless you're busy. Then ignore it."

  20. FlameRaven says:

    (Lots of aliens seem to want to destroy earth. Go pick on another planet!)

    This is one of the few quibbles I have with Doctor Who… although they do occasionally visit other planets, most of the plot happens on earth. And you would THINK, given how many alien invasions of Earth the Doctor has thwarted just this season, that the aliens would think twice before they attack the Doctor's pet planet. I mean really, in all the wide universe, they have to pick this one tiny planet?

    Of course, I guess you could argue that for aliens who are enemies of the Doctor himself, they would pick on Earth specifically to piss him off. But it's still a little strange.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      Same here. Too many of the plots, at least for this season, occur on Earth. You have the TARDIS! You can go anywhere! Branch out!

      • FlameRaven says:

        Now I'm reminded of David Tennant's comment: "You know, I've been to hundreds of planets all over the universe, and it's amazing how many of them look like quarries in Wales." πŸ˜›

        • James says:

          This was RTD's decision, he stated it was difficult to make people care about the Zog people of planet Zog in 45 minutes. One could say that as a writer it was his job to MAKE people care about the "Zog" people but hey whatever.

          Budget probably played/plays a part too, in the classic Who days the set designers would get told "make a convincing jungle set on a budget of 8 pounds" and when they managed it would get the response "oh great, so you can probably do it for 5 pounds next time right?" They have a decent budget these days but effects cost more so it's pretty much a wash, they go off planet more in the next few seasons.

          • sabra_n says:

            I have a lot of respect for RTD as a writer, but man, that statement of his was totally inane and shows a fundamental flaw in his understanding of science fiction. All those Zog stories are always about people, in the end.

            As Jeff Winger would say, we are the only species that observes Shark Week. If we can empathize and care about great toothy sea predators that want to bite our limbs off, I'm pretty sure that the inhabitants of Zog aren't that much of a stretch.

          • Tauriel says:

            That's a really, really lame excuse on RTD's part. And with such possibilities as they have today (much bigger budget, CGI, etc.), it's a shame that so few episodes of NuWho take place on a different planet. Heck, in Series 1 (up until this ep.), the farthest we've been is a space station in Earth's orbit!

    • I like to imagine that we just don't see the fantastical adventures of the Doctor on other planets. Or that the Doctor just has a thing for Earth and leaves the rest of the universe to its own devices. Or something.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      Thankfully we have the book series to explore other planets that would eat at the show's budget. I've got the audio books of Pest Control and The Forever Trap, both which take place offworld. TFT might be possible to do on the show (it's got this wonderful claustrophobic feel and basically takes place inside a massive apartment building), but Pest Control would be really, really difficult. It's got a war between humans and centaurs and there are these weird giant bugs and a multiple-stories-tall death robot.

      • Sierra says:

        Is Pest Control the one in which… um, the narrator has like a zillion different accents? I loved that.

  21. sabra_n says:

    This episode is so, so, thematically and emotionally awesome, summarizing and paying off storylines that have been threaded throughout the season. Rose takes responsibility for her treatment of Mickey, Margaret the monster is paralleled to the Doctor in some really thoughtful ways, and just seeing Nine merrily flirting with Jack is such a lovely contrast with how closed off he was at the start of the season. The plot is pretty meh, it's true, but the episode does a lot of work nonetheless.

  22. FlameRaven says:

    Ah, Bad Wolf. It's funny, but I really didn't notice it until they mentioned it in this episode, and then when I went back and re-watched episodes you see it all over the place. Don't worry, you're not meant to get it yet. When the time comes, you'll see what they did there.

  23. diane says:

    In Rose's defense… She's NINETEEN years old, give or take a bit. Living with mum, dead-end job (blown to bits), no future except more of the same, living in the projects. Then BAM, excitement, danger, and a chance to travel with a charming man. Consequences?? I think a lot of people wouldn't have given a second thought then.

    I think things were over between Rose and Mickey at that point. She wants something more in life. Mickey, not so much. Even if she'd stayed behind, I think things were over. They wouldn't have lasted.

    And Mickey was such a doormat. Good on him, for standing up for himself finally. Rose treated him very badly, not intentionally, but that really is beside the point. What he said, she needed to hear. Mickey does deserve better. (And anything further would be raw spoilage.)

    • Albion says:

      She lived on a council estate and coming from someone who also lives in one it's not the end of the world or a blockade. Use of the "projects" gives a far more drab impression then the reality πŸ™‚

      • diane says:

        One of those cultural differences between America and Britain that is so easy to trip over. I usually try to steer clear of those! Anyway, I understand that there's more of a sense of community there, but from this side of the pond, it's hard to see what Rose's chances would be for finding a different life.

        • Albion says:

          No problem πŸ™‚

          She could have gone into further education, which is attainable: I left school with 1 GCSE, live in a single parent household, income through benefits but I went on to university. I think she hated school, which is a shame. Rose seemed to be in a malaise, she didn't want to change anything about her life until the Doctor appeared.

    • Karen says:

      And Rose didn't have any A-levels which is not exactly equivalent to being an American high school dropout, but yeah. It's not exactly the most promising outlook for her future.

    • kytten says:

      19 year old girl is a bad girlfriend and a bit selfish. SHOCK.

  24. arctic_hare says:

    When I saw the promo for this one at the end of "Doctor Dances", I wasn't too thrilled that they were bringing the Slitheen back. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to enjoy it – the character interaction was a lot of fun, I love the Nine/Rose/Jack trio. Don't so much like Rose's treatment of Mickey, though. Gah.

  25. buyn says:

    Boomtown gets a 2 for scariness. Which is good, because it wasn't all that scary.

    I really liked the Jack/Doctor flirting. Or is that just me?

    Anyways, Badwolf shows up again here. BUMBUMBUM.

  26. Vicki Louise says:

    "Dinner in bondage…… for me!" πŸ˜€ I love that line! Tehe smut!
    I like this episode. It's a nice change of pace to go from a two parter that's nightmarishly creepy, to something that is more character driven, and you get to see the consequences of the characters decisions: The Doctor capturing and/or killing creatures without looking back at what happens to them/ their families. Rose's selfish streak and how that affects Mickey. Even though she says she'd like a second chance, if Rose could go back to the day she met the Doctor, i honestly think she'd just do everything the same and go with him.
    There are some gorgeous shots: When Rose is talking to Mickey at night outside the TARDIS, her background is the theatre building that has the words "In these walls horizons sing" on the front. And Mickey's background is the gorgeous water tower. The close up of Blon/Margaret begging for her life in the resaurant is also gorgeous, and i love the tears in her eyes.
    Only two episodes left
    <img src="[IMG ][/IMG]"> I really hope that GIF works.

  27. Danielle says:

    I LOVE how the Doctor just writes Bad Wolf off as a coincidence. Makes you laugh and scream in frustration at the same time.

  28. MowerOfLorn says:

    I was a little underwhelmed by this episode on first viewing, but it /does/ have good character points. I'm glad that Rose finally had to take some more responsibility for her actions, and that Mickey started to stand up for himself.

    As far as the plot goes…meh, secondary. I do like seeing the Doctor having to make these decisions. He's not just some Cosmic Hero Hitch-Hiker- he's a warrior, a fighter, and he's killed people. Now we see his choice about letting another killer live or die. The acting between those two is brilliant, and the debate they have is wonderful.

    As for the ending- DEUS EX MACHINA!
    Of course, this is a brilliant time to state my opinion on a Deus Ex Machina. Yes, incredibly frustrating, but if they're pulled off well (read- entertaining) and give an emotional payback, I'm willing to let it go. (Even more-so if the characters have to lose something for it to work, which really isn't applicable here, but, thought I'd say it.)

    Not to mention, pure joy for us sentient TARDIS lovers! <3

  29. rainbowsinside says:

    I said after the first episode that I really didn't like Mickey, but I think this episode changed that. I mostly didn't like how they were supposed to be a couple but didn't seem to have any sexual chemistry to speak of. That's gotten a little better, but it still felt a little awkward when they were talking about going to a hotel.

    What I really like is that Rose is forced to face the consequences of her actions. When she goes off with the Doctor in the first episode, the scene is made to be a happy one. We forget that she just left her boyfriend in an alley like he was nothing and this episode has her really face how it affected him. You don't see that a whole lot in most shows.

  30. kytten says:

    It's such a shock that a 19 year old girl who is an only child is a little selfish and not that great a girlfriend, isn't it?

    I guess I'm a little like Rose. Why? Cause I'd go with the Doctor, in a second, without a thought. I'd like to think I'd take a minute to go pick up my beloved; but he knows I'm not the most forward thinking of people.

    I think it's a little unfair to attack someone for being a bit selfish and not thinking of the consequences. Could she do better, yes, but so could we all. No-one is perfect, and she is rarely deliberately cruel.

  31. Roxie says:

    It's been awhile since I've seen these episodes but I cannot recall ever feeling sorry for Mickey. I really did not like his character and found him annoying, jealous, and too immature. I could not WAIT for them to break up. He was holding Rose back with all his passive aggressive behavior.

    Not that Rose is perfect, but she doesn't make me groan every time she's on screen. I do remember cheering when they finally broke up.

  32. Hotaru-hime says:

    Poor Mickey. I do like him and they treat him rather terribly.
    This episode is always a reminder of how awesome Eccleston was as the Doctor. I hope he does audio books.

  33. LTodd820 says:

    I really liked this episode, especially the emotional fallout between Rose and Mickey. Yes, Rose treated him horribly, but in this episode she really realizes that and is sorry for it. Mickey *spoiler mcspoilery spoiler* after this episode. This episode showed Rose's flaws, but I love Rose's flaws, especially because they're so tempered with her great qualities, like her empathy for others which we see in spades throughout the show.

    And I liked the playoff between Margaret and the Doctor. And Jack. Because Jack is great.

  34. Theresa says:

    I love the whole first scene with our main characters in this episode. No one (that I've seen; I am kind of skimming) has so far mentioned one of my favourite quotes in the whole show though so I thought I'd give it some love:
    "There's no police boxes any more so doesn't it get noticed?"
    "Ricky, let me tell you something about the human race. You put a mysterious blue box slap-bang in the middle of town, what do they do? Walk past it. Now stop your nagging. Let's go and explore. "

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  80. karadudz says:

    (Lots of aliens seem to want to destroy earth. Go pick on another planet!)

    If anything, Earth is the one bullying other planets… I'm not that surprised that aliens want to destroy earth.. Here's my list of reasoning:

    1. We've got a Miss Universe Pageant that only includes females of the EARTH. where are the contestants from… Venus? Mars? Pluto (it's still a planet!!), etc…

    2. We've got Americans and Russians going back and forth planets and placing their flags on them as if they've "conquered" land. Seriously USA, wasn't it enough to take land from the Indians? Now you're taking land from… Aliens?!

    3. Not only do they place their flags, they take rocks and stuff from that planet to study. So I guess it'd be alright if Aliens decided they wanted to study humans and take some of us for some experiments… LOL

    I don't know. I'm just not surprised that aliens are mad at humans and want to destroy our planet. =)

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