Episode 7 – THE LONG GAME

I feel sorry for this episode, it’s sandwiched in between two gems. Although it is underrated, it’s still not a great story. Adam and Cathica were both two annoying characters and the Editor didn’t pose much threat. I like Simon Pegg, but he and Peter Kay both showed that comedians should only guest star in Doctor Who in Christmas specials. He didn’t quite carry enough menace to be considered a huge threat and the Mighty Jagrafess was underused. This story was key to the series however as we find out in the finale and satellite five controlling the world was an interesting concept. I enjoyed seeing the Doctor, Rose and Adam explore their surroundings at the start of the episode and I liked seeing how the chip was implanted too. It was certainly an interesting take on our potential future. However the script is quite weak, the ending is poor and I have no idea how a dead Suki could hold on to the Editor so he couldn’t escape. Overall, it’s a pretty average story, it’s placed unfortunately in the series. If this was an episode two for instance it might be more highly regarded. 5/10

Episode 8 – FATHER’S DAY

This is one of those brilliant Doctor Who stories where we see the consequences of messing with time. Of course, it’s only natural to want to go back and save loved ones from death if given the chance, but the script for this episode is perfect to show us how careful you must be as a time traveller. We see more of the Doctor’s dark side as he brands Rose a “stupid ape”. Eccleston once again delivers a perfect performance as he gets the balance between being dark and being heroic/the Doctor just right. The Reapers were a fantastically designed villain, and their concept should’ve meant further appearances. Episodes like The Wedding of River Song could’ve surely featured these creatures as time had “gone wrong” and fixed events had been altered. I would love to see them back in the future because they did pose a serious threat. The dialogue between a young Jackie and Pete was brilliant too, they had some great comedic lines between them. This episode was an emotional one too though. The scene between Rose and her dad was written perfectly by Paul Cornell, it was such a touching moment. It’s an episode that will be hard to replicate without feeling like a rip off, I’m glad Cornell handled it so well and it’s one of the best of the series. 9/10

Episode 9 – THE EMPTY CHILD

Steven Moffat kicked off his Doctor Who writing career in style with this sinister two parter. The gas mask was an incredibly simple yet effective concept and their cry of “Are you my Mummy?” sent a shiver down your spine. I liked the opening scene in the episode, it was the first time we joined the Doctor and Rose mid-adventure as they chased what looked like a bomb through the Time Vortex towards London. We were also introduced to Captain Jack Harkness who of course went on to return in series three and star in Torchwood. I’m surprised he hasn’t returned in the Moffat era, as it was the current head writer who introduced him to the show. At times this episode did go quite slowly, but it was a case of getting the right people in the right place for the second part. The last ten minutes were excellent though as we got a glimpse of Doctor Constantine’s scar and started to work out something was wrong. We were treated to a sensational bit of CGI when Constantine changed into one of the gas mask people, probably the best use of CGI since the show returned. When the gas mask people suddenly sat up, it was a tremendously spooky moment and we were left with a good cliffhanger, which saw the Doctor, Rose and Jack cornered by the gas mask people. Nancy was also in an awkward predicament, locked in a room with her apparent brother who also had a gas mask. The last ten minutes certainly gave this episode a huge boost and it did a good job of setting up The Doctor Dances. 7/10

Episode 10 – THE DOCTOR DANCES

This was a strong finish to the story and it was an improvement on the first part. I quite liked the “Go to your room” line that got the Doctor and co. out of the sticky situation they were in from the previous episode. There were lots of other quirky and humourous lines throughout too, mostly about bananas. Nancy developed a lot as a character too and it was great to see her completely own the man who had phoned the Police. The gas mask people continued to be creepy. The scene where the typewriter was typing by itself was particularly disturbing. Again there were some parts of the episode that were quite slow, but just like the first part, the ending more than made up for that. The revelation that the gas mask people were formed from the nanogenes trying to heal the sick was a very clever plot point. After Nancy’s son was saved by the nanogenes and reformed to normal, it was terrific to see the Doctor’s joy. A man who was still hurting from the extinction of his people was so ecstatic to see a day when everyone survived and his “Everybody Lives!” line was a standout moment for the ninth Doctor. The final scene in the TARDIS where the Doctor finally started dancing properly was a fitting conclusion to this strong two parter. 8/10

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