Doctor Who, S1 Ep10 – The Doctor Dances

The Doctor Dances

Previously on Doctor Who: Rose, Jack and The Doctor were surrounded by gasmask wearing beings that were all creepily asking for their ‘mummy.’

Go To Your Room!“Go to your Room!”

And that is how this episode begins with The Doctor cleverly telling the mummy-seeking creatures to go to their room.  It amazingly works and the creatures back off.  Even the original, Jamie, who had cornered his sister Nancy in a house, walks away.

The beginning of this episode revolves around information gathering to figure out the mystery of the gasmask creatures.  Jack expounds on his con regarding the space junk, which gives more information on Jack’s character but not so much in the realm of unraveling the mystery.  The important information is that Jamie was the first victim and was killed around the same time when the Chula ambulance fell.  The trio goes to the hospital room where Jamie was taken, and they listen to a recording of Jamie asking for his mummy.  As much as this happens throughout these two episodes, it is still eerie to listen to.  The Doctor realizes that Jamie has been altered, that he is powerful, afraid, and that he just sent Jamie to his room, which is the room they are currently in.  There is a good combination of music and a shot of Jamie standing there that gives the viewer a nice startle moment.

Jack, Rose and The Doctor flee as more of the gasmask wearing beings come after them.  The next few minutes is a game of hide-and-seek with the trio and the creatures and a game of one-upmanship between Jack and The Doctor.  They lock themselves in a room and Jack disappears. Jack contacts them through the radio speaker, and The Doctor makes the comment that both Jack and the child can use radio devices to speak.

Meanwhile, Nancy realizes that the child is always going to come after her and heads to the crash site.

It's a MetaphorThere is a cute scene with The Doctor and Rose locked in the room bantering about dancing while waiting for Jack to transport them out.  “The world doesn’t end because The Doctor dances.”  Dancing throughout the episode is used as a metaphor for sex, and it leads to some more witty dialogue later on.

Once on board Jack’s ship, The Doctor makes it a point to recognize that Jack’s ship is also a Chula ship.  He then talks about the nano technology (nanogenes) that repairs his hand which is another clue to what is happening.  The trio then goes to the crash site for The Doctor to inspect Jack’s space junk.

Nancy is already there, captured by the guards who also start turning into the beings.  The air raid sirens start going off, and the viewer is reminded that a bomb is going to drop on the site as part of Jack’s con.  The Doctor releases Nancy, who successfully sang a lullaby to the guard to get him fall asleep, and the four of them check out the crashed ship.  Jack is adamant that he has done nothing wrong, and he attempts to open the ship to show The Doctor it is junk.  However, he can’t; an alarm starts going off and all the beings in the hospital get out of their beds presumably to start heading toward the crash site.

They get the ship open and it is empty.  However, The Doctor reminds them that a Chula ambulance ship isn’t going to have bandages or cough drops but–wait for it–nanogenes–just like the ones on Jack’s ship that healed Rose’s hands.  When the ambulance opened, enough nanogenes to rebuild a species were released, and the first human they happened upon was a dead child wearing a gas mask.  These nanogenes had never seen a human being before, and all they had to go on is a dead child wearing a gas mask, so of course when they encounter other humans, they ‘fix’ them in that child’s image.

“The entire human race is going to be torn down and rebuilt in the form of one terrified child, looking for its mother, and nothing in the world can stop it.”

Uh OhThe coming scenes are suspenseful. The “fixed” humans are approaching with Jamie at the head.  Bombs are falling closer and closer to their location.  The Doctor is out of ideas.  They cannot be transported out.  Jack decides to leave.

Then there is another revelation.

The Doctor puts a few of the other clues together and realizes that Nancy is older than she looks, that the child is always looking for is mummy and is following Nancy.  She is Jamie’s mother.  He convinces her to admit it to Jamie, and, in a tear-jerker moment, Nancy hugs Jamie.  “Yes, I am your mummy. I will always be your mummy.”  As soon as they hug, they are surrounded by the yellow glow of the nanogenes.  The nanogenes recognize the superior DNA of the mother and instead of changing Nancy, they change Jamie back to being human.

Jack reappears with his ship and catches the German bomb that was about to fall with his tractor beam.  The bomb has already been rigged for detonation, so The Doctor tells Jack to take it somewhere safe for it to detonate.

Everyone Lives!The nanogenes go out to the crowd of gas masked humans and fix their mistake as well while The Doctor triumphantly yells, “Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, everybody lives!”

The Doctor cleans up the mess, tidies the loose ends, and Rose and The Doctor jump in the TARDIS.

Jack has the bomb in stasis on his ship, and the computer tells him that stasis will decay in three minutes. He has no escape pods and a 100% chance of termination in under two minutes.  Lucky for him, the TARDIS shows up to rescue him.  The last scene is The Doctor and Rose dancing together inside the TARDIS while Jack looks on.

This episode was a brilliant second part. It was very well written in that all the clues to figure out the mystery of the gas masked beings were sprinkled throughout the narrative.  The solution was elegant.  The introduction of Jack Harkness was well handled, and the viewer is given just enough information about him so that his charitable act of catching the bomb does not come out of the blue.  The dialogue is perfect.  The banter is hilarious.  Even the parts where The Doctor explains, especially at the end, is so effused with emotion and energy that it does not come off as boring exposition. The guest stars of John Barrowman and Richard Wilson were also perfect choices.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable episode and really lives up to the mythos of the great drama of Doctor Who.  After watching, I found out that the previous episode and this one together won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.  It was well deserved.