(This article was originally published on the 22nd of July 2010 at the now defunct website Eye of Harmony. It is not up to my current standard of writing, does not accurately represent my current opinions in places, and has not been altered in any way from its original state. In addition to the insufferably smug, nitpicky, and generally godawful “riffing” that passed for critique and/or comedy in the last installment, we now add: An attempt to force a meme into existence with “*smiles* No.” Further ratcheting up of the Smug Idiot Who Thinks He’s Smarter Than What He’s Watching But Is Actually Just An Insufferable Twat routine to almost CinemaSins levels. Forced crowbarring-in of the infamous George Lucas line about poetry. Most glaring of all, however, is when I claim that the TARDIS having its lights off constitutes a continuity error because it makes it sort of look like the 80s design. Really. No, really, I was that desperate for idiotic snark to compensate for my inability to actually criticise the episode in any meaningful manner. I went there. It is preserved here for archival purposes only, and that should be taken into account before reading. You have been warned.)
(Oh, and a brief side-note: the first half of the article had one commenter on it, a rarity on Eye of Harmony, who panned it. Not because it was a horrendous pile of shit like they should have, but because saying bad things about RTD made me a “classic series fanboy” or some other such trite nothings members of fandom throw at each other. This is what I’m referring to in the opening line, and being just as much of an officious prick about it as the commenter was.)
I’d like to thank the troll on the previous post for giving me the motivation to post again so soon. This one’s for you, buddy.
So when we last left our insipid heroine, she was locked in an F-grade horror film- I mean basement, and the door mysteriously locked itself. Now I’ve recovered from laughing, let’s move on.
Rose continues on in Dead Before Credits tradition by calling out “is someone mucking about?” Come on, lady. Don’t you know that’s like the ringtone on the Grim Reaper’s pager? True to form, as soon as she moves past some dummies, one moves with an incredibly loud squeak. Alerted, she turns, and the Auton peeks out of the shadows. It’s probably just me here, but does anyone else mentally hear the Auton speak with the voice of that Scottish guy from The IT Crowd when it leans over?
Rose is determined… to be a blonde body statistic of the movie’s villain, it seems, as she continues to spout classic lines blondes inevitably loose in this situation, including old chestnuts “You got me, very funny” and “Right, I got the joke”.
“Who’s idea was this, then? Was it Derek’s?” Oh please God, Doctor, PLEASE appear and save us from pointless references to characters we’ll never see, let alone care about. The Autons start surrounding her, with Rose insistent on getting every blonde cliché in the book into this scene by tripping over backwards. Luckily RTD has at least some sense in not having her scrabble away on the floor like the thousands of her predecessors have done since the dawn of the slasher movie. No, instead she begins getting up, and teleports about a foot away. Why does she not use this power of bad editing to escape? Maybe she can’t teleport through walls or something.
Meanwhile, the Autons make sure to remind people that this is in fact Doctor Who, as one raises it’s arm to strike… and stops for a few seconds. Luckily, the Doctor makes use of this particular Auton’s politeness by teleporting next to Rose, grabbing her hand and exclaiming “Run!”. Did he just come through the door next to him? I think that’s what they’re implying. If so, is this incarnation Sam Fisher? How did he pick/sonic the lock and get through without making a sound? If it was already unlocked, why didn’t Rose use it? Oh right, so we can have the Doctor revealed dramatically and have him and his companion run from monsters down a corridor.
Oh yeah, and the Autons, previously only reaching zombie-like speeds, can now run. Why do you ask?
In another little strange moment, we see more Autons in cages. No, you read that right, cages line the walls of the corridor. Of course! It all makes sense now! Wilson really WAS the CEO, and he kept his office in a dank power room in the basement so he could perform his sick, twisted experiments on these poor creatures in secret! I freaking TOLD you this was the opening to a crap horror film that RTD made into the start of a Doctor Who episode!
They escape by way of a handy elevator, but an Auton loses an arm trying to stop them. Uh, as far as I know, elevators are specifically designed NOT to do this. They open again if there’s something in the way, and don’t exert enough pressure to do anything even if they did close on something. Even Roland Emmerich, director of horrible effects movies, knew that having a baby Godzilla be decapitated by the lift doors would be stupid (and lose that all important 12 rating). But never mind, these are Movie Lifts, they can smash through the roof and fly if the writer feels like it.
“You pulled his arm off!” Rose exclaims. Really? That’s your first query? With everything else going on, that’s the one you ask first? Granted, that’s a good question, but that should be wa-a-a-ay down the list.
There then follows a scene in the lift with not much point other than to sow the seeds of acceptance in the Doctor’s mind that this girl might make a companion. Thus, I’ll skip it. One thing that should be said, however, is that RTD proves here that he CAN write ‘Doctor-ish’ dialogue, but only when the Doctor is being ‘enigmatic’. I put ‘enigmatic’ in quotes because there’s quite a difference between what Russell says is enigmatic and what enigmatic actually means. In this one scene, and in a few scenes following, we see the Doctor actually act like the Doctor we know, not RTD’s Doctor.
Oh yeah, and we finally establish who Wilson is! “Chief Electrician.” THEN WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT’S HOLY DID THE DOOR SAY- You know what? Fine. Whatever. Let’s just roll with it. My brain won’t hurt so much that way. The Doctor, however, quickly mentions that Wilson is… dead? No… it can’t be… Not Wilson!
Rose doesn’t immediately respond with a well-deserved “WHAT?!”, like one of those tiresome human things would do, but instead stands there gawking. In fact, does anyone else notice Billie Piper was prone to leaving her mouth open in the early days? Sure, it’s nitpicking, but honestly, it gets distracting.
So we finally see our first use of the Sonic Screwdriver! Yay for Plot Cavity Insulation! However, in a strange turn, when the Doctor uses it to short-circuit the panel, there’s a subtle crappy Photoshop effect on the panel just before it explodes. Why is this never seen again? Because it was a bad effect, of course! Why do you ask?
Rose finally starts asking the more important questions mentioned earlier, such as who the Doctor is and what the Autons are… once the Doctor is moving quickly out of earshot. Luckily he hears her, and as RTD needed to explain just what the flying fudge is going on, the Doctor kindly info-dumps information that will never be addressed again beyond this scene. He’s here because apparently there’s a relay on the roof controlling the Autons.
Several questions spring to mind.
1) If he was heading to the roof, why was he in the basement?
NEVER EXPLAINED! COUNT: 6
2) What importance was Wilson? How did he die if the Autons only came alive moments before the Doctor met Rose, and the Autons were still moving at zombie speed? Did he tell the Doctor where the relay was?
NEVER EXPLAINED! COUNT: 7
3) Where did the Doctor get the bomb from? Did he build it himself? Did he find it? What?
NEVER EXPLAINED! COUNT: 8
4) What point did this info-dump scene have other than to establish the Doctor’s personality? Granted, it does it pretty well, but why do it when the character is only going to morph into the angsty I’m-the-only-one-left-woe-is-me guy who has nothing to do with the character established in both the original series and this scene?
NEVER EXPLAINED! COUNT: 9
Run for your life indeed.
I get it, all right? I get it, RTD fanboys and girls. This is meant to be an introduction told from the viewpoint of one of those countless incidental characters that were caught up in the Doctor’s adventures and were hastily dropped when their purpose was served. It’s a nice idea to start off the story in medias res, but I’m sorry, it just comes off like the adventure we should be following is going on elsewhere while we’re stuck with this boring shop attendant and her unbelievably annoying mother.
As Rose looks on from the street, the roof explodes… and then the top floor windows explode a few moments later. Wait, what? How does that make any sense whatso-
HOLD ON JUST ONE COTTON PICKING SECOND! As if the bomb cloning itself wasn’t bad enough, I just noticed, it’s been all of five minutes since Rose took the lottery money (whatever happened to that, by the way? NEVER EXPLAINED! COUNT: 10), and it went from this:
Come on, BBC Wales, that’s Ed Wood level stuff. FREAKING ED WOOD LEVEL, PEOPLE!
So Rose quickly runs from the blaze, running past- oh, hang on… Yep, excuse me a moment…
Right then, now that’s out of the way… Actually, wait a minute, is it just me or does the TARDIS still have 80s era windows? No, seriously, compare them to the rest of the series. I literally did a double take between the image above and the Flight Control TARDIS on my shelf. My God, they’re not even trying, are they?
So we return to the Tyler flat-
…indeed, as we hear Rose’s mum speak all of one line before we’re already hoping she dies horribly. Sadly this isn’t a bad horror movie any more, it’s Doctor Who now. Great timing, asshole.
Mickey, the aforementioned boyfriend, enters, and immediately starts fawning because he thought Rose was dead. Yes, her mobile was off and the shop she worked at exploded (apparently) hours after sundown, long after working hours, and this guy thinks she was caught in it. Yes, really.
“What was it, though? What caused it?”
“I wasn’t in the shop, I was outside. I didn’t see anything.”
“Debbie on the end. She knows a man on the Mirror, 500 quid for an interview!”
“Oh, that’s brilliant! Give it here…” *hangs up*
“Well you’ve got to find some way of making money. Your job’s kaput and I’m not bailing you out.” *phone rings* “Bev? She’s alive! I told her! Sue for compensation, she was within seconds of death!”
Blah blah blah, more not quite realistic banter…
…more crap I don’t need to talk about. NEXT SCENE!
Crash zoom into an alarm clock. Rose wakes- Oh crap IT’S STARTING OVER IT’S NEVER GONNA END AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!
Oh, wait, RTD just liked that whole scene so much he wanted to repeat it. Or maybe it’s some huge metaphorical meaning that’s too clever (read obscure) for anyone other than RTD to figure out.
Shaddap, George Lucas! Go back to ruining Star Wars! Actually, no, DON’T go back to ruining Star Wars, dammit!
Hilariously, even Rose’s mum can figure this scene has no purpose, and calls the show out on it. Ah, the wonders of Lampshade Hanging.
As if we didn’t already have enough pointless domestics, we get another scene where nothing is said of any importance and nothing is accomplished. Half the scene is just Jackie hammering the compensation idea home even more, when it had already outstayed it’s welcome in the last scene.
“Arianna got 2000 quid off the council just ‘cause the old man behind the desk said she looked Greek! I know she IS Greek, but that’s beside the pont.”
Russell T Davies’ best attempt at satire, ladies and gentlemen! I hope you enjoyed it!
The sound of a cat flap fluttering echoes through the room. Rose goes to go check it and- JUMP SCARE AAAH!- oh crap, NOW you take us back to the bad horror movie, RTD? Well, screw you. Screw you hard.
Thankfully this seems to be just a sentence or two of the horror script that got mixed in here, as the cat flap opens to reveal the Doctor, who then gets pulled into the flat by Rose. There, he and Jackie share the one funny scene in the entire RTD era:
“I’m in my dressing gown.”
“Yes, you are.”
“There’s a strange man in my bedroom.”
“Yes, there is.”
“Well, anything could happen…”
You know the funniest part? It could go anywhere! Literally, the sound clip of that last line could be put in so many great places. In fact, go on, try some yourself, I’d love to see what you guys can come up with. No, really, I’m telling you, go out there and take any scene from anything, and add that last line to it. It’s a great way to pass time for a movie buff. Here, I’ll even start you off:
Or, if you want to get a little more obscure:
But, my personal favourite is:
Just because it makes no sense. The more nonsensical the better, so come on, show me what you’ve got!
(At first, as I mentioned in passing in the first half, my plan was to go through the entire RTD era like this. Thank fuck that never happened, as delays plagued the third installment of this series, ranging from being busy with other projects and schoolwork to just plain procrastination. At one point I retooled my plans, likely at some point after I wrote the soundtrack mega-review, to make the third installment into, shock of shocks, an actual review! With like, criticism and a modicum of thought being put into the crap I was spewing! Time wore on, and I never bothered. Even with the new approach in mind, it wouldn’t have been worth it.)
(One last little tit-bit before I go. Danny Stewart was the creator and webmaster of Eye of Harmony, and he absolutely loved The RTD Roundup. Make of that what you will.)