Reviewed: Doctor Who Series 1 – The Trip of a Lifetime

We were hungry, to say the least. I compare it to 1987 when Star Trek: The Next Generation came on the air. Us Trek fans were so eager to get a taste of more that we ignored the first two very shaky, uneven, and at times awful stories. But that was Star Trek, still under the guiding hand of creator, Gene Roddenberry, who was no longer the creative force he used to be. This was Doctor Who, and it was being brought back in the capable hands of Russell T. Davies.

Davies’ choice for the Doctor was an interesting one and would be controversial for years to come, as Christopher Eccleston would helm the TARDIS. Former pop singer, Billie Piper would also be joining as the Doctor’s assistant Rose Tyler, who became a bit more significant than that…

And the writers complimenting Davies were a stellar bunch and, frankly, at this stage of his tenure as showrunner, all superior to Davies’ talents himself, as he brought in some heavy hitters. This balance would shift dramatically by Series 4. But after such a long time away, Doctor Who was finally back. And we were hungry. And it was good.

Rose

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Keith Boak.

We’re introduced to Rose Tyler, a 19 year old who’s closing up shop before going home. She’s quickly assaulted by living mannequins and is saved by a mysterious stranger telling her to “run”. Rose is soon caught in the middle of an Auton invasion and sticks by this mysterious “Doctor” who seems to have a plan (of sorts) to save her planet. This is much more interesting to her than the shop, which is all well and good since the Doctor blows it up.

But who is this Doctor? Rose tries to investigate amid ignoring her chattering mother, Jackie (Camille Corduri), and tolerating her cowardly boyfriend, Mickey (Noel Clarke), and even seeks help on the internet, bringing her to conspiracy theorist Clive (Mark Benton). Clive’s been keeping tabs on a character known as the Doctor, who seems to pop up in very old photos via bad photoshop and would appear to be a time traveler bringing disaster with him wherever he goes. Unbeknownst to Rose, Mickey’s also been taken captive and replaced with a plastic version who’s slightly more annoying. This deception is later uncovered and taken down by the Doctor.

We witness all of this through Rose’s eyes and especially her wonder and astonishment at the newly designed interior of the TARDIS.

The possibly-dangerous Doctor is still more appealing than the shop so she helps him track down the controller of all the plastic assassins, the Nestene Consciousness, a writhing, glowing giant amorphous blob beneath the London Eye. The Doctor and Rose battle against the Consciousness’ minions, trying to administer an anti-plastic serum that will destroy it. Meanwhile, downtown Cardiff is being attacked by store-front dummies shooting down humanity. The Doctor and Rose are successful in eliminating the Consciousness, rescuing Mickey, and saving the planet.

The Doctor invites Rose to see the universe. She declines. He leaves. He comes back and explains that the TARDIS also travels in time. She kisses Mickey goodbye (he’s not invited) and off they go.

Christopher Eccleston was an intriguing choice for the Ninth Doctor. He gave you gravitas and attitude. He wasn’t quite as comfortable with the silliness and I think it showed but that’s a small niggle. He and Piper made an excellent team. Here, we see Mickey in his early useless state and the same could be said for Jackie, although they each start their separate journey’s into becoming far better people, as most who know the Doctor for any length of time do.

It’s great to see RTD start out with an old, established enemy in the Nestene Consciousness and the Autons (Spearhead from Space; Terror of the Autons). It helped smooth over the great distance between the look and feel of the all-new show and era. Things were definitely different but still very much the same. The iconic police box took care of most of the rest.

Doctor Who was a ratings gangbuster once again for a whole new (re)generation and Davies could relax. He seriously had no idea whether it would just die on the vine or come back big. Quality won out in the end, pleasing old viewers and new. The Time Lord Victorious. At this point, however, Eccleston had already tendered his resignation – before the first episode had gone out. That would also lead to interesting times down the road but for now, Series 1 continued…

The End of the World

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Euros Lyn.

The first stop in the tour of space and time starts 5 billion years in the future – specifically in the year 5.5/Apple/26 – as the Doctor brings Rose to Platform One to meet and great an assortment of aliens, together to witness the destruction of Earth. In the far flung future, the sun expands and destroys the now-long-evacuated planet. They check in with the Steward (Simon Day, who’d go on to appear in Face the Raven too, albeit as Simon Paisley Day) as invited guests with the help of “slightly psychic paper” which basically tells the viewer whatever they want to see. They’re then introduced to a variety of aliens such as the diminutive Moxx of Balhoon (Jimmy Vee); sentient tree, Jabe (Yasmin Bannerman); and Cassandra, the Last Human – a face stretched onto a skin tarp needing constant moisturisation, played by Zoe Wannamaker.

But all is not well on Platform One. You might’ve guessed that. The Adherents of the Repeated Meme bring deadly robot spiders aboard and start sabotaging the space station, lowering the solar shields and incinerating guests. It’s an elaborate plot by Cassandra to teleport off the station and reap financial gain. The Doctor gets the station defenses back under control with the help of Jabe sacrificing her life, then manages to teleport Cassandra back to face the authorities. Back in present day, the Doctor reveals he’s the last of a race known as the Time Lords.

Through Rose’s eyes, Davies starts the journey wisely, plunging us into a sci fi spectacle, while covering a lot of the basics of travelling with the Doctor. He can work magic on your phone so you can speak to your mom 5 billion years in the past. New viewers learn about the TARDIS translating languages automatically for you. We learn about psychic paper, an excellent RTD invention.

It’s fun seeing a celebration of Earth in the far future where of course they get many history details wrong but it’s great fun – until the killing begins. The giant fan blade bit is a bit rubbish and convoluted but it’s still early days and we’re happy to have Doctor Who back. Everything else looks breath-taking anyway.

The Unquiet Dead

Written by Mark Gatiss; Directed by Euros Lyn.

Christmas Eve in Cardiff, 1869, gets a visit from a blue box and we witness the marvels of stepping into the past. And isn’t Rose’s amazement at crunching down into thick snow wonderful? But at a nearby funeral parlour, the dead are coming back to life, and wandering around town, taking in shows and causing hysteria. The staff of said parlour, Mr. Sneed (Alan David), and Gwyneth (Eve Myles), are tasked with keeping this quiet and recapturing the dead. When Rose stumbles upon the activities, Sneed chloroforms her to shut her up and takes her back to his haunted house.

The main ruckus was caused at a nearby theater during a live performance by the one and only Charles Dickens (Simon Callow), who reluctantly teams up with the Doctor (his Number 1 fanatic). After saving Rose from the clutches of the animated dead, thanks to Gwyneth’s extra sensory gifts, they discover the culprits of the body snatching. The Gelth are seeking asylum on Earth, using the bodies of dead humans as vessels. The inherent gases within a dead body attract the species. There’s a big debate as to whether this is right, wrong, or insane. It’s great that we get to question this new morality so early on in the show’s return.

It’s rendered moot though: when Gwyneth allows herself to be the portal through which the Gelth enter, they show their true, evil plan – killing all humans to use as their vessels. Thanks to some quick thinking by Dickens, he turns up the gas all over the parlour to draw out the wraiths, leaving them vulnerable. Gwyneth has already died yet because of her gifts, she’s able to shoo the Doctor and Rose to safety as she strikes a match, destroying the portal, thus ending the threat.

Back at the TARDIS, the Doctor and Rose say goodbye to Dickens, seemingly giving him a new boost to his life and one final thrill as he watches the Ship dematerialise.

At this point, I have to remark on the wonderful direction of Euros Lyn. I believe him to be the finest of the directors during RTD’s run. His work consistently looks so beautiful and it was always a pleasure seeing the episodes he directed. There’s a lot of wonderful stuff here though. I think this might have been Gatiss’ finest script for the series, as he really does seem to thrive on the Victorian era.

Also, huge kudos to Simon Callow and his wonderful rendition of Dickens. This was a real highlight of Series 1.

Aliens of London

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Keith Boak.

The Doctor returns Rose to present day London, thinking they’ve been gone for 12 hours but in fact, it’s been 12 months and of course, it’s all hit the fan. The Doctor gets slapped in the face by Jackie, murderous looks from Mickey (originally a suspect in Rose’s disappearance), and a giant spaceship crashes into Big Ben (a gorgeous prop by the model unit) which provides a lovely distraction for the Doctor, if for no other reason than to get away from Rose’s home life.

The Doctor investigates the crash and finds out it’s a hoax, as the “pilot” of the ship is a genetically modified pig. But who perpetrated it? Meanwhile, there’s an uproar at 10 Downing Street as high-ranking officials have gone missing – including the Prime Minister – and an assortment of obscure, lower ranking, and very hefty officials start showing up to take control of the situation. They are, in fact, the Slitheen, a family of aliens who use compression technology to hide inside human skins; they must release gas on a regular basis masked as flatulence. They celebrate their shenanigans while another minor official, Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) overhears.

Amidst all the fuss, Jackie finds out the truth about the Doctor and reports him to the authorities, which simply results in him and Rose being brought in to help UNIT figure things out. But after Rose is informed of the Slitheen by Jones, they’re cornered as one Slitheen starts to unzip her forehead, while Jackie’s likewise under attack at home from a disguised policeman. At 10 Downing Street, it’s revealed that the assembling of the Doctor and all the other “experts” is a trap to get them out of the way.

World War Three

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Keith Boak.

All parties concerned escape their threat and the Doctor finds out that the Slitheen are actually here to raid Earth for commercial means. He seals himself, Rose, and Jones away in the PM’s war room, effectively keeping out the Slitheen but at the same time trapping them inside. The Doctor contacts Mickey and shows him how to tap into UNIT’s website. He narrows down the Slitheen’s species and possible weaknesses, finding acetic acid to be one of them. He then orders Mickey to utilise UNIT’s site to send a missile to destroy 10 Downing Street and the Slitheen within to save the day, hoping the war room protects them.

It does.

With the PM dead, the Doctor suggests that Harriet becomes the new PM. He also gives Mickey the means to eradicate all mentions of anything relating to him online and offers him the chance to come with them. He declines, saying he couldn’t handle it; when Rose returns asking if he wants to come with, the Doctor covers for him and off the pair go.

This is a very bizarre story on many levels, with a definite nod toward the kids here, especially considering all the fart jokes. The first two-parter of the new era with its first multi-faceted cliffhanger is a mix of silliness and romp. It did elevate Mickey a bit, giving him a better outing this time, showing some potential. The Slitheen, too, become synonymous with the era.

Dalek

Written by Robert Shearman; Directed by Joe Ahearne.

The Doctor and Rose respond to a signal coming from an underground bunker in Utah, 2012. The labyrinth is owned by Henry Van Statten (Corey Johnson), a collector of alien tech and other trophies. His one living possession is hinted at in the title. Van Statten takes the Doctor to his captive while his assistant, Adam Mitchell (Bruno Langley), canoodles Rose’s spoon shows Rose around. In the Dalek’s cell, the Doctor is astonished, horrified, and frightened to meet another soul who is evidently the only survivor of his greatest enemies’ species and the Time War. The Dalek had been quiet and Van Statten wanted it to speak. The Doctor gets a response and Van Statten is overjoyed. He rescues the Doctor from the cell and continues to have his men torture the Dalek to learn more.

He then tortures the Doctor for information on the Dalek and discovers him to be an alien as well. Another prize for his collection. But Rose also meets the Dalek and, feeling sorry for it, touches it, which is a big mistake. The Dalek absorbs her DNA and gives it into enough power to break from its chains, reach the facilities’ power grid, absorb the internet, and black out civilisation for miles around. It is now virtually unbeatable. Ooops.

Van Statten sends all his troops against the creature but they’re all destroyed easily. The Doctor has finally convinced Van Statten that his prisoner, if allowed to break free, will destroy every life form on the planet. The easy solution is to barricade it in, but Rose is also down there. The Doctor makes the only choice he can and Rose ends up trapped with the Dalek.

But the Dalek doesn’t kill Rose; somehow, her bio-imprint has affected the creature, softened it, has it questioning itself and its purpose. The Doctor arms himself with something he think can kill the Dalek and confronts it. But something’s not right. The Dalek doesn’t want to fight. It simply wants to feel the sunlight on its skin and it needs to be ordered to do something. It realises it needs to die and pleads with the Doctor and Rose to order it to self destruct. Thanks to Rose, it can no longer stand to be alive. They comply, as does it.

This was an incredible comeback for the Daleks and credit where due, it was brilliant to make it a single Dalek, just to show how formidable they’d become since last we’d seen them. This would set up the Doctor’s greatest enemies for a whole new generation. Although this Dalek had the same basic design, there’s a subtle but powerful upgrade in detailed bronze and steel.

This also gives us our best look yet at this very damaged, PTSD-suffering Doctor. We get the first hint at the horrors he’s had to commit while stopping the Daleks; we just didn’t know the extent of it. In either case, it’s very clear: he’s not in the best head space. When thinking, in retrospect too, about all the emotional conflict the character was coming out of, you can kind of see why RTD went in this casting direction. Eccleston nails the internal anguish of the Time Lord.

The Long Game

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Brian Grant.

The Doctor brings Adam with him and Rose on his next trip. They land in the year 200,000 on a space station called Satellite 5. It orbits Earth and transmits news across the planet. In this far flung future, you can even get a port placed directly in your forehead to better access the system.

The Doctor senses something’s been holding back human development here. Turns out, the Editor (Simon Pegg) is organising the trouble, luring humans up to Floor 500 and their doom, via a monster hiding in the ceiling called the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. Or “Max”. While the Doctor and Rose investigate, Adam breaks off and sees an opportunity, getting an info port installed in his head. He absorbs information about the future and transmits it to his answerphone machine at home in present day – all in order to make money.

While the Doctor and Rose confront the Editor and the Jagrafess, another would-be victim alters the environmental settings that channel heat down the station in order to keep the Jagrafess cool. The creature dies, as does its plans, in explosive fashion. The Doctor discovers Adam’s unethical behavior. He destroys all his information, dumps him on Earth in the present day, and leaves him open to medical experimentation, due to his bizarre-looking forehead port.

Every season has a dog. This is that dog. Adam is annoying and gets his just desserts. Why did the Doctor bring him in the first place? Just to appease Rose? It seems RTD wanted to tell a cautionary tale about what happens when you misbehave with the timeline, about the manipulation of citizens through the media, and about a massive blob named Max.

Father’s Day

Written by Paul Cornell; Directed by Joe Ahearne.

The Doctor takes Rose back to 1987 so she can be with her father, Pete Tyler (Shaun Dingwall), the day he died in a hit-and-run accident. Rose freezes the first time, doesn’t go to him as he dies. They try again. This time, Rose darts out and saves her father, creating all sorts of paradoxes and the Doctor is beside himself. Literally and metaphorically. He chastises her and heads back to the TARDIS, while she decides to accompany her father to a friend’s wedding. The Doctor arrives at the TARDIS to find it’s now an empty shell and that creatures called Reapers are appearing to consume people in order to correct these paradoxes, to “sterilise the wound”.

Among the guests at the wedding, Rose meets a younger Jackie – and herself as an infant. The Reaper attacks build, eating more and more people. The Doctor arrives and directs the guests to seek refuge in the church, as it’s old age helps protect against the Reapers and they’re not strong enough to enter. The TARDIS is gone but the key is still warm and the Doctor has only to wait it out until the TARDIS re-forms around the key to fix the paradoxes. Jackie is suspicious of Rose hanging around her husband. At one point, she unexpectedly passes infant Rose to adult Rose to hold and the resulting Blinovitch Limitation Effect throws down all the barriers, allowing the Reapers to invade the church and feast on the oldest thing in there: the Doctor.

Having talked with Rose and spent time with her, Pete eventually realises beyond all reason who she is and that the only way to correct things is for him to sacrifice himself and he faces his fate.

But Rose is there to be with him at the end.

This was a very powerful, emotional episode, one of the best of the year. Marvelous writing from Cornell, and presumably Davies, bringing the Tyler family dynamic to life. There are real, natural interactions between the characters.

There’s usually not a dry eye in the house after watching this episode. The Reapers are an interesting addition to Doctor Who lore, and it’s kind of surprising we never saw them again.

Father’s Day is an especially well paced episode as well. A wonderful story arc perfectly fit into 44 minutes. That’s not always the case.

The Empty Child

Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by James Hawes.

Following a time-traveling cylinder through the vortex, the Doctor and Rose end up in Britain during the Blitz. The Doctor tries to track down the cylinder while Rose spots a small boy on a roof wearing a gas mask. She tries to climb up to him, only to be cast adrift among barrage balloons high over London, as she’s unknowingly grabbed a tethering cable. Dangling helplessly over the city, she is saved by a dashing former Time Agent named Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). He’s undercover in the era, trying to sell the cylinder to the time agency. In his ship, Jack has microscopic, medical nano-genes instantaneously cure Rose’s rope burns and, thinking she’s a Time Agent, begins negotiations. There’s also a time limit: Jack knows that, very soon, a German bomb will hit and destroy the valuable merchandise, so they’re on a clock.

Meanwhile, the Doctor runs into strange phenomena as he encounters young Nancy (Florence Hoath), who looks after a group of young children who are living rough on the edge of civilisation, scrounging for food and shelter. The Doctor sees the small boy with the gas mask who constantly asks, “Are you my mummy?” Nancy warns him that the boy, her brother Jamie (Albert Valentine), is “wrong” and no one must touch him, lest they be infected. It seems that Jamie has the power to communicate via dead telephones, recording devices, and even the TARDIS’ inactive police box phone.

The Doctor travels to the nearby hospital, and talks with the area’s physician, Dr. Constantine (Richard Wilson). He finds many patients with the exact same symptoms, or physical anomalies, as Jamie. Each has the exact same markings on their hands and gas masks fused to their faces. They are all alive, however. Dr. Constantine tells the Doctor that Jamie was the very first victim of the malady and then succumbs to the disease himself, his face transforming into a horrific gas mask. Rose and Jack meet up with the Doctor, where Jack admits that the cylinder is actually a Chula medical ship. The patients are now all stirring and converging on the trio, and they have nowhere to go.

The Doctor Dances

Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by James Hawes.

“Go to your room!” the quick-thinking Doctor instructs them all. They obey and shuffle off. The Doctor, Rose, and Jack find the boy’s room and try to piece together the mystery but realise that Jamie’s power is growing exponentially and will soon infect everyone. The boy shows up and the trio escape via teleport to Jack’s ship.

Nancy goes back to the Chula crash site where everything began and is captured by soldiers, who are slowly being infected, one starting to change in her presence while she’s handcuffed. The Doctor, Rose, and Jack get Nancy to safety and piece together what happened. When the Chula ship crashed, the first human it came in contact with was Jamie, recently deceased. Not being familiar with human anatomy, the nano-genes assumed the gas mask was part of the anatomy and it “fixed” Jamie, not knowing any better.

The Doctor also realises that Nancy is actually Jamie’s mother, and, as the ever-growing infected populace advances upon them, tells Nancy to go to Jamie, to explain she is his mummy. She does so, embracing him. The nano-genes figure out the DNA and biological significance of a mother and son and correct their mistake, bringing Jamie back to normal, along with the rest of the people.

But the time-predicted incoming German bomb has finally arrived. Jack holds it with a tractor beam and steals it away from the scene to explode elsewhere. The Doctor sets the Chula warship to self-destruct, then he and Rose hop in the TARDIS, pick up Jack before his ship goes up with the explosion, and welcomes him on board. There is then dancing.

This was Steven Moffat’s first story for the new era of Doctor Who but it certainly wouldn’t be his last, setting a very high standard across the board. This, of course, was also Captain Jack’s first appearance, at the behest of RTD.

Fantastic jobs all around and a wonderful mix of sci-fi and history. Hawes’ direction hits all the right creepy notes in this epic two-parter. The boy in the gas mask asking “Are you my mummy?” is still one of the most iconic images and sayings in the new Who era.

Boom Town

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Joe Ahearne.

The Doctor parks the TARDIS in Cardiff about six months after the events of World War Three to recharge the old girl, siphoning off the temporal energy from the rift in the area. Mickey meets up with them for lunch and they find out that one of the Slitheen, Blon Fel Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, aka Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland), has become Cardiff’s mayor. They confront and capture her, intending to bring her home to face her people’s justice. They also take in a device called an Extrapolator, which she was planning on using to flee Earth. They have some time to waste before the TARDIS gets a full tank so they fill the time. Rose and Mickey talk and attempt to clear the air. Mickey declares that it’s been very hard for him without her but he doesn’t really think she cares. Jack works around the TARDIS and the Doctor takes Margaret out to dinner. She explains to him that he’s taking her home essentially to be murdered. That he is, in fact, practically her executioner.

Suddenly, earthquakes begin wracking the area, emanating from the rift. The group reconvenes in the TARDIS, realising the Extrapolator was a trap intended to divert the energy from the TARDIS back into the rift, rupturing it. As chaos ensues, Margaret grabs Rose as a hostage, demanding the Extrapolator back. But the TARDIS bathes her in the light of the vortex, mesmerising her, allowing the Doctor and Jack to repair the chaos. Margaret devolves back into an egg, which they’ll drop off on her home world. In the confusion, Mickey’s left without saying goodbye. Rose goes to look for him but he’s gone.

An interesting “day in the life” episode, at which RTD really excels. Lots of good, interpersonal relationships and moral debating going on here. It’s good stuff, particularly for a rather low-key episode leading up to the big two-part finale.

Bad Wolf

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Joe Ahearne.

The Doctor, Rose, and Jack each wake up in deadly versions of popular reality TV shows. The year is 200,100 on space station Satellite 5, 100 years after the Doctor’s visit in The Long Game. The Doctor escapes Big Brother with another contestant, Lynda (Jo Joyner) to investigate what happened. Jack escapes a bloody version of What Not to Wear. And they discover that, after the Doctor freed us from the influence of the Jagrafess, humanity just became confused and directionless. The station is now run by the Bad Wolf Corporation, words that are following them through space and time. They finally find Rose, only to see her lose at The Weakest Link and get disintegrated.

The Doctor, Jack, and Lynda are arrested but escape to find their way to Floor 500 and a cybernetic Controller, a woman who’s tied into the station’s system. She cannot communicate until a solar flare comes through, when they learn that Rose wasn’t disintegrated but teleported elsewhere. Her masters will be listening in to all communications, hence why she hid the Doctor and co. in the games.

The Doctor tells her to give away their position so he can get a fix on where Rose is being held. She does so (and is exterminated for her efforts) and they find out the Daleks are holding Rose hostage and they want the Doctor to surrender. He says no; he’s coming to save Rose and wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky.

This was a two-parter, but I think it best to break this down one part at a time. I’m not sure how well this would even stand up today, being so tied to our 2005 popular reality TV shows. I suppose it depends on how fond you are of the shows now, at least those that still run or are repeated. It’s a curious choice even tying the Daleks into this set-up. An odd combination to say the least. It reads a bit more like stunt casting with the Anne Robinson connection, etc. but in the end, this was still the return of Doctor Who, we were still happy to have it back, and maybe the extreme left-turn, seeing the Daleks again, was a good enough surprise to plaster over the nods to reality TV. At the very least, it was relatable at the time.

The Parting of the Ways

Written by Russell T. Davies; Directed by Joe Ahearne.

The Doctor uses the Extrapolator to form a shield around the TARDIS as they break into the Dalek spaceship stronghold and confront the Dalek Emperor. The Emperor survived the Time War in a crippled ship and used humanity’s DNA to harvest a new Dalek race. They leave and back on Satellite 5, Jack rigs the Extrapolator to shield the top 6 floors, while the Doctor attempts to set up a Delta Wave Generator that should kill all the Daleks… but also the humans on Earth.

The Doctor instructs Rose to go into the TARDIS to fetch something and remote controls it to take her home so she’s safe. Rose is angry and starts to see the term “Bad Wolf” spray painted everywhere around her neighborhood. She decides that it’s a message telling her to get back to the Doctor. With the help of Mickey, Jackie, and a construction truck, she pries open the TARDIS console and gets bathed in light from the Time Vortex. The TARDIS dematerialises with her in it.

Meanwhile, the Daleks have invaded the station and are killing everyone, including Lynda and Jack. The Doctor can’t find it in himself to destroy the Daleks and Earth with the Delta Wave. But the TARDIS materialises and out comes Rose, who’s absorbed the Time Vortex and, with a sweep of her hand, disintegrates the Dalek fleet and, in another part of the station, brings Jack back to life. It’s certain death for anyone to absorbs the Time Vortex, so the Doctor lies a life-saving liplock on her and transfers the deadly vortex to himself. They leave behind the station and a very confused Jack Harkness.

It’s too much for the Time Lord and he regenerates in front of Rose into a new man.

Did I mention I was just happy Doctor Who was back? Because certain things about this episode made no sense to me even at the time but I didn’t complain too much. I know RTD wanted a theme for the series and “Bad Wolf” was it. The Doctor and Rose didn’t even recognise some of the mentions throughout the series and, frankly, Rose seeing graffiti around her neighborhood saying “Bad Wolf” over and over… What would that even mean to her? I’d think she’d still try and find a way to go back and help the Doctor without the help of a halfway artistic tagger.

Also, the Time Vortex is deadly. So deadly, that even a Time Lord couldn’t hold it inside him without regenerating and we know a Time Lord is a lot tougher than a human. Why is Rose not dead as a doornail? She had the vortex inside her longer than the Doctor did. Anyway, this was maybe the biggest instance of RTD providing a lot of fun and spectacle but it’s best to not look behind the curtain, as it makes little to no sense on some levels.

In the end, we very much were happy to have the Doctor back and here, we got to see one of the most familiar aspects of the show: the regeneration. This was a good refresher course for the new fans as well, as it let them know that this was a thing. A wonderful, crazy, marvelous thing.

NEXT: My dog has no nose.