Wherein Talia and Lucia discuss ROSE the pilot episode for the 2005 revival of the BBC flagship show DOCTOR WHO. Read on for all of our hot takes and thoughtful critiques as we tear Doctor Who apart and wax poetic about its beauty in equal measure.
Talia Franks: Hello and welcome to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast!
Lucia Kelly: I’m Lucia Kelly, expert at applied analysis and vial of anti-plastic.
Talia Franks: And I’m Talia Franks, media critic, fanfic enthusiast, and paperback with a sad ending.
Lucia Kelly: And we’re here to talk today about “Rose” the very first episode of Doctor Who to air since 1989.
Talia Franks: Rose aired on the 26th of March, 2005. Fun fact, we’re recording this on the 27th of March, 2021.
Lucia Kelly: Woohoo!
Talia Franks: Wow! Well actually, I guess it’s the 28th for you…
Lucia Kelly: It’s the 28th for me. Yeah. So actually we are being a bit timey wimey.
Talia Franks: Timey wimey! Rose was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Keith Boak.
Lucia Kelly: Reminder! Time is not a straight line. It can twist into any shape and as such, this is a fully spoiled podcast. We might bring things in from later in the show, the comics, the books, or even fan theories and articles.
Talia Franks: With that out of the way, the Nestene Consciousness is about to take over all the breast implants, so let’s get in the TARDIS!
Lucia Kelly: It’s Lucia and Talia from the future here, we’re popping in to talk about something very important.
Talia Franks: Noel Clarke recently came under scrutiny after his BAFTA nomination for inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment towards over 20 different women on various projects he’s been involved in over the years.
BAFTA have since suspended the award. As far as we know, The Guardian has covered the story almost completely, and we’ll put a link to the story in our show notes. However we warn you that the story includes interviews with several of these women who go into explicit detail about what happened to them.
Please keep yourself safe. Being informed should not come at the cost of your mental health and wellbeing.
Lucia Kelly: We also want to acknowledge since this is the season that introduces Captain Jack, that there’s also a great deal of controversy around John Barrowman. A few years ago, it came out that Barrowman would flesh various crew and cast members on set. Although these acts were performed with the intention of practical joking, cast and crew have since come out about how deeply uncomfortable this make them.
As far as we know, barman responded with an apology stating his remorse at the pain he had caused and his intention to do better in the future. That does not negate the fact that what he did was wrong, especially because in addition to the numerous occasions of him exposing himself, he has also made transphobic remarks, which we cannot forgive at this time, but which are the lesser offense in the eyes of the public.
Talia Franks: Additionally, we want to note that despite any apologies he may have made, some of his behavior was condoned and encouraged by others, a systemic issue that bears consideration. Furthermore, these conversations are ongoing and moving at a rapid pace. This podcast is prerecorded due to the fact that Lucia and I can rarely meet in the same place. And at the same time, for example, the first eight episodes of this podcast were recorded in March and April of 2021. Therefore, this is not the place for such conversations. We’ll be linking resources to articles and other places of discussion in the show notes.
That said we both wanted to talk about this before stepping into the main body of this podcast, as we’ll be talking at length about both Micky and captain Jack, who are both characters that we love. On this podcast, we are separating the art from the artists while we often praise actors for the acting capabilities that is not an endorsement of their actions off screen.
We acknowledge that awful people, people we don’t agree with or support can sometimes make beautiful and worthwhile things. And the source of those creations does not negate the creations, power or importance. Every observable act of creation is a conversation between the art and the audience. We hope that you come with us as we turn that conversation towards recognizing and affirming people’s experiences while still celebrating that, which brings us joy.
Lucia Kelly: So, “Rose”, the episode, opens on a shot of the moon, which is actually, I want to keep a record of – there are certain shots, in Doctor Who, that are reused a ridiculous amount. This is one of them. This opening shot is used about 10 times. So we go from the moon to England, to a young girl’s bedroom, and it’s 7:30, and she wakes up, and here is Rose Tyler.
It’s a bright pink room. She kisses her mum before she goes off to work, and we get lots of shots of London, and we’re setting the scene, and she’s working in a shop, and looking very bored. We meet Mickey very briefly. And then-
Talia Franks: Yeah, and and the is the thing about this whole opening scene is that it feels so – it feels like it’s “The Rose Show” more (Lucia hmms in agreement) than “The Doctor Who Show”. It feels very centered on Rose and on her narrative, in a way that I feel like later episodes are not so domestic, I guess, is like –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah!
Talia Franks: The word for it is domestic, which I think is hilarious because the Ninth Doctor is like –
Lucia Kelly: Hates domesticity!
Talia Franks: Hates domesticity! He is frequently saying “No, I don’t do domestic. Stop it with the domestics,” stuff like that. And this is so domestic, like the scene of her and Mickey having lunch together, like the cute little kisses, and the moment where she goes into use his computer and he’s “Oh, that’s my woman”.
They have those close, sweet little moments. And like when he comes in to check on her and then she’s “There’s a match on ain’t there”. And you can see that they have that back and forth, that common bond, and the same thing with how Rose interacts with her mother, like that, that, relationship, that ties her to them, to her mother and Mickey is like – so there and so clear in the first few moments, but also throughout the episode. And I feel – that’s, like, lost later on.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Well, I feel like this episode is doing a lot of work, right? So it’s 2005. You’ve got the hardcore Who fans, who, like, have been waiting on something since the seventies movie.
And then you’ve got brand new people who have kind of heard about Doctor Who. Pardon?
Talia Franks: The 1996 movie.
Lucia Kelly: Sorry, 1996. I’m so sorry. I’m a fake fan. (laughs) Um…
So you’ve got all these hardcore fans who either grew up with it in the sixties, or might have seen the movie doing reruns on the telly when they had nothing else to do. And there’s the cultural knowledge of Doctor Who, but you’ve got no present fans. So this episode’s doing a lot of work in order to actually bring audiences in and set up the new world.
We’re going to find out, not so much in this episode, because as you said, it’s very Rose-centric, but I think in the second episode, when we talk about that, we really set up how both the Doctor and Doctor Who as a show has changed and what this new world means and what this revival means.
So I think this episode is very much about like, we, the audience are meant to connect with Rose. Rose is the self insert, Rose is the one that we attach to, so we’re finding out all about her. We’re finding about her family and it’s the Doctor who is the stranger. It’s the Doctor who comes in and upsets everything and changes everything.
Talia Franks: Hmm. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And for me, I think I, I don’t know to what extent I connected with Rose precisely, because, for me, when I first encountered Doctor Who, I was in high school and I, at that point it was, it was 20 – 2010, 2011. It was right after the fifth season wrapped.
That was back when Doctor Who was on Netflix. So I was watching Doctor Who on Netflix and basically a week after I finished all of Ten’s episodes and his specials, the fifth season dropped on Netflix. So it was like, basically I was like, I was like so upset.
I was like, “I can’t watch Season 5! (Lucia laughs) What happened to the Doctor!” and then literally a week later dropped on Netflix. But basically, so what happened was, and I think this also happened like during a school vacation week or something, or maybe I just wasn’t doing my homework, but for whatever reason, I was able to watch all of the first four seasons of Doctor Who within a week.
Lucia Kelly: Wow.
Talia Franks: So I didn’t particularly connect with Rose more than I connected with Martha or Donna, because I had all of them in one fell swoop.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: So –
Lucia Kelly: Ro – also, Rose has meant to be 19 in this episode?
I’m sorry, Billie Piper was not 19. It’s so ridiculous. They’re like “She’s a teenager.” I’m like, “She’s a woman. Shut up.” Like, she’s a fully grown woman.
Talia Franks: Yeah! No, but I was actually going to say the exact, not the exact opposite, but like, for me, I definitely bought at least that Billie Piper, like Billie Piper didn’t really feel 19 to me, I guess. But she definitely, the character of Rose definitely felt to me like a teenager, or I guess (Lucia hmms in agreement) I – I was a teenager at the time. So I guess past me didn’t really have an opinion about it, but present me does think that, I don’t know, like Rose’s – like a lot of Rose’s actions feel like, I don’t know, like they don’t feel exactly like a teenager, but they don’t exactly feel –
Lucia Kelly: Adult.
Talia Franks: They don’t exactly feel adult in the way that I think Donna and Martha do or,
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, that’s true.
Talia Franks: or Amy does. Or Clara, Or even Yaz and Ryan, who are ostensibly also 19, feel older than Rose does to me.
Lucia Kelly: Wait. Yaz is meant to be 19?
Talia Franks: Yaz is meant to be 19!
Lucia Kelly: Sorry, full, full disclosure to the audience. I dropped out halfway through Matt Smith. We will address that at the time. So I only know about later seasons through osmosis. I know all about Thasmin. I assumed she was older. I assumed we’d fixed this fucking problem of the Doctor trying to date 19 year olds.
Talia Franks: Yeah. So the thing is –
Lucia Kelly: Stop doing that!
Talia Franks: She’s older, because Mandip Gill is literally like 35. But –
Lucia Kelly: Sorry, I’ve got a lot of pent up rage right now.
Talia Franks: No, actually –
Lucia Kelly: Talia was just telling me all about the American school system and I got a little bit pent up, so I’ve got a bit of that energy coming to this table right now, but I’m so mad.
Talia Franks: Oh wait. No. Okay. I feel bad. Mandip Gill is not 35. She’s 33. But still!
Lucia Kelly: Same difference!
Talia Franks: Jodie Whittaker is 35. – Oh no, Jodie Whittaker is 38. I don’t know. I don’t know why I thought 35. Anyway, the point is people ship Thasmin because Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill are only five years apart and so it makes sense to ship them together. But the Doctor is like 5 billion years old and Yaz is 19. Well actually –
Lucia Kelly: 19! (Claps for emphasis)
Talia Franks: Well actually, no, at this point she’s probably like 20 something, especially because like she spent, like there was like –
Lucia Kelly: This is the whole, this is the whole fricking Twilight thing again. No, he’s, he’s so much older. They’re so much older. Unless you do, unless you explicitly state, “Hey, the maturity levels are different for people of different races and ag – like of species’. Unless you explicitly say that in case of like vampire things, like “Your maturity gets frozen at the age you were bitten,” or like with Time Lords, like “Time Lords have this long a lifespan, so even though they’re 900, their equivalent would be whatever, whatever”. But if it’s just “No, their maturity progresses in the same way that a human progresses.” That’s not okay. It’s bullshit. You should not be doing that.
Talia Franks: Yeah, no, I got to admit the only Thasmin fics I have truly enjoyed are AU’s where they’re either all human or Yaz is also a Time Lord or an alien, for whatever reason.
I ship Thasmin, but not – like I kind of want it to be Canon just because I want there to be gays on the TARDIS, but at the same time, the implications of it being Canon, in terms of the ethics of a 5 billion year old dating a 20 year old, make me cringe so much, cause like, I am – yeah.
Lucia Kelly: We can address that when we address it, we need to get back to episode one!
Talia Franks: Okay! So I just needed to –
Lucia Kelly: But now – now you know where we stand.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Like when that comes up in six episodes and Jackie smacks the shit out of the Doctor because that’s the appropriate response, you’ll know that –
Talia Franks: That is the appropriate response! (Claps for emphasis)
Lucia Kelly: Which brings me to my beloved, my Jackie. I adore Jackie so much. Like, I have such a big place in my heart for Jackie. The fact that this episode,
Talia Franks: I love Jackie so much!
Lucia Kelly: The fact that this episode makes her joke makes me so upset.
Talia Franks: It’s so upsetting.
Lucia Kelly: She is a joke. We have this whole thing where they’re playing on this trope of the unemployed, money-grabbing single mum, living in the projects, which is just so disrespectful and so awful.
And then on top of all of that, you’ve got this, like, there’s the whole bit where shes – like the whole, the whole flirting with the Doctor bit makes my entire skin crawl (Talia: Oh my god!) and then like, (Talia groans and Lucia growls in rage) There’s a way to frame the way that she’s doing the whole “Oh, your job just blew up. Let me try and make this work for you. Hey, I’ve lined up an interview. Hey, it turns out you can get compensation. Hey, I’m your mum, you’re quote unquote, an adult you’re 19, but you’re played by a 24 year old. We’re going to just keep going with this fantasy. Right. But we live together and I care about you. So let’s make this work.” There’s a way to do that in a way that isn’t. This.
Talia Franks: And, the thing about Jackie, she’s pushy, but she’s ultimately a supportive mom who wants her daughter to get a job because, like, she needs to do something.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. Jackie is a good mum and she doesn’t get credit. It’s upsetting.
Talia Franks: She’s a bit pushy about it, but also Rose needs to do something with her life.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. Like, she raised Rose. We all love, well, there are some people who don’t like Rose, but she is generally looked at as like a very good person and like, a cool being. Someone raised her and that person was Jackie, so she can’t be all bad.
Talia Franks: Yeah. And I just honestly don’t understand why people hate on Jackie so much, and also people don’t realize like Jackie is also a widow who lost her husband in a fairly traumatic way? Like?
Lucia Kelly: Right? Right?
Talia Franks: I mean, we haven’t gotten to that –
Lucia Kelly: We haven’t gotten there yet, (Talia: We haven’t gotten there yet) we’ve still got a couple of episodes,
Talia Franks: – but it is something that we do learn later in the season, and so that people know about Jackie, if people have watched through, so I don’t understand – I don’t know – We’ll get there when we get there –
Lucia Kelly: We’ll get there when we get there.
Talia Franks: But speaking of implications about Rose’s life that this episode like, dangles at us. Can we talk about Derek for a sec? (laughs)
Lucia Kelly: Absolutely. Give me all your thoughts. (laughs)
Talia Franks: Who is it, that when Rose is trapped in a basement, locked up with a bunch of creepy dummies, she thinks that this guy, Derek, is playing a trick on her? Who the fuck is Derek?
Lucia Kelly: He must be the office jokester. He’s that really – you know what he is? He’s that really annoying white guy who has no problems, so he makes himself everyone else’s problem. He says “Oh, I was just joking.” And it’s like, “No, (claps) you – you did all this. I hope you’re cleaning it up.” That’s who Derek is. We’ve pinned him down. (laughs)
Talia Franks: And I bet, that’s why they made his name Derek.
Lucia Kelly: Apologies to all the Derek’s out there. You can prove to be better.
So Rose goes downstairs, she’s looking for Wilson. And all of this is shot very much like a straight horror. Right? There’s all of these shots that are very much like, down the long corridor, and closes up on Rose’s face, and the lighting is very dramatic, a nd the music is tense, and we’re like, “Ooh, what’s going to happen.”
And then the doors slam, which, by the way, there’s no plastic in those doors. How did that happen?
Talia Franks: Yeah, (Lucia laughs) like, were the hinges made out of plastic? Did, like –
Lucia Kelly: They’re usually made out of metal, so I don’t understand, like there’s no plastic in doors. That’s not what they’re made out of.
Talia Franks: Are the doors on a switch? Did the Nestene Consciousness somehow gain telepathic powers? Like (claps for emphasis) what’s going on here?
Lucia Kelly: Was there like a secret toddler mannequin that was just out of shot and was pushing it closed? Like, we don’t know. (Talia laughs) It makes no sense, but anyway, but –
Talia Franks: How did they lock it?
Lucia Kelly: Exactly! It makes no sense, but anyway, the doors lock and then she’s like, “Okay, this is the worst. Please stop everything. I’m just here to give Wilson his lottery money, the fuck. I want to go home.”
Talia Franks: Why were they attacking her? Like
Lucia Kelly: I think they might have been just bored ? Well, here’s the thing – so we establish later that Wilson has died. So if – it’s might be a –
Talia Franks: – Wilson? Why were they at Hendrix in the first place? Why did the Doctor need to blow it up? I don’t understand this part of the episode. I really don’t. (claps for emphasis)
Lucia Kelly: Maybe they were trying to set up a second base. We don’t know. We’re not told. It might be a case of – the, the way that I would imagine it, is that it’s about there being no witnesses. So if Rose finds Wilson, Rose will run and tell, so Rose also has to die and there needs to be two bodies, not just one. (laughs)
So the mannequin start moving. It’s all very scary. And then, the first shot we get of Rose and the Doctor in the same shot is them holding hands. That’s the first shot we see of them. (laughs) My heart just broke a little bit. And then he’s like “Run.” And then that’s the whole thing. But like, that’s their establishing shot. And that’s so emblematic of their whole relationship, right. Is that they go through things together. They hold each other’s hand. They comfort each other. They support each other.
Talia Franks: Yeah. I meant to count the amount of times they hold each other’s hands but I forgot.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Like they just immediately are just “Oh, this feels comfortable and safe.”
But this is where we start establishing that Rose is smart, right? This is why we started establishing that not only is she compassionate and good, and she cares about people. She also thinks things through and we’re starting to see how she could be a good companion, right? So she has the whole thing of like, the Doctor and Rose have this whole back and forth about, “They’ve got to be students cause that’s the only type of people that would get that dressed up and silly for jokes,” right? And the Doctor is impressed. He’s like, “You know what? That makes sense. Well done. You’re wrong.”
Talia Franks: I love it – I love the – I love the Rose/Nine – Rose/Nine is so much better than Ten – than Ten/Rose. I just got to say,
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, yeah. I know that’s a controversial opinion. I know people love Ten and Rose.
Talia Franks: People are wrong.
Lucia Kelly: I feel like her chemistry is better with Nine, which makes sense because they’re the ones that actually go to audition for chemistry testing, right? Like, during the audition process, that’s part of it. You find out how people work well together and yes, I understand that David Tennant would also have had chemistry testing with Billie Piper. I get that. But like the dynamic was established –
Talia Franks: David Tennant would pass chemistry testing with literally everyone on the planet.
Lucia Kelly: That’s the other thing too. I don’t understand how this small, skinny, Presbyterian Dad (Talia laughs) fits so much sex appeal in him. He’s just a small, sweater dad!
Talia Franks: But have you seen him with facial hair?
Lucia Kelly: And that’s the thing. The facial hair adds at least 10 points to his sex appeal meter. (laughs)
Talia Franks: I didn’t think I was into facial hair and then I saw David Tennant.
Lucia Kelly: Anyway. So, there are lots of parallels, especially – this episode in particular. And second episode in particular, we really established Nine as a First Doctor equivalent. If you go back and watch Hartnell, Hartnell is incredibly standoffish and demeaning towards humans.
He is a grumpy, old grandfather. He does not like people. It’s Susan, his granddaughter who like – the parallels are Nine and One, and Susan and Rose, that’s the dynamic. They’re rebuilding that same dynamic in the revival.
So the Doctor keeps referring to humans as apes. He’s very angry. He’s very upset. And we’re going to find out later, he’s a war veteran with PTSD, which again gets explored much more in depth in the second episode than this one, but it’s kind of like, hinted at and touched upon.
Talia Franks: Yeah, and he is very, very recent. There’s that –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: There’s that moment where he’s in their apartment and he says, um, what is it?
Lucia Kelly: “Look at the ears.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. Yeah. He says like “Not bad -“
Lucia Kelly: I’m pretty sure that’s the first time he’s looked in the mirror since he’s regenerated into this edition.
Talia Franks: And so that’s so recent and that’s part of why one of my favorite fan theories about this episode is that at the end of the episode, when the Doctor leaves and – this might actually be Canon – but when the Doctor leaves, and then, and then comes back, and says, “Did you know it also travels in time?” that he’s gone, in his perspective, for a hundred years.
(Waits as the implications of this slowly breaks over Lucia) Yes. This is a fan theory. That from Rose’s perspective, he leaves and then comes immediately back. But from his perspective, he leaves, he travels for a long time, and then comes back and tells Rose, “Hey, did you know it actually travels in time?” Like he comes back for Rose after traveling for some long amount of time.
Lucia Kelly: Cool. Okay. That is an interesting theory. I had not thought of it before.
Talia Franks: And I wonder if I’m going to be vindicated by the new Big Finish episodes that are going to come out. From what I’ve seen Billie Piper isn’t in those, which means Rose isn’t featured. And we never see Nine without Rose in the show, which means that Nine at some point traveled without Rose. But if that’s the first time he looked in the mirror, then the only time he could have traveled without Rose is in that –
Lucia Kelly: Is in that period.
Talia Franks: Is in that little period.,
Lucia Kelly: Or the writers don’t think about Doctor Who, as, like, intensely as we do. And they’re just going to forget.
Talia Franks: Hey everyone. This is Talia from the future. Big finish did not vindicate me, but those ninth doctor episodes are baller. So you should go listen to them anyway.
We didn’t talk about Mickey. We didn’t talk about –
Lucia Kelly: Okay, yes let’s talk about Mickey.
Talia Franks: Let’s talk about how Rose didn’t even call him to let him know that she was okay. He had – (Lucia: Right) and she didn’t answer her phone. He had to like, go find her.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Okay. Rose has so many communication problems. (Talia: She has so many communication problems)
Talia Franks: She has so many
Lucia Kelly: She needs to learn how to communicate. It’s driving me insane. I was going to talk about this later, but given we’re, like, talking about her communication, let’s talk about at the very end.
So the whole thing’s happened. Jackie has been attacked in the shopping center. They escaped from the Nestene Consciousness’ lair. They go to the alleyway, Rose initiates contact, Rose calls her mum, Jackie answers. She’s fully panicking. She’s just wants to make sure that Rose is okay, but she’s like, “Don’t go outside. Everything’s crazy.’ Like “I’m stressed.” She’s very clearly in a stressed situation. Rose laughs!
Talia Franks: I mean, Rose honey, why?
Lucia Kelly: What are you doing?
Talia Franks: Okay. So this is the single best argument I have for why Rose is 19.
Lucia Kelly: True. Okay. (Talia: This is -) Only a 19 year old would do that. (laughs)
Talia Franks: Only a 19 year old (laughing) – or younger – would do that. No, actually, no. Someone younger wouldn’t do that because they would have, (laughs) because they would have too much respect for their parents.
Lucia Kelly: It needs to be in that little window, (Talia: It need to be in that little window) but yeah, let’s talk about, let’s talk about Mickey. Oh, okay –
Talia Franks: Let’s talk about, “Thanks” “For what?” “Exactly.”
Lucia Kelly: Oh my God! That makes me so angry. This happens twice, by the way, in the same episode, of like -just – “ships in the night” miscommunication. And it happens in this conversation that Rose and the Doctor have, as they’re leaving Rose’s apartment, and Rose asks a very straightforward question, which is, “Who are you?”.
That’s a very straightforward question. It has one answer. And the Doctor, instead of being like, “I’m the Doctor. I’m 907 years old, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
He turns around, dramatic-like, he then like walks forward, and start on this bullshit monologue about the Earth revolving through the sky? That’s not what she fucking asked!
Talia Franks: That’s not what she asked!
Lucia Kelly: That’s not what she asked. You give this like poetic, like, “I’m the sensation of the feeling you get when you consider the Earth is revolving through space.” ?
Screw you! Go off in your TARDIS! I never want to see you again.
Talia Franks: Yeah. But this moment does come very – So I feel like we’re not sticking to the outline that we made for this episode at all, but whatever it’s wibbly, wobbly, um – (laughs)
Lucia Kelly: It’s wibbly, wobbly.
Talia Franks: But we were going to talk about our favorite and least favorite moments in the episode. So, I would say, that my least favorite is definitely the “Thanks” “For what” “Exactly”. Um –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: But my –
Lucia Kelly: ‘Cause what, what Rose? Answer the question, because all of us are confused.
Talia Franks: Answer the question Rose! Answer the fucking question!
Lucia Kelly: What do you mean?
Talia Franks: No, but it’s, it’s the, the part where Rose and the Doctor are talking and they’re having that conversation and they’re talking circles around each other. And Rose says “But all this plastic stuff – Who else knows about it?” The Doctor says, “No one.” Rose says “What, you’re on your own?” The Doctor says, “Well, who else is there? I mean, you lot, all you do is eat chips, go to bed, and watch telly, while all the time, underneath you, there’s a war going on.” And Rose says, “Hey, start from the beginning” and, like, the way she says it is so small and so earnest. And she takes his hand (Lucia: I know!) and it’s the most pure moment in the entire fucking episode, and I love it to bits! (Lucia laughs) Like, the amount that I love that moment is just – (makes kissing noise) chef’s kiss. I – heart eyes, all of the emojis, at that moment. I just, yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. The Doctor gives that damn stupid answer. He leaves, and Rose is like, “Hmm. I’m going to have to investigate this on my own.” So she goes to Mickey’s apartment and then she looks up searchwise.net and just puts “Doctor” in, (starts laughing) and bless, bless her pure –
Talia Franks: Number two for why she’s 19.
Lucia Kelly: But eventually, she puts in “Doctor Blue Box” and she, um, finds this website, run by Clive, and – Oh my gosh. Clive. Cl – it’s so sad. It’s so sad.
Talia Franks: So sad. I just, (sighs) my whole little heart, and he has that whole little family.
Lucia Kelly: I know! They’re so gorgeous. (Talia: So gorgeous) There’s that little, the little moment where she’s “She’s read about the Doctor and she’s a she” I’m like, “Hell, yeah!”, (laughs) but it was like, “Dad, it’s one of your nutters!” You establish their dynamic so completely and so immediately. (clicks for emphasis)
Talia Franks: And they’re just out for a nice night shopping and then –
Lucia Kelly: He’s talking spreadsheets, a man after my own heart, talking about budgeting and spending winter money in summer months.
Talia Franks: And the fact that he’s so into this, but he’s so aware of how dangerous it is, and he’s not encouraging Rose to stay – to go towards the Doctor. He’s encouraging Rose away! (Lucia hmms in agreement) He’s giving her all this information to warn her away and to be careful.
Lucia Kelly: I love the shed set. The shed set is gorgeous. It’s got all this blue light coming through it and it’s very much – it looks almost like a proto-TARDIS, the way, like, the TARDIS how it was in the Old Who with all of the stuff in it. And it’s all in this sort of blue theme, and it’s all organized, and it’s got all this stuff, and you even got the desk, the work bench in the middle of it, that acts almost like a console, like, everything’s focused in the middle, and you see, Clive also kind of fills the space at this proto-companion, right?
They established this dynamic between Rose and Clive of, he is the teacher, s he is the student. Like, it’s already establishing all these dynamics so that when you finally do get to see the TARDIS, it’s “Oh, this is already familiar.” and he’s going through all this – and, like, also blessed 2005 Photoshop. That photo does not look real.
Talia Franks: It doesn’t! It looks so bad!
Lucia Kelly: So Rose comes to the conclusion that Clive is a Nutter, which is very rude to Clive. But meanwhile, Mickey has been having his own little adventure.
Talia Franks: Oh my goodness. Can we talk about the
Lucia Kelly: plastic Mickey
Talia Franks: racist Nestene sympathizer.
Lucia Kelly: Tell me about him.
Talia Franks: So I say he’s a racist Nestene sympathizer.
because He’s not plastic. He’s not plastic. That’s very obviously a human. So putting out this trash bin, the trash bin that eats Mickey, and Mickey gets replaced with a plastic person. So obviously someone has to then take the trash bin back in and bring – and then the dupli –
So, my theory is – So first off to explain why he’s racist, it’s because when he’s putting the trashcan out, he’s –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, there’s that whole little eye exchange of –
Talia Franks: exchange. like “Oh, there’s a black guy in my neighborhood. This is bad.” It’s very obvious. I was picking up very racist vibes.
So that’s where the racist moniker comes from, but he’s obviously a Nestene sympathizer because he put the bin out there. He let the bin eat Mickey and he like, and then plastic Mickey is just out there and just comes up. Yeah. Anyway.
Lucia Kelly: So I’m not arguing that he’s not racist. But I’m going to put in a little alternative theory that he had no idea that his plastic bin was part of the Nestene Consciousness agenda. The Nestene Consciousness is obviously keeping tabs on Rose, because Rose has tabs on the Doctor. So the Nestene Consciousness is using all the plastic it can to trace her and make sure that she’s – trying to get as much information out of her as possible.
The bin moves forward a little to – as bait, Mickey goes out, he touches it, he gets eaten. The new plastic Mickey is presumably made from the bin and gets in his car or whatever. Mickey is stuck in the bin for that time whole time, and the bin, by itself, moves from Clive’s street to the London eye and then is – disposes of Mickey there in front of the Nestene Consciousness.
Talia Franks: Okay. So here is why I think that he’s a Nestene sympathizer. The bin was empty. People do not put empty trash bins on the street.
Lucia Kelly: You know what? No, that’s fair. Throw my idea out the bin. Throw it in the bin with Mickey!
Talia Franks: Mickey opens the bin, and the bin is empty. The bin was put out there for the express purpose of eating Mickey.
Lucia Kelly: Okay. But yeah, Rose’s head is so obviously full of all of these Doctor thoughts and thinking about everything that’s happening that she does not realize that her boyfriend is plastic and suddenly has speech impediments. (Talia: P- P – Pizza on)
Talia Franks: Like, really?
Lucia Kelly: Cause it’s only that he looks different. You can put that down to like, that’s the best technology they had at the time to make him look plastic. We are meant to suspension of disbelief. We are meant to interpret that, even though to our eyes, he does not look like flesh, within the universe, he’s meant to be. But he’s also got this speech impediment thing, which is super noticeable, so she’d notice that!
Talia Franks: Yeah, no. And also can we just say that using the Nestene Consciousness as having a speech impediment is kind of ableist. (Lucia makes enthusiastic noises of agreement)
Lucia Kelly: Mhmm Mhmm Mhmm Oh, there were so many things in this episode, which is like, “Oh, you really are early 2000s.” The like nouveau-woke. “Oh, you’re trying so hard and failing so Hm. And this is where I think I want to talk about Mickey, because gosh, he’s an interesting character. Like on the one hand, I’m so glad that they didn’t go with – given that they cast a Black man – that they didn’t go with the whole like big, buff, “Oh, I’m a black man.” Like that whole white people writing black speech, like that whole thing.
I’m so glad they avoided all of that. I’m so glad they avoided the Black angry man trope. All of that stuff, making him seem like he was some kind of gang member or whatever, like, all of that, but did we have to make him quote, quote, this is a direct quote from the show, did we have to make him “this stupid lump”. Rose calls him that. And he is, right?
Like, he’s so – he’s so soft. He’s so –
Talia Franks: They call him “Mickey the Idiot”
Lucia Kelly: Right? Like – it’s so far to the other side, that it’s, kind of just as bad. Like they make him so, so much of an idiot, so useless. And also like, Billie Piper and Noel Clarke work so hard to make that chemistry between them work.
But if you look at it objectively, Rose is so much better than Mickey, and they don’t match, they’re not a good pair, like –
Talia Franks: They’re really not.
Lucia Kelly: They’re really not! It’s very, it’s the big, heterosexual like, “I’m a mum figure for my boyfriend” thing, where he’s useless and almost like a toddler and a child.
And we’re going to talk about this more when we get to “Father’s Day”, and the whole backstory there, but they make him so useless, that it not only doesn’t make sense for the character itself, it makes no sense that Rose would date him because he’s so beneath her.
Talia Franks: No, but it does make sense that Rose would date him. It makes so much sense to me that Rose would date him. because she’s taking advantage of him. No, cause think about it. He has a full-time job, he has a car, he has a computer, and he adores her.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah… Yeah… Cause that’s really all he is. He’s his car. She’s not dating him for him. She’s dating him for his assets and she’s dating him for his computer.
Talia Franks: Yeah, and also think about when she goes over to his house and she says, “Can I use your computer?” He says “Any excuse to get into the bedroom,”
Lucia Kelly: The bedroom!
Talia Franks: They have a lot of sex and it is good sex.
Lucia Kelly: No. Yeah. The second thing he says is “Here’s my woman. Kit off.”
And again with the whole mummy-son dynamic where it’s “Make me a cup of coffee. Only if you wash the mug. Don’t rinse it, ’cause I know that’s what you’ll do.” You shouldn’t be able to trust your boyfriend to have a level of hygiene, like a single level in hygiene. Please. Do better for yourself.
Which – if we look at Mickey and Rose’s dynamic from this perspective, of they’ve known each other their whole lives, it’s just kind of developed this way, they don’t actually match, but it feels like the right thing to do, they’re in this relationship now, and they’re doing all the things, but it doesn’t feel real and the way they treat each other is awful. When you actually look at it, it’s like, God, that’s a very messed up relationship.
That’s gonna make me feel a whole lot better about the future that they have, cause like Rose pretty much immediately dumps him in every way, except saying it and actually doing it, and just runs off with the Doctor
Talia Franks: Well, it makes sense because their relationship sucks, and she was only using him for his car, his computer, and his dick.
Lucia Kelly: So she drops him for another man who has a better car, basically!
Talia Franks: A better car, a better computer, and she’s not getting any dick, but he’s really cute though.
Lucia Kelly: He is cute. And he also validates her and makes her feel like a fully established woman with thoughts and feelings and like, goals and things.
So that’s also something that Mickey never provided. (Lucia giggles) Even the fact that like, Rose has gone through this traumatic experience, she’s clearly in shock. Mickey comes in and then he’s like, “Hey, do you want to go to the pub so I can watch the rest of the game.” I’m gonna coat this in. “I’ll get you a drink.” And Rose sees through it immediately. She’s like, “No, I know exactly what you’re doing. Don’t bullshit me.”
Okay. Plastic Mickey. They go for pizza at a fairly fancy restaurant, which doesn’t seem to vibe with what the rest of the episode has established.
Talia Franks: And then, the other thing, to talk about their problematic relationship, she’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry. Was I talking about me for a second?” And I’m like – Oh… Oh…
Lucia Kelly: The fact that, that actually – that doesn’t wake her up. That’s just “Oh, Mickey’s being a dick again.” That that response is not far enough out of the way Mickey would usually respond that it doesn’t wake her up to the fact that he’s plastic.
Talia Franks: What does wake her up to the fact that he’s plastic is that then he has a negative reaction, and then she’s like, “Hey, is anything wrong?” And she’s still not woken up to it because her reaction isn’t to still be upset. Her reaction is to then cater to his needs again. Ah! Girl, get out of there!
Lucia Kelly: The only reason she realizes he’s plastic is that the Doctor literally puts a big champagne cork through his skull. That’s the only thing that makes her register!
Talia Franks: Because (Lucia exclaims in frustration) because he is plastic. Because Mickey Smith is written as plastic. His character is not fully fleshed out.
It’s just not. And it’s the whole thing of he just wasn’t fully thought – I mean, like maybe he was fully thought through or some – I don’t, I don’t even know –
Lucia Kelly: Do you know what I would genuinely love more? I would love if Mickey was her best friend. (Talia: I would -) He doesn’t need to be her boyfriend.
Talia Franks: He really doesn’t.
Lucia Kelly: I t works better as a best friend dynamic.
Talia Franks: It does work better as a best friend dynamic, so much better as best friend dynamic. I feel like Mickey and Rose, as bros, would be the best, (Lucia makes noise in agreement) Mickey and Rose as best friends. Like honestly, them as friends – the dynamic that they develop later once Mickey ends up –
Lucia Kelly: Grows up?
Talia Franks: And they’re no longer making eyes at each other in a quasi relationship. And they’re actually their own individual people. And I don’t know – I don’t know how much of that is actually in Canon, cause I haven’t really watched those episodes, and how much of that is just fanfic I’ve read of them being bros, but the way that I conceptualize the later stages of the Mickey and Rose friendship reminds me a lot of my friendships with some of my friends. And so I’ve always seen them as better off as friends.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: So, I feel like they just shouldn’t have ever been in a relationship.
Lucia Kelly: But yeah, the Doctor puts a champagne cork through plastic Mickey’s head. Everything goes to shit. There’s chaos, there’s confusion. He rips plastic Mickey’s head off.
Talia Franks: It reminded me of what I did to my Barbies when I was a kid.
Lucia Kelly: Pretty much. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, “Don’t think that’s going to stop me.” (Makes noises implying the chaos at the restaurant) Oh my God. Anyway, they run out the back. Rose again, showing her like – like she immediately pulls the fire alarm and gets everyone out, or smashes the fire alarm, whatever.
And then, we see the TARDIS for the first time, like properly. And it’s so exciting. And the way that they –
Talia Franks: Sorry, no, I was just – Rose goes in, and then goes out again? What?
Lucia Kelly: No. That makes sense to me. I love the way they did it. Because this is a fully panic moment. This is like – shock. Like – we don’t know what’s going on. My boyfriend is plastic. He’s headless now? Like, let’s run. Let’s get outta here. She runs around the Doctor’s like, “Hey, let’s go in this tiny wooden box,” and Rose, very sensibly, is like, “Ah, no, let’s go out the door.”
Talia Franks: Well, no – That makes sense that she didn’t go into tiny wooden box. What does it make as much sense to me is her running out of it once she sees it’s so big in there.
Lucia Kelly: No, but then she goes in again and she sees – it’s like a reset. It’s like, “No, this is too much. No, I can’t handle this.” And it’s, it’s involuntary. She doesn’t even think about it. She just gets out again. It’s all happening in bullet time. (snaps for emphasis)
And she runs around being like, “No, it’s very clearly a small, wooden box,” but the pressure’s on Mickey’s after her, and she goes back in and that’s when we see it. And it’s so well done.
So, the Doctor kind of runs Rose through it. He’s like, “This is how it is. I’m alien. This is alien. You are now in a sci-fi novel. Get used to it. And this is my spaceship. Isn’t she cool.” (laughs) Um, and then Rose, like, the Doctor’s being like “I’m so awesome. You’re clearly so enamored by the fact that I’m an alien,” and then Rose is like “My boyfriend’s head is melting on the console. Please pay attention.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. So upset! And she starts crying and then he’s like, “What’s wrong?” And then she’s like, “He’s dead?” And it’s funny, cause like, honestly, Rose is kind of low key, my least favorite companion.
Lucia Kelly: Mmhmm. It’s okay. It’s a safe space here. (laughs)
Talia Franks: She’s constantly frustrating me and annoying me. And so, I, like came into this fully prepared to dislike her, but trying to keep an open mind, but also kind of disliking her. And this was the moment where I was like, okay, Rose, isn’t so bad because –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, I feel like –
Talia Franks: – that her boyfriend is dead. And I was like, that is a low bar…
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I feel like Rose starts out a lot stronger than where she ends. Rose here, I actually adore. She’s great. She’s forward thinking, she’s compassionate, she’s smart. She knows what she’s about. She stands up for herself. She’s in a very weird, bad relationship with her boyfriend, but she’s about to get out of that so it’s okay! But like, over time, her personality and her character becomes so much about the Doctor and so much about her relationship to the Doctor, that she loses all of that, and it’s so upsetting and frustrating.
Okay, so Mickey’s head melts on the console. The TARDIS moves to just outside the London Eye on the Thames, and Rose and the Doctor have this back and forth where, we’re still establishing their dynamic. We’re still establishing all the rules.
And this is where we really start to see just how much like, the Doctor is pretty much fresh off the battlefield, right? He is so still in the headspace of being a soldier and having been in war time and how that all ended. He’s still so much in that space and yet there’s still all this care, right? The way that the Doctor’s trauma is exploding out of him at every angle is just so heartbreaking. Cause he’s trying to save this one little planet, but at the same time, he’s very much grieving the loss of his entire planet and all of his people.
Talia Franks: Yeah, and I got to say, this is another argument for my thinking that there’s at least a hundred years that passed in that interim because, so here’s the thing- the reason I think it’s a hundred years is because of the 50th Anniversary Special, the War Doctor says that he’s 800 years old, but David Tennant is frequently saying that he’s –
Lucia Kelly: He’s 900!
Talia Franks: That he’s 900 years old, but –
Lucia Kelly: That is so true…
Talia Franks: But the Ninth Doctor is very clearly fresh off the time war. So where did those 100 years go? Because he did not spend a hundred years with Rose. So obviously he was gone for a hundred years during that time period. And also, I think – we can get into this when we talk about the second episode versus the first episode – but the Doctor in this episode is so much harder (claps for emphasis) than the Doctor in the second episode.
Lucia Kelly: And you see also, all the props for Christopher Eccleston, the vulnerability there just under the surface is so apparent. When we get to where he and the Nestene Consciousness are talking and the Nestene Consciousness is basically saying like, he recognizes the Doctor as a Time Lord and start bringing up all the stuff, and Christopher Eccleston’s face is just, it’s just pain. It’s just hurt. Like, it’s so fresh and so – just on it, and I’m so sad.
Talia Franks: Why do these people have to be such good actors? It hurts. It hurts my heart.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. So we meet the Nestene Consciousness. We have the anti plastic!
Talia Franks: Can I just mention, Mickey is alive?
Lucia Kelly: Mickey is alive! We’ve established that he’s alive. It’s okay. Keep the domestics outside.
Also very quickly, this is going to go in our science section at the end, but the Doctor just very nonchalantly, when Rose, very reasonably, is like, “Oh wait, the body’s still out there.” The Doctor, very hand wavy, is like, “Oh, it melted with the head.” Why would it have melted with the head? The head melted because it was on the hot console. The body was nowhere near the console. If you had said “Without the head, the body is useless” or, like, “It would have frozen” or like anything like “The thought -” but no, we’ve established that the thought control can be through any body part because the arm was conscious.
So even that wouldn’t work, like there’s no reason for the body to melt.
Talia Franks: Yeah, and also the other thing that bothers me is, if you think about – to what extent the body and the head are connected, if you think about later in “The Husbands of River Song”, the TARDIS wasn’t able to take off because Hydroflax’s head was in the TARDIS, but his body was not.
So how was the TARDIS able to take off with the head?
Lucia Kelly: ‘Cause how will we define plastic Mickey? Is he a being, is he a person, or is he an object? Cause he’s plastic, but he has thought control, but he’s only an extension of the Nestene Consciousness, so is he like, the equivalent of a limb?
Talia Franks: Yeah. So that was the thing I was because –
Lucia Kelly: Is he, is he a little thumb puppet with like, when you draw a face on your thumb and use it as a finger puppet, is that plastic Mickey?
Talia Franks: Yeah, so like, how much do the Autons have autonomy, is the thing. That’s something I think about, are the Autons – is it really a hive mind or like, do they have their own minds that just connect to the hive? To what extent do they have agency?
Was plastic Mickey his own person? Because clearly he had Mickey’s thoughts and memories, to be able to interact with Rose, cause it also makes me think about like, Rory was able – plastic Rory was Rory. Rory, when he was reconstituted, had all of plastic Rory’s memories. So that makes me think that Autons do have autonomy.
So plastic Mickey was his own person. (Lucia: I was going to -) So when the Doctor goes off and melted it, he murdered someone.
Lucia Kelly: He sure did! He sure did. I was going to give this episode a high science rating and now talking it out, it no longer gets that rating. (laughs) There are so many holes here.
Talia Franks: Can we talk about the fact that I’m slightly horrified when I just realized that plastic Mickey was his own person and just got murdered.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. No. RIP plastic Mickey. Gone – Gone – I would say gone too soon, but you were gone just long enough. (laughs)
Talia Franks: I was actually going to say that plastic Mickey was the Adam, so…
Lucia Kelly: Oh no! We haven’t even explained the Adam yet. We’ll get there.
Talia Franks: We’ll get there.
Lucia Kelly: That should be our subtitle: We’ll get there. (laughs)
So, everything at the diplomatic mission goes very, very wrong. They find out that the Doctor has anti plastic on him, the Nestene Consciousness panics, and starts activating everything. So, Jackie’s gone shopping, living her best life. She’s just got money off the police. She’s going to spend it on some new clothes.
She’s doing her best. She’s doing the best she can. (claps for emphasis) And then we see Clive, he’s talking about his blessed budget and he gets murdered. He finds out that everything’s real. He finds out that he wasn’t a nutter, that everything was real, that it did exist. And then he dies immediately.
Talia Franks: Yeah. You see his face goes from elated to like, it falls as soon as he knows that he’s going to die and then he dies and then it just breaks my heart. It actually makes me think, why wasn’t Clive part of the group of people who were in “Love and Monsters”? And the reason I think he wasn’t part of that group is – I think they probably tried to recruit him and he was like, “I don’t want anything to do the fuck with the Doctor!” (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: He was like, “No, this is a private project. I don’t want to meet him. This is strictly academic.”
Talia Franks: Yeah, no, like “I want to know about him. I don’t want to be near him.”
Lucia Kelly: “I’ve got a wife and son.”
Talia Franks: Yup.
Lucia Kelly: So. This is Rose having her huge moment.
Talia Franks: She says “I’ve got no A levels, no job, no future.” Then she grabs an ax. And then, “but I tell you what I have got. Jericho street, junior school, under sevens gymnastics team. I’ve got the bronze.” And then she chops through the rope, holding the chain to the wall and then runs and swings out along the side of the catwalk.
And then she kicks the Autons into the vat, and then the second one ends up dropping the vial of anti plastic into the vat, and then the Nestene screams, and then (Lucia screams lightly for effect) all these special effects that aren’t really that special because it’s 2005 (Lucia laughs) but we pretend that they are because we love the show, and then –
Lucia Kelly: And Jackie doesn’t get killed by brides! Woo hoo!
Talia Franks: Yay!
Lucia Kelly: That’s the real reward!
But yeah, not to squash Rose’s moment, but if the last time that she did gymnastics was when she was six years old and she’s 19 now… I have questions.
Talia Franks: I have questions as well.
Lucia Kelly: I mean, it’s a lovely moment and props to her, but you know, when was the last time you chalked your hands, beloved? I need to know.
Talia Franks: Yeah, but also, not to underscore her moment or anything, but I also think you don’t need a whole lot of gymnastics training to swing on a chain and kick someone.
Lucia Kelly: I mean, you need a fair amount of core strength. You need to be able to –
Talia Franks: No, you need core strength. You don’t need gymnastics training. I’m saying if she kept up her core strength, like she doesn’t need to chalk up her hands. She doesn’t need to know how to do handsprings or anything.
Lucia Kelly: No. Where’s the post credit scene where we see the Doctor putting ointment and taking care of the rope burns that are on Rose’s hands from having grabbed an oily, maintenance rope with absolutely no preparation and swinging across a whole set
Talia Franks: We don’t have that scene cause they immediately go to see the end of the world.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: And Rose starts talking –
Lucia Kelly: So the whole time that Rose’s getting sunburned, she’s also got these rope burns on her hands, but she’s being very quiet about and being like “No, it’s okay”.
Talia Franks: Not rope burns, like chain burns. Did we even see her wash her hands? Do we see her wash her hands? Okay.
Lucia Kelly: I don’t think we do.
Talia Franks: We don’t see her wash her hands, so – Oh, we don’t see her wash her hands. Oh, that’s so nasty. (Lucia laughs) No, like –
Lucia Kelly: She doesn’t even change. She doesn’t even change.
Talia Franks: She doesn’t even change. No, she, Oh, Oh no.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: No. Oh no. Also, what are bathrooms like on that spaceship. Nope, never mind. That’s for next episode. But I’m just saying now, in the era of COVID I think a lot about people, like I’ve always thought it was weird that people never went to the bathroom or had their periods or anything in space or whatever.
But now, even just the baseline of “When was the last time you washed your hands.” (Lucia: washed your hands)
Maybe we should add that as a segment of “When was the last time –
Lucia Kelly: – you washed your hands,” It’s going to be never, I’m just going to, be a spoil sport, big spoiler, never.
Talia Franks: And I’m going to be perpetually disgusted, but then also talk about crossing borders and spreading contagions, like think about all of the various viruses and sicknesses that they could have brought from 21st century Earth to the year 19-. Whatever that year was –
Lucia Kelly: when they go back to see Dickens, and all of that? Yeah, no, I sure hope the TARDIS has a sanitation routine. I sure hope that the TARDIS is taking care of that, cause the Doctor sure isn’t.
Talia Franks: The Doctor sure isn’t. Like, they’re probably all –
Lucia Kelly: I hope the TARDIS is on top of it. Talking about unhealthy relationships, let’s talk about how the TARDIS is the unspoken hero of the Doctor all the time. And is quietly taking care of them, while they’re –
Talia Franks: The year 5 billion has probably like, I don’t think they’re doing vaccines for the bubonic plague there anymore. They, like what if they come –
Lucia Kelly: Well none of them are from earth except Cassandra.
Talia Franks: Yeah. So what – what if they – what if they take – Oh my goodness. Now I’m upset. People need to wash their goddamn hands.
Lucia Kelly: Is there anything else that you wanted to say that we haven’t covered?
Talia Franks: The moment where the Doctor is going through Rose’s apartment.
Lucia Kelly: Super casually.
Talia Franks: Super casually, and he just looks at the magazine, and he’s like, “That’s not gonna last. He’s gay and she’s an alien.” And then –
Lucia Kelly: I want to know how he knows that. Is it the picture? Is that the article? Is that he actually knows these two figures in the photos?
Talia Franks: I think he knows the two figures in the photos. I think he’s like, “Oh no, he’s gay and not into her. And also she’s an alien and -” so in my mind, I’ve had this whole theory of “Okay, but they’re – it’s not going to last, but they’re going to stay friends. But the thing is, is he’s gay, he’s not really into women and he’s going to come out to her and he’s going to be like, “Oh no, I’m so sorry, like, w e can’t be together.” And then she’s like, “It’s okay. I’m an alien anyway. I couldn’t stay on this planet long-term, this was always going to be a temporary relationship, but we can still be pen pals. I’ll send you digital messages from the stars. And then they –
Lucia Kelly: I’m going to tell you about Zoom, it’s going to blow your mind.
Talia Franks: Having zoom calls across the galaxy. And they stay Biffles.
Lucia Kelly: These minor, minor characters that we never even see.
Talia Franks: Literally the only thing we know about them are their pronouns and one sexual orientation and –
Lucia Kelly: And one general species umbrella
Talia Franks: And one general species umbrella. It’s implied that he’s human, but we don’t –
Lucia Kelly: We don’t know.
Talia Franks: He could be a walrus. (Lucia laughs) we don’t know, he’s not a great horned owl!
Lucia Kelly: So wait, so hang on. So this article is actually about a very cute little friendship romance at a zoo between two different species. And they’re like, look at this cute little heart warming story. And then the Doctor looks at it and is like –
Talia Franks: Is it between a penguin and a polar bear?
Lucia Kelly: Go check out “Into the Archives.” – my episode – for that reference!
Talia Franks: “Into the Archives” –
Lucia Kelly: Let’s have our little plugs.
Talia Franks: – A fan fiction podcast.
Lucia Kelly: Oh, okay.
Okay. Let’s talk about The Hero and The Adam. So, this is a category that we came up with to basically like – who was the Hero and who was, who was the useless dolt? Who was the worst? Big fans of the show will know who Adam is, or maybe you don’t because he’s so forgettable and he’s only there for maybe two episodes, but you will meet him.
Talia Franks: He’s there for three.
Lucia Kelly: Three?! Okay.
Talia Franks: He’s there for three episodes, but two stories.
Lucia Kelly: Okay. Adam is a very, very brief, very, very annoying companion.
Talia Franks: Oh wait, no, actually, no, it is actually only two episodes. I thought “The Long Game” was –
Lucia Kelly: I thought so.
Talia Franks: I thought “The Long Game” was a two-parter, but it’s only a one-off.
Lucia Kelly: Nah, It’s a one parter, but they go back to that set in the finale.
Talia Franks: Oh yeah.
Lucia Kelly: That’s what happens. So that set is on two episodes, but the story is on one.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Spoiler Alert: I have the controversial opinion that the Adam is, that Adam is not the Adam of his first episode, but we’ll get to that.
Lucia Kelly: I agree, actually. I know who the Adam is for that one, for sure.
Talia Franks: No, I know who the Adam is for that one also, but we’ll get there.
Lucia Kelly: He’s definitely the Adam of his second episode, which is why this category is called the Adam,
Talia Franks: But we’ll get there.
Lucia Kelly: We’ll get there.
Talia Franks: It’s a Timey Wimey podcast! We’ll get there!
Lucia Kelly: So who was your Hero and who was your Adam?
Talia Franks: So the, the hero of the episode is its titular character. Rose.
Lucia Kelly: Mmhmm. Yeah.
Talia Franks: Rose is definitely the hero. The Adam of the episode, I said I thought it might be plastic Mickey, but I actually think it is the racist Nestene sympathizer.
Lucia Kelly: I was tossing up between Rose and Jackie for the hero, cause I feel like Jackie does a lot. Jackie’s doing a lot in the background. She’s not getting the appreciation she deserves. But Rose does have the Big Damn Hero moment so –
Talia Franks: Mmhmm, she got the bronze.
Lucia Kelly: She got the bronze, so Rose is also the hero in my book. I am going to make plastic Mickey the Adam.
Talia Franks: Okay. Okay.
Lucia Kelly: He’s just the worst.
Talia Franks: He got murdered. He got murked! But I guess that doesn’t mean that he’s not the Adam.
Lucia Kelly: Many people get murked on this show.
Talia Franks: True.
Lucia Kelly: That does not excuse you from being a terrible person.
Talia Franks: That’s fair.
Lucia Kelly: Or being, or whatever. We’ll get into the semantics about what constitutes a person next episode, because that’s super fun.
Talia Franks: Depends on your definition of a person. Oh God, I have a lot of feelings about the next episode, but we’ll get there!
Lucia Kelly: Finally, we’re going to do the grading. So this is a, I’m going to say it’s a trope of a lot of rewatch podcasts is that people will give a grade at the end of an episode or they’ll rank them in some way or they’ll be like, “So how does this compare to the rest of the show, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
However, I have not yet come across a podcast that does this that uses a rubric and it drives me up the wall. You cannot grade something without a rubric. It doesn’t – don’t – you can’t – it’s not a thing. You need a rubric, in order to have points, in order to assess it, in order to give it a grade, in order to do the thing. You need a rubric!
You can’t just go with the vibes. You can’t just go with the feelings. Then it’s not grading! You’re just saying it’s good or bad. You’re just, (Lucia groans in frustration) it drives me insane. So I made a rubric. This rubric will be available.
Talia Franks: See, Lucia has very strong opinions about this and I just shrugged and said, okay.
Lucia Kelly: But this way, but this way, think! It’s going to be so good because now, we know – it’s going to be the same system every time! It doesn’t matter how we’re like, feeling in the moment. It’s not about “Well, this episode was a B, So I think this one’s an A,” or “I didn’t really like this episode for really pedantic reasons, so that means the whole episode’s bad.” It’s, “No, thinking about it logically, analytically, objectively, this is the grade,” and it’s just going to make me easier in my heart. So, each episode is going to be graded upon direction, writing, acting, science, and rewatchability. And it’s on a scale of one to five of basically like, “do better” and five being “you’re insane and I love it.” So what would you say? Yeah? No, you go.
Talia Franks: Yeah, so like for direction, we have to say like: Clear direction. Does it work with the established visual language of the show and does it aid in the storytelling? I would give this episode – (Lucia: So -) Yeah, I would say, I give this episode a five because it establishes everything.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no, it does. There’s no moment where I’m like, “This doesn’t make sense.”
Direction, to be clear, also includes things like the way that shots are set up, the lighting, the way the sets are set up. I love all of the sets as well. I love the way that they use the space. I love the way that each of the locations feel very real and very distinct. And all of that is in production value and all of that works really well. So I’m cool with giving it a five.
Talia Franks: Can we preemptively give “Sleep No More” a one? (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: Sure, sure, I’ll make a note of that.
Um, Writing. This was less good. We’ve dissected enough of this to be like, “Hmm, so many of these things don’t make sense.”
Talia Franks: Honestly, I’d give it a two point five.
Lucia Kelly: Mmhmm, I’m gonna give it a two. Cause it like, we’ve covered it all, but like –
Talia Franks: We can round it up but if you want to give it a two, we can round down.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I reckon round down for these things, cause it’s just –
We’ve talked about it, right? So many of the little bits and pieces don’t make sense. There are all these strands everywhere. We don’t really establish how the Auto ns work. Pretty much all we get is that “Your planet is a meal and they want to eat you” basically, like –
Talia Franks: Yeah, if we knew how the Autons worked I would have been confident giving it a three or even –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: Or even a four, honestly, but the Autons make no sense. I feel like there are other stories that flesh out the Autons better – b both in the show and in the extra material. But I feel like that without the extra context I struggle with it in this episode.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: And also we’ve already talked about how the charac – like none of the characters are real -, and of course it’s the pilot, right?
Like nothing’s going to be perfect on a pilot, but none of the characters feel – apart from maybe Rose, even the Doctor feels pretty not fully established yet. Jackie’s a bit off. Mickey is awful –
Talia Franks: And also, that whole moment with “the Earth revolving.” and everything, it’s so dramatic and I know that it’s a lot of people’s favorite lines – but it just feels so extra.
Lucia Kelly: I would feel fine with it, if that line was given different context, it’s a beautiful line. It’s a beautiful little moment. If that was the Doctor talking to Rose about what it’s like to travel in space, or “This is the world I’m offering you.” right? Then it would be a gorgeous line and like – but the fact that it’s an answer to the question “Who are you?” takes away all of that, because that’s not what she asked. And that’s like – (Talia: Mmhmm) What are you doing? We’ve already talked about this. I don’t need to get mad again. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Okay, let’s move on to Acting.
Can we give them a six for acting? (Lucia laughs) I loved the acting in this episode.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: Especially –
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: I’m especially thinking – I’m especially thinking of when Rose is in the elevator and she’s looking at the elevator buttons, and she just raises her eyebrow, and is glaring at the elevator button. Like –
Lucia Kelly: Interesting. I didn’t notice that moment.
Talia Franks: Yeah. There’s this moment where, when she’s going down in the elevator and she’s just waiting and she’s – and I just felt that in my soul of when you’re in an elevator, and you just want to get out of the elevator, so that you can go and do what you want, what you need to do, so that you can just go home, and be done with your day.
Cause like, I’ve had times where I worked on the top floor of a building, and been in an elevator, and had to go down 10 floors and it’s, like, stopping at every floor, and I’m just glaring at the elevator waiting to get to ground level. And when she was glaring, and her little eyebrow raised, I was just like, (imitates kissing noise) chef’s kiss.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, beautiful. Okay.
Talia Franks: So that little mix of a glare and a smirk and raised eyebrow, and it was just also, her eyebrows were just on point. This whole episode, like, props to the make-up department..
Lucia Kelly: It was very 2005. I loved all the fashion. I loved the way everyone was dressed. It felt so nice and everything was very normal.
I feel like in modern productions, like productions that are being made now, everything’s feels so much – everything feels so much like costume. Like, it looks like you’ve been dressed by someone who it’s their job to dress you, right? Whereas these ones, like, Mickey’s wearing – in this one outfit, he’s wearing – it’s when Rose comes in to use his computer – he’s wearing a gray shirt and these bright neon boxers, and it’s so 100% an at-home lounging, being a couch, potato outfit, it’s so in the moment and so just absolutely completely true (Talia: Yeah, and I – ) that – and all of their outfits are like that. All their outfits feel true in a way that I adore.
Talia Franks: Mmhmm, mmhmm, and Rose is just like – her whole aesthetic is so casual. I just love everything about her whole aesthetic. And she can – like, when we get to episode three, like she does dress in period clothes and that’s super nice too.
Lucia Kelly: I have something to say about that. We’ll talk when we get to the moment, but yeah. Oh my God.
The fourth category is science, which is basically – okay, I put this category in here because, I get it. It’s a TV show, and it’s a pretty – it’s a TV show that can get pretty silly. And I get that. You’re dealing with sci-fi. You’re dealing with pretty outlandish concepts. I don’t care about your premise. I care that your premise makes sense. Does it actually make sense in the world? Did you establish how this works? Because if you didn’t, then you’re writing fantasy and that’s not what the show is. It’s –
Talia Franks: So are we establishing whether or not something works according to the laws of Earth physics or are we establi – like, cause I mean like they’re traveling through space and time –
Lucia Kelly: No, it’s – yeah, no. And this is why I want to be very clear. It’s not about would this happen in the real world because we’re talking about a police box that can travel through time and space. That’s not the question.
Talia Franks: It’s the Fun Space and Time Box, not a police box.
Lucia Kelly: Yep. Okay.
But within the context of the world, did you establish the rules? Does it make sense? For instance, when I was talking before about like, the head melts, the body melted with the head, that makes no sense, right? It makes no sense. Which is why it’s getting such a low grade in science, because so much of the science is not established, it’s not grounded in any way, shape or form. I don’t care if you say that the Nestene Conc –
Talia Franks: Someone could get eaten by a trashcan and duplicated.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. Honestly, like, I’m okay with that. I’m willing to go on that journey with you – but don’t be dumb about it.
I feel like this episode was very dumb about it, which was upsetting and annoying. So I’m coasting between a two and a three for this one, for science.
Talia Franks: I think a three.
Lucia Kelly: A three? Okay. We’ll be kind.
Talia Franks: Well, we were mean when it came to writing, so I feel like we should be nice when it comes to science.
Lucia Kelly: Okay.
Talia Franks: I would give this a four point five for real watchability
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, yeah. I’ll give it a four. This section, Rewatchability, was originally labeled Fun. But then I thought about it and Doctor Who is not always fun. Doctor Who is sometimes heart-wrenching, and emotional, and leaves you devastated and weeping on the floor. The depths that the show goes to – this wasn’t a good episode for showing that – we’re going to be getting into some very big episodes, but the range of this show is incredible.
And so even though – And also, this will be the time to say that I have a very um – like, we’re not there yet, but there’s an episode in Season Three called “Blink”, which is beautiful, and amazing, and spectacular, and in that episode, one of the characters says, one of her friends is like, “Why do you like sad things?”
And she responds, “It’s happiness for deep people”. I watched that when I was 12, and I just absorbed that into my entire personality. I have a very complicated relationship with sad things.
Talia Franks: I like sad things, but, I like sad things, but I have trouble with scary things. So I don’t really rewatch “Blink” very often.
I love “Blink”, but I don’t watch it very often. Also in terms of Rewatchability, there are a few episodes that are going to be really painful for me to rewatch and that I am not looking forward to. There’s two episodes of Doctor Who that I’ve only seen once, and one episode that I’ve only seen twice, that is actually in the season.
Lucia Kelly: Ooh.
Talia Franks: I hate “Father’s Day”. I’ve only seen it twice and I’ve seen little clips of it, like, I’ve seen bits and pieces of it because I’ve done rewatches with people, where they’ve watched it and I’ve been in and out of the room to make sure that they were paying attention, but I haven’t watched it with them.
Like when my dad was watching it, he was watching it in the living room, and I was in the kitchen. So I heard little pieces of it, but I didn’t watch it with him.
Lucia Kelly: I am so excited to talk about “Father’s Day”. This is going to be fun.
Talia Franks: Oh my God, I am not looking forward to watching it ’cause I hate that episode. And the other two episodes that I’ve only seen once is, I’ve only seen “Midnight” once – (Lucia gasps in excitement and anticipation)
Lucia Kelly: I’m also excited to talk about “Midnight”.
Talia Franks: And I’ve only seen “Sleep No More” once.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Okay. That’s fair.
Talia Franks: But, yeah. Can’t stand “Father’s Day”.
Lucia Kelly: Interesting.
Talia Franks: And “Midnight” is fucking terrifying.
Lucia Kelly: I cannot wait to talk about “Midnight”.
Okay, so I’ve done the math, and drum roll (Talia gives a drum roll) There we go. “Rose” got a B minus.
Talia Franks: Oh.
Lucia Kelly: Which is pretty good.
Talia Franks: Solid.
Lucia Kelly: I feel like it’s solid. I feel like that’s accurate: A B minus.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Well, we’ll have to see how high of a grade the season gets.
Lucia Kelly: Mmhmm, and that’s the other thing to keep in mind is that – which is why a grading system is important – because, (laughs) this show is going to get so exponentially better than the first season.
Like, the first season in many ways does not show the true heights to which this show can get to.
Talia Franks: This has been the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast.
Lucia Kelly: We hope you enjoyed this adventure with us through space and time.
Talia Franks: If you’d like to find us elsewhere on the internet, we are on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram as @WibblyPod.
Lucia Kelly: You can also find out more information about us and our content on wibblywobblytimeywimey.net, and full transcripts for episodes at wibblywobblytimeywimey.net/transcripts.
Talia Franks: If you’d like to get in touch, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucia Kelly: that’s all for now. Catch you in the vortex.