Nine Years of the Ninth Doctor: Aliens of London

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So maybe this is it! First contact! The day mankind officially comes into contact with an alien race. I’m not interfering because you’ve got to handle this on your own. That’s when the human race finally grows up. Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay! Now you can expand!

Steven Moffat wrote a short story once, with a lecture about the Doctor. And the lecturer, one Professor Candy, was talking about the effect the Doctor had on people. In this lecture, he mentions a Mr and Mrs Brown, who have to talk to some nice policeman, who are digging up their back garden. “Oh, don’t worry officer,” they say “Peri isn’t dead, she’s a Warrior Queen on Thoros Beta.”

Now, I’ve not read that story, but I imagine it was a very good one. It’s a pretty clever idea, isn’t it? What happens to the companions’ families who’re left behind? Generally, it’s not been explored in Classic Who. Off the top of my head… Victoria had a family, but they died, Adric had a brother, who also died, Tegan had an Aunt who they did visit once, Sarah Jane had an Aunt that was never really present, and then… Ace has her friends, that she returns to in Survival, but I don’t think that big of a deal is made of them.

So, here and now with Rose’s family is pretty much uncharted territory for Doctor Who. It’s a new step in a new direction – and that’s great! Doctor Who should always being going to new places, seeing what works, and how the show can always be innovative.

For this review, I’m going to focus mainly on the “domestic” side of things, as it were, because that’s the primary focus of this episode. I’ll talk a little bit about the Slitheen, but not much.

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The episode starts off on a high note, with a really amazing scene with Camille Coduri, who plays Rose’s mum Jackie. Rose comes in and says hello to Jackie as though she’d only been away for a night, because that’s what happened, as far as she knows. And then Jackie looks at her, and you can see so much emotion on her face. It’s a really fantastic scene.

That continues throughout the episode – the standard of acting with our regulars is very high, and it helps to create a really moving story. The missing year idea is really fantastic, and it’s very clearly shown how it affected them all – Jackie’s grief, Mickey’s isolation, and Rose’s guilt.

Christopher Eccleston does really well here as well. I mentioned last week that he seemed a bit at odds when doing “happy acting” – that’s not the case here at all. He’s clearly, fantastically enthusiastic about the idea of human’s making first contact, and it’s a brilliant, very Doctor-y portrayal. Consider him jumping up a few points in my opinion of him…

When we make the jump to Downing Street, the episode continues to perform well, although perhaps not as well as the other parts of the episode. The fart jokes… personally, I’m not against them. They really don’t bother me that much, because they’re pretty trivial things. I did wonder, admittedly, whether the episode would have been better without them, and the aliens had been a bit more serious. I think… maybe. Equally though, the fart jokes are hardly a focus, so it wouldn’t have been a huge difference.

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This is also the first cliffhanger of the revived series! It’s a Doctor Who tradition revived! Making you question whether or not a character is going to make it to next week, make you wonder how they’ll get out of that scrape, how everything will –

Oh never mind there’s a trailer whatever…

Yes, anyways, episode rating. I think I’m going to give this episode a 7/10.

The question now is… will next week’s installment be that good? Will it be better? Will it-

Oh hang on wait let’s check the trailer…

the Doctor uses the Slitheen’s own trap against them – a pretty chilling bit of body horror – something of a microcosm-like depiction of the decision which he made to end the Time War – I’m struggling – I got chills – imagine that back in 2005 – it must have been amazing

See you next week!

Related:

Nine Years of the Ninth Doctor Reviews

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