Doctor Who: The Doctor Dances

The conclusion of last week’s chilling episode ‘The Empty Child’ – but
really, they could have come up with a better title.

Cast and Crew

Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Richard Wilson as Dr. Constantine
Florence Hoath as Nancy
John Barrowman as Jack Harkness
Luke Perry as Timothy Lloyd
Albert Valentine as the Child
Cheryl Fergison as Mrs. Lloyd
Damian Samuels as Mr. Lloyd
Robert Hands as Algy
Joseph Tremain as Jim
Jordan Murphy as Ernie
Martin Hodgson as Jenkins
Vilma Hollingbery as Mrs. Harcourt
Noah Johnson was the voice of the Child
Dian Perry was the voice of the Computer

Written by Steven Moffat

Synopsis

The conclusion of last week’s episode ‘The Empty Child’. With the
Child’s plague spreading through London, the Doctor, Rose and Jack
find clues in the hospital which show that the threat is even greater
than they feared.

According to the BBC information, this episode is slightly less
scary than the previous one. This seems to hold out, but it’s still
extremely shiver-worthy.

High Point

The tape recording in the hospital, and the room where they found
it.

Low Point

The end was just a little bit rushed. Another five minutes would
have wrapped things off perfectly. Or perhaps less time spent on the
dancing.

The Review

As with last week, this feels original. Much the same
comments as then, but since this is the same story that’s hardly
surprising. Five out of six.

The effects this week were better, probably because there
was less footage of the air raid, and so the overall difficulty of them
was lower. What effects there were held up very well. Five out of six.

As with last week, this week’s story is interesting and
frightening at the same time. Not as frightening, but the gradual
unveiling of what’s going on will always make things less scary – fear
often relies on the characters not really knowing what’s going on. As
we reach the denouement, many things are explained which give a
good sense of completeness and understanding to the entire affair.
Five out of six.

Once more, I cannot complain about the acting. Six out of
six.

For emotional response, this episode won’t score six for
pure terror like last week’s, because as mentioned above it simply isn’t
as scary. It does have a strong cathartic element to it, but doesn’t quite
hit the spot the same way. Five out of six.

The production works out better than last week’s. The
scenes in the hospital were well done and superbly dressed, as was the
climax of the story. Five out of six.

Overall it’s a good conclusion to the story, but doesn’t
quite make the six point mark. Five out of six.

This leaves a grand total of thirty-six out of forty-two, only one
point less than the first part. Between them, these two form what is
probably going to be the best story of the first series of this new
Doctor Who.

Next Week

Boom Town – the TARDIS crew take a holiday, but the
Doctor encounters an enemy he thought long since dead. A plan to
build a nuclear power station in Cardiff City disguises an alien plot to
rip the world apart. And when the Doctor dines with monsters, he
discovers traps within traps.

15 replies on “Doctor Who: The Doctor Dances”

  1. Eldhrin says:

    I’ll just mention…
    …sorry this one was late (yes, the next episode is on tonight). I was on holiday
    in Germany for the start of the week and have only just got the chance to watch
    it. The review of the next episode will be up tonight or tomorrow.

  2. nidx says:

    Are you my mommy?

  3. joe__gee says:

    I dunno, my emotional responses aren’t only fear :)
    I loved the Doctor’s response at the end of the episode, “Just this once, EVERYBODY lives! They ALL survive!” I don’t think I have ever seen the Doctor that elated, in any episode. :)

    As for the rest of this episode, I was surprised although not offended by the several mild allusions to homosexuality. Those genuinely surprised me. “…only, she’s not messing around with the butcher, you are …” I almost fell out of my chair. :) I’m used to American TV, where such things aren’t considered casual pieces of the story.

    Great episode. I’ve heard the “this may be the best episode of the season” thing before, only to have next week’s episode turn out to be superior. Honestly, even though we’re dealing with the Slitheen again I wouldn’t bet money that tonight’s episode won’t surpass this episode.

    Hope you had a good vacation, Ehldrin. :)

    -Joe G.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: I dunno, my emotional responses aren’t only fear :)

      I loved the Doctor’s response at the end of the episode, “Just this once, EVERYBODY lives! They ALL survive!” I don’t think I have ever seen the Doctor that elated, in any episode. :)

      As for the rest of this episode, I was surprised although not offended by the several mild allusions to homosexuality. Those genuinely surprised me. “…only, she’s not messing around with the butcher, you are …” I almost fell out of my chair. :) I’m used to American TV, where such things aren’t considered casual pieces of the story.

      Great episode. I’ve heard the “this may be the best episode of the season” thing before, only to have next week’s episode turn out to be superior. Honestly, even though we’re dealing with the Slitheen again I wouldn’t bet money that tonight’s episode won’t surpass this episode.

      either support the abuses of desert Islam–or they are crippled by fear of retirbution.
      Hope you had a good vacation, Ehldrin. :)

      -Joe G.

      I really liked the doctor’s response at the end too. It gives you the feeling that the everything’s ok ending is not his expected result. In fact the episode really needed that kind of ending, but in adding the doctors elation of the fact it made it play better.

      On Star Trek, reset button endings were commonplace, but the response was always something like whew, we got everything back to normal again in an hour (again). The doctor’s response was enough different from that to be refreshing.

      • roseblood says:

        Re: I dunno, my emotional responses aren’t only fear :)

        I loved the Doctor’s response at the end of the episode, “Just this once, EVERYBODY lives! They ALL survive!” I [BIG SNIP]

        we’re dealing with the Slitheen again I wouldn’t bet money that tonight’s episode won’t surpass this episode.

        either support the abuses of desert Islam–or they are crippled by fear of retirbution.
        Hope you had a good vacation, Ehldrin. :)

        -Joe G.

        I really liked the doctor’s response at the end too. It gives you the feeling that the everything’s ok ending is not his expected result. In fact the episode really needed that kind of ending, but in adding the doctors elation of the fact it made it play better.
        [SMALL SNIP]

        After all thes years how many times have things worked out in the end without a single loss of life? He was a soldier in the time war. Imagine our soldiers today being able to resolve a problem in IRAQ without taking a casualty or having to bring a loss of life to their enemy. It would be quite refreshing.

        I also felt that the Doctor’s reaction would be completely understandable.

        • babasyzygy says:

          Re: I dunno, my emotional responses aren’t only fear :)

          After all thes years how many times have things worked out in the end
          without a single loss of life? He was a soldier in the time war.

          In the 28 years of Doctor Who stories (counting the movie as a year), this is
          exactly the 3rd story where
          nobody died. Definitely something to write home about, and I’m glad the
          writers have that sense of history.

          But I don’t think the Doctor was actually a soldier in the time war: he was
          almost certainly more of a spoiler. We don’t know yet whether the
          destruction of Galifrey was the same event in the TV show as the event in the
          novels, but hopefully we’ll know more soon.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: I dunno, my emotional responses aren’t only fear :)

      Hope you had a good vacation, Ehldrin. :)

      I did, although it was very uncomfortable on the aeroplane and I got fairly badly
      sunburned. The latter was entirely my fault – the former would be too, but I
      think I should be able to expect people to build planes big enough for real
      people, shouldn’t I? Perhaps I should stop flying with budget airlines… still, only
      an hour and a half in the air to get there.

  4. dubbayoo42 says:

    Just to head it off at the pass…
    If anyone is wondering about the Bad Wolf reference in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, it’s in part two (nothing in The Empty Child), and “Bad Wolf” (in German) is written on the bomb that Captain Jack is sitting on. It’s very, very subtle… it’s onscreen for maybe a second or two total.

  5. roseblood says:

    The Title
    You know, I like the title. It dosen’t give away the frigging story. You can’t look at the TV guide and see DOCTOR WHO: DALEK and then feel any sense of suprise when the doctor ends up locked in a room w/ the dalek. Trek did this alot too. Episodes like STAR TREK VOYAGER: KES’ GOODBYE. Great, so we know Kes dies or leaves. So much for any sort of suspens/tension.

  6. roseblood says:

    BAD WOLF – My thoughts.
    ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************ ***************BAD WOLF SPOILERS************************
    Three posibilites.

    According To IMDB, Jack Is Going To Be In The New Few Episodes Until The ‘Bad Wolf’ Episode. I Think He may be The Bad Wolf. That would then make Rose Is His Riding Hood. But, this isn’t my favored theory.

    **

    While on the subject of IMDB, looking at the credits for the BAD WOLF episode I see that Nicholas Briggs was cast as the role of Dalek voices.

    Who is afraid of the big bad wolf.

    The Doctor is afraid of the big bad wolf.

    The Doctor only seems to truely fear the Daleks.

    There’s a credit for at least one Dalek actor in the Bad Wolf episode.

    I think I’ve got a winner here.

    **

    But I like the theory of the Doctor as the Bad Wolf too. It was his TARDIS that got tagged.

    The girl from the unquiet dead told Rose what she’d seen… “the big bad wolf” and at this point she hadn’t yet seen a Dalek (but she did see the doctor.)

    In the Empty Child episode the lead female child role noted the Doctor’s big ears (or she was about to) … all the better to hear someone with.

    Rose as red… first few eps. The red top under a hooded sweatshirt.

    **

    But, I still think it’s the Daleks.

    **

    What’s to story with the number 801? Room 801 in the hospital. 801 the last 4 digits in the telephone number from [whatsits] suport line.

    I only noticed that when my son wanted to see Doctor Who, so I played back a few random episodes for him on my HTPC machine. (PS: The Empty Child made him crunch up next to me and hide his face in my chest and say “Daddy I don’t like it when the movie ends and the monsters are about to win.” Not quite hiding behind the couch, but that’s not even possible with the layout of our living room anyway.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: BAD WOLF – My thoughts.
      Well on the subject of Bad Wolf…tonight’s episode
      contained a serious discussion of it between Rose and the Doctor, but the
      Doctor dismissed it as coincidence. I don’t think he really believes that though.
      Oh, and the teaser for the next episode has LOTS of Daleks in it. My sister has a
      theory that there has been at least one Dalek following them around for a while
      now. Oh, and that the Dalek fleet survived, and so did the Time Lords, trapped
      somewhere. But we’ll see.

  7. Vulch says:

    The tape recorder

    Slight anachronism, at the time the only tape recorders were in Germany. Wire recorders had been used, although a hospital would be unlikely to have one, but there was a problem getting the wire for them as it was mostly made in Sweden. The BBC were still sending reporters out with wax disc recorders by the time D-Day rolled around.

    • shayward says:

      Re: The tape recorder
      One must admit, however, that a wax-disk recorder would have been far less tense and dramatic. :-)

  8. shayward says:

    Great Episode, Late Review
    The late review was welcome for those of us here in Canada that don’t have a sweet clue how to obtain the show otherwise or just can’t be bothered.

    I know we’ve heard it before, but I’m thinking that the next episode could not possibly top this one. The pair of them were absolutely fantastic.

    High points include:
    – the young girl’s guilt coming to a peek when admitting that the child is hers
    – “I will always be your mummy”
    – The scene with the tape recorder
    – The “open/close walls” gun
    – Nanogenes
    – “Everybody lives!”
    – Doctor save’s Jack
    – Rose digs The Doctor’s dancing
    – Not-so-subtle reference to the homeowner’s relationship with the butcher in a time when homosexuality was punishable by jail or worse a police officer with a billy club that thinks he has a license to kill.

    Not to say that this horrible practice towards homosexuals was in any way, shape, or form anything short of horrific, but this small moment added greatly to the fabric of the story and furthered the plot.

    It also points out human folly. Bombs were dropping on the UK because they dared to stand up for the rights and freedoms of citizens of other countries yet stripped the rights and freedoms of it’s own citizens based on their private and concentual sexual activities.

    There were so many subtle elements in the entire two-parter. It was crafted with great, great care.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 12.

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