Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together
I really gotta get these things written early in the day. Here I am, ten o'clock at night, I want to go to bed, and I still have a post to write. I was buried all day at work, and then had a swell evening out with my wife, and now here I am staring at a computer screen half-awake.
So let's talk Doctor Who so I can get some sleep.
Army of Ghosts
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
In the first year back of the modern season, a very specific pattern was set. Bring back a classic enemy at the midpoint of the run, and then have a two-part finale featuring that same classic foe. Last time around it was the Daleks, and this time it is the Cybermen. It's not a surprise, they were shown in the previews at the end of the last episode, but there are a few surprising twists and turns.
The Doctor and Rose return to contemporary London to visit Jackie, and are surprised to learn that for the past few months "ghosts" have been appearing worldwide. Jackie even believes that one of them is her deceased father. Ultimately it turns out that they are Cybermen punching through from their alternate universe somehow, primarily due to the unknowing work of Torchwood.
That, of course, is the first big reveal. After a full season of repeatedly teasing the word "torchwood", the actual organization appears onscreen for the first time. Created by Queen Victoria after the werewolf incident in Tooth & Claw, Torchwood exists to defend the British empire by searching out and making use of alien technology. "If it's alien, it's ours," says the leader of Torchwood One. The Doctor is understandably not a big fan of this concept.
The next big reveal is the presence of Mickey, last seen staying behind on Pete's World. He knows that the Cybermen are breaking through, and and come across to stop them.
But the really big reveal comes at the very end, when it turns out that the mysterious sphere that opened the crack between realities is actually a Dalek Void Ship carrying the surviving Cult of Skaro and their Genesis Ark. This is, to my recollection, the first time that Daleks and Cybermen have appeared together in the same story as primary villains.
Actress Freema Agyeman makes her first appearance in this episode as a Torchwood employee who dies after being converted by the Cybermen. She made such a strong impression, though, that she was later cast as the next companion Martha Jones. In an interview Russel T. Davies commented that had he known she was going to be the perfect choice as co-star for the next season he would have rewritten the episode and had this character live. She is by no means the first guest star to return to the show as a different character, and she won't be the last.
There's not a whole lot of action in this episode, it is mostly one long setup to the big reveal at the end so that all hell can break loose in the finale. It's a lot of fun, though. It is especially nice to see Mickey having fully evolved into a heroic character instead of just being the "tin dog".
Tomorrow: the end of the Sainted Rose.
Companion(s): Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith
Episode(s): Army of Ghosts
Steps Walked: 7,445 today, 2,732,749 total
Distance Walked: 4.10 miles today, 1,423.42 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 983 total
Is the Doctor So, So Sorry?: Yes, when Martha Jones' cousin Adeola dies
Weight: 251.18 lbs (five day moving average), net change -56.12 lbs