Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 3/21/15 11:21 am
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There are two big criticisms of this episode, and one that's pretty on base and that's of the Slitheen, those flatulent giddy evil aliens. For the first two parter of the New Series, introducing the Slitheen as the villains is probably one of Russell T. Davies biggest mis-steps. What about the first big cliffhanger said, "You know what this plot needs? Potty humor."
Yet, I think the weaknesses in the Slitheen are overstated and particularly how they impact this episode. There's a lot to enjoy here, particularly in this first part where the Slitheen's appearances are brief as not to be very irritating.
The Spaceship destroying Big Ben and crashing into the Thames was very well done, particularly coming out of the blue as far as the Doctor and Rose were concerned.
Christopher Eccleston is in top form as the Doctor. I love the scene where he takes command after being caught by U.N.I.T. soldiers.
The episode introduces Harriet Jones, a lovely quirky character, a back bencher who is used to having to show ID so people know who she is, a trait that continues past the point when everyone knows who she is later on.
We also have a very engaging plot as we're left to wonder why real aliens would stage a fake invasion and we get the answer right before our cliffhanger or I should say cliffhangers as Davies seemed to be playing homage with three different cliffhangers for the Doctor, Rose, and Jackie each of which could have come out of the classic series.
That brings me to the other issue people have with this story and that Rose's family. I personally don't find them annoying. Yes, it's true that Jackie isn't exactly Mother of the Year material, but it's equally clear that she loves her daughter and has been through a horrific experience as the Doctor's imprecise calculations landed them a year in the future. This episode makes Mickey and Jackie very real people and explores what happens when a Companion poofs off into time and space. This was a great innovation that made the companions feel more like real people with real families who would miss them and there's great emotional impact.
Overall, the first part is a great story with mystery, drama, and a few unique twists. The second part has more issues, but this episode was thoroughly enjoyable.