Boom Town

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    Craig @craig

    The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack stop off in Cardiff to recharge the TARDIS on the Rift. Whilst there, they come upon an old enemy who is hatching another plan to destroy Earth.

    The Krynoid Man @thekrynoidman

    I didn’t mind this one, not great but not that bad either.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I think after Father’s Day and the SM two parter Empty Child/Doctor Dances (all of which I really rate), I actually winced a bit when I watched this originally. Looking at it in retrospective, I’m not as harsh as I was, but I’m still glad to see the back of it.

    On the plus side, it’s not as frenetic with the fart gags as the first Slitheen two parter, and I quite like Annette Badlands verbal fencing with Chris Eccleston over dinner. Hats of for the subdued performance from her on the kludgie as she draws back from killing, and for the Doctors dismissal of her attempts to use this little factoid against him.

    I’m sure there is probably a point in emphasising a certain smugness and comfort with the lifestyle within the new Team TARDIS, which makes you sympathise slightly with the outsider Mickey. The only thing I can only say is that if this was what the dynamic between Jack, Rose and The Doctor that would have been in place going forward, then I’m glad that Captain Jack was only an occasional guest star. Perhaps, like River, he works best in small doses?

    Some of the character stuff works, but I think others come across as a little forced. The points about the Doctors morality in particular are a little off-kilter. Having your morality questioned by someone who is wearing a skin-suit taken from the original host, and willing to destroy a planet for a quick buck was never going to shake the Doctor too much, was it?

    As I’ve already admitted to being a bit crap at spotting a deux ex machina, I’ll ask resident expert @bluesqueakpip to confirm if the sudden ability of the TARDIS to regress someone physically in years is one. It seemed a little convenient, even though I know it foreshadows (to a certain extent) what’s to come.

    In the grand scheme of things, I think the first Slitheen episodes are worse, but this one is really difficult to embrace with confidence.

    Are we doing the last two episodes on one topic, or splitting them up?

    janetteB @janetteb

    Urgh. Forgot that I can’t copy paste from word.

    My critique of this episode is rather coloured by the location. It always brings back good memories of visiting Cardiff with the boys in 2007. (One of the highlights for them was the Dr Who exhibition.) The story itself was not memorable and the moral comparison between the Annette Badland character and the Dr was simply unconvincing for the reasons outlined by @phaseshift. I don’t think the Doctor’s motivation has ever been selfish, her’s were never not so.



    Arbutus @arbutus

    I rather enjoyed this, although it was never a barn burner. I enjoyed the doctor’s interactions with Annette Badland’s character, although as @phaseshift points out, it was never really a convincing moral debate. I think rather that  the really strong performances on both sides made it quite fun to watch. But my main pleasure in this episode, frankly, was watching Mickey the Idiot stop being an idiot, and finally bail on Rose. She treated him so, so terribly, it was maddening, and I was very pleased to see him finally decide that she wasn’t worth dangling after. Another step along Mickey’s path to maturity.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @arbutus. I agree with you re’ Rose and Mickey. I think her treatment of him is really why I never warmed to the character and I found it rather “unsuitable” for Dr Who. The Doctor kept telling her/us how wonderful she was but her actions towards Mickey did not bear that out.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Okay, Boom Town (finally). I’m not sure I’ve ever watched this all the way through, so here goes.

    Right, so Annette Badland’s Slitheen is back, and has explosive plans for Cardiff. Memo to self: if anyone ever asks me ‘am I the only person you’ve told about this?’ must remember to say ‘apart from the ‘in the event of my death’ files programmed to be sent to Wikileaks, yes.’ 😉

    Ah, yes, and this is why Jack later stays with Torchwood Cardiff. The Rift.

    Cardiff Castle will be demolished? Goodness, what will they do for locations? Ah, Blaidd Drwg. This looks rather like it’s the low-budget episode (wasn’t it a rather hurried script to replace one that couldn’t be delivered?) – a hired function room, minimal set dressing, and about twenty extras. Setting it in Cardiff is a nice touch to show off the city – but it also means they can film in local locations.

    ‘As long as I walk upon this Earth…’ nice one, since we know she’s an alien. Followed by the comic explanation of the series of mysterious deaths associated with the project and Annette Badland milking it for all she’s worth.

    Ooh, nice combination of voice work from Annette Badland and physical acting from Alan Ruscoe inside the Slitheen suit. Plus the operation of those big CGI blinking eyes. For such a villainous character, you can feel her grief at the deaths of the rest of her family.

    I dunno, somehow this version of Team Tardis doesn’t seem to gel. The Amy/Rory/River/Smith Doctor combination had obvious chemistry together; Rose/Jack/Mickey/Eccleston Doctor feel like they’re acting. And I’m back to feeling that Eccleston doesn’t quite fit the role – possibly because this is a comic episode. He doesn’t have a light touch with comedy, more ‘sledgehammer crushing walnut’. His later angsty moments feel far more real – if he’d gone on to a second series, I think they should probably have let him be even more angsty and left the comedy to the rest of the cast.

    Neat little dilemma for the Doctor. Margaret is a murderer – but can he hand her over to her death? Yes. Especially since, in this version of reality, he’s recently condemned his entire people to death. But I agree with @phaseshift – good as Annette Badland’s performance is, it’s a bit difficult having a debate about proper moral values and whether capital punishment is moral when both people are mass murderers. Admittedly, the Doctor attained that status because it was the ‘least worst’ option, whereas Margaret is happy to murder people for money, so it’s not quite a case of ‘pot, meet kettle’. 🙂 But RTD does try – as well as the moment of sympathy earlier, he plays the ‘brought up to be a killer’ card, hinting at the later solution.

    Cardiff, earthquake capital of Wales. Bloody Torchwood…

    Nice CGI. Is that the first time we’ve seen the ‘beam of energy into the sky’ effect in Doctor Who? They’ve certainly used it several times since.

    Yes, that’s a Deus Ex Machina but, in fairness, that the Doctor has the powers of a god was mentioned by Margaret at least twice in the script – hinting that god-like powers will lead to the resolution. The telepathy of the TARDIS is also long established.

    The D.E.M. is also helping to set up the Deus Ex Machina of The Parting of The Ways, when Rose becomes the literal Dea Ex Machina; it tells Rose (and the audience) that opening the TARDIS console can do strange things. This particular Deus Ex Machina might possibly be the creation of Bad Wolf herself, giving Rose the information that she’ll need. 

    Good for you, Mickey. It’s time to grow up and stop being Mickey the Idiot, the kid at the back of the class with the safety scissors and the glue. You do deserve better; nice to know that we’ll see it happen. 🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    The Doctor kept telling her/us how wonderful she was but her actions towards Mickey did not bear that out.

    Yes – it did seem a little forced. From memory (looking forward) when we went into Series 2 – Specials a particular writing tick in virtually every RTD episode was to have someone congratulate 10 on being brilliant, or just comment on how brilliant he was to other people. No wonder 11 reckoned he had vanity issues with all that praise going on. 😉

    I’m looking forward to making sure that’s not just my memory playing tricks on me, and it was “a thing”.


    Rose/Jack/Mickey/Eccleston Doctor feel like they’re acting.

    Yeah, I think it all does come across as false, especially the “hey – aren’t we the cool TEAM TARDIS!” stuff designed to highlight Micky the outsider. You may be right, and this was a pretty late written episode.

    I think, from memory, it was around this time that they decided that they’d need the Doctor-lite episode in the future (actually, I’m not sure if Writers Tale identified this or the last episode we watched The Long Game as being the time they thought “we’ve got to look at this”).

    Thanks for the confirmation of the DEM – I don’t see it that much as a problem, myself, and I’m pretty poor at spotting them. It would be interesting to see if the criticism you occasionally see that he relies on them is in any way justified.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It would be interesting to see if the criticism you occasionally see that he relies on them is in any way justified.

    It will be interesting, because my recollection is that RTD generally doesn’t. The few times he uses a D.E.M. he makes it obvious he knows exactly what he’s done – like Moffat, there’ll be some kind of pun/reference to ‘god’ and ‘machine’.

    Very often, though, people tend to substitute ‘ooh, the writer caught me out, I didn’t see that one coming’ with ‘it was a D.E.M.! That’s why I didn’t see it coming!’ 😈

    @janetteb – no, I don’t think Rose is being very wonderful here. She’s being a nineteen year old who thinks her boyfriend is going to hang around for her. The real life equivalent would be a girl who’s gone off to university – but her boyfriend didn’t get in and is staying at home with a job.

    Then she turns up in the vacation with all her new mates, having a perfectly wonderful time, and expects said boyfriend to like the new mates because she does.

    I think she behaves so badly because she does like Mickey, even loves him, and wants some happy happy dream land where he’ll wait for her while she’s away. In the end, Mickey’s the more grown-up; recognising that their relationship won’t survive this and trying for a clean and friendly break rather than a slow fade and possibly bitter break-up.

    He’s conflicted about it as well (the suggestion of a hotel room). But it’s very well observed writing; there’s a lot of first year students out there who behave exactly like this. Not because they intend to be mean, but because a combination of naivety and teenage self-centredness adds up to them treating their partner very badly – without even realising that’s what they’re doing.

    Amy treats Rory equally badly; the difference is that by then the Doctor recognises the symptoms (I’d say he’s thinking about Rose and Mickey when he decides Rory’s coming on board, no discussion) and recognises the likely consequences. Which were much more high-stakes; Rose and Mickey were boyfriend and girlfriend, but Amy and Rory were about to get married.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @Bluespeakpip, (apologies for the incorrect use of capitals last time. It was late.) I agree in that Amy is very certainly the “uni student” who has been away for a term, made new friends and returned to an old boyfriend. She did really love Rory but had found a new, amazing and intoxicating life that he wasn’t part of. Rose on the other hand had already been picking up men, Captain Jack, Adam, indicating that as soon as Mickey was out of the picture she forgot him. That happens. It’s life. She outgrew him. That was not my issue. What I objected to was that she and the doctor were essentially mocking him. If the Doctor had called Rory and idiot I think Amy would have decked him. She would certainly have had words.

    Certainly my view is almost certainly coloured by the fact that I am not a Rose fan and I thought Ricky was badly treated all round whereas Amy grew on me. In fact I liked Rose initially but less as the series progressed. I found the character began to grate. I did not initially warm but Amy but by the end was a teary mess when she left.



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    If the Doctor had called Rory an idiot I think Amy would have decked him.

    Yes – but mainly because only Amy is allowed to call Rory an idiot. 😉

    We’re not going to get to see School Reunion in this retrospective (it was written by Toby Whithouse). But I love it for Mickey’s moment of self-realisation; he’s the tin dog. He is Mickey the Idiot – but his story is a long process of deciding that he doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life being the butt of everyone’s jokes.

    RTD chose to show Mickey as ‘the idiot’ by making him – well, the guy that the Doctor and Rose constantly poke fun at. Moffat chose to show Rory as ‘the idiot’ by having him irredeemably accident-prone. In both cases, they’re not actually idiots. This is a difference in writing styles; RTD has a bit of a tendency to write people who are self-absorbed. He also, I think, has a much crueller sense of humour than Moffat and a much darker view of human nature.

    I agree that I didn’t think Rose was a genuinely wonderful person (though I’d certainly rate her ‘decent human being’); however I did see why the Doctor would think she was wonderful. The type of person she was forced him into being ‘The Doctor’ again. She was his perfect companion; and he lost her.

    Ultimately, the way Mickey was treated by Rose and the Doctor forced him to grow up. I really doubt Rose was supposed to consciously know what she was doing – but I do wonder if RTD thought that the Doctor did.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @bluesqueakpip The “tin dog” moment is one of the highlights of School Reunion and an oft quoted line in this household. I agree re’ the different writing styles and in that respect I much prefer Moffat’s to RTD, (Though there are other aspects of RTD’s writing that I really liked) however I think that the difference in the ‘Doctor’s’ treatment of Mickey and Rory also has much to do with the actor. Had David Tennant delivered the “Mickey the Idiot” line it would have been soften by a smile or his characteristic quirkiness. Matt Smith, in his old young way seemed to be able to see people’s potential. If he had called Mickey an idiot it would have been in a “matey” way but when Chris Ecclestone says the words they have real bite because the actor brings an arrogance to the character and a disdain for others that is almost a personal trademark of his. (Not unfitting for the character in the circumstances and I am mindfull that it was Rose who brings him down a little from that pedestal.) I do not dislike Rose but on re-watching the character sometimes becomes grating and I the way Mickey was treated by the Doctor and Rose make me uncomfortable.



    janetteB @janetteb

    OOh. Just re-read my last post and winced at all the typos. That is the danger of posting late at night.



    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Not a huge amount of thought stimulated by  this episode, TBH.  I wasn’t enthusiastic about another Slitheen storyline, to say the least, though they (all credit to Annette Badland, as well as to the writers) did at least make the portrayal a bit more nuanced, even if the sentimentality doesn’t amount to anything resembling morality.  I’d completely forgotten that she is turned into an egg.  How very bizarre…

    Yes the Rose/Mickey denoument is well done.  I’m perhaps less hard on Rose than some of you – and he is all over the place here, albeit explicably so, since he’s come running at her command, only to be made to feel extraneous to events in the new Tardis team, so he veers from proposing a hotel room to inventing a relationship with another girl before facing up to the reality and slipping away into the shadows.  He gets in a few sharp comments though – because he feels excluded he sees them all through a more cynical lens.  He’s so right that Jack is cheesy, for example!

    On to the finale…


    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Not a big favourite of this episode, but it managed a few moments. I wasn’t looking forward to a follow up to the earlier Slitheen storyline- didn’t really think there was much reason for one. And in the end this is really primarily a set-up for Torchwood.

    The positives:

    The scenes alone between the Doctor and the Slitheen are quite strong, although I’ve never really bought into the Doctor as being someone who habitually runs off to leave others to clean up the the mess (though you could find some instances). I’ve tended to think of him mostly trying to have as light a touch as possible in things he perhaps shouldn’t always be interfering in.

    Micky is drawn as a real person, and has something to do in this episode, behaving in a believable way in reaction to Rose basically casting him aside as she goes off without him.

    The negatives:

    The Slitheen monster model still irks me.

    I disliked the resolution with the eye of the Tardis. It’s not something I find very satisfying whenever it’s pulled out of the closet, in part I’ve got to admit because it harks back to the disappointment of the Dr Who movie. Plus it is treated as having God-like powers, making it the literal deus ex machina.

    With Captain Jack on-board, Rose isn’t given much to do in the story except tag along, and as a love interest, much like in the preceding 2-parter, where she was entrusted with running off, getting in trouble, screaming, getting rescued, then acting primarily as love interest.

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