Doctor Who Reactions: "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" (SPOILERS)

1)Our Steven shows his gist for creepy stories with this one. Lots of good scary moments in this one - I especially liked the bit with the TARDIS phone ringing. I like the moments where even the Doctor seems a little bit weirded out. The transformatio scene was very unnerving, too. I do recall some wit somewhere suggesting that if they really wanted to scare the Doctor, they should have him being chased by a little kid saying, "Are you my daddy?"


2)And we get the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness, whom our Russell said was named after Agatha Harkness, in case you didn't know that he was a nerd boy. Can't say as I was all that wild about Captain Jack when I first saw him - he seemed too much of a glib pretty boy for my tastes. I'm still not a big fan of his even now, but he's grown on me a bit.  I note that the series never made much of the concept of the Time Agents after this - maybe it was developed more in Torchwood?  "Two years of my life - no idea what I did."  Did Torchwood ever develop that? I note that Jack has psychic paper, too, so I guess there's a psychic stationery store somewhere.


3)Some fun Eccleston moments in this - I like the low-key "Alpha male posturing" between him and Jack, as well as the explanation for the sonic screwdriver: "Never had alot of cabinets to put up?" And some good scenes between the Doctor and Rose: "I think you can assume at some point I've danced." And I liked the Doctor's joy at the end, "Everybody lives!"


4)Some good guest performances here, too, particularly form the actors playing Doctor Constantine and Nancy.


5)Cliffhanger: Team TARDIS are surrounded by gas-mask Zombies!  Which the Doctor resolves by saying "Go to your room!"  Well, that's new. As he said: "I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words."


6)Some Fun Quotes:

  • "Not very Spock, is it?"
  • "I'm not sure if it's Marxism in action or a West End musical."
  • "Before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now, I'm neither. ButI'm still a Doctor." "Yeah, I know the feeling."
  • "Flag Girl was bad enough - but U-Boat Captain?"
  • "Funny little human brains. How do you get around in those things?"
  • "Don't drop the banana!" "Why not?" "Good source of potassium."
  • "I've got a banana, and in a pinch, you could put up some shelves."
  • "I've traveled with alot of people, but you're setting new records for jeopardy-friendly."  Apparently, Rose didn't pay much attention to this statement, or maybe she wouldn't've been so surprised when Sarah Jane showed up.
  • "I think you're experiencing captain-envy."
  • "Yes, I am your mummy."
  • "Who am I to argue with history?"  "Usually the first in line."


Overall: A nice little two-parter, very atmospheric and creepy, and with some nice acting in as well.

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This two-parter is very likely our favorite story from season one, Tracy’s and mine. I would consider these, along with “Tooth & Claw,” to be “zero episodes” for Torchwood. If I were trying to interest someone in Torchwood, I would show him “Tooth and Claw,” “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” in that order. I wouldn’t explain the deal with the different Doctors; I would leave it a little mystery to be discovered (or not) on his own.

I don’t recall the Time Agents being further developed to any great degree on Torchwood, and I was waiting for that to happen. We’ve watched the series only once, though, so I’m open to correction if I’ve forgotten something.

Wasn't Spike an old Time Agent?

Now that you mention it, yes, I think he might have been. Still, that story didn't do all that much (IIRC) to develop the concept of the Time Agents "to any great degree." What I mean is, we now know that Capt. Jack had a partner, but we still don't know any details about the Time Agent "agency", its charter, the story of Jack's missing year, or anything like that. That's what I kept waiting for: the story of Jack's missing year.

I remember at the time thinking the "Time Agents" seemed like an idea inspired by that rather maddening run of FANTASTIC FOUR by Walt Simonson.

It did seem a bit interesting that someone OTHER than The Time Lords' C.I.A. should be poking their noses in other people's business that way.

See, I think there's story potential to be mined there. Perhaps the Time Agents stepped in to fill the gap after the Timelords and the Time War become "time-locked." I doubt the "Celestial Intervention Agency" would have suffered another such agency lightly. Ooh, what if the C.I.A. elisted non-Gallifreyans as its agents? Perhaps the Time Agents worked under the auspices of the C.I.A.

According to Bob’s own history of The Doctor as cobbled together from various references throughout the shows history: “A certain faction of the Time Lords felt that total nonintervention was unwise and founded the covert organization known as the Celestial Intervention Agency, or CIA. The very existence of this organization was known only to a select few Time Lords.” If the CIA was a covert agency, it makes sense that they might employ off-world agents.

Of course that's pure speculation on my part.

Here's some other info on Time Agents

Interesting stuff, Bill - I'd forgotten the "Time Agent" reference in "Talons of Weng-Chiang".

For all of Jon Pertwee's run, and the early part of Tom Baker's run, it was a big vague as to exactly who was "using" The Doctor to go on covert missions (both during and after his exile). One could see his anger at the hypocrisy of the Time Lords putting him on trial for interfering with other planets and cultures, and then, forcing him to do JUST THAT, but under their control.

The C.I.A. was first mentioned in "THE DEADLY ASSASSIN" (was it the ONLY mention in the show's history??), during the conversation (I think) between Chancelor Goth (Bernard Horsfall) and Castellan Spandrell (George Pravda-- one of my favorite one-time characters in the show's entire history). Spandrell was reading the official records of The Doctor's history, and his trouble with "the law", as well as how his sentence had been ended and why. I believe Goth mentioned the C.I.A. with a tone of contempt.

What's funny is, Bernard Horsfall was one of the actors who played a member of The Tribunal who put The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) on trial at the end of "THE WAR GAMES". No way to know if he was supposed to be the SAME character or not, but it would add an extra level to the whole thing, wouldn't it?

Of course, while it can't be taken as "official", in the DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE comic-strip story, "The Tides Of Time" (the last one with art by Dave Gibbons, a real masterpiece), we learned that the C.I.A. consisted of DEAD Time Lords operating inside The Matrix-- and the head of the organization was Rassilon himself.  I always thought that was such a cool idea, I always sort of hoped they'd have mentioned it on the show.

"I'd forgotten the "Time Agent" reference in "Talons of Weng-Chiang"."

Oh yeah... you know, if you watch "TALONS" shortly after "DEADLY ASSASSIN", for a chunk of the later story, one might easily be led to believe that the villain of the story was actually The Master, after he escaped from almost causing the destruction of Gallifrey and its entire star system. Finding out it WASN'T always seems like a "twist" to me. (Funny thing, the way Tom Baker talks about "having been there" brings to mind Christopher Eccleston's multiple references to earlier events we didn't get to see, either.)

it stikes me that this story isn't actually the first appearance of captain Jack Harkness (although we didn't know it at the time).


The once and future "FACE OF of the BOEshane Peninsula," I mean.

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