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The Idiot's Lantern

It is such a good thing I troll LJ for episode reviews whenever I go to start writing mine, because look what I've got for you!  A piece of required reading to bridge the emotional gap between the tears of "Age of Steel" and the bright-n-shiny happiness of this episode: Three Days

Rose spends three days wandering the flat in a daze, eating ice cream straight from the container, and lying on her bed staring up at the ceiling.  . . .   She wonders if Mum’s lonely, living life alone in this flat. And now she doesn’t even have Mickey.   The Doctor’s taken that away from her, too.

Plus this little snippet I want to pull out for commentary -
“We had fun, didn’t we?” he says, tilting his head back slightly to look at her. “Just you and me.”
He doesn’t have to add what she’s thinking. Before Sarah Jane. Reinette. Mickey. It’s felt different with the Doctor, this last little while.
(which, wow, I hadn't quite connected all the dots in my head...but no wonder The Season of Magic feels like it flies by so quickly.  We've had other people mucking up the magic for four episodes straight) 

And now that you've read that story, you can read my meta ramblings on
2x7, "The Idiot's Lantern"
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Oh, the 1950s!  I AM fond of the 50s.  Wasn't sure how similar England's 50s were to America's, but according to this episode there was still repression and patriarchal dominance complemented by meek and submissive housewives, so - yep!  That's the decade I know and love.  I mean, um, the birth of television!  That's what I love about the decade.  It brought me the shiny little box that now gives me reason to live makes my life so much nicer, and this site possible, and apparently thanks to a mysterious alien Doctor, does not suck my face off when I try to watch it.  (Sucks the innards out of my tapes, DON'T YOU, DAGWOOD, but leaves my face alone.)

OK, um, forget what I said about having seen all the highlights, because apparently I was only aware of Rose's cute clothing, the scooter, and the hug.  Meanwhile, here's a list of things to love about the Doctor & Rose's first scene alone (and a few things not to):

+ "...and the, rrr, chest hair."  "You ARE kidding, aren't you?" I have no idea why this amuses me as much as it does.
+ Rose twirling about in floofy pink skirt with heels to match, hair in a style I can't decide if I like or not, but being twenty types of adorable anyway
- Doctor's hair slicked up full of grease...um, how 'bout no.  Bad look.  Such a bad look.
+ Doctor beaming in delight about her having picked up "the lingo"
- The exchange of said lingo.  *shudders* Oh, they both sounded so stupid, I couldn't decide which was more painful to hear.  (oh-ho, I thought Rose's voice sounded especially weird, but I couldn't figure out why.  Apparently it was supposed to be an American accent.  Er, yes.  Right.)
+ Doctor grumbling good-naturedly about Jackie
+ His increasingly pathetic attempt to defend their current location as being New York.  Very cute.  Question: does he ever land when/where he means to, aside from trips back to the Powell Estates?
+ + Motorcycle/scooter/etc riding!  Whatever it is, it involves arms around the waist and extended periods of close contact, so I'm exceedingly happy.  Even if I will never be able to watch them take off without hearing "We're burning down the highway skyline" sing through my head.  (Occupational hazard of getting your introduction to certain scenes by way of music video.)
+ This is weird, but I really cannot get over how their lips (and teeth, and skin tones) are identical shades right here.  Seriously, I'm not sure I could tell their mouths apart.  I was not focusing on their mouths for any particular reason, no sirree
---
"Hiiii!" cracked me up.  I don't think the Doctor and Rose have ever managed to look quite so much like a couple as they do standing on that doorstep like they're ready to attend a housewarming party.  And they weren't even trying.  Loved the Doctor putting the bullying father in his place by talking him in circles until he was too confused to argue, was less fond of Rose getting her own rather gratuitous jabs in, but was duly placated a minute later by she and the Doctor's strained conversation behind smiles ("Union flag?" "Mum went out with a sailor." "Hoo-hoo, I bet she did!")

Punching! Nobody told me there would be punching.  *glees* Did NOT see that coming.  It's even better when said punch knocks the Doctor out, even if only for a few seconds, and I get Rose's panic face and dropping to the floor beside him. 

Other than that...wow, I think this just might be the scariest we've seen Ten yet.  I may have jumped in my seat when he shouted down Eddie, and that was just the tip of the iceberg compared to the wrath he's ready to unleash after seeing Rose, blank and faceless after having been discarded on the street.  That scene was brilliant.

I was vaguely aware of it before.  I'd seen macros of her featureless face, and I'd read a passing reference somewhere to how the Doctor's fury doesn't really unleash itself until Rose is hurt or threatened, which cited this episode, but that didn't prepare me for the emotional brilliance of it all.  The slow dread, recognizing her outfit and knowing how very, very unlikely the odds are of it belonging to some other girl wandering around this area.  Everything conveyed with just one breath of "Rose."  The look of horror as he approaches, she standing unnaturally still and he carefully not touching her even while his eyes rove wild, as if somewhere he might find some vestige of her left to respond to him.  (oh, damn it, I told myself I would not turn into Jacob in describing this, AND THEN I COMPLETELY DID).  Very, very nice job of having the sound of the other man's voice fade into the background at this point, too.

"In the street.  They took her face and just chucked her out and left her in the street."  *shivers* The quivering, barely checked rage in his oh-so-dangerously-quiet voice is a  beautiful thing to behold.  Especially when juxtaposed a second later with quite unchecked shouting. 

One such scene would have been plenty.  Two was just double the squee - in the shop, his eyes searching the row of scared, pleading faces on television sets until he finds Rose, endlessly repeating "Doctor."  Excuse me while I melt into a puddle of goo at the soft tenderness of "I'm on my way."  A puddle of goo that springs upright with glee as he abruptly whirls and starts roaring for an explanation from whichever random alien is responsible.

And finally...HUG!  Oh God, it really doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, it is still the most beautiful thing ever...and it's even better now that I know exactly what they just went though.  I love that they both speed up as they move toward each other, until they collide in a beautiful whirl of a tight hug, both of them grinning to beat the band, and -- !!!!  Perfection.

If I had one complaint about this episode, it was the lack of dancing.  There CLEARLY should have been some fun dancing in the street at episode's end, and instead I get juice glass clinking.  Come on!  I know I said I hated this type of scene, and I do, but I make an exception for the lighthearted swing type.  All I wanted was to see him twirl her around a few times.  Put the floofy skirt to good use, you know?

And finally, I have very little opinion about the family and/or overall plot, but I do want to say that Tommy is my favorite guest star since Sarah Jane.  Can he be a full-time companion at some point?  Kid was adorable.  And very clever.  Could have done with fewer of his impassioned speeches and/or that silly bit with his father at the end (Rose, there's "idiot" and then there's "abusive asshole"), but still.  Well, at least he got a scooter.  Speaking of, I have decided that the Doctor needs a lot more scenes with children under 15, because where Nine always looked uncomfortable with them, Ten gets along with them spectacularly.  That, or David Tennant's next movie should involve him being a single dad.  I'm really not fussy.

Up Next: I've never downed more than 3 in a week before, and while I'd really like to collect a fourth episode before I go to bed, I also know that I am incapable of splitting up 2-parters, and I don't really want to get myself bogged down in the emotional overload of Impossible Planet/Satan Pit right now, so that might get pushed off for a little while.  I'm really looking forward to it, though.  And, uh, maybe I should take this time to convince myself that there will not in fact be a scene of the Doctor & Rose sharing a bedroom at any point.

Little-known and possibly sick fact: From sitting down at my computer to watch the episode for the first time to hitting "post" on this entry, total elapsed time was almost four hours.  And that is completely average.  Maybe even quick, since I usually take long breaks while writing the review and/or let the episode(s) percolate in my brain for a day or 3 before I start transforming my shorthand notes into paragraphs. 

But, you know, it's the height of fun for me.  And no, before you have a heart attack, my other show reviews generally do not take anywhere near that long. 

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