Back in my Feast of Steven review I said that Doctor Who had never really done a a Christmas Story, the only exception at the time was the Unquiet Dead & as stated before that is not considered a Christmas episode as it was not released on Christmas at the time of its release. With the first series of the Revived Doctor Who a success & with the dispatcher of Christopher Eccleston there was a lot of pressure to make this Special work.
Series one had brought the Doctor back so it was up to The Christmas Invasion to make sure that he wouldn't go anywhere, for this to work audience had to believe that David Tennant was the Doctor. To say that there was a lot of pressure on this episode would be a understatement, this had to be done right & seeing that the last two post regeneration story was the Twin Dilemma, often considered one of the worst Doctor Who episodes of all time. And Time and the Rani, which had the Doctor Regenerate after hitting his head, (yes really), this post regeneration didn't have to be good, it had to be AMAZING or it could be another 16 years before the Doctor returned. Luckily Russell T Davies & James Hawes where more than up for the task & The Christmas Invasion became the seconded highest-rated episode of the Tenth Doctor's run until the release of Voyage of the Damned.
The episode begins with the TARDIS crashing behind Rose's apartment, where Jackie, Rose's mom played by Camille Coduri, & Rose's boyfriend Mickey played by Casey Dyer, rush out to meet them only to be surprised by the Doctor's new appearance. Keep in mind that none of these people really know anything about the Doctor, which includes Rose, so they have no idea who this man is. However, the Doctor is there to put everyone's mind at ease, by acting like a crazy person before he shouts Marry Christmas & passes out.
With the Doctor out of commission Rose & the others decided to get the Doctor to bed at Jackie's flat until they know what to do. Well as you can imagine nearly getting killed, turning into a God like being & seeing someone you care about disappear & be replaced by a complete stranger takes its tool & so Rose decides to Christmas shopping to clear her head.
During all this Prime Minister Harriet Jones played by Penelope Wilton, gives a press conference about the Guinevere One space probe, which is about to land on Mars. Harriet Jones first appeared in the two parter Aliens of London & World War 3 where she helped The Doctor & Rose stop a bunch of aliens from destroying Earth & who the Doctor revealed would go on to become Prime Minister & lead England in a Gold Age, Remember that point it will be important later. As the probe approaches Mars it is swallowed a Spaceship which looks almost island-like, that's one thing I love about Doctor Who they really get creative with their space ships & aliens, some series try to make a space station look like a planet while others go for the most futuristic, Doctor Who can take a potato & still make it as awesome as the other Sci-Fi ships I mentions.
Back with Rose & Mickey we meet up with them as they finish their Christmas shopping the two discuses the Doctor & what is happening to him but more importantly they talk about their relationship & while that may seem a bit ridicules please keep in mind that Rose said that no one but the Doctor mattered to her while she was talking to Mickey, so the guys allowed to inquire about their relationship & while Rose is worried about the Doctor she does promise to stop talking about the Doctor for a little bit. Naturally right after making that promise a group masked Santas armed with lethal musical instruments begin attack Rose & Mickey & Rose assumes, correctly, that they are attacking them because they are after the Doctor.
While I would normally praise this show for giving us Killer Santa robots all I'm really thinking right now is how bad I feel for Mickey. He finally has a chance to spend time with his girlfriend, who spends most of her time going off with a extraordinary man & when he is finally able to get her to stop talking about him he is attacked by Santa Claus' & needs to go & save the man who effectively stealing said girlfriend. I honestly wonder if making Mickey a kick ass rebel fighter in the following Series was Davies was because of how he was treated in the first two series.
Rose & Mickey make it back to Jackie's flat so they can find some place safe to hide. However, Rose soon takes notice of the new Christmas, one that Jackie says that she thought Rose got her which Rose then says that she didn't. Soon after that tree comes to life & turns into a killer Christmas tree cyclone of death while it plays Jiggle Bells & yes it's just as awesome as it sounds.
As the killer Christmas Tree tears though Jackie's apartment, destroying everything in its path, the three retreat into the bedroom but the tree follows them. Luckily Rose is able to wake the Doctor up &, using his trusty Sonic Screwdriver, is able to easily destroy the Christmas Tree. The Doctor manages to quickly figure out that the tree was being remotely controlled by the Santabots & again using his Screwdriver manages to get them to level. However, it seems that all this has taken its toll on the Doctor as he soon collapses in pain, telling Rose that she woke him up to soon & that he is still regenerating & begins to pass out, but not before warning the others that the energy from his regeneration is what drew them to him & that the Santabots are being controlled by someone else & whoever they are, they are coming. The Doctor again loses consciousness again.
Soon after this Earth gets a single from the prop & a distinctly alien face, which is soon broadcast all over the world. Going all General Zod on us the Aliens speak in their own native language but Rose can't understand them. Normally the TARDIS will automatically translate via a psychic link but it seems that with the Doctor out of commission that the link is broken. Not really sure how that works seeing that the last few times the Doctor has been knocked out in the classic series it didn't affect the psychic link but maybe this is more to do with Rose gained the power from the Time Vortex it caused a few minor malfunctions, with the Translation systems being one of them.
Over at UNIT, a organization that is one of the Doctor's greatest allies, use their own translation systems to figure out what the aliens are saying. Jones then asks the UNIT head if he can get in-contact with Torchwood & if he can to have them be ready. Torchwood is a running subplot throughout the second series but has little to do with this episode so I will live them to the side for now. UNIT is soon able to translate what the Aliens, who call themselves the Sycorax, & that they are here to, you guessed it, take over the world, (Cue M. Bison's Of Course). Jones then tells the Sycrorax to take their demands & stuff it where sun doesn't shine, however, the Sycrorax then take over the minds of ever human with A+ blood, some was on the prop because why the hell not, & has them all go to the edge of every building & the Sycrorax tells Jones that if the humans do not fall in line they will have all these people jump to their deaths.
Out of option Jones activates a worldwide broadcast & asks for the Doctor to help. That will be awhile seeing that the Doctor is still unconsciousness & still recovering from his regeneration. You may have noticed that the Doctor has really only appeared in two scenes & it will still be a while before he see him in full action.
One of the most common criticism of The Dark Knight Rises was that Batman only every appeared three times during the film & that made the film feel less like a Batman film. However, I don't think its a case of Batman only appearing three times I think it has more to due with that fact that in The Dark Knight Rises Batman just sucked at his job. When Batman made his first appearance on screen he failed to foil the crime, lead the cops away from Bane & really only managed to succeeded at escaping from the cops & saving the woman who robbed him, who then proceeded to easily escape from him.
In contrast, when the Doctor was brought into the action he easily stopped both the killer Christmas Tree, got the Santabots to retreat & warned the others that the Sycrorax were coming. The episode is really about building up to the Tenth Doctor's first real appearance & assuring the Audience that he is more than worthy of living up to the name Doctor. And it is done perfectly, giving everything we need to know while living us wanting more.
Will as if this day wasn't bad enough the Sycrorax ship arrives & whatever you say about the Sycrorax they really do know how to make a entrance. Jones continues to try & solve the problems with what little resource she has, given that several staff members are currently on roof tops along with several civilians & the royal family. With still no sign of the Doctor Jones asks if Torchwood has what they need & if its ready, again will get back to that later.
The Sycrorax then contact UNIT & ask for the leader of the Earth to stand forward, to which Jones steps forward to represent the Earth. The Sycrorax then teleport Jones her aide Alex Klein, played by Adam Garcia, Daniel Llewellyn, played by Daniel Evans & UNIT Officer Black, played by Che Omambala on to their ship. The Sycrorax threaten to kill the humans that are under their control but Llewellyn, who was the head of the operation that sent the prop that gave the Sycrorax this control, attempts to negotiate with the leader of the Sycrorax. One of the things that I really do like in this episode is that no one is acting stupid everything these people do makes sense & Llewellyn attempts to negotiate keeps with that level of actually thinking. Unfortunately the Sycrorax don't care for the idea of peace & kill Llewellyn on the spot, much to Jones & the others horror.
Meanwhile Rose & the others get the Doctor & take refuge in the TARDIS but Jackie keeps going back to get more supplies, much to Rose's annoyance, & in order to figure out what is going on Rose attempts to tune on the Scanner. However, because it is now switched on the Sycrorax detect it & teleport it to their ship, but leaves Jackie behind as she was outside the TARDIS when this happened.
Not knowing they are on the ship Rose leaves to see what is taking her mother so long only to be greeted by the not so little & not so green men. Hearing her scream Mickey goes out to check on her & in the process drops a flask of tea, which spills and starts dripping through the grilles at the base of the console next to the Doctor.
Rose attempts to scare the Sycorax by talking about the various races she has encountered on her travels with the Doctor, commanding them to leave & this goes as about as well as you might think as the Sycorax begin laughing. The Sycorax leader taunts her attempts to pass off second-hand knowledge as authority, but as he gloats, he begins to speaking English even though he says that he is only speaking Sycorax. Rose realizes that the TARDIS translation system is is working again & that can mean only one thing: the Doctor is awake. Right on cue, the doors to the TARDIS open and the Doctor stands there, smiling as he says, "Did you miss me?" Admit it, that is pretty awesome.
The Sycorax tries to kill the Doctor but he easily turns off the Energy wipe that killed Llewellyn earlier & the Doctor quickly shows just how pathetic the Sycorax really are. He reviles that the mind control can only make the people it controls walk up to the ledge but it cannot force them to, the survival instinct is just to strong so when the Doctor activates it all the people who are standing on the edge of the buildings snap out of the trans & move away from the edge. The Leader attempts to say that his species can still take the Earth by force, you would figure that after getting outsmarted by a man in his pajamas that he would take the hint & just leave Earth while the going is good.
But no he just has to try & prove that the Sycorax will rule the Earth, forgetting that the Earth out numbers them & have far more fire power. But the Doctor won't be having any of this & makes his point clear, the Earth is under his protection & the humans of this planet are to be left alone & when the Leader refuses to leave peacefully the Doctor challenges the Leader to single combat for the Earth to which the Leader accepts.
The two have a swordfight that goes from inside the ship to its outside. During the fight the Leader cuts off the Doctor's hand. However, the Doctor with still 15 hours left in his regeneration cycle, and regrows his hand. He gains the upper hand, no pun intended & wins the dual. Holding the leader at sword point at the ship's edge, the Doctor tells the leader to leave Earth & never return. As the Doctor walks back, celebrating his victory with Rose, the leader tries one final attack while the Doctor's back is turned. The Doctor calmly bounces a Satsuma he finds in his dressing gown off a control button, opening a section of the ship's wing beneath the leader, sending the alien plunging to his death. The new Doctor is not willing to grant second chances.
Overall this Special has been really awesome & really stands out as a great story, until this point that is. After being teleported back to London As the Sycorax leave the Doctor Jones asks if there are more aliens out there. The Doctor notes that there are thousands; the human race is being noticed more and more. As Jones ponders this, visibly troubled & Alex receives a telephone call and quietly informs Jones that Torchwood is ready. While Jones is reluctant, she gives to open fire. Soon after that the Sycorax ship is shot out of the sky as it heads into space.
The Doctor glares at Jones but she points out that the Doctor cannot always be there to protect them & they need to protect themselves. While I do think that Jones was wrong to kill a enemy that was retreating I also think that the Doctor's reaction was very out of character. Please remember this is someone that he fought beside someone that was doing her best to save the Earth while he wasn't around & if it was just for shear luck several innocent people could have been killed.
Also while this is a horrible act please keep in mind that the Brigadier, one of the Doctor's closest allies, has done worst. In the serial The Silurian the Brigadier, under orders from UNIT control, killed what was believed to be the last of a sentient species that where in fact originally from Earth the Silurians. The Brigadier had helped wiped out a species that WAS open to negotiation because he was told to & what did the Doctor do about this. Nothing, he never even mentions it after that episode.
The thing that annoys me is that both the Doctor & Jones have very good point but the episode is just taking the Doctor's side in this & has Jones say a line that is beyond out of character for her to say, & after this the Doctor ruins Jones life & via a six words he said to her aide & ruins her life. Please remember that The Doctor stated that Jones is the one that would lead England into a new golden age. So the Doctor has just really screwed over Earths history & because of this makes it easier for the Master to take over later.
And the Doctor is NEVER called out on this, oh sure Jones will give her life to save the Earth but he never says that he may have been wrong to do & should have tried to find another way. I like this episode, I love this episode, but that bit is just stupid & I always skip over it whenever I come to it.
Well ignoring that REALLY stupid scene the ending of the episode is really great, with the Doctor trying out a dozen new cloths before stilling on his new one that he will wear for the remainder of his run. His has Christmas dinner with Rose, Jackie & Mickey as the Doctor Who’s first real Christmas Special closes out on a high note.
Like I said before, this is a really awesome Christmas Special, it had great action, great character moments & was a fantastic way to get introduces to the Tenth Doctor. Really my only problem is the scene with Jones, that really ruins the moment for me but so long as you skip over that its still a great episode & I Strongly recommend it if you haven't seen it already.
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