Doctor Who: Season 1, Episode 9: The Empty Child  » TV  »
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  • How did Rose not consider this possibility
  • One would think that the creepy child trope has been overdone, but I think they pulled it off here
  • While I know nothing of classic Who, I doubt that the race existed there (mostly because there probably would've been a wiki page for them if they had)

    • by David Finniss


      The episode opens with the TARDIS in pursuit of a mysterious object that’s racing through the time stream. They follow it to Earth and soon learn that they are in 1941 London. The duo splits as Rose goes to help what looks like a frightened child.

      She attempts to climb a rope to reach him, but ends up being whisked away by the blimp that the rope is attached to. How did Rose not consider this possibility? You’d think that she’d, oh I don’t know, look up to see what the rope is attached to. It was a rather big idiot ball that she dropped, but it does allow her to meet Captain Jark Harkness, a charming time traveler who saves Rose via tractor beam.

      He tells her that he knows that she’s not from this particular time period, but seems surprised when Rose surmises the same thing. He did just use a tractor beam to save her, one would think that this is a dead giveaway seeing as we still don’t have those 60 years later, but I digress.

      While Jack knows that Rose is a time traveler, he mistakes her

      for a “time agent” and offers to sell her a Chula warship that he is hiding underground. He points out that in 2 hours, a German air raid will destroy the vessel.

      The Doctor, meanwhile, investigates the nature of the child, who seems to be stalking a woman named Nancy. While he doesn’t learn much, he learns that the boy’s condition is spread through physical contact and that Nancy has been trying to protect other children from its influence.

      These scenes are rather creepy as the boy constantly asks for his mommy in a distorted voice. One would think that the “creepy child” trope has been overdone, but I think they pulled it off here.

      This is another two parter, so the story isn’t resolved, rather it ends on a cliffhanger as the Doctor, Rose, and Jack are being cornered by other “infectees”.

      I do wish my netbook had better speakers as there were several points where it was rather hard to hear the characters talking. I got the gist of the story, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were details that got muddled.

      The special effects were actually pretty ...

      • decent. I think the lowpoint was the wide shots of Rose hovering over London, but even those weren’t that bad. It’s not like they could actually have her hanging 50 feet in the air from a blimp so all in all it was passable.

        The scene where Rose points out that the problems that come with the Doctor’s lack of a name was a bit amusing. For some reason, she had Star Trek on the brain as she constantly refers to Spock, even using that as a pseudonym for the Doctor. This is a clever nod as it not only references Star Trek, but perhaps doubles as a nod to the real life Dr. Spock.

        Despite being referred to on a somewhat regular basis, we see no signs of Chulas. The object that the TARDIS was pursuing did turn out to be the Chula vessel in question, but Jack insists that it has nothing to do with the outbreak. While I know nothing of “classic” Who, I doubt that the race existed there (mostly because there probably would’ve been a wiki page for them if they had).

        It is a bit odd how casually unseen races are referred to, but I suppose that’s the nature of the show and the Doctor’s lifestyle.

        With most of the episode being plot set up, and the two main characters being separated, there wasn’t much room for character moments, but we did get a few. We learn that the Doctor is somewhat fond of cats and that he seems to get along well with kids.

        One would think that after their prevalence in the last episode that the ominous villain POV shots would feel redundant, but they work surprisingly well.

        It’s not a bad episode, but there wasn’t much that stood out for me. It was a little creepy, but they’ve done creepier; there were some comedic bits, but again it’s been funnier. I don’t feel my time was wasted, and I do look forward to seeing how this resolves itself, but I wouldn’t call this a landmark episode.

        It’s hard to believe that I’m almost done with the first season already, it feels like I only got started not too long ago. We’ll have to see how things pan out in the remaining few episodes.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in July, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1011071506960531/k2311a0711/7.11.11
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