ep: army of ghosts

so i started watching army of ghosts and doomsday because of yvonne and i am kind of prepared for all the ten and rose feels

but

I JUST REMEMBERED (AGAIN) THAT IANTO IS THERE SOMEWHERE AS WELL AND THAT THIS IS THE DAY WHERE HIS LIFE GOES TO SHIT i wasn‘t prepared for those feels and i should have been fuck

8

Bad Wolf Meme: (¼) Favorite Quotes

Planet Earth. This is where I was born. And this is where I died. For the first nineteen years of my life nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not ever. And then I met a man called The Doctor. A man who could change his face. And he took me away from home in his magical machine. He showed me the whole of time and space. I thought it would never end. That’s what I thought. But then came the Army of Ghosts, then came Torchwood and the war. And that’s when it all ended.”

Army of Ghosts

Series: 2

Episode: 12

Writer: Russell T. Davies

Director: Graeme Harper

Plot Summary: When the Doctor and Rose return to the Powell Estate, they soon find out that ‘ghosts’ are appearing all over the world. They (including Jackie) soon get involved with the Torchwood team in trying to figure out what the ‘ghosts’ are, and what is in the strange void ship that arrived before them.

Review: I absolutely love the opening to this episode, it’s one of my favourites in Doctor Who (and TV shows in general); Rose’s voiceover gives us insight into her life and instantly sets morbid expectations for the finale with her ominous words, “This is the story of how I died.” I like that we see things from Rose’s perspective for the first part rather than focusing too much on the Doctor; this also shows in how the episode starts with her returning home to Jackie. 

We also get to see more of Rose’s autonomy, and how she has become more like the Doctor since travelling with him. Jackie watches Rose in the TARDIS at the start and realises how far gone Rose is; she says “you even look like him” and verbalises her concerns about Rose changing so much that she’s unrecognisable as herself. This is a disturbing concept, and is also sadly ironic since Rose won’t be travelling with the Doctor long enough for that to happen. Rose’s capabilities are further explored when she is left on the TARDIS by herself in the Torchwood facility, as she manages to escape from it unseen, steals a lab coat to wear as an undercover Torchwood employee, and figures out that she can use the Doctor’s psychic paper to find her way around too. Unfortunately the psychic paper fails because all Torchwood staff have a basic level of psychic training so Dr Rajesh isn’t fooled, but it was still a good idea.

Speaking of Torchwood, we finally get to meet them in this episode after the build-up of references to it throughout the series. I think Torchwood is so interesting because it’s such a morally ambiguous organisation – they claim to defend Earth from alien threats yet they take a completely different approach to the Doctor by using weapons, which sets up the conflict between them. This opposition is introduced immediately, as Yvonne makes reference to shooting down a spaceship simply because it was in their air space, and mentions that they built the weapon that destroyed the Sycorax ship, which the Doctor was furious about in ‘The Christmas Invasion’. However, Yvonne does say “I think it’s very important to know everyone by name”, and the Doctor clearly agrees; despite this, Yvonne doesn’t even notice that three of her employees have been upgraded by the Cybermen, which shows how little regard she has for them.

Torchwood also seem to be rather conservative (politically as well as the traditional definition of the word) in their views, as they “refuse to go metric” and have a weird focus on British independence. They claim anything that falls into their hands – “If it’s alien, it’s ours” – and seem to like having power over everything, as they control the ‘ghost shifts’ and also attempt to command the Doctor by calling him their “prisoner”. I love how the Doctor brings down their illusion of control over the ‘ghosts’ by explaining the reality of the situation, and also uses reverse psychology to manipulate Yvonne into stopping the nest ‘ghost shift’. Torchwood has a great deal of money too, which could suggest they are corrupt.

To balance out the seriousness of Torchwood, Jackie provided comic relief. I think bringing Jackie aboard the TARDIS was a genius idea, and it brought lots of hilarity to the episode. She fulfilled the typical maternal role of worrying about her daughter and being relieved to have her back as well as embarrassing the Doctor by hugging and kissing him. There are some absolute golden moments involving Jackie in this episode; here are my favourite examples:

-   “If we end up on Mars, I’m gonna kill you!”

-   “I could do with that to carry the shopping.” (about the Magnaclamp)

-   “I think he makes half of it up.” (about the Doctor’s travels)

-    Doctor: “And just last week, she stared into the heart of the Time Vortex and aged fifty seven years. But she’ll do.”

     Jackie: “I’m forty!”

     Doctor: “Deluded. Bless. I’ll have to trade her in. Do you need anyone? She’s very good at tea. Well, I say very good, I mean not bad. Well, I say not bad. Anyway, lead on. Allons y. But not too fast. Her ankle’s going.”

     Jackie: “I’ll show you where my ankle’s going!”

Jackie and the Doctor make a wonderful comedy duo; however, their disagreements sometimes involve quite emotional issues, for example, Jackie’s naivety regarding the ‘ghosts’ clashing with the Doctor’s scientific viewpoint. Jackie really believes the ‘ghosts’ are dead loved ones and latches onto that hope, thinking it’s a positive thing (“don’t you think it’s beautiful?”), whereas the Doctor sees it as dangerous and dismisses her faith (he replies, “I think it’s horrific”). 

I find it interesting how attention is drawn to the Doctor’s reductionist attitude in this episode, since he is usually fairly open-minded, especially when actually witnessing things he believes are impossible. When he interferes with the ‘ghost shift’ by trapping one of the ‘ghosts’, he’s practically torturing it and takes delight in that, which stood out as odd for me as it contradicts his usual opposition to violence. Despite this, there are many moments when his moral views are upheld, such as when he says, “they can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine”, and also reprimands Torchwood for being so trigger happy. It’s amusing how Yvonne chastises the Doctor by claiming he is “assuming alien authority over the rights of man”; admittedly, the Doctor is a commanding figure, but he does it for the good of the people rather than to assert his superiority, which is more than can be said for Torchwood.

As previously mentioned, the Doctor’s interactions with Jackie are comedic, though he can be really quite rude to her, and he doesn’t even realise Jackie was still in the TARDIS when he sets off, which shows how his focus is on Rose and their adventures and that he doesn’t have much regard for her family. There are still many other moments concerning the Doctor that are hilarious, such as him wearing the old 3D glasses, obsessing over the newfound phrase “Allons-y”, and accidentally taking a wrong turn when he leaves the void ship room at Torchwood.

The Cybermen are the main antagonists of this episode (as the Daleks are mainly involved in ‘Doomsday’ alongside them), and I think I find them creepier in this episode than in ‘Rise of the Cybermen’ and ‘Age of Steel’. The fact that they appear as ‘ghosts’ seems manipulative, because people then think they’re dead loved ones and don’t panic when they arrive. Despite this, the TV programmes with the ghosts incorporated into them at the start was brilliantly funny, especially the ‘Eastenders’ clip! It’s also very creepy when Adeloa, Gareth, and Matt are gradually taken away one by one to be upgraded and then override the system and allow all the armies of Cybermen to come through from the parallel universe at the end. 

Shortly after the Cybermen start their killing spree, the void ship opens. Chaos ensues as we see scenes of Cybermen attacks across the world and Daleks emerge in their full glory from the orb with a cacophony of “Exterminate”s. It’s the perfect way to end a Doctor Who episode, and keeps the viewers hooked for the finale.

Quote: “Please, when Torchwood comes to write my complete history, don’t tell people I travelled through time and space with her mother.” - The Doctor