madam pompadour

Do you ever see people whose faces echo another era?

I’ve seen women with the round faces, sparse brows and high foreheads of medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Men with dark brows that meet in the middle, olive skin, strong noses and jaws–Byzantine men, ghosts of Constantine, reanimated faces from the Fayum Mummy Portraits.

Women with soft figures and the large eyes and prim, petaled mouths of the 19th century.

Grizzled men whose brows predicate their gaze, whose wrinkles track into their thick beards and read like topographical maps of hardship and intensity–the wanderer, the poet; Whitman, Tolstoy, Carlyle. 

Faces sculpted into the perfect, deified symmetry of the pharaohs–almond eyes, full lips, self-assurance 3,000 years in the making staring at you at a stoplight.  

Plump, curved white wrists curled over purse handles in the waiting room and you think Versailles, Madame Pompadour, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great. Wide cheek bones, courage and sorrow in the scrunched face of the old man in line behind you and it’s Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh. Reddened skin, thick forearms, hair and beard and brows burned by the cold into a reddish corn silk and you think Odin, the forge and the hammer and skin stinging from the salt of the ocean.

Virginia Woolf’s quiet brand of gaunt frankness surveys you in passing in the parking lot. Queen Victoria’s heavy-lidded stare and beaked nose are firmly, uncannily fixed on a sixth-grade classmate’s face.

Renaissance voluptuousness on the boardwalk by the beach. Boticelli’s caramel androgyny in a youth smoking on a bench outside the mall.

Jazz age looseness spurs the tripping gait of the man who watches you paint with his hands in his pockets, and he smiles a Sammy Davis Jr. smile and tells you that you look familiar, that he’s sure he’s seen you somewhere before, but he doesn’t know where or when.

Can we please ship Mickey Smith and Reinette? Just do yourself a favor for a second and imagine:

  • it’s Mickey’s first trip to outer space in the TARDIS. They find the fireplace, and good old tin-dog Mickey knocks the wrong thing and wheels around into 1700s France
  • he sees this little girl (and Mickey is good with kids), and he hears the clock—and he’s a mechanic, he knows a six-foot sound when he hears one—he is scared out of his mind, but Mickey Smith is not one to leave scared little kids, his grandmother taught him better than that
  • and there’s THE AUTOMATON. Mickey Smith, panicked in trying to protect this kid and not get killed in his first outing, catches the Automaton’s attention and gets it over by the fireplace and hooked to the ledge
  • Frantic, he smacks the thing that got him here and he’s back at the spaceship, automaton in tow, Ten mildly shocked but happy to play with more robots if Mickey will go get them
  • Ten is so distracted by the robot that he doesn’t notice a certain somebody pressing the thing again—Mickey wants to make sure the little French girl is okay—Rose’s “wait!” falls on empty air.
  • and oh shit, Mickey is met by this gorgeous woman, who calls him her imaginary friend and seems to remember him as a hero, an angel, not a scared guy—and oh no, this woman is Madame de Pompadour, isn’t she?!
  • quite a start for your first adventure
  • And when Mickey gets back through the fireplace, Rose and the Doctor have wandered off—of course they have, that’s what they do—so Mickey, looking for them, wanders through another door and into France again, and meets Reinette some more
  • and more automatons, of course; but Mickey’s a mechanic, he knows his way around those; delicate parts snap easily
  • Reinette is a delicate part, and wants to dance
  • Meanwhile, the Doctor and Rose are working it out from the ship—Reinette being 37 is what the droids want; and oh, no, the droids are about to strike.
  • Mickey doesn’t consult them. He has a horse (after all, he’s let Rose keep the Doctor), he has a mirror, he has Reinette—
  • Reinette.
  • Reinette, the only woman who has focused on him, and seen the hero he could be.
  • Reinette, so loyal that she rejoices even if he only shows up every few years.
  • Reinette, who is treated as an object by the droids just as much as he is treated as a tin dog by the rest of his life.
  • Reinette……
  • Mickey Smith jumps through the mirror, riding a horse. He and Reinette drink wine, and count the stars they would like to visit but never will now.
  • One wrong fireplace and Reinette is gone forever. Mickey reads her letter in the TARDIS. The Doctor and Rose leave him alone (alone, again). Mickey decides he will be the hero Reinette saw him as.
  • Next adventure, Mickey defeats thousands of Cybermen.
Whats Wrong with the Girl in the Fireplace in my Opinion

Alright. This episode grinds my bones, and its mostly the doctors fault. I can understand him falling for Reinnette. I can understand him saving her. I can understand him, not knowing that Rose and Micky are in trouble, staying and getting drunk with Reinnette. What infuriates me is that he chooses to save this one woman, who he has only known for a few hours, at the price of two other peoples lives. Not to mention one of those is Rose, the woman he heavily implied he loved. He left them alone on a spaceship, thousands of years after their time, miles and miles and miles away from earth, with no way to get back. They would starve alone, all because Ten wanted to bone Madame Pompadour. He literally DRAGGED THESE PEOPLE ACROSS SPACE AND TIME (granted they were willing) AND VIRTUALLY SENTENCES THEM TO DEATH. Nine did everything in his power to assure Rose’s survival. Ten apparently couldn’t care less. I also despise how weak the women are made out to be, both Reinnette and Rose waiting for a man to rescue them or sweep them off their feet. I love Ten, he is my favorite doctor, but this absolutely enrages me.