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Doctor Who - The Girl in the Fireplace

episode 2.5

UK 2006
produced by
Phil Collinson, Russell T. Davies (executive), Julie Gardner (executive) for BBC Wales/BBC
directed by Euros Lyn
starring David Tennant, Billie Piper, Noel Clarke, Sophia Myles, Ben Turner, Jessica Atkins, Angel Coulby, Gareth Wyn Griffiths, Paul Kasey, Ellen Thomas, Jonathan Hart (voice), Emily Joyce (voice)
written by Steven Moffat, music by Murray Gold

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (David Tennant), Doctor Who (new series), Rose Tyler

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In his time-and-space machine the TARDIS, Doctor Who (David Tennant) takes Rose (Billie Piper) and her boyfriend Mickey (Noel Clarke) to a spaceship in the 51st century - only to find it devoid of any crew (living crew that is) ... but what's even more interesting is that they also find an 18th century mantlepiece on the spaceship, with actually a fire burning. And as if that wasn't surprising enough, the mantlepiece actually connects the 51st century spaceship to 18th century France, to the bedroom of little Reinette (Jessica Atkins). The Doctor walks through the time portal, and it dopesn't takelong before he saves the girl from a clockwork robot. Back on the spaceship, the Doctor makes some startling discoveries:

First off, the spaceship seems to be connected to 18th century France via several time portals, and all seem to be connected to different periods in Reinette's life - Reinette, who will, once grown up become Madame de Pompadour (and be played by Sophia Myles), lover ofm French King Louis XV (Ben Turner), and it seems the clockwork robots are for some reason after her, but insist that she's not yet complete ...

Secondly though, and even more startingly, the Doctor also learns that the clockwork robots are the spaceship's repair robots, who have, once they have run out of spareparts, salvaged the human crew to keep the ship going, and now for some reason they need Reinette's/Madame de Popmadour's brain aged 37 to finish repairs of the ship.

The Doctor goes back in history once more to warn Reinette, but the two before long fall in love ... while back on the spaceship, Rose and Mickey are captured and almost killed by the clockwork robots, and the Doctor can save them only in the nick of time, and oddly enough he brings a horse with him.

Finally, Reinette is 37, and the clockwork robots attack. The Doctor sees it all through a two-way-mirror, which he ultimately has to smash using the horse - but by smashing the mirror he destroys the link between 18th century France and the 51st century ... and thus traps the robots outside of their timeframe, and since they can't bring Reinette back to the ship, the Doctor also makes their mission obsolete. Before long, the robots seize to functiion - but the Doctor, it seems is trapped as well - until Reinette shows him her old fireplace that should theoretically still function as a time portal.

The Doctor is enthusiastic and offers Reinette to take her with him (since Rose can bring her boyfriend, why shouldn't he bring his girlfriend), but then he leaves her alone in her time for a few minutes, and when he comes back, he has to find out that on her end of the portal, it's already 6 years later and Reinette has just died.

Heartbroken, the Doctor returns to his companions and to the TARDIS, claiming that he will probably never find out why the clockwork robots, of all people, wanted to salvage Reinette for their repairs ... but the final shot of the spaceship reveals to the audience that the ship is actually called the SS Madame de Pompadour.

 

This is Doctor Who at its best: The plot is incredibly silly, but witty and stringent storytelling, mildly macabre ideas (like the spaceship made out of human spare parts), unusual villains (the retro and quite beautiful clockwork robots), and reliance on story and dialogue rather than interchangeable action setpieces make this work ... not only work, all this even makes up for a cheesy  lovestory (generally speaking not a good idea within the series), which is interwoven into the main story rather than tacked on.

Actually one of the best episodes of the new Doctor Who-series.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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