Doctor Who - The New Series

1.10: "THE DOCTOR DANCES" (2/2)

TX: 28 May 2005

Written by: Steven Moffat

Directed by: James Hawes

Running time: 42' 09"

Location: London, England

Date: 1941 AD

Monsters and villains: The Empty Child (A small child with psychic powers and a gas-mask instead of a face), the Empty Children (humans who have been transformed into copies of the Child).

Plot Synopsis: The Doctor and Rose escape from the zombie-filled hospital with a little help from time-travelling conman Jack Harkness. But the cause of the disease is still at large, and they only have two hours to stop it before it consumes the country...

Bad Wolf Reference: The bomb which is scheduled to destroy the Chula ambulance has "Schlechter Wolf" stencilled on the side; this cannot be seen clearly in the episode, but was clearly shown on the spinoff BBC websites, and

Trivia: (1) The way in which Jack sits astride the German bomb is a reference to the Stanley Kubrick classic, Dr. Strangelove.

Spoiler Synopsis: The zombified patients continue to advance on the Doctor, Jack and Rose, who are all trapped in a corner of the ward. The Doctor steps forward and sternly tells them to "go to your room!" The Empty Children are confused at first, but slowly shuffle back to their beds. At the house, the Empty Child psychically picks up the Doctor's commands and also leaves. Nancy is safe for now.

Out in the hospital corridor, Jack explains his original plan: after catapulting the Chula ambulance through time, he would go undercover and wait for Time Agents to turn up. Pretending that the ambulance is a warship, he would then sell them the location - but make sure that they would turn up too late to stop a German bomb from destroying it. With no evidence of his con and the money in his back pocket, Jack could then return to his ship and do the same thing again elsewhere. The Doctor tells him that his con has cost hundreds of people their lives, but Jack claims that he's innocent, telling the Doctor that the ambulance was completely empty and useless when he dropped it.

Back at the house, Nancy hears the all-clear siren and tries to leave, but is caught by the family. As the mother goes to find the police, Nancy tells the father that she knows the food on the table is from the black market and that he has been sleeping with the local (male) butcher to get food. She blackmails him into letting her go, and demands wire cutters and a torch.

The Doctor and his companions reach room 802 of the hospital, the place where the first "bomb" victim was kept. Jack uses his sonic blaster to remove the lock on the door and they enter. They find the room covered in children's drawings and toys, with a broken observation window which the occupant presumably crawled out of. The Doctor finds a tape and plays it; it's a recording of an interview between Dr Constantine and the Empty Child. The Doctor realises that the Empty Child was the one hit by the Chula ambulance - and that when he sent it to his room, he'd inadvertantly told it to go to room 802! He turns to see the Empty Child stood in the doorway.

The Doctor uses Jack's gun (which he had pickpocketed) to create a hole in the wall. Once through Jack seals the hole, but to little effect - the Empty Child starts punching through it, whilst hordes of mindless Empty Children begin closing in from all sides. Rose uses the Blaster to create a hole in the floor, dropping them into another ward full of Empty Children. They flee into a storeroom, locking themselves inside. Realising that they are trapped, Jack teleports away, leaving the Doctor and Rose behind.

At the train tracks where the Doctor found Nancy, the orphans wait for her to return. She arrives and tells them off for not thinking for themselves. She tells them that they're not safe with her - that the Empty Child is stalking her because she is his big sister. She tells the oldest boy to take care of the others and, as a typewriter begins to tap out the Child's question, she leaves the kids behind and runs for the hospital.

The Doctor and Rose hear Jack's voice over a nearby radio, and he apologises for not teleporting them up. He explains that the ship can only teleport him - something he is trying to override. Whilst they wait, he plays some Glenn Miller. The Doctor, not content with waiting for Jack to save him, decides to use the sonic screwdriver to cause the wall to vibrate, shattering it. As he does so, he asks Rose what she sees in Jack. She tells him that he's exactly like the Doctor, except that he dances. The Doctor, irritated, asks Rose to dance but before they get into full swing, Jack teleports them up to his ship.

The Doctor notes that the ship is made by the Chula as well and Jack waves the point aside as the he gets the glowing nanogenes to heal the Doctor's burnt hand (he damaged it on the TARDIS console in the prevous episode). Jack explains that he left the Time Agents after they stole two years of his memories.

At the hospital, Nancy sneaks into the army compound but is quickly caught and locked up. She is handcuffed to a table with a sick soldier. The soldier has the same wound on the back of his hand as the Empty Children. Realising that he is going to be transformed into one of them, she pleads to be released but the other soldiers refuse and she is left alone with the man, who soon succumbs to the plague.

At the gates of the bomb site compound, Rose offers to provide a distraction but Jack tells her that he knows the commanding officer intimately and that women aren't his type. Rose is surprised by Jack's bisexuality, but the Doctor explains that in the 51st century people are much more open-minded about who they sleep with. When you're having sex with aliens, having sex with a member of your own species - even one that's the same sex as you - is positively tame.

Jack's plan goes awry when the commanding officer falls down and transforms into one of the Empty Children. As the trio look on, the newly formed Child falls asleep. Nearby, they hear Nancy singing a lullaby. Rushing to the shed where she is being kept, they see that she has sung the transformed soldier to sleep and that his psychic link with the other Children has made them all drift off.

Jack tries to gain access to the ambulance, causing it to emit a warning signal that calls forth the Empty Children. Jack goes to seal off the gates while Rose and Nancy repair the wire with the sonic screwdriver. Jack returns and opens up the ambulance to find it empty. The Doctor explains that the ambulance contained millions of nanogenes designed to heal battlefield casualties. But the first thing they found was a dead child. Unfamiliar with human anatomy, they resurrected him as best they could and, assuming that he was the perfect human, set about "fixing" all of the ordinary people he touched. The psychic powers and strength were added by the nanogenes to make them battlefield-capable. Suddenly, they hear hundreds of shouts of "mummy" as the Empty Children, lead by the Empty Child himself, storm the gates.

Nancy starts to cry, and the Doctor realises that she isn't the Empty Child's sister, but his mother. Jack warns them that the bomb is about to fall on the area, destroying everything, and that his ship's security features are working again so the teleporter will only beam him aboard. He teleports away.

The Doctor, realising that the child will only stop when he meets his mother, asks Nancy to go over and tell the truth. Crying, she tells the boy that he is her child and hugs him. The nanogenes begin to glow as they collect around Nancy and the Child, and they start to scan their DNA. Realising that they have made a mistake, the nanogenes use the information from Nancy's DNA to repair the Empty Child to full health. Delighted, the Doctor removes the gas mask to reveal that Jamie is alive and normal again.

The happy scene is interrupted by the German bomb, which rushes toward the crash site right on cue. But before it can land, Jack's ship swoops down and catches it in its tractor beam. Sitting astride the bomb, Jack tells them that it has already started to detonate, and that he is keeping it in stasis for as long as he can. The Doctor tells him to remove it as safely as possible and Jack and the bomb teleport back onto the ship, which flies away.

The Doctor summons up the nanogenes and reprograms them to mend the rest of the Empty Children, who are standing around mindlessly. As the nanogenes repair them, the Doctor lifts up his arms to the heavens and cries: "for once, everyone lives!" The patients, soldiers and doctors gather themselves together, confused by what has happened. One old lady tells Doctor Constantine that her missing leg has grown back. "Well there is a war on," he says, "perhaps you miscounted?"

As the baffled humans leave the crash site, the Doctor programs the ambulance to explode once the area is clear. He and Rose step aboard the TARDIS and vanish.

In space Captain Jack's ship tells him that the bomb cannot be defused or kept permanently in stasis and there is no way for him to escape. Jack, realising that his time is finally up, mixes himself a cocktail and waits for the end. But the end doesn't come, as the TARDIS appears in the rear of his ship. The Doctor invites Jack aboard and tells him to close the door, otherwise the explosion of his ship will cause a draft. Jack looks on as Rose and the Doctor dance to Glenn Miller's "In the Mood".

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Sources: - The Internet Movie Database - Outpost Gallifrey - A Brief History of (Time) Travel