Aliens of London/ World War Three
The episode immediately opens with an incredible plot development for the companion. After returning from her early travels with the doctor, she returns home to her mother assuming only 12 hours have passed since she left earth. However the reality is she has been gone for 12 months. SHIT. This was a great element of the story showing the companion reentering the life she left behind and it fits in with the recurring theme of the Doctor being a bit clumsy at times and not truly having control over the Tardis. It's a horrifying idea for a parent and it defines Rose's character more, or at least it should have. I mean yeah it starts out with with her hysterical and questioning Rose, even going as far as physically assaulting The Doctor, but there isn't much of an impact felt other than her continuing distrust of The Doctor. I mean she doesn't put up much of a fight at the end to prevent her going off with The Doctor, if you lost your daughter for a year you'd never let her out of your sight again. This should have been a defining part of Rose's character but instead it's forgotten by the end of the series. It's Micky where the impact of Rose's departure is truly felt. He claims The Doctor ruined his life, that's a pretty bold statement. He seems to have become a lot stronger and braver since we last saw him, after undergoing the trauma of being a murder suspect and rejected in his own community. He stands up for himself now, fighting aliens and even Jackie!
The story was phenomenally paced, gradually unraveling itself as it goes along. It doesn't start slow, truly starting out with an alien spaceship crashing into Big Ben! WHAT?! That creates a great shock factor of the episode. At first it's perceived to The Doctor to be first contact, with no real unraveling to be done. But the audience knows otherwise thanks to the scenes in parliament. I loved the idea of aliens infiltrating out government, it removes any safety net we may feel if it isn't even our own species pulling the shots. And it was pulled off brilliantly , the Slitheen are smart; they started at the bottom to get closer to those higher in power.
The Slitheen are excellent villains. They are humorous yet cold and sinister. What they did to the pig is just horrifying, sick and twisted. This point and their desire to hunt and torment truly make them into some of the most heartless monsters I can think of. With them around you don't feel any safety, they could be in your home or your government and you'd be none the wiser until you were six feet under. Their physical presence is intimidating, they tower over humans and without weapons we wouldn't stand a chance. Their motive was different. Rather than being out to conquer the universe or build an empire they were simply out to make a profit. This was a nice change from the normal which made them some of the more interesting villains. It's also a well thought through plan, crash a spaceship, put the world on red alert, manipulate this by first taking power and working your way up and then using the planets own arsenal against itself.
There was a lot of drama in this story as well. I loved the scene with Joseph Green speaking to the nation. Although we know he's talking bullshit we know the Earth is still at threat because of his planning, this truly could be the end of planet Earth. There's also a favorite Eccleston scene of mine 'I could save the world but lose you'. It's brilliant . The Doctor's dilemma was a hard one and I loved Jackie's pleading with the Doctor, 'Is she safe?'.Murray Gold's score accompanies these scenes beautifully as well.
All in all beautiful story, beautiful acting and well crafted villains. If it wasn't for a disappointing turn in the impact of Rose's absence this story would be top marks.