“Aliens of London,” Doctor Who, Season 1, Episode 4 (1 of 2)

This show’s entry follows the style of Dan Harmon’s story circle.

Dan Harmon's story circle

Aliens of London

This episode is a little different from the other regular episodes, because there is a cliffhanger at the end, so changes to individual characters are noticeable, but not as strong as I expect from the end of the episode. The Doctor, Rose, Jackie, Mickey, and a new character Harriet, face the Slitheen, a group of body-snatching aliens bent on world destruction.

1) In a zone of comfort

Rose’s been traveling with the Doctor for a few days, but when she returns after an error, it turns out she’s been gone for a year. This understandably upset her home life. Her mom, Jackie, has been searching for her, and her boyfriend Mickey has been blamed for her disappearance. They’ll think him a murderer. Rose won’t tell her mother where she’s been because she wants to protect the Doctor, who is increasingly irritating her mom.

2) They desire something

Rose wants someone she can share her adventures openly. She pursues the Doctor, and Mickey, working out which way she wants to go. She doesn’t know who she can tell. As it comes out that she wants to share her adventures openly, it comes out he’s nine hundred years old. While she’s working out how she’ll deal with that kind of crazy age gap, a spaceship flies over them and plunges them into the next segment.

3) Enter an unfamiliar situation

The ship crashes into the Thames, after busting out a huge chunk of Big Ben’s clock face. The military has everything blocked up when they try to investigate. The Doctor ends up stuck in Rose’s world, watching coverage of the alien spaceship landing on the news, while everyone Jackie seems to know is there in the apartment with them, like it’s a party and they keep getting in the Doctor’s way.

4) Adapt to the situation

As we’re adapting, strange people show up instead of the prime minister. The news reporters know who they all are, but it is confusing to them why they are showing up instead of some other prominent people. Anytime they are asked why these people are showing up, they are told that it is none of their business and that they are in charge.

As they are gathering together, this is the first time we get to meet Harriet. She is a lower-ranking member, and no one else seems to know why she’s there either. It’s not for lack of trying, she’s trying to get her program seen, but since there was just a huge spaceship crash in the Thames, no one wants to talk to her which is understandable. Harriet, being a future Prime Minister, not that she knows, is in the way at the wrong time. She tries to bring people coffee. She does anything she can to try to get in front of the cabinet members. Of course, since they’re all aliens in disguise, they could care less about what she has to say.

Tosh from Torchwood is introduced, she is doing her doctor bit, examining the alien that has been brought in. She’s confused by its look and by its biology. A military general, who will later be captured by the Slitheen, tells her to keep it out of sight.
As Harriet tries her last-ditch coffee, the villains all gather in the boardroom and begin to laugh maniacally.

5) Get what they desired

Good things start to go their way. As characters begin to get what they desire, sometimes things come up roses, but other times it’s a bitter win.

  • Rose, who is looking for some kind of validation that she’s making the right choices, receives a TARDIS key from the Doctor. I like to think of this as less than the idea of giving a loved one your apartment key, hoping that they will come okay and live with you. And more of validation, that he wants her on the road with him.
  • The Doctor, can’t handle all the peopling anymore and slips away after giving that key to Rose. He sneaks down to see what’s going on. The UNIT troops immediately catch him, but he has a backdoor command that they quickly follow. All of a sudden he’s in charge of the troops. He takes them down so he can talk to Tosh about the space pig.
  • Mickey shows up, having seen the Doctor disappear. He faces up to Rose and Jackie, validating his innocence in her disappearance.
  • Harriet gets in to read the protocols and hides in the closet. She got in to sneak her plan in, then found out too much. The alien crisis is much bigger than she realized, and these are the aliens that are causing the trouble!

6) Pay a heavy price for winning

I think the heaviest price in this episode, is witnessed directly by Harriet. She’s hiding in the closet, she sees them kill the general and take his body.
We also witness, back with the doctor and Tosh that people who were not ready to encounter aliens, can be so nervous on their end that they shoot to kill, when the space pig is running and scared.

7) Return to their familiar situation

Jackie, trying to get her life back together and protect her daughter follows the instructions on the television and turns them in. The result is when the Doctor and Rose come back out of the TARDIS, they are met with helicopters and military. Rose thinks they’re going to jail, but the limo seems a bit posh. The Doctor says nope, not jail. They’re being escorted to #10 Downing St.

8) They have overall changed

Harriet usurps some control. She’s the biggest change in this show. She may not know exactly what’s going on, but she knows she’s the only one left who’s been elected in the building.

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