It’s a weird old world sometimes. You watch something and really have your doubts; but, returning to it later, you find you view the whole thing in another light.
I watched ‘Rose’ this morning, the first Christopher Eccleston story and the introduction of The Doctor to a whole new generation. The story combines elements to satisfy both newcomers and fans alike, pitting The Doctor against an old foe, the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness.
When I watched it originally, I may have fixated on the false Mickey too much as a bad part of the story… but, I’m not seeing that anymore. ‘Rose’ contains all the essential elements to get everyone onboard, introducing the time travelling alien Doctor who appears to be seen all the way across Earth’s history, who has changed his appearance over time and might well be immortal. Rose herself encounters The Doctor, enters the TARDIS and learns a little about what it is to be a Time Lord, sensing the Turn of the Universe (or at least the movement of the world beneath his feet).
The quirky performance of Chris blends perfectly with the notion that what we see here happens to be a newly regenerated Doctor. Inspecting his big ears, he seems fairly satisfied with the transformation. He slips between excitement, sadness, inane grins and sharp rebukes at almost a moments notice.
The Auton Mickey actually isn’t as bad as I recalled, and in truth his appearance and odd speech likely lean towards getting all the kids onboard that this is not the Mickey we met early. You need to prepare the kids for decapitation by establishing the inhumanity of this plastic Mickey clone.
I remain sad that Clive didn’t survive the episode. In a way, he created the very theories of doom following the wake of the Doctor that led to his own demise. Shot by an Auton, Clive is no more – but his wife obviously knew a little about his theories on the Doctor and he clearly had other visitors. LINDA would come after him, intent on getting close to The Doctor; but, it would seem others hold a similar fascination.
Combine the flash effects of the Nestene Consciousness with a fast paced script and some snazzy, upbeat music – and you have an ideal point to jumpstart the series. Like Rose, we find ourselves wanting to get in the TARDIS at the end and follow him on to his next adventure.
At the same time, I really watched the episode to get into the Auton/Nestene mindset in preparation for playing the Doctor Who: Adventures in Space and Time RPG scenario ‘Arrowdown’ tomorrow (hopefully). Basically, Auton equals undead – faceless, shambling foes who can run like Rage-infected zombies if you really need them too. In the store, Rose backed off from stumbling Auton shamblers, while after the Doctor arrived suddenly they could run down corridors at quite a pace. It seemed to me that when the Nestene exerted control, the Autons ‘warmed up’ gathering pace over a short period (half a minutes or so). In the same way, when the Nestene connection died, the Autons continued for a moment, then became confused and bewildered, before finally freezing back into mannequins.
Perhaps, in game terms, Autons can spend a Story Point to cancel their Slow Trait for a short period of time. In addition, when the Nestene exerts or loses control, the Autons warm up or freeze over a period of 30 seconds.
Anyway, re-watching ‘Rose’ worked out as an all-round experience. I’m looking forward to watching (and gaming) some more.