…and gas-powered aliens.
I love this episode because it lays the groundwork for Torchwood in two ways: we meet Gwen‘s ancestor (played by the same actress, Eve Myles) and we find out about The Rift, which is the entire reason that the show exists: Torchwood patrols and tries to clean up after the beings which travel through The Rift (“a weak point in time and space, a connection between this place and another…the cause of ghost stories”) to our world. In this case, we have the Gelth, aliens which are trying to invade Earth to reanimate the dead.
Again, we see Rose and the Doctor bonding more, the Doctor realizes what he will do in order to make up for his mistakes during the Great Time War. This must be tempered by Rose, for he will be incredibly reckless while trying to achieve what he perceives as penance. We learn a bit about the stakes of Time–that it can twist. They are outside of the linear flow of time, therefore a person can die outside of their own normal timeline. This also marks the first mention of “Bad Wolf”–a motif which will continue throughout the first series and become incredibly significant.
I had not really thought about the significance of this episode, as far as the greater universe of Doctor Who, and there’s just a whole lot more of that to come!
“The stiffs are getting lively!”
“What the Shakespeare is going on?” (I mean, honestly. What did they say before “What the Dickens!”?)
“Since when does an undertaker keep office hours? The dead don’t die on schedule!”