I re-watched The Christmas Invasion over Christmas, but I neglected to write about it until now, for some reason. Upon Christopher Eccleston’s departure from Doctor Who at the end of series 1, he hands the keys to the TARDIS over to David Tennant—the tenth actor to (officially) play the Doctor.
Because of the Time Lords’ ability to regenerate after a mortal injury, the Doctor can live on in another form. However, the regeneration takes a great toll on the Doctor. The tenth Doctor remains unconscious for most of the episode, recuperating from his ordeal. In the meantime, Rose and Mickey take a stroll, as it’s Christmas Eve. As they shop, they come under attack from a group of masked Santa Clauses, shooting up a crowd, then following Rose and Mickey back to the Tylers’ flat. After imploring the Doctor for help, he suddenly wakes from his comatose state to fend off the attackers, then he slumps back, unconscious. While all this is going on, a British space probe encounters an incoming space craft, and humanity gets its first conscious glimpse of alien life. Soon after, a large number of the population begins to walk to the edge of the roof of whatever building they’re in, and it seems that the incoming craft has something to do with it.
Rose, Harriet Jones (Prime Minister), and a few other government officials are transported up to the ship, now hovering over London. The aliens kill some of the hostages, Rose begins to stand up to the invaders, but the TARDIS appears and the Doctor emerges in pajamas and a bathrobe. He challenges the alien leader, they have a swordfight, the doctor loses a hand, regenerates the hand—because he’s still in the regeneration process—and he wins the fight. He gives the aliens an ultimatum—leave and do not return. They agree, yet when they are on their way out, Harriet Jones makes a call to Torchwood (which we’ll find more out about later) and energy beams from hidden turrets fire to destroy the fleeing ship. Jones defends her decision to an irate Doctor, saying that with the way that aliens are starting to notice Earth, the Earth needs to be able to defend herself. The Doctor, furious, says, “I gave them the wrong warning. I should have told them to run, as fast as they can. Run and hide, because the monsters are coming—the human race.” He then proceeds to retaliate:
“The Doctor: Don’t challenge me, Harriet Jones. ‘Cause I’m a completely new man. I could bring down your Government with a single word.
Harriet Jones: You’re the most remarkable man I’ve ever met. But I don’t think you’re quite capable of that.
The Doctor: No, you’re right. Not a single word…Just six… [whispers to her aide] Don’t you think she looks tired?”
Not long after, Harriet Jones is interviewed by reporters who can ask her nothing but her state of health.
For at least half of the episode the first time I watched this, I remember being rather wary of David Tennant as the Doctor. He’s in bed the whole time. I know that I’ve hinted at my love for David Tennant’s acting abilities, but I certainly had my doubts at the time. How very wrong I was. While he remains unconscious for a large portion of the episode, that accentuates all the more the finale. It’s a swordfight filled with witty—one-sided—banter; there may or may not be quotes from The Lion King, a slightly missing hand, and a speech in which the Doctor vows that the Earth is defended. It’s a great, serious moment, tempered with humor, that promises great things from David Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor.
“When you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this: it is defended!”
“Aww, I wanted to be ginger. I’ve never been ginger! And you, Rose Tyler, fat lot of good you were, you gave up on me. Ooh, that’s rude. Is that all I am now? Rude? Rude and not ginger?”