We continue 12 Days of Doctors in the count up to 12th’s first adventure with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor in his first Adventure “The Christmas Invasion.” David Tennant was my first Doctor and the Doctor who got me into both the current series and Classic Series because of how masterfully he played the Time Lord of the Doctor. He also has some of the best arcs this season, especially in Series 3 which has the most solid arc in the series thus far in my opinion.
The writer for this episode is Russell T. Davies and the director is James Hawes.
The story is that the Doctor is dealing with his new regeneration as the Sycorax attack Earth on Christmas in order to conquer Earth. From here it is up to Rose, Mickey, Jackie and the Prime Minister Harriet Jones to deal with this new threat as the Doctor is out of commission going through the cost of having just regenerated.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: The 10th Doctor / The Tenth Doctor – For an episode about us meeting the new Doctor, we don’t actually spend that much time with him, since he is out of commission finishing the regeneration for most of it. When we do see him and who he is, which is mostly at the end it is a man who is arrogant (destroys the Prime Minister for defending Earth), kind (defense of humanity) and savvy (he uses “Lion King” to describe humanity’s potential). He is also the youngest looking of the Doctors up to this point and has the youthful energy of a younger man. David Tennant owns this role, but the problem is how he is written, which I’ll go into later. It is really here where the Doctor as a super hero who doesn’t need help to save the day really starts to show…which carries on in the series and later with the 11th Doctor.
Rose Tyler – Rose is good in this but the writers don’t give her much to do. Most of her arc is accepting this new Doctor as the Doctor, which is important but she doesn’t get to fight the Sycorax and only stalls for time for the tea to take affect (which she doesn’t even realize it’s doing).
Prime Minister Harriet Jones – Reveals the darker side of the Doctor after she destroys the Sycorax ship at the end. Which it makes sense why she does, as she tells the Doctor, “Your not always around and we need to be able to defend ourselves.” The Doctor rewards that with getting her fired leading to the rise of a powerful enemy later in the series. Thanks a lot Ten. She is an awesome character, and the only human with any agency.
Torchwood – They lost a third of their men we hear but they still manage to destroy the Sycorax ship in retaliation for the innocents killed and the fact that the Sycorax are space orc thugs.
Okay: The Minor Companions – Jackie and Mickey are there getting used to the new Doctor. Their roles are similar to their first appearance as the reasons to get Rose to stay. Mickey has some great moments with her as does her mother since it is nearly Christmas, but they don’t get nearly enough exploration as they deserved, which is strange since the Doctor is out of commission for most of the episode.
Cons: The Sycorax – These guys are space orcs. Both in design (skulls and capes) and intent (enslavement of the human race). Why the Doctor expects them to respect their word is beyond me, given their leader goes back on it and tries to kill him during the Fight for Honor at the end. These guys never show up again, which I think is good. They are a weak concept and there is nothing unique about them. They are mindless baddies just out for conquest with a lazy design.
The Doctor as a Super Hero – This is a trend I can’t stand that was especially prevelant in Matt Smith’s time as the 11th Doctor, but really starts here. There are all these human characters, but the only one who can save the day is the Doctor. So we see humanity getting schooled by the aliens up until the Doctor wakes up and when they do stand up he shuts them down. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. I’m saying this as a fan of the Tenth Doctor too, he was my first Doctor and David Tennant is fantastic, it is just how he is used which is the problem. The Doctor always works best when he needs to be rescued, when he’s a Time Lord not Superman. This episode and some others, he is Superman and it is a trend that hurts the story further down the line, that really starts here in the new series.
I would recommend this episode nonetheless, it is a great introduction to the 10th Doctor (my Doctor) and also a fun adventure, even if the Doctor is way too overpowered and the villains are pretty lame. It at least establishes Torchwood and humanity as able to fight back…which we haven’t really seen since UNIT has yet to appear in this series.
Final Score is 7.8 / 10