Doctor Who 1.03: "The Unquiet Dead" (slightly psychic spoilers)

Sorry I didn’t start another thread yesterday for this episode. I was doing duty at my baby sister’s birthday party looking after 13 eight-year-olds. I meant to start the thread beforehand, but didn’t manage. Since there seems to be sustained interest, though, I’ll go ahead and start this thread, even though it’s late.

I did manage to see “The Unquiet Dead” on DVR tonight. I thought it was great–the best one yet. The characterizations had great depth, especially the guest characters. I especially liked the conversation between Rose and the maid. It was one of the most realistic-seeming time-travel scenes I’ve ever watched. The best bit was when the maid said to Rose, “You have the outfit and breeding, but the way you speak is as if you were some wild thing!” That and her reaction to the vision she had of London in the 21st century. It wasn’t over-the-top or unbelievable at all–I actually believed she was seeing Rose’s past (and London’s future) through Rose’s eyes.

I also thought the SFX, though still rather cheap-looking, were very effectively used. There was a real sense of creepiness throughout the episode.

I also liked the continuation of the idea that Rose and the Doctor see things through very different moral lenses, but without either of them coming off as foolish or wrong-headed. Rose has a very “human” perspective and sees people (or tries to see them, at least, and sometimes fails) as individuals, which she values over any abstract idea of “justice.” She has difficulty seeing large groups in the same way that she sees individuals, though. The Doctor often loses sight of the individuals involved in his Eli Wiesel-like quest to undo the effects of a historical tragedy and war he seems to feel a personal responsabilty for.

In the first ep, e.g., he risked his own life and those of the humans on Earth, including especially Rose’s, in order to avoid killing the Nestene Conciousness (apparently in comlpiance with some sort of interplanetary law) but didn’t shed a tear when the Conciousness was killed after all. He seemed quite please, in fact. In his own way, the Doctor is far more self-centered than Rose is, even with his larger perspective and grander sense of moral responsability.

I don’t know much about Dickens, and I’m curious how historically accurate the show’s portrayal of him was. I know he was a proponant for social juctice (especially wrt child labor), but I didn’t know of him as a skeptic. Was that just made up? What about his alienation from his family and his existance as a lonely celebrity late in life? And what was the American bit the Doctor thought was rubbish?

One more thing–I got my baby sis to watch “Rose” with me tonight after I’d seen “The Unquiet Dead.” She seemed to really like it, though the accents seemed to be a bit of a problem for her. She’s got English cousins, though, so I know she can get used to it. She was pretty tired as well, which might explain why she kept asking me to explain things. But she did ask–which means she was interested! Hooray for spreading geekiness! Any parents out there raising young boy-geeks should thank me for raising, however slightly, the odds that their offspring may someday find a mate! :smiley:

SPOILER POLICY: Don’t forget–episodes of the new series that have aired in the US don’t need spoiler boxes. Episodes that haven’t aired here yet do. And please tell what it is you’re boxing! For classic episodes and novels, use your own judgement, but don’t forget that many new fans will likely now be seeking out classic episodes to watch for the first time.

I really liked the episode. The one thing that always bothered me about the older series that ElzaHub has shown me is the campiness (I know, I know, that’s why I should LIKE it…). But this one’s entertaining the crap out of me.

It’s probably very wrong that I’ve been yelling out “Kiss her! Kiss her!” at various points during the episodes when Rose and the Doctor have a ‘moment’, huh? :smiley:


The Doctor seemed rather spectacularly naive in this episode. After all, the first thing we saw a zombie do was kill someone and they were about to attack Rose when the Doctor showed up. That hardly speaks towards a peace-loving race of gas creatures.

The toll on cute secondary female characters has been pretty high this season. If I were Rose, I’d be worried.

Interesting note: The man who was Dickens was, I am told, also the man who has played Dickens in a number of BBC historical productions.

Not BBC productions, exactly - Simon Callow has played Dickens in a one-man show and has written about him. You may also remember Simon Callow from such fine films as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love.

My one problem with this episode was that like the others, the ending was rather predictable. As for the Doctor, I took it that his sense of responsability for failing to end the Time War overwhelmed him a bit. Hopefully this will be reflected upon in later episodes as the Time War plot develops.

God, I hope it doesn’t wind up a train wreck like the Temporal Cold War on Enterprise.

There was a tiny voice in my head as I watched the episode that said “Time War? Haven’t we seen something like that before?” but I immediately murdered the brain cells responsble for it. Don’t bring it up again, or I may have to take up heavy drinking.

On second thought…go ahead.

I’m not going to be a fair judge of any of the episodes of this season as I am seriously crushing on the current Doctor. But, I’ve got to say, that I liked this one the least so far (not that I didn’t like the episode, just liked it least of the three). I can’t really put my finger on what it was about this one. I get creeped out fairly easily, so maybe that’s what it is.

I do like how the episode specific characters are really characters and not just window dressing for The Doctor and Rose to bounce their lines off.

I did get a good laugh over the whole “fan” thing between Dickens and The Doctor.

I’ve cheated and seen the whole season already, this feeling is…

More than a bit. I don’t think there is one episode where the Time War, him being the last of his kind, and the fate of Gallifrey is not brought up in some fashion. It’s not harped on, but it’s made obvious that this is HUGE to him and always on his mind and it does end up coloring his decisions in a big way.

Just to back up what shamrock227 said, further on in the series…

At one point, the Doctor is forcibly reminded of the Time War - and it totally changes his reactions from “we’d better think about this” to “DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEATH!! DEATH!!”. cough. Well, he’s very much affected by it, anyway. Perhaps a slight overreaction on my part… :stuck_out_tongue:

This is probably a really dumb question, but why didn’t The Doctor change his clothing to period garb? Is his clothing “slightly psychic” like his paper?

I thought he just didn’t care.

When Rose asked him if he was going to change he said “I changed my jumper”. I guess he thought that was sufficient.

It seems SciFi Channel cut that scene, due to an urgent need to fit in another commercial for toilet paper or something.

Thank you. I thought it was cut, but then I doubted myself and just thought I missed it.

To be fair, doesn’t “jumper” mean a jacket or sleeveless dress in America? Doctor Who, who for some reason always speaks British English, meant his sweater. Maybe they thought the line would be confusing.

I imagine it’s like his blue “police box” he travels in. He explains it later in the series:

Most people just see a strange blue box that doesn’t fit in there, say “hmm…that’s odd…a blue box” and then move on.


The doctor almost never changes his outfit once he regenerates. There is often a scene after regeneration where he picks out what he chooses to wear and that’s what the doctor sticks with.

The only exception was the 4th Doctor, who changed the colors of his outfit in his final season, though the general design was the same: long coat and longer scarf.

I’m watching the episodes on DVD now (bless ya, Amazon Canada), and I enjoyed the Unquiet Dead; probably it was the best of the first three episodes. Some very nice touches of humor, such as the matter-of-fact way the undertaker referred to “the stiffs getting restless” and all that, and Rose’s reaction when she learns she’s actually in Wales, not Italy. Other moments were suitably creepy. I really enjoyed the maid seeing modern-day London through Rose’s eyes—her terror was understandable and genuine. I also enjoyed when she busted Rose for condescending to her, but was gracious enough to not bear any resentment over it. Nice, subtle characterizations like that were always a Doctor Who strength.