Director: James Hawes
Show Stars: Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), David Tennant (The 10th Doctor)
Recurring Role: Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith)
Guest Stars: Paul Anderson (Jason) , Adam Garcia (Alex Klein) , Sean Gilder (Sycorax leader) , Cathy Murphy (Mum) , Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones) , Sian McDowall (Sandra) , Chu Omambala (Major Blake) , Sagar Arya (Newsreader 2) , Lachele Carl (Newsreader 3) , Jason Mohammed (Newsreader 1) , Sean Carlsen (Policeman) , Anita Breim (Sally) , Daniel Evans (Danny Llewellyn)
Production Code: NCFS084E
It’s Christmas on Earth, and Jackie is decorating for Christmas while considering a package from Rose. Mickey is working at the garage when he hears the sound of the TARDIS materializing, as does Jackie. The run outside and see the TARDIS crashing through sky and hitting buildings. The (new) Doctor steps out and then collapses, and Rose comes out to explain that she saw the Doctor regenerate into a new person.
They put the Doctor to bed in Jackie’s flat and while discussing his condition, miss the fact that a burst of yellow energy is released from him and goes off into space. Rose and Jackie catch PM Harriet Jones speaking on the TV about the launch of a space probe, Guinevere One. Unknown to those on Earth, the probe bumps into an asteroid which has a doorway which opens to pull the probe inside.
Mickey and Rose go shopping and while Mickey complains about his on-again/off-again relationship with Rose, Rose notices several Santas who open fire with weapons disguised as musical instruments. The attackers deliberately target Rose and Mickey, who head back to the apartment figuring that the creatures are interested in the Doctor. When they get back, they notice that Jackie has a new tree that appeared from nowhere. The tree starts spinning and comes after them, and Mickey tries to fend it off without much luck. They run to get the Doctor as the tree spins into the room and Rose asks the sleeping Doctor to help her. He jumps up, awake, and destroys it with his sonic screwdriver, then goes outside to see the Santas outside. They withdraw when the Doctor points his sonic screwdriver at them, then teleport away.
The Doctor warns that he’s bursting with energy as he gives off another burst, and that the Santas are “pilot fish” that homed in on his energy. He tells them that they woke him up too earlier and he’s having a neuron implosion. He collapses and they take him back to bed, while Mickey looks up “pilot fish” on his computer files. It’s Christmas Day, and the project manager, Daniel Llewellyn, says they’re ready to get a signal when it lands despite the fact it briefly disappeared earlier. The signal comes through and it shows a picture of an alien face before it cuts off.
As the alien face is transmitted across the world by news, Harriet Jones meets with Llewellyn at a secret UNIT bunker under the Commander of Major Blake. They determine that the signal came from a point above the planet so the aliens have captured the probe, and are now heading toward Earth. Mickey picks up the ship as well from the Internet and they all look on as the aliens send a message in their own tongue. Rose notices that she can’t understand the language either despite the TARDIS’ translation capabilities, and it’s not working because the Doctor is “broken.”
While UNIT works on the translation, Harriet suggests they contact Torchwood, which she’s not supposed to know about. They decipher the message, which identifies the aliens as the Sycorax and announce they’re taking Earth. Harriet responds with a message welcoming them in peace but refusing to surrender. The Sycorax send a response of sorts by sending a form of blue energy which takes control of several of the UNIT operatives. Worse, humans across the planet start mindlessly walking under the influence of the energy. All of the controlled people move to a high spot and… wait. UNIT determines that those influenced are sons and fathers, or wives and daughters, and they all have the same blood type, A Positive. Llewellyn reveals that the space probe had a sample of A Positive human blood. With Torchwood non-responsive, Harriet make a public statement reassuring everyone to remain calm, and asks the Doctor or anyone knowing him to respond.
As Rose cries, realizing there’s no one to help them, the Earth shakes as a sonic wave from the approaching spaceship sweeps across London. The enormous ship hovers over London as Rose sends Jackie and Mickey to the TARDIS with the Doctor for safety. The Sycorax demand that Earth’s “tribal leader” come aboard, and then teleport Harriet and her staff aboard. The Sycorax Leader demands their surrender or he will unleash the “final curse.” Llewellyn confronts the leader who promptly kills first him then Major Blake. The leader once again asks for Earth’s surrender, or one third of its race dies.
Rose and the others get the Doctor to the TARDIS and inadvertently initiate a signal which draws the Sycorax’s attention. The Sycorax Leader thinks it’s a trap and Harriet is hiding alien technology, while his soldiers grab Rose when she steps outside. Mickey knocks over a thermos of tea and goes outside to find the TARDIS has been teleported aboard the Sycorax ship. He manages to close the door before Sycorax grab him as well.
The tea is dripping into the TARDIS circuits and the smoke drifts up as the Doctor breathes out another burst of energy. The Sycorax Leader thinks Rose is speaking for the planet because she owns the TARDIS and she accepts the challenge. Rose tries to bluff her way through without much luck and demand they leave, but the Sycorax consider her funny more then anything and prepare to kill her. The Sycorax begins to “speak” English even though the leader denies, it, and Rose realizes that means the TARDIS is working again. On cue, the Doctor steps out of the TARDIS and takes the Sycorax Leader’s weapon. He tells them he has recovered thanks to the energized tea, talks to the others briefly, then confronts the Sycorax Leader. He notices a large button and walks up to mess with it, noticing there’s a sample of human blood. The Doctor presses the button and all of the controlled humans on Earth are freed.
The Sycorax Leader bluffs, claiming he’s released the humans, but the Doctor is dismissive. The Sycorax Leader says he’ll bring in his invasion force but the Doctor tries to convince him otherwise. When that doesn’t work, the Doctor grabs a sword and challenges the Sycorax Leader to a duel. They fight and after a massive battle, the Doctor goes down at the edge of a cliff, and the Sycorax Leader cuts off his hand. But the Doctor reveals that within the first 15 hours of his regeneration cycle he can regrow his hand. Rose tosses him another sword. They fight again and the Doctor stabs the Sycorax Leader, and demands he leave Earth and never return. The Sycorax Leader agrees but reneges and the Doctor triggers a button to send him off a cliff.
After warning the Sycorax that Earth is now protected, the Doctor and the others are teleported back to Earth with the TARDIS as the Sycorax leaves Earth. The Doctor warns Harriet that Earth is drawing attention to itself. Torchwood contacts Harriet and says, “They’re ready,” and she orders them to open fire on the retreating Sycorax ship with a reverse-engineered alien weapon. The Sycorax ship is destroyed and the Doctor is sickened at the loss of life. Harriet warns that the Doctor can’t always be there and Earth will have to defend itself without him. Harriet challenges him and he threatens to bring down her government with six words. He whispers to her aide Alex, “Don’t you think she looks tired.” A frantic Harriet demands to know what he said as the Doctor and the others stroll off.
Later the Doctor picks out a new set of clothing and then they gather to celebrate Christmas. On the TV, news reports talk about how Harriet is suffering from ill health and may be forced to retire. Outside it begins to snow, cheering everyone until the Doctor points out its ash from the Sycorax ship. The Doctor prepares to leave and Rose wants to go with him despite his regeneration. Mickey notes that Rose will never stay and she admits there’s a lot out there to see. The two of them enter the TARDIS and depart.