Tuesday, 29 January 2008

S01E09-The empty child

9)The empty child
Originally aired: Saturday May 21, 2005 on BBC-1
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: James Hawes
Show Stars: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Christopher Eccleston (The Ninth Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
Guest Stars: Kate Harvey (Nightclub Singer) , Albert Valentine (The Child) , Florence Hoath (Nancy) , Cheryl Fergison (Mrs. Lloyd) , Damian Samuels (Mr. Lloyd) , Robert Hands (Algy) , Joseph Tremain (Jim) , Jordan Murphy (Ernie) , Brandon Miller (Alf) , Richard Wilson (Dr. Constantine) , Noah Johnson (Voice of The Empty Child) , Dian Perry (Computer Voice)
Production Code: NCFR036H

The Doctor chases a spinning cylindrical object through the Space/Time vortex – it is coloured mauve as the universal colour for distress. The Doctor warns that it is 30 seconds from the centre of London and extremely dangerous.
They land in an asteroid and the Doctor concludes they have landed about a month after the object crashed. The Doctor decides to start asking questions using the alias ‘Dr. John Smith of the Ministry of Asteroids’, and they find a building with music. Rose is distracted by a child’s voice calling for his Mummy. She sees the child, wearing a gas mask, atop a nearby rooftop and runs to get him.
The Doctor has made his way into the cabaret where a torch singer is performing, while Rose ascends to the rooftop. The Doctor asks the crowd if anything has fallen from the sky recently and is greeted with laughing derision. Rose tries to get the boy down from a higher point and grabs a nearby rope. The cabaret guests start to evacuate when air ride sirens go off and the Doctor realises that they have landed during World War II.
Rose starts to climb to the top of the tower, but the rope she grabbed is anchored to a blimp, which starts to drift off across the streets as the Germans start their aerial bombing. The Doctor emerges but is surprised when the TARDIS phone starts to ring. A woman shows up and warns him not to answer it, and disappears when he turns his back for a moment. He picks up the phone anyway and hears a child’s voice ask “Mummy?”, but it refuses to answer any of the Doctor’s questions. The phone goes dead and then a noise draws the Doctor to a nearby house where a mother is ushering her children into a bomb shelter. After the family is inside, the Doctor spots the young woman raiding the house for food and goes after her.
German planes fly over and past Rose while below a man in RAF uniform watches her through futuristic binoculars. The man, Jack, declines to head for the shelter with his RAF mates and goes after Rose.
The girl, Nancy, has set up a feast and calls for some other children to come in and eat. Rose’s grip on the rope finally gives and she falls to her death … but a tractor beam intercepts her and Jack reassures her that she’s okay. He finally gets round to pulling her down into his ship, some kind of advanced ship, and she faints shortly upon arrival.
As more children go to eat with Nancy, the gas mask-wearing boy from earlier secretly follows them. The Doctor breaks in on them and determines that they are homeless children. Nancy explains that she helps the children by finding them food, and the Doctor asks them if they have seen the mauve cylinder. Before anyone can answer, there is a knock at a door and a boy wearing a gas mask asks for his Mummy. Nancy makes sure the doors are locked and refuses to let it in. She warns that “…it’s not exactly a child…” and gets the homeless children out the back door. The child reaches through the door with a strange lightning-shaped scar on his hand, but before the Doctor can touch him Nancy warns him off, saying the child transforms anyone he touches into something like himself.
The phone rings and the Doctor answers it – it’s the same boy asking for his Mummy. The radio and wind-up toys start chanting “Mummy” as well. The Doctor talks to the boy who pleads for help and he unlocks the door to let the boy in. But when he opens the door the child has gone.
Rose wakes up in Jack’s ship, where he introduces himself as an American volunteer, Jack Harkness. Jack hands her his ID papers but Rose recognizes it as psychic paper. They both determine the other is a time traveller and Jack’s ship is cloaked to prevent discovery. When he notices Rose’s hands are burned, he treats her with nanogenes, of which there are billions, airborne in the ship. They step out on top of the ship (parked in front of Big Ben) for champagne.
Nancy is moving along the rail tracks with food tins but the Doctor has followed her. He deduces that the cylinder is connected to the child and asks Nancy to take him to Limehouse Green Station where it fell. She says that he will have to talk to a doctor.
Assuming Rose is a Time Agent, Jack tries to negotiate with her to offer something they might want, and he left to become a freelancer. The two flirt and Jack offers her a dance to the strains of Glenn Miller. He reveals that the last Chula warship fell in London and he’s willing to give it to the Time Agents in return for a good price. He warns that in two hours a German bomb will destroy it, and that is how long she has to agree. Jack wants to speak to the Doctor and starts scanning for alien technology.
The Doctor and Nancy approach the crash site and she tells him to talk to the Doctor in the Albion Hospital. Nancy admits that she lost her brother and is looking after the other children to make up for his loss. Nancy takes off to fend for the other children and the Doctor makes his way into the hospital. Behind him, the child watches and follows…
The Doctor passes through a ward filled with the sick. He then finds another ward filled with corpses all wearing gas masks. The hospital doctor, Constantine, shows up and notes there are hundreds of such corpses. The ailing Constantine invites the Doctor to check the corpses but tells him not to touch their flesh. Each one has head and chest injuries, a scar on their hand, and the gas mask is fused to the flesh without signs of burning. Constantine notes that he has a similar scar and that after the first victim, everyone who touched the injured person acquired the same physical symptoms.
Constantine notes that the corpses are not in fact corpses, as they are not dead. Rapping his cane on the floor, he ‘awakens’ the corpses but tells the Doctor that they don’t move and are harmless. He suspects that the British government plans to blow up the bomb site and the hospital at some point, but there are isolated cases breaking out all over London. Constantine directs the Doctor to room 802 where the first victim is – Nancy’s brother Jamie. He hopes Nancy will tell the Doctor some secret she keeps from him. Then he grabs his neck and blurts out “Mummy? Are you my Mummy?” Constantine’s face distorts horribly and a gas mask manifests and he falls over in the same state as the other victims.
Back at the house, Nancy hears the child crying for its Mummy as it enters the house. Jack and Rose arrive, having followed the trace of alien technology. The Doctor questions Jack about the Chula ship and he admits it’s an ambulance and he was bluffing about its value and sent it in front of them before they figured out what was going on. Jack admits he’s a conman and figures that they’re not Time Agents. The Doctor concludes some virus is rewriting human DNA but can’t determine the point.
Nancy tries to make a run for it but the child spots her and seals the door. As it cries for his Mummy, the corpses in the hospital, including Constantine, get to their feet and start chanting “Mummy”. As the child corners Nancy, who identifies him as Jamie, the corpses at the hospital corner Jack, Rose, and the Doctor... (to be continued)

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