Well, just when we thought we’d seen the last of those gassy, baby-faced alien Slitheens, one of them comes back. There’s something of a moral dilemma over what to do with her, but in the end, I think there was something a bit more noteworthy going on with this episode.
The Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack seem to have a nice thing going, so much so that a trip to of all places Cardiff seems to be in order. Mickey is there for some reason, so he takes his mealy-mouthed ways over there and says hello. OK, the Doctor is again using the wrong name, but he more or less likes Mickey now, so it’s more of a pet name, and Mickey can give as good as he gets by pointing out the Doctor does have some rather large ears in this incarnation.
Now, I’m not exactly an expert on Welsh geography, and I only know Cardiff is in Wales because someone mentions as much later in the episode, but there’s a good in-universe reason to go there: there’s a dimensional rift under the city that, with the TARDIS parked on top of it, the TARDIS gets a nice recharge to its batteries.
By the by, Mickey does ask why people don’t notice the TARDIS more often, and the Doctor has an explanation for that: people tend to just ignore stuff. Works for me!
So, there must be something going on here, and not just another “bad wolf” reference that has been happening all during the Ninth Doctor’s run but I never mentioned before because…well, I just haven’t. It seems there’s a single Slitheen left, and she’s somehow become the Lord Mayor of Cardiff. And she’s building a power plant over the rift. Is she changed? Well, she killed one guy for pointing out the power plant could make things bad given the way it’s being built and where, but later spares a woman reporter since it comes out the woman is both engaged and pregnant. Could this Slitheen be..lonely?
Well, it may not matter much. The Doctor and his pals do manage to capture her, using the sonic screwdriver to keep her from teleporting away. The Doctor is going to take her to her homeworld. Sure, she has a death sentence there, but her plans might have destroyed the Earth and left her with a space surfboard to fly away on. She says she’s changed, there’s a great scene where the Doctor takes her out to dinner and he knows all her tricks to get away and maybe kill him before she can do anything, and she does mention the pregnant woman, but the Doctor thinks she’s probably let people go before.
OK, bottom line is she hasn’t changed, and the whole thing was a trick to somehow hook her cosmic surfboard up to something like the TARDIS. That just makes the TARDIS open up and expose its soul (yes, it’s alive), something even the Doctor has never looked into before, and the potentially grateful Slitheen is returned to an egg form where the Doctor can drop it off in a nursery and let her try to be a good person all over again. That’s a very Doctorish solution.
However, I said this episode was about something else, and that has to do with Rose and Mickey. Though the pair split off to have dinner and share a hotel, that latter part never happens. Rose has been something of a new kind of companion. We’ve seen quite a bit of her life back home, and the show keeps going back there. She isn’t just there for the Doctor to tell stuff to and bounce ideas off. She’s being treated as more of a real character with a family and support structure.
So where does all that leave Mickey, a decent enough guy even if he was a little too scared to board the TARDIS full time?
It leaves him kinda heartbroken and mad. All he really wanted was a guarantee that when she’s done traipsing around the universe that Rose will come back to him. That’s an unreasonable request in the best of times, and of course Rose can’t promise that, but I thought it was a nice touch to add to the series. Most of the Doctor’s companions don’t seem to have much in the way of family or friends back home that they can just take off for a while and nobody seems to miss these people. Rose had her mom and Mickey. They might be concerned.
So, Mickey is a bit lost when his life gets thrown into turmoil because of the Doctor, and that’s, well, something I think the show was a bit wise to acknowledge.
Oh, Mickey still seems inclined to pout and he’s a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, but it’s for very understandable reasons.