Still stunned from the loss of Rose, the Doctor is even more surprised when he finds someone else in the TARDIS – someone else who’s wearing a bridal gown and insists that she was only moments ago at a church walking down the aisle. Her name is Donna, and she’s neither impressed or pleased to find herself in an alien time machine.
The Doctor whisks her back to Earth, but no sooner has she arrived again than trouble follows: the robot Santas return, but this time they’re not homing in on the Doctor – they’re after Donna. The Doctor discovers that Donna’s body has been irradiated with a kind of energy that hasn’t existed for billions of years, and sets about tracking down the cause of it, eventually finding an elaborate but abandoned Torchwood installation beneath the Thames. But that top-secret organization isn’t behind the energy or the robots. The Empress of the spider-like Racnoss is, and she plans to use Donna to jump-start a diabolical plan to revive her nearly-extinct race…at the cost of the human race’s extinction. If the Doctor can’t find a way to flush this not-so-itsty-bitsy spider down the waterspout, Donna’s TARDIS travels may have already come to an end.
written by Russell T. Davies
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold
Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Sarah Parish (Empress), Don Gilet (Lance Bennett), Howard Attfield (Geoff Noble), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Trevor Georges (Vicar), Glen Wilson (Taxi Driver), Krystal Archer (Nerys), Rhodri Meiur (Rhodri), Zafirah Boateng (Little Girl), Paul Kasey (Robot Santa)
Appearing in footage from New Earth: Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
Notes: Despite numerous mentions that the planet of the Time Lords has been destroyed, this marks the first time in the new series that the name “Gallifrey” has been spoken on screen. (It’s somehow fitting, given that the name wasn’t invented until Jon Pertwee’s final season, over a decade into the original series’ run.) Sarah Parrish starred with David Tennant in the series Blackpool (which was seen in the U.S. under the title of “Viva Blackpool”). Though the Doctor says his visit to the formation of Earth is further back in time than he’s ever gone, one would presume that the TARDIS’ visit to “event one,” i.e. the creation of the galaxy (see Castrovalva, 1982), must by definition be even further back in time, though he had just regenerated and wasn’t aware of much of it. The extrapolator makes its first appearance since Boom Town. For only the third time in the series’ history (The Deadly Assassin, the 1996 TV movie), the Doctor arrives and departs without a companion. The “dark times” during which the Time Lords did battle with the Racnoss may or may not be the same dark times hinted at by Lady Peinforte in Silver Nemesis. When the Doctor and Donna run out of the TARDIS en route to their final confrontation with the Empress, Donna leaves the door open, but it’s closed a second later.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]