For nineteen years, Rose’s voiceover says, “nothing happened. Nothing at all, not ever.” Flashback to meeting Nine (oh, Nine!), and sharing “the whole of time and space” with the Doctor (montaging through moments with Ten). She thought she’d stay with him forever, but then came the Army of Ghosts, Torchwood, and the War. “This is the story of how I died.” Now. We’ve had some grim openers, but *huddles under blankets*
Shift to the Doctor and Rose greeting Jackie, Jackie smooshing the Doctor with an, “you’re all mine!” Rose has a little present for Jackie, but Jackie’s got “a surprise for you and all”: Grandad Prentice is coming for tea. Er, didn’t he die ten years ago? “Say hello to Rose; ain’t she grown?” Jackie asks the shimmery ghost-figure who emerges in the kitchen.
Outside, ghosts shimmer everywhere; people in the courtyard seem a-ok with the haunting. It’s the two minute “mid-day shift.” At Torchwood Tower, a technician throws a switch, stopping the Ghost Shift. Yvonne Hartman announces the Ghost energy measurement, and everyone gives themselves a round of applause for being Ghost-harnessing creepers.
News coverage, plus the newly popular Ghost Talk and Ghosts acting on EastEnders, shows the global reach of the Ghost craze. It began two months ago; first people panicked but then realized they were lucky. The Doctor discounts Jackie’s insistence that “her” ghost smells like her father; humans wish the ghosts into existence, making them stronger, while the ghosts press dangerously further into the world.
On her earpiece, Yvonne brags about their “great Ghost Shift” while her pal Raj Singh laments the ginormous copper-y Sphere floating in his lab yields no readings. Upstairs, Gareth and Adeola (Ghost Shift workers) flirt on IM and sneak off for a snog. He waves her into a plastic-barrier blocked construction area; when he goes silent, she reluctantly follows. Holy guacamole, it’s Cyberman time! Adeola screams as she’s Upgraded.
“Who you gonna call?” the Doctor and Rose sing as they create a “triangulating point of origin…like tracing paper”. He’s ruining a beatiful thing, Jackie accuses, “reducing it to science.” The Doctor objects it’s horrific.
As the Doctor sets orange cones up outside, Jackie laments Rose has changed. If she keeps traveling after Jackie’s gone, in forty or fifty years, she won’t be Rose Tyler any more: she won’t even be human.
Putting on dark-sunglasses, Yvonne pep-talks her team for the next Ghost Shift. Gareth and Adeola return wearing two earpieces (like in “Rise of the Cybermen”). At the estate, the Doctor slips on his 3D glasses; soon a ghost’s trapped in his containment field. “Close it down!” Yvonne panics after alarms pick up interference; they stop the Shift. “It’s him,” Yvonne confirms excitedly as they zoom in on the location — and the TARDIS.
Meanwhile, “Allons-y!” exclaims the Doctor, setting the TARDIS to Ghost surge. “I should say allons-y more often,” he muses (worst announcement of This Is My New Catchphrase ever). Whoops, Jackie’s still aboard! “If we end up on Mars,” Jackie announces, “I’m going to kill you.”
They rematerialize inside Torchwood; the Doctor insists on exiting alone to the group of soldiers with guns: “Which makes me the better person, don’t you think?” he asks playfully over Rose’s objections. “They may shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine!” When he steps out warily with his hands up, he’s surprised by the round of applause greeting him. They sure like to applaud stuff at Torchwood.
Now, where’s that ever-present companion, Doctor? Grabbing inside indiscriminately, the Doctor produces Jackie. Bless: she looked at the time vortex, aging fifty-seven years (poor Jackie, who’s only forty). The Doctor offers Jackie’s tea-making services with the proviso her ankle’s going. “I show you where my ankle’s going,” Jackie growls.
Next Yvonne shows off their alien ships (including the Sycorax’s). “If it’s alien, it’s ours,” she announces as the TARDIS (with Rose inside) is carted off, for “the good of the British Empire.” There isn’t an Empire, Jackie insists. “Not yet,” Yvonne says. The Doctor’s their enemy, so declared in Torchwood’s original charter vowing to “fight the alien horde”. Sure, he’s more or less their prisoner, “but we’ll make you comfortable.”
Sphere visit time! Raj, a Doctor fanboy, gets ignored while Jackie asks what’s wrong with the Sphere. Makes you want to run and hide, Yvonne suggests; it has that effect because it gives off nothing. Hellooo, it’s a Void Ship, the Doctor interrupts, existing in space between the dimensions (an area called the Void, the Howling, or Hell). How do they get inside it? Raj asks. They don’t, the Doctor snaps; they send it back to hell.
The Ghosts came in the Sphere’s wake, Yvonne explains. “Show me,” the Doctor orders (though he doesn’t assume command of troops like Nine, he’s certainly runs the show his own way). Over at the Ghost Shift central, Adeola persuades another worker to follow her to the Plastic Pleasure/Punishment Palace. Screaming follows; he also returns Upgraded but human-looking.
Rose, having filched the Psychic Paper, sneaks around wearing a lab tech’s coat. Meanwhile the Doctor demonstrates the dangers of a “hole in the world,” cracking a glass frame with the Sonic Screwdriver. The splintering acts the same for the dimension: too many ghosts and, like the glass, it shatters.
“We’re in control of the Ghosts,” Yvonne insists, refusing the Doctor’s “alien authority over the rights of man!” He shrugs. “Pull up a chair, Rose,” he advises Jackie, “and watch the fire.” Yvonne dithers as the countdown continues; at the last moment she commands the scientists yank twin giant levers to stop the shift. “They said you liked to make a mess,” Yvonne says sourly about the broken glass, but agrees to talk before continuing.
The converted Cybermen workers wordlessly continue the countdown. Though Rose edges into the Sphere Room, her Psychic Paper doesn’t work (damn TW’s psychic training!). “Samuel, can you check the locks,” Raj complains. “Doing it now, sir,” his assistant says, and MICKEY, IT’S MICKEY! I had to pause while I flapped about and make dolphin noises!
Rose snuck into Torchwood, Raj tattles! When the Doctor (upstairs) pretends not to know her, Yvonne says, “Good, then we can have her shot.” Very efficient! Oh, fine, that’s Rose, and Jackie’s the pseudo-companion. When Yvonne raises an eyebrow, the Doctor asks, “Please, when Torchwood comes to write my complete history, don’t tell people I travelled through time and space with her mother.” Still way more domestic than Nine, Ten!
Meanwhile, the three Cyber-workers ramp up Ghost Shift; even Yvonne’s orders can’t pull back the levers from their override. While Raj frantically notes the Sphere’s active, the Doctor stops the Cybermen-drones by zapping their earpieces. “You killed them!” Jackie cries, horrified as Yvonne figures out their earpieces were attached to their brain meat (ew).
Raj calls for attention (when doesn’t he, really?); they’re trapped while the read-outs go nutso. “The fight goes on here,” Mickey says, all cocky and awesome. “This world’s colliding with another,” the Doctor realizes. By the Sphere, Mickey explains when Cybermen left his world, he followed them to this one, crossing a boundary that should have been impassable.
Ghost Shift continues, amped up to 100%. “Here we go,” Mickey announces, training a crazy huge gun on the Sphere. All over the world, shimmery Ghost pals turn into fully materialized Cybermen enemies. “It’s not an invasion,” the Doctor corrects Yvonne’s assumption while Cybers invade homes and threaten humans everywhere: “It’s a victory.”
“Name’s Mickey, Mickey Smith,” Mickey snaps, vowing to “defend the Earth,” as the Sphere begins to open.
Confronted by Cybers at Ghost Shift central, the Doctor warns Yvonne not to resist, and asks the Cyber Leader what the hell is up with the Sphere. “It’s origin is unknown,” it barks back (oooh, just like the Dalek Emperor had no idea what Bad Wolf was); the Cybermen merely followed.
Oh crap, it’s DALEKS inside the Sphere! “Location, Earth — life forms, detected –EXTERMINATE!” they shriek.
Oooh wee ahwoo ahooo! Sorry posting’s been a bit off; I’m still across the country from where I normally hang my hat, and without the access to computers and internet I’d hoped for. BUT I’ve filched a mini laptop and am bringing you recaps this week for realsies! See you for the harrowing conclusion to this arc, “Doomsday”, and later for the Doctor Who Special, “The Runaway Bride”!