The Doctor Who drought ends the day a blonde beauty's adventure begins.
The Doctor: I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?
Rose Tyler: Rose.
The Doctor: Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!
Meet everygirl Rose Tyler
: she has an overprotective mum, a dead dad, a nice, but aimless boyfriend, and a dead-end job in a department store. In short, This Loser Is You
, only probably a bit prettier.
One evening, after her workplace closes, Rose is asked to hand lottery money to the chief electrician, Wilson. Unable to find him, she gets mysteriously locked in a room full of mannequins, which hang around being creepy and then attack. Rose is backed up to a wall, facing death by mannequin, when her hand is grabbed by a stranger who yells "RUN!" and we're into the first chase of the new series. Meet the Ninth Doctor!
It ends sort of abruptly when the pair make it into a lift, followed so closely by a mannequin that the stranger ("the Doctor"; it's not like no-one saw it coming) can pull one of its plastic arms off. Rose's reasoning skills impress the Doctor enough that he asks her her name, introduces himself as the Doctor, and advises Rose to run like hell before the bomb he's going to plant goes off.
Rose happily obliges. The building goes up in flames and she's out of a job and thoroughly confused. She goes back home, where her mum Jackie is enjoying the excitement perhaps a little too much: phoning everyone, assuring them she's still alive, and trying to get Rose interviews, preferably well-paid ones. Rose is understandably angry. Boyfriend Mickey turns up, and tries to take his almost-dead girlfriend out to the pub, ostensibly to comfort her, but really so he can watch football. Rose asks him to get rid of the arm. Mickey chucks it in some random bin and calls it a night. It's not really his fault — it's only the series premiere, so he hasn't learned that random alien weirdness should be stomped into bits, set on fire
, and the ashes stomped into bits just in case.
Next morning, Rose doesn't have a job to go to, which is why she's home when the Doctor — having traced the plastic arm to her flat — turns up. The Doctor talks to Rose and gets attacked by the plastic arm, which managed to find its way back in. Rose thinks he's kidding, until it tries to kill her.
Rose and the Doctor escape and start contemplating their navels
. Apparently the plastic people want to take over the world. They make puns. The Doctor leaves in the TARDIS — the "mysterious blue box"; the audience is not meant to know what it is yet.
Rose goes to Mickey's house and hops on the Internet. With quite possibly the worst Google-fu seen in modern TV history (starting with the word "Doctor" and looking surprised when totally-not-Google
gives her actual doctors), she tries to find information and eventually stumbles across some random conspiracy-theory website run by some random guy.note
Then she dragoons Mickey into driving her over to conspiracy theory guy's place, where they discover that he's pretty normal — even has a wife and kids. He tells Rose all sorts of things that we know to be true, but naturally Rose doesn't believe him, and she bails at the first opportunity.
Meanwhile, Mickey has been eaten by a plastic wheelie bin, which spits out a plastic copy of him. They drive to a pizza place, badly.
They eat. The fake Mickey is obsessed with the Doctor, and keeps repeating the same words, babe, sugar, baby, sweetheart. The Doctor tracks them down and causes the fake Mickey to fall apart. They escape into the TARDIS, which has had a hell of a makeover. The Doctor tries to fly to plastic people headquarters, but fails. He and Rose have a half-angry half-curious all-expository argument. They discover that the base is under the London Eyenote
. They go down and see the plastic controller, which they call the Nestene Consciousness.
The real Mickey's there, freaking out. The Doctor tries to talk Nestene out of it; Nestene discovers the anti-plastic the Doctor has, goes crazy and activates all the plastic people. Jackie, who's out shopping, is attacked by evil plastic robot brides. Conspiracy man presumably gets killed, after having had all his theories confirmed.
Rose uses her halfway decent gymnastics skills to knock a plastic person into Nestene, which also sprinkles it with the anti-plastic it took from the Doctor. It dies. The plastic people give up and the Doctor, Rose and Mickey escape in the TARDIS. The base goes up in flames.
They arrive near home. Mickey goes into pseudo-PTSD. The Doctor offers to take Rose on his travels. She declines. He vanishes. Then he appears again and says "Did I mention, it also travels in time?" That's right, a Columbo
moment from across time and space.
Rose gives Mickey a kiss and this goodbye:
Mickey: Thanks for what?
And leaving her boyfriend in sadness and depression, she leaves to have happy-go-lucky adventures with Christopher Eccleston
- Arm Cannon: The Autons have this with those wonderful unfolding hands of theirs.
- The Atoner: The default state for the Ninth Doctor, brought to the forefront here by his guilt over not having saved the Nestene's planet — among countless others.
- Background Halo: The Doctor with the London Eye behind him.
- Backhanded Compliment: Just before she runs off with The Doctor, Rose tells Mickey thanks. When he confusedly asks what for, she responds with a simple "exactly". Basically calling him useless right to his face.
- Book Ends: "Rose" forms this with "Survival" for the wilderness years of Doctor Who when it wasn't being produced as a regular TV series by the BBC. Both stories involve the Doctor and his companion, a council estate girl, investigating mysterious goings-on around contemporary London which revolve around alien infiltrators, who are in turn connected to an old enemy of the Doctor's.
- Celibate Hero: Lampshaded when the Doctor points out to Rose's mum that nothing is going to happen. The scene was probably put in there to avert fan worries over the countless He Is Not My Boyfriend moments to come.
- Changed My Jumper:
- In however long the period was between the Ninth Doctor's regeneration to this episode, the Doctor ditched the Classy Cravat and trousers in favor of basic black jeans and jumper, although Nine takes a look at his features in a mirror in Rose's flat, suggesting that it happened recently.
- Accordingly, the TARDIS changed as well, dumping the classic roundels while retaining the coral struts that would become identified with Nine's console room.
- Chekhov's Gun: The London Eye appears for a split second near the beginning.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: The Doctor first meets Rose this way.
- Establishing Character Moment: In one word, Christopher Eccleston does a fair job of summarising the entire show.
- Fanfic Magnet: According to the fandom, the Doctor did quite a lot of things in the six seconds before he came back to Columbofy Rose. This is confirmed in e-book The Beast of Babylon.
- When Nine grabs Rose's hand, his first word — in fact the first thing the Doctor has said on TV in nine years: "Run!"
- Used to assure Rose that Ten is still the Doctor after he regenerates.
- Bonus points, considering one of the distinguishing characteristics of the new series is how much running they do.
Donna: Seriously, there's just a ridiculous amount of running.
- In fact, at one point that's literally all the Doctor and Company can do.
- Still used regularly. What Nine and Ten said to reassure, Eleven uses to threaten.
- A "war" is mentioned, along with the fact that the Doctor fought in in.
- Freudian Excuse: The Nestene lost its protein planets in the Time War, and mentions "constitutional rights" as it explains its invasion plans to the Doctor.
- Incompatible Orientation: When the Doctor is in Rose's living room, he looks at a tabloid and mutters, "Oh, won't last, he's gay and she's an alien."
- Load-Bearing Boss: The Nestene Consciousness. The anti-plastic causes its whole underground facility to explode, with the TARDIS barely escaping.
- Losing Your Head: Auton!Mickey's head pops off, and he lampshades the trope:
Mickey: Don't think that's gonna stop me...
- Murderous Mannequin: A whole army of 'em.
- Mythology Gag: Susan Foreman's birth name in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe is "Arkytior", which is Gallifreyan for "rose". The first Companions of both series were named Rose.'
- Noodle Incident:
- Precisely what the Doctor was doing at the Kennedy assassination, the eruption of Krakatoa and the day the Titanic set sail has never been explained, although the next episode does elaborate on the latter; apparently the Doctor ended up "clinging to an iceberg."
- The Doctor mentions being at the eruption of Krakatoa in Inferno.
- Not Using the Z Word: For some reason (probably to avoid losing those not familiar with the series proper), the Autons are not called such. They are referred to as Autons in the credits, however.
- Oh Crap: The Doctor, upon realising that Auton!Mickey's head is melting, which will stop him from tracing the signal back to the Nestene Consciousness.
- Poster-Gallery Bedroom: We only get a couple of quick glimpses, but Rose's bedroom is very pink indeed.
- Put on a Bus: Rose's mother and boyfriend are simply left behind in 21st century London, with the Doctor's assurance that she can return to them mere minutes after she left if she wants to. It doesn't actually work out that way in the future episode, but on paper it's a perfectly plausible promise to make.
- Self-Deprecation: Nine pauses to crack a joke about his prominent ears. Easy to miss on first viewing.
- Shaped Like Itself:
The Doctor: So it needs a transmitter to boost the signal.
Rose: What does it look like?
The Doctor: Like a transmitter!
- Shut Up and Save Me!: The Doctor is being attacked by a plastic hand. Rose continues talking to him while she's in the kitchen, and even when she walks into the room she initially thinks he's mucking about.
- Super Speed Reading: "Mmm, sad ending."
- Technical Pacifist: Rose suggests the Doctor just use the anti-plastic first thing. He insists on giving the Consciousness a chance to leave peacefully, starting a trend for the whole RTD era.
- There Are No Girls on the Internet:
Conspiracy Man's Wife: She's been reading the website about the Doctor, and she's a she?
- Uncanny Valley: Invoked with Plastic-Mickey.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A double whammy- for the Eighth Doctor, and the unseen event that created the Ninth Doctor. We don't know how the Doctor ended up with this new face at this point in time, only that his change in appearance was recent. In fact, a good eight years will roll by before those curiously missing bits of the Doctor's life are bridged in two stories.
- Whole Plot Reference: The episode is essentially a compressed and modernized adaptation of "Spearhead from Space" from Season 7, which introduced the Third Doctor.