Evil, yes... But a pretty damn good artist...
The Doctor: It's graphite. Basically the same material as an HB pencil.
Rose: I was attacked by a... pencil scribble?
The Doctor takes Rose to see the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, landing in a small development outside of London. They quickly find a few things amiss: children and pets have gone missing, and a road crew, preparing for the running of the Olympic torch through the area, is baffled by a spot in the road that causes cars passing over it to stall out. As they examine the area, they are attacked by... a ball made from squiggly lines?
After dealing with the ball, the Doctor uses his cheerful nature to quickly identify the problems coming from the home of Trish and her daughter Chloe. Chloe seems aloof and separated from the real world, focusing on drawings that cover her walls; Trish attributes it to her troubled childhood with her dad years ago. Rose looks at the drawings and swears that she saw one move. Oh, and the Doctor off-handedly tells her (and reminds the audience) that he was a dad once
. Rose doesn't look like she was prepared for that.
The Doctor quickly identifies that Chloe has been taken by an alien lifeform, an Isolus, normally part of millions traveling through space but stranded alone on Earth from a solar flare. To cope, it has formed a psychic bond with the lonely and depressed Chloe, giving her the power to trap people and objects in pictures that she draws; it also allows her to bring such pictures to life, as briefly evidenced by the monstrous drawing of her father in the back of her closet. Fortunately, the solution is simple: they just have to find the Isolus pod, provide it power to reactivate it, and the Isolus will have a way to rejoin its own family. Easy, right?
The Doctor and Rose go to the TARDIS, and while Rose waits outside, the Doctor finds a glass-made detector to locate the Isolus pod. There is a crash of glass, and Rose turns to find both the TARDIS and the Doctor have vanished.
Meanwhile, Chloe proudly hangs the new picture of the Doctor and his TARDIS on her wall.
Rose returns to the street and recalls the area on the road. Finding it warm, she gets the road crew's help to dig it out and finds the Isolus pod, no larger than her fist. Now she just needs a power source.
The broadcast of the opening ceremonies has started, but Chloe, still angry, draws out the entire crowd at the scene; the announcers are stunned when the entire crowd disappears. But Chloe is not done yet and, clearing away a section of the wall, starts drawing the entire planet Earth. Rose tries to get Chloe to stop without success, but she spots the Doctor's picture on the wall, where he points to the Olympic torch. Rose understands and races outside, throwing the pod at the passing torch. The Isolus says goodbye to Chloe, departs her body, and reunites with the pod, and all of the disappearances begin to reverse: the children, the stadium audience...
...and Chloe's horrific drawing of her father. As they flee from the animated figure, Trish and Rose are able to calm Chloe enough to dispel the drawing, leaving them safe.
Rose has yet to see hide or hair of the Doctor, despite the pictures being empty. Meanwhile, the torch runner approaches the stadium but stumbles, dropping the torch before it is picked up by a familiar-looking man — the Doctor. He runs the last leg of the torch to the Olympic flame and lights it; combined with the emotional response from the ceremony
, it gives the Isolus pod enough energy to take off into space.
Sometime later, the Doctor has reunited with Rose, saying goodbye to Trish and Chloe, and taking off to watch the Games together. Rose comments that their companionship can never be separated, but the Doctor fears that a storm is coming
For the next six years, David Tennant
was required to show up for the real deal
, with even groups on Facebook and petitions
asking for it. In the end, Tennant was not involved. However, a different incarnation
of the Doctor has indeed carried the 2012 Olympic torch for a leg
- Abusive Parents: Chloe's dead/reborn-as-a-scribble dad. Based on his drawing, he was a terror.
- Adults Are Useless: Chloe's mother in a nutshell. She's given only one job to do; keep an eye on Chloe and prevent her from trapping people in drawings. So naturally, she decides to wander off twice! Rose calls her out on her stupidity.
- Apocalypse How: After apparently not seeing a stadium full of people as enough, Chloe attempts to draw the whole Earth.
- Arc Words: "...the battle of Torchwood."
- Art Attacker: Chloe/the alien traps people in pictures.
- Big "Shut Up!": "FINGERS ON LIPS!"
- Breather Episode: Word of God says that the first choice of Matthew Graham, the episode's writer, was a big, epic story with spaceships and whatnot, but RTD specifically asked for this episode to be light and kid-friendly to contrast with the dark season finale (not to mention that the special effects budget is starting to run low).
- Call Back: The Doctor makes mention of "a cat in a wimple".
- Chewing the Scenery: "IT'S YOUR FATHER, AND I'M COMING TO HURT YOU."
- Continuity Nod: The solar flares from "Frontios", and the Doctor as a parent from "An Unearthly Child" to "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".
- Creepy Child: Chloe draws people and then they disappear. She threatens to do that to her mother.
- Everyone Lives: Since the Monster of the Week doesn't kill anyone, nobody dies this time.
- Full-Name Basis: The alien constantly refers to her host as Chloe Webber.
- Hilarious in Hindsight / De Fictionalization: Matt Smith carrying the Olympic Torch.
- History Marches On:
- No, Papua New Guinea didn't shock the world in the shot-put during the actual 2012 Olympics. The gold went to Poland.
- Of course, the entire crowd in the Olympic stadium didn't vanish and suddenly reappear either, and as much as the fans would have liked it, David Tennant didn't carry the Olympic torch. Alternate History is in full effect here.
- Hope Spot: Rose manages to get the pod into the Olympic torch, and the alien goes home right before it traps the whole world in one of Chloe's drawings... but there's still no sign of the Doctor, and Chloe's drawing of her abusive father comes to life and tries to attack her.
- It's Always Spring: Inverted: During the run-up to the Summer Olympics, we can see the actors' breath outside, revealing that the episode was filmed in January and February.
- Karma Houdini: The Isolus never suffers any consequences for its actions, and it's implied that it never will. Child though it may be, it was a petulant, self-centered and unreasonable child, and any normal child who behaved in a similar way (on a comparatively human scale) would have been punished severely by any self-respecting parent.
- Kids Are Cruel: Rose argues this as she and the Doctor discuss his sympathy for Chloe and the alien. The alien itself draws up Chloe's abusive father to protect herself from the doctor... though it's heavily implied Chloe willingly drew it alongside her to keep her protected.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The drawing-come-to-life of Chloe's father is never shown. All we get is some red light and shadows, banging on a door, and his shouted threats.
- One-Book Author: The (Thankfully) sole acting credit for Abisola Agbaje(Chloe).
- Posthumous Character: Chloe's father died before all this alien business.
- The Power of Love: The Monster of the Week needs it — they're children who need to be loved, or they'll die without it
- Shout-Out: The Doctor gives the Vulcan salute and later uses something quite similar to a Vulcan Mind Meld on Chloe.
- A Storm Is Coming: The Doctor and Rose stop briefly before they leave to point out the storm that's coming... half a decade prior. That's time travel for you.
- Tempting Fate: "They keep on trying to split us up, but they never ever will. [...] We'll always be okay, you and me." You just had to say it, Rose.
- Vagueness Is Coming: The Doctor announces a storm at the end.
- Wham Line: "I was a dad once" for Rose. And some major Fridge Horror a few moments later, when you realise that depending on whether his family were still alive during the Time War, the Doctor may have killed them when he destroyed Gallifrey.