Doctor Who
The Unquiet Dead

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: C+ | 4 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Zombie Grandma Is Way Cooler Than All Other Zombies

Then Dickens goes into confessional poetry mode with a quickness: "I've always railed against the fantasies. Oh, I loved an illusion as much as the next man, reveled in them,...that's what they were! Illusions! The real world is something else. I dedicated myself to that: Injustices, great social causes. I hoped that I was a force for good. Now you tell me that the real world is a realm of spectres and jack o' lanterns. In which case -- have I wasted my brief span here, Doctor? Has it all been for nothing?" Dickens makes a compelling point, but, like, I don't follow. Are ghosts and beasties automatically more important than health care and human rights? Because if the Dickens has devoted himself to those causes, 1869 UK is a bad year and place to trumpet your successes in that arena. I think, though, that it's a basic all-or-nothing faith-based v. humanist argument: either worldly concerns are paramount, or they're not. And if you're deeply stupid (which the Dickens is not) or have intense blind spots (which he clearly does), you might be fooled into becoming a Ghostbuster when you could probably get more done at the local soup kitchen. Or, you know, reforming the feudal system or whatever. Taking child labor out of the equation. Writing interminable novels about wackily-named and whining poor people in a variety of countries and locales.

In the kitchen, Gwyneth lights a gas lamp -- gas lamp! -- and Rose comes in and starts doing dishes. Gwyneth yells at her, just like Rose's last poor friend last week, and Rose tells her, "Don't be daft, Sneed works you to death." Which is funny, because if ever you could take that literally and it still wouldn't be a problem.... Gwyneth assents, and she and Rose work together. It pinged a little last week, this Rose-and-labor shortcut to proving she's a decent fellow, but, like, the poorest, most fucked-up kid in urban London is still better off in almost every way than a nineteenth-century nobleman, you know? So it's more a meeting of mindsets, but that falls apart too, because Rose has not even that in common with any of these people. Nothing makes you quite the snob that time travel does, by simple circumstances, because the future is always, always better. Anyhow, Rose kind of gets smacked for it here, but not enough to take the taste completely out. "Isn't she sweet? She really connects to the common man! Indoor plumbing means we're better people!" Not that I'm taking up the cause of premodern living, because we are better people, and we smell better, and we don't have a whole lot of ghostly issues happening all the time, but still, it's kind of cheap as a shortcut to making Rose more sympathetic, considering that she's pretty bad-ass without having to engage in meaningless conversations about sweet F.A. with whatever house servant they run across.

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