“The Empty Child” has got to be one of my favorite episodes in Series 1, primarily because it was a brilliant episode, but partly, also because Steven Moffat wrote it. “Blink” was the first Doctor Who episode I’ve ever seen, and the reason why I’ve grown a liking to it–and he was also the one who wrote it. Besides “Blink,” his stint in BBC’s Sherlock only made me like him all the more for his plot construction, and “The Empty Child” just brought a natural semblance to his writing aesthetic.
But before discussing the discernible creepiness of this episode, I would first go to yet another guest character, Captain Jack, who is obviously a very good looking (American!) guy who is charming and flirty and even suggests a threat on the Doctor’s part as Rose’s romantic interest (though that sort of connection is never blatantly pointed out, only implied). And he isn’t just attractive in a physical sense, but personality-wise he is very warm and fits perfectly in the knight-in-shining-armor slash whisk-you-off-your-feet archetype, and it was obviously difficult for Rose (and for the female viewers of the show) to resist that.
Aside from Jack’s obvious appeal, there’s that issue with sexuality. We could discern that his preferences can swing both ways, which for a show such as Doctor Who, would feel like it is pushing an envelope of some sort. Maybe to remain relevant, or maybe to shed light on the issue by making it not a big deal and just a natural tendency of the character, as opposed how Americans like to make a fuss about coming out and gay relationships, Jack’s sexuality was treated sort of lightly and even comically–and that kind of straightforwardness is something that you like or not.
The really startling aspect of this episode was the empty child itself, who keep on looking for his mummy. There was obviously something wrong with it, because Nancy was consistent with her warnings that no one should touch it. A little boy wearing a gas mask was a threat to the whole of London, and that fact only adds to the uncertainty and danger of the whole situation, precisely because it is a child, and therefore innocent. Society’s standards dictate that these are delicate creatures, and to inflict pain on them is frowned upon and would just feel wrong.
Aside from the Star Trek references (Captain Spock, etc), a question I’d like to bring up is why Rose hasn’t broken up with Mickey yet. It’s a rather odd situation, that was only brought to my attention because the Psychic Paper showed that she has a boyfriend and yet still available. They’re basically separated at this point, and literally for that matter–so it is a wonder why a breakup has never materialized in the past episodes. Lastly, there is that part where Nancy told The Doctor that if he wants to learn more from what’s happening, that he should ask the doctor, and it was just kind of a funny thing because though it wasn’t actually him, it’s still the (other) doctor who still had some answers.