World War Three is a much more exciting episode — I have to admit that I found myself on the edge of my seat during the chase through 10 Downing Street, corny aliens or not. As an advertising major, I was highly amused when it turned out that the signal transmitting to outer space was really just an advertisement for Earth’s precious chemicals. I enjoy it when sci-fi shows have aliens that commit ‘human’ crimes, like conning or kidnapping. It makes them seem more real. The episode also had really silly quirks, such as the skittles next to the red emergency phone, Harriet proclaiming ‘voice mail dooms us all’, and the very unsafe and repeated use of the ‘buffalo’ password. The funniest part was when the soldier barged in on the Raxacoricofallapatorians’ meeting, and then politely excused himself with a ‘Sorry!’

Unfortunately, this episode was not so successful at balancing silliness and credibility. First, why was the United Kingdom allowed to declare war on behalf of the planet? As the world’s greatest superpower, the United States would have more technology and a greater prerogative. Also, would the United Nations not have a lot of highly skilled technicians to protect their software and databases? Why does Mickey know how to hack into military programs? I only realized these things after watching World War Three though, as I was caught up in the pacing of the episode.

In this episode, Jackie, Rose, Mickey, and the Doctor’s lives are intertwined tighter, since they have to rely on each other to escape the Raxacoricofallapatorians. It becomes apparent that Mickey and Jackie will play a greater role in the series. During World War Three, Rose asserts herself more, especially her independence from her mother, Mickey, and even the Doctor. When Jackie questions whether or not Rose will be safe, Rose reminds her that she is an adult. It is hard to digest that Rose is only 18, but in Western countries, people of that age tend to be viewed as adults who can live on their own and support themselves. As a Filipino, I still consider 18 year-olds as teenagers, and I assumed Rose was in her mid-twenties already!   When I found out she was only 18, I had to reconsider her character — I previously considered her really immature for her age, but from my new point of view, I realized she was braver and more mature than I gave her credit for.

The romantic tension between Rose and the Doctor really flared up when he said that he was afraid of losing her. He obviously wanted to keep her as a companion, especially when tempting her with descriptions of a fiery nebula. It is a bit creepy to consider that Rose is 18 and the Doctor is over 900 years old — it reeks of Twilight! I personally believe that the Doctor would be more suited to a more glamorous and cosmopolitan person, although Rose’s open-mindedness and adventurism suit him. He would also be better off with someone who shares his near-immortality.

Immortal nonhumans + captivated teenagers seems to be popular these days...

Harriet Jones played an important and heartwarming role in this episode. She is a dignified and polite lady who does not let go of her British etiquette even during emergencies — when death was imminent, she still brandished her card at the Doctor and introduced herself. It is really funny whenever she says “fart — if you pardon the word!” She represents only a small district, but she has big ambitions and tries to be active in politics. Although she is a suited-up politician, she is not afraid to get dirty while saving the world with the Doctor and Rose.

Having Harriet succeed as Prime Minister is part of the Whovian fighting spirit. When viewers watch Doctor Who, they usually find themselves cheering on the misfits, the underdogs, and the backbenchers. Harriet may have had only a small district to represent, but she had the guts, skill, patriotism, and caring to run the entire country. This is a refreshing outcome, especially considering the corrupt circus that politics can be. It was also great to hear that she ushered in Britain’s Golden Age.

I really enjoyed this episode, flaws and all. Alien-invasion-themed shows tend to be over the top or ridiculously cheesy, but World War Three managed to be entertaining. I was also looking forward to more participation from Mickey and Jackie. The episode ended with Rose and the Doctor leaving them behind, but it was apparent that they would have more to say in the future.

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