The penultimate episode, and first of the two-part narrative, The Army of Ghosts sought to bring together certain characteristic elements of the season: Daleks, the Cybermen, Mickey Smith, Pete Tyler, and Torchwood, as well as Rose and the Doctor’s propensity towards sneaking into top secret institutes.

Thematically, the episode likewise rounded off the season’s more notable narrative elements such as the trend of addressing supernatural elements – among them werewolves and assorted religious figures—only this time, it was ghosts. One of this episode’s best attractions was featuring a drastically or radically changed or altered Mickey Smith.

Perhaps because of my natural inclination to side with the underdogs, I love how Mickey Smith was portrayed as having found his life, his goals, his calling. He is obviously more confident towards Rose because he knows that he is capable of protecting her in a manner that the Doctor cannot. Instead of worrying about being useless, Mickey Smith is capable. He even calls himself the “defender of the earth,” armed with his big gun. Although understandably taken aback by the Daleks once they emerged from the void ship, Mickey Smith does not cower. He does nothing to initiate conflict but neither does he look afraid. This Mickey Smith, defender of a parallel Earth, was able to travel through the void to go after Cybermen and make sure they didn’t harm anyone else. That’s a hero:

Dr. Rajesh Singh: Samuel, what the hell are you doing?
Mickey Smith: The name’s Mickey. Mickey Smith, defending the earth!

Interestingly, I recently found out that Noel Clarke, the actor who portrayed Mickey Smith, will appear in the feature film The Centurion:

In spite of the poster, now I actually want to watch it.

I was particularly fond of this episode’s opening sequence, especially its short and none-too-comprehensive summary of the past two seasons with Rose Tyler. The first time I saw it, I actually thought she would suffer a painful, physical death:

Rose Tyler: The first nineteen years of my life, nothing happened. Nothing at all, not ever. And then I met a man called the Doctor. A man who could change his face. He took me away from home in his magical machine. He showed me the whole of time and space. I thought it would never end.

Rose Tyler: Planet Earth. This is where I was born. And this is where I died. For the first nineteen years of my life nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not ever. And then I met a man called The Doctor. A man who could change his face. And he took me away from home in his magical machine. He showed me the whole of time and space. I thought it would never end. That’s what I thought. But then came the Army of Ghosts, then came Torchwood and the war. And that’s when it all ended. This is the story of how I died.

Now, having watched both The Army of Ghosts and Doomsday at least four times each, I can say that I would have preferred it if Rose didn’t live in a parallel universe somewhere, pining for her Doctor. The Army of Ghosts would have been more tragic if I was more of a fan of Rose Tyler, of her entire story arc. When I first watched this episode, I was instantly relieved because at least the Doctor can – and will – have other companions that might be more interesting. This episode brought to light how I liked Rose Tyler almost purely because she made the Doctor happy and, now with the prospect of some form of character death, at least he can move on.