It is interesting that a television show would harp on the pitfalls of watching television. It’s like the show is making fun of itself. I spent some time considering what the symbolism of losing one’s face to television meant — was it simply for the horrific effect of having a smoothened face, or were the writers trying to imply something else? The scene were all the faceless people were locked up was quite scary. I think one interpretation is that you can lose your identity or individuality to television, especially if you’re inclined to being a couch potato that is glued to the ‘boob tube’. Instead of living your own life, you become busy watching the lives of others.

I didn’t really enjoy the episode because I feel it didn’t contribute to character development or to the overall plot. The Wire was an interesting enemy, but she was not that terrifying. In fact, I wondered why the Doctor couldn’t simply turn off the television set to be done with her. Also, I didn’t understand how sucking the Wire into a Betamax casette killed her — I am a techie and a great scifi fan, but I didn’t see the logic in it. I also found the character of Magpie bothersome because I couldn’t bring myself to pity him and I didn’t see the value of killing him off.

I also felt that the story should have been less forgiving to Tommy’s father. He was obviously a ruthless and abusive parent and spouse. He acted like the king of the household, even locking away the legal owner of the house. At the end of the episode, Rose still encouraged Tommy to go to him because ‘he’s your father’. Being an abusive father is inexcusable, because, apart from the obvious physical dangers, this affects the victim’s personal development, social skills, and self-esteem. I think Rose was too eager to forgive because her own father was dead, and she was hoping that Tommy could still have a relationship with his. I really resented her at this point.

This forgiveness sends the wrong message to the viewers. Part of trouble contributing to the issue of abusive parents and spouses is that the victims continue forgiving them and hoping that they’ll become kinder, even if all the evidence points to the contrary. Just because someone is your father doesn’t mean you can project all your idealism onto him — parents are not perfect.

Another thing pointing to the lack of merit of the episode is the fact that if you eliminate it, the series won’t decline in value. I think it’s better to have each episode contribute to the overall story of the series, even if it’s subtle, such as in the Bad Wolf implants in Series 1.

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