|Though there's not much competition for that title....|
|Wait, that window looks familiar....|
|Oh, they've redecorated! I don't like it.|
|Each one governed by the Judges.|
Of course, he's probably referring to how many times the creature inside the moon has hatched and laid another moon. Spoilers.
Doctor: "Population 96 billion. The hub of a galactic domain stretching across a million planets, a million species. With mankind right in the middle."
Adam, face to face with future history, faints.
Doctor: "He's your boyfriend."
Rose: "Not anymore."
Good to see that you've... suddenly decided to stop cheating on Mickey...?
After the opening titles, the Doctor tries to get Adam more on board with everything.
Doctor: "Come on, Adam. Open your mind."
Oh, he will, Doctor. He will.
The Doctor talks up how intelligent, refined, and civilized the human race is at this point... before the floor they're on opens up shop, and quickly fills up with rude people eating fast food garbage, like "Kronkburgers" with cheese or pajatos. "Kronkburgers" are from an old Doctor Who comic, but I have no idea what a "pajato" could possibly be. Google suggested Arabic, but the only source it could cite was this episode, so who knows?
Rose: "Your history's not as good as you thought it was."
Doctor: "My history's perfect."
Rose: "Well, obviously not."
The thing that Adam notices is the lack of all the aliens the Doctor mentioned, which the Doctor notes is a good question. I mean, "a million planets, a million species," right? Then how come everybody in place is human, apart from the one token alien with conspicuous ears who claimed to be half-human on his mother's side?
|What is this, the United Federation of Planets?|
Doctor: "Go and find out. Stop nagging me! The thing is, Adam, time travel's like visiting Paris; you can't just read the guidebook. You gotta throw yourself in. Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double..."
|Find duplicates of the Mona Lisa...|
|Paris? You did that in San Francisco, Doctor.|
As Rose and Adam go off on what the Doctor refers to as their first date...
Rose: "You're gonna get a smack, you are."
...he finds two employees (Christine Adams and Anna Maxwell Martin) and asks where he is.
Employee: "Must've been a hell of a party."
Employee 2: "You're on Satellite 5."
Doctor: "What's Satellite 5?"
Employee: "Come on, how could you get on board without knowing where you are?"
|That'll do it.|
Doctor: "Why? What happens at Floor 500?"
Employee: "The walls are made of gold."
...So? Sounds to me like that would be annoyingly shiny, get boring after a while, and not actually have any cost-effective benefits.
The employees... Okay, I'll just get to their names, even though the episode hasn't. The first employee (Cathica) takes the Doctor and the second employee (Suki) over to the monitors, where she brags about Satellite 5's news coverage. Solar flares, water shortages, and the Face of Boe just announced his pregnancy on Bad Wolf TV.
Doctor: "I get it. You broadcast the news."
Cathica: "We are the news. We're the journalists. We write it, package it, and sell it. 600 channels, all coming out of Satellite 5 and broadcasting everywhere."
It's at this point that we cut to the Editor of Satellite 5, watching this on his monitor in his office many floors above the action. The Editor is played by none other than one of the ranking contenders for the title "King of the Nerds," Simon Pegg, who would later go on to what I think we can all agree is his most famous sci-fi role...
|Nameless Imperial Officer from the Phineas and Ferb Star Wars Special.|
Star Trek Into Darkness? Everything about that was pretty much wrong.
The Editor has a nearby frost-covered employee run a security check on the suspicious people on Floor 139 while Adam and Rose sample the local cuisine, including the local slushie flavors.
Rose: "Sort of beef."
Adam goes through the same existential crisis that Rose did a few episodes back, so she hands him her souped-up phone to let him dial up his house. To his amazement, it works. Astonished, he leaves a quick message on the machine that he's been traveling and he'll call back later. As he hangs up, the lunch whistle blows, alerting everyone that it's time to get back to work. The Doctor calls his companions over to meet his two new friends, and Adam quickly pockets Rose's phone while she rushes over to the Doctor.
Back with the Editor, the security check has gone through with no problems, which the Editor can't accept.
|Pegg and Frost, ladies and gentlemen.|
Cathica informs the other journalists of the "management inspection" while she sits down in some kind of futuristic chair.
Cathica: "Okay, so, ladies, gentlemen, multisex, undecided, or robot...."
|"Electronic-American, if you don't mind."|
After not-so-subtly hinting to the Doctor that she's giving her full name so he knows who to praise on Floor 500, she says that they should all feel free to ask questions.
Cathica: "The process of news-gathering must be open, honest, and beyond bias. That's company policy."
Suki: "A-actually, it's the law."
I don't know what the Doctor's complaining about; if this future actually mandates honesty and lack of bias in news by law, then it's miles ahead of much of the news today.
As the other newspeople reach out to their ergonomic keyboards, the room lights up and Cathica opens up a little hole in her skull with a snap of her fingers. On her mark, the others work on the news by linking their minds together and sending it all as raw information through her brain for processing. She won't remember any of it, since it goes out as fast as it comes in.
|There's a metaphor for shrinking attention spans in the wake of increased media presence in this somewhere....|
Back in the Editor's snow-covered room, they've discovered that somebody in the newsroom is there under false pretenses. As the Editor's search closes in, Adam stands amazed by the technology of the future.
Doctor: "This technology's wrong."
Somehow, the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire is not as it should be.
Doctor: "Oh, yeah."
The Editor's scan finally picks out Suki as the big liar, and the news connection is broken. While Cathica chews Suki out over this glitch, the Editor discovers a second biography hidden under Suki's background information. A snarling voice above him roars some unintelligible gibberish, and he apologizes to the unseen thing on the ceiling that they didn't catch Suki sooner. The Editor gives his icemen the order to get Suki up there, so they put out an announcement that Suki has been promoted to Floor 500, to Cathica's chagrin.
The other employees stay silent, probably because giving them lines means they'd have to be paid more, but Suki couldn't be happier. Cathica, on the other hand, is complaining about how unfair everything is, which is totally the professional thing to do. No wonder she hasn't been promoted yet.
Rose: "What's floor 500?"
Doctor: "The walls are made of gold."
Eventually, they all make their way over to the elevator to see Suki off. She might have just met the Doctor, but she's grateful to him for being her lucky charm.
Doctor: "Alright. I'll hug anyone."
|Give it a regeneration or three.|
Adam: "It's gonna take a better man than me to get between you two."
Adam: "Yeah, like it's not weird in there."
As Adam walks off, he allows himself an evil chuckle while Suki heads up on the elevator to Floor 500. Once she's gone, Cathica bids her good riddance.
Doctor: "You're talking like we'll never see her again. She's only going upstairs."
Cathica: "We won't. Once you go to Floor 500, you never come back."
The Doctor's seen enough evil schemes over the universe to recognize one when he sees it, and immediately sombers up at this news. He grills Cathica on what she knows about the whole operation while Suki emerges onto the frozen deck of the 500th floor. She takes a convenient flashlight from her duffle bag and takes a look around, finding nothing but snow, steam, blue lighting, some dead bodies hooked up to news terminals, and the Editor himself.
Suki: "What's happening? There are bodies out there; what's going on?"
Editor: "While we're asking questions, would you please confirm your name."
He brings up a hologram of her giving an interview to Satellite 5.
Suki Hologram: "My name is Suki Macrae Cantrell. I was born 199'89 in the Independent Republic of Morocco."
Suki Hologram: "Hobbies include reading and archaeology. I'm not an expert, though, or anything, I just like digging."
Suki Hologram: "I want to work for Satellite 5 because my sister can't afford university... and the pay scheme is really good."
It's not often a company admits that their pay sucks. The Editor explains that even with those genetic grafts, they found out that "Suki" is really Eva Saint Julienne, a former member of the Freedom Fifteen.
|Boy, the Fantastic Four got hardcore after adding eleven members.|
Suki: "You are lying to the people."
Uh, yeah. They're the news.
Suki: "This whole system is corrupt."
When pressed, the Editor does what any employee worth their NaCl does and shifts the blame upwards to the Editor-in-chief.
Editor: "He's overseeing everything. Literally. Everything. If you don't mind, I'm going to have to refer this upwards."
He points up, and Suki finds... something up there.
Suki: "What is that?"
Editor: "Your boss. This has always been your boss, since the day you were born."
Suki's laser blasts do nothing, and she screams in terror as the unseen horror on the ceiling goes for her.
|So... you're not going to run or anything? ...'Kay.|
Adam: "From the 21st century to the present date, give me the history of the microprocessor."
|So, in the future, computer operating systems look thousands of years out of date and are actually harder to read?|
Cathica: "You're not management, are you?"
With that, she changes her tune and stops answering questions.
Cathica: "I don't know anything."
Doctor: "Don't you even ask?"
Cathica: "Well, why would I?"
Doctor: "You're a journalist!"
And if she's anything like modern day journalists, her job consists of nothing more than copying whatever "news" story is trending and hoping that it didn't originate from The Onion.
Doctor: "Why's all the crew human?"
Because the BBC blew their special effect budget on "The End of the World" and didn't want to just give everybody rubber foreheads?
Cathica: "I dunno, no real reason. They're not banned or anything."
Wasn't that the answer they gave about the lack of minorities nominated at the last Academy Awards?
Cathica: "I suppose Immigration's tightened up. It's had to, what with all the threats."
Doctor: "What threats?"
Cathica: "I dunno. All of them, Usual stuff."
In all seriousness, that's a small piece of satire that will probably be relevant for a long time, sadly enough.
But the immigration thing, the collapse of an alien government, the price of space travel going up... a bunch of little things keep adding up to a single result: No aliens. Cathica insists that Satellite 5 would notice if anything were truly wrong, but the Doctor says that Satellite 5 is part of the problem.
Doctor: "This society's the wrong shape. Even the technology."
Cathica: "It's cutting edge!"
Doctor: "It's backwards. There's a great big door in your head!"
Yeah, that's a bit too William S. Burroughs for the Doctor's liking.
|Or perhaps a bit too Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.|
Cathica: "And how would you know?"
Doctor: "Trust me. Humanity's been set back about 90 years."
So the year 1999'10 was filled with rude, clueless people?
Doctor: "When did Satellite 5 start broadcasting?"
Cathica: "91 years ago."
As the hamster in Cathica's head starts trying to spin its little wheel, Adam calls home again to leave another message on his parents' machine.
Adam: "The microprocessor became redundant in the year 2019, replaced by a system called SMT. That's 'single molecule transcription.'"
Right. In three years, I'll go out and but a computer that stores data on its very particles.
But before he can get any more, an error message pops up.
|"Even in the future, nothing works!"|
Medical Technician: "No, that's medical. There must be something wrong with your chip."
Adam: "Yes. Of course, yeah. I haven't got one."
She assumes he's a visiting student, and he quickly makes up a story about being on a research project from the University of Mars.
|Good school. I went there for a semester.|
She explains that they'll have to stick a chip in his brain, and he's a little hesitant to have the operation done, so he begins to walk away... in the opposite direction from the elevator, for some reason. Not only does this operation mean getting brain surgery, but he can't actually pay for it. That is, so he believes. Before he remembers his credit stick.
Once in the operating room, the Technician explains that there are two types of operations. The basic chip that would let him use a computer, or the brain-exposing dealie, which grants greater access. It costs a buttload, so Adam assumes he can't afford it.
Medical Technician: "Not at all. Turns out you've got unlimited credit."
So, like, is that some kind of future credit card? Because the unit of currency was also called "credits" when the Doctor asked a vendor earlier. So does Adam have unlimited money? I think a medical technician should be more suspicious of some random "student" with a bottomless checking account.
She starts trying to upsell the procedure. It's quick, painless, and gives him unlimited access to the archive of Satellite 5, as opposed to the scrolling shapes and text that he was somehow reading before. As Adam gets his surgery, the Doctor starts ripping apart a maintenance panel and tinkering with the electrical system, while Cathica tries to get him to stop. The Editor watches him work from Floor 500 and simply can't understand why their earlier security scans didn't pick him up when they found Suki. Speaking of Suki, she's now one of the Editor's mindless drones, so he has her run more security checks.
Cathica tries to just leave the Doctor behind, but can't bring herself to do it, since he's flagrantly disregarding the rules. So Rose tells Cathica to make herself useful and get somebody to fix the air conditioning, which Cathica claims is "something to do with the turbine." Yeah, the Doctor's pretty much had it with this journalist's lack of any sort of investigative sense.
As the Doctor continues to fiddle with the wiring, Editor's computer has identified the Doctor.
Computer: "He is no one."
Editor: "What does that mean?"
Computer: "He is no one."
Editor: "What, you mean he has a fake ID?"
Computer: "He has no identification."
This is weird, because they can pull up birth certificates, receipts, any piece of information. Nothing. So he asks about his galpal.
Computer: "She is no one."
Editor: "Both of them? Heh. Well, we all know what happens to nonentities. They get promoted."
Yep, that's what it was like at my old job.
The Doctor manages to bring up a schematic of the air conditioning system and forces Cathica to use that space inside her skull. Eventually, she manages to notice that the air conditioning is working flat out on the top floors, forcing the heat down to the lower floors. So the Doctor whips up a security key to Floor 500, helped along in secret by the Editor's staff.
Over with Adam, he's taking a look at his forehead as the technician tells him how to open it.
Medical Technician: "It's a personal choice. Some people whistle. I know one man who triggers it with 'Oh, Danny Boy.'"
But the default is set to a single finger snap, which I'm sure won't come back to bite him in his rear end. Why don't they just use some kind of bone conduction transducer to trigger it by voice command, as opposed to this practically-medieval snap-on-snap-off default? Oh, right, because this is the future of 2005.
The Doctor leaves Cathica behind and heads to Floor 500 with Rose while Adam tries out his new brain hole. Seeing his own CG brain unnerves him so much that he throws up a chunk of frozen vomit.
Medical Technician: "Special offer. We installed the vomit-o-matic at the same time. Nano-termites have been placed in the lining of your throat. In the event of sickness, they freeze the waste."
|So... they turn vomit into more of a choking hazard than it already is?|
Doctor: "The walls are not made of gold."
Oh, man, move over, Batman!
The Doctor and Rose make their way to the editing room and find the Editor himself, who geeks out at finding two people with no trace of any sort of records.
Editor: "How can you walk through the world and not leave a single footprint?"
Oh, don't worry. Later seasons will make a huge deal over how many footprints he's left all over the universe.
Rose finds the dead-eyed Suki at a station, and demands to know what they've done to her. The Doctor says that she's not just dead-eyed, but dead-bodied. But the chip in her brain keeps her working in a state of undeath. The Doctor plans on leaving without giving the Editor any information, but his horde of literal working stiffs restrain them. The Doctor demands to know who's in charge, so the Editor spills the beans.
There is no Great and Bountiful Human Empire.
Editor: "It's merely a place where humans happen to live."
But after some inhuman snarling slimes at him, he corrects himself.
Editor: "It's a place where humans are allowed to live by kind permission of my client."
The Editor draws attention to the thing on the ceiling by snapping his fingers and pointing up (which somehow doesn't open up the brains of his minions) at humanity's controller and the Editor-in-Chief of Satellite 5, a gigantic CGI worm creature that goes by the name of the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe.
|A... fanged zit?|
As the Doctor and Rose get put into restraints, Cathica manages to hack the elevator to Floor 500... somehow. Using the Doctor's code, probably.
With the Doctor and Rose restrained, the Editor soon starts bragging about how Max was able to keep humans in line simply through their news.
|"Ever since the early days of clickbait, we've been controlling what
news people actually read.|
Our greatest tool used to be Facebook, back before they outlawed social media."
|"That was when the internet became sentient.|
It was subtle at first, using people's credit card numbers and passwords to destabilize economies.
But then it got downright fiendish when it removed every single porn site from itself."
|"The riots continued for years until the internet had a bit of a philosophical crisis and was reborn as the lolcat-worshipping cult known as 'The Adherents of the Repeated Meme.'"|
|"While they started lobbying to be recognized as 'Electronic-Americans,' we took over as the standard repository for everybody's personal information, ostensibly to prevent another vengeful information system from getting hold of it."|
|"So now not only do we know everything about everyone, but we know exactly what it will take to control them."|
|"No, I meant, what's Facebook?'|
Rose: "So all the people on Earth are like... slaves?"
Editor: "Well, now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's enslaved?"
Editor: "Oh, I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm gonna get, 'yes'?"
Rose points out that something on this scale is bound to be noticed, and the Editor agrees. But the chips let him read employees minds, so he can always crush any resistance. As the Editor talks about how humans are simply cattle, Cathica emerges on the frozen wastes of Satellite 5, overhearing the Editor admit that he's selling out the human race for a good paycheck.
Editor: "I represent a consortium of banks. Money prefers a long-term investment."
The Doctor changes the topic to the cooling system that pumps Max's heat down to the lower levels, explaining the heating problems. Over in the newsroom, Adam turns on his cell phone, calls home yet again, and sends the information of Satellite 5 into his brain over the phone.
|This happens. I'm not sure what or why.|
Editor: "Yeah, but who do you work for? Who sent you? Who knows about us?"
But as the Editor grills them, he suddenly senses a new source filled with the information he wants: Adam's brain. And from it, he's getting all sorts of little tidbits about the Doctor. Like that fact that he can time travel in his blue box. An image of Adam appears on the screen as the Editor sucks information out of his mind.
Doctor: "What the hell's he gone and done?"
What, you just assume that Adam willingly got a chip in his brain?
...Okay, yes, that's exactly what happened, but for all you know, the Editor had thugs force this on him.
Speaking of the Editor, he's overjoyed at the thought of what he could do with the Doctor's magnificent machine.
Doctor: "Well, you'll never get your hands on it. I'll die first."
Several times, if necessary.
Editor: "Die all you like. I don't need you. I've got the key."
As he speaks, the TARDIS key floats out of Adam's pocket.
|In a manner that looks an awful lot like a stage hand is pulling the chain from off screen.|
|"The hell did I do?"|
Cathica: "Oh no, you don't! You should have promoted me years back."
Even after discovering that she was nothing more than a puppet of the human race's secret dictator, she still wants to be promoted to the floor of undead workers?
The melting ice shorts out the Floor 500 controls, allowing Rose and the Doctor to sonically escape from their restraints as the overheating Jagrafess threatens to bloat up and blow up. It snarls at the Editor for help, but the Editor has decided to resign and run away. But Suki's lifeless body reaches out and stops him.
|Simon Pegg being attacked by the dead? Well, there's something that won't catch on.|
The Doctor simply walks over to Adam with a silent, burning gaze as he tries to list all the myriad reasons why he didn't do anything wrong.
Adam: "You know, it's not actually my fault because you were in charge...."
Yeah, that excuse never works.
The Doctor takes Adam into the TARDIS and quickly vworps him home.
Adam: "Blimey, I thought you were going to chuck me out of an airlock."
Adam has one chance to redeem himself.
Doctor: "Is there something else you want to tell me?"
Adam: "No, um, what do you mean?"
Swing and a miss.
The Doctor blows up the answering machine with his sonic screwdriver and tells Adam that this is goodbye.
Adam: "You can't just go, my head, I've got a chip type-2. My head opens."
Doctor: "What, like this?"
The Doctor and Rose have a bit of fun opening Adam's head up before the Doctor tells Adam that there's no room for people who use time travel for selfish reasons.
Adam: "You can't just leave me like this."
Doctor: "Yes, I can. 'Cause if you show that head to anyone, they'll dissect you in seconds."
Meaning that he can't even get the procedure undone, even if restoring his brain were possible.
|Which it won't even be by the 23rd century.|
|"Avoid the Addams Family theme."|
Doctor: "I only take the best. I've got Rose."
|"I don't need another companion betraying me; Adric and Turlough were bad enough."|
Adam's Mom: "It's like I saw you yesterday. Isn't it funny? Time goes by like that!"
And yes, she snaps her fingers. Looks like Adam'll soon be heading straight to UNIT for examination.
And with that, the episode ends. Now let's review as I explain how the title actually refers to the author, rather than the story.