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Love & Monsters
Doctor Who, episode 184 (29.11)
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2012 10:27:07
An ordinary man becomes obsessed with the Doctor and Rose, and uncovers a world of living nightmares.
From Outpost Gallifrey:
A man named Elton Pope runs towards a deserted industrial area. He spots something and stops dead; a blue police box. He walks towards it tentatively, about to touch it, when a shout from inside a factory gets him on the run again. He runs around a factory towards the source of the shouting. He sees light coming from a closed door at the end of the corridor, so he edges towards it and opens it. An alien (called a Hoix) lunges towards him, roaring loudly. Elton's now in his room, and it is revealed that the previous sequence is a flashback, and he's narrating the story of his life for his video diary. In another flashback continuing the previous one, the Hoix continues to roar at Elton until the Doctor distracts it with a pork chop and yells at Elton to run away. As he starts to run, Rose charges past him and throws a blue bucket of steaming liquid at the Hoix, for which the Doctor berates her saying she's made it worse. What follows, including a madcap chase, is not entirely reliable as it's Elton's memory of the events...
The chase ends with the Doctor stopping and recognising Elton, who runs out of the factory without answering. It is now revealed by Elton that this was not the first time he met the Doctor and it would not be the last. He talks to the camera about how his ordinary life was transformed, starting with the night he first met the Doctor in his old family home when he was three or four years old, and continuing with his experiences with the Auton, Slitheen and Sycorax invasions of Earth that took place a couple of years before. It was the Sycorax invasion that led him to meet his friend Ursula who then took him to meet a group of her friends who were also studying the Doctor. The group then started to have regular meetings under the name Elton suggests: LINDA (London Investigation 'N' Detective Agency) As time goes by, the meetings become less and less about the Doctor, and more of a social gathering.
They were in the middle of a meeting, one in which they form their own band, when Victor Kennedy turned up and commandeered the group. He refuses to touch anyone or anything because of his "ex-eema", apparently a more serious form of eczema. His more active approach to finding the Doctor makes them more knowledgable in investigation techniques, and they track down a police box which they know to be the TARDIS in Woolwich. This however, is the sequence from the beginning in which Elton ran away. Victor is furious with him about this, but appears to calm down when Ursula threatens him. It's from there that the group focus more of Rose, and they are deployed around London to find her. Elton almost immediately finds Jackie and becomes acquainted with her easily, regularly paying visits to fix things she supposedly has broken in her flat.
As this is going on, it goes widely unnoticed that members of the group are disappearing, including Bliss and Bridget. One night while Elton is doing some DIY, Jackie attempts to seduce Elton, but a phone call from Rose interrupts the mood. Elton has a revelation at this point; he really does like Jackie, but there's someone else he likes even more, and that's Ursula. He goes out to get pizza for himself and Jackie, but when he returns to the flat, she's found the photo of Rose in his coat pocket. She confronts him and angrily tells him that she will never let Rose or the Doctor down and to get out. Elton storms back to LINDA HQ and tells Victor he had enough. He says that Victor has ruined what LINDA had, and that it's no wonder that Bliss and Bridget left. He then asks Ursula out on a date, and the pair of them, along with the other remaining member of the group, Mr. Skinner walk out, but not before Victor calls Mr. Skinner back. Elton and Ursula leave, before realising that Ursula has left her phone behind.
When they return to retrieve it, Mr Skinner is no longer there. Only Victor is left, holding a newspaper in front of him. When asked where Skinner is, Victor makes up several excuses before Ursula notices that his hands are green; not human. He puts the newspaper down and reveals himself to be a bloated green alien creature, which Elton dubs an "Abzorbaloff". They realise that Victor has absorbed the missing members of LINDA, including Mr. Skinner, and their faces can be seen all over his body. Victor tells them he wants to absorb the Doctor, and so he enlisted their services to find him, which ultimately failed. Ursula demands that she returns his victims, but he absorbs her instead. She tells Elton to run, which he does, chased by the Abzorbaloff. He is cornered in an alley, and appears to be about to surrender when the TARDIS appears nearby. The Doctor steps out and glances at Elton before Rose storms out and berates him for upsetting Jackie.
Their attention turns to the Abzorbaloff, who reveals himself to be from Klom, the twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius, and threatens to kill Elton if the Doctor doesn't surrender. The Doctor bluffs and says he doesn't care, and the members of LINDA work together from inside the Abzorbaloff to restrain him. Elton then snaps the cane that Victor carried around with him, and the Abzobaloff melts into the ground, along with all his victims. The Doctor explains that the cane created a restriction field, and now that it's gone, the Abzobaloff can't stop absorbing, and so he is absorbed by the Earth. Elton breaks down in tears, realising he'll never see Ursula or any of the members of LINDA ever again. The Doctor sits him down and tells him what happened the first night they met, when he'd stopped something called an elemental shade that had escaped into Elton's house, but was unable to save Elton's mum. That's when we realise that Elton's mum died the night he met the Doctor.
The final thing that the Doctor can do for Elton is tap into the absorption matrix and save the last victim. It's too late to bring her back completely, but at the end of the episode we see Ursula's face in a paving slab. Elton doesn't mind that she's just a disembodied face, because he loves her, but he then muses upon what happens when you come into contact with the Doctor, and how life is so much different from the way you think it's going to be. The real world is so much stranger, so much darker, madder, and so much better.
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