The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances 1.9, 1.10
Don’t let it touch you. There is a boy, Jamie, wandering the streets of WWII London, and if he touches you, you’ll become like him, an empty-minded, gas mask-faced zombie searching for your mum. The Doctor (#9, Eccleston) and Rose find themselves haunted by Jamie’s voice on every bit of machinery and phone line. All he can say is, “Are you my mummy?” While the Doctor goes off to investigate, Rose is rescued from certain death by Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a con-man from the future. While they’re getting smitten in his fancy spaceship, the Doctor meets Jamie’s sister, Nancy, who unveils that this whole thing started when something fell from the sky. It turns out that it’s a Chula ambulance, which Jack is trying to pawn off to gullible buyers. The contagion, therefore, is not anything monstrous at all. It is simply war medical tech gone awry. The nanogenes that are meant to heal soldiers latched onto Jamie’s DNA and replicate him in anyone they come across, thinking they are “healing” them. The Doctor is able to reverse the work of the nanogenes, including on Jamie himself. He proudly declares, “Just this once, everybody lives!”
Mummy on the Orient Express 8.8
Don’t let it touch you. There is a mummy on the space train, and if it touches you, you’ll die, but don’t worry, you’ve got 66 seconds from when you spot it until it’s lights out. The Doctor (#12, Capaldi) and Clara begin their last hurrah together on the Orient Express in the future, but it isn’t long before the passengers start to scream about a mummy (aka the Foretold) no one else can see and then drop dead. While the Doctor goes off to investigate, Clara and a passenger named Maisie get locked in with the sarcophagus, a tomb filled with bubble wrap. While they’re trying to get out, the Doctor meets Perkins (comedian Frank Skinner), who helps him uncover the truth: the passengers are all experts in their fields and were brought here to solve the mystery of the mummy. The train hologram drops, and they are left with a laboratory and instructions from a computer called Gus. As each person dies, they get closer and closer to discovering the truth about the mummy. The Doctor places himself next in the victim queue, and upon seeing the mummy for the first time, utters those haunting words, “Are you my mummy?” It turns out that it’s a soldier being kept alive by war medical tech gone awry, and not something monstrous at all. It is meant to save him on the battlefield, but it is keeping him alive for all time. The Doctor is able to relieve him of his duties with “We surrender,” and everyone can go home. Clara is impressed that he managed to save everyone from the exploding train. The Doctor explains that he would have let more people die for the sake of stopping the mummy because sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to make a decision. Unlike in “The Doctor Dances,” he was not able to reverse the mummy’s doings and save the people who’d already died. #9 was right: it really was just that once that everybody lived.