The Discontinuity Guide
The New Series
Army of Ghosts
1st July 2006
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Graeme Harper
Roots: The opening recalls Rose. There is a brief clip of Trisha and Eastenders. Rajesh Singh mentions Sudoku. Ghostbusters. The use of Canary Wharf is reminiscent of Millenial Rites and The Time Travellers. The appearance of the Cybermen as "ghosts" is reminiscent of the DWM comic-strip The Flood. The wholesale appearance of Ghosts across the UK was also used in Feast of the Drowned.
Goofs: Presumably Torchwood only occupies the top floors of 1 Canada Square, so how did they get a bloody big flying saucer in the lift? [they shipped it there in chunks and reassembled it when it had arrived.]
How does the psychic paper open an electronic lock?
How did Torchwood manage to move an object that has no mass and does not emit any electromagnetic signature (apart from wavelengths in the visible spectrum) from its point of origin after coming through the rift to its location in the vault? [the voidship moved there under its own power immediately after coming through the rift.]
Rajesh ordered the sphere room locked down, so how did it lock down again when quarantine kicked in? [the lock down was lifted 'off camera' once the Doctor identified Rose.]
What's the point of the levers? When Torchwood activate the Ghost Ship, both need to be pulled, but the Cybermen do it entirely through the computer systems.
How does Rajesh in the sphere room know that the ghost shift has started?
Why does the sonic screwdriver kill all three of the people wearing earpieces when it is aimed at only one of them?
How did Mickey manage to infiltrate Torchwood? Is their security so lax that they don't notice somebody just turning up inside their operation? [He used faked ID provided by the alt-universe version of Torchwood.]
Surely the Taj Mahal would have been in darkness when the Cybermen stepped through the rift. There'd been a Ghost Shift at noon, and another later in the day, so it must have been night-time in India by the third one. In fact, the sun is shown in exactly the same position in both Taj Mahal shots. Has it really been an entire day between the two shifts?
How did Torchwood fail to spot that they had been invaded by hostile aliens who were hiding in the area being refurbished? [is this the same lax security that let Mickey just walk into the building and pretend to be on the team?] And why doesn't the head of Torchwood, who takes pride in knowing things like the names of everybody who works there, have any idea of what's going on with the building work? [it's somebody else's job to take care of that].
Torchwood are rich and powerful enough to have built Canary Wharf just to investigate an anomaly. They know about the Doctor and the TARDIS. So why didn't they attempt to capture him during the years when he was working as UNIT's scientific advisor? [They realised that the Doctor was protecting Earth - possibly better than they could - and didn't want to risk making an enemy of the Brigadier.]
The Dalek in Dalek knew that he was the last Dalek left, having been unable to contact any other Daleks between the 1960s and 2012. So why doesn't he detect these Daleks after they leave the voidship? [he wasn't scanning for signs of other Daleks at this point in time, or his scanning equipment broke down.]
To be nitpicky, Rose says that a ghost has been "elected MP for Leeds". However, Leeds has five constituencies. [she means MP in Leeds.]
Torchwood's HQ doesn't resemble any part of the interior of 1 Canada Square.
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: "A footprint doesn't look like a boot."
Jackie: "In 40 years time, 50, there'll be this woman, this strange woman, walking through the marketplace on some planet a billion miles from Earth, but she's not Rose Tyler, not anymore."
Jackie: "If we end up on Mars, I'm gonna kill you."
Rose: "Doctor, they've got guns." The Doctor: "And I haven't. Which makes me the better person, don't you think? They can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine."
Continuity: Rose's granddad Prentice died ten years ago when his heart gave out. He had a familiar smell, including old cigarettes. Jackie has worked in shops. She is 40.
The Doctor has a reaction when a ghost passes through him. He builds some equipment to locate the ghosts' point of origin.
The ghosts appear in regular shifts across the world, beginning two months before this story. People quickly adjusted to it. They have inspired various TV shows, including Ghostwatch, a Ghost Forecast, a ghost-themed episode of Trisha, and the reappearance of the late Den Watts in Eastenders. They also inspired adverts for a product called Ectoshine and Japanese T-Shirts of ghosts. A ghost has been elected MP for Leeds. The Ghost Shift generates 5,000 gigawatts.
The Voidship can be seen, but doesn't register on any of Torchwood's instruments. It weighs nothing, doesn't age, has no heat, no radiation, and no atomic mass, but can be seen. It gives off nothing. It makes you want to run and hide - presumably the same effect that acts like a forcefield when Rajesh Singh tries to touch it. Torchwood's R&D department recently built a new spectrometer that could supposedly detect the heat of a single protozoa through half a mile of steel. However, they couldn't detect anything from the voidship. According to the Doctor, Voidships are impossible - vessels existing outside time and space, travelling through the void - the space inbetween dimensions, and contains absolutely nothing. The Eternals call it the howling, and some call it hell.
The alt-universe Cybermen have arm-mounted energy weapons and call themselves Cybermen. They have developed the technology to follow the wake of the voidship through the void into "our" world, and just vanished from the alternative Earth.
Links: Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel. There's a brief flashback to Rose's first meeting with the Doctor in Rose. Rose mentions the Gelth The Unquiet Dead. The Doctor mentions Rose looking into the heart of the Time Vortex (The Parting of the Ways). The Doctor offers to trade in Jackie (who he's pretending is Rose) in a scene reminiscent of Frontios. Yvonne mentions the Doctor's encounter with Victoria and the Werewolf (Tooth and Claw). The Doctor mentions the Eternals (Enlightenment). The Reaping links to the use of earpods to Cyberconvert people in 1982.
Extras: The BBC created a one-minute trailer called a "Tardisode" for each episode of series two, available to download on your mobile or watch at the BBC website. They also made a commentary track available online, and with the red button during the digital repeats.
Location: The Powell Estate - Jackie's flat, and a park at SE15 7GO - and Canary Wharf, c. 2007
Future History: Humanity can't have particle guns in the 21st Century.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Tenth Doctor and Rose visit a planet with strange rock formations and flying reptiles and Rose claims that she will stay with the Doctor forever. Rose brought a trinket from a market on an asteroid bazaar, which is made of Bazulium - which goes cold when the weather will be rainy and warm when it will be sunny.
The Bottom Line: 'Welcome to Torchwood.' A solid first half with some sparkling dialogue. Torchwood is well established, even if it does seem slightly less impressive than the hype suggested. The scenes with the Doctor and Jackie are superbly done, although Rose feels underused. The voiceover is an effective introduction to the season finale, although it does suggest that rumours of Rose's death are exaggerated. And no review of Army of Ghosts would be complete without mentioning the absolutely stunning cliffhanger - which is even better for those that managed to avoid the spoilers. The moment when the Daleks emerge from the voidship is arguably the best cliffhanger the series has ever produced.
Thanks go to all the folk who commented on Army of Ghosts in the Bloopers thread on Outpost Gallifrey's forum. Without them, the goofs section would have been a lot smaller.
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