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Doctor: I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?
Doctor: Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!
Meet everygirl Rose Tyler: she has an overprotective mum, a dead dad, a deadbeat boyfriend, and a dead-end job in a department store. In short, This Loser Is You, only probably a bit prettier.
One evening, Rose -- who really should have watched more horror movies -- visits the basement, alone, just after the store closes. The basement is full of mannequins, which hang around being creepy and then attack. Rose is backed up to a wall, facing death by mannequin, when her hand is grabbed by a stranger who yells "RUN!" and we're into the first chase of the new series.
It ends sort of abruptly when the pair make it into a lift, followed so closely by a mannequin that the stranger ("the Doctor"; it's not like no one saw it coming) can pull one of its plastic arms off. Rose's reasoning skills impress the Doctor enough that he asks her her name, introduces himself as the Doctor, and advises Rose to run like hell before the bomb he's going to plant goes off.
Rose happily obliges. The building goes up in flames and she's out of a job and thoroughly confused. She goes back home, where her mum Jackie is enjoying the excitement perhaps a little too much: phoning everyone, assuring them she's still alive, and trying to get Rose interviews, preferably well-paid ones. Rose is understandably angry. Boyfriend Mickey turns up, and tries to take his almost-dead girlfriend out to the pub, presumably to comfort her, but really so he can watch football. Rose asks him to get rid of the arm. Mickey chucks it in some random bin and calls it a night. It's not really his fault -- it's only the series premiere, so he hasn't learned that random alien weirdness should be stomped into bits, set on fire, and the ashes stomped into bits just in case.
Next morning, Rose doesn't have a job to go to, which is why she's home when the Doctor -- having traced the plastic arm to their flat -- turns up. The Doctor talks to Rose and gets attacked by the plastic arm, which managed to find its way back in. Rose thinks he's kidding, until it tries to kill her.
Rose and Doctor escape and start contemplating their navels. Apparently the plastic people want to take over the world. They make puns. The Doctor leaves in the TARDIS -- the "mysterious blue box"; the audience is not meant to know what it is yet.
Rose goes to Mickey's house and hops on the Internet. With quite possibly the worst Google-fu seen in modern TV history (starting with the words "The Doctor" and looking surprised when Google gives her actual doctors), she tries to find information and eventually stumbles across some random conspiracy-theory website run by some random guy. Then she dragoons Mickey into driving her over to conspiracy theory guy's place, where they discover that he's pretty normal -- even has a wife and kids. He tells Rose all sorts of things that we know to be true, but naturally Rose doesn't believe him, and she bails at the first opportunity.
Meanwhile, Mickey has been eaten by a plastic wheelie bin, which spits out a plastic copy of him. Its acting style is slightly less wooden than original Mickey. They drive to a pizza place, badly.
They eat. The fake Mickey is obsessed with the Doctor, and keeps repeating the same words, babe, sugar, baby, sweetheart. The Doctor tracks them down and causes the fake Mickey to fall apart. They escape into TARDIS, which has had a hell of a makeover. Doctor tries to fly to plastic people headquarters, but fails. He and Rose have a half-angry half-curious all-expository argument. They discover that the base is under the London Eye. They go down, and see the bad wolf himself -- the plastic controller, which they call the Nestene Consciousness. The real Mickey's there, freaking out. The Doctor tries to talk Nestene out of it; Nestene discovers the anti-plastic the Doctor has. Nestene goes crazy and activates all the plastic people. Jackie, who's out shopping, is attacked by evil plastic robot brides. Conspiracy man presumably gets killed, after having had all his theories confirmed.
Rose uses her halfway decent gymnastics skills to knock a plastic person into Nestene, which also sprinkles it with the anti-plastic it took from the Doctor. It dies. The plastic people give up and the Doctor, Rose and Mickey escape in the TARDIS. The base goes up in flames.
They arrive near home. Mickey goes into pseudo-PTSD. The Doctor offers to take Rose on his travels. She declines. He vanishes. Then he appears again and says "Did I mention, it also travels in time?" That's right, a Columbo moment from across time and space.
Rose gives Mickey a kiss and this goodbye:
Mickey: Thanks for what?
And leaving her boyfriend in sadness and depression, she leaves to have happy-go-lucky adventures with Christopher Eccleston.
- All There in the Manual: Did you know you can see how the Doctor escaped the explosion at the Department Store? Did you know you may have even seen it months before the episode aired?
- And the Fandom Rejoiced: This is the first regular episode of Doctor Who in sixteen years, the first time a Doctor has been seen in nine, and the first appearance of the Ninth Doctor.
- Arm Cannon: The Autons have this with those wonderful unfolding hands of theirs.
- Call Back: Clive shows Rose a photo of the Doctor in the crowd at the Kennedy assassination. The first ever episode of Doctor Who was broadcast in Britain on November 23rd 1963, the day after the assassination.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: The Doctor first meets Rose this way.
- Celibate Hero: Lampshaded when the Doctor points out to Rose's mum that nothing is going to happen. The scene was probably put in there to avert fan worries over the countless He Is Not My Boyfriend moments to come.
- Chekhov's Gun: The London Eye appears for a split second near the beginning.
- Establishing Character Moment: See Foreshadowing below. In one word, Christopher Eccleston does a fair job of summarising the entire show.
- Fan Fic Magnet: According to the fandom, the Doctor did quite a lot of things in the six seconds before he came back to Columbofy Rose.
- Foreshadowing: When Nine grabs Rose's hand, his first word -- in fact the first thing the Doctor has said in canon in nine years: "Run!"
- Used to assure Rose that Ten is still the Doctor after he regenerates.
- Bonus points, considering one of the distinguishing characteristics of the new series is how much running they do.
Donna: Seriously, there's just a ridiculous amount of running.
- In fact, at one point that's literally all the Doctor and Company can do.
- Still used regularly. What Nine and Ten said to reassure, Eleven uses to threaten.
- Freudian Excuse: The Nestene lost its protein planets in the Time War, and mentions "constitutional rights" as it explains its invasion plans to the Doctor.
- Losing Your Head: Auton!Mickey's head pops off, and he lampshades the trope:
Mickey: "Don't think that's gonna stop me..."
- Murderous Mannequin: A whole army of 'em.
- Noodle Incident:
- The Ninth Doctor's regeneration from the Eighth is never explained, although Nine takes a look at his features in a mirror in Rose's flat, suggesting that it happened recently.
- Precisely what the Doctor was doing at the Kennedy assassination, the eruption of Krakatoa and the day the Titanic set sail has also never been explained, although the next episode does elaborate on the latter; apparently the Doctor ended up "clinging to an iceberg."
- Not Using the Z Word: For some reason (probably to avoid losing those not familiar with the series proper), the Autons are not called such. They are referred to as Autons in the credits, however.
- Oh Crap: The Doctor, upon realising that Auton!Mickey's head is melting, which will stop him from tracing the signal back to the Nestene Consciousness.
- Shaped Like Itself:
Doctor: So it needs a transmitter to boost the signal.
Rose: What does it look like?
Doctor: Like a transmitter!
Conspiracy Man's Wife: She's been reading the website about the Doctor, and she's a she?
- ↑ A massive ferris wheel, for those not in the know