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The Doctor: Yes, I'll just... step inside this police box and arrest myself.
It's Easter. The Doctor has parked the TARDIS in the Buckingham Palace gardens ("she doesn't mind") and takes a bus trip around London. He tries to make small talk with Classy Cat Burglar Lady Christina, who's escaping from a heist and who's convinced that the Doctor's just a rambling hobo. However, their conversation is short-lived as the bus takes an impromptu ride through a wormhole, taking The Doctor, Christina and the rest of the passengers with it.
It turns out that the group have landed on San Helios, a desert-like planet with next to no life (except for some equally stranded Insectoid Aliens). The group have no way of leaving the wormhole -- as the bus driver unfortunately proves -- and there is a Horde of Alien Locusts on the horizon. Also, the passengers are getting suspicious of the Doctor, and he realizes he's in danger of reliving some painful memories.
However, it's the Doctor's lucky day: everyone, including the local merchant aliens, ends up trusting him. And instead of trying to save the day all by himself, he just quickly gets UNIT on the phone to deal with things back on Earth. Captain Erisa Magambo is honored to talk to the Doctor. She hands the phone to Adorkable UNIT scientist Dr. Malcolm Taylor (played by Lee Evans), who squees and squees and squees when he finally gets to talk to his hero.
The Doctor and Christina are forced to work together with the passengers to fight the hungry alien swarm that destroyed San Helios. The creatures are making a beeline for the wormhole that they created. Using Christina's Classy Cat Burglar skills and Malcolm's brilliance, the bus is turned into a flying bus, and the Doctor saves the day. Captain Magambo thanks the Doctor, Malcolm glomps him and tells him "I LOVE YOU" about a dozen times over, and the TARDIS is neatly delivered by UNIT. Christina even manages to snog the Doctor, although he refuses to take her with him as his next companion, no matter how much she begs. He's lost too many friends recently. He does, however, sneakily destroy her handcuffs when she's arrested about five seconds later, and she climbs into the bus and flies off.
200th serial of the series.
- Actor Allusion: Lee Evans has a recurring character called Malcolm in his early stand-up routines.
- Admiring the Abomination: Earns a What the Hell, Hero? from Christina, although she immediately admits that she's impressed too.
- Adorkable: Malcolm breathes this Trope.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Subverted, Lady Christina is a thief, but she doesn't really fall in the "evil" category.
- Big Red Button: Turns off the security grid on the Tritovore's crystal shaft.
- Bilingual Bonus: Christina's response to the Doctor's catchprase.
Doctor: Allons-y! (Lets go!)
Christina: Oui, mais pas si nous allons vers un chauchemar! (Yes, but not if we go towards a nightmare!)
- Bilingual Dialogue: The Doctor speaks insect click language with the Tritovores. Once the Tritovores employ their one-way telepathic translators, the Doctor uses English and they continue in their language.
- Breather Episode
Christina: How does a crystal drive a bus?
The Doctor: In a... super clever... outer-spacey way, just--trust me.
- Bus Full of Innocents: And one not-so-innocent master-thief.
- Call Back: The Doctor refers to Donna when Christina calls him "Spaceman".
Doctor: I had a friend. She called me "Spaceman".
- Car Fu: With a flying bus.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Chalice of King Athelstan
- Chekhov's Skill: Christina's rope-descending thing
- Classy Cat Burglar: Christina
- Continuity Nod:
- Death by Materialism: The only human character to die is the bus driver, who, at the beginning of the episode, accepted a bribe to help a criminal escape a police cordon. (The criminal herself, whose motivation is explicitly stated to be non-materialistic love of adventure, survives.)
- Extreme Omnivore: The Swarm.
- Fan Boy: Malcolm practically creams himself when the call from the Doctor comes. The Doctor is... put off.
- Fingerless Gloves: Malcolm.
- Godly Sidestep: The Doctor knows the true story of Easter. Right after he says "What really happened was--", he gets cut off and forgets what he was talking about.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The security at the museum includes armed guards when even the police don't carry firearms in the UK and a fancy laser grid that they all face away from that has less functionality than a glass case, the latter has a top for one thing.
- Hollywood Nerd: Malcolm is a Type 1.
- Horde of Alien Locusts
- Human Aliens: Lampshaded:
Christina: You look human.
Doctor: You look Time Lord.
- Immune to Bullets: Averted and Lampshaded.
"At last, guns that work!"
- Insectoid Aliens: The Tritovores.
- Inspector Javert: McMillan definitely comes across as obsessed with arresting Christina.
- Is This Thing Still On?: When Captain Magumbo and Malcolm gush over the fact they're actually speaking to the Doctor on the phone.
Doctor: I can hear everything you're saying!
- Lady of Adventure: Lady Christina de Souza.
- Lampshade Hanging: The Doctor points out how uncommon it is for him to arrive on Earth during Easter time, which lampshades that there are no Easter specials compared to the annual Christmas specials.
- Language of Truth: The Tritovores use telepathic translators, which can apparently discern truth from lies.
- Meaningful Name: The Bus is labelled 200, due to it being the 200th serial.
- San Helios ("Saint of the Sun") could be considered one, having a double meaning due to the planet having 3 Suns and (had) an abundance of Temples.
- Mundane Utility: Carmen's uses her psychic gift of precognition to play the Lottery and win £10 twice a week, every week.
- Not So Different: The Doctor admits as such when he realises Christina is a thief.
Christina I take it you disapprove?
Doctor: Absolutely! (pauses) Except... that little blue box... I stole it. From my own people.
Christina: Good boy! You were right, we're quite a team.
- Put on a Bus: A literal example! At the end of the episode, Lady Christina escapes from the police by flying off in the bus, and the character has not been seen since.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The bus that was being shipped from Cardiff to Dubai was being unloaded at Dubai when someone dropped a cargo container on it. The damage was incorporated into the plot.
- Sequel Hook: "He is coming, he will knock four times."
- Shout-Out: The number of the bus, 200, reflects the fact that this is the 200th Doctor Who story, counting "Trial of a Time Lord" as one story and the last three episodes of Season 29 as one as well.
- Also to The Quatermass Experiment - David Tennant starred in a BBC adaptation of it.
- The world the bus lands on is San Helios, which orbits three suns, similar to the Elite homeworld of Sanghelios, which also orbits three suns. And both stories begin when a human vehicle crash-lands on a strange world.
- Soylent Green Is People: The Sand on San Helios is actually the remains of their entire civilisation.
- One wonders how exactly the Doctor knew what that tastes like.
- Spy Catsuit
- Too Dumb to Live: The bus driver, in an unfortunate side-effect of the Real Life Writes the Plot entry above. Since the bus originally wasn't supposed to be damaged by its trip through the wormhole, it makes sense that the driver would think he could walk back through it himself. Instead, we have him happily walking into an anomaly which has just ripped most of the top deck away from his bus, and being surprised when the flesh is seared from his bones.
- Unusual User Interface: One unanswered question is why the Tritovores have internal communication devices that fit perfectly in human ears, despite the fact that they don't have ears.
- The X of Y
- ↑ He agreed to go faster when the criminal offers him her diamond earrings.