The Girl in the Fireplace was the fourth episode of the second series of NuWho. Written by Steven Moffat, it was Mickey's first wacky adventure with the Doctor and Rose. An episode that actually uses time travel as part of the plot and not just a way to establish a setting is at worst a decent episode. This episode does that.
So they all end up on a spaceship in the 51st century that's empty. Which Mickey is really excited about because I don't think he's ever been outside of London before. Then they find a magic door behind a fireplace which takes them to a little girl's bedroom in 18th century France. The Doctor ditches the humans to check out this little girl's bedroom. Calm down, it's not going where you hope it's going.
The little girl has a Clockwork Droid under her bed, which is a cool idea for a robot. Super retro and shit. Unfortunately, they can be killed with a fire extinguisher, which is kind of a down side.
Anyway the Doctor goes back through the fireplace again, only now the little girl is of legal age, so the Doctor wastes no time before he "snogs" her, which is probably some kind of weird Time Lord terminology. Turns out the no-longer-little girl is Madam de Pompadour, inventor of the hairstyle popular among Japanese high school punks.
Meanwhile, Rose and Mickey are exploring the spaceship, which has a bunch of human parts built into stuff, which is pretty sketchy. A horse shows up at some point, which absolutely fascinates Mickey and the Doctor, but Rose refuses any sort of competition so she forbids it. The Doctor Dances with Madam de Pompadour while Rose and Mickey get kidnapped by the Clockwork Droids and strapped down to be stripped for parts. The Doctor returns, drunk off his ass, and there is some amusing banter, then the Doctor pours his martini down one of their necks and breaks it. Figuring out Pompadour is old enough that they can use her brain now, all the droids teleport away to kill her and scoop out her skull like a cantaloupe.
In order to save her, the Doctor charges through a mirror on a horse, breaking the last time portal to the the ship. This gets the droids really depressed and they all shut down. Mickey and Rose, abandoned on the ship, realize they will die there. The Doctor, stranded in old France, realizes he is back to the Third Doctor era of being stranded on Earth, and starts to prepare himself to be a super spy again.
But, it turns out, Madamadam de Pompadour rebuilt the fireplace from her youth, because she loved the Doctor so much. Because its a magical door, it still works, and the Doctor gets back to the spaceship just before Rose kills Mickey for food. Running back to get Pompamadam, he is too late, and shows up just in time for her funeral. The King of France gives him a really depressing letter that almost makes him cry. They all leave the spaceship, which was named S.S. Madam de Pompadour all along. BRAVO MOFFAT. No really it was a good episode, bravo.
Critical Reception Edit
As a Moffat episode during the RTD era, it gets pretty high marks from most people. I really like it because of the time jumping shenanigans. Tumblr fucking loves this episode because the Doctor gets drunk and it's a sad love story. All in all it is a great episode, and if you disagree, start an edit war. Or put in some well thought out criticism in here and we can engage in a thoughtful debate that will elevate the discussion and ourselves. Oh who am I kidding.