Turn Left – Episode Guide

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The episode begins with the Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) strolling through a market place on the “Chino-planet of Shan Shen”. Donna is persuaded by a fortune teller (Chipo Chung) to examine her past: specifically, the first event that led to her encounter with the Doctor. Donna recalls an argument with her mother Sylvia (Jacqueline King) at a road junction: Donna wishes to turn left to become a temporary employee at the security firm H. C. Clements; her mother wishes for her to turn right to apply for a secretarial job at a local photocopying business. The fortune teller gives her another chance and persuades her to turn right; as she does, a large beetle-like creature crawls onto her back.

The narrative focuses on an alternative history where Donna never met the Doctor and recalls several previous episodes: the Doctor dies during the events of “The Runaway Bride”, leading to the deaths of his companions during the events of “Smith and Jones” and “The Poison Sky” and the nuclear destruction of London during “Voyage of the Damned”. Throughout the episode, several characters, most notably Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), take an interest in the invisible beetle on her back.

After the events of “The Poison Sky”, Rose tells Donna of their comparable roles in the Doctor’s life and explains that Donna is instrumental to saving the universe. When Donna’s grandfather Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) sees the stars go out, Donna acquiesces to Rose’s request: she must travel back in time and ensure her past self turns left at the junction. After Donna materialises in Sutton Court, Chiswick, she realises she cannot directly influence herself at the junction; instead, she causes a traffic jam by stepping in front of a haulage truck. As she dies, Rose whispers the words “Bad Wolf” to her.

The episode’s final scene takes place on Shan-Shen, where Donna’s actions cause the beetle to fall off her back: the fortune-teller screams in horror, telling Donna she was far stronger than she thought, and asks her what she will become. The Doctor blithely walks in, unaware of what’s happened, and inspects the beetle: he says that it is part of the “Trickster’s brigade”, a menagerie of monsters that change timelines in small ways. He comments that Donna’s actions inadvertently created a parallel universe and compliments her; his words cause Donna to remember Rose, who said a similar thing. Donna begins to remember Rose’s warning and tells the Doctor. Initially dismissing it as a remnant of the creature’s influence, the Doctor become more interested when Donna describes Rose to him. When she repeats the words given to her by Rose -Bad Wolf-, a panicking Doctor exits the fortune teller’s room and sees all text rendered as “Bad Wolf”, even the notice on the TARDIS. He enters the TARDIS, hears the Cloister bell, and realises the end of the universe is imminent.

Turn Left is now available as a legal download fro iTunes and is also available to purchase on DVD.

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