“I’ve traveled to all sorts of places, done things you couldn’t even imagine, but you two. Street corner, two in the morning, getting a taxi home. I’ve never had a life like that. Yes. I’ll try and save you.”
Billie Piper said at Gally this year that “Father’s Day” is her favorite, which just made me love it even more, if that’s possible. Rose’s trip back in time to meet her father is Doctor Who at its most personal, but also its most expansive, because the way this show views one ordinary life is the way it views all of them. Everyone matters. Rose doesn’t think that saving her dad’s life would change all that much, but growing up with him would change her, and she’s already saved the Doctor, who saves whole planets. This is why time travel is so complicated—the biggest moments in history depend on people who might never be remembered.
There might be someone new on board, but this episode belongs to Rose and the Doctor from the minute they open the TARDIS door. A few weeks ago, Rose asked the Doctor to hang back so she could take the first step into history; now the two of them step out together while their guest waits inside. This is their game. Brought together by their mutual frustration with literally everyone, Rose and Nine lean on each other, hold hands, tease mercilessly, and charge into danger. The costume designers could not have picked a better week to dress Billie Piper like a late 90s pop star. Her updo sings the song of how done she is with you. Rose asks the right questions. She won’t put up with people who aren’t interested in lending a hand. And when she doesn’t do what the Doctor says, he likes it, because nobody tells Rose Tyler not to stand up against oppression.
“Hello. Are you in pain? My name’s Rose Tyler. I’ve got a friend—he can help. He’s called the Doctor. What’s your name?”
Most of Rose’s early days with the Doctor have been spent defending the people around her against the aliens who would harm them—or, in the case of the Doctor, against aliens who just have a different perspective. She fought for Mickey and Gwyneth and Harriet Jones, and on the earth’s last day, she stood there and watched her planet burn and remembered its people. Rose is so incredibly human, in a way that the Doctor needs. But she’s also traveled the stars, and that puts her in a unique position to get things done.
One of my coworkers started Doctor Who last month. I’d just left a screening of David Tennant’s Richard II (gold. nail. polish) when I saw his “Doctor Who: it’s happening” Facebook status and promptly offered the constructive comment “SHUT YOUR FACE.” Other friends chimed in with their own excitement, but when my coworker finally responded to the thread, all he said was, “Kelly, I was waiting for your comment.”
I think I’ve been found out. I want to share this show with everyone. If we spend any time together, I’ve probably got a gateway episode all picked out for you, which I will never, ever bring up in conversation, because that’s too much pressure. You can’t watch Doctor Who for anyone but yourself. But if you ever decide you want to watch it for yourself, I’ll be at your place within the hour with ice cream and a personalized guide to ruining your life the British sci-fi way.
I’m fascinated by the fact that Doctor Who is a family show. I’d like to know what kind of kid I would have been with the Doctor whispering in my ear. Probably a much cooler one: more curious, more compassionate, more willing to take a stand. Even when this show goes for the groundlings with Slitheen family fart jokes, it’s held up by the heart and courage of its characters. I don’t love the more “kid friendly” elements of this two-parter, because I’ve come to depend on Doctor Who to debunk the idea that kids need those elements to stay engaged in a story, but if they’re getting the message across, bring on the Slitheen. (more…)
ROSE: “You can go back and see days that are dead and gone a hundred thousand sunsets ago. No wonder you never stay still.”
DOCTOR: “Not a bad life.”
ROSE: “Better with two.”
Rose Tyler gets it. This is her second trip in the TARDIS, and already she sees the Doctor’s life for all of its brilliance, all of those suns waiting on the horizon. But she’s also known since this man showed up at her door that he’s lonely, and that she’s as good for him as he is for her. They’re so glad they met each other that it’s literally the last thing they want to tell the world before they die. Rose and the Doctor are going down fighting. Together. (more…)
If I’m going to obsessively rewatch this show, I might as well share my feelings with all of you, right? For the sake of anyone who might be reading along as you watch for the first time (WELCOME TO YOUR NEW LIFE!), any spoilery thoughts will be saved for the end of each review. Now then. Ready?
Oh good; the Doctor’s said one word, and already it’s the only word I ever want to hear. This is pretty much a one-second summary of Doctor Who: run. Take the hand that’s reaching out to you and run—from the ordinary, from danger, toward danger, all of that. And how perfect is it that this is the first thing we know of the Doctor? He’s the invitation reaching out to Rose. When he takes off for the London Eye and she chases him down and they take each other’s hands, together this time, both of them choosing to fight this battle—that’s the moment I got this show. (more…)