My friend Karen remarked yesterday on how very large the Doctor is, and how very small Rose is, in terms of time and our understanding of time. Like the show constantly shuttles back and forth between the cosmic ("Dalek," "The Long Game" -- even "End Of The World)" and the particular ("Rose," "The Unquiet Dead") and points up the questions that apply to each. When we're in the Doctor's court, we take the long view -- the rational view (even when it turns out wrong, like with the Gelth) of an audience outside of Time. When we're dealing with Rose's stuff, we're in the position of normal people trying to comprehend a basically incomprehensible concept. That's extrinsic analysis, Death of the Author stuff, at heart, but I also think that it's a huge part of the show's whole myth: what happens when you go walking with a god? He's always had his companion there for our benefit. Some have complained about this new series that it's too much like The Adventures Of Rose Tyler (And Her Companion, A Doctor), and even having never been a fan until now, I can still see that. I've certainly felt oversold on the wonder of Rose Tyler, on occasion. If she never condescends to smile patronizingly at another member of the underclass it'll be too soon, for example. But I think that it serves to humanize -- well, "make the Doctor more relatable" is probably a better way to put that -- the story itself, to be able to put ourselves in her corner when we need to. Which in the long term makes it more of the Doctor's story, in some ways, or else it would be like The Sorceror's Apprentice, without Mickey: just this intense dude giving eyebrows and crazy-ass grins all over. Anyhow, interesting, and I wanted to mention it particularly this week, given that this episode is a great example of an episode that does both simultaneously: gets to the heart of Rose's relationships -- most intensely, to my mind, with the Doctor himself -- while also giving Time her due. This time, it's us caught between the absolute and the particular, and it becomes a lot easier to see how difficult some of the Doctor's decisions might have been up to now.
Zoom in on a photograph of one Peter Alan Tyler -- hotter, but less striking than Simon Pegg would've been -- as Rose voices over: "My dad. The most wonderful man in the world. Born fifteenth of September, 1954." Cut to Rose (I'd say around age six), snooping around the door of Jackie's bedroom, where her mother sits with photo albums on the bed. I'd describe the décor, but it's Jackie: you're already there. Whatever you're picturing, double it. Jackie invites her daughter in with a truly beautiful smile, and Rose climbs up beside her. Jackie points out a photo: "Who's that? It's your daddy. You weren't old enough to remember when he died. 1987. Seventh of November. Do you remember what I told you? The day that Stuart Hoskins and Sarah Clarke got married?" We turn to a picture of Jackie with Pete, and Jackie smiles again: "He was always having adventures. Oh, he would have loved to have seen you now."