Credits. Thanks to Paul Cornell for writing an episode which goes everywhere, 90\% places that seem clichéd, and giving the unexpected result at every turn. On the script level, this is an amazing episode. I've got this rep for loving the emo in everything and I guess it's true: people are interesting, especially when they're nuts. But this script is good, regardless of how much you've invested in Rose. I think this one (like the next two) could be your first episode, and you'd end up almost as slain as I was. Weirdly, the effect this episode had on me was way more in terms of the relationship between Rose and the Doctor than the actual plot, which I would think would be the tearjerker. But no -- I imagine because not even our Jackie and Mickey, such as they are, really mean much in this episode. It's all about Rose, and the Doctor, and everyone else is like a figure in a dream. Parts of the story, Rose lays out for herself. I don't think the quest is a metaphor for therapy; therapy is a metaphor for the quest. And everybody knows you start in on the parents right away.
First stop: Jackie and Pete's small, informal wedding; the Doctor and Rose sit at the back. It's such a small scene, thrown so casually into a pretty linear episode, that I'd assume most people would forget it ever happened. But it's important. If the point of Rose's quest is to figure herself out, then you have to start at the beginning -- not at Pete's death, but at the wedding of Rose's parents. To pick apart the fantasy, the "best man in the world," and see and love the weakness, stupidity, and youth underneath. (I've always wondered whether the scariest part of thinking about your parents as fallible is thinking of them being your age -- knowing how stupid you are, and being well used at almost any age to being smarter than they, how could they possibly have survived to be as old as they are now? How dare they get married at twenty-seven?) It's not just Rose's lies we're uncovering, but her mother's, as well. After you realize the whole world's take on you is bullshit, you go back to where you came from. The first wish. The registrar speaks, and Pete responds before their witnesses, and stumbles over Jackie's name (Jacqueline Angela Suzette Prentiss, which speaks volumes) before looking to the registrar for aid. Jackie sighs, and realizes that she's already screwed: "Oh, just carry on. It's good enough for Lady Di." In 1987, there was no way of knowing just how much those two blonde ladies would have in common. The Doctor grins down, but Rose is too busy with her wish: "I thought he'd be taller." She watches, a little overwhelmed, as Pete and Jackie finish their wedding. In America, the standard text is "to have and to hold 'til death do us part." Here, the registrar says "to love and behold" instead. I like that better.