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.
Back in Jackie's bedroom, Rose's mum quietly speaks: "He died so close to home. I wasn't there, nobody was. It was a hit-and-run driver. Never found out who. He was dead when the ambulance got there." (Rose gazes up at her mother, solemnly, learning the story.) "I only wish there'd been someone there for him." Rose looks down sadly, then back up at her mother.
TARDIS. "I wanna be that someone," Rose says. "So he doesn't die alone." That's a good wish, if that's all it could ever be. If it were that simple. But you can't concretize letting go like that. It's not like Rose's father will lose his power over her just by her watching him die -- and it's not like her guilt for the demands she made on her mother will go away either. It's at best a favor for a stranger -- maybe even a friend -- and if Rose could admit that now, she wouldn't even need to go back. She's in love with a myth; Pete's just a guy. A pretty great guy, but nothing special. Pete married Jackie for his own sake. But the Doctor doesn't speak, or ask, or try. He just confirms the date and starts her up. Rose watches, apprehensive. This is big and very stupid, and they know it already just from what's going on in their tummies. Tummies always know.