Doctor Who
Father's Day

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 2 USERS: A+
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Pete takes off to get dressed, and Rose starts the longest Congressional filibuster in the entire spacetime continuum. She's picking things up and chirping stupidly about them and putting them down again and always avoiding the Doctor's eyes -- like if she just keeps talking until Pete comes back, she won't have to get yelled at for what she's done. And it's not just any old chat, either; it's all tearjerking stuff specifically intended to make the Doctor cross-eyed with love and compassion and get him on Rose's side. It's impressive as all hell; it's depressing as anything. The Doctor watches silently, arms folded, black and red with rage. Rose continues to exclaim:"All the stuff Mum kept, his stuff. She kept it all packed away in boxes in the cupboard, she used to show me when she'd had a bit to drink, and here it is. On display, where it should be. Third prize at the bowling, first two got to go to Didcot...Health drinks! 'Tonics,' Mum used to call them. He made his money selling this Vitex stuff -- he had all sorts of jobs, he's so clever...Solar power, Mum said he was gonna do this! Now he can!" She finally smiles up determinedly at the Doctor, as though by sheer force of will and perkiness she can make it good. But is it really him she's resisting? Or the truth she knows he's going to tell her? That this isn't the way the world works? That you have to put the genie back eventually? That there's no such thing, as the free lunch of having her whole life different without Rose herself changing? Isn't she really just talking to kill time?

The Doctor doesn't smile back. Rose: "Okay, look. I'll tell him you're not my boyfriend." But the Doctor's checking the wish for any suspicious spots that might explain why it's gone off: "When we met, I said travel with me in space -- you said no. Then I said time machine." There are the wishes we know we're making, and the wishes we don't. Adults try for the over/under on that one. Rose protests: "It wasn't some big plan, I just saw it happening, and I thought...I can stop it." Can you imagine being accused of something that large? Of someone you love like him even thinking that? The Doctor presses his lips tightly together, his forehead indrawn: "I picked another stupid ape.... I should've known. It's not about showing you the universe, it never is; it's about the universe doing something for you." And maybe this is just him showing the wear and tear of the Adam debacle, which he pretty much totally put on Rose's shoulders anyhow. But we're also heading into resentment territory, and it's surprisingly alarming. Like, the Doctor's thinking things you shouldn't even think. She hasn’t even begun to fuck this up to the degree that she's going to, and he's acting like she should know this stuff. Rose protests: "So it's okay when you go to other times, and you save people's lives, but not when it's me saving my dad?" And the Doctor replies that he knows what he's doing, and she doesn't. Which is valid. "Two sets of us being there made that a vulnerable point," he says. I like how the levels of screw-up take the story apart: it's not just about "you can't change your history" this way, because there are several factors involved, so you can't just give the simple answer and get going; you can't click it closed like a box and say you've learned a little something about time travel. A lot of dominos in this one -- and that means that you can focus on the emotional and developmental issues a lot easier than you could if it were just a write-off.

The Doctor speaks to Rose:"My entire planet died -- my whole family.... Do you think it never occurred to me to go back and save them?" She goes all shopgirl, protesting that her father isn't a history-changer or a world leader: "'E's not gonna start World War Three or anyfing..." The Doctor steps toward her and tries again: "Rose. There's a man alive in the world who wasn't alive before. An ordinary man. That's the most important thing in creation. The whole world's different because he's alive." And because this is Rose's story, the true paradox is implied: Rose's whole world is different, too. "What," she exclaims, playing dumb. "Would you rather him dead?" The Doctor's not saying that at all, nor is he saying the next thing, as she flips through every possible way she has of denying this. "No, I get it!" she exclaims. "For once, you're not the most important man in my life." Dirty pool. It's never been about how important the Doctor is to Rose -- it's about how important she is to the Doctor. And she knows that. Uglier and uglier. The Doctor is angry: "Let's see how you get on without me, then. Give me the key, the TARDIS key. If I'm so insignificant, give it me back." I think they'd both like nothing better than to back down, but when you're in the middle of somebody's giant issue, it's rough. Without Pete, look what happened to Jackie -- that's an effect. Without Pete to beat his ass, Jimmy Stone talks Rose out of school. And so on. And always in the back of her head thinking of Peter Alan Tyler -- how if he were there, things would be better somehow. He's her excuse. You can't go there without getting in over your head. So if you come up against the edge of the world, if time's hand comes slapping down, whom do you turn to? The people who can do anything: Pete. The Doctor. But it's the Doctor saying no. Rose slaps the key into his hand. "Well, you've got what you wanted," the Doctor says, snottily. "So that's goodbye then." Like a boy, he says this. Cutting with a lie they both know isn't true, and terrified that on some level it is, because that means that all they've been through, and all the love -- all the love in the world! -- that they have for each other was based in something selfish and foul. That when Rose turned her back on Adam, she was being a hypocrite. Playing her own "Long Game."

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