"The End Of The World" is a bunch of BS. Rose chooses "the future" for her first adventure, and they take the TARDIS to the scheduled end of Earth, five billion years from now. The last living human is a bitchy trampoline of stretched flesh with her brain in a jar, and there's a whole huge party with a bunch of aliens, blue people, trees people, chittering alien dwarves, whatever, but things go wrong when spiderbots attack. Using the combined might of a Britney Spears single, a sonic screwdriver, the power of Zen and undergrad literary theory, Rose and the Doctor defeat the evils of Trampolina and save everyone in attendance from the exploding sun. Good thing new viewers didn't have to deal with just this one for an entire week. At the end, we find out that the Doctor is now the only Timelord left, and they get a snack. Hopefully this one's as bad as it gets. Next time: two episodes again.
Rose sprints into the TARDIS with the most beautiful smile, and the Doctor -- without skipping a beat -- asks her where they're off to now: "Backwards or forwards in time. What's it going to be?" She chooses forward, of course -- the whole point of this exercise is to give her one. A future, I mean. He presses buttons and asks how far. Rose starts small: "One hundred years." The Doctor pulls levers and turns knobs. The funniest thing about this scene is how his TARDIS business gets more and more intense and baroque at every juncture. "There you go, step outside those doors, it's the twenty-second century," he grins proudly. "That's a bit boring, though; do you want to go further?" She's down. Next stop: "Ten thousand years in the future...the year 12,005, the New Roman Empire." Sounds nice. Rose teases him, once again, about how "impressive" he seems to find himself, and he makes an "aww" face: "I am so impressive!" There's a funny kind of wish fulfillment here, because yes, he is, but don't you wish you could tease him about it anyway? "Right, then, you asked for it," he tells her. "I know exactly where to go." He goes absolutely crazy on the console, turning wheels and pumping levers and switching switches and butting buttons. We see the TARDIS hurtling through the time vortex for the first time, and then a close-up of the Doctor's hand hitting a desk bell: "Ping!" He won't tell Rose where they are -- just gestures toward the door with a secretive face. I like this episode, on final analysis, because the whole End of the World scenario is just a MacGuffin for the revelation of the Time War stuff hinted at in the first episode, and to put Rose and the Doctor on an equal emotional plane, which is very effectively done. But now, back at the beginning of the episode, it occurs to me to wonder: is this whole bit an attempt to communicate with Rose? This exercise in pain and loss: is this the Doctor's way of telling her why he needs her so much? It's interesting, and unsettling, and kind of heartbreaking. I like it.
Rose steps out the TARDIS doors and into a smallish beige room, and the Doctor uncovers a glass viewscreen with his sonic screwdriver: it's a lovely view on Earth from space. "You lot," he says jokingly. "You spend all your time thinking about dying. Like you're going to get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible: maybe you survive." Or maybe, ultimately, you don't. Maybe you end up alone, traveling by yourself, with nowhere to go. "This is the year 5.5-slash-apple-slash-26. Five billion years in your future. This is the day...Hold on." The Doctor looks at his watch as we see the sun behind Earth expanding beautifully. "This is the day the sun expands. Welcome to the end of the world." Rose stares.