"So tell me, Jabe. What's a tree like you doing in a place like this?" Heh. Jabe says that she's there to show respect for the Earth, which is maybe the best character point of all, because of what Rose says later about how there's no one left to give witness to her passing. Jabe's so complex and delightful, being able to manage this as simultaneously an art exhibit, a network opportunity, and a sacred and meaningful farewell to the place we all started. The Doctor asks if she's not really there for the networking, and she admits that there's a certain necessity of having to be seen at the right occasions, "in case [her] share prices drop," as the Doctor says. "I know you lot. You've got massive forests everywhere, roots everywhere, and there's always money in land." Talk about a hate-on for the multinationals. Dude, Doctor. Remember 1990 in America when everybody got so ecologically-minded that the whole country was bored with it by 1992? From my understanding, the whole multinationals argument was the same thing in the UK, around that time. Which is kind of where Russell Davies lives. He's a great storyteller with the timeless themes, and this show makes me cry a lot, but his references and grudges are...similarly timeless. Not that they're not important, it's just weird. Boy George again.
"You respect the Earth as family," Jabe explains. "So many species evolved from that planet. Mankind is only one. I'm another. My ancestors were transplanted from the planet down below. And I'm a direct descendant of the tropical rainforest." What a fucking awesome concept. Even the Doctor is impressed. He sonic screwdrivers a panel with that same alien script on it, and begins looking at readouts. The more Jabe talks, the harder the Doctor concentrates; the further he retreats. "And what about your ancestry, Doctor? Perhaps you could tell a story or two...Perhaps a man only enjoys trouble when there's nothing else left...I scanned you earlier. The metal machine had trouble identifying your species -- refused to admit your existence." The Doctor pretends to concentrate, but a shadow crosses his face. "Even when it named you, I wouldn't believe it. But it was right." He stops scanning, sadness so deep in his eyes you wish the farting aliens would show up. Jabe whispers, awed, "I know where you're from. Forgive me for intruding, but it's remarkable that you even exist." She reaches out: "I just want to say how sorry I am." That's great drama, that there, because you could have put it together, but the way things are left out, it hits you in a non-verbal place anyway. The Doctor's eyes fill with tears and he places his hand over Jabe's, and a tear falls down his cheek. He finishes up, and they head to the engine room. The Galaxy Quest joke about why would you ever have a hallway with pounding things at set intervals: there are huge fans circulating all the way down the corridor. At least this makes sense, as a venting room for the engines, but it's still a funny visual. In Russell Davies's world, they've just learnt about Frogger. The Doctor notes that it's a bit cold down there. Not for long.