Mickey and Rose walk down a ship corridor; Mickey gives a fake little laugh: "So, that Doctor, eh?" Rose pretends not to hear the implication in his voice. "Madame de Pompadour, Sarah Jane Smith, Cleopatra..." Rose stops walking, pissed: "Cleopatra. He mentioned her once!" Yeah, but he called her "Cleo." Before this can get sadder or stupider, a robot appears and jabs both Rose and Mickey, putting them to sleep.
"You are in my memories," Reinette tells the Doctor. "You walk among them." So we've got doors into her timeline, and doors into her memory, and a ship made of human parts. Doors and doors, and the concrete substituted for the abstract, and the abstract becoming concrete. Things that aren't things but the ideas of things. Ideas that aren't ideas but rips through time. Physical gates into spiritual space. And he's moving in her. "If there's anything you don't want me to see, just imagine a door and close it. I won't look. Ooh, actually...there's a door just there." Reinette opens her eyes and grins at him. The Doctor: "You might want to clo-- ooh. Actually, several." He's uncomfortable but not unhappy. "To walk among the memories of another living soul...Do you ever get used to this?" asks Reinette. The Doctor says that he -- and by "he" I think he means "show writers" -- doesn't make a habit of it. "How can you resist?" she asks. He asks how old she is. Reinette: "So impertinent a question so early in the conversation. How promising." It's courtly talk, wit and scandal. It means the Doctor's getting too close. "No, not my question -- theirs. You're twenty-three, and for some reason, that means you're not old enough." She flinches just then; he apologizes: "Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side effect." Just like falling in love. But these are gates into spaces that aren't things: "Oh, such a lonely childhood," she says, and he apologizes again: "It'll pass. Stay with me."
Reinette almost begins to weep. "Oh, Doctor. So lonely. So very, very alone." She's moving in him now. "What do you mean, alone? You've never been alone in your life..." The lonely angel, Bo's Lonely God. Reinette's never been in the Doctor's life, but we are the same. The Doctor's eyes pop open: "When did you start calling me 'Doctor'?" Moving down his corridors, through his halls. Into windows, and doors, and mirrors, and fireplaces. All the way down. "Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then, and lonelier now." She opens her eyes, full of pain for him: "How can you bear it?" The Doctor steps back. This is Nine shit. He was told he wouldn't have to deal with Nine shit. "How did you do that?" he asks her. She grins. We are the same. "A door, once opened, can be stepped through in either direction..." He's taken apart and can only stare. Nine couldn't have done this. What he lost was his defense from this, but it's zig-zag overcorrection. Nine thought he could never feel like himself again, after destroying where he came from: Ten doesn't even know what "himself" is. Nine's loneliness was so deep there wasn't a word for it; Ten's word for "loneliness" means that he can solve it, and not be alone any more. Nine couldn't be tempted with anything less than annihilation. Ten can be tempted with the world. "Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before..." Reinette leans in softly, into those spaces. "Oh, Doctor. My lonely Doctor. Dance with me." We've known her, those of us new to the show, longer and better than we knew Sarah Jane; there's resistance to the ease of this, but she's walked in him now. I don't see a problem. This is what love is like. It's a love story. If loneliness tells us that we don't exist, if there's no external proof to say that we came to this place and did this thing, then we don't mean anything. Somebody going all the way down, in those places and those hallways, looking at doors and windows and mirrors and fireplaces...that's knowing. That's being known. That's the opposite of loneliness, but it's also, exactly, love. "I can't," the Doctor says sharply. Reinette doesn't care: "Dance with me." He shakes it off: "This is the night you dance with the King." And more courtly talk: "Then first, I shall make him jealous." The Doctor repeats that he can't, and Reinette looks into his eyes, and takes a forty-year joke and twists it into highest truth: "Doctor. Doctor who?" Gallifrey's gone, Companions come and go. There's nobody to answer that question. In the whole of time, there's nobody to answer that question. Doctor Who? We are the same.