1x01 – “Rose”
And so it begins.
I like Nine, I do. But he isn’t my favorite Doctor, so I don’t have quite the attachment to him as other Doctors. This episode serves its purpose as a reintroduction to the series (calling back to the old series with the Autons and introducing concepts like the Tardis) and an introduction to what the new series will be (exploring emotions more and meeting the Companion’s family). We meet Nine and Rose, and most importantly, we meet Rose’s family. RTD establishes early on that this is going to be different from Classic Who. We get to see Rose at home and know the people in her life. This episode also demonstrates what a genius RTD is at characterization. From this one 45 minute episode, we see Nine as a Doctor unto himself. He’s not very compassionate or aware of the feelings of others. He’s a bit of a jerk and clearly has some angst going on, and yet he’s still the Doctor, clever and a hero.
Rose also already feels like a real character. She’s a bit bratty to her mum and to the Doctor, but she’s brave and inquisitive (researching the Doctor after he tells her to forget about him), not satisfied with just letting life happen to her. She wants more. She also calls the Doctor out on his nonsense, something that is a common theme with her and Nine (Ten too, sometimes), pointing out that he was completely callous about Mickey. We also get the first little taste of what Rose’s major flaw is: selfishness. She chooses to run off with the Doctor without telling her mum because she wants to, without thinking of the consequences or feelings of anyone else. And though RTD definitely relies on stereotypes a bit, we get a sense of Mickey and Jackie too.
In this episode, the Time War is introduced, and that is something that will profoundly impact the entirety of RTD’s era. The plot and Bad Guy of the Week is just ok though. (Also, Autons, LOL. I’ve seen the Third Doctor serial with them. It’s not much better in the new series than the old series.) Those were sacrificed a bit in favor of establishing ideas, themes and characters, but I'm totally ok with that.
I think that my favorite bit in this episode is this one:
Rose Tyler: Really though, Doctor. Tell me. Who are you?
The Doctor: Do you know like we were saying, about the earth revolving? It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world is turning and you just can't quite believe it 'cause everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it...
[he takes her hand]
The Doctor: - the turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world. And, if we let go...
[He releases her hand]
The Doctor: That's who I am. Now forget me, Rose Tyler. Go home.
Such a good introduction to the Doctor.