The end of the earth. Its gone... we were too busy saving ourselves, no one saw it go. All those years, all that history and no one was even looking. It's just...
This is one of my favorite episodes from series 1. Again, we see how ace RTD is at writing characters. Even a one-off character like Jabe feels developed, and you feel kind of sad when she dies. I also like that Cassandra is a pretty unique villain. A concept that RTD likes to come back to occasionally is humans as the real monsters, and this is the first instance of that. He shows how monstrous an obsession with youth and beauty can be and it's appropriately creepy to see trampoline Cassandra. I love the clever little bit about the jukebox being an iPod because when you think about it, it’s totally plausible that people billions of years in the future would get that confused. From that large of a perspective, it’s as if the two were popular at the same moment. Also, I love that they play Britney Spears as an example of a classic Earth song. Again, the plot isn’t SUPER compelling or complex, but it serves its purpose to better explore the characters.
As far as a series long arcs go, in this episode we find out that Gallifrey was destroyed in the Time War. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s why the Doctor brought Rose to watch the Earth be destroyed. He wanted her to understand what he was going through, so he had her watch her own planet be destroyed.
Rose is really interesting in this episode. We see the pretty natural response of freaking out when the fact of being in the year 5 billion really hits her. It’s also the first instance of Rose’s tendency to wander off. And we see her confront Cassandra. She’s not central to saving the day in this episode (RTD kind of locks her in a room during the main action, and generally in series 1 Rose is more Damsel in Distress than the action hero she becomes in series 2). I also kind of like that in spite of everything that Cassandra hass done, Rose still wants the Doctor to help her. Rose believes in second chances.
We also get some great Doctor and Rose interactions. I think we can see the kind of teasing relationship that Rose and Nine have.
The Doctor: 10,000 years in the future. Step outside and it's the year 12005, the New Roman Empire.
Rose Tyler: You think you're so impressive.
The Doctor: I *am* so impressive!
Rose Tyler: You wish.
I also love the fight that Rose and the Doctor have. She’s taken the time to actually stop and think about what she did running off with Doctor and it’s freaking her out a bit, so she goes off on the Doctor. But after she sees that she’s upset him and was maybe a bit out of line, she backtracks and makes up with him, joking around about jiggery pokery and hullabuloo. It’s a great scene for getting a sense of not only each of the characters individually, but also the way that they relate to each other. Seriously, I can’t get over what a great writer RTD is when it comes to characterization.
And I love the ending. It’s just so… Rose. And I think it demonstrates why I think Rose and Nine work well together.
The Doctor: I'm a Time Lord. I'm the last of the Time Lords. They're all gone. I'm the only survivor. I'm left traveling on my own because there's no one else.
Rose: There's me.
The Doctor: You've seen how dangerous it is - do you wanna go home?
Rose Tyler: I dunno... I want... Oh, can you smell chips?
The Doctor: Yeah! [laughs] Yeah!
Rose Tyler: I want chips.
The Doctor: Me too!
Rose Tyler: Right then, before you get me back in that box - chips it is - and you can pay.
The Doctor: No money.
Rose Tyler: What sort of date are you? Come on then, tight wad, chips are on me... we've only got five billion years till the shops close!
This is the essence of Rose and the Doctor’s relationship. The Doctor is alone, but she’s decided that she’s going to stick with him. She feels his pain and then makes him laugh. And then she doesn’t let him dwell on the emo. Instead she is just “so very human” (to quote the Doctor) and decides that she wants chips and then gives him a bit of a hard time about not having cash.