Grade: A++++ (seriously one of my favorite episodes of New Who)
Peter Alan Tyler, my Dad. The most wonderful man in the world. Born 15th September, 1954.
Ok, I adore this episode. The monster/peril of the week is really just ok, but OH MAN, THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. THE ISSUES! THE DRAMA! THE TRAGEDY! Love it. Also, a brief confession: This is the episode that makes it hard for me to ship Nine/Rose and why I mainly stick to Ten/Rose.
Let’s get that little unpleasantness out of the way.
Doctor: "Just...tell me you're sorry."
Rose: "I am. I'm sorry."
The reason that this squicks me so much is that in an episode that is all about Rose’s Daddy Issues, this scene is a bit too much like a parent scolding a child for my tastes. And thus concludes why I have a much harder time shipping Nine/Rose than I do Ten/Rose.
Ok, now let’s move on to the epic that is the rest of this episode. I’m not gonna lie. Part of the reason that I love this episode so much is that I have Daddy Issues too. I can identify really strongly with Rose here to some extent. My dad isn’t dead and he’s still married to my mom, but we don’t have any sort of emotional connection or interpersonal relationship. We get along, but I really feel like I don’t KNOW him, so I completely understand Rose’s desire to know her dad.
Anyway, the fact that Rose just impulsively rushes out to save her dad’s life shows that streak of rash selfishness that Rose has been known to show from time to time. Without really thinking, she just decides that she can’t watch her dad die again, and jumps out to save him. And for the Doctor this calls into question the person he thought Rose was.
The Doctor: I should have known. It's not about showing you the universe. It never is. It's about the universe doing something for you.
But I think that both the Doctor and I know that this wasn’t some grand plan. Rose just couldn’t stand to stand by and watch her father die again when there was something that she could do to save him. That line also shows a bit of the Doctor’s insecurity, I think. He’s hurt because he thinks that maybe Rose is with him not because she likes being with him, but because she wants to use him for the Tardis. And when he’s just learning to care about people again, that hurts. A lot.
This impulsive action leads to some tension between the Doctor and Rose.
Rose Tyler: Can't I do anything right?
The Doctor: Since you asked, no.
The Doctor: So don't touch the baby!
Rose Tyler: I'm not stupid!
The Doctor: Y'could have fooled me!
This episode also showcases a bit of Rose’s bratty side again.
Rose: No, I get it. For once, you’re not the most important man in my life.
Doctor: Let’s see how you get on without me. Give me the key. The Tardis key. If I’m so insignificant, give it me back.
Rose: Alright then, I will.
Doctor: You’ve got what you wanted, so that’s good bye then.
Rose: You don’t scare me! I know how sad you are. You’ll be back in a minute. You’ll behanging around the Tardis, waiting for me. And I’ll make you wait a long time!
Ouch. That fight hurts. They know just how to hurt each other. But it feels real. Real people in relationships (not just romantic, friendship and familial relationships too) hurt each other like that. They go for the weak spots because they know how best to hurt you.
And don’t you just love that smug smile on Rose’s face when she thinks that the Doctor is coming after her because he’s realized that he was wrong? LOL. I love her.
But in spite of all of that, the Doctor doesn’t want Rose to have to lose her dad again. He knows from the beginning that the easiest way to fix this would be to have Pete die like he was supposed to, but he does everything he can so that Pete won’t have to die.
Another thing I love is that this episode deals with the disillusionment that comes with meeting your heroes. Rose grew up idolizing her dad because she didn’t know him, but when she does meet him, she discovers that he was just a man who made mistakes like everyone else. I can identify with that a bit too. As a kid you kind of think that your parents are perfect and can do no wrong, but as you grow up, you see that they’re screwed up humans like we all are. And that fight between Jackie and Pete hits home too. Even when you’re no longer a kid, you hate to see your parents fighting. But after she deals with that she realizes that Pete might be ordinary, but he’s still her dad and that makes him, “the most wonderful man in the world”.
Pete Tyler: [Rose has travelled back in time and saved her father's life when he was supposed to have died when she was just a baby. By doing so she has inadvertently doomed the human race] Your friend... he said "This is all your fault." What did he mean by that?
Rose Tyler: Dunno. It's just... it just is.
Pete Tyler: [hesitantly] I gave you my car keys. You don't give your car keys to a complete stranger.
[slowly begins walking towards her]
Pete Tyler: I trusted you, the moment I met you. "A wound in time". You called me Dad.
Pete Tyler: You've got my eyes, Jackie's attitude. You sound like her when you shout.
[he reaches out and tentatively brushes the hair from her eyes but then gets shy and removes his hand. Rose immediately takes his hand and replaces it on her cheek]
Pete Tyler: It is! It's you! You're my Rose! You're my Rose grown up!
[he hugs her]
Rose Tyler: [starts to cry] Dad! My Dad! My Daddy!
Cue Karen crying like a baby. And I love that moment later when Rose tells Pete what kind of a dad he was. Of course he was the perfect dad in her mind. He was always there for her and loved her so much. But Pete knows that he’s human and he wouldn’t have been that dad. But then he goes and shows that he IS a good dad.
Pete: It’s my fault all this has happened.
Rose: This is my fault.
Pete: No, love, I’m your dad. It’s my job for it to be my fault.
Then this bit, where Pete shows the he might be an ordinary man, but he’s a hero too just makes me cry all over again.
Pete Tyler: Who am I, Rose?
Rose Tyler: You're my Daddy.
He’s her daddy, so he is going to give up his life to save the world. And then in that last bit, at the end, Rose is able to do something for her dad and to be there with him when he dies so he’s not alone.
In conclusion this episode pulls at all my emotional heartstrings and I LOVE IT FOR DOING SO.
A couple of things that make this episode more than just a sob fest:
1) Nine and Jackie’s relationship
The Doctor: Jackie Tyler, do as I say! Go and check the doors!
[she scoffs and leaves; he smiles]
The Doctor: I should have done that a long time ago.
2) DOCTOR WHO RICKROLLS US. Lol. Rick Astley is playing in the scene where Rose and Pete are driving to the wedding.