Log in

01 July 2008 @ 11:47 pm
Doctor Who 1x02 "The End of the World" rewatch-review  
As I've stated elsewhere, once I finished series two of New Who, I was going to rewatch and review what I call my "Her Name was Rose" collection (click here for the full list of episodes).

"The End of the World" shows again that when it comes to plots, it's not really Russell T Davies' forte. Fortunately, he's gotten better, but as of these first two outings, the weakest part of each episode has been the plot. In this one, it's a different issue than in the first episode which was about, let's face it, a fairly lame villain (I mean, really, living plastic?). Here, the villain(ess) is quite good and Zoë Wanamaker does a wonderful job with her lines, but the mechanics are so inorganic. That's the word I finally came up with that seemed to best fit.

Things like the auto-reset button being behind the fans; it's such an unnecessary, complicated, and stupid plot device. Rose being knocked out by Cassandra's idea fellows and dragged into the room. Why? Yeah, she had ticked off Cassandra, but wouldn't it have made more sense then for Cassandra to have wanted her in the room when she unveiled her evil plan, rather than have her die separately from everyone else without Rose knowing that Cassandra did it? Cassandra's a vain egomaniac, she'd want Rose to know. And on a smaller scale, but still quite annoying was how there were a few times where Rose and the Doctor SHOULD have heard the metal spiders (especially Rose in the quiet of the earth-watching room with the metal thing clicking behind her). The worst, of course, was the sun filter stuff and the cracking glass. I get that it's five billion years in the future and they're able to create super-awesome-amazing shields that they can be that close to the sun exploding ... but the sun filter breaking down and it just pops out sections of the room, but yet it's not hot enough to roast Rose alive in a matter of seconds? Or how about the glass actually cracking, fracturing ... and yet, heat to that magnitude doesn't seep in enough to kill her (but does Pixie, short, squatty dude, but no one else)? Just sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Every time I've watched this one (and this would be the third time), I find myself thinking these thoughts as I'm doing so. Every single time. But yet, with that said, as well, every single time I watch it when I get to the end and think on the episode later, I don't think of these plot fumbles, rather I think about all that was so very good about the episode. Namely, the character-building scenes, Christopher Eccleston's acting, Billie Piper's acting, Eccleston and Piper's blooming, off-the-freaking-charts chemistry, and the build-up of the Doctor/Rose relationship, as well as three guest star performances (one major, one minor and one vocal) that were wonderful. And those above all combined just make the shoddy plotting pale in comparison. (Still, I'm so glad to say the plotting has gotten much better.)

Looking at those goodies ... First off: The character building scenes, both with the Doctor, Rose and even a small one or two for Jabe and Raffalo. The obvious ones for the Doctor are the scenes with Jabe when she talks about knowing who (or rather, what) he is, and the final scene where he shares with Rose who (and what) he is and what helped make him what he is today. On that note, I found myself wondering why there was so much time spent with the Doctor and Jabe bonding, when Rose -- the secondary lead, his companion -- was off elsewhere and had as yet not spent much time with him at all. Now bear in mind that I'd only watched it once recently -- as in the last two years -- and as I stated in my rewatch-review of "Rose," when I watched it a month ago, I wasn't looking for any deep-seated meaning, merely living in a world of 'Ooh, look! Christopher Eccleston is lovely and I miss him,' and 'Ooh, yeah Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper did have really amazing chemistry! Squee!!!' So, I hadn't thought deep about pretty much anything Who related at this point. Still, since I was in analysis-mode, I wondered while watching if I would get my answer and if there would be pay-off in the final scene with the Doctor and Rose. Sure enough, there was.

We know that the Doctor has been alone, and because of his experiences, is clearly used to keeping things close to his chest. It took Jabe calling him on who he is, the wonder in her voice opening that door -- alongside the destruction of the Earth and seeing Rose's reaction -- that allowed the Doctor to open up to Rose and reveal something fully of himself with real words, and not vague (albeit, heart(s)felt) words about the Earth spinning. And furthermore, it took the Doctor taking a slight fancy to Jabe and wanting to spend time with her, and thus connect with her, that allowed him that moment with her that led to the moment with Rose. And that moment in the end was important in showing that the Doctor is beginning to trust her; and it also allowed Rose to see more of the man (so to speak) which, in turn, allowed her to continue on this mad journey with him.

Of course, none of these strong character scenes would have any true power were it not for how awesome Christopher Eccleston is. We see so many shades and layers to the Doctor in this episode that it's spellbinding. We get him goofy, excited, solemn, flirty, devastated, curious, angry, amused, touched, worried, sad and a dash of sexy too ... all in one episode, and, of course, being Christopher Eccleston, he delivers on every single layer. That's right, every layer ... including the sexy. Sure, he may not be handsome like David Tennant, but he's got a mighty dose of charisma himself and I know that I certainly can't watch the Doctor/Rose scene clipped below where they discuss TARDIS telepathy and not have an immediate, 'yeah, baby!' response when he leans down and relaxes on the landing. Pretty boy or not, he's still got sex appeal. Admittedly, we don't get much evidence in his Doctor, but the moments that we do ... well, oh boy. Ahem, still, that is just the shallow, he also brings so much more to table.

Eccleston does so much with his eyes, his facial expressions, his body language -- sometimes a bit broad (as befitting the moment), but more often, with subtle shifts and changes. He really is an amazing actor. (God, my kingdom for just one more series of Eccleston. Why couldn't we have had two series of Nine?!?!? Yes, yes, I love the Tennant; I love Ten ... but damnit, I loved Eccleston first and long before Who, and I adored Nine. Sigh.) One other thing I REALLY loved about his Doctor in this episode is that much more than in the first episode, there were moments where he was so alien. His reaction to certain things, and gosh, I'm blanking on them now! (arggh!) but they were small things, aside from the biggest which was him not seeing how the end of the world would affect Rose; how seeing all of the aliens would be too much. It could have come across as him underestimating her love for her planet (compared to his for Gallifrey), or even him just being a clueless guy, but because of this just slightly-off note in how Eccleston played the scenes, they came across as not quite a human reaction. Alien. He's just so, so good. Ah yes, indeed, this episode was a showcase for Eccleston and it was a smashing success at that.

As well, it also featured a wonderful performance by Billie Piper. What I loved about Rose's character scenes in this episode is how they so organically (unlike the plot!) grew from what happened in the first episode. I loved how it went straight from the end of "Rose" into this one without a second in-between. (Hmm, it almost makes me wonder if this was originally intended as a two-hour episode, but that it was decided to split them up except for the fact that they do play out so differently in tone and tenor. On the other hand, it also gives us some Doctor history for new viewers, so yeah, maybe it was originally intended at some point to be a two-hour episode. Double hmm.)

Anyhoo, back to Rose and the immediate follow-up to her decision to join the Doctor. We saw her joy and enthusiasm, her curiosity and excitement. And then, and then as things settled a bit, as she was thrown into this crazy situation with aliens -- real-live-looking aliens! -- it all hit her. She was billions of years from anything she knew with a man that she'd known for about twenty-four hours. Practically a stranger. She had completely placed her life in his hands with barely a second thought. I loved how that realization hit her and how, while it carried through to the next scene with the Doctor, she was grounded somewhat by the appearance of a plumber. I loved that; it was such a small, but brilliant way of showing that Rose is good with this kind of life because she can grasp so quickly, so easily, so rightly that while everything changes, so much stays the same. The fundamentals stay the same. Five billion years in the future? We still have sanitary waste issues. Thus, plumbers. Same shit, different millennium. Literally.

Backing up a bit to when it all hit her, though, I want to recount that scene because it was done so well, the execution of it was just perfect. Rose seeing alien after alien in front of her, all assembled and then a jukebox (erroneously called an i-pod, just showing again how "alien" this all was) starting up Tainted Love, with these lyrics Sometimes I feel I've got to/Run away/I've got to/Get away playing over Rose as the camera angles went a tad wonky and the growing confusion and fear of taking it all in washed over Rose leading her to run away, get away. Brilliantly done, as was her scene with the Doctor when he finally got there where she discussed how "alien" the aliens were. What follows featured some fabulous acting from both Piper and Eccleston where we saw them coming from such different points of view -- going back to the Doctor's alien-ness, and it also showed how in tune they can wind up being, knowing when and where to push and when to back down.

And this brings us to the Doctor/Rose relationship which really began here, shown so brilliantly through both Eccleston and Piper's talent, through their mad chemistry and how intricately their relationship was being forged. I say often that I think there is much more Rose/Ten fiction, vids, etc. because Rose and the Doctor were more overtly a couple (just without the shagging, per the Tennant) and I still think that's the case. But I also state just as frequently that we couldn't have had Rose and Ten as they were without Rose and Nine building that foundation. The scenes (all of them) in this episode were perfect examples of that foundation being built.

In the first scene, we had the Doctor showing off for her. It's as simple as that. Was it in an overt romantic and/or sexual way? Of course not. But regardless of the motive behind it, the Doctor was showing off for her, and her teasing responses about his impressiveness had a touch of flirting to it. Through their scenes on the base, first with the steward and then with the aliens, there are quite a few moments of the Doctor just looking at Rose, positively delighting in her reaction to all that was going on around her. Still, obviously, it wasn't of a romantic/sexual bent at all, although there were subtle undertones. "She's my plus one." Rose noting the attention Jabe and the Doctor were paying to one another; Jabe assuming a sexual relationship between the two -- although, that was likely more about her making sure Rose wasn't competition, LOL!, and Rose, even after essentially giving her blessing to Jabe, throwing a tart reminder that he had to come back, conscious or not, staking her claim -- although, again, that likely had more to do with him being her designated driver. Still, the subtle hints of maybe something more were there.

And then they burst into full-fledged hints when he found her after her reaction to the aliens. Beginning with the Doctor oblivious to how bad a choice he made in (a) exposing her to so many aliens, and (b) taking her to the end of the world. We already know from the previous episode that this incarnation does not hold humans in the highest regard, so it's understandable that he wouldn't think how the destruction of her planet would devastate her, even as he knows personally of how it feels (albeit, on a much more real and personal scale). Following his bone-headedness, Rose's anger was beautifully done, built up just perfectly and made so much sense, her anger was directed not at what he'd done, but the principle of not asking her. He didn't even think to ask her about the TARDIS going in her mind and interpreting and doesn't see why it would be a problem since it was helpful. She can't understand how it couldn't even cross his mind and makes that clear. Right there, without saying so, Rose was asserting her importance as a human, refusing to consider herself a lesser species.

At that point, we have the anger free-flowing between them, both yelling, both of them tense and welling up with emotion, hers based on this crazy, impulsive decision she made, him having memories of all he's lost during her push to find out who he is. It was tense, and electric. And again, as stated above, maybe I'm wrong, maybe there was never an intention to have it come across as even having quasi-undertones, but regardless of their age difference, Eccleston and Piper have sexual chemistry and it leaps off the screen in intense moments. Of course, that bent isn't hindered by their make up bit where she's practically flirting with him with her eyes, with her body language and he ain't too far off from that either. I mean, just look at the two of them -- the tension, thick and intense in the air as they're yelling at one another, the stiffness and smoulder as they separate, and then the sideway glances, the smiles, the body language as they make up. The vibe between the two just felt more like that of a couple rather than just mates. (Download the scene for better quality, or watch it here via youtube.)

And that was even more evident in their final two scenes. Rose's sorrow as she watched bits of the Earth float by in space as the Doctor watched her from a distance showed that he realized that by bringing her here to this point in time, he had created a connection between the two of them. Perhaps, maybe, it was even intentional ... to see if she really was someone who should travel with him, be with him, this young girl. Judging from his response to her response -- the taking of her hand and leading her to where she could at least have something to hold onto after the destruction -- made it clear that she was someone worth traveling through time and space with. Clear not just to the Doctor, but also to viewers that she was more than just a young girl. The end of the Earth and she mourned its passing and that no one witnessed it; she mourned its history and its legacy.

Ah, and then the immediate follow-up, the Doctor opening up to Rose about who he is, the destruction of his planet, the Time War. By telling Rose about this just as she was dealing with the loss of her own (albeit in five billion years), the Doctor took a big step in forging a connection between the two of them. And that bond already at work was apparent because before she stopped to think about it, she offered herself up as his continued traveling companion. It was only when he questioned whether she wanted to despite the danger that she thought about it and came up with the safe, sensible answer ("I don't know"). Still, all it took was a touch of the familiar (the smell of chips) to re-assert her desire to simply be with him and push aside the sensible. And again, the body language, the vibe between them was one with tones of a romantic nature. Intended or not, the chemistry between the two actors set the path for the love story that developed between the Doctor and Rose.

On the other hand, maybe it was indeed intended all along in Russell T Davies' mind. After all, in that final scene Rose refers to the two getting chips as a "date." Which is significant in the context of my wondering by the fact that when Rose and Ten discuss this event in "New Earth," she saucily calls it "their first date." Which says to me that either Davies' did intend for that path to truly start in this episode, or he saw it begin here unintentionally due to the chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. (Fear not, Tennant/Piper fans, I'll be talking about their chemistry just as much in their episodes, LOL!)

(Download the scene for better quality, or watch it here via youtube.)

Okay, moving on from Doctor and Rose, I wanted to comment on the three guest stars that I truly enjoyed. Yasmin Bannerman as Jabe gave a beautiful performance, even under all of her tree make-up. I liked her, even as she was flirting with the Doctor -- who belongs to Rose, damnit, LOL!, and I was affected when she died, and how she died. I also really liked Beccky Armory's Raffalo. Just one scene, but the actress did a lovely job, and RTD was brilliant in showing how life was like for the "lesser" species with her comments about permission to speak, creating an interesting, nice character in a few minutes. Finally, Zoë Wanamaker as Cassandra's voice -- a part she played just as delightfully in "New Earth" -- was just wonderful. Even with some of the lame dialogue -- which I rather think was written as such on purpose as part of Cassandra's character -- she just shone. Voicing this vain, silly, stupid, greedy character stretched all out, she made her three-dimensional.

Phew, okay, finally some random comments and then I'm done with another ridiculously massive post the likes of which that I never, ever think will be this bloody long when I sit down to write!

- Hmm, so wardrobe saved on money for these first two episodes. Not only did the Doctor wear the same outfit as the episode before, but so did Rose!

- I think that Murray Gold does a lovely job with the music, but I actually thought that the use of sung music (Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and Britney Spears' "Toxic") were actually used quite, quite well, really appropriately amping up the scenes. It makes me wish that the show used this type of music a bit more because I feel it would be used correctly. Ah well.

- Hmm, first episode that questions whether the Doctor and Rose are a couple, and it's the first of many. I wonder if the whole romantic angle was intentional, was that Rusty's way of subtly getting that thought stuck in viewers' minds. Were there any quotes and/or thoughts out there on this from when this originally aired?

- Loved the line and Billie's delivery of "I'm talking to a twig." Hah! Makes me laugh out loud every time.

- Sigh, like Clive in the last episode, yet again, a likable, one-scene character dies. Damnit, RTD! I liked Raffalo.

- I know I mentioned it above, but man, that was a great fight scene between the Doctor and Rose. It also made me think ... I don't think we ever saw Rose and Ten fight like that. (Or really fight much at all. I guess they got it all out early on.)

- What a difference a few episodes make ... in episode five the Doctor takes a minute to decide whether he wants to save the Earth if it means losing Rose, and in episode six, Rose is referred to as the "woman he loves" and he's devastated by the decision he has to make to sacrifice her. Here when he finds out that Rose is the one locked in the room with the sun filter going off, instead of being worried, he's annoyed that he has to bail her out. And when he saves her ... no hug!!!!! Heck, not even hand porn!

- Interesting, Rose wanting the Doctor to help Cassandra, and him coldly, simply not wanting to and therefore not doing so. Looking ahead to "Dalek," and even further ahead to the Racnoss in "The Runaway Bride," it really shows how he reacts when he's devastated by loss. He wants others to suffer, and so allows suffering to be inflicted upon those who deserve it, either through his own actions or others.

- Finally, a small thing, but like the excellence of the music/camera angles of the aliens scene with Rose slightly freaking, I loved how the introduction of the Earth still spinning and filled with life was done in the final scene. Rose steps out, slight wonder on her face and through the strain of the music the first thing we hear is a baby crying. Nice.

- Finally, handporn! time: Only one hand-hold in "The End of the World," but it's a great one. Filled with compassion and comfort.

Okay, if you're read through all of my rambling, as a treat, head on over to this "The End of the World" picspam by fid_gin which captures many of the moments I talked about above. And it's pretty dang fantastic picspam just on its own. So go.

  • Click the image for previous episode rewatch-reviews:

    Pervy Nine Fancierhonorh on July 3rd, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
    One of the subtle things about their body language is how Billie doesn't lean into him with her head--she doesn't just stick her neck out to see what he's doing while he's jiggery-pokering her phone. Instead, she moves in with her body, pressing closer to him from her chest to pelvis. It's the same thing she did in "Rose" when she was trying to get him to tell her what was going on. And again, at the end of EotW, she nudges into him with her shoulder. It's much more intimate and sexual than you'd expect. I've heard, though I don't know how true it is, that Rose was originally supposed to be younger, like 16 or 17 (which might explain how badly RTD borked her birth date). Upon witnessing the insanely heated chemistry Billie and Chris had, though, they upped Rose's age to cut down on the potential squick.

    Going back to "Rose," btw, I have to say that I rather loved the Autons. That they started the series out with living shop dummies told me everything I needed to know about the show, and I knew that DW and I would get along just fine. It's silly, it's cheesy, it revels in its quirkiness. I love it. I've watched enough deadly serious SF, and when DW came along with its anti-plastic and cliched chopping fans along the walkway, it was a breath of fresh air.
    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on July 3rd, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
    One of the subtle things about their body language is how Billie doesn't lean into him with her head--she doesn't just stick her neck out to see what he's doing while he's jiggery-pokering her phone. Instead, she moves in with her body, pressing closer to him from her chest to pelvis.

    YES!! That's part of what makes these type of scenes so laden with sexual heat. If for no other reason, I'm glad that Eccleston and Piper had their mad chemistry because a 16/17 year old traveling him would have just been wrong and creepy, supposed kid's show or not.

    I like your point about the Autons, and I think I can happily live with that explanation now when I rewatch. So thanks! :)
    Pervy Nine Fancierhonorh on July 3rd, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
    Well, Ace was only 16 when she became the Seventh Doctor's companion, but they developed a father/daughter, mentor/student relationship. Suppose they might've tried the same thing with Nine and Rose, but they are so very much not father/daughter!
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on July 3rd, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
    Hmm, I see what you mean (I never watched old Who. Yeah, good thing they had the age thing there upped with the Eccleston/Piper chemistry, though, because yeah, father/daughter those two? No, just no.
    But you can call me Bowie: dr who 9/rose two of usisiscaughey on July 3rd, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
    Nice essay!

    I remember not liking EOTW very much the first time I watched it, but upon re-watching it, I came to like it quite a lot. I think it was because of what you outlined here- the plot was not particularly good, but there are so many wonderful moments in the episode.

    Billie and Chris had really amazing chemistry from moment one, and there are some great moments in EOTW between them.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on July 3rd, 2008 09:39 am (UTC)
    Right. I remember thinking the same way about the episode. The plot was just not very strong, but the moments that were good about the characters? So very, very good.

    Billie and Chris had really amazing chemistry from moment one, and there are some great moments in EOTW between them.

    Ditto!! They really, really did!

    Hey, I have your fic list recs saved and am browsing through it, so I recognized your username right away.
    But you can call me Bowie: dr who rose/nineisiscaughey on July 4th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
    Hehe, glad it's getting around. There needs to be more Nine/Rose love in the world. And I'm always looking for more recs. :)
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on July 4th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
    For various reasons unneccesary to go through now, I am reading a RIDICULOUS amount of fics this weekend and many of them are Nine/Rose, so I may do a rec list myself. We'll see. I've never done one before. :)
    nina_dS: DW fancy a shag?nina_ds on July 3rd, 2008 04:56 am (UTC)
    You are so right to point out the way CE plays layers. His fluency is breathtaking, and this episode is an early tour de force - he can also play two or three layers at a time (my hearts are breaking/I'm numb from grief/I'm okay, really/ooh, look! I can juggle mechanical spider eggs!/Here is breath from my lungs *rowr*) or flick from one to the other in the blink of an eye. I love that he's so transparent that you can see it all the first time, but it's so complex that it never wears out its welcome - it's just as good no matter how many times I see it.

    And the chemistry between Piper and Eccleston is about the most unexpected but breathtaking thing I've ever seen. honorh has pointed out the way BP just melts into him at the least provocation, but even when they're standing side by side, they're always cheating toward each other (which is terrible blocking for the camera, but it's as if they can't help themselves). The "fight" scene is fascinating because even when they're arguing, it's as if there's this magnetic pull still tugging them together. And normally, CE is wound so tight, it's amazing he can actually unfold his body that far.

    It's true that the plot may be weak, but the character work here is brilliantly strong, and you're right to point out the great work by the guest stars as well. I adore Zoë Wanamaker as Cassandra (she was the only thing I liked about New Earth, too, other than Billie Piper's performance). I don't really have much of a problem with most of the plot weaknesses in S1, actually, because the actors pull it off, and there's a kind of energy that (mostly) feels fresh and exciting rather than frantic and noisy. The Slitheen scenes in AoL/WWIII are the weakest link, but I think it's mostly lousy directing, because Annette Badland certainly proves that she can be a much more subtle actress in Boom Town. (It's interesting that it seems to be that episode that convinced CE not to renew his contract, and I can't say I blame him.)

    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on July 3rd, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
    Oh, I love your icon!!! In fact, I may have commented elsewhere when I first saw it. Love it, love it, love it.

    Obviously, I agree about CE and his layers. And the chemistry between them? It's breathtaking. There's this subconscious pull between them that just radiates.

    Well, I actually like some of those episodes you mention not liking, but, of course, that comes from my initial rewatch of "Oh, I love the Doctor and Rose so much! SQUEE!" point of view, so I don't know what I'll think when I rewatch it.

    As for CE not renewing, I've heard so many different reports, I don't know what to believe at this point, I'm just sad we didn't get at least one more season. Sigh.
    nina_dS: DW thoughtful Docnina_ds on July 3rd, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
    It's a fun icon, isn't it? Because that's exactly what it looks like when he leans back like that (with the little flick of the tail of the jacket behind his hip, no less).

    As for AoL/WWIII, I actually enjoy them quite a lot, but I do recognize that the direction is a bit "off" in them (in the scenes with the Doctor and Rose, I think the actors are able to pull it together). In fact, I don't think there are any S1 episodes I won't gladly rewatch multiple times!

    CE is so terribly headshy about getting tied down to anything, I've always suspected that he and RTD had a pact between them that he was only going to do one series - RTD gets one of the most respected actors in the business for his "cheesy SciFi family show" that he only thought was going to run for one series, CE gets to do something different for children, and he's pretty much out of there before it hits the airwaves. Putting together the various bits of gossip that have come out, I suspect that the BBC started seeing the potential for continuing early on and started "negotiating" with him to continue. He may have even wavered, but from all reports, Keith Boak was a ham-fisted jerk directing these episodes, which can't have helped him want to stay. At some point, the BBC pushed too far (and there seems to have been quite a lot of personal stuff going on at the same time) and he recoiled. This is all speculation, but it all does fit together - he really doesn't like being boxed in, that's clear. (As an aside, I think the Heroes people have learned to give him a very long lead and let him come to them when he wants to. He's like a feral cat that way!)

    I would have dearly loved to have even 4-5 more episodes of Nine, Rose, and Jack. They were all magic, and it's all chemistry that's lightning in a bottle.
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on July 3rd, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
    Fabulous icon, and you totally captured why I specifically wrote that scene up in my write-up in mentioning his sexiness.

    Hmm, I knew about the personal stuff (which is what made me even more annoyed with John Barrowman's class-less comment about preferring David Tennant because Tennant has a pint with him, while CE is grump. Whatever, Barrowman.), but not the other stuff, or even about Keith Boak being a jerk. Ah well.

    Yeah, I would have loved more episodes, but unlike many in this fandom, I actually am not all that high on Jack, or the three together. Yes, I've grown a tad disenchanted since I read the tacky Barrowman quote, but even before that, I was never a huge Jack fan. I like him, but I could easily do without him. Easily. Now 4-5 more episodes of Nine and Rose!??! So there. SO. VERY. THERE.
    nina_dS: DW Nine and Rose EOTWnina_ds on July 4th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
    My priority is definitely Nine & Rose... I sort of agree with you on Jack. The only time I've ever liked him was with Nine. I wish both JB and BP would actually look at their performances before they make comments, because both of them give more interesting and engaging performances with CE, IMO; but at least BP has more grace and tact than JB - not that the bar's all that high, mind you! Complaining about a guy not being "fun" when he's got an illness in the family and is carrying a big-budget series that's a major risk for the BBC is just not on, and Billie seems much more considerate about it. Tennant had it easier, in a way, because the show was already a success and even if it rocked a bit in S2, it was such a juggernaut, it wasn't going to collapse or be an embarrassment the way S1 had the possibility of doing. Also, CE and RTD go back at least as far as QAF, so there's a relationship being stressed there, too. RTD, though, says he's a "great talker" and "such a laugh", so he obviously knows him on a whole different level.
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on July 4th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
    I've read very few interviews/quotes, etc. but the little bit I have read, I've just gotten the impression that BP just wasn't that close to CE, unlike DT, but she never came across as disrespectful of him or of what they created in the bit I've read. Sad to know that she's made some comments less than complimentary.

    As for everything else you wrote ... yeah, a big, fat honking! DITTO! There was so much resting on CE and RTD, of course, but without the right Doctor, it wouldn't have worked. Heck, I'm not sure it would have worked with Tennant starting out, as he comes across as lightweight, until you're able to delve into his performance more or he's really given something to do. Other than the fight scene and reaction to Jabe in ep 2, the first episodes called for subtle, dynamic, OHMYGOD, he's so flipping good alongside a dose of the goofy, craziness and it all had to segue perfectly with one another. I love the Tennant, but I'm not sure he could have pulled that off. Eccleston, of course, did.

    Edited at 2008-07-04 12:18 am (UTC)
    nina_dS: Doctor Who remember menina_ds on July 4th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
    It's hard to judge what the relationship between BP and CE was. Although evidently they used to hang out at a pub after work often enough that the fact that both their relationships broke up during that period was noticed - and of course, with the chemistry onscreen, there was gossip, but I doubt there was anything to it. Still, there are lots of fun, relaxed off-screen photos, many of her hugging him and hanging off him the same way she did with DT, so they certainly got along. The "worst" I've seen from BP, which wasn't that bad, was being asked "Who's your favourite Doctor?" and she replied "without hesitation" "David Tennant". She also said that DT hung out and laughed and joked around between set-ups, while Chris was always off working on his script (to be honest, that doesn't reflect all that well on BP or DT when you think about it!). But, yeah, JB has been obnoxious - and the fact that he and DT think it's fun to "fart in the TARDIS" ... well, it seems, shall we say, a tad immature!

    I think CE's reputation gave the show more critical attention than it would have gotten otherwise, and I do think S1 is much more complex emotionally than the subsequent series. CE doesn't just have layers, he also plays levels, and really can go from extremely subtle to OTT bombastic or vice versa in the blink of an eye, while still playing the layers. He's the only actor who ever bumps me out of a performance because his technique is so good! Still, I never expected him to stick around - a show with a built-in escape hatch?! He was so out of there! I have not warmed to Tennant, but it's not because he's "not Nine" - I fully expected to like him, and in fact, did in the first Children in Need special.
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on July 4th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
    Well, that's nice to know then about BP (and BP/CE). Gossip, of course. If they broke up at the same time, it's possible they were simply commiserating together, but, of course, that's not exciting enough. ::Rolls eyes::

    I do think CE really did help the show, as well. I have warmed to the Tennant, but there are still moments where he's a bit much (which I tend to blame on a director because more often than not, he's on). It's just that, well, I love Christopher Eccleston and his Doctor just a tad more.

    And I have to say that it really is telling how wonderful he was that still today with him playing the Doctor for only 13 episodes and the Tennant (sorry, can't help it, he is just THE Tennant to me now, I don't know why or how, but there it is) has played him in 42 and yet in DW posts quite a few people still say Nine < Ten, or I love Ten, but Nine was MY Doctor, etc.

    Edited at 2008-07-04 01:05 am (UTC)
    nina_dS: Donna bein' awesomenina_ds on July 4th, 2008 01:17 am (UTC)
    My problems with Ten are a combination of writing, directing as you say, and acting technique. I loved that Nine said he would be a very bad god; Ten asking a planet to remake itself in his image...not so much. (I also think you will find a picture of him in the dictionary under genocide - it's just that the caption will read "repeat offender"!) I would categorize Tennant as less an actor and more of a performer; he's pretty much the same across most of the parts he's played, and he's a particular "type" that's in fashion at the moment. His best moments tend to come when he's being a fanboy. I loved his meeting Sarah Jane in School Reunion because he was so obviously chuffed; although a wee part of me wanted it to be CE, who didn't see "Sarah Jane off my telly when I was a kid" but "my old friend, so much has happened since last we met." (Especially after The Stolen Earth, she was so good, and I'd love to see SJ and Nine sit down and have a long, heart-to-heart talk.)
    Arabian: Donna Noblearabian on July 4th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
    Oh, we disagree here, then. I think he's delivered some gorgeous work. Recently, I thought he was absolutely spellbinding in "Midnight," and I may not have liked "Human Nature/Family of Blood," I think he gave a great performance. Speaking of SR, I loved his poolside scene with Anthony Stewart Head and thought he was amazing there as well.

    He does go over the top on occasion, but like I said above because of how I feel about his overall work, I tend to blame that on the director. I haven't seen much of his work in other stuff, so I might feel differently after watching, but as of now, I do think he's a very strong actor.

    I feel HE'S been let down sometime by the writers/director who rather expect more the goofy, over the top Doctor as opposed to giving him stuff to really work with (ala "Midnight," where again, he just did some gorgeous work) and so they write him that way. I'm not saying he's as good as Eccleston, but Eccleston's really an amazing, amazing actor, but my point is that his talent was written for. Not so for Tennant.
    nina_dS: DW blue!nina_ds on July 4th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
    I don't know that we disagree that much, actually - I agree that his best acting has been in HN/FOB and Midnight... except that he wasn't really The Doctor as such in those episodes (the best part of Midnight was when he was "possessed" and couldn't move). And he does fluctuate wildly from director to director, which suggests he's more susceptible to direction, so that's not what I think of as a "strong" actor. It's partially just terminology. And I'll admit, some of this mannerisms that lots of people find "cute" or "charming" grate on my nerves. But it's also that I find Ten a hypocrite, so it's harder for me to connect with him. In that poolside scene, I missed CE's power/menace. It was like an odd double-image, where I could hear the echo of what CE's performance would have been (I suspect that was actually written when he was still attached, because I know that was one of the older scripts.)

    But then again, I wouldn't expect to hold anyone to CE's standards, because he is exceptional, as you say. He's also, by all accounts, a stroppy bastard who'll argue with directors and writers over characterization and all that... Though it seems they usually come around to his way of thinking, eventually. So he may be difficult, but he also seems to be "worth it", in the words of the old hair color commercial. :-)
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on July 4th, 2008 02:26 am (UTC)
    You're right, we don't disagree that much. And I can see what you mean by calling him not a "strong" actor in regards to his performance relying no direction so much. As for this:

    some of this mannerisms that lots of people find "cute" or "charming" grate on my nerves.

    Ah, now that is something key, I think. Someone can be any good type of actor, but if parts of their performance rub you the wrong way, well ... I've been there. I'm with the throng that does find him cute and charming and all of that shallow stuff, LOL! As for Ten being a hypocrite, really I don't see that. Maybe when I get to some of the S2 episodes and Rose-related S4 eps, you could pop back in here and give your take. Of course, I might find that I do agree when rewatching them.

    a stroppy bastard who'll argue with directors and writers over characterization and all that... Though it seems they usually come around to his way of thinking, eventually. So he may be difficult, but he also seems to be "worth it", in the words of the old hair color commercial. :-)

    Just made me laugh. Seriously, I laughed out loud. Hah!
    nina_dS: Humbly at your servicenina_ds on July 4th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
    Glad to be of service!

    I'm just amused because I don't think there's any commentary on any DVD I've heard where there's not some story like this - my favourite is RTD on The Second Coming saying that "Chris called a meeting with me. I was scared, because Chris is quite a strong man." He was clearly joking, but he also said that CE wanted to talk about the characterization of the "Sermon on the Mount" scene, and not only did RTD agree with him, he said he ended up writing his favourite part of the entire script in order to fix it. Or Danny Boyle saying that he had no idea CE was going to put that whole homoerotic subtext into 28 Days Later, but in retrospect, it was so brilliant he was sorry they hadn't thought of it earlier.
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on July 4th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
    Ah, I haven't seen The Second Coming yet but it's on my Netflix Queue and I'm quite excited to see another CE/RTD collaboration. I so have to rewatch 28 Days Later -- as well as a handful of his films that I saw years ago, but haven't watched recently.

    Well based on these two accounts (and I'm sure there's more), it's clear that anyone working with him should just realize from the get-go that he knows what's best for his characters and adjust accordingly, LOL!
    nina_dS: Vindici & Lussuriosonina_ds on July 4th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
    I loved The Second Coming - I think it's the best thing RTD has written, even though some may find it sacrilegious and it's got an admittedly weird structure. But it's a joy to watch CE and Lesley Sharp work. The first three minutes... Come back after you've seen it and we'll talk ;-)

    Have you seen Revengers Tragedy? That's one of my favourites - Vindici and Nine have certain aspects in common.
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on July 5th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
    Okay, will do.

    Nope, haven't even heard of that one. I'll try and find it somewhere.
    Egyptologist-in-waiting: TARDIS in a cornerjsherlock on July 3rd, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
    I loved this, and I agree with it wholeheartedly! :D I love Rose and the Doctor. <3

    Though - "Hmm, so wardrobe saved on money for these first two episodes. Not only did the Doctor wear the same outfit as the episode before, but so did Rose!"

    The episode is supposed to be a continuation of the previous - she JUST walked into the TARDIS and off they've gone - the end of the planet Earth. that's why they're wearing the same clothes - it's the same day. ;)
    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on July 3rd, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
    Well, right, it is a continuation, but my point was just that we generally don't get Rose wearing the same clothes. I just thought it was funny that the first two episodes of the new series had both of them in the same wardrobe.

    Glad you liked and responded. :)
    blackcat_1 on July 3rd, 2008 09:56 am (UTC)
    Excellent analysis and I agree with all you've said.

    Which says to me that either Davies' did intend for that path to truly start in this episode, or he saw it begin here unintentionally due to the chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper.

    Yes, this is something I've always wondered. Did he intended to develop the relationship into something romantic, or did he only decide to do that on observing the chemistry between CE and BP. I'd love to know the answer to that one.
    Arabian: Dr Who (10) - Christmas Invasionarabian on July 3rd, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
    Thank you for commenting. :)

    Yeah, I do wonder. I'm not sure or not because there wasn't really anything hinting at in the first episode. But I don't know if the BBC is anything like US television where you film the first episode and then time passes before the second. If that's the case, then yes, I can so see the CE/BP chemistry being the case ... but I don't know. I just don't know. Or it could have been him just seeing that connection/chemistry during table reads and such, as well as dailies and thinking: Dayum! They've got something going there, let's play with it and see what happens?
    nina_dS: DW Long Game liftnina_ds on July 3rd, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
    Just to pick up on that, evidently they saw something in the auditions. I can't remember where I saw it, but it was a comment from Julie Gardiner, as I recall (maybe on the DVD commentary?), and the audition piece was that argument scene in EOTW, so the sexual chemistry was there even then. And in the published scripts, RTD says that they had intended The Long Game to be Doctor-lite, but by the time he got around to writing it, it was so obvious to everyone that BP & CE onscreen was so much magic that he wrote a lot of those little bantering/playful scenes to capitalize on it.
    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on July 3rd, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
    Ooh. Very cool. Alas, I am beyond -- and I mean BEYOND broke -- and so can not buy the DVDs. I eagerly await the day that I can. Yay!!! All of that is a very interesting read. Nice to know we got some extra Eccleston based on the awesomeness of the Eccleston/Piper chemistry.
    radiotardislive: handsradiotardislive on July 3rd, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
    Brilliant review! You've just made me fall in love with Nine all over again, and made me desperately want to watch Series 1. Must go and get my box set out :D
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on July 3rd, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
    Aww, thank you. What a lovely compliment. Go watch it, it's so much fun rewatching!
    (Anonymous) on July 4th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
    Wow, I loved reading that. Ha, I'm such a shipper.

    Friend me?
    Arabianarabian on July 4th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
    Uhm, you're anonymous. glad you liked it though. :)
    sammie28 on July 5th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
    I'm so excited you're doing an analysis of EACH episode. Something to look forward to!

    [Things like the auto-reset button being behind the fans]

    rotflol. In the episode commentary, someone said a fan had pointed out that the Doctor would have just sonic screwdriver-ed the switch. I am totally with whoever said that. Plus, I didn't find the scene all that exciting, so I couldn't really overlook the plot hole for the excitement.

    [she was grounded somewhat by the appearance of a plumber.]

    I loved how Raffalo thanked Rose for talking with her and said that most people were not so considerate. It's an interesting idea that, while Rose may struggle not to have alien discrimination (if that's a word!), she has higher views of class (which may be because she's working class, but I believe it's because it's Rose). She's a guest. She can be a snot. She chooses not to be. It was an interesting twist that in so many hundred years, ideas of workers vs. guests had regressed rather than progressed.

    [then a jukebox (erroneously called an i-pod, just showing again how "alien" this all was)]

    I know someone who, as a historian, LOVED the jukebox scene and the comment about ostriches breathing fire.

    She regularly deals with this sort of thing, since her area tends towards ancient history: mis-dated artifacts and documents, legends from literature that are passed off as historical (she hates Dan Brown), even artifacts that can't be dated any more accurately than within a century or two. She pointed out that as silly as it may seem on the show, we do it all the time to historical artifacts by misdating by a couple decades. After all, the iPod and the jukebox are only fifty some years apart, which is long for human life but just a drop in the bucket in terms of centuries.

    And yes, since some composers became famous posthumously, perhaps Britney may be one of "humanity's greatest composers" .:gag:.

    [It was only when he questioned whether she wanted to despite the danger that she thought about it and came up with the safe, sensible answer ("I don't know").]

    Yes, that answer was safe in some ways, but I saw it as profoundly honest, which is something I appreciated. It would be too easy to offer the comforting words - "I'll stay", "You can count on me," etc. Rose won't offer false hope. Nor is she stupid - she nearly got killed twice, and to offer herself up without a thought to safety is dumb. To me, her hesitation in that scene showed more sincerity. I hate it when people promise things they can't deliver on.

    Like you, the plot wasn't great. What I loved most about "EotW" was Rose. She tried so hard, and she was so compassionate - to Raffalo, to the Doctor, even to Cassandra at the end. No matter what Rose thought of them at the time (anger at the Doctor, anger at Cassandra), she's so generously kind. It was a beautiful picture of her, since we already know she's a tough, fast-thinking person.

    And at the end, when she's standing there, watching the earth in pieces - she may not have done her A-levels and "just" been a shopgirl, but her love and her appreciation for where she lived and its history is so beautiful. I'm sick of some people my (and her) age whining.
    Arabian: Rose_smilearabian on July 5th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
    I agree with all you said, but I still have to hold to my original thoughts on the "I don't know" as being the "safe" answer. Because she did essentially already offer the "false hope" when she said "you've got me" automatically after he said he was alone.

    But for me, it wasn't false hope at all. It was her instinct, what her heart, her soul were telling her -- stay with him. It was only when she allowed herself to use her brain that she became cautious.

    Then, of course, came the smell of chips and she decided unconsciously to chuck the sensible out the door and just do what she wanted: Have chips ... with him.

    Thanks for commenting, I'm glad you liked it. I may do two a week once all the furor over this season (and whatever my reaction to the finale -- STILL DOWNLOADING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --) has died down. If not two, though, I do plan on at least one and that should get me through the initial mourning period, LOL!
    sammie28 on July 6th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
    [Like you, the plot wasn't great.]

    Eep...so sorry! Meant "like you SAID".... oops.
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on July 6th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
    LOL! It's okay. :D
    eolivet on July 15th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
    OK, I'm going to intrude on your discussion, because your write up was too good to just read and not comment. ;p

    I have to admit, the first time I ever realized RTD sucked at plotting was last year's finale. But hearing you enumerate all the things wrong with the plot of EotW, you're totally right. Hee, it's RTD's first ex machina, as well: Doctor Through the...Machina (when he kinda...teleports his way to the switch). RTD loooves his ex machinas. ;p

    but because of this just slightly-off note in how Eccleston played the scenes, they came across as not quite a human reaction. Alien.

    That's one thing I don't think DT mastered completely until last year (before then, it was only briefly in "School Reunion"). I thought from the first ep, CE played the Doctor as "off" -- the inappropriate goofiness, the interjecting "Fantastic!" at random intervals, how everything was either OMGbestthingevah!!! or OMGsoserious -- there were no real "human" shades to his performance. I mean, he never really tried to hide his feelings from Rose (even from "I'm so glad I met you") -- there was just no filter on him. (Put it this way: in the minute and a half before Nine regenerated, he managed to explain to Rose what was happening, express his affection for her, and say goodbye. Ten had five minutes with Rose at the end of "Doomsday" and couldn't get the words out. I'm just sayin'...) I NEVER mistook the Doctor for a man with CE.

    What I ultimately find most poignant about EotW, though, is that Rose asks the Doctor to take her anywhere, and he takes her to see her planet die...just like his planet died. He takes her somewhere where he can forge a connection with her. Even if he wasn't consciously planning on telling her...subconsciously, he must trust her and know she'd be able to handle it. It's an unusual bonding technique, but it totally works. :D (and that ending scene is gorgeously underplayed...RTD's words and CE's acting combine to form a masterpiece :)

    Thanks for posting this. :D I hope you put it up on your other blog, too. :)
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on July 16th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
    Right, right. Him taking her to her planet dying. I still think it wasn't intentional on his part to bond, but rather an unintentional test ... which she passed with flying colors.

    And this: (Put it this way: in the minute and a half before Nine regenerated, he managed to explain to Rose what was happening, express his affection for her, and say goodbye. Ten had five minutes with Rose at the end of "Doomsday" and couldn't get the words out. I'm just sayin'...)