Arabian (arabian) wrote,

Doctor Who 1x08 "Father's Day" rewatch-review

As I've stated elsewhere, once I finished season 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).

Well, as expected, I loved this one. "Father's Day" -- like "The Unquiet Dead" -- is an episode that I remembered loving during my first viewing of the series. I still love it, but there were a few small niggles that got to me, I must admit. Overall, though, it remains a fabulous episode. Heck, it's the only one so far that I've cried upon a rewatch (as much as I sobbed at the end of "The Parting of the Ways" and "Doomsday" the first time I watched them, I didn't even tear-up during the rewatch -- may change this time around, though). There was no sobbing, true, but I couldn't watch the final scene without tears. Good stuff.

For all that this episode is about Rose, we didn't learn anything new about her; neither did we get any insight into the Doctor beyond what we already know. Surprising to me and honestly, I didn't even realize that until I sat down to do this rewatch-review. I have always thought of this episode as a "Rose episode," with some, yeah, admittedly, awesome Doctor/Rose moments. However, sitting down and watching it with an analytical eye, what struck me most was how much we learn about the Doctor and Rose's relationship.

The Doctor truly proves how completely and wholly Rose Tyler has him in the palm of her hand in this episode. True fact. She asks him to see her father die ... and he agrees just because she wants to, even though it's obvious that he thinks that this is not a good idea. And while they're standing there, he's simply trying to be there emotionally for her. He takes her hand much like Rose did in "The Unquiet Dead" cellar, providing comfort and tangible proof that she is not alone. And he continues to offer that support even when he REALLY knows that it is NOT a good idea ... at all. Namely, when she asks to try again and comfort her dad as he dies. He even tells her it's a bad idea and why it's a bad idea ... and yet he STILL goes through with it. Oh, man, this episode -- even at the start -- shows us just how bad the Doctor has it for her. Real bad. Really real bad. Which is showcased throughout the episode.

Judging from his initial reaction, one would rather expect him to rip into her the moment he has the opportunity. I mean, look at his face ...

But nope, he clearly sits along quietly for the ride with Pete back to Powell Estates, and once he and Rose are alone and she finally stops babbling, he calmly questions her on the whole space/time thing when he first asked her to travel. She denies, and yes, he does then call her a stupid ape, but that's the only comment through most of the scene that has any bite to it. Following that, he attempts to rationally explain the situation, why it's messed up. In other words, while he's upset over what she did, he's not upset with her until she gets personal. Ah hah! Throwing it in his face that the reason he's upset is because he's no longer the most important man in her life, well, that's when he gets upset. Likely because it hits too close to home.

Not that he's upset because of the specific reason she stated; I don't think there was even a passing, fleeting thought of 'oh noes, I'm not Rose's number one anymore!' I do believe his anger (consciously at this point) was all about the potential consequences to the universe that Rose's actions have caused. Rather, I believe that her statement pricked at the fact that he was ultimately the one responsible for what had happened since he'd made it possible despite knowing that it was a bad idea. And he'd done so for one reason and one alone: Rose wanted it, and as he said at the top of the episode when it comes to Rose, her wish is his command. HE knew better, and yet he allowed it to happen because when it comes to Rose he can't say no. And when Rose made it personal, she unlocked that realization that he's been trying very, very hard to ignore. He loves Rose.

Such a fabulous scene. (Man, these two give good fight!) Check it out (via imeem) or download it here for better quality.

Throughout the episode we continued to see signs that the Doctor was thinking about the best way to make Rose happy first, and saving the universe second. She's potentially brought about the destruction of the world, and although he knows what has to happen to fix it right, quickly, easily and surely, he looks for another out (and finds one, but still ... the fact that he even bothers looking for another option, oh, Doctor!) and in the process nearly damns everyone. All because he doesn't want to see Rose upset. And when he does see her upset about her actions, he tries to be gentle with her, until she almost makes another mistake (touching baby Rose) and then he reverts back to 'stupid apes' mode. Of course, he doesn't keep it up long once she gets snippy at him and then frustrated. No, then, he drops it all and apologizes to her. That's right, the all-mighty Time Lord apologizes to the girl who very well could have ended the world because she wouldn't listen to his instructions. He's. got. It. so. bad.

See? Check out the short clip below (via imeem) or download it here for better quality.

The final bit (following right after) that shows how bad is that all it takes from Rose to make things better with them is to apologize herself. I mean, seriously. She messed up. Big-time, but he's all 'oh, she says she's sorry and all is good ... well, except for the world about to end, but look, Rose is feeling better!' I swear, last time, but ... oh, Doctor!

Again, see? (Download here for better quality or watch via imeem):

More about that above clip: I love how he cups her face, and how it contrasts (to me at least) to when Pete had done the same earlier. Yes, it can be attributed to the fact that we know the Doctor and Rose and their relationship so well at this point (and it's not a father-daughter type of relationship), but I also think that it's another moment that shows the chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper because the vibe was romantic with a tinge of sexual heat there, whereas it did come across as completely familial between Rose and Pete.

Two other things that I LOVE about this clip is how tightly they hold onto one another when they embrace, and mostly this: When Rose feels the heat of the TARDIS key, she reaches into the Doctor's jacket so casually and, oh, man, the look on the Doctor's face. It cracks me up! It's so 'What is she doing? She's touching me! Oh, God, she's touching me, maybe she does want to be my girlfriend!' LOL! I know, I know, it's not that bad, but it's pretty close. Until she pulls it out and he realizes what it is, he's totally focused on the fact that Rose is getting all frisky in his personal space. I love it.

Speaking of the whole couple thing, here's another episode that has someone mistake them for a couple and it's her dad, of course. Really, Rose get a clue. First your mother and then your father are seeing it. Okay, to be fair, I actually do think that she finally IS beginning to get it because she clearly doesn't deny that the Doctor is her boyfriend when Pete first calls him that, nor on the ride home. Yes, yes, she's overwhelmed by talking to, seeing her dad, having saved him, but still, Rose in the past would have just quickly thrown in a 'oh, he's not my boyfriend.' But she didn't this time. (Psst! Because she loves him.)

In fact, she only brought it up when the Doctor stood glowering at her at the flat, deliberately mistaking the reason for his attitude. And once they began fighting, Rose went for the personal attack as mentioned above; she didn't fight like he wasn't her boyfriend, but instead as if he was. And when he went all petty ('Fine, I'm taking my key back!'), Rose just continued on that vein, first hitting below the belt a bit ("I know how sad you are") and then telling him that he would just be waiting for her and then in a final burst of passionate immaturity declaring that she would make him wait a long time. Then, of course, she collapsed against the wall, breathing heavily and holding back tears once he was gone. They may not be a "couple," but they sure do fight like one.

And Rose's comment to Pete after the Doctor left (this would be, erm, after her comment about them not being a couple) sounded very much like one-half of a couple: "I think he left me." On the couch there, Rose just looked and sounded so lost. She's got her dad right there, alive and kicking, and she's miserable because she just had a fight with the Doctor. Not a couple, my ass. They weren't quite at the 'a couple in every way except for the shagging' stage, but I'd put them at 'a couple in every way except for the snogging' stage for sure.

Oh, Rose, she'd sounded so sure of herself when fighting with him, even though clearly she wasn't. And then later when he pointed out that he wouldn't have left her, she sounded so sure of herself again. Of course, the Doctor came running back to her in the interim. Sure, it was to save her from the Reapers, but it was to save her and he came running, calling out her name. And, boy, did she pick up on that. The smile on her face when she first hears his voice, and then her smile when she turns to face him! That girl knows that he's got it bad for her. Look at her smile!

Or better yet, watch it in motion! (Check out the clip below (via imeem) or download here for better quality.)

And I know it's not the same situation at all, but there is a similarity vibe between this scene and the reunion scene in "The Stolen Earth." And watching the two back to back (as I did), yes, it is very clearly different, but still the tenor of it struck me -- the smile, the running, the desperation to get to Rose. And speaking of that desperation, yet another clue into how much the Doctor cares for her was that his first reaction upon seeing the TARDIS as just a police box was to shout Rose's name and go running to her to make sure she was safe. He loves Rose. {{SQUEE!}}

There were a few more Doctor/Rose related comments that I wanted to make, but nothing too deep, so I'll just slip those in the random observations section.

For now, a bit more about the Doctor (beyond his love for Rose). My favorite Doctor moment in the whole episode was his reaction to Pete's flubs during the wedding ceremony, and aww! to the Doctor bringing Rose to her parents' wedding. Honestly, if I go back in the time, one of the things I would very much want to see would be my parents' wedding despite how things ended with them, because that moment in time? What a beaut to have a memory of. (Of course, I don't think my dad flubbed up my mom's name during the ceremony. Oh Pete.) But, hah! the Doctor's reaction, that shoulder shrug of joy that Eccleston does as the Doctor when he's particularly amused and/or tickled by something. Cracked me up.

On the flip side, we also got some Time Lord angst that as always offered us the opportunity to see Eccleston do what he does best, add those layers and shading so damn well. When he spoke to Rose early on about how all of his people, his planet had been destroyed and didn't she think that he wanted to back and save them all, there was just the slightest trace of pain behind the words of rationale he was trying to reach Rose through. And then later when he was talking to her about the havoc the Reapers were wreaking and how his people would have taken care of it, but they were gone and he would be too. Oh, the devastation in his voice, in his expression. And, oh, how things have changed.

When he first met Rose the idea of death wasn't one that seemed to bother him in the least:
I'm going to go up there and blow them up, and I might well die in the process.
So casual, so cavalier then, but Rose has given him a new lease on life. He doesn't want to die and that's thanks to her influence, her presence in his life. How can I not love them to bits? ::Smooshes them with glee!::

Then there was the adorable little moment when the Doctor was talking to baby Rose about ending the world. It was just ... squee!! A-dor-a-ble! Ahem, not so adorable? The Doctor not owning up. It was his fault really. Yes, Rose is the one who saved her dad, but come on! She's a nineteen year old human watching her father (a man she's always dreamed of having in her life) die, of course she was going to do something stupid. And he knew the potential was there. He *knew* it was a bad idea, and yet he did it anyway. Oh, Doctor. And then he didn't even own up to it bottom-line being his damn fault for tempting her so.

Finally, what I think is the best known and best-loved line from this episode, the Doctor to Sarah and Stuart:
I've traveled to all sorts of places. Done things you couldn't even imagine, but ... you two ... street corner. Two in the morning. Getting a taxi home. I've never had a life like that.
I commented in my "World War Three" rewatch-review about the Doctor wanting that kind of life ...
This is his life, it's not all fun and adventure, it's making the difficult choices because no one else can or will. The quiet anguish in his voice as he said this was yet another echo of the effect the Time War had on him. Here he was once again -- on an admittedly smaller scale -- forced to potentially give up something he cares about for the greater good. And then comes the flip: The utter joy that fills his grin when someone else steps up and decides that she can and will make that decision. And she does it, leaving the Doctor free to do what he must do with the blessing of Rose, but more importantly, being able to relinquish the decision-maker role in this instance because Harriet Jones was right. SHE was the only one in that room who truly had the authority to make that call.

This shows how true it is that the Doctor, at least a part of him, does simply want to relinquish that role and just be with the woman he loves, be able to make the choice to choose the one over the many. We saw the seeds of what does play out in "Journey's End" this early on -- not necessarily pertaining to Rose specifically here, although again, she is the key here that is causing the anguish at his decision (Harriet doesn't even come into the equation for him, he's focused all on Rose). He doesn't have that option here, but we already see that a part of him wishes for it and in "Journey's End," with his Time Lord/Human hybrid self, he's finally able to choose that one.
And we have that laid out even more clearly with the above quote. That adventure of a man and a woman, in love, having a child, having a life together is one that he's never been allowed to have. And going back to early episodes in the first series of new Who, those seeds were already been sown that what Ten gave TenII was the greatest wish, the one adventure, that he would never have been allowed to have otherwise.

Sigh ... moving on.

I wrote above that we don't really get much insight into the character of Rose, and I stand by that, but it doesn't mean that what we do see of her isn't wonderful. It certainly is. We see Rose make a huge mistake, but it's one based on love. She can't bear to see her father die again, not when she can save him and she can't bear to let him die knowing in that split second that she has the opportunity to save him, give him a chance at a full life, with Jackie and herself.

Of course, issues follow. And not just the destruction of the world, death of the Doctor kind of issues, but emotional, personal issues. She's imagined her father as this wonderful, amazing man who was loved and adored by her mother, who would have done great, great things because that's what her mother has allowed her to believe. And yet when she saves him, she's shown the truth, and in the beginning, it's mostly a brutal truth. Her dad is basically a loser, there is the implication that he's cheated on Jackie (based on all we get to know of Pete in this episode, though, I tend to believe him that it actually was as he described and that he wasn't playing around) and things are far from sunshine and kittens between Jackie and Pete. She did get the inkling of that during their wedding ceremony, but it was shoved in her face head-on during the Stuart/Sarah ceremony. The anger, the frustration, the name-calling, the disgust and love between them that seems to be leeching away every time she sees them.

Still, in the end, she does see the love that's still there, the love that allowed Jackie to create this alternate version of Pete where he was this wonderful, amazing man who could do anything, and Rose did at least get that in the end. Even if it came at the cost of her dad losing his life again. Oh, how the Doctor tried to save her from that grief, but in the end Pete having to step up to the plate gave not only Rose and Jackie, but Pete himself, a final snapshot of Pete Tyler BEING that wonderful, amazing man. Man, even typing this bit up, I'm getting teary-eyed because Paul Cornell, the writer, did such a wonderful job fleshing out Pete so thoroughly as both the man he was ambling through life as, and the man he became in his final moments.

Of course, he couldn't have pulled that off without Shaun Dingwall's magnificent performance as Pete. Truly, I would name this the best guest-starring performance the show has had yet (and they've had some really good ones). He made Pete so very, very real. I absolutely loved him and I'm so glad that the show found a way to bring him back for a few more episodes in series two. Yay!

Camille Coduri also turned in a good performance as a younger Jackie, but she didn't really do anything for me. I like Jackie, I do, but there are flutters of my initial dislike of the character still present ... too shrill, too brassy, just too much. Even when I can acknowledge how lovely an acting job Coduri has given (most notably thus far in "Aliens of London/World War Three"), I'm just not terribly moved by her.

On the other end of the spectrum is Billie Piper. It seems such a simple thing, but many actors -- no matter how good they are -- are incapable of pulling off what Piper does so effortlessly, scene after scene, episode after episode: Being so real, so very believable. I always feel what Rose is feeling because Piper draws me in, makes me feel what she is. I don't think she's incapable of a false note (and I lament that I ever even suggested it in a previous rewatch-review). She's such a lovely, lovely talented actress. I adore her; I really do.

Alrighty then, time for random observations and then this baby is done!

- Another simple thing, but Eccleston and Piper have such good timing; they play off of each other so well. Their scenes just flow and zing beautifully. The back and forth, yin and yang is so present in their every moment on screen together.

- I love how Rose has such faith in the Doctor's abilities. When he admits that he doesn't have a plan, she calmly says with complete surety: "You'll think of something." Awww.

- I mentioned above how Pete thought they were a couple, and how that should give Rose a clue, but even more telling (and quite poignant as it had actual depth to it this time, as opposed to just a surface thing) was Pete telling Rose towards the end that he could see how much the Doctor cared about her, knowing that he was trying to protect Rose from losing Pete again. Double aww.

- My only complaint with this Doctor/Rose-palooza episode was that we didn't get any joy, relief, whatever at the Doctor appearing alive and well by Rose's side. I get that Pete had just been hit by a car, and timing-wise, I'm not really sure how it could have been worked around, so yeah, minor complaint and one that simply couldn't be helped because of the mechanics of the story.

- Especially when she lost the Doctor earlier, she was so shaken up that she just stood there while everyone else ran screaming. She even shied away from Pete -- who she'd been all over pretty much non-stop since she saved him -- in disbelief and grief. So we did get that.

- A few shallow notes ... I really, and I mean *really* did not like Rose's hair. What were they thinking?! It looked like a ratty bird's nest had landed atop her head. Just awful. On the other hand, ooh! The Doctor took off his jacket. Yummy!!

- Hah, I pretty much crack up every time I hear the "there" conversation.
Pete: Listen, don't worry about him. Couples have rows all the time.
Rose: We're not a couple. Why does everyone think we're a couple? (Sighs) I think he left me.
Pete: What, a pretty girl like you? If I was going out with you --
Rose: Stop! Right there!
Pete: I was just saying --
Rose: I know what you're saying, and we're not going there. At no point are we going anywhere NEAR there. You aren't even aware that THERE exists. I don't even want to think about THERE, and believe me, neither do you. THERE ... for you ... is like ... pfft, it's like the Bermuda Triangle.
Pete: Blimey, you know how to flatter a bloke.
- It was a throwaway comment said mostly to hide Rose's nervousness and upset over what she had caused, and I could be totally wrong, but I'm taking Rose's comment about Mickey -- "I think I just imprinted myself on Mickey like a mother chicken" -- being a subtle call-out as to why Mickey has and continues to hold onto Rose long after he really should have given up. It's because she imprinted herself on him as a child in a long-buried subconscious memory. Uh huh.

- And speaking of Mickey ... Rose tells Pete that she doesn't have a bloke, so obviously she doesn't consider Mickey her boyfriend any longer. Hmm, so what's up with that conversation in "Boomtown," Rose? (More on that when that episode rolls around -- I've got a theory.)

- One of the things that I loved most was how although Pete still died, the entire circumstance of his death changed. Whereas before it was some random, horrific hit-and-run and Pete died all alone, now the young driver was not responsible, and waited around to talk to the police thus giving this kid a fresh new start likely not hounded by his own guilt. And, of course, Pete was not only the hero, he was also not alone (and here I go tearing up again!). So whatever remains of Jackie's memory and thus Rose's knowledge of it growing up is that some kind stranger stayed with Pete and eased him from this life with tenderness.

- Finally, handporn! time: It's been a while since we got some hard-core, high-quality handporn! In "Father's Day" it returns in spades. We've got close-up handporn! We've got lingering handporn! We've got multiple handporn! moments! Woohoo!!

The first, as I mentioned above, is quite similar to the hand-hold in "The Unquiet Dead" -- it's a close-up, signifies being there for one another, it lingers. The only difference is that this time the Doctor initiates it. Sigh, it is lovely.

The second handporn! moment comes at the end of the episode, and while we don't get a close-up, it's still a fabulous moment. Again, the Doctor initiates it and the two stroll together, hand in hand, towards the TARDIS. Home. Just as it should be. Double sigh.

  • Click the image for previous episode rewatch-reviews:

  • Tags: billie piper, christopher eccleston, doctor who, doctor/rose, rewatch-review, tv

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