Last month was the 10th anniversary of New Who! That’s right, “Rose” is over 10 years old! Our little baby is growing up. * wipes away tear*
As I said in my “Doctor Who For Newbies” post, I originally started watching Doctor Who with Rose and didn’t like it. I haven’t rewatched it since, so I thought for the 10th anniversary I would give it another go and see if my love of Who changed my opinion on the episode at all.
First off, I just want to mention some really quick things that have zero critical thinking behind them before we get to some heavier stuff.
1) The current theme song and intro sequence have a LOT going on. It was really nice and refreshing to listen and watch the simpler, earlier version, even if I absolutely despise the old logo.
2) Can we start a little discussion in the comments about the mid-2000’s, because my goodness that was a weird time for fashion wasn’t it?
3) Rose’s mom is truly a treasure, and I’m glad her character got the chance to develop into more than a nagging idiot (said in the most loving way possible). I still can’t get behind Mickey in this episode though, Rose just seems so much better than him. Thank goodness he grew too.
4) I have to mention that THERE IS A DEBBIE. Rose hangs up on her. How rude. I’m hurt, wounded even.
5) There was a child mannequin with boobs in the scene at the mall, and I thought it was really creepy.
That’s all for the silly, let’s get to the serious!
I thought that the Autons were creepier when I knew that they were coming, but I still didn’t like them much at all. I have finally pinpointed the specific thing about them that makes them not work for me, and that is the rubbery sound effects that were used. If there has been a sound effect that was similar to chalk scratching, or something more grating and less squeaky, then I would have found the Autons much more intimidating. Granted, it is important for the plot to know that they were made out of plastic, but plastic and rubber have different sounds and the squeaking is a step too far into corny for me to really buy these villains 100%.
On a brighter note, gosh I love the Ninth Doctor. He seems so happy, but the switch to trigger his grief can be flipped so quickly. He goes from acting like a child to tearfully screaming “I couldn’t save your world, I couldn’t save any of them!” in 0.2 seconds. It is such a completely different stage of grief than that of Ten or Eleven, the wound is still relatively fresh. I wonder how recently he has regenerated. Based on the picture Clive was showing Rose, 9 is not a brand-spanking new face, but new enough that he says “could be worse, but look at the ears” when he looks in the mirror.
This episode actually tells us two very important things about the Doctor. The Doctor himself says that he can feel the earth spinning, which hasn’t really been brought up recently, but it makes sense in later seasons. It brings a little bit of credit to his future claims that “so-and-so is the most important whatever in all of space and time” etc. Because if he can feel the earth spinning, then who is to say that he cannot have the same feeling for other planets, or at the very least possess more awareness of the universe than we do. Another thing that we learn is from Clive’s conversation with Rose; Clive says the Doctor’s constant companion is Death. Since Nine is the regeneration coming straight after the Time War, he probably thinks that of himself right now, too, which is sad, because he tries to save so many people. While watching this, I was reminded that Nine is the Doctor who said, “Just this once, everybody lives,” while Ten is the Doctor who had to be convinced to return to Pompeii to save just one family. It seems to me that the Doctor believes he brings death even though he tries desperately not to, and somewhere between Nine and Ten he has stopped trying, or at least tries less. The Doctor’s companions always remind him to show compassion, and as the show goes on from “Rose,” it becomes increasingly more important that he not travel without one.
When the Doctor leaves and Rose refuses his initial offer to travel with him, it breaks my heart to see just how sad he looks. I read a fan theory once that the Doctor actually traveled for a while alone before thinking to tell Rose that the TARDIS also travels in time. I actually really like this theory and have accepted it as my own personal head cannon.
Speaking of the TARDIS, I really like seeing people’s first reactions to the inside for the first time and so I LOVE how we don’t see the inside of the TARDIS the first time Rose runs inside. We don’t see the interior until the second time Rose runs inside, and once she decides to go back in again she needs almost zero explanation. After all, she’s running for her life and thinks her boyfriend has just died. I really love how instead of being obsessed about the TARDIS, she merely observes that it’s bigger on the inside, that the Doctor is an alien, accepts it, and then moves on. Once Rose accepts that she’s working with a magic box and an alien, then she can focus on what’s important and that is 1) staying alive and 2) how is she going to tell her boyfriend’s mother that he died.
I also think that it is important to consider if the Doctor has been traveling alone since the Time War, because he gets very mean when Rose refuses to focus on his greater plan and instead focus on what is important to her personally. Keeping in mind what I said in the previous paragraphs about grief, I believe that his meanness here is because she is reminding him that he has failed yet again, while he is pretending he hasn’t in order to keep moving. Based on his conversation with the Nestene Consciousness, I believe that his bravado is a coping mechanism for his grief.
Lastly, I think we all know where Eleven learned the “Look at me I’m a target!!!” method of distraction, and that is from Rose Tyler swinging on a chain to distract the Nestene Consciousness .