RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

  • Music:

The Epic and Many-Layered Post Ostensibly About 2.3, "School Reunion"

(seriously.  This post is like an Easter egg hunt, all the links and random goodies stuffed in around my excessively detailed reactions & pontificating)

First things first: you may or may not be aware that over the weekend,[info]scsquidsnaps linked me to this gorgeous Ten/Rose video:

I held out against further spoilers for... *checks* over 24 hours before I cracked and watched the whole way through (*mutters* wound up seeing like five totally new scenes...), but I only needed 45 seconds to utterly fall in love with the song (see 'current music', and if anyone has it, could you share?).  Lone female vocalist + acoustic guitar generally equals love anyway, but in light of seeing THIS episode, and Sarah Jane and the parallels to Rose, it now tends to make me cry every time I hear it:

But you can skyrocket away from me
And never come back if you find another galaxy
Far from here, with more room to fly
Just leave me your stardust to remember you by

You see?  You see??
Second: A review of "School Reunion."  Which broke me almost as completely as "Doomsday" because nobody warned me about it.

"I will not hate Sarah Jane Smith.  I will not hate Sarah Jane Smith," I chanted stubbornly as this episode began.  It's not her fault that she's the Rose of another era.  It's not her fault that I hate anything different from what I know.  I will not let my prejudices color my judgment of an unknown character. 

But then the way his eyes lit up when he first saw her whacked me right past the fence of hatred and into crumpled sadness.  "All I can see is Rose in 30 years, and and and, why did Sarah Jane ever leave him, anyway??  Or why did he leave her, which is even worse?"  All I knew at this point, you see, was that she'd been a former companion.  I didn't know any of the back story, although I had the general sense that she'd stuck out as being particularly memorable. 

But let's reverse and do a time hop, so as to keep some semblance of chronological order.  I was actually doing pretty well at the very beginning.  It seemed very abrupt, starting in the middle of the investigation and getting the setup through exposition, but I was quickly distracted by

a) "WAUGH, Evil Giles!"  (wait, how do I know that?  *is perplexed* *double-checks on IMDB to make sure*  Indeed, it is the guy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, did I come to have the name of a BtVS character in my head, much less attached to a face?!)

b) There's no love lost between physics and I - and I even had the luxury of going to a school where "Physics" was a joke class of hilarious ease, unless you took AP, which I definitely did not - but even I would have sat up and paid attention if my teacher looked like that.  I'm just saying.  (and: *giggle fit* "Correctamundo!  ...a word I have never used before and hopefully never will again.")

c) I first saw Rose decked out in her cafeteria-worker garb in a macro on ihasatardis- wearing that very perturbed expression - and have been laughing myself silly ever since.  The context ended up being exactly what I thought it would be, and every bit as funny.  Well, actually, first it's sad because she's much too pretty for such insulting work, even for two days, even as part of a necessary investigation - but as the Doctor appears to be having entirely too much fun with this, I couldn't stop giggling.  (Because, cheeky grin!   No one does cheeky grins like the Doctor.)   I am mixing my tenses horribly, apologies. 

Anyway, I love the entire conversation at the table ("So gonna kill you", heh), even though they mumble so much that I can't understand half the dialogue [edit: until I read the recap!  And I still would have been totally lost as to what the hell happy-slapping hoodies and/or ASBO's were without Jacob's explanation], and for some reason I can't stop giggling over the fact that the Doctor eats his fries chips with a fork.

d) Despite my belief that Mickey keeps getting less interesting, and my increasing apathy at seeing his name in the credits, once the episode gets underway he's always much more entertaining.  SO FAR.

e) Oh, and also, the bat goblins?  As freaky as anything else on this show, albeit in a slightly more cartoonish way than usual.  Okay, back to the Sarah Jane Smith controversy. 

*buries head in arms* "I hate this.  I hate this so much."  Such were my words as soon as Sarah Jane stopped being amazed and started looking tearful and babbling "I thought you'd died!" All right then, I guess he left her.  *mopes* I don't want to think of the Doctor like that.  I don't want to know that he left real, palpable hurt at some point in his wake, even if it was...*Wikipedias things* the weird-ass 4th Doctor, which explains a lot, from the impression I get out of these pictures.    

Thank God we get to bounce from that straight to my very favorite sport in the world, Mickey-bashing/mocking/taunting/etc.  I think I've watched this about a hundred times, and it never stops being HYSTERICAL.  Quite possibly my favorite scene between the Doctor and Mickey ever.  I love the way he mimics "Like a lit'le girl?" and continuing "Nine, maybe ten years old.  I'm seeing pigtails.  Frilly skirt."  *loves the Doctor*

Also: vaccuum-packed rats, even inexplicably yellow ones, are still less disgusting than formaldehyde-soaked fetal pigs.  I'm just saying.  (though I think when it comes to actually dissecting creatures, I'd still rather do a pig than a rat.  Things with  Hence why I didn't take Human Anatomy in high school.  They cut up cats.  Don't you love all the trivia you're getting about my education?)

My new second-favorite sport, though, is Companion Catfighting.  "HEE.  DEATH GLARES."  I love Rose's taken-aback look of indignation ("Who's she?!" and "I'm not his ASSISTANT!"), and Sarah's once-over look, and the jabbing at one another's ages,  and I positively died laughing at this exchange, which I must quote in full.
Rose: I don't mean to be rude or anything, but who exactly are you?
Sarah Jane: Sarah Jane Smith.  I used to travel with the Doctor.
Rose: Oh!  He's never mentioned ya.  (Rose is taking an unholy glee in this.  Her fake smile is the best thing ever)
Doctor: Oh...I must have done!  Sarah Jane, I mention her all the time.
Rose: Hold on...sorry...(pretends to think hard) never!

As is Mickey's assessment after the two women storm off.  "The missus and the ex!  Welcome to every man's worst nightmare."
As is TWoP's response: "Mickey, not to be rude, but: Why the fuck do you think you're in this episode (show, season), you half-wit?"

And enjoy the glee while it lasts, because after a brief break to pet the tin robot dog (who, by virtue of lacking fur, is completely uninteresting to me - although it does remind me of a hilarious set of Doctor Who/Pushing Daisies crossover macros, during which Rose understandably leaves the Doctor for pies and Digby) now we're moving to the diner and BAM!  Down comes to Hammer of Crumpling Sadness.

"You were my life,"  says Sarah Jane, and says I: "OH MY GOD, THIS IS DEPRESSING.  THIS IS LIKE PARTING OF THE WAYS AND DOOMSDAY COMBINED INTO ONE HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.  And now she's investigating, just like Rose and Parallel Torchwood and *spits* it sucks."  Honestly.  All this talk of coping after being left, having to go back to an ordinary life - this what neither Rose nor I could cope with in Parting of the Ways.  It was a notion too horrible to fathom.  I don't want to know it happened to Sarah Jane!  And the Doctor wasn't even dying then!  "You just dropped me back on Earth."  And look at her, she's on the verge of trembling with pent-up emotion.  Oh, God, please make the hurting stop.

Also - wait, Gallifrey still existed when Sarah Jane was around?  When was this Time War?  (*gets assaulted by 6000 people offering to explain canon to her*)

And  then there's This Scene.  The scene that's exquisite and beautiful and wrenching and painful and has been subtly referenced, I realize now, in more fanfics than I can count, and I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT DOES.  I can't stop watching it, and every single time it turns me into an emotional punching bag.  We have to go through it line by line if I'm ever going to have any hope of working through it.

Rose: How many of us have there been, traveling with you?
Doctor: Does it matter?
Rose: Yeah, it does, if I'm just the latest in a long line!
Me: Oh, no, Rose, don't antagonize.  You knew there were people before you, yeah?  And you know  there'll be people after you; what part of "nine hundred years" didn't sink in the first time?  Just accept that you have him now.   (though in retrospect, it maybe is a fair question - how long is he going to keep her, if obviously Sarah Jane didn't last her lifetime?)
Doctor: As opposed to what?
Me: Oh, come on Doctor, don't make her answer that.  The answer can't be anything but embarrassing for everyone involved.  (although in retrospect, I do appreciate his bluntness.  Forceful and a touch angry, and I have to give him the point in this exchange)
Rose: I thought you and me were...[Shut up!  Oh good, she did.] Well, I obviously got it wrong.
Me: The hurt!  The teary eyes!  And oh, she's stinging from the rebuke; there's the same cut-to-the-core look she got during "Father's Day."  For all their magic together, I'd forgotten how easily it lets them throw their words like lances, too.

Okay, now it's getting a bit better.  Now Rose is speaking the fears she *should* be speaking.  " just leave us behind.  Is that what you're going to do to me?" The combination of doubt and fear in her voice, no longer even remotely on the attack but drawing into herself, small and scared, threatens to rip my still-beating heart out.  And there is emotional gold to be mined from the Doctor's expression right here ("Not to you.").  [This is where the  dwrewatchI cannot stay away from comes in handy, as I cling to one poster's comment on this statement like a lifeline: The Doctor has to face up to the fact that Rose is different than Sarah Jane and other companions. He comes out with “No, not to you” so quickly, it’s almost harsh. It’s way, way too late for him to distance himself from Rose, but when he loses her, it’s going to hurt like hell.]

And most of all, "You were that close to her once and now" - and this is the root of Rose's hurt - "you never even mention her!"  *pats* Don't worry, he'll mention you.  A lot. 

*suddenly begins worrying* Until the day he stops...and that day is inevitable, isn't it, because I somehow doubt that however long this show marches on the second time around (and God, I really hope it's nowhere near as long as the first time, because it just keeps getting more and more broken), they're going to be able to pull Billie Piper back in for cameos every year.  I AM A LOT DISTRESSED RIGHT NOW.  Stupid clash of real life restrictions and show canon...sorry, that was a digression.

The thing figuratively stabbing me with a hatpin, right now, is the idea that Sarah Jane was as close as Rose is now.  I am not actually 100% positive of this, but that's the impression I'm getting, and it really hurts to think that a bond as deep and seemingly unbreakable as theirs could, in fact, be broken.  And YES, it really did take me this long to get through this scene the first time I watched it, because I kept pausing every 3 seconds to have spazz-fits and let off little howls of despair.  I still haven't been able to watch it uninterrupted.

Doctor: I don't age.  I regenerate.  But humans decay.  You wither and you die.  Imagine watching that happen to someone you --
Me: Oh, holy mother of God.  Hello, tears!  By which I mean the ones on my cheeks (do you even know how much I've cried over this show this month?), but also the ones shimmering in Rose's eyes as she listens. And the Doctor, too, for all he's talked about the time war and being the last, I've never seen him look quite this raw.  He's practically quivering as he speaks; there's no anger behind the words but they come out like bullets, each one deliberate, burning with intensity. 

And I get it now.  Throw all my shipping notions out the window for a minute, it's like with dogs.  It hurts that they only live maybe 15 or 20% as long as you do, if that, and however fiercely you love them, and though it won't stop you getting another one, it will always be agony to lose them in the end.  And it's so much worse between the Doctor and humans, a deeper bond with relatively less time.  It is utterly killing me right here, the way he chokes off the last word with tears in his eyes, and Rose is just standing there with tears of her own, but so sweet and so open, "What, Doctor?" It's neither a true question nor a challenge...just a prompt.  And, oh God, is this scene still not over? 

*whimpers* Doctor and broken voice and tears and "You can spend the rest of your life with me."  (was that an invitation, in addition to the fact?) "But I can't spend the rest of mine with you."  (would you, if you could?)  If I thought I was going to make it through this scene without needing Kleenex, I was SORELY MISTAKEN.  

Next scene of note: scary Doctor!  "I used to have so much mercy."  There are times, like right here, where for all his light-hearted mannerisms, he manages to get darker and scarier than Nine ever did.  

And then, despite my best attempts to resist it, the scene where Rose and Sarah Jane have unexpected girl-bonding over laughing at the Doctor, is the greatest thing ever.  It started in a such a depressing manner, to the point where I had my hands over my ears in a "not listening" mode.  See, everything she warns Rose about, everything she experiences over the course of the episode?  It can all be repeated directly to the viewer.  Don't put your heart into this show.  It will break you.  No matter what you do, it will change you and you won't be able to change back, and adjusting to what comes next will be almost unfathomable.  I know all this, and I hate that I know it. 

But then!  All of a sudden the light flips on over Rose's head, and Sarah Jane stops being a threat, and when the latter comes up with "Does he still stroke bits of the TARDIS?!" I burst into hysterical giggles, realizing "Sarah Jane Smith!  You are sort of fantastic! Could you possibly come back for series 4 and be the mature-woman companion in place of Donna??  I suppose not, what with all that past (U?)ST, but...sigh.  I REALLY WANT SARAH JANE TO HANG AROUND FOREVER."  (and no, I do not love her enough to go watch Classic Who, nor her spinoff show.  I just think that she would make the future without Rose a LOT easier to cope with)

See that?  I don't hate Sarah Jane Smith!  Success!

Also, when the Doctor comes back and starts whining about being laughed at (a scene also suitable for 1000 macros), my sides start to hurt from laughing too hard.  

And this is where I lose interest and skip over a lot of stuff.  I'm sure there is much to be said about how the Doctor goes glassy-eyed and starts falling under the spell of the Unlimited Power Appeal, but that's for the clever people who meta the hell out of God references, which is an aspect of the Doctor I prefer not to think about (clashes with the whole pretend-he's-human thing).  I also don't like hearing "pain and loss define us," because life sucks enough as it is.  THERE IS NO PURPOSE TO SUCH THINGS, FOOLISH WOMAN.

It figures, I spent the whole episode being annoyed by him, and then sort of fell for K-9 just as he sacrified himself.  Such a good dog.  "Affirmative."

Awww, tucked-under-his-chin hug.  You know I only like this image of comfort because it gives me free rein to imagine that Rose gets, or has gotten, exacsame sort of comfort at some point.  And...I am just going to let my running commentary speak for itself right here, and synthesize at the end:

38:46, at the fade-to-black: Oh, hell, it's going to get depressing again, isn't it? [answer: yes.  and how.]

No!  No!  No-no-no-no-no!  None of this "life of my own" business.  I hear enough of similar rhetoric, going to a women's school as I do, to be thoroughly sick of it.  Nothing you do on your own will be as great as traveling with the Doctor.  Nothing.  Even if he breaks your heart twice over.  (which is why, no matter how many times a week I curse and wail and cry over "Doomsday" and wonder why I ever got into this stupid, cursed and doomed fandom, I still don't completely regret it)  

Oh, COME ON!  It's bad enough you're not gonna give me any more Sarah Jane (*sobs* And her hugging Rose, that was so sweet!), but now you're going to saddle the TARDIS with MICKEY?!  Good job, Rose, I like the sulking.  You're perfectly entitled to sulk; this was your (our) last Mickey-free zone.  And now his stupid tin dog self is going to be getting in the way of cute moments - both the ones on the screen and the ones I like to imagine take place off camera.  For everything I said about Jack, and as much as he kind of messed up the dynamic, at least he didn't have any particular claim to Rose's personal space. 

SJS: "Some things are worth getting your heart broken for."  You mean like this show?  Because IT IS SO NOT.  It's too late for me, but I'm warning everyone I can find not to watch it.  Stay away!  Red warning flag of doom!  Direct your attention to Medium; Medium doesn't break hearts!  Also, even if it *was* worth getting your heart broken, you don't just roll over and accept this.  You spend your life sulking over and cursing at this situation and wishing there was a way around the unpleasant facts.  

OH, DAMN IT, BREAKING MY HEART AGAIN.  I do not like this, the part where she never found true love after him and the "my Sarah Jane" and *screams* DOOMDSAY KILLED MY SOUL!  I HATE THIS SHOW.  SO VERY MUCH.  SJS is crying and it's - oh, you fixed the tin puppy dog!  *momentarily lights up, then scowls* Does not make up for breaking my heart.  Hell.  *kicks things*

/running commentary.

Synthesis: Everything in this episode had a fix.  Everything that hurt got better, I could rationalize so much, but then we got this last scene, and I completely crumpled and could not get over it.  Because after Doomsday, this is all we're ever going to get.  Unless by some miraculous magic the show gets killed (and never revived) before an 11th Doctor comes to pass, so that I can honestly believe my future reunion fics as truth, this is all we can ever hope for: a final goodbye.  

Hearing Sarah Jane plead for him to say it properly this time - flash-forwards to Bad Wolf Bay.  (And there go the tears again)  They'll never be what they were.  They'll never be what the crack-addled shippers (quite different from the type of shipper I am) hope for every time there's a whisper Rose is coming back.  Only endings, now.  Endings and memories.  (MUST INSERT RANDOM CAPS-LOCKY STATEMENT NOW SO AS NOT TO SOUND LIKE A SRS BZNS META-COMMENTER/TWOP RECAPPER)

It hurts that Sarah Jane will have to tell the stories to "someone else's grandkids," that she ended up alone.  Rose will always have that useless lump Mickey, and maybe she'll even love him like she did before, but a part of her will always be alone like that.  Waiting.  (*wipes furiously at eyes* God, RS, why don't you just go write fic.  Voice: *seizes ponytail* DW FANDOM HATES NEW WRITERS NOT GROUNDED IN CLASSIC WHO CANON!  RS: Canon not needed for word art!  V: Fandom still hates! Fandom vicious and unforgiving! RS: Was not actually serious about writing fic!  V: Good.)

And after all that?  Nothing sears deeper than "My Sarah Jane." Unbounded love and pride and happiness shining out of his face: but not like it was.  Not with the same intensity.  More like nostalgia.  And someday 30 years from now, it could just as easily be "My Rose" while a relevant version of Martha hangs out, waiting, in the TARDIS.  This hurts.  And it is not the good kind of hurt.  There is nothing redeeming about this at all. 

(also, the bloody TWoP recap just informed me that in instrumental version of "Song for Ten" is playing in the background.  HEY WHAT NO STOP TRAMPLING ALL OVER MY TEN/ROSE LOVE.  I didn't much like the sound of the song, but I still clung to its lyrics for hope!)  

Mickey related stuff:
*I really want to see Mickey's I Was Right dance.

*I also really want to meet Shireen. 

*I loved the guy a lot when he realized "I'm the tin dog!"  Not so much when I found out what that realization led him to do.

*Mickey sulking in the car > Mickey using the car to crash through locked doors.  He's a comic foil, not a budding hero.  Go with what works.

*What does it say about me...and perhaps my history with computers and frustration...that when he couldn't pull the kids' attention away, my first thought was not to unplug the equipment or even cut the cords, but to just smash the screens in?

*TORCHWOOD.  *punches*

*Any complimentary thoughts I had about Mickey over the course of this episode, of which there were actually a fair number, got erased when he invited himself onto Team TARDIS at the end.  Because, UGH, MICKEY!  Apparently my reaction to him is the polar opposite of many in the fandom; I loved him on the spot in the pilot yet like him less as he gets more competent.  I think he was a 1-note character who played out his arc, but they keep spreading him thinner and thinner in a desperate attempt to keep him relevant.  
Next up: 18th century goodness!  (can you tell that I like it so much more when they travel through time - preferably backwards - than space?)  And Beth from "Moonlight"!  *SQUEALS LOUDLY*  And also, freaking me out with another irrational fear!  GOOD TIMES!  Yes, I'm stubbornly ignoring the part where "Girl in the Fireplace" raises that same suspicious prickle of "this is going to be something I don't like" that the word "Dalek" did.

Or I was until TWoP decided to remind me that "SHIPPER APOCALYPSE!" was coming.  Twice.  
This is the part where I think I'm done with the review, except I'm not, because it threw me into such a tailspin (I like that word and I will use it as often as I like) that I needed like 36 hours to mentally recover, and I could still really, really use fluffy and canon-compliant coda fic to go with this episode.  I could use it right now.  

I desperately need reassurance that things are OK, because right now I keep looking at the Doctor and feeling little pieces break inside.  All my blind and unquestioning faith in him has been shattered, and I can't trust him.  This is very upsetting.  I need proper closure between the Doctor and Rose on this ep.  *kicks Google* What is wrong with you?  You always give me things!

Um.  NEVER MIND!  Apparently, today Google is being TARDIS-y and, while refusing to give me exactly what I want, it's dumped me in the middle of something I needed even more...I just didn't know it until I landed.  Look at this - I fed Google <"wither and you die" rose>, and I swear when I did so all I wanted were episode reviews, and I found gold.  Hang on a second: 

*pops outside cut-tag* OK!  New policy!  Clearly I am never going to get my s**t together and do a full-blown Fic Recs post again.  So we will be instituting a new policy...a policy many other people have...whereby when I stumble over a good fic, I shall just rec it in the next relevant fandom post.  This is a bit problematic, as I like to mull stories over for a few weeks to make sure they're really as good as they first seemed, but so far they have been.  So: 

Part of the Package - goldy_dollar.  
I have the ultimate reunion fic already, but this quite literally asks the question, "what happens when Rose is old?"  This is the reassurance that I needed about him not leaving her.  Skip to your AU reunion fic of choice, and think beyond it.  Even if everything went perfectly with Rose back to being the companion, how would it be in the end?  This doesn't actually go there, it's all a hypothetical conversation between the pair, but it's very lovely and moving with just enough fluff to hold it together.  Stick it in your personal canon.  Try not to do what I did, and five minutes after sighing in satisfaction, start weeping again and thinking about them being separated by death.   (OK, that does it; as soon as I find a clever moniker for it, the s.2 finale is officially taking over "The Deathly Hallows Incident" as the description of the highest level of gut-wrenching horror possible in fiction.)

*keels over* Post has killed me dead.  Wish I could expend this much effort on my papers. 
Tags: doctor who, fic recs, tv commentary, video recs

  • Heyy, it's some NCIS: LA talk!

    I give up on trying to ever catch up on my official reviewing of this show, so surprise! Here are some thoughts on the first episode(s) I have ,…

  • Great News update

    I am halfway through season 2 now, and while I still don't really understand why Greg and Katie suddenly had chemistry at the end of season 1 --…

  • Criminal Minding

    Me on my nightly Criminal Minds bedtime routine: Let's try season 7. I haven't hung out there much for some reason. Me, seeing Reid's…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.