Note: The following review has been made possible, intentionally or unintentionally, by the following:
-TPTB at Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures
-An economy playlist consisting of Across the Universe of Time, Shalott, Life Among the Distant Stars, and The Scientist
-The Doctor Who series 4 soundtrack
-Diet Vanilla Pepsi
-Really Delicious Pizza & Stir Fry (specific brands unknown)
-Kym the Dog and Bearlioz the Teddy Bear (moral/fuzzy support)
-fiery_twilight, dreamingwriter (notable Doctor/Rose support and/or picspams)
-hippiebanana132 (coping and canon-patching fics), biggrstaffbunch
-DWicons, the comm
-I Has a TARDIS
-Kids' Zone: Create-a-Graph (Fact: it got me through Intro to Nutrition, too. Microsoft Office is so adult.)
-Probably countless others
Voice: Like me?
Of course, now having the wisdom of Torchwood: Children of Earth + full and complete knowledge of The Sarah Jane Adventures with which to aid my perspective (and yours! so I hope you are caught up), I don't know that even embellishments on my original running commentary - which was already patchy and the best bits of which were posted in the above links - would do much good. It's a very different world than it was back on April 23rd.
Instead, I chose to create arbitrary categories - once upon a time, it seemed like the sensible/easy/possibly shorter thing to do! - as far as they concerned the rest of the episode. I promise not to rehash anything that happened in the first 23 minutes because, well, this is going to be long enough.
(If you need a refresher, that's why I provided clicky links.)
Anything that takes place in Germany is still the dullest part of the episode, until she gets patched through to the Doctor. And then it's just brilliant, between "Martha, are you insane?!" (I...can't recall the last time he yelled at a companion like that) and the hissed "That's never an option." Er, and more importantly, Rose all impressed, and Martha recognizing her. "Oh my God...he found you."
Squeeeeeeeee! Bonus, how can you resist Rose's little side smile over that reaction? Answer, you can't, which is why she somehow took over Martha's section. I'm sorry! There is a hierarchy, among the giant pack of Every Guest Star Ever. Torchwood and UNIT are at the bottom of it, but recent events have bumped the former up, with the result that as far as my interest goes, poor Martha might as well not even be in this episode.
P.S. Hey, remember that time when we all thought she & Mickey were going to be the new members of Torchwood, and then we found out they weren't, and we thought it was such a disappointment? HAHAHAHAHA. *points of Children of Earth, in case you didn't understand the very subtly implied comparison* Real reason they didn't join Torchwood: RTD would have had to kill them off eventually (and by "eventually," I mean "as soon as possible, preferably within one year"), and he must like them too much to subject them to that fate.
Pete's World to the Rescue
Sonic lipstick! OK, that's handy, but, like...you wouldn't kill Jackie, would you? Because Parallel Jackie's death was hard enough on me.
^ I had a legitimate moment of fear that I tried to disguise in pithy language, which was fortunately resolved when they blithely rewrote the rules of the transport buttons.
This also sparked a clingy hug - at least as clingy as the ones between the Doctor & Rose, if not more so - at which point I kind of got creepy Jackie/Mickey romance vibes. Which somehow DID NOT GO AWAY in their subsequent interactions. I was on the verge of spoiling myself to make sure that Pete hadn't died off screen at any point, leaving Mickey to hook up with the only Tyler lady who'd have him. Am I the only one who saw this??
Anyway, even though Jackie didn't really do a whole heck of a lot beyond being a liability, I like to think her entire appearance was worthwhile just for Rose's exasperated "I told you not to [come]!" and Jackie brushing off this nonsense because duh, she's not leaving her daughter to do this alone. Even though she's got a little boy at home who would sorely miss his mum if she never came back? Ouch. Better not let Tony hear THAT story!
Ex-Companions In Space
As for Sarah Jane, I still don't know where she got a warp star, or how she managed to keep any of the kids from accidentally setting it off at any point. Or, in fact, why it didn't explode when they got teleported and it hit the floor - if not impact based, how was the shell supposed to break? But, erm, not important really.
I loved the mutual recognition between her and the Davros: it had no significance to me then or now, except as far as appreciating it, but having seen a similar confrontation play out with a Sontaran on her show, I think I prefer it this way. I'm sure one day I will bite the bullet and watch Old School, but for now it's interesting to draw my conclusions solely from her reactions and reading her expression now.
Like her reaction in the attic upon hearing the Daleks for the first time - and I know I said I wouldn't rehash anything, but I glossed over that bit in TSE so let's re-examine it now - and how anyone you'd be pretty well swayed by the UTTER TERROR on her tear-streaked face. The third most poignant shot in this whole two-parter is of her just clinging to Luke, who has no idea what's going on except that this is Really, Really Bad.
Speaking of which, this is the only time she and Jack cross paths, right? In light of Torchwood's future, I wonder if I could convince her to develop the same hatred for him that I have? She doesn't seem like the type to harbor a lot of hate, but maybe she could make an exception. OK, probably not. They actually weren't bad together in their fearless Dalek-threatening. Jack's shockingly likable there.
[Edit: And because I deliberately skipped right on past it in TSE...now would be a good time for me to mention my newfound love of Jack's first reaction to Dalek voices, too. Funny, I never used to be this enamored of him protectively hugging them both close and kissing Ianto on the forehead...I am just retroactively modifying all my past faults here.]
Ten II & the Doctor-Donna
Actual first reaction to him: One heart?? What...I...*cries* I DON'T LIKE THIS NEW -- *face slackens* Part human, you say? Like a part-human who could...age? Interest: *is piqued*
Actual first reaction to her: "Donna, you can't even change a plug!" Waaaait. Did she get some of him, too? Ugh. While I admit that the hilarity of this scene is almost as good as New Earth, um, "half-Time-Lord, half-human"? Yeahhh...Donna can die now. We've had a good run.
(I like how first I blasted her for being too ordinary, and now I don't like her for being too extraordinary. Somehow, there is a difference between loving her being special, and actually seeing her be special. I'm sure I would have gotten used to her if she'd stayed for an episode or two longer, but within the confines of a half hour or so, it's like I'm in a never-ending loop of Rose trying to adjust to the brand-new Ten.)
Various meta posts around the web praised the fact that David Tennant plays the second Doctor in such a way that, while you readily recognize him as the same person (which will be v. important later), there's also just enough subtle difference that you can tell the difference and see him as, I don't know, rougher around the edges. The more I think about this, the more it amazes me, because I can see it but I can't actually explain why. Magic!
I really didn't like their first conversation, but in subsequently realizing that this is one of the longest uninterrupted looks we get at him just talking, I've watched it a lot in an attempt to adjust (and, okay, I'm rehashing again here, sorry!) - I forget that the famous "shouting at the world" line comes from him; and now I actually quite love the pair of them together.
I particularly like his realization of "Oh - you really don't believe that, do you?" and the much gentler, "But look at what you did!" That's where he sounds exactly like the Doctor I recognize. (As opposed to later on, where he responds to her 100-WPM joke with a very creepy "HAH!", and comes across like a morphed Andalite trying to copy human behavior.)
But while they make a lovely matched set, if I had to pick one, I'd say I like him better. As brilliant and amazing as Donna is while firing technobabble at a speed almost faster than the Doctor himself, it's such an uncomfortably abrupt flip of putting her personality into HYPERDRIVE that I end up feeling almost as sad watching her here as I do at the end. She's still Donna, just like Rose is still Rose, but at the same time she's not.
Oh! I know why I'm not as upset as everyone else is when the Doctor strips her of Time Lord consciousness: because Donna's already gone. She's gone as soon as the blue zap hits her in the chest and flings her back, in slow motion, across the room.
-Right about here is where I'd like to point out that the Dalek music on the soundtrack has always been a thing I've hated nearly as much as the Daleks themselves.
I actually find a lot of the plotty-type nonsense irrelevant to my enjoyment of the episode - except for Crazy Dalek cackling and giggling while gleefully repeating how one of them will still diiiiiiiiiie!" until the Doctor yells at him to shut up already (essentially) - so let me just
a) repeat my sentiments that the montage set to "Dream of a Normal Death" kills me, and
b) quote a very lovely meta post. This is a post you should read in its entirety (also its sequel, linked within), because it's fantastic, but here is a bit I find useful:
"The Doctor has been made to remember implicitly that he is a destroyer of worlds. That the people he likes best are weapons in his hands, doing his dirty work for him. That he is a bad, bad man. That he does not deserve a happy ending with Rose . . . sending away Rose and the hope she represents is his penance."
A lot of the rest of the plot revolves around the Doctor-Donna(s) saving the day, in a manner of speaking, and...that is what gets us back to Bad Wolf Bay, which is always a depressing realization and so I try to skip over that part quickly. Besides, Davros's half-snarly-purring, half-wheezing voice DRIVES ME INSANE. I bet prolonged exposure to it helped make Crazy Dalek who he is today.
Although I am intrigued that this is the second Dalek to be like "WTF, my species is idiotic" and try to change/stop them. Curious redemption arc they keep trying on there.
Haha, Suckers! (**PERSONAL FAVORITE)
For as many problems as I have with Doctor-Donna's hyperdrive babbling, my #1 happy place consists of watching the Daleks' systems all get shut down and seeing their little brains explode in disbelief as a result. "Weapons non-functional?! Explain! Explaaaaaaaaain!" XD
Watching everybody shove them around like inanimate bumper cars is pretty hysterical too. Jack looked like he was having so much fun, I kind of want to throw him a birthday party full of imitation Dalek shells where the object is to form teams and see how many you & your partner can sling across a finish line in sixty seconds. No, wait...DALEK SHUFFLEBOARD. OMG YES. And the center spot will be a big white circle marked "THE VOID."
Relatedly, I want to watch Team Rose Tyler/Sarah Jane Smith forever and ever; why did they only get to interact for like .6 seconds this time? SIGH. Most disapointing part of the episode, right there. (See, this is yet another benefit to the idea of dumping Ten II in 1917 and having the proper Doctor keep Rose - think of the fun we could be having on The Sarah Jane Adventures! Someone will maybe need to write a one-shot AU of that.)
Going back to Donna blithely screwing with the Daleks' systems, though...I think at least one of the Doctors should have taken mental notes on how to replicate that effect. It would probably come in handy for next time. What, you don't think Ten II actually got rid of all of them forever, do you?
Towing the Earth Home
The first time I watched this, I had to mute it, partly because the song was crippling me with its foreboding exultation and partly because it was just a lot of obnoxious noise, between the clapping and celebrating, plus the waste of screentime that was watching all the people who were not Luke on the Earth itself get shaken around/react to being home. My itchy skip-forward finger still wants to blaze past anything involving Martha & Donna's mothers.
In subsequent rewatches, it simply pains me to contrast this with the ending, seeing how happy he is walking around a full deck, assigning tasks and checking in over everyone's shoulders. Or how he gets to Jackie and is just like "Oh...um...no, not you, you stay here and don't touch anything." XD Is it wrong to be satisfied by the fact that Jackie and her daughter and the Doctor will get to stay in the same world forever now?
Although the happy and incessant hugging, which I like to pretend goes on for at least an hour, is pretty hard to resist. Pairing hugs and group hugs all around! Ten II seems particularly attached to Sarah Jane, which is mostly adorable, but if I didn't know he was so wrapped up in Rose, I'd worry about his potentially womanizing ways.
I also really love the part where Donna & Ten II hang out in the background, grinning at each other. Sometimes, I realize there is actually a third degree of tragic separation in the fact that these two are connected sort of like twins, but their partnership ends here. Can we write a happy AU where they jetset off on their own adventures? They'd have wild amounts of fun! Preferably non-genocidal fun! (although frankly, if they could eradicate Cybermen I would not be fussed)
Section rewind! I LOVE that they called all the way back to "The Unquiet Dead" just to explain that last little bit about Gwyneth/Gwen. RTD, you are my favorite! And the Doctor and Rose just giggle at each other and don't bother explaining their random in-joke to anyone else, including the confused Gwen, which is the best.
BTW, I hereby apologize for any and all anti-Torchwood statements I may have made in the past. Gwen and Ianto actually did not ruin my entire viewing experience, and seeing the Hub makes me all weepy and nostalgic. I cherish the musical lilt of her accent on "There goes the Time Lock." Watching his fingers skillfully fly over keyboards becomes oddly satisfying.
I mean, they're both totally overwhelmed by Sarah Jane's happy exclamation and dash to call forth K-9, all beaming and proud that she and her savvy helpers can provide the solution to the final problem (*has watched this 1,789 more times after falling in love with SJA*). But still.
BONUS: Rose & Sarah Jane get to smile at each other again! For another .25 seconds, but this time with the Doctor in the frame. I cling to the little pieces of my favorite trio, okay?
Finally, is it weird that the "Come on, Luke, shake a leg!" / "Is Mum there?" / "Oh, she's fine and dandy" exchange is like my favorite part in this entire scene? I CRAVE THEIR INTERACTION. CRAVE IT. I was happy on principle when [damn my conscience and its need to whitewash spoilers! Highlight to read: I heard that Tennant was guest-starring on Sarah Jane Adventures, and then I saw one episode and ever since, I have been in paroxysms of joy over the idea of him and Luke meeting for more than five seconds.]
Wow, how this the longest section so far?
Random Snarky Comments (interlude)
-I would so read a Doctor Who comic book featuring the adventures of Micky Mouse and Captain Cheesecake.
-Running commentary note, in response to there being 3 Doctors: Thank God Jack's on Doctor Who and can't tell us what he's thinking right now. Also, I don't know want to know how many fanfics of it there are.
Donna: And I got the best bit of the Doctor...
Ten II: *immature smirk*
Ten: *ignores statement/proves maturity*
-Running commentary note, watching Daleks explode: He's an unusually murderous little devil, isn't he?
-"No, you plum, he's called Tony." HEE! Awesome Jackie is awesome to the end. Oh, I love them. *squishes future family members together*
-This is totally unrelated to the episode, but I JUST had a random memory flashback that the dad in the family from "Pompeii" - you know, the ones I mocked for behaving like a 21st-century family dressed up in old costumes? - was more recently seen as John Frobisher, sacrificial government agent in "Children of Earth." OMG, JOHN FROBISHER IN A TOGA, LOL. Right, I am never taking that episode seriously again.
-It's almost as funny as the day I randomly remembered that Sulky Teen Jethro in "Midnight" is now better known as...wait for it...Merlin.
-OK, now we can move on.
I actually like Sarah Jane's goodbye. It's the only one that doesn't depress the heck out of me, both because YAY I FINALLY GOT ANOTHER HUG OUT OF IT (oh, I adore them!) and also because she's at least got a good, 14-year-old reason to run off immediately. Er, I suppose Jack does too, what with two people at the still-existing Hub, and Martha's got a fiance to find. Mickey, on the other hand, just lives to be dissatisfied. I swear.
Still. The Doctor's shouldered all these goodbyes before, and most neither were nor are permanent, so the only people it's really hard on are the viewers, watching the happiness meter slide downhill with the clock. The next ones, not so much.
Thing that kills me: Other than maybe Jackie, because that's where she wants to go anyway, Rose is the only one who doesn't react when he mentions Darlig Ulv Stranden. He won't look at her, Donna knows why, Ten II knows exactly where this is heading (though noticeably does not shove anyone out of the way in an attempt to gain control of the console and prevent it), and Rose just looks on, calm and complacent, apparently not connecting the dots until she actually has the sand beneath her feet.
The Most Important Woman in the Universe
One problem I have - and maybe this is just me - is that there's SO MUCH SHINY to look at, all the time in these episodes, that Donna not only gets overshadowed throughout, even her ending gets trumped by Doomsday 2. Which is why I'm talking about it out of order, so I'm forced to pay attention.
Before this ep, I'd spent about 7 months being certain she died at the end of the season, courtesy of accidentally seeing one comment, "I can't believe she's gone..." on a Donna Noble Tribute video set to "The Scientist." I don't know, it seemed pretty ominous! It was a relief when I was finally able to watch that video without fear of spoilers, which has since become the official Doctor/Donna song in my head. I only have the version by Avril Lavigne, so I've internalized it from Donna's perspective (Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry...), but it works in the original Coldplay one too.
Clearly, stripped memories > death**. Does not stop it from being depressing, because while if we're portioning out Doctors I'd rather she go off with Ten II...but all things considered, I'm happy with him and Rose tucked away for safekeeping, and if she's sorted then Donna's really quite a good consolation prize for the Doctor proper, particularly if she's brilliant like she is now.
Wait, what show am I thinking of? Of course it can't stay like that for more than about five minutes. It's like watching someone euthanize a puppy, her begging him not to (reason "Donna's Song" kills me: Please don't, don't, don't; I'm fine...let me, let me, let me keep my mind), and his face after she slumps against him.
[**Maybe I shouldn't say clearly; an odd number of on the internet seem cranky that he wouldn't let her choose her own fate. Which, yeah, he's not going to stand there and watch her die. He's pretty big on preservation and the value of life.]
And quite possibly my favorite line in the whole thing: "Help me." For those five seconds, it's the only time he looks scared and otherwise not completely in control/calm/resigned to the situation - by the time she's lying in bed, he's back to stone. Can I throw the word vulnerable around a little? Also, with those two words there are callbacks to The Christmas Invasion that make me too sad for words.
Logically speaking, it's not that sad. She's still Runaway Bride Donna, who warmed up rather quickly when confronted with honest emotions and confided in, and whom I loved either way, but! That the Doctor lingers for one last goodbye in the kitchen, unable to let go, and she brushes him off with "whatever" gestures = sadface.
Although I do very much like when the Doctor's temper flares up, just for second, at Sylvia - "Then maybe you should tell her that once in a while!"
I still feel like a bad Donna fan, lacking the TOTAL OUTRAGE everyone else seems to have developed, but the thing is by the last 10 minutes I tend to get sucked so deep into the Pit of Despair that I literally can't even comprehend the idea of there being a second and equal tragedy to follow it - Donna's end doesn't even feel real. It's just a little hitching sigh of regret when everything's already over. Plus, I believe in impossible things. If we needed to get her back, I'm sure we could.
A (Not So) Dazzling End
No, actually, I still don't care much for Wilf, and unlike the entire internet am not especially moved by his farewell to the Doctor or assurance that he'll look up at the sky - for her. Too busy just being sad at the Doctor wandering all alone around the empty interior - I swear you can still hear echoes of all the happiness it contained mere hours ago; thanks for the underscore, "Dream of a Normal Death" - and standing there all alone with his symbolically rain-drenched shirt collar.
[2019 Edit: just fyi, Future Me is here to KICK YOUR ASS for not appreciating The Good Granddad, who is pure and wonderful and the truest measure of goodness.]
And still flippant enough to point out that Sarah Jane was entirely correct in her blithe admonishment that "You act like such a lonely man - but look at you! You've got the biggest family on Earth." (So next time you want to get all Emo Time Lord, just please remember she resides at 13 Bannerman Road in Ealing and is nearly always up for a good alien chase. With lots of pre-, mid-, and/or post-danger hugging, your favorites.)
But also serious enough to swear that if this was the end of the series? I would be as thrilled as it would be possible to be under the circumstances of the show being over. A better alternative than season 5, at any rate. It'd be fitting. (Further, I am so glad there are no Cybermen hauling him off right there, or I might have shot someone. I don't know or care how the Christmas special starts, either; as far as I'm concerned, there is a a measurable passage of time
[edit: I am a moron who doesn't know when showrunners change]
And lastly, a tragic bit of commentary I've somehow missed up until this point: "Still, it'll pass. Everything does."
PART II (a/k/a, "break time now, if you haven't already taken one")
A Storm is Coming
*hides in corner, whimpering* Don't wanna come out! I don't care how many times I've watched this scene
*ahem* There is a 50% chance that I will start crying at random points on any given viewing, regardless of my mood at the time. Being as I'm going to do my best to work through it with line-by-line commentary like I did for Doomsday, I have a feeling this is going to be one of those times I do. At least today I'm too obsessed with my newest song find, "Shalott," to put on my random playlist and let the sentient Windows Media Player screw with my head like it usually does...
Bad Wolf Bay, Redux: Prologue
One day,when she’s waiting for a train and fiddling with the gold band around her fourth finger, or sitting windswept as her children splash in the sea, he hopes she’ll remember the man who gave up so much to get her there.
--opening chapter to "Life Among the Distant Stars"
You can take or leave the specific domestic parts of that sentence, but it's the sentiment in the last part that's stuck with me all this time and is, ultimately, what keeps me at peace. I do believe that Rose will be happy in the end. I don't believe that the Doctor is broken and destroyed beyond all repair. Nor do I think he'll ever stop missing her - but it will eventually fade to a dull ache, tempered by the knowledge that she's okay and this was the best he could do for her. Which is not precisely true, from my point of view, but to quote fic again, "She will never admit it, but she needs someone to love her as much as he needs her to fix him." More than he could.
...whoa, I just had a real weird moment of wishing that "Where I Stood" wasn't sung by a woman, because I think some of the lyrics would apply startlingly well. Great, now WMP has trained sections of my own brain to sabotage me in its absence. You know how I'm gonna get back at it? THIS MACRO. Featuring the Spin Doctors (lol extra irony).
The point is: in the end, that's all he wants. It's simple and undemanding but the perfect expression of where this will ultimately leave him.
(Now watch, all the self-placating rationalizations I come up with will end up sporked to death by the specials you've seen but I haven't yet. *frets* Well, that's just gonna have to be a risk I take, because I Cannot Deal with the end of 2009, a few short months away, spelling the end of all things Tennant. Odds are I'm going to drag my heels spectacularly in getting to the rest of the remaining material, last chance to fandom-squee in real time or not.)
Bad Wolf Bay, Redux: Actually Starts Happening
I can't even deal with the beginning, with Rose slowly dissolving from fine 'n dandy to a heartbroken (but still lovely) mess, or Ten II's indignant "You made me!" (which...kind of achieves its intended effect, if the goal was to make me adore him, poor baby) So let's just skip to:
"That's me, when we first met. And you made me better." Me: *sniffly* ("Now you can do the same for him.")
Right, so that's the first time this scene completely guts me. The proper Doctor does a fair job of steeling himself against this, detaching and pulling away the whole time, long before they even set foot on the beach, but "You made me better" falters a little bit under its honesty.
"But he's not you."
It's not the last time she'll say this, honestly if I had the time/inclination/had not already spun myself into a tizzy trying to define the potential Issues with this, I would worry. HOWEVER, MY BRAIN ASSURES ME IT HAS WORKED THEM OUT and that I do not need to know how any more than I need to know how light bulbs work. I just flip the switch and all is well.
"He needs you. That's very me."
I got spoiled for this line early on. I recall kicking things - not about being spoiled, but because that would be his stupid twisty logic to it all. I tried to focus on the words "needs you." Lately, I'm trying to focus on the fact that the other Doctor does need her [more]: he has nothing left. No TARDIS, wrong world, wrong body. Nothing familiar except Rose (maybe a pocketed sonic screwdriver). And Jackie, but that's less of a consolation.
In the next section, I <3 Donna a whole bunch.
"But it's better than that, though. Don't you see what he's trying to give you? Tell her, go on!" (Ack, I am running out of colors! Red/pink will clash horribly later on, so...I'm sorry, 2nd Doctor, you are in purple. I realize blue would be more fitting for the suit, but too late.)
"I look like him, and I think like him. Same memories, same thoughts, same everything...except I've only got one heart."
"Which means?" At least she's paying attention, curiosity piqued.
"I'm part human. Specifically the aging part - I'll grow old and never regenerate. I've only got one life...Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you. If you want."
I've already dished my most important thoughts on this section, which largely consist of Santa Davies reaching into his sleigh and giving us the present we asked for years ago when we were naive and foolish. I may have failed to tell you that this particular line came so close to killing me with delirious glee that time had to be paused in order for me to recover before the age of 30.
I'm sorry, but, this is the Doctor! Saying Things! Impossible things from a very human perspective! I love the way he draws out her name. I love the uncertain modifier at the end, just in case he's being too forward with his assumptions. I love that through all her tears and hurt, Rose hasn't turned her head once, that's she's listening, letting impossible possibilities turn over in her head.
"You'll -- grow old at the same time as me?"
FLAIL! OKAY, I AM GOOD FOREVER. [Does Tennant actually get more attractive right here? Is it the sunnier lighting? I find I cannot stop staring - more than usual, I mean]
Look! Look at the tiny little crook of a smile when he corrects her on that last word! It is very endearing. This is where I really have to focus on the fact that he is the Doctor, as in the one moping his way all through a Racnoss invasion and the rest of season 3, and lighting up with pure joy upon seeing her again, heedless of potential danger. I love Rose trying to process all her conflicting desires at once, and there is nothing in this entire scene, kiss included, that I love more than her slowly, hesitantly, pressing her hand up against his (single) heart. *melted*
In fact, I never fail to get so absorbed in this moment that the fussy whir of the TARDIS literally startles me back to reality. Every single time. Then the starry lights in my eyes abruptly pop and fizzle out as I remember who's behind her.
I'm glad that she doesn't let him just nip off right there, either, all "Well, I can see you've got a lot to deal with; trala!" She makes him work for a goodbye, and even though he'll end up nipping off anyway, the minute delay is worth it. That phrase "this reality is sealing itself off forever" would be funny if everything wasn't so sad.
"But -- it's still not right! 'Cause the Doctor's...still you."
Right. See, that always brings my high-flying kite back down to earth a bit, as the spellbinding potential of the previous moment disintegrates in the harsh light of what - who - she's really been seeking all this time. Plus, here's a fic snippet I prefer not to dwell on, but isn't untrue: "With a rueful smile and a few well-placed explanations, he maps her future and becomes a god. Turns a stranger into a lover and turns a girl into a jailer."
"And I'm him."
Stop being flippant. But I love that on her question, which she's really only asking him, he tries the woeful stare and she literally has to challenge, "Go on, say it!"
"I said 'Rose Tyler.'"
I swear she barely refrains from rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, and how was that sentence gonna end?"
"Does it need saying?"
OK, now I'm barely refraining from rolling my eyes. This isn't Jeopardy! But in all seriousness, I'm glad he deflects. And that he's asking her not to make him say it, because if he did it would break them both.
Speaking of breaking, while I stayed dry-eyed last night until I felt beaten enough to go to sleep, today this is where my tears have chosen to start. *15-minute crying break*
Voice: Bearlioz would like to inform you that he is getting thoroughly sick of this business where he is squished to death and wept on just because you can't deal with your fiction.
RS: Parlaying for my stuffed animals now? What do you have, a paid gig translating for anything that can't speak?
As for the rest, having made my peace with the fact that she never does get kiss her Doctor properly, the fact that she gets to kiss a Doctor properly does beautiful and explosive things for my own personal happiness. Fact: you can see enough of his jawline to follow along with the words, which is why, though I'd normally pitch a hissy fit about not being able to hear important things, in this case the whisper just for her is better. I'm really not fussed about which version of the kiss is here vs. in the confidential; I like that the other exists to surprise me but this fits the moment perfectly.
(I have not actually watched the whole confidential itself. I've heard good things, but I'm not ready to subject myself to something called "The End of an Era," nor hear other people break into my self-contained world of analysis.)
It's the first time Rose lets the recognition wash over her, even if it's still half-fantasy and pretend and more a need to believe it's him than anything else. That'll come. But this is a start.
Still cannot deal with the Doctor watching until he can't anymore, and disappears without a word. Or with Rose starting at the sound of the TARDIS and running forward, but stopping because it's already vanishing and there's nothing to do but watch it go. THAT IS STILL TOO RAW. I don't know if it makes it better or worse that she doesn't know Donna's about to disappear too: on the one hand, he's not alone, but on the other, it's more like abandonment this way.
Let's just focus on that one constant between them, a handhold, and the importance of touch when everything else is uncertain: strangers in a strange land, brave new world. (If I stop at two classics I'm not Jacob yet.)
I do feel bad for the Doctor. I'm never going to stop shipping them properly, or choose which pairing I like better. I mean, if I could create a meta-crisis Rose for him whose head wouldn't burn up, I would. I'd also be willing to muck things up, collapse universes, kill parti-clones and justify any other means necessary to bring them back together. But I've got a big fuzzy soft spot for Ten II, possibly influenced by future!fic and all its shippy glories, that won't go away.
Yes, there are complications and Issues and several of them are explored in a batch of previously-recced fics found here, which I have just been reading and subsequently crying my eyes out over for another half hour (I R SMRT), but the thing all those stories have in common is that with the aid of time, they adjust. They will adjust and find themselves, each other, once again. They always do.
Because ultimately, to quote the previously mentioned story one more time, this is what happened:
He took away their history and left her his heart.
Maybe I've been brainwashed by too many viewings - more than any other to date - but I loved it. Best part of the season (well, vying with TSE. I like 4x12 a touch better), blasts all previous finales out of the water. Do you see how many negative things I listed? Almost none - because there simply weren't that many. It was good. In fact, even in heartbreak terms, it's not as bad as Doomsday. It was worth the journey: it doesn't get more satisfying than that.
In fact, the only problem with it is that it's so well-done and self-capping and finalizing that I...still don't really want to move on. I'm content enough. Specials? Eh. Talk to me at Christmas; I'm clearly doomed to be forever at least a year behind the show in my own personal journey. Besides, you all had at least 6 months to process this when it aired. I'm barely at 4 1/2. I need more time.
If you read all those words - and I don't know why you would, since there were at least 6500 - or even half of them, then these are for you:
Didn't break my all-time exhaustive review record (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: still reigning champion and defender!), but is definitely in second place.
Up Next: I have all the casting spoilers and then some for the final special, but in terms of "The Next Doctor," what I know is its title, its villians, and that David Morrissey is in it - oh, and its generally lukewarm reception among fans, I think? - but I have no specific details about what happens so TELL ME NOTHING.
It's either going to take me 4-9 more months to get around to it, or I'll end up finishing it 48 hours from now when worry about how stupid my analysis sounded vs. the Doctor's actual reactions. Wait, there's not like a Children in Need clip I need to watch first, is there? If there is, you should tell me that.
Season 4 Overall: Bigger, Better, More Donna-tastic
Not my favorite. But close to it! It's hard to measure my favorite, taking both characters and stories into account, but for as much as I adore Donna (and I DO, ever so much), Ten + Rose is an edge that cannot be beaten despite the unevenness. My DVD-purchasing wishlist runs in the order of 2, 4, 3, 1...that's about the only way I could figure that much out.
This season was consistently stellar, always good and nary a bomb in the bunch, but until the very end it also lacked any extreme high points that stand out in the manner of, say, 3x08-10. At the same time, if you were to say that Doctor Who gets better every year, I wouldn't argue with that statement either. There's a wobbly time paradox explaining how both of those things can be true, I'm sure.
Anyway, it gave me an excuse to quickly mock up this graph (where 0 = Christmas specials), based on my gut reactions to everything in the space of 5 minutes without the aid of written reviews or repeat viewing. It more conveniently illustrates the phenomenon (I left off season 1 because it was getting cluttered and frankly I don't want to judge Nine against Ten right now):
Nothing more to say about the year's episodes themselves, except that I staunchly defend my love of "The Doctor's Daughter" as my favorite standalone, depending on how I feel about Ood at any given moment, and that in retrospect, my opinion of The Unicorn and the Wasp has swung up rather favorably, the clever little period piece having slowly wormed its way into my heart.
Oh, and fun fact, it did take me almost exactly a year to polish off the season - I was wrapping my thoughts on season 3 during Labor Day weekend last year.
OMG I AM DONE. I just proofread it and already can't remember half of what I said, but it must be good to go and therefore so am I. *staggers off to collect cookies, puppy, and gold star for self*
P.S. Dear LJ, IF YOU BREAK ANYTHING HTML-RELATED, I'M COMING BACK WITH A SHOTGUN.