(day 2 of the March Tumbles)
I’m watching Doctor Who for the first time through, and I just got here. The episodes themselves were very well done, and emotional impact was felt, and all that, but I have a reservation …
Bringing Rose back contrasted her with Donna, to a great extent. And I get what they were doing with Donna, and respect that, but she can’t hold a candle to Rose. Martha didn’t get to interact so much with either of them, nor did Sarah Jane. This arc was about Rose and Donna and their relation to 10, and it did well to highlight both the differences between them, and the big similarity of Ordinary Shopgirl Saves the World, Is Most Important Person In Universe. We got to revisit Rose and see how she’s grown (in much the same way Martha did at the end of her own arc) and see a lot of teamwork etc. Rose and Donna as well as Martha and Sarah Jane had played their parts in the Doctor’s story, and saved the world, and done many wondrous things, and we see the culmination here.
It’s what they did at the very end which bugs me.
They finally made the whole Rose/Doctor romantic love explicit, and matched Rose and Meta-Crisis Doctor in the alternate universe, and wrote her out for good (I presume).
Then they wiped Donna’s memories, warning if she ever remembered the Doctor, her brain would burn up.
So far, so good. Two bittersweet endings in one, all of which fit about as naturally as could be.
But it’s what came next which made me think about what the episode is really doing. When Donna woke up ‘the way she was’ before she met the Doctor, she instantly showed herself to vapid as possible. ETA: there was something about both Rose/Doctor partings which bugged me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but this review of Doomsday kind of covers it, as well as acknowledging how it was made necessary by things other than story.
Essentially, they take two companions who were supposedly the and I mean THE only thing keeping the Doctor from playing God (as is pointed out in the next episode “Water on Mars”), two people who connected him to humanity and saved his life and gave him love and ideas and friendship and wonder and intellectual partnership, the two who were in prophesies about the world’s salvation (though one did put herself there, that actually kind of makes her the more powerful), and they matched him with one for life as a condition of her being able to leave his story, and then made the other apart from him incredibly empty and dumb.
In one fell swoop.