Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Doctor Who: School Reunion

Doctor: 'You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the Time Lords.'

This was a hard episode to find fault with. I'd even go as far as saying that it was my favourite episode of Nu-Who thus far. Sarah Jane was the first companion I ever knew, and tonight's episode offered a fascinating insight into her life thirty years on. Her face when she first saw the TARDIS was a delight, as was her reaction at seeing the Doctor again. He's a different looking man these days—gone is the curly dark hair and shark-like grin. The burning question is: why hasn't the Doctor mentioned Sarah Jane before?

This episode was a real eye opener for Rose. Meeting Sarah Jane raised all manner of questions about being a companion. What happens when your time is over? How do you adjust to normality after seeing such wonders? How many companions have gone before her? Up until now, Rose clearly hasn't given much thought to the Doctor's past, but tonight she was faced with the grim reality that she isn't unique—she's simply the latest in a long line of individuals who've shared the Doctor's life.

Thankfully, after a frosty start, Sarah Jane was a fountain of sage advice. She advised Rose to stay with the Doctor, despite the potential for disaster. Sarah Jane knows full well the pain of being left behind, of waiting for the Doctor to return, of knowing that somewhere out there the story goes on without you. Yet, her parting words to the Doctor were curiously reminiscent of Rose's words in 'Dalek': 'I wouldn't have missed it for the world'. For Sarah Jane, as with Rose, the journey will always be worth the heartbreak.

The Doctor also faced some stiff interrogation from his companions tonight. They seemed to get a huge kick out of ganging up on him. With Sarah Jane he was evasive, but with Rose he at least attempted to be honest. He tried to explain the isolation of being a Time Lord, the sorrow of losing everyone you love, and of his destiny to outlive them all. How many times can you go through the process of losing friends before it affects your desire to be with people? But this time the Doctor promised that things would be different. He swore that he'd never leave Rose behind. But they all leave in the end, don't they?

I loved that the Doctor gave Sarah Jane a second chance at the stars—but there could be no repeat performance. I got a little bleary eyed when Sarah Jane begged him to say goodbye. Last time there'd been no closure, this time there was, but it was heart wrenching to watch. He even gave her a new K9! I honestly didn't think I'd feel nostalgic about K9, but I did. The Doctor's affection for his tin pooch was obvious. One thing which really shone through in this episode is how much the Doctor loves his companions. His face at seeing Sarah Jane as he stood outside the teachers' lounge, hands in pockets, face beaming with joy, and his elation at hearing K9 speak his name—all proof that although physically absent, they were never forgotten.

I even liked Mickey this week. Maybe all Noel Clarke needs is some decent material to work with. His realisation that he was the 'tin dog' of the ensemble was both hilarious and true. Plus the banter between Rose and  Sarah Jane was magical—the jealous ex, versus the insecure new girlfriend. How Mickey revelled in the Doctor's discomfort. It was marvellous! But why hasn't Toby Whithouse written more episodes? This story was clearly head and shoulders above what we've seen thus far this season.

Other Thoughts:

—Happy-slapping was a craze that originated in South London. Originally it involved slapping a person across the face and then recording their surprise on a camera phone, usually for the purpose of amusement. Unfortunately, over time, happy-slapping became significantly more violent and the term happy-slapping became somewhat of a misnomer. The person was rarely happy at being assaulted and the slapping was often a hefty thwack across the face, which in some sad cases resulted in hearing loss and in a few instances, death.

—ASBO's stands for Anti-Social Behaviour Order. It's a civil order given to those proven to have been involved in anti-social behaviour.

—Eugene Washington has such striking features that I thought he looked alien way before he changed into one.

—Sarah Jane saw mummies in 'Pyramids of Mars,' Daleks in 'Genesis of the Daleks,' anti-matter monsters in 'Planet of Evil,' robots in 'Robot,' the Loch Ness monster in 'Terror of the Zygons,' and dinosaurs in 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs.' Rose saw Slitheen in 'World War Three,' the Dalek Emperor in 'The Parting of the Ways,' gas mask zombies in 'The Empty Child,' and a werewolf in last week's 'Tooth and Claw.'

—Mickey is denied access to the military website by Torchwood.

—Did all those computers seriously connect to just one socket via one wire?


Doctor: 'So. Physics. Physics, eh? Physics physics physics physics physics physics physics physics physics physics. I hope you're getting all of this down.'

Doctor: 'Correct-amundo. A word I have never used before and hopefully never will again.'

Doctor: 'Hello, Sarah Jane.'
Sarah Jane: 'You've regenerated.'
Doctor: 'Yeah, half a dozen times since we last met.'
Sarah Jane: 'You look incredible.'
Doctor: 'So do you.'
Sarah Jane: 'Ha, I got old.'

Sarah Jane: 'I thought you'd died. I waited for you, you didn't come back and I thought you must have died.'
Doctor: 'I lived. Everyone else died.'
Sarah Jane: 'What do you mean?'
Doctor: 'Everyone died, Sarah.'

Mickey: 'All this time you've been giving it 'he's different', but the truth is, he's just like any other bloke.'
Rose: 'You don't know what you're talking about.'
Mickey: 'Maybe not. But if I were you, I'd go easy on the chips.'

Doctor: 'You didn't need me. You were getting on with your life.'
Sarah Jane: 'You were my life.'

Doctor: 'All those things you saw, you want me to apologise for that?'
Sarah Jane: 'No, but... we get a taste of that splendour and then we have to go back. You could have come back.'
Doctor: 'I couldn't.'
Sarah Jane: 'Why not?'

Rose: 'I've been to the year 5 billion, right. But this... now this is really seeing the future. You just leave us behind. Is that what you're going to do to me?'
Doctor: 'No, not to you.'

Mickey: 'I'm... oh my God. I'm the tin dog!'

Sarah Jane: 'Does he still stroke bits of the Tardis?'
Rose: 'Yeah, yeah he does. I'm like, 'Do you two want to be alone?''

Sarah Jane: 'No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship. Everything has its time and everything ends.'

Doctor: 'Goodbye, old friend.'
K9: 'Goodbye, master.'
Doctor: 'You good dog.'
K9: 'Affirmative!'

Sarah Jane: 'Goodbye, Doctor.'
Doctor: 'Oh, it's not goodbye....'
Sarah Jane: 'You say it please, this time....say it!'
Doctor: 'Goodbye, my Sarah Jane.'

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