Doctor Who Wednesdays #21

“Rose, before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”

— Ninth Doctor, The Parting of the Ways 

I am not going to say much about this quote, because I’ve already said so much about the Ninth Doctor’s transformation over the series, and I don’t want to repeat myself at this stage. But I will say something, because this is almost certainly my favourite part of the Ninth Doctor’s series.

You see, this is the last thing the Doctor says to Rose before he regenerates. This quotes shows the culmination of all of the changes that he has experienced. Because the Doctor that Rose first met would never have said this about himself; that Doctor did not have confidence in himself. This isn’t the Doctor being arrogant or full of himself (though we do know that he can have those qualities) – this is the Doctor coming to the realization that, though he might not be proud of his difficult past, he can still do fantastic things. In later series’ this confidence does get a bit out of hand, and the Doctor will need to deal with that, but right now the confidence is newly re-found. And it’s a great way for him to go out.

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Doctor Who Wednesdays #21

Rose: “What are you doing?”

The Doctor: “Software patch. Gonna email the upgrade. You want moves, Rose? I’ll give you moves. Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once! Everybody lives!”

— Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler, The Doctor Dances

I absolutely love this quote, and I love the scene that is contained within. Unfortunately, though the quote can stand on it’s own, it’s much more potent as part of the episode, and part of the wider context of the series. So, the point of the story is, if you haven’t already seen this episode (and the first part in the previous episode), you should watch them. That being said, I am going to attempt to tell you why I love this quote so much.

1. This quote comes at the end of a very creepy episode, possibly the creepiest (“Are you my Mummy”) of all the Ninth Doctor stories. Up to this point, it seems likely that many, many people are going to die, and die in a pretty horrific way. Rose and the Doctor have landed in the middle of London during the Second World War, and another time traveler trying to make a buck accidentally released something that turned into a terrible plague. And yet, at this point, everything changes. And the Doctor goes from angry and worried to absolutely delighted. This Doctor has clear memories of his role in the deaths of thousands of Time Lords and Daleks. There have been other deaths since he regenerated. But he has just realized that this time everything is going to be different. This time, everyone is going to live. And that makes him happier than he is seen at any other point in the series so far.

2. The Doctor is just a little bit jealous of the newly met Captain Jack. Now, this is not the main point of the quote, but it’s there in the comment about moves. You see, earlier Rose had been obviously impressed by Captain Jack’s “moves” – both his dance moves and his time travelling technology and techniques that he used. And the Doctor was jealous. And at this point he realizes that, though he might not have the same moves as Captain Jack, he’s about to do something very impressive.

3. And that brings me to my final point. A point that is somewhat an extension of point one. At this point the Doctor is so clearly excited. At this point in the series, the Doctor is starting to realize that he can make a positive difference. He is realizing that, though his decisions have often resulted in deaths, sometimes there are positive outcomes. Sometimes, though it might be rare, everybody lives.

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Doctor Who Wednesdays #20

The Doctor: “That’s the thing. If I don’t dare, everyone dies.”

Rose: “Do it.”

The Doctor: “You don’t even know what it is. You’d just let me?”

Rose: “Yeah.”

Jackie: “Please, Doctor, please, she’s my daughter, she’s just a kid.”

The Doctor: “Do you think I don’t know that? ‘Cause this is my life, Jackie – it’s not fun, it’s not smart, it’s just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.”

Rose: “Then what are you waiting for?”

The Doctor: “I could save the world but lose you.”

— The Doctor, Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler, World War Three

I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I have a series pet peeve related to people who deliberately skip the Ninth Doctor. I understand people just making an arbitrary decision to start in on the series – that’s the beauty of the show, there are so many potential jumping in points. Yes, you’ll miss some back story, and you’ll miss inside jokes and comments, but you’ll soon catch up enough to understand what’s going on. Perhaps it will even be enough to eventually make you want to go back and catch up on previous Doctors. And, in choosing to start with the Ninth Doctor, you are necessarily skipping Doctors One through Eight. Nine is a logical starting point, however, as it is the first Doctor of the reboot series.

But the pet peeve comes in when people make the decision to skip the Ninth Doctor because they think he wasn’t good enough. Or that his stories weren’t important enough. Or that his regeneration is not worth it because it only lasted one year. There are many other reasons given. I view very few of them as acceptable reasons (yep, I said it).

What are my reasons for this belief? They are many and varied, and they increase every time I re-watch episodes; every time I think about the links between the Doctors. I won’t get into all of the here. But I will mention the ones that this quote points to.

1. Nine introduced new viewers, and possibly reminded old viewers, that though the Doctor may have fun or act silly, his life was made up of making difficult decisions. Nine particularly felt this weight, being the first regeneration after the Time War, the first Doctor to be burdened with the memory of having to decide to wipe out all of the Timelords and the Daleks to save the rest of the Universe from their bitter war. Through Nine we learned that the courage of the Doctor came from his willingness to make those decisions, even when they were hard, and even when he knew that he might make the wrong decision one time. We learned that courage isn’t necessarily about not being afraid, it’s about being afraid of the consequences but making a decision anyways; because someone has to do it.

2. Nine reminded viewers that, though a companion might join for the fun and the adventure of travelling through space and time, the life of a companion was not always safe. Jackie often hated the Doctor because he could not guarantee her that Rose would be safe, as much as he might want to. His life, and by extension the life of the companions, was not safe; it contained a great deal of danger.

3. This first of Rose’s season showed us her courage. She learned quickly what needed to be done. She trusted that the Doctor would come up with the right solution, and follow through with it, even when he did not trust himself to do that. And Rose’s courage and trust throughout the series gave the Doctor the confidence to do what he needed to do; the confidence to make the hard decisions. Rose’s trust reminded him of who he was.

4. Finally, this series was the series where the well known relationship between Rose and the Doctor began. Though the relationship flourished between Rose and the Tenth Doctor, it began when he was the Ninth Doctor. There are multiple quotes throughout this short season that reinforce that – on some level, whether friendship or romantic in nature – the Ninth Doctor loved Rose. The love did not begin when he put on a newer, younger face. It slowly grew over this series, and then continued into the Tenth Doctor’s series’.

Okay, so this post turned into something a bit different than I initially though it would, but I think I’m going to leave it. One further comment on this quote – I think what the Doctor says about his life is something that transfers to all of the regenerations (at least the ones that I have seen). He might have fun, he might seem goofy at times, but at the bottom of it all, he travels around the universe making difficult decisions. And, though he often forgets it, he truly benefits from having a travelling companion who will help him make those decisions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you watch Doctor Who? What Doctor did you start with? Have you gone back to watch previous Doctors?

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Doctor Who Wednesdays #19

The Doctor: “No.”

Dalek: “Explain yourself.”

The Doctor: “I said no.”

Dalek: “What is the meaning it this negative?”

The Doctor: “It means no.”

Dalek: “But she will be destroyed.”

The Doctor: “No! ‘Cause this is what I’m going to do. I’m gonna rescue her. I’m gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I’m gonna save the Earth. And then – just to finish off – I’m gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!

Dalek: “But you have no weapons. No defenses. No plan.”

The Doctor: “Yeah! And doesn’t that scare you to death.”

— Ninth Doctor, The Parting of the Ways

Okay, so this post was published without the intended explanation paragraph or two, as I was away and didn’t realize that we were at this point already (I know, I know, excuses, excuses). All that being said, I intend to fix that now.

First off, the next few months are going to be organized around specific Doctors. May will be dedicated to quotes from the Ninth Doctor, June will be quotes from the Tenth Doctor, July the Eleventh and August the Twelfth. I have not yet decided if I will dedicate a month to the Lost Regeneration/8.5 or not, since even though he had a number of great quotes, he only had one episode. We shall see.

Now for a comment on the quote itself. Strangely enough, this first installment of quotes from the Ninth Doctor is taken from his last episode – the episode that eventually sees Nine regenerate. For me, this episode came way too soon, just as I was starting to really realize how much I liked Nine. That being said, I do love the way they ended the Doctor’s Ninth Regeneration – I loved the new found confidence they gave him; the realization that he finally came to that, even though he was still fresh off the Time War, he could still make a difference and do good, even Fantastic, things. The realization that he was going to do something the Dalek’s thought impossible to rescue the friend who had taught him so much. He didn’t know how, he didn’t have a plan, but he was going to do it. Because he was the Doctor and that is what he did.

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