Thursday, May 14, 2015

Doctor Who - 10th Anniversary of NuWho: Father's Day Review

Doctor Who:
Father’s Day
By Paul Cornell

“I did it again. I picked another stupid ape. I should've known. It's not about showing you the universe. It never is. It's about the universe doing something for you.”

Rose asks The Doctor to take her back to November 7th 1987 the day that her Dad died.  She wants to be sure he doesn’t die alone like the way he does in the story that Jackie tells.  At first Rose gets cold feet and she just watches him die and asks The Doctor if she can try again.  Against his better judgment he reluctantly agrees and they go back to that fateful moment. But it doesn’t go as planned.

Rose changes her mind and runs out and saves her father from getting hit by the car that takes his life changing history and making The Doctor extremely angry.  The web of time has been affected and serious consequences could happen. The Doctor decides to leave Rose in 1987 but when he gets back to the TARDIS it is nothing but an ordinary Police Box.  Something devastating has happened as deadly Reapers start appearing out of nowhere killing people.  You see while Pete Tyler lives Earth is destined to be destroyed and The Doctor must come up with a plan to save the Earth from Rose’s stupid mistake at the risk of hurting his young companion.
Father’s Day is one of the best stories of the new Doctor Who era.   No contest really and it is a story that hasn’t been attempted before.  The focus is on Rose and in a really selfish moment saves her father.   Even though it was the wrong thing to do in the eyes of The Doctor and almost destroyed Earth and time Rose was able to spend time with the father she never knew.   Think about it.  How many of us would like to go back in time and spend time with those loved ones that have died.  I’m sure there are many who would myself included but in Doctor Who Rose was given that opportunity.  Plus on the reverse side of it Pete was able to meet the daughter he would never get to see grow up.

Father’s Day is a rollercoaster of emotions as you are happy that Rose gets to see her father but you know when the Reapers arrive and that car keeps appearing you figure it out pretty quickly that this story will not have a happy ending.   Because to save everything Pete makes the ultimate sacrifice and steps in front of the car killing himself in order to save Rose and everyone else.  What a very emotional scene it was watching Rose saying goodbye to her father after saving him.   You definitely had to feel for Rose getting her dad back to only lose him again but at least she had those moments with him.   That is one of the perils of traveling with The Doctor as Rose would not have had her moment of happiness followed by sadness if she stayed there with Micky at the end of Rose.

I believe Father’s Day is one of if not the best performance Billie Piper had in Doctor Who.  She was able to convey so many emotions in this story that you really believed the joy and pain Rose felt.  Billie Piper did such a fantastic performance that you get to see what the show runners saw in picking her as a companion.  Father’s Day really cemented the new companion as something more than the screaming girl that was put on the show for The Doctor to save.  Thankfully the companions role is something more which they continue to this day and we have Father’s Day to thank for that.

Paul Cornell has written a story that breaks new boundaries for the show with Father’s Day.  We have until this point not seen a story like it and not have seen one since.   It was a bold move and advanced the show into the present day of television storytelling which most people are familiar with as we have seen storytelling like this in Buffy, Supernatural and the like.   Plus The Doctor actually dies in this story something that never happens and it was really weird to see that happen.  Which makes the ending to Father’s Day even more special as The Doctor did not save the day. Father’s Day is an overall classic story that will be heralded for many years to come and survives the test of time as one of the clever and intelligent story in Doctor Who’s long history.
Grade A

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