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?

Billie says...

Giles!

Interestingly, even though my knowledge of Old Who is very lean and spotty, I had much the same reaction that Paul did. Little interest in the school plot, although it was executed well enough. The real story was Sarah Jane, and what happened to her after her lonely god left her behind and replaced her with a new model.

You have these marvelous adventures with this incredible man, you travel in time and space and see things no one else on Earth has ever seen. And then suddenly, it's over, and nothing will ever be quite as wonderful, quite as good. How can the old life possibly compare? It's terribly sad. It's even tragic. And we can tell that Rose never even thought about it before. Well, she's thinking about it now.

Mickey finally came around. I thought it was out of character for him to even notice a school gone wonky, but I guess it was a symptom of a deeper change inside of him. And now he wants to travel with the Doctor. Rose didn't seem thrilled to have him along. Probably because she left him behind a long time ago, in more ways than one.

Quotes:

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."
---
Four moor peaces eye rote, sea hear.

14 comments:

Mark Greig said...

School Reunion, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Tin Dog, is one of my all time favourite Doctor Who episodes. I simple adore Elizabeth Sladen, always have and always will, so it was beyond a joy to see her back. Plus, this episode achieved what I long considered impossible and made me love K-9 as well.

Everyone gave it their all this week, even, as you've pointed out, Noel Clarke. I actually quite like the new team of the Doctor, Rose and Mickey. Sure, it’s not the Doctor, Rose and Jack or even the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe but with a new Doctor they have a good dynamic together and bounce well off each other. When Rose is not throwing a jealous tantrum, that is. Are they deliberately trying to make us unlike her or something?

Last, but by no means least, we got the magnificent Anthony Head as the villain. I’ll never think of Giles in the same way again after seeing him eat a (thin) little school girl for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Rose pronounces Slitheen "Sliveen" because she's a Londoner. It's our dialect. Saying V instead of T, missing H off words, etc. :)

daniel c w said...

I find it interesting, that neither talks about the School plot.
Like it realy is an afterthought.

(I never thought, I would see the day, where Billie does not mention Anthony Head :D)

Billie Doux said...

But Daniel -- the first line in my section refers to Anthony Head!

daniel c w said...

How did I miss that?
(*insert swaering*)

My bad

Billie Doux said...

Maybe because it was only one word. :)

shawnlunn2002 said...

Mentioning Giles raises a smile from me. I love seeing Buffy actors in other shows that I love to bits (I really wanna see Amber Benson on this show).

I didn't care for the school plot though I thought the Krillitanes were a great monster in their own right.

Rose was going to realise that at some point she was in a line of people who've travelled with the Doctor.

Sarah Jane, you're one of my favourites from the old series. Billie, are you and Paul ever going to review The Sarah Jane Adventures?

I loved every scene with Sarah Jane, Rose and The Doctor this week as well as Mickey and K9. Good dog.

Billie Doux said...

Shawn,

I can't speak for Paul, but I'm fairly certain the only Who spinoff I'm reviewing is Torchwood. I'm planning to review the first two seasons at the same time that I'm doing seasons three and four of Doctor Who. I thought that would work best, since they ran concurrently and there were crossovers.

After that, Paul is going to continue with the fifth season of Doctor Who, while I plan to continue with Torchwood. I was so pleased to learn that the new episodes are airing on BBC America this summer. Can't wait.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Billie, can't wait for your Torchwood reviews and it's excellent that Season 3 is finally coming next month (i'll be doing my own reviews on my blog but I'll comment on yours too). Did you know that The Next Doctor and Planet Of The Dead are also airing on BBC America next week/early July?

Seasons 3 and 4 of New Who are my favourites, with Season 1 my third and Season 2 my least favourite (but still a great season).

Oh and David Tennant and John Barrowman will be in San Diego for this year's ComicCon in July. American viewers are getting a big Who fix this summer.

Paul Kelly said...

Hi Shawn,

No, I probably won't be bothering with SJA. I did watch the first season, but kind of lost track of it after that. I'll no doubt be watching when Tennant turns up next season. But apart from that, it doesn't do much for me I'm afraid.

Paul

Jovet said...

"even though my knowledge of Old Who is very lean and spotty"

Sarah Jane departs the old series at the end of the serial "The Hand of Fear", which all should watch for more background to this story. Sarah Jane's sendoff was sudden and uniquely executed. (And it was a very good story to boot.)

Her departure is one of the best done in the old series...though I'm probably biased since I prefer the old series.

Michael Colvin said...

I have to say how surprised I am at how good the Doctor and Sarah Jane were but how bad the ASH in this role. The writing wasn't there. "You bad dog!" just didn't do it for me. I think that they wrote the role first and then they casted him, rather than the other way around.

Who wouldn't want to blow up a school?

Congrats on the reunion of Sarah Jane. I didn't catch any Torchwood references in this one. Did I miss?

Paul Kelly said...

Yeah, I think you missed one, Michael. When Mickey was talking to Rose on the phone, he said his investigations were being blocked by Torchwood. I listed it in the bits and pieces section.

Disciple of the Blue Box said...

My favorite part of this episode was David Tennant as the Doctor getting to see Elisabeth Sladen, and act along-side her. I think a lot of that excitement wasn't acted. The whole reason Tennant got into acting was because of Doctor Who, and getting to act along-side the companion he watched growing up must have been amazing. It just made my heart happy ^_^

I'm a younger generation, and thusly have not seen many of the old episodes (I'm working on it). I had never met K9 before, and I still grew instantly attatched to him, and actually cried when we lost him. I felt that the introduction to Sarah Jane and K9 was handled very well -- it didn't feel over-done for those who already knew them (as I knew Sarah Jane), but was still informative enough if you had not (like me with K9).

Love this episode!