Drakyndra, Evil Master of Fandom (drakyndra) wrote,
Drakyndra, Evil Master of Fandom
drakyndra

Doomsday, School Reunion and The Dalek Invasion of Earth: A Different Sort of Happy Ending

As the title implies, great big spoilers for Doomsday and School Reunion. I don't think a 42 year old episode needs a spoiler warning.


Everything has it's time, and everything ends


One of the things I noticed upon reading the reactions to Doomsday was the amount of criticism about the final scenes with Rose, how they depicted her as lost and undeveloped and supremely messed up by her experiences with the Doctor. Even I picked up on this.

And as good as that scene was in it's own right, I can see how it does appear to counter some of the series messages - the main tie-in here would be School Reunion with it's "Everything has it's time and everything ends" message, which was all about Sarah Jane finally moving on.

And here we get Rose, broken and crying, and apparently unable to move on. Which is in character for her so far, but not the positive view.

And yet, as much as it felt like a rather horrible ending for Rose on first glance, on reflection it just seems to work.

Because as cruel as it is immediately, it needed to be done for the long term. Rose needed this.


You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need



Yeah, it hurts like a bastard, but a lot of things that need to be done do - as anyone who has ever had a tooth pulled could tell you.

Quite a few people have been arguing that it isn't a satisfying ending because Rose wanted to stay with the Doctor forever and ever. To which my response is quite simply "What the hell does that matter?" Firstly, Rose isn't immortal, she won't be around forever. She will leave the Doctor eventually, even if it is through death (and anyone who thinks the Doctor wouldn't take Rose's death worse than he did seeing her trapped in another universe is completely fucked in the head).

And secondly, and more importantly, what people want isn't necessarily what's best for them. Case in point: Heroin addicts.

Just because Rose wants to never leave the Doctor, doesn't mean she should. And the Doctor knows this. Hello, he put the bloody world-jumping device around her without her permission. He just hadn't counted on her stubbornness, and was hardly going to send away help when he needed it.

The Doctor is no stranger to making the hard choices that other people won't make.


Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.


This is, after all, the same man who abandoned his own grand-daughter on Earth. Because she would never leave him, because she felt an obligation to him, because she loved him, despite the fact that travelling with him meant a loss of individual identity, meant never having a home, never belonging anywhere...

Sound at all familiar?

Like Susan, Rose had the situation taken out of her hands in the end. Like Susan, she was left on a world that badly needed rebuilding, which needed people with knowledge to help out. Like Susan, she was left with people who loved her, who would take care of her, who wanted her to come with them, and found her choosing to go with the Doctor painful.

(And on a more interesting note, both were given a goodbye that excluded any physical contact)

But the most important thing is that both Susan and Rose needed someone else to make the decision for them. It was the final rite of passage, the final parental "I know best" decision before all their decisions are placed into their own hands.

See, for all she's seen and done, Rose is still really a child. She needs this rite of passage if she is to truly become an adult. No matter how much it hurts.

She's had her fabulous times, her games and fun and travels. But she isn't the Doctor, she can't be that Peter Pan, that eternal child. Which is something he knows. If the Doctor knows anything, it's that things end. And that some lessons hurt.

"Some things are worth getting your heart broken for" after all. But the thing about people, is that eventually? They heal.


Pain and suffering define us as much as happiness and love


If the Nine vs Ten dichotomy points out anything, it's that wounds can heal, scars can fade. Slowly, but they do. But it sometimes, that wound needs to be lanced, the bandaid needs to be ripped off, iodine put on the cut.

The things that make us better still hurt.

And if this isn't done, the wound can fester. It took meeting the Dalek Emporer again, making the same push-the-button-and-wipe-out-a-world decision for Nine to heal. And it took that sad, painful farewell for Sarah Jane to finally move on with her life.

Oh, I'm not saying she didn't have a life - she had a good job, she was using her experience and knowledge to do something good - rather like Rose is in Torchwood, methinks - But there was that little broken part of her, tucked away and hidden, that never quite got over her abandonent.

He never said goodbye to her, she never knew if he was coming back. But she got her goodbye, and even if it had been a long painful process, it meant she was finally free of that broken worry.

And it seems the Doctor learnt from this.

Because what else was the scene on the beach?

That was the Doctor coming to see Rose, lost, broken Rose who had been ripped from the life she knew, and to say goodbye. No promises, no rescues, just goodbye. To stop Rose living like Sarah, always in the back of her head wondering. She knows now, he isn't coming back. Which is frightening, and painful, but it's answer.

And the knowledge is always preferable to ignorance, no matter how painful.


Grief is itself a medicine.


People saying that Rose hasn't grown at all? Well, the thing about growing up is, it too hurts. We learn from our pains, from our mistakes, from the things we lose and how we lose them.

We lose them, and then we grieve, and then - then - we move on. Grief is a healthy reaction to loss. And however you interpret the Doctor-Rose relationship, Rose has lost something huge.

And that's what the scene on the beach is. It's the final farewell, it's the throwing the flowers into the grave, or helping your parents dig a grave for your puppy. It hurts like a bastard to do, but without that certainty, without that knowledge that this is goodbye, this is where it ends, for now and forever.

And you can't start a new life without finishing the one before.

Rose has lost her old life, and it it hurts her so badly, losing it and the Doctor who defined this life, whether this was right or wrong. But with that goodbye, that conclusion, she is free to grieve and to move on.

Rose has lost something, and she is mourning that. But...

You need an ending before you can have a new beginning. The Doctor gave Rose her ending. Now it's up to her to make the new beginning.


It's always darkest before dawn.


She's got a whole new universe of her own, she could do anything. It's all up to her. The choice is all hers, no financial troubles, no low status to hold her back. The world is in her hands.


Hope...


- Quotes from School Reunion, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Rolling Stones, William Cowper.
Tags: fandom: doctor who, meta
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