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Have decided I'm vain enough to rerun my posts on various eps as they air in the U.S. This was originally posted (and commented upon) here.

I'm going to duplicate vast amounts of what I've already seen, from amilyn and taraljc and neadods and nostalgia_lj, who have, among them, covered about 98% of the ground I'm going to cover. Don't care. Must say it or head will explode.

Sarah Jane! K-9! Gulpy panicky Sarah-noises (many of which brainiacfive is certain were made by Tennant, but still)! Banana-cream-pie-flavored yogurt...no wait, that's my lunch. Tony Head having WAY too much fun! SARAH JANE!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEE!

Somewhere along the way, Sarah learned to be a bit more subtle in conversations with the subject of her investigation. *g* Not that Finch's ego didn't make it that much easier, but still. All those times her indignant mouth got her into life-threatening trouble apparently made an impression after all!

Which doesn't mean she can't still do the indignant, of course, and with more fire than ever. Just ask the Doctor. *wince* Never mind the rather heavy-handed "missus meets the ex" stuff -- that was just the humorous (or intended-to-be-humorous, anyway) tip of a very big iceberg of the Doctor's past crashing into his present. He thinks of the consequences of his actions in cosmic terms, and he relies on his companions to keep him in touch with the individual level of life.

But he's never been good with the third leg of the tripod: dealing with the consequences of his actions on those individual ordinary lives. A big part of the reason for that is obvious, and one that he's more self-aware of in this incarnation than ever: He doesn't have, and really doesn't understand, a life like that. He loves every companion fiercely, comes to know them as well as anyone can...and yet the paradox is that he doesn't have, cannot have the frame of reference to truly understand his impact on their lives. He can only hazard an educated guess through a very cockeyed prism.

All of which Tennant channels (there's really no other word for it sometimes) with pitch-perfect clarity. The twitterpated flustering at Sarah's entrance; the quiet weight of "Hello, Sarah Jane;" the force of the blatant lie to Rose that he won't abandon her that way, followed immediately by the heartrending explanation why he can't do otherwise; the weight that seems to lift from him when Sarah forces him to say a real goodbye. What I think Sarah has always known (having spent enough time with UNIT folks, if nothing else, to know that there were others before her) -- despite her initial lashing out at him -- and what Rose has now learned, is some inkling of the fact that every single companion has a profound impact on him. He leaves, and he doesn't mention, but he doesn't forget. A large part of who the Doctor is was formed from what the companions have made him. He chooses them, consciously or unconsciously, for what they will continue to make him.

Little wonder Finch saw something kindred in him! The Krillitane are that idea developed to its destructive extreme, beyond abhorrent to the Doctor. But for all that he gives back (as Sarah Jane said, "worth having your heart broken for"), and for all that he doesn't want to look at it, and for all his best efforts to protect them, there will be harm to his companions, that would not occur if they were not his companions. That will never, ever change.

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