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[repost] More "School Reunion" babbling

Originally posted (and commented upon) here.

I've been liking Ten from the beginning, but now he's really there for me. nostagia_lj is cracking me up with the observation that it's the Scots Doctors (Seven and Ten) who have the Big Damn Hubris, but it's not an invalid serious observation. As taraljc notes, the Doctor would make a lousy god, and he damn well knows it. Knows it well enough that I didn't really have any fear that he would take Finch up on the proposition. But Ten is in a small minority of incarnations who would actually think about it for those few seconds. He's very, very certain of his ethical judgment -- potentially dangerously so. Tennant said something absolutely fascinating in one of the Confidentials, that the Doctor has to be "morally unimpeachable." And he's absolutely right, and believes in it at a level that maybe only a kid who grew up with the show -- for whom the Doctor has been the ultimate hero since probably before he can remember -- really can be. And he broadcasts it with every fiber of his being when he's in character.

There's just one problem with that: It's not possible.

As Nine, the Doctor was acutely aware of that. He knew, admitted, stated that, too often, the choices he made were among bad, really bad, and cataclysmic. Sometimes not even that many. He still knows that, but now he professes to be right with a conviction that wasn't there last season. So far, it's been justified...basically. That hard edge and dark streak are powerful things in the service of those he protects, and it's certainly riveting to watch. I'm right with everyone else in cheering for "If I don't like it, it will stop." But I'm saddened and chilled to the bone by "I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy." *shiver*

His hope of retaining the mercy he still has, of course, lies in his connection to "ordinary lives" -- a connection forged with ever-more-conscious effort. And one which has also helped cost him a good portion of the mercy he's lost, by opening him up to their suffering when he fails to stop all the bad guys -- or worse, has to make one of those really bad choices to prevent the cataclysmic one. The classic hero's curse: compassion is both a source of strength and a point of vulnerability.

In which case, he has no shortage of humans to keep him grounded now. A recharge from Sarah Jane, and a new tenant in the TARDIS. Whether Rose likes it or not (and so far the verdict appears to be 'not' -- perhaps because it's yet another chink out of her 'special' status?), I love that Mickey is finally ready to claim the place the Doctor offered him in WWIII. And better yet, to ask the Doctor if the invitation was still open, without checking with Rose first. He's on his way to one of two things: becoming someone Rose can love as much as he does her, or becoming someone who can build himself a worthwhile life in the knowledge that she never will. Mickey, my friend, you are most assuredly not the tin dog. (Although I happen to love the tin dog. There are worse things to be. *g*)

As for Rose, some have said it seemed like she came to terms with this not-so-special-after-all thing too abruptly. Thing is, she has already had a taste of Companion Abandonment Syndrome in "Parting of the Ways," albeit with training wheels. One, he left her the TARDIS, which in her mind (especially at her age, when all things are possible) meant that she had a way to get to the Doctor if she tried hard enough. Two, and perhaps even more importantly, if he hadn't come back, it would have been because he was dead. That's a very, very different thing to deal with than the prospect of his slipping off and continuing his travels with the next bright, adventurous soul. But for all that, the questions got raised. They've been on the back burner, but they were there nonethless. So she wasn't processing this reality from square one in this ep.

I'm fairly sure I had more points I wanted to mention, but darned if I can remember right now what they were, and it's about bedtime.

I do really hope this represents the season hitting its stride. "New Earth" and "Tooth and Claw" were fun, but they weren't quite at the level I want to see this show at. This one was more like it; here's hoping the momentum will continue.

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