Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Doctor Who 'Fathers Day' Review

Pete Tyler comes face to face with his adult daughter.

Rose tells the Doctor the story of how her father, Pete Tyler, was killed in a hit and run incident on the way to a family wedding when she was still a baby.  She tells the Doctor that he died on his own and that she wants to be able to be there for him, to comfort him as he dies.  The Doctor reluctantly agrees and takes Rose to see her father.

As they watch Pete is hit by a car and lays dieing in the road.  Rose finds herself unable to move, frozen by what she is seeing.  Once she recovers Rose asks the Doctor if they could try it again.  The Doctor and Rose travel back to the same point in time once again, where the Doctor warns Rose to wait until their past selves leaves.  Unfortunately Rose ignores his warnings and runs out into the road and saves her dad, creating a time paradox.

Rose is initially thrilled with her achievement, with her dad now alive and well and able to be there for her as she grows up.  Unfortunately the Doctor is less than pleased with her, warning her of the consequences of creating a paradox.  Whilst Rose leaves with Pete to go to the wedding the Doctor storms off back to the Tardis only to find that it is now just an empty shell.

The Doctor races back to the church to find Rose when they come under attack from Reapers, creatures that have appeared to ‘sterilise’ the wound in time that Rose has created by consuming everyone they come across.  Taking shelter within the church Rose must come to terms with the fact that whilst she has saved her father she may have doomed everyone else on earth.
The Reapers have come to 'sterilize' the paradox in time.
‘Fathers Day’ is the first story of the revived series to really take the time to delve into the past of the Doctors companion and shows the motivations behind Rose joining the Doctor in the Tardis.  The story also marks the first appearance of Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler.

Despite being a story about the end of the world and the dangers of time travel at its heart ‘Fathers Day’ is a love story, a love story between a father and a daughter.  We see what Rose is willing to do to save her fathers life, and what her father is willing to do for his daughter to ensure she has a future.  The sacrifice the Pete makes for Rose is one of the first truly emotional moments of the show, one that goes on to be remembered long after the story ends.

The performances in the episode are all top notch, with Eccleston playing a Doctor that has to fact the prospect of having chosen a ‘bad’ companion, Billie Piper acting her heart out as her character must live through the death of her father, and Camille Coduri taking a rather soft turn as Jackie Tyler.

The stand out performance of the episode has to go to Dingwall’s Pete Tyler.  Pete is set up as just a regular man, something of a wheeler-dealer and a flake, someone that’s not always reliable but come the end of the episode he’s the hero of the story.  His realisation that Rose is in fact his daughter and that he has to die to set things right is the real heart of the story, and his willingness to give his life to ensure that Rose has a future is amazing and echoes the Doctors sentiment earlier in the episode that ‘ordinary’ people are amazing.

A great episode that shows the heart and emotion that Doctor Who is able to achieve and gives its cast the opportunity to go to places they don’t normally get to go.  7/10

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