The journey never ends

I have this perverse attitude that I don’t want to do something long, but then do two or more short things that take up more time than the long thing would have. In specific, I almost never sit down to watch two-part episodes of the modern Doctor Who. I don’t have this problem with the classic series, maybe because they’re four- to six-part serials of 25 minutes per part, so I don’t mind watching a couple and then, if I feel like it, go do something else and watch the rest the next day. But for some reason, modern stories with two 45-minute parts are daunting to me. I don’t have a problem watching “Human Nature” / “Family of Blood” any time it’s suggested to me, probably because I love that episode to bits, but any other two-parter elicits a groan from me, and instead, I sit down to watch a single episode. Then another. And often another. And then kick myself that I didn’t just sit down and watch the two-parter.

Three episodes, but worth every minute of it!

Three episodes, but worth every minute of it!

Because of this, I actually haven’t seen most of the two-part episodes more than three or four times (and I know I’ve only seen the three-part “Utopia” / “The Sound of Drums” / “The Last of the Time Lords” twice, even though I love it to death). I didn’t really realize this until I sat down to watch “The Stolen Earth” / “Journey’s End” this week. As we got to the scene were the Doctor suppresses Donna’s memories, I realized that the fanfic I had written that referred to that scene was written in February, and I hadn’t seen the episode since. That means it’s been at least nine months since I’ve seen one of my favorite episodes, and it’s all because for some reason, I won’t start two-part episodes. That’s just crazy.

Be that as it may, I thoroughly enjoyed watching TSE/JE for the first time in a very long time, and it amazed me how much subtext was written into it. Maybe it’s because I’m writing my own stories, but for some reason, I’m starting to see a lot more subtlety in the RTD-era episodes than I have before. (I have no idea how much subtlety the Moffat-era episodes have. I like to think that Moffat is not a subtle writer, but I’m perfectly willing to admit that I know and understand his seasons a lot less well than I know the RTD seasons.) Everything that happens in TSE/JE was written to highlight Davros’ reveal of the “Doctor’s soul.”

Rose, not at her most flattering

Rose, not at her most flattering

All of the Tenth Doctor’s companions return in this episode. Jack, of course, is part of Torchwood. Martha is part of UNIT, and she goes to prepare the Osterhagen Key. Sarah Jane goes to the Crucible armed with a Warp Star. Most tellingly, Rose comes to find the Doctor armed with the biggest gun in the show, and Mickey and Jackie, who follow her, are also armed similarly. She even pauses in her search to threaten some petty looters with it. Remember that the three came from Pete’s World, where the stars were going out, and they had no idea what was causing it, and though the Doctor always tried to teach them non-violence, they came armed with weapons mighty enough to kill Daleks in one shot. Jack, Martha, and Sarah Jane knew what they were up against, so they at least have a reason to feel that violence was warranted; Rose had no such excuse. She’s the prime example of the character who the Doctor molded into a soldier, and this might very much be why the Doctor chose to place her back in Pete’s World.

(This is a common argument. Not only was Rose very much a soldier when she returned, but she had already been building the dimension cannon to break down the walls between the universes when they started seeing the stars going out. She knew that the cannon would start breaking down the universes, but still chose to do so just to return to the Doctor. Discounting the at least two years he had to move on from her, this character development, towards violence and irresponsibility, could have soured him against her.)

Interestingly, the one person who didn’t follow the Doctor, and the one person who he has condemned for violence, Harriet Jones, is the only true pacifist here. I’ve written before what a magnificent character she is, and this is one of her shining moments. In “The Christmas Invasion,” the Tenth Doctor’s very first full episode, she disagreed with the Doctor about what was right for the defense of planet Earth. Both of them were right: the Doctor sees things from a different view and wanted to protect the Sycorax as much as Earth, and did not like that they were shot in the back, while PM Jones knew that the Earth couldn’t let itself rely on the Doctor to be there every time danger lurked. In TSE/JE, she stood by what she believed, but works for it not by raising an army or developing weapons, but by building a communications network to contact the Doctor when he was needed.

Davros and Dalek Caan

Davros and Dalek Caan

The soldier companions converge on the crucible, with Rose and the Doctor imprisoned, make their threats, and reveal the Doctor’s soul, as described by Davros. This is what breaks him, and what makes him vow never to have another companion, which, of course, leads to his downfall in “The Waters of Mars.” The problem, of course, is that the Doctor is far too willing to blame himself for everything, and even though the judgment passed on him is given by an enemy filled with hatred for him, who he knows is completely amoral, the Doctor still completely agrees with him. Interestingly, though, the most objective judgment comes from Harriet Jones, the one person in the entire story who can be called neutral: she neither follows the Doctor nor hates him. She tells Jack, “And you tell him from me, he chose his companions well.” She sees that they are all brave and trying to do what’s right, and that sometimes what’s right requires violence, but they aren’t needlessly violent. Sadly, Jack never passes on her message, something the Doctor needed to hear.

The only other non-violent character in the story is Donna. She gets infused by the metacrisis and is able to stop the Daleks, but that’s the thing: she stops the Reality Bomb, confuses the Daleks’ circuits, and defuses the energy generator by sending the planets home, but she never attacks anyone. She even tries to stop the Metacrisis Doctor from destroying the Daleks. And for her efforts, she’s rewarded with a mind-wipe. Only the Doctor’s soldiers survive this conflict. It’s all very well-woven.

Probably a half an hour before the Doctor is alone once more.

Probably a half an hour before the Doctor is alone once more.

The conclusion of the story continues to reinforce the Doctor’s problems. Sarah Jane tells him, “You know, you act like such a lonely man. But look at you. You’ve got the biggest family on Earth,” and immediately runs off to her own family. Jack, Mickey, and Martha similarly leave, and of course, Rose, Jackie, and the Metacrisis Doctor stay in Pete’s World. They all unconsciously reinforce to him that he’s just a friend that they once knew but have moved on from, almost more like a co-worker from a job they left long ago. “Hey, it was great seeing you again. We did some great things together. Let’s go out for drinks sometime.” Of course, the Doctor contributes to his own problems by making decisions for everyone else like he always does – he forces Rose back to Pete’s World, insists that the Metacrisis Doctor stay with her, and removes Donna’s memories against her wishes – but in the end, everyone contributes to his eventual loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and self-hatred.

Much of this is readily not apparent until you watch the episode two or three times, but it really is beautiful. There are a few quibbles with the narrative that are certainly justified, especially the rather deus-ex-machina-y ending with Donna suddenly beating Davros, but the deeper story is where it really is all at. Oh, and I have to mention that Dalek Caan is one of my favorites ever, with his manipulation of the events as he decreed, “No more!” His soothsayings were also very clever: the Dark Lord (oo, the Doctor as the Dark Lord, that’s chilling), the Threefold Man, “The Doctor will be here as witness, at the end of everything,” meaning, of course, the end of everything Dalek. In my opinion, while this episode isn’t the best at straightforward plot, it really shines with theme and character development.

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Story arcs

the_tenth_doctor_by_dv8r71-d4osjwxIf you read this blog, it’s really no secret that I prefer Russell T. Davies’ showrunning over Steven Moffat’s. As I’ve said before, Moffat writes fantastic single episodes, but his arcs – both single-season and the Eleventh Doctor’s full run – seem to be overly complicated and confused, with a healthy dose of “let’s tie this thread up with this point, even though it contradicts a whole bunch of other points.”  RTD’s arcs were shorter – there never seemed to be a story arc that spanned the entire Tenth Doctor’s run – and his stories developed very subtly over the season, in opposition to Moffat’s preference of introducing the main conflict in the first episode of the season, then running a number of unrelated episodes with injections of “oh, no, a crack” / “Kovarian’s eyes again” / “I really need to figure out what’s up with Clara” just to remind the viewer that yes, there’s something else going on, so that we didn’t get bored waiting for the season finale.

I was reading an article on a website yesterday about Billie Piper, at some convention, answering “yes” to a fan question that asked if she’d return to do a spinoff based on Rose and the Metacrisis Tenth Doctor (No, it’s not a thing anyone is seriously considering. It was a fan question. Thank the powers that be. Bleah.) and I saw the following in the comments.

“Personally, the progression of their [Rose and the Doctor’s] relationship intrigues me, because I see it as a tragedy, but for different reasons than most. The way I interpret it, their relationship is supposed to hurt Ten to the point of him finding security in his colder Time Lord persona so that he doesn’t have to deal with the pain that his particularly human personality is susceptible to, and it’s supposed to show how Rose’s obsession with the Doctor warps her outlook and crushes any hope for positive growth that she could have had. I’m not saying that to just blindly insult the story or anything; that’s legitimately how I see it play out, and I think it’s actually quite interesting. But the point was made in “Journey’s End”, and I have no desire to it stretched out any further.”

I hadn’t honestly thought of it this way. I’ve always considered series 2 to be the weakest of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s run, as the relationship between Rose and the Doctor was poorly handled, portrayed as the two traipsing through the universe, happy-go-lucky. There was no development, just random depictions of something deeper that might exist between them whenever the writer needed an emotional moment or an excuse for the Doctor to get really angry (by having the villain threaten or hurt Rose), and then suddenly, when Rose was sucked into Pete’s World, we’re shown that yes, he was in love with her.

If, instead, you look at it like the commenter does, it all makes a lot more sense. It’s a story of how the companion, if the Doctor isn’t very careful, becomes weaker and less independent. This story is repeated in series 3: Martha, because of her unrequited love for the Doctor and the Doctor’s inability to recognize it, also devolves, though she has the personal strength to recognize it, overcome it in the series finale, and leave at the end. Donna goes in the opposite direction because this time the Doctor is paying attention; of course, she loses it all due to circumstances beyond her and the Doctor’s control, but the Doctor blames himself for it. Looking at it this way, Davros’ words, about the Doctor taking his companions and transforming them into worse people, has even more weight.

The Doctor, on the other hand, has this “particularly human personality” and each companion hits him right where it hurts. Rose’s departure is particularly painful because of his love for her. Then Martha demonstrates that he’s hurting her even when he doesn’t mean to, simply because he’s still hurting from Rose, and also because while he has a tender human side, he’s still a Time Lord and can’t relate to her like she wants him to. And then there’s Donna, the shining example, to him, of a person whose life he’s ruined. His experience with all three companions drive him towards that “colder Time Lord persona,” into believing that he should be alone: he can’t afford to fall in love, he’s hurting his companions even when he thinks everything is okay, and he ruins the lives of those he touches. In other words, it was all pushing him towards “The Waters of Mars,” towards the Time Lord Victorious, and then his redemption in The End of Time.

Now, I really don’t know if RTD designed the Tenth Doctor’s run to have this epic storyline, but it certainly looks like he at least knew where he wanted the Doctor to start and to end up. And that’s really why I prefer RTD. His stories were about the characters, not the circumstances or the complex time mechanics. Maybe I prefer more of the classic show feel, in which you got to watch the Doctor grow and change through his close friendship with Jamie or Sarah Jane or Ace, his attempts to educate Leela, and the conflict with and death of Adric. And that’s why I like Paul Cornell so much as an episode writer. I’m not saying Moffat is bad in any way. I just prefer RTD.

Eleven at eleven

11 in 11th Hour at 11

11 in 11th Hour at 11

Gotta head out soon today: going to Carl and Sandy’s house to watch “The Eleventh Hour” at eleven. We had a nice geeky discussion over dinner last night. They’re rewatching the Ninth Doctor at the moment so that Carl can catch up there, but we wanted to introduce them to the Eleventh Doctor. Sandy is the type of person who likes to digest shows before moving onto the next one, so she’s really not keen on diving into the Eleventh Doctor right now, but Carl is excited, so she’s been overruled.

Interestingly, the four of us have differing opinions on the companions. Our preferences in order are

  • Me: Donna, Martha, Rose
  • My husband and Sandy: Donna, Rose, Martha
  • Carl: Rose, Martha, Donna

Clearly, we need to recondition Carl. How can he not love Donna? Actually, the problem stems from his hatred of Catherine Tate’s character in The Office, but he’s starting to warm up to her. My husband and Sandy hate Martha because of her fawning love for the Doctor that started in her very first episode; Carl and I simply ignore those scenes and otherwise think she’s great. Carl has only seen a couple of Rose episodes, so his opinion of her might change after he’s seen all of them.

One other interesting thing that Carl said was that he didn’t like “Midnight” because the final part of it, when Sky pretended to be free of the Midnight Entity and started urging the humans to kill the Doctor, was unbelievable. To him, she was so different from the way she had been before the attack, the humans should have immediately realized that she was still possessed. The rest of us thought that the point of the show was that the humans were so panicked that they couldn’t recognize that she was acting strangely, and so the fact that they didn’t made the episode even more powerful.

Anyway, gotta get going. It is so much fun getting to talk about the show with friends.

Playing favorites

doctor-who-companions-63-13My husband asked me today to list my three favorite companions. Now, number one should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read what I’ve written before: Donna Noble is definitely the best. No question. No hesitation. Just the best. But the top three? That took a bit more thought, and I realized that I could probably name my top five, but I had a lot of problems with top three. So, here are my top five companions, not listed in order, except of course with Donna at the top. (I’m counting only traveling companions, not one-shots and few-shots like Jackson Lake, Wilfred Mott, and Craig Owens. Also please note that I’m not very familiar with the companions of the first three Doctors and a few of the other classic companions.)

Five Favorite Companions

Donna Noble: Donna was the perfect support for the Tenth Doctor. She acted as his conscience, and was the friend that he needed. She was always willing to defend her beliefs and was strong enough to stand up for herself, even against the Doctor. Both she and the Doctor grew while they were together.

Sarah Jane Smith: A strong, confident, fearless  woman, she was always willing to get right into the heart of the problem. She also worked well with all of the Doctors she met. I think a lot of Sarah Jane’s appeal had to do with her actress, Elisabeth Sladen, a woman who just sparkled on screen.

Vislor Turlough: One of the things I really like about Turlough is that he had secrets. His introductory stories were about his deal with the Black Guardian, which bound him to trying to kill the Doctor. The only other episode of his I have seen so far is “Planet of Fire,” and again, in that, we find out about his history on Trion, which he has guarded up until this time. He’s a survivalist, which makes him look a bit cowardly, but this makes him more realistic, as well as rounds out his character.

Ace McShane: Ace was a rough-and-ready street urchin, a great complement for the educated, sophisticated, and cunning Seventh Doctor. She was straightforward and unapologetic, and sometimes her decisions would cause more trouble than they would solve, but that’s how she was.

Rory Williams: Rory was loyal to the Eleventh Doctor without being obsessed with him, an important contrast to Amy. Thus, his motivations were far more complex, and it also allowed him to be a less than perfect companion: he was fearful of danger, worried for Amy, and distrusting of the Doctor.

Honorable Mentions

Tegan Jovanka: I haven’t seen enough Tegan, I think. She’s brash, blunt, and obnoxious – in short, a lot of fun.

Barbara Wright: I’ve only seen two First Doctor episodes, but I really loved Barbara in both of them. She’s not a sympathetic character, but she’s confident and takes charge when she needs to.

Companions I Don’t Like

Rose Tyler: Not a popular opinion, I know. I liked her a lot more in series 1, but in series 2, during the show’s “let’s see how silly the Doctor can be when he’s in love” stage, she’s insufferable. She’s whiny and selfish, manipulates the Doctor when she can, and treats everyone else like crap (especially Mickey, but also Jackie). Her writing was also erratic, portrayed as a strong, take-charge person in one episode and a cringing coward in the next. During the Darlig Ulv Stranden scene, I cried for the Doctor, but was glad to see Rose go.

Melanie Bush: I’ve only seen her in “Time and the Rani,” which was a terrible episode, but Mel made it so much worse. I am hoping she turns out to be better when she’s in a non-terrible episode.

Clara Oswald: The “Impossible Girl” arc was interesting, but Clara herself has no character. She simply seems to exist as a deus ex machina for stories in which the Doctor doesn’t win. And then suddenly we find out that she fancies him, with no previous, in-character clues. I’m hoping she’s treated better in the new series.

 

Favorite scenes: Ninth Doctor

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor

I was compiling a list of favorite scenes from the new Doctor Who, but the list started to get pretty long and after an hour of typing, I decided to break it up into three posts, one for each of the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors. I had noticed that some of my favorite scenes are often not what people point to as “the best of,” so I’ve included a little description of what I liked about the scene. Without further ado, here are my favorite scenes from the Ninth Doctor’s episodes – I’m sad there’s so few because there were so few episodes to choose from.

“Dalek” – The Doctor encounters the Dalek in the lab: The Doctor’s rage at finding a Dalek survivor of the Time War transforms him from the confident, almost happy-go-lucky hero into a homicidal maniac. He then faces the consequences of his actions in the Last Great Time War for the first time on screen. He’s got good reason for all of his reactions, but it’s still horrifying, and the Mr. Eccleston’s performance was brilliant.

“The Doctor Dances” – “Everybody lives!”: The Doctor gets that very rare complete win, where he’s able to save everyone. Again, Mr. Eccleston shows us a side of the Doctor we rarely get to see.

“Boom Town” – Dinner with the Doctor and Blon: I love this scene, first because of the way the Doctor shuts down Blon’s attempts to escape and then because of the discussion of the morality of what the Doctor is doing. The Doctor, because he’s the Doctor, gets to decide what’s right and wrong, but such things are rarely black and white.

“The Parting of the Ways” – Regeneration: The best regeneration sequence in the new series so far, it very succinctly summarizes the relationship between Rose and the Doctor as well as gives this incarnation a beautiful farewell. I feel like a traitor to the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration scene for choosing this one instead, but his whole farewell is a lot longer and made up of multiple scenes and in total, isn’t as good as this one.

Thoughts on series 2

10 and RoseAt this time in our rewatch of the entire new Doctor Who, we are at the end of series 2. This is a season that we’ve only seen twice now: by the time we had watched all of the seasons, we had lent series 2 to a friend and he held on to it for a couple of months, and only got it back at about two weeks ago. Thus, we’ve seen the shows from series 1, 3, and 4 more often. I’ve seen a couple of the episodes more than just twice, but not all of them.

Now, I’ve found that with every episode I’ve watched a second time, I’ve liked it more than I did the first time, probably because the second viewing allows me to pick up on things I missed the first time. I certainly felt that way upon rewatching some of the episodes that I didn’t like the first time, such as “Fear Her” and “The Idiot’s Lantern.” Interestingly, though, my opinion of the series in general went down. I used to always say that the writing in series 1 was not very good, as the show was finding its voice, but after watching both series, I think series 1 is better than series 2 (though neither is as good as series 3 or series 4).

Series 1 was all about the Doctor, his struggles with the Time War, and Rose’s efforts to heal him. Almost every episode in that season either establishes the Ninth Doctor’s history or character, or develops Rose’s effects on him, even in episodes that are basically just adventures. The second series loses that edge. After a brilliant regeneration episode which establishes every aspect of the Doctor’s character, including the lack of mercy that will be addressed in later seasons, he’s mostly reduced to one half of a happy-go-lucky couple gallivanting around the universe. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Doctor Who at its heart is an adventure show about the Doctor traveling around and getting mired in adventures, and this in itself is fun and the show can thrive on just that. But this season tries to have an overarching theme of “look how much in love these two characters are.” It’s brought up, subtly or overtly, in almost every episode, but since it’s rarely actually developed, it’s boring. “School Reunion” uses Sarah Jane Smith to demonstrate to Rose what the consequences of loving the Doctor are, and it’s a great episode. “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit” basically has the Doctor admit he loves Rose by declaring his faith in her, but that’s not character development, and this admission more or less fails to be compelling. He doesn’t learn anything from it – certainly he doesn’t tell her, and still can’t do so at the end of “Doomsday,” or even in “Journey’s End” (though I have a separate theory about why he refused to say so in that episode).

Meanwhile, Rose’s character is oddly inconsistent during series 2. In series 1, she’s established to be utterly devoted to the Doctor while also being selfish (such as in her treatment of Mickey) and overly emotional, with a lack of self-control (such as when she saves her father’s life after promising the Doctor she wouldn’t interfere). In series 2, her character changes with the episode. After pretty much telling Mickey she loves the Doctor and is going to leave with him, she leads Mickey on again in “School Reunion” and then gets angry when he joins the TARDIS crew . In the next episode, a few minutes after she was angry with him in the previous episode, she’s fine with him again. By the end of the series, she’s been traveling with the Doctor for years and shows impressive skills in leadership and dealing with an alien threat in “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit,” and then in “Army of Ghosts,” she’s incapable of confidently infiltrating Torchwood, despite being in disguise and wielding psychic paper which she was confident would work. Jackie was pretending to be Rose and conducted herself better in a very unfamiliar situation than her experienced daughter did.

Thus, upon watching the season again, I found that from episode to episode, I had no idea what to expect from either the Doctor or Rose, characters that I should understand (especially later in the season) and that I want to see grow. I know the series was meant to make me love the Tenth Doctor and Rose, and then tear my heart apart at the end, but the more I watch it, the more I feel like the romance was forced. It felt like a jumbled mess, and, to its detriment, it was made up of episodes I’d consider more or less average when taken alone; the only two episodes that I would consider standouts are “School Reunion” and “The Girl in the Fireplace,” and there are a number that I rank as substantially below average.  An average set of episodes with a forced romance on top of it just really put me off.

I actually liked series 2 the first time I saw it, and I was really hoping I’d like it more the second time. Maybe it’s because I’m so familiar with series 3 and 4, with their darker and more serious Doctor, excellent writing, and strong companions, but going back to series 2 brought it far down in my estimation. Perhaps it’s significant that the two episodes that I really like are about people other than Rose. I think I’ll let the series sit for a while and revisit it eventually, and maybe I’ll warm up to it then.

Mickey the Idiot

Watching “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End” last night, I got to thinking about one of my favorite characters in the reboot series, Mickey Smith (played by Noel Clarke). He wasn’t always my favorite character – in fact, I really disliked him early on – but he developed, perhaps more than any other character in the show.

Mickey Smith

Mickey Smith

Mickey started out as Rose’s clingy boyfriend. He had a “thick” air about him, which is something that never appeals to me, but he really wasn’t stupid – he was at least of average intelligence, if not higher than average (he was a bit of a computer whiz, as well as a gamer). The thing about him was that he was just an average, non-adventurous guy that happened to meet the Doctor: he couldn’t handle the thought of the alien Doctor and the TARDIS at first, and he didn’t have any interest in the kind of life the Doctor seemed to live: he refused the offer when it was made. Rose wanting to travel with the Doctor was incomprehensible to him. His dislike of the Doctor was compounded by the fact that the Doctor had no respect for him: the Ninth Doctor routinely dismissed what he had to say, refused to say his name correctly, calling him “Ricky,” and nicknamed him “Mickey the Idiot.”

Of course, the biggest insult was that Rose left Mickey in the dust, running off with the Doctor without a second thought about their long-term relationship. He loved her deeply, enduring her absence of a year (during which he was suspected of killing her), and waiting for her through four seasons of the show, even during the time that they were both trapped in Pete’s World and she ignored him, pining for the Doctor and trying to find a way to blast through the dimensional barrier to return to him.

The thing is, Mickey could have remained a one-dimensional character, following Rose around with puppy-dog eyes every time she deigned to return to the Powell Estate, but instead, he grew. The first time Rose returns, in “Aliens of London”/”World War Three,” Mickey shows his resourceful and resolve. With help from the Doctor, he gains control of a missile and makes the decision to fire it into London and possibly kill a lot of people, in order to prevent a greater disaster. He stands up to Jackie when she begs him not to fire. The Ninth Doctor gains respect for him here, and the nickname “Mickey the Idiot” starts to become a term of camaraderie. Later in the season, in “Boom Town,” Rose summons Mickey to Cardiff, flirts with him and leads him on, but runs off to the Doctor as soon as trouble arises, and Mickey decides that it’s time to give it up, to move on. At the end of the season, Rose resolves to return to the Ninth Doctor, who is facing certain death against the Daleks, and, knowing that if Rose can’t return, they can live out their lives normally, Mickey instead sacrifices his wishes and helps her.

During the second series, Mickey begins to find his own life. He begins to try to do something important with his life and uses his computer skills to investigate possible alien activity on his own. He discovers a school getting record results not long after multiple UFO sightings in the area (this was shown in a Tardisode), and he  calls Rose and the Doctor to investigate, but makes it clear that it was the only reason he called, not some ploy to bring Rose home. Rose, being the heartless tease that she is, leads him on again. In this episode, Mickey realizes that he’s the “tin dog,” the one left behind and not cared about, and he asks to join the Doctor, so that he can see what’s out there. Part of his motivation was certainly wanting to be with Rose, but she, in typical Rose fashion, gets angry with him for responding in kind.

And then they land in Pete’s World. He meets his parallel Ricky and watches him die, and fights the rise of the Cybermen. The trapped Doctor uses the code words “any idiot” to signal to him what to do, and Mickey rescues them all as the Cyberman factory is destroyed. He chooses to stay in Pete’s World to fight the Cybermen, where he knows he can make a difference: he finds his strength as he cuts himself off from the poisonous Rose. He still loves her, but he knows that she doesn’t want him, though she’s immature enough to want to keep him as a plaything.  But he’s still human: when she gets trapped in Pete’s World with no hope of returning to the Doctor, he waits for her to return to him. She, of course, never does, and when the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor joins her, he is strong enough to admit that it’s done, and he returns to the main universe.

In a nutshell, Mickey started as a simple, average guy, then, enduring years of emotional trauma at the hands of the woman he loved, became a tough, courageous man who found his own purpose in life. He didn’t start with a strong character – unlike all of the main companions: Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Clara – but instead developed completely during his brief appearances on the show. A lot of the story in Doctor Who revolves around the story of the companion, but there are a lot of other wonderful personal stories to follow, and Mickey’s is one of the best.