“There’s a man alive in the world who wasn’t alive before. An ordinary man: that’s the most important thing in creation. The whole world’s different because he’s alive.”
Well, I have just finished a very difficult essay, so I have decided to indulge myself in another visit to everyone’s favourite police callbox. Father’s Day is another Ecclestone/9th Doctor episode; it’s the one that makes everyone cry, apparently (I didn’t); it’s also the one that explains why you can’t change time (well, you can, a bit, but only when the Doctor says it’s all right).
The Doctor agrees to take Rose back to the date when her father died so that someone can be with him in his final moments. Predictably, however, Rose gives in to the temptation to change the course of history and saves him, creating what the Doctor describes as “a wound in time”; weird vampire lizard creatures swoop in to close the wound by destroying all humanity. (Because that makes perfect sense. Also, I find it a little strange that, as far as I know, this is the only episode in which the Weird Vampire Lizard Creatures turn up, despite all the hundreds of paradoxes and parallel timelines that the Doctor’s antics create. The Sound of Drums, to name just one.)
The weakest part of this episode is definitely the plot, which ends entirely predictably in a way that is blindingly obvious to anyone who’s ever seen any Doctor Who. Which doesn’t, I suppose, make it any less emotional, but this is one of those episodes entirely lacking in the brilliant timey-wimey-clever-stupid-plans that everyone loves: the focus of the episode is on the relationship between Rose and her father (who actually turns out to be surprisingly on-the-ball for a supporting character). And for some reason it’s shot in a washed-out, sepia-tinted way, which might be for the general sadnosity (to borrow a phrase from Georgia Nicolson) of the episode or to denote the fact that In 1987 They Didn’t Have Proper Colour Telly, Kids! Either way, it’s very annoying.
I did enjoy this episode, though. Sometimes (only sometimes, mind) the low-budget, character-driven episodes really are the best. Also, the 9th Doctor really knows how to have a strop. When did Eleven last have a proper strop? Never, that’s when.