Doctor Who was never your average series.
Apart from the rather unique premise, DW attempted to juggle the development of characters while actually getting on with the story. Sometimes the character development backfired and got in the way of the story, and at other times there was too much story and not enough character development. Tom MacRae’s “Rise Of The Cybermen”/”The Age Of Steel” concluded beautifully last night by managing to do both of these things. There were a few episodes that I had to watch beforehand in writing this review, the first of which was Series One’s “Father’s Day”.
One of the many stories last year in which the companion got more time than the Doctor (Christopher Eccelston), Rose (Billie Piper) found herself with the opportunity to rescue her dad Pete from a fatal hit-and-run accident. After she did so, a hole in time was opened, which unfortunately brought creatures out that would eat up everything living in that period to correct the timeline. Of course the solution was obvious to the problem, but it provided a wonderful contrast for this year’s major two-parter.
In Rose’s real London, her father was a failure and bumbling, and according to his soon-to-be-widow Jackie (Camile Coduri), not a good husband either. Despite these realities bestowed upon Rose, her love was renewed when he sacrificed his life to correct the mistake that Rose made in changing her timeline. It seemed safe to say that any other attempts would cause too much pain for someone such as Rose.
Since the TARDIS is alive in some manner, this year’s two-parter might have been the result of it listening to her cries to see him again.
In “Rise Of The Cybermen”/”The Age Of Steel”, Pete Tyler (Shaun Dingwall) returned in an alternate London which the Doctor (David Tennant), Rose, and Mickey (Noel Clarke) land on when the time stream the TARDIS rides on disappears. In this version of Rose’s world, her father is a successful businessman who stumbled upon a popular flavored soda that caught the town by storm. This allows some influence in life as his company was part of Cyberus industries –- a place that would be responsible for the return of one of the Doctor’s greatest enemies, The Cybermen.
Unknown to its owner and chief, John Lumic, Pete was also living a double life as an agent for a secret underground group (which happened to be lead by Mickey’s alternate, Rickey). These actions were a rather far cry from the “Father’s Day” Pete that I saw last year. But even in last night’s episode, Jackie still couldn’t stand him and even separated from him despite his success.