‘The End Of The World’
Watching this episode back on my series 1 boxset, I’m greeted with a re-cap of the last episode. The Doctor’s cry of “Run for your life!” is a sound that should stay ringing in your ears long after you finish the first series. Fittingly, this episode begins immediately after Rose’s fleeting decision to run into the TARDIS and join the mysterious Doctor on his travels.
He proceeds to smugly ask her if she wants to go backwards or forwards in time. She asks to go 100 years into the future, but he assures her that it’s too boring. Snapping out of her initial reaction of awe, Rose recognises his arrogance and jokes that he’s trying to impress her. If you’ve seen any other series of this show, you’ll know that The Doctor can be extremely selfish and it’s been implied several times that he picks up companions purely to show off to them. The God Complex, being the most recent example I can think of, where he convinces Amy Pond to forget about her faith in him by telling her “I took you with me because I was vain, because I wanted to be adored.” The End of the World reveals one of the reasons why The Doctor distracts himself with showing human companions new worlds.
For her first adventure, The Doctor has taken Rose 5 billion years into her future. It’s the day that the Sun expands and planet Earth is destroyed forever. This seems very fitting when in a very intense scene, she asks which planet he’s from and who his people are. Throughout series 1, he jokingly refers to the human race as “stupid apes”, seemingly having a love/hate relationship with them. It’s therefore heartbreaking once more details of The Time War are revealed, in which all of his race the Timelords perished. His character seems to take out his frustration on other races to make up for the fact that he has committed genocide. There’s irony in his words as he explains to Rose what the observation deck they have arrived on is for. “Ten minutes and the Earth gets roasted!” His tone is comedic, but there’s a hint that he might be enjoying seeing another planet die after the demise of his own. Rose questions “What about the people?”, but they have been moved off the planet years before.
He regrets to inform Rose that the TARDIS affectively gets into her head, to enable her to understand the language of the aliens. It’s then that she get’s angry with him and demands to know where he’s from. He’s really defensive and retorts that it doesn’t matter. The switch from comedy to angsty-drama is performed so quickly by Piper and Eccleston that it highlights what a brilliant script this is.
The darkness of his character is only briefly looked upon within this episode and these things that I’ve mentioned probably won’t be noticed until you’ve seen more episodes. I believe that he has so many layers and that his beliefs and desires change after every regeneration of his life. David Tennant and Matt Smith’s portrayals explore this much further.
There are many aliens in this episode that are brilliant creation of Russell T Davies. The Forrest of Chem, The Face of Boe and Casandra. One of the trees, Jabe takes a temporary companion role within the episode, quickly befriending him and helping him save everyone at the end of the episode. Her character is charming and fun. She greets The Doctor with a cutting of her grandfather and in return he gives her aim from his lungs. “How intimate” she comments cheekily and that was the point when I know she was going to be significant within the episode. Rose looks on bemusedly and jealously as the two begin to flirt. The Doctor has a tendency of doing things without thinking of realising the implications of his actions. That or he lies. It’s always very unclear, but I do believe he was very fond of her and if he didn’t already have Rose, we would have asked Jabe to travel with him.
One of my favourite scenes was Jabe and The Doctor’s acknowledgement of the Time War. Beautiful dreamlike music played as she sincerely told him, “I just want to say how sorry I am”. There’s a close-up of The Doctor’s face and for the first time you believe that he really is 900 years old and is leaving with the heartbreak of losing his whole race to war.
It’s Jabe’s death that gives him the determination to cross past the last few fans to rise the sun filters and stop Cassandra’s plan of over-heating the observation station. The scene cuts back and forth between him looking back at Jabe, Rose trapped in a different room and the remaining aliens suffering the heat of the sun at the main platform. This climax of the episode features thrilling, danger-pending music, which sets the mise-en-scene perfectly. There is definitely a worth that not everyone will be coming out alive. Even after everything that Casandra has done, Rose urges The Doctor to help her. He simply responds that “everything has its time and everything ends”.
An old juke-box is introduced by the supposed last human being, Casandra. She calls it an ipod and as it blasts out Soft Cell’s 80’s hit Tainted Love, Rose experiences what The Doctor describes as “culture shock” and runs from the room in disbelief. Conversely, The Doctor begins a comedic dance, bobbing his head from one side to the other. It’s then Rose’s turn to befriend an alien, as she is introduced to Rafello the station’s plumer. The chat that she has with her allows realisation to dawn on Rose as she thinks about how she “left with this man. Didn’t even think about it…” There’s a look of concern and a hint of horror on her face as the camera zooms in.
The idea of having the two supposed “last humans” (Cassandra and Rose) having an argument about who was more pure was commendable. Played by Zoe Wannamaker, the combination of humour and malevolence are put across together brilliantly to make Cassandra an original, fantastic creation. The Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes-like deduction like scene when he concluded the evil spiders worked for her was a standout scene.
There’s beautiful imagery as Rose stands watching the remaining pieces of the Earth drifting about in space. As The Doctor takes hold of her hand and the camera cuts to a long shot of them staring out through the glass, they look similar to Jack and Marla at the ending of Fight Club (1999). Rose perhaps feels a little selfish when she realises, “We were too busy saving ourselves to see it (Earth) go” He wants to show her the human race still have millions of years in their future and she shouldn’t worry. It’s then that he reveals that his own planet it gone. The music, which accompanies this scene, is heart-warming and the look Rose gives The Doctor upon his confession says so many things about her character. The use of depth of field allows it to see that although you can hear the sound of busy streets behind them, The Doctor and his companion are the only people at that moment. “There’s me,” Rose offers as she realises how lonely he must be.
He gives her a chance to go home and she’s still confused about what she wants. She jokingly suggests that she wants fish and chips. Piper and Ecceleston show off their chemistry as Rose leans her head on his shoulder and they walk down a busy street together, The Doctor appears to enjoy the domesticity of it for a moment. Over all, this is an enjoyable run-of-the-mill adventure. Looking back, the episode doesn’t really stand out. However, it was a great first adventure for Rose and introduced Cassandra as a unique villain. Jabe is also a really well rounded character and it’s a shame she was killed off.