My God, FATHER'S DAY is so far removed from the classic DOCTOR WHO series but what's scary is it is more removed from 2009's DW Specials and what seems to be coming. FATHER'S DAY has it's faults but luckily after the HUGE misstep that was THE LONG GAME, Doctor Who just goes from strength to strength. This episode and...well, the rest of the season are just FANTASTIC!
Never before has...and a word about Paul Cornell. Like most DW authors he has some real gems (creating Benny is one of those) and some real stinkers (SCREAM OF THE SHAKLA comes to mind). He was also quite conceited and in 1999 told Nick Briggs that he wasn't the author to bring DW back. What a jerk he was then.
Any way, this story has all the time travel missteps it could have but that's what starts off the whole story. Frankly, none of the time mess up makes any sense at all (see, again, BACK TO THE VORTEX for all the time anonomolies and things that don't make sense because there's alot of them). One thing is: why didn't Jackie go out to be with Pete when Pete went out to die? I guess she was looking after the baby Rose? Why doesn't Jackie remember the Doctor? How was the Doctor planning on changing time back when Pete would still live? And on and on and on but frankly, none of that detracts from the emotional story of Rose saving her father Pete because she loves him AND the fact that the Doctor and Rose have a falling out. The Doctor really should be mad at himself, too but he doesn't seem to be so he's still a jerk and a prat but some of his scenes save his entire character. It's also quite BULL that the Doctor is an expert so he can save people in the past --he knows what he's doing. How? He feels it? It's just a way for story out of really not making sense in accord with other stories but who cares since the tale here is a bold, personal one.
The scene that saves the Doc's characgter is the one with the wedders when he tells them that they are important and that...what we've always suspected....he's never had a life like they did. Well, then, what about Susan, his granddaughter, his wife? What about his past? At times during this he reminds me of Sly McCoy's Doctor despite his not knowing what to do and not having a plan at all. Rose and the Doctor's scenes are all perfect for an episode where they are arguing and they are quite touching. Pete or rather the actor who plays him is amazing as Pete and Jackie is also quite good. THe 1987 touches are nice and well done.
The stuff of the time thing: doesn't make sense, HOWEVER the creep factor is on high. The mysterious red eyes watching everything from a POV is scary, people vanishing (and at some times it doesn't appear that they were eaten or killed by Reapers...in the playground, the adult and the kids that vanish don't seem to have been attacked by Reapers at all)..and of course, the Reapers themselves. They are not really explained...what are they and why do they vanish when time rights itself? They look organic and they look GREAT like all mankind's and womankind's fears all rolled into one: round mouth of razor sharp teeth in the middle of what looks like a spider body, wings of a bat, tail of a scorpion, a mix of insect, rodent, and even shark. And their movements are just amazing. I must admit I'm reminded of THE BIRDS when everyone is holed up on the church and the sounds of the Reapers echo about like giant birds...but that's a good thing.
The emotional story going on inside plays out like a tragic event and yet...it cements Pete's love for Rose, Rose's love for both the Doctor and Pete and Jackie's caring about all of them. Pete's sacrifice and the Doctor's "Go to him" are just great and anyone who understands anything about family, about father's and who doesn't cry...can't be alive! It's a tear jerker and I cry every time I watch it. No matter what you think of Rose, Pete, or Jackie, you really have to admit the scenes are touching, caring and wonderfully done. NOTHING has been like this on DOCTOR WHO before and dare I say after this either. The personal effects of time travel and saving someone you love has never been done on DW and it is about time it was. And to do so in a brilliantly acted, scored, and filmed masterpiece is just amazing. DOCTOR WHO in 2005: could do NO wrong despite THE LONG GAME.
No one expected a story like this and yet we got it and frankly this story amazed me. DW was finally GREAT in all aspects: story, emotion, music, set pieces, history, main character relationships... Paul Cornell did some good here!