R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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Tainted Love?

Well, I've been waiting to see if anybody else expressed any of the same misgivings/apprehensions I have, but nobody has, so I guess it's time for me to step up to the plate.

After watching "The Long Game" last Saturday, I found myself uneasy with the way the relationship between the Doctor and Rose was developing, and the more I thought about it and reflected back on the way it's been handled in the episodes so far, the more I became convinced that I might Actually Have Something Here.

Before I launch into the theory, let me get my disclaimers out of the way. It is possible that I'm overthinking what we've seen of the Doctor/Rose dynamic so far. It's possible, for instance, that Russell Davies has just bought into the idea that today's viewing audience don't want to see an (apparently) asexual Doctor, and in the process is going a wee bit overboard with the UST and the sexy banter to try and entice the Sophisticated Modern Viewer. It may be that RTD is just not that good with pacing, and so the relationship between the Doctor and Rose is galloping along a little too quickly to be quite convincing, especially to oldbie fans who know that the Doctor's never shown this level of interest in a companion before. It's also possible -- and I've suggested this myself in the past -- that Nine may be significantly different from his previous incarnations in his attitude to romance/sex simply because he now believes himself to be the last of the Gallifreyans, and so for the first time feels a biological imperative -- consciously or subconsciously -- to find a mate and perpetuate his dying race. It might be any or all of those things.

But it might also be something a bit more sinister and deliberate on the writers' part. More and more I'm getting the impression that the Doctor isn't just normally appreciative of Rose for being smart, beautiful, and courageous (he's had companions before that were all of that), but that there is some third and artificial force pulling them together, creating in the Doctor a desperate need for Rose that goes beyond mere attraction. I'm even starting to wonder if Rose might have unwittingly been prepared, or doused in the Time Lord equivalent of Love Potion #9, to ensure that the Doctor would not only take her on as a companion but ultimately find her irresistible. To what end, I'm not sure, but I have this niggling feeling that somebody is trying to manipulate the Doctor through Rose. And perhaps that's what Shipper!Dalek picked up on when he read Rose's DNA -- not that the Dalek could read either Rose's mind or the Doctor's, but that some component in Rose's genetic makeup made the Dalek realize that the Doctor couldn't help but be in love with her, whether he knew it yet or not.

I just thought of this now, but the two Earth songs played in "The End of the World" were "Tainted Love" and "Toxic". The latter contains lyrics such as I'm slipping under / With a taste of poison paradise / I'm addicted to you / Don't you know that you're toxic? Hmmm... very interesting. What if it's not coincidence that RTD chose those two songs? What if they are, in fact, a Clue?

Moving on, in "The Long Game" particularly I had the disturbing feeling that the Doctor and Rose were their own little gang, as it were, and not a very nice or safe one either. And no, this impression wasn't born out of sympathy for Adam or the belief that the Doctor's treatment of him was inappropriate. (In fact, for the record, I think that Adam's behaviour was on a level of pure selfishness and greed exceeding that of any other canonical companion in the history of the series, and that the Doctor had every reason and every right to refuse him a berth on the TARDIS after that.) Rather, I'm referring to the way some of the shots were framed, so that Rose was hanging on the Doctor or hovering by his shoulder like a gangster's moll while he spoke and acted in an unusually testosterone-drenched manner. The Doctor's threats of violence in that episode could be just further evidence of how much the Time War and its aftermath have damaged his psyche, but I also wonder if the Doctor's protective instincts toward Rose are leading him to become more aggressive, more unstable?

Look at the way he grabs her hand in the elevator during "Long Game" and pulls her against his side as the doors close -- it's an incredibly possessive gesture. And indeed, most of the physical contact between the two of them has been at the Doctor's instigation, which is highly unusual given the character's past history of not really being that tactile (the Eighth Doctor's kiss with Grace in the TVM notwithstanding -- I think most of that can be put down to post-regenerative instability, as their parting kiss was much more restrained and he seemed wistful but not crushed when she refused to come with him. Contrast this to the way that the Ninth Doctor positively begs Rose to come with him at the end of their first adventure together, and can't seem to take her initial "no" for an answer). It's almost like he can't get enough of Rose, that any prospect of losing her is a serious threat to his mental well-being. It hasn't yet progressed to the point where he's completely out of control of his feelings -- he takes the risk of killing Rose in "World War Three" and actually thinks he's signed her death warrant in "Dalek", both for what he believes to be the greater good -- but how long might it be before he is actually no longer capable of making such decisions, and Rose unwittingly becomes the ultimate lever for getting the Doctor to do anything so long as her life is spared?

Of course, the question is, who might be behind all this? Well, it has to be someone capable of space/time travel, since in order to prepare Rose for her role as unwitting siren, luring the Doctor onto the shoals of his own moral destruction, this person would have had to know when the Doctor would pick her up and have made sure he/she got there first. It also, presumably, would have to be someone familiar with Gallifreyan psychology and physiology, in order to know what to do to Rose that would make her irresistibly attractive and compelling to the Doctor. And, I'm guessing, this person also ties into the "Bad Wolf" scenario and that's why Gwyneth saw (and was frightened of) the Bad Wolf in Rose's mind, but showed no fear when she looked into the Doctor's. Rose has had contact with the Bad Wolf, but the Doctor hasn't.

Is it also possible, given the actions of the kid with the spray can in "Aliens of London", that the Bad Wolf has a TARDIS?

Add to this Eccleston's interview gaffe in which he says that the Doctor feels himself to be the last of the Time Lords, and I think we can all guess who this adds up to. After all, who defines the essence of "vulpine" more readily than the Master? And has anything, even various forms of horrible and seemingly inescapable death, ever succeeded in keeping that guy down?

I know I'm not the first to suggest the Master as the Bad Wolf, so I won't take credit for that aspect of the theory. But I do think that the possibility that the Master is using Rose to manipulate and ultimately control the Doctor may well turn out to be a major part of this story arc. In which case, one can well imagine that the newly regenerated Tenth Doctor, while not blaming Rose for what has happened, might have a considerably different approach to his relationship with her than the Ninth did. I suspect that once the effects of Time Lord Love Potion #9 have been eradicated from the Doctor's system, there is going to be a good deal more wariness and a need for emotional distance from Rose. Which may in turn lead to a much more natural and slow-growing, but also much more real, relationship between them -- the kind of subtler UST that could sustain the show for several more seasons to come.

Whereas the way things are going right now, it'll be a wonder if the Doctor and Rose aren't shagging like bunnies by Episode 13 -- and that, I think, would be a serious creative mistake on the writers' part if we're just being asked to believe that the Doctor has fallen for Rose in the ordinary way. There's nothing about Rose in herself, and certainly not so soon in their relationship, that would make such a romance credible. If she'd been with him a few years, proven herself an indispensable and unquestionably loyal companion, and showed no signs of wanting to leave him for greener pastures either on Earth or elsewhere -- then perhaps I might buy into the idea that the Doctor might have come to love her of his own free will. But not this fast, not this soon, and not with how little the Doctor really knows about her.

In short, there's something rotten in the state of Denmark Gallifrey the Doctor/Rose ship, if you ask me -- and at this point I'll be surprised if we don't eventually find out this is the case.
Tags: doctor who, essays, nine/rose
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