Tonight we re-watched ‘The Runaway Bride.’
This scene remains one of the highlights of the series. It’s hilarious and tense, the music is great, and the crosscut of cheering kids in the car ahead is one of my all-time favorite Russell moments.
Overall, the episode is at the high end of the fun scale – Segways, anyone? – but also has a heavy measure of sincerity. Known for her comedy, Catherine Tate portrays heartbreak with touching authenticity. Her sadness and her wonder ring true, alongside all the humor and shouting. From day one Donna was an authentic human being, and a perfect contradiction for the Doctor.
We – and he – were incredibly fortunate to get her back.
The episode includes a number of references, both to past and future events. Of course there’s lots of talk of Rose, whose last goodbye has left the Doctor shaken. Her former employer, Henrik’s, appears prominently advertised in the background of Donna’s race across London. Torchwood, the arc of the prior season and the spinoff still to come, owns Donna’s employer, H. C. Clements. The order to fire on the Racnoss ship comes from a Mr. Saxon, the upcoming arc for Series 3.
Beyond that: The pop song playing at Donna’s reception also played in the garage where Mickey worked in ‘The Christmas Invasion.’ The Doctor mentions secret bases under major London landmarks, most recently experienced with the Nestene in ‘Rose,’ but also true of the Black Archive and Torchwood itself – though in that case the landmark is in Cardiff. He questions Donna’s failure to remember the events of either ‘The Christmas Invasion’ or ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday.’ And here we get our first hint of the danger of the Time Lord Victorious. The Doctor said a year ago, in ‘The Christmas Invasion:’
“No second chances. I’m that kind of man.”
Now, in Rose’s absence, a vindictive streak begins to show in him – a streak that will culminate in his destruction.
A good, fun episode with lots of nerdery, a cool and shiny monster, and really excellent performances from our leads.
Next up: ‘Voyage of the Damned.’