Father’s Day was a beautiful episode. One of the reasons time-travel is so tantalizing is that humans always feel regret for their actions and nostalgia for the past. In reality, we have to deal with the consequences of our decisions and bear the pain of mistakes and lost opportunities. You could not have known it would be your last Sunday lunch with your lola, or a missed connection with the love of your life, but time-travel would allow you to go back and relive the day, exactly the way it should be.

A missed connection

History is also full of events we would like to explain — what was the Big Bang like? What happened after Jesus’ death? On the other hand, time travel could be used for awful and selfish purposes — evil dictators could be resurrected, and someone who was saved could turn out to be a murderer. I sympathized with Rose when she saved Peter, but I think that she, as a somewhat seasoned time traveler, should have thought more about her decision to change the course of reality. Of course, it was probably not the Doctor’s wisest decision ever to let her witness her own father’s death, but like I said, the temptations of time-travel could be too sweet to resist.

Jackie had a tender moment when she shared her memories of Peter with Rose in the episode’s first few minutes. They may have been fabricated memories, but I think Jackie was simply trying to let Rose know how amazing and lovable her father was. The pain of losing her husband also probably caused Jackie to smooth over the rough edges of their relationship so that she would have happier memories. When her parents argued in front of her, it must have been a terrible moment for Rose. Not only did she accidentally engineer the end of the world, it also turned out that he father was not the hero she imagined. He was not a successful businessman, and he was not even that faithful a husband.

Even though, Peter did not turn out the way Rose had imagined, he still outstandingly performed his role as a father. He realized who Rose was, even if he only knew her as an infant — call it a father’s instinct or a father’s love. It was also very touching when Peter asked if he turned out to be a good father, and he realized that Rose was just making up their Saturday family picnics and nightly bedtime stories. Rose was also trying to reassure him by letting him know how amazing he would be. I think it was a bittersweet moment for him to meet his daughter in her future form — he was able to see how swell she would turn out, but then he realized he would never be able to see her that way.

In a sense, Peter did turn out to be an amazing father, because he sacrificed himself so that Rose and Jackie would live. He was able to make an incredibly difficult decision that most fathers have not had to face. Death is a very final and frightening event, but Peter walked bravely into it because that was how much he loved his family. He may have been a failure in business and perhaps his marriage, but he certainly succeeded at being a father – ‘a proper dad’, in his own words. At least he was able to say good-bye properly to his family.

All in all, this is possibly my favorite episodes in the entire series. The Doctor redeemed himself after his cruelty in the previous episode, because he was able to forgive Rose after her grave mistake. I also felt that the episode was able to tug peoples’ heartstrings — it certainly made me cry some well-deserved tears.

 

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