The Doctor and Rose come back to the Powell Estates to learn that things are not great in the modern day: strange shifting shapes are being brought to life for a few minutes every few hours all over the world, and are using psychic energy to come across as ghosts of people's loved ones. It's caused a massive and funny shift in world culture -- ghosts appearing as characters on soaps, that kind of thing -- but the Doctor, Rose, and Jackie soon figure out that they're being brought through by Torchwood, now located in Canary Wharf. An attempt at recon goes awry, and all three are captured, along with the TARDIS. A guided tour of the facility provides much explanation -- Victoria's decree in 1879 has grown into a full-fledged paranoid NSA against the aliens, particularly the Doctor -- and a few more interesting tidbits. The first is the Doctor's immediate understanding that the ghost shifts are doing terrible things to the walls between realities, and the second is a mysterious sphere which was created to sail from universe to universe. The ghost entities get control of several Torchwood staff, activating a final ghost shift, and the mysterious sphere starts to open, just as Mickey Smith reveals himself to be working undercover at Torchwood on a mission from the Steel Age. The Doctor and Jackie realize that the mysterious ghosts are actually an army of Cybermen as they finally come through clearly all over the world, and begin to march. And inside the strange sphere? Daleks, of course.
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Planet Earth. London. Where she was born, and where she died. Rose sits on a city bus, shoving chips into her mouth, wearing her Little Red Hoodie, looking glum. For the first nineteen years of her life, nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not ever. Rose sighs, forehead against the window glass. You can hear her grinning when she speaks: "And then I met a man called the Doctor." He took her hand and he said, "Run." But the first thing Rose ever said was "Goodbye," buying lottery tickets with her coworkers at Henrik's: hoping for magic, along with everybody else stuck in the world. She ran with him. A man who could change his face, who took her away from home in his magical machine. A legend, woven throughout history: when disaster comes, he is there. When she met the Doctor, even her boyfriend turned to plastic. He brings a storm in his wake. And he has one constant companion. If you plan on going on an epic quest, there are some things to look out for, like a guy with magic powers who appears out of nowhere, and seems to be a nutter. He'll walk down the street with you, holding hands, and you'll be happy. He'll show you the whole of time and space and you'll think it would never end. The Doctor and Rose stood, the TARDIS just beside them, on a rocky alien planet, watching the sunset. "How long are you gonna stay with me?" he asked, and she smiled Excellently at him and said, "Forever." And they smiled.
"It's like when you were a kid. The first time they tell you the world's turning, you just can't quite believe it, because everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it." He took her hand and looked into her eyes. The TARDIS sounds like somebody hauling a long length of chain, a few feet at a time. "The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go..." He let go her hand and looked at her, hard. "That's who I am."
"Forever." Cut to Rose on a desolate beach, all blue and gray and black. "That's what I thought. But then came the army of ghosts. Then came Torchwood, and the War. And that's when it all ended." She looks out to sea, not moving. Barely breathing. "This is the story of how I died."
Credits. Episode by Russell T. Davies. The TARDIS materializes in a playground -- could it be the one from "Father's Day"? Where she picked apart her fantasy of "the best man in the world," and saw the love and weakness, the stupidity and youth underneath? The Peter Alan Tyler that resides behind the image, behind the ghost. The quest isn't a metaphor for therapy; therapy is a metaphor for the quest. And he became a hero, finally: restoration of the divine. How can you say any of this is a mistake? Rose steps out of the TARDIS with her sack slung back. It is red. The Doctor follows, and together they head into the Powell Estates. They're almost dancing.