doctor who rewatch → 1x11
Ugh, this whole scene kills me, because there is so much misunderstanding from both of them.
From Rose - Rose doesn’t really know what she wants at this point in time, or at the very least she isn’t letting herself admit it. What she wants, really wants, is the Doctor; she’s developed feelings for him, but she thinks she can’t act on them and doesn’t want to acknowledge them, largely in part (I think) because she thinks/feels he won’t reciprocate (not because he doesn’t want to, but because he’s a big ball of Time Lord angst). Because of this, in Rose’s mind it’s easier for her to ignore her own feelings and refuse to acknowledge them, and pretend like all she wants is friendship from the Doctor. Unfortunately, this leads to her treating Mickey as standby, as she can say, “I can ignore my feelings for the Doctor because I still have Mickey back home.” She flirts with Mickey whenever she goes back to modern day London and agrees to get a hotel room with him because if she continues to play the boyfriend/girlfriend thing with him, it makes it easier to pretend that she doesn’t want that from the Doctor. Mickey is her safety net in that sense. Of course, that is absolutely not fair to Mickey, but Rose is only human and, like a human, she will make mistakes.
From Mickey - Mickey shouts, "We were nice, we were happy," but what he fails to realize is that while he was happy, Rose was not. Rose was not happy when she said she didn’t want to go to the pub and sent him along without her. Rose was not happy when plastic!Mickey interrupted her very real concerns about her future and she griped, “Oh, sorry, was I talking about me?” Rose not noticing Mickey had been swapped is a discussion for another day, but that line of hers indicates that this is something that happens regularly—and, with how self-absorbed Mickey can be (in many of the same ways Rose herself is, which is part of the reason why they aren’t a successful romantic couple), we can believe it. I’m not saying that Rose was miserable in the relationship—she absolutely wasn’t, look at how they banter and play together by the fountain in the very beginning of the first episode—but only that she wasn’t happy. Happy women don’t feel the urge to leave when another man offers them a spontaneous road (er, time/space) trip. Happy women don’t say “thanks [for nothing]” before they leave. Happy don’t state their reason for staying as, “someone has to take care of this useless lug.” Rose was not happy in that relationship, she was content. Complacent. We see in “Father’s Day” that Rose has known Mickey since she was born, practically (and he was five/six), meaning that they’ve grown up together, they’re best friends. It was a romantic relationship borne out of convenience, perhaps as a result of both of them needing comfort after Rose’s disastrous relationship with Jimmy Stone and the death of Mickey’s grandmother. But a convenient, comfortable relationship is not necessarily a happy one, so while Mickey may have been happy as things were, Rose—wanting more than the mundane, average life she had, as we see all through the first episode—was not.
So there is so, so much that needs to be said and understood by both of these characters in this scene, and yet, no understanding happens. Rose, up until this point, hasn’t understood how Mickey has felt—and even now that she does, she doesn’t fully understand, I don’t think, the reasoning behind why she has been acting the way she has, why she’s so upset at the idea of him going off with Trisha Delaney, but at the same time why she hasn’t missed him as much as she should have while she has been traveling. She can see that she is hurting and I think she is genuinely sorry that she’s doing this to him, but since she hasn’t fully admitted how she feels to herself yet she doesn’t see the reasoning behind her actions and thus is frozen, unable to make a concrete decision on what to do (either commit herself to Mickey and promise him that she’ll always come back, or break it off cleanly; this is something she still can’t do in season two since she doesn’t admit her feelings for the Doctor until “Doomsday”).
Mickey, on the other hand, doesn’t understand how Rose feels, or how his actions (in the past) have affected her and their relationship. Mickey is assuming that Rose favors the Doctor over him, and this is true (romantically speaking, anyway; Rose does not love Mickey romantically but she does care about him an awful lot—as I said, they grew up together, they’re best friends even if they’re not lovers), but he’s only seeing it from his perspective, and how it hurts him, rather than understanding why she feels that way. It’s understandable that he’d react that way—much in how Rose waffling between choosing the Doctor or Mickey is a human mistake, so, too, is seeing things only from your side a very human thing to do—but it’s still something that’s stopping effective communication here. Mickey is making a lot of assumptions about Rose’s feelings, is throwing accusations in her face, and later screams after her that she’ll always pick the Doctor and never pick him and a few other things, but because he’s so upset and shouting—and because he hasn’t taken the time to try and see things from Rose’s perspective, to examine their relationship clearly and objectively and think about the possibility that she wasn’t as happy in it as he was—all he ends up doing is shutting her down more and, ultimately, killing any chance they could have had to work things through.
Not completely, of course—even with the shouting, Rose did want to resolve things with Mickey in this episode. After the crisis was done, she went back to look for him. But Mickey was still hurting and upset, and he refused to go out and talk to her. As a result, Rose returned to the TARDIS … and while she still didn’t admit her feelings for the Doctor until the very end of season two, I think this was when Rose really started to let go of Mickey. When she returned to the TARDIS and wiped away her tears, I think that was when she decided things were done. In “The Parting of the Ways” she says there’s nothing left for her in London right after Mickey says they could have a life together, and in “New Earth” she says “bye” when he tells her he loves her. By season two Rose has effectively broken up with Mickey (even if she still made the mistake of not just saying that, though I think he got the hint anyway), and I think the fight in this episode—and the lack of resolution to the fight—is a big part of the reason why.
Either way, Rose and Mickey had serious communication issues, and there was a huge lack of understanding on both their parts, but all of that is so very human and such great writing and characterization and they have such brilliant character arcs and a great character relationship arc and just, agh, babies.
I miss them.