History is important! The past informs the present and this proved to be the case in the third episode in the new series of "Doctor Who", "School Reunion". It wasn't really about the evil Krillitanes, the not-so evil K9 ("Bad dog!", "Affirmative!!"), or even the lovely Elisabeth Sladen returning as the even lovelier Sarah Jane Smith, which was all icing on the cake to set up the scene outside the cafe between the two present incumbents of the TARDIS. Russell T Davies had already said this story wasn't intended as a nostalgia-fest for older fans but to enlighten the present relationship, between the tenth Doctor and Rose, and this is exactly what Toby Whithouse's script delivered.
But beyond shedding more light on the Doctor and Rose's relationship, "School Reunion" was meant to make us think about the transient nature of our own lives when measured against the infinity of time. Existence is fleeting, unless you're the Doctor, so make the best of your time alive, was this week's life lesson! This is big philosophical stuff, equal to that oft-quoted finale of "Genesis of the Daleks", and serves to reinforce ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston's parting shot telling Rose to "Have a good life".
Rose can spend her entire life with the Doctor but the Doctor, as an immortal or even someone with a finite number of regenerations, can only spend a fraction of his life with Rose. In a nutshell, the audience is being taught to live life to the max! It might seem like an obvious thing to remind us of, but time has shown that mankind has yet to learn to do just that, preferring to squander the years on countless political vendettas, wars. You're a longtime dead so make the most of life... while you can!!
Artistically, whereas his intermediary episodes, "The Christmas Invasion" and "New Earth", don't quite meet the high standard he'd set himself, I also thought James Hawes direction equalled that of his debut last year, on the two-parter that began with "The Empty Child". All the interesting angles, complementing and contrasting, seemed to be back in place, this time in the school corridors and in the beautifully-lit scene where Sarah Jane chances upon the TARDIS and her realisation that new teacher John Smith, standing in the shadows behind her, is indeed HIM!