Movie Reviews

Why Is Rose Working For UNIT In Doctor Who Season 14?

Summary

  • Rose Noble’s return to Doctor Who as a member of UNIT raises questions about her role and connection to Donna and the Fourteenth Doctor.
  • Former companions like Mel Bush and Donna have joined UNIT, suggesting a shift in recruitment tactics from the classic series to the modern.
  • Rose’s limited involvement in Season 14, Episode 7 highlights her friendship with Ruby and hints at potential future storylines for her character.



Doctor Who’s Rose Noble (Yasmin Finney) returned for the penultimate episode of season 14, but it’s unclear why she is working for UNIT. Doctor Who‘s UNIT organization has been a semi-regular part of the series since the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) first met the man who would become Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart, and was especially important during the Third Doctor’s (Jon Pertwee) run. UNIT is currently run by the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate (Jemma Redgrave), and the Doctor visited the headquarters because he needed help identifying a mysterious woman, Susan Twist, who has been following him.


Rose was introduced as former Doctor Who companion Donna Noble’s (Catherine Tate) daughter, and she is also the first transgender character in Doctor Who history. Like every Doctor Who companion, Rose quickly demonstrated a knack for getting into trouble, a thirst for adventure, and openness to meeting aliens. Donna refused to allow Rose to accompany her and the Doctor on a new adventure, and before reappearing as a member of UNIT, Rose was last seen sharing a meal with the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna after he bi-generated.

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UNIT Has Been Recruiting The Doctor’s Friends Since Season 13

Several Former Companions Work For the Organization


During the classic series, the Doctor occasionally chose companions from former UNIT staff; Liz Shaw and Jo Grant both worked for UNIT while the Third Doctor worked side-by-side with the organization. Modern Doctor Who has taken the opposite tactic, with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart asking former companions to join UNIT. Notably, Doctor Who companion Melanie “Mel” Bush (Bonnie Langford) works for UNIT and had a major role to play during recent episodes “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” as well as during “The Giggle.”

Melanie’s previous appearance as a UNIT analyst offered a hint about the mystery woman’s identity, as she said UNIT uses Triad technology.

Donna is one of the companions that Kate asked to work for UNIT, and Rose told Carla that her mother worked for the organization. This fact could help explain why Rose also works for UNIT. Donna might have asked Kate to find something for Rose to do so that Rose would stop sneaking off on adventures with the Fourteenth Doctor. Although this wasn’t made explicit in dialogue, it makes sense as an explanation, especially considering that Rose didn’t have much to do at UNIT.


What Is Rose’s Actual Job At UNIT HQ?

She Didn’t Have An Official Title Or Job Description

Rose Noble Behind Her Desk at UNIT

Rose was not given an actual job title. She had a desk and appeared to be doing something with a computer, though it was not clear what, and she got excited when Ruby decided to go home to retrieve the VHS tape of the CCTV from the night of her birth. Rose tagged along on this trip, remarking that she is not allowed to do proper work most of the time and was recently asked to investigate shoplifters rather than anything having to do with aliens.

Rose’s boredom at UNIT and lack of important work tasks reinforce the idea that Donna asked Kate to give her a job to keep her busy and away from future unsanctioned adventures with the Fourteenth Doctor.


Rose’s boredom at UNIT and lack of important work tasks reinforce the idea that Donna asked Kate to give her a job to keep her busy and away from future unsanctioned adventures with the Fourteenth Doctor. UNIT likely has her doing things such as getting coffee and occasionally taking notes at meetings, and Kate’s refusal to allow her to participate in any meaningful way in alien investigations could be because of Donna’s desire to keep Rose safe and out of trouble. Additionally, Rose was introduced as a fifteen-year-old, so she likely is too young to go on dangerous missions.

There’s no indication of how much time has passed in Rose’s timeline since her introduction in “Star Beast,” so she may no longer be a teenager.


Rose’s Role In Doctor Who Season 14, Episode 7 Is Very Limited

Her Importance Is As Ruby’s New Friend, Not As A Member of UNIT

Doctor Who's Rose and Ruby examine evidence together

Rose was desperate for something real to do, but the most exciting thing that happened was that she got to meet Carla while retrieving the VHS tape of the night of Ruby’s birth and abandonment. After the women returned to UNIT headquarters, Rose was mostly a background character. She wasn’t allowed to participate in a meaningful way once Ruby entered Doctor Who’s UNIT Time Window, and her only contribution to the rest of the story was giving Ruby a hug before Ruby followed the Doctor’s orders to get back into the device.


Although Rose’s involvement in UNIT was so minimal that it seemed almost pointless, Doctor Who set up an important friendship between her and Ruby. The two bonded almost immediately and spent more time together than Ruby spent with any other UNIT member, and their friendship may become an important aspect of the resolution of Ruby’s origin mystery. Additionally, Rose’s frustration and dissatisfaction with being given busy work at UNIT may become more pronounced, leading to her having a bigger role in a later story.

Doctor Who
season 14 streams on Disney+.

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