Monday, June 29, 2009

My Review of Doctor Who's 1x13: "The Parting Of The Ways"

Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne

With the BBC running “Time Is Up” adverts for five days straight in the run up to this episode, it wasn’t exactly hard to get excited about this particular season finale. After all, nearly half a million Daleks are out and about in outer space determined to annihilate the remainder of humanity. That’s enough to make anyone want to watch.

The easy part first, the rescue of Rose had the extrapolator from “Boom Town” put into good use as The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack were then able to build a force field to keep the Daleks from killing them or the TARDIS. Of course, the real voice behind the Daleks is the Emperor Dalek and he isn’t exactly in the mood for pleasantries.

Time hasn’t especially been kind to the Dalek race or their Emperor in charge since the Time War, a point that is made all too clear in the space of three minutes. They’ve been forced to keep anominous and have had to wait for this ripe opportunity to strike, an opportunity that you could suggest, was given to them by The Doctor as we are after all are still dealing with the consequences from “The Long Game”. The Daleks are back though and they are an army to be reckoned with.

Being built on human DNA is something we’ve seen before, even earlier on in the season but while that lone Dalek from episode six was confused by its humanity, the influxes of Daleks here are more disgusted with theirs. The Doctor didn’t need to point out that this made them more than lethal but even I won’t gripe about him stating the obvious this time.

With the Dalek fleet making their way to the Gamestation and nearly over a hundred people still on board unable to escape, the next course of action was to build them as an army. I felt bad for Captain Jack here because deep down, he knew all along that things were going to be fatal and out of our trio, he is the only who still gets screwed over at the end. Which is probably why he kisses both Rose and The Doctor on the lips (yes that’s two men for a little moment kissing, just don’t tell ofcom about it) in a totally subtle but effective scene.

Trying to build an army out of cynical and desensitised contestants and Gamestation staff is bad without the likes of Rodrick whinging about his prize money on top of things too. It kind of felt like Captain Jack was being a little excluded here with The Doctor not telling him everything while the latter scrambled with the Delta Wave, dealing with Rose and being goaded by the Dalek Emperor.

Even Jack’s army of inept and mostly afraid humans didn’t last very long. Although I didn’t care about Rodrick dying, I did feel bad for Davish and little crush on his sarcastic co-worker and of course Lynda, whose death was presumably so violent we didn’t even get to see it.

Any hopes of Lynda being a fourth spoke in the TARDIS team got obliterated here but the fact that there was any spokes left is a miracle within itself. Even Captain Jack suffered being hit by the Daleks and killed (like Tara’s death on Buffy’s “Seeing Red”, I didn’t like that scene) but things on the death of Captain Jack are not quite as they seem. I’ll get back to that in a bit though.

As for The Doctor, doing battle with your greatest enemy and having the odds of survival sensationally stacked against you isn’t exactly the best motivational tool in the world but having the Emperor of the Daleks constantly blight you and constantly refer to you as a baddie yourself has got to a head wrecker. With an obviously robotic voice and bigger than a portable aquarium, the Daleks plans of building the Earth into their own image is looking scarily successful.

The Delta Wave which is supposed to save lives will only wipe out both Daleks and humans and while Captain Jack told The Doctor to do what he felt was right, he obviously struggled before admitting it. Of course there was one life that The Doctor was unwilling to sacrifice, why else do you think he tricked Rose into going home.

Rose could’ve left the battlefield at any time before being duped, The Doctor even went out on a limb to suggest it but she declined. Rose is increasingly showing signs of being a noble heroine. Which is why when she was sent home and told to forget The Doctor and live a normal life, she couldn’t accept. You experience the kind of things that she does and normality is no longer an option.

Both Mickey and Jackie have only had a taste of what other lives are out there but Rose has seen so much more. It explains why they can’t accept her refusal to give up on The Doctor but even their at times narrow-mindedness doesn’t prevail their love for Rose and while they don’t approve of her lifestyle, it was great that they helped to get back to the Gamestation by opening the heart of the TARDIS and a whole boat load of complications.

As a human Rose can’t physically withstand the energy of the time vortex but then again, neither can anything else but she holds it long enough to reveal that she’s been the big bad wolf all the time, relaying her messages through time and space and to make a spectacular return, amid an interesting debate from Emperor Dalek of whether The Doctor should be a killer or coward.

He chooses coward, Rose chooses hero as her borrowed elevation to God like quality (was anybody else thinking “Primeval” Buffy when watching this or was that just me?) has her killing every single Dalek and the Emperor on display Of course her best trick is resurrecting Captain Jack with her “I give life” speech, posing the question of whether or not she was aware he was even dead.

Was either The Doctor or Rose aware that he had been a casualty because if they were and just abandoned him on board Gamestation, then I’m going to be a cheesed off with that one. I’m hoping they weren’t.

As for The Doctor and Rose kiss, it was hardly a sexual one so even die hard fans can’t complain that much about it, now can they? Still though with Rose nearly dying to save the world, The Doctor returned the favour and saved her by absorbing the vortex energy.
Some joking on the TARDIS later and deserved congratulatory speeches later and our ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston morphed into number ten David Tennant. What a way to make an entrance! It’s an impressive debut and a nice way of ending a season finale that delivered left, right and centre. It’s a pity that Captain Jack is on his lonesome though.

Also in “The Parting Of The Ways”

This episode opened with no teaser. It just went straight into the opening credits and the main stuff.

Rose: “Never doubted you.”
The Doctor: “I did. Are you alright?”

More Dalek knowledge here as we learned that the human DNA came from prisoners, refugees and the dispossessed. Even for part machines, doesn’t this make the Daleks little more than shells?

Captain Jack: “I wish I had never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward. See you in hell.”

The Doctor: “I might just save the world or rip it apart.”
Rose: “I’d go with the first one.”
The Doctor: “Me too.”

The half human revelation about the Daleks was from the 1996 TV movie with the Eighth Doctor. Nice use of reference there.

The Doctor: “Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.”

Rose: “No.”
Mickey (re TARDIS): “If that’s what you think, then let’s get this thing open.”

Since we last saw, Jackie has been involved with a guy named Rodrigo. I liked how Russell used the reversed events from “Father’s Day” to help Rose get her mother onside too.

Female Operator: “Am I supposed to say when this is all over, maybe we should go and get a drink?”
Davish: “That would be nice.”

If the Daleks invaded the likes of Australasia, the new American Islands, Europa etc before Uber-Rose saved the day, does that mean that they haven’t been completely eradicated?

Dalek: “Exterminate.”
Captain Jack: “I kind of figured that.”

The trailer for “The Christmas Invasion” only featured clips throughout Season One. I guess that means it hasn’t been filmed yet.

Dalek Emperor: “What are you Doctor – coward or killer?”
The Doctor: “Coward, any day.”

I believe this was the first regeneration standing up. It’s also the first I’ve seen which is a good reminder that I’m still a novice to this show.

Rose: “I want you safe. My Doctor protected from the false God.”

The Doctor (to Rose): “Mmm new teeth, that’s weird. Now where was I? Oh that’s right, Barcelona!”

Standout music: the exceptional score piece in this entire episode from Murray Gold of course.

“The Parting Of The Ways” was certainly a heavily anticipated season finale and like this season as a whole, it succeeded on every level. Hats off to Russell and Joe for their superb scripting and directing and kudos has to be give for the excellent and powerhouse performances from Christopher Eccleston (we’ll miss you mate), Billie Piper (who’s really come into her own), John Barrowman (don’t leave him there) and David Tennant (welcome aboard). Only six months until “The Christmas Invasion”.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

No comments: