Friday, 22 May 2009

Doctor Who: Doomsday (2)

Rose: 'I love you.'
Doctor: 'Quite right, too. And I suppose, if it's my last chance to say it. Rose Tyler...'

Season two's been a mixed bag for Rose. Her enthusiasm and growth throughout season one were a pleasure to behold, but this season the writers have seemed uncertain of what to do with her. In fact, she's been downright annoying at times, so perhaps now was the right time for Billie's departure. That's not to say she won't be missed, she's was instrumental in reviving a much loved British institution, and breathing life into arguably the best loved companion since Sarah Jane. But it's better to bow out when you're on top, and Rose definitely went out with a bang.

At least she got a chance to say 'I love you'. It's been on the cards since episode one, but it was nice to hear it at last. And the Doctor surely loves Rose. He didn't quite manage to say it—the rift closing, combined with the potential outrage of thousands of 'The Doctor's asexual, actually' arse-hats prevented it—but you have to believe that he felt it too. The tears on his cheeks spoke volumes. I loved that Rose would have happily seen the universe ripped apart just to touch the Doctor one last time. Obviously, that actually happening would've sucked, but I appreciated the apocalyptic imagery nonetheless.

On screen, the Doctor and Rose looked so close—just different sides of a wall—but in reality they were worlds apart. Rose has been so brave these past two years. She's stepped into the fray when hope has been hard to come by, and risked her life for a world oblivious of her existence, but tonight it all went wrong. If it hadn't been for Pete, she'd have been sucked into the void and lost forever. And although she didn't die, in many respects, death would have been kinder. It was heart wrenching to watch Pete, Jackie and Mickey as they stood looking on, helpless, holding hands, unsure of what to do as Rose cried her heart out. Not even the Doctor could save her this time—and thus, their partnership came to its natural end.

The Daleks 'v' the Cybermen battle was more of a low-quality slanging match than a classic confrontation. Potentially, it was an intriguing match-up, but it totally failed to deliver. Again, the silliness of the dialogue ('You are only superior in one respect... you are better at dying') ripped the heart out the battle scenes, diluting them into farce, and since when did the Daleks possess such sardonic wit? And despite their superiority in numbers, the Cybermen fared poorly in combat. When did they become so fucking useless? Four Daleks were more than enough to hold a room full of Cybermen. Rule number one of being a bad-ass: if you're getting your arse handed to you in a fight, keep the shit talk to a minimum. It just makes you look silly.

Yet despite their physical prowess, the Daleks still recoiled at the Doctor's name. As Rose said, 'Five million Cybermen... easy. One Doctor. Now you're scared'. Which demonstrated perfectly the Doctor's ingenuity and power. He's forever outnumbered by the Daleks, yet still they fear him, and with good reason. How many times has he almost destroyed them? They once numbered in the millions. Now there are just four. In this universe, anyway. Who knows across the multiverse?

So, all in all, a mixed finale. The Doctor/Rose story was upsetting (as we expected it would be) and the Cybermen/Dalek face-off a bit of a let down, but the ending was in a class of its own in plumbing the depths of crappiness. After such an emotionally charged climax, why did they have to ruin it by having Catherine Tate turn up? Instead of the episode fading out with a sigh, it ended with a groan.

Other Thoughts:

—There was never anyone else for Jackie? What about Howard (of apple in pocket fame) from 'The Christmas Invasion?'

—The lever at the end was the wrong way around. Rose was actually pushing against the pull of the breach.

—Where was Captain Jack? Doesn't he usually turn up for season finales?

—This was the first episode ever to have the Daleks and the Cybermen fighting each other. They've both appeared separately in 'The Five Doctors' —and in 'Dalek', there was a Cyberman head in one of Van  Statten's display cases.

—How on earth did Pete not get sucked into the void... or at least not get hit by debris?

—Ah, that's what the 3D glasses were for.

Quotes:

Dalek: 'State your identity!'
Cyberman: 'You will identify first!'
Dalek: 'Identify!'
Mickey: 'It's like Stephen Hawking meets the speaking clock.'

Cyberman: 'Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.'
Dalek: 'This is not war. This is pest control.'

Doctor: 'I was there at the fall of Arcadia. Some day, I might even come to terms with that.'

Dalek: 'The Emperor survived?'
Rose: 'Yeah. Until he met me.'

Jackie: 'This is your fault. You and your Torchwood. You've killed us all.'

Doctor: 'Pete Tyler! I knew you when you were dead.'

Doctor: 'Once the breach collapses, that's it. You'll never be able to see her again. Your own mother.'
Rose: 'I made my choice a long time ago, and I'm never going to leave you.'

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