Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who--"Doomsday"

The second season finale gave us some first and an almost first. This episode was the first time the Daleks and the Cybermen ever appeared onscreen together, the first time (I believe) Daleks are ever given names, and the Doctor very nearly declares his love for rose in a way that should make both the relation shippers and the older fans who want the Doctor to remain asexual happy. I thought it was a good romp--much more elaborate than last season’s finale, “The Parting of the Ways” which also featured a nefarious Dalek invasion. The only thing that has baffled be is the cliffhanger. Russell T. Davies hinted numerous times he had a colossal cliffhanger in mind and wondered if he could get it on film. Evidently he couldn’t and scrapped it because, while odd, didn’t seem all that hard to film. More on that in a minute.

We pick up right where we left off last week. Rose, Mickey, and Ralesh are trapped by the Daleks emerging from the Void ship. The Cybermen continue to march across the planet and are met with stiff resistance from military forces. The Dalek demand knowledge of the time period in which they have emerged and forcibly take the knowledge from Rajesh’s mind, killing him rather gruesomely in the process. The Daleks have been guarding something called the Genesis Ark, the last known piece of Time Lord technology. The Doctor makes it to the scene too late to save Rajesh, but enters into a debate with the Daleks during which he discovers they are from a special order (Jesuits?) even above the Emperor himself. These Daleks even have names, one being Khan, which I assume, along with the Genesis Ark, is an homage to Star Trek II They demand the Doctor touch the Ark because residuals he has gathered traveling through time will open it. The Doctor refuses Pete and Jake transport from the Alternate Earth in the nick of time, but in the crossfire, Mickey trips and touches the Ark, activating it.

The Cybermen have been busy all this time upgrading people, including Yvonne. They are about to upgrade Jackie when they discover the gun battle down below. Jackie takes the opportunity to escape. Cybermen and Daleks finally come face-to-face and size each other up. What transpires is the first a several unintentionally funnny (at least to them) exchanges in which neither gives an inch to the other. The Cybermen propose an alliance. The Daleks refuses, so the Cybermen declare war. The Daleks retort, “This isn’t war. It’s pest control,” which might very well be the best line of the series. You’d have to hear it in the Dalek voice, I guess. Acouple of battles ensue in which the two sides march at each other exchanging their catch phrases just like I joked they might a few days ago. Truth be told, the Cybermen aren’t doing so hot against the Daleks and aren’t really setting the woods on fire againt the humns either, all things considered.

The daleks take the Genesis Ark to the roof of Torchwood Tower and it opens up. Thousand of Daleks emerge and begin attacking the people of London. The Ark was a pison ship built by the Time Lords containing millions of Daleks. The Doctor doesn’t seem to think things are as hopeless as everyone else does. He explains that everyone who has traveled across the Void has residue and when the void is closed for te final time, everything with the residue will be sucked back into the Void. Everyone from the Alternate Earth agrees to return. Alternate Pete and Jackie Decide they they are the same people they fell in love with and plan to go to Alternate Earth as well. Unfortunately, Rose has the residue. Too keep her from falling into the Void, the Doctor tricks her to going to the Alternate Earth.

She is absolutely distraught and uses a transporter device to carry her back to Earth. She explains to the Doctor she made a decision to stay with him forever and she means to keep it even if it means never seeing her mother again. The Doctor wants to argue, but doesn’t. The pair operate the levers Torchwood had been to allow the ghosts into “our” world. The reconfigurations the Doctor made cause a vacuum that sucks every Dalek and Cybermen into it. The four black Daleks teleport away, so we’ll see them again at some point. As the rest are sucked into the Void, Rose begins to lose her grip. She can’t hang on and nearly gets sucked in before Alternate Pete emerges and grabs her. The Void closes forever with Rose stuck on the Alternate Earth. Both she and the Doctor grieve for one another.

Sometime later, Rose hears the Doctor in a dream. She and her family travel to a beach in Norway where the Doctor appears as a hologram. He is using a supernova to keep a small crack between the two worlds open just to say goodbye. Rose tells him she loves him and it appears the Doctor is about to reciprocate when he runs out of power and disappears. Afterwards, he mopes quetly about the TARDIS until he runs into a strage woman in a wedding dress on board. Both are shocked and ask, “Who are you?” We’ll find out in the Christmas special.

I liked the episode overall. I thought the resolution was a bit pat Russell T. Davies has a habit of painting himself into a corner and getting himself out of it too conveniently. I can’t complain about that a whole lot, though. Fans wanted to see this episode because the Dalek and Cybermen were going to battle for the first time (which did not disappoint) and the final fate of Rose 9which I have mixed emotion about.). The resolution of the rose storyline leaves the door wide open for her to return at some point in the future. In fact, in a radio interview this week, RTD said she would show up “in some form or another” next season. I’m not sure if that means flashbacks or something stranger and I am willing to hol off final judgment until then, but I have a suspicion her return woul chepen the drama. As much as I like the character, if she’s gonw, she ought to stay gone. We’ll see if I eat those words later. I think I liked last year’s finale, “The Parting of the Ways” better, but this was a worthy conclusion to what has been a season of high highs and low lows.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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