Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Parting of the Ways"

Doctor Who--"The Parting of the Ways"

Ah, the first season finale of Doctor Who. There is quite a bit packed into forty-five minutes here. A Dalek invasion of Earth, we meet the Emperor, Capt. Jack meets his end (for a few minutes, at any rate), Rose goes all Dark Phoenix on us, we saw good-bye *sniff* to Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor and fond ‘allo to David Tennant’s Tenth. Some things are a bit pat, but overall, a fine ending to one of the better Who runs.

The episode begins right where the cliffhanger left off. The Daleks surrounding rose demand she reveal the Doctor’s usual stratagems. She refuses, but the Daleks are suddenly busy with the TARDIS rushing towards their ship. They fire missiles, but they are deflected from the TARDIS by the device the Doctor to from the Sllitheen in “Boom Town.” The TARDIS rematerializes inside the Dalek ship around Rose and the lone Dalek guarding her. It is blasted apart by Capt. Jack. The Doctor sadly muses that since the Daleks survived, the time Lords died for nothing.

Our heroes exit the TARDIS to confront the Daleks. The shield still protects them from harm, so the Doctor taunts them by reminding the group of what Daleks in the past have called him--”The Oncoming Storm.” He asks how they survived and a deep voice above replies it was because of “me.” The doctor looks up to see the Dalek Emperor floating in a tank of fluid. The Emperor explain that his ship survived the Time War. He fell through time and space, eventually making it to Earth. Over the centuries he has cultivated human genetic material to create a new Dalek race. Rose quips that if that is true, then they are half human. The Daleks consider the thought blasphemy. The Emperor is their creator and their god. The Doctor realizes the human emotions they have picked up have driven them into self-loathing insanity. Our heroes decide to escape back to Satellite Five to make their stand.

Back on the satellite, the Doctor orders the transmitters turned up to prevent the Daleks from beaming aboard. The defense will only cover the upper floors, so Capt. Jack goes below to organize the remaining denizens into an army while the Doctor jury rigs a Delta wave--a beam which will fry the minds of anything it comes into contact with. Unfortunately, it will take three days to build. The Dalek fleet will arrive in twenty minutes. In the meantime, the earth is defenseless as the Daleks prepare to “purify it with fire and turn it into the Emperor’s temple.” The doctor realizes the situation is hopeless, but he has to save Rose, making good on the promise he made to her mother. He ushers her into the TARDIS under the premise that he has had a brainstorm about crossing his own timeline. He tells her to stay inside while her goes out to power up the station. Instead the doors close and an automatic message begins claiming as a failsafe, the TARDIS is to take Rose back to London, 2005 in the event of his impending death. It does so and Rose is distraught.

Far into the future, everyone on the station makes preparations for the Dalek invasion. Capt. Jack put Lynda in charge of an observation system to keep track of the Daleks’ movements. The makeshift army isn’t having much success at all in slowing them down. The Anne droid manages to destroy two after informing them they were the weakest link, but she is quickly dispatched. Lynda dies as well, the rest of the station’s population is slaughtered, and finally, Capt. Jack is cornered and killed. The doctor is alone with 500,000 Daleks and resigns himself to using the Delta Wave. It will kill everyone on Earth as well, but to stop the Daleks, it is worth it. Or is it? The emperor taunts the Doctor asking if he I to cowardly to flip the switch. After a tense moment, the Doctor admits he can’t do it. The Dalek invasion force continues decimating the Earth.

Back in 2005, Jackie and Mickey try to console Rose, but it is impossible. She can’t forget what’s going on in the future and live a normal life. She determines that some way, some how, she has to get the TARDIS working an return to Satellite Five. While moping about, rose finds the words “Bad Wolf” written as graffiti and realizes it is not a warning, but a message. The TARDIS is telepathic and can get back to the Doctor if she can open the heart of the TARDIS she fist saw in “Boom Town” and communicate with it. Reluctantly, Jackie and Mickey help. First by hooking a chain from the heart to Mickey’s car, which doesn’t work, then finally hooking it to a heavy duty truck, which does. A bright light shines from the center of the TARDIS as Rose absorbs the time vortex. The TARDIS’ doors close and it disappears into the future.

It arrives on Satellite Five and rose emerges engulfed in light. She says she can now see past, present, and future. She destroys the Daleks, the Emperor, and inadvertently, returns Capt. Jack to life. The Doctor is horrified. Humans were not meant to absorb the time vortex. Rose is quickly burning herself out. In what has to be the corniest move I have seen in years, the Doctor tells her she needs a Doctor and smooches her right there, absorbing the vortex and transferring it back to its proper place in the TARDIS. Rose passes out and awakens sometime undisclosed time later. The Doctor is in obvious dire straits. He tells her absorbing the vortex has damaged his cellular structure. He is going to have to regenerate into a new body. Bfore he does, he assures her she was fantastic…and so was he. The Doctor’s head disappears into a flash of light and when it is over, his new face appears--the Tenth Doctor.

Like I said above, this was a good wrap up to the season, minus a few irritants. I got the impression Russell T. Davies was trying to build up the scenario in which Rose is somehow replaced as a companion by Lynda. There was a twinge of jealousy there as Lynda vowed to help as much as she could before being assigned to track Dalek movements by Capt. Jack. It was more palpable last episode, but nothing ever became of it other than cheapen the relationship between the Doctor and Rose--at least for me. Secondly, they left Capt. Jack behind on the station. Surely Rose knows he is still alive since she’s the one who brought him back. Why maroon him? Couldn’t she also bring everyone else back, too and repair the damage to Earth? Apparently she doesn’t or didn’t. That’s a rather callouus attitude on her and the Doctor’s part, especially since he had just decided he couldn’t kill anyone just to stop the Daleks. Finally, how did Rose, a human, survive absorbing the time vortex longer than the Doctor, a Time Lord, could? One could argue Rose was simply transmitting the vortex while the Doctor absorbed it, making her a conduit and him a terminus, but that doesn’t hold up. He clearly transfers the vortex back to the heart of the TARDIS, possessing it a shorter time than Rose had. Perhaps he absorbed the damage it had done to her as well and that was fatal. It is not made clear. I am going to chalk it up to dramatic license since the rest of the episode--and all of Eccleston’s run as the Ninth Doctor--more than make up for the lapse of logic.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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