Friday, 25 January 2013

Doctor Who: Series 1, Episodes 12 and 13: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways [episode review]

content warning: lots of pictures and shouting
spoiler-free summary: Having been mysteriously transported onto satellite 5, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack must participate in various popular reality/game shows. The Doctor realises there is a more sinister purpose behind their presence, however, and his subsequent effort to break out of the Gamestation and find Rose results in the discovery of a deadly enemy orchestrating the whole thing.

The Plot
The Doctor finds out that losing participants on each show face a deadly consequence -- disintegration. Rose is "killed" before his very eyes when she loses The Weakest Link. He, Jack, and a sweet girl named Lynda are arrested and taken to floor 500. There he learns that the contestants are not actually killed, but beamed into space onto Dalek ships.

The Daleks communicate with the Doctor and threaten to invade Earth. Racing the clock, the Doctor lands the Tardis on the Dalek ship and rescues Rose. Still reeling from the revelation that the Dalek race is still very much alive, he returns to the Gamestation with Rose and begins setting up a defense against the Dalek attack.

In order to keep Rose safe, he sends her into the Tardis and then sends the Tardis back in time, to her home. Heartbroken, she reunites with Jackie and Mickey, feeling helpless and angry. But she discovers a message left to her across all time and space: Bad Wolf. Her mother and Mickey help her open the Tardis so that she can return to the Doctor. Rose looks into the heart of the Tardis and absorbs the time vortex.

Meanwhile, the Daleks break through Jack's defenses and kill him and Lynda and the rest of the Gamestation residents. The Doctor has a weapon ready, but can't bring himself to use it as he would then be like the Daleks. Just when he gives up, the Tardis reappears. Rose uses the power of the vortex to destroy the Daleks and bring Jack back to life.

But Rose can't survive with the vortex in her mind. The Doctor (sly dog) kisses her and absorbs it into his own mind. Back on the Tardis, Rose awakes with no memory of these events. The Doctor, however, is dying. After a few final words, he explodes with golden regeneration energy and transforms into David Tennant. THE END.

The Doctor
Take the Doctor's emotional turmoil from his meeting with the sole Dalek in van Statten's museum and multiply it by 400,000. THAT'S HOW BAD IT IS. Once again, his beloved Rose almost dies at the hands of his greatest enemy, and a bunch of other innocent people actually do die. Not a good day for him.

Nine is definitely the fiercest Doctor; not even Ten with all his galloping emotion was ever as fierce as warriorlike Nine. The look on his face when it seems that Rose has been killed before his very eyes is so intense. He's sad, angry, and completely shocked all at once.

Another great example of this is when he realises he can't mend the Delta Wave generator in time, and that Rose won't be safe with him. He still pretends that everything is fine, calls her a genius, kisses her on the forehead, and sends her into the Tardis on a made-up errand. She disappears, and he stares after her with a totally hopeless expression, shoulders slumped, defeat written all over him.

Then at last when he faces the Daleks, he makes the decision not to destroy them. "I'd rather be a coward any day," he declares. But the turmoil he faces before he decides is evident. He waits, gripping the trigger of the Delta Wave generator, trembling from uncertainty and adrenaline. CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON, LET ME LOVE YOU.

The Companions
Rose has had plenty of near-death scrapes before. But she's never been in a situation where losing the Doctor forever was an honest possibility. He'd helped her to be better; he'd proved she was more than just a shop girl. And most of all, they'd had such fun together. Then suddenly she finds herself facing a hologram of the Doctor telling her to let the Tardis die and continue on with her own life.

Back at home, she feels useless and stifled. A mundane existence, a life of endless routine, no longer appeals to her now that she's seen the wonders of the universe with the Doctor. Though she loves her mother dearly, she wants to do something to help the Doctor, to try to save him.

I think Jackie has always felt second-best and suspicious of the Doctor, but when Rose tells her that the Doctor let her be with Pete when he died, her opinion of him changes. It's a huge milestone in the women's relationship.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with Rose's decision. Sure, everything turned out all right in the end, but I think Rose reached that end by rather selfish means. She doesn't seem to be very considerate of her mum -- or of Mickey, for that matter. In fact, I think she's a little bit obsessed with the Doctor. Obsessions tend to reduce everything else in life to second place, and that's not healthy. I like Rose very, very much, however, and her flaws make her a well-rounded character. So I'm not complaining :)

Jack. He dies and comes back to life in this episode. Also, he walks around dressed like Han Solo and shoots Daleks with a ginormous gun.

Lynda, the sweet-natured girl from the Doctor's Big Brother house, is so cute it hurts. She reminds me a little of Carey Mulligan (who played Sally Sparrow). I like how she instantly bonds with the Doctor as they go on their rescue mission together.

It was terribly sad when she died. I think her death impacted me the most. What a creepy moment, too, when the Dalek appears in the window, and even though there's no sound, the lights are flashing and you just know that it's saying "Exterminate!"

The Aliens
I've talked about the Daleks before. Well, one Dalek. And that Dalek was unique because it had taken on human traits. But now, with the introduction of 400,00 Daleks, all contaminated with the human genetic material they used to mend themselves, that little guy ain't such an individual anymore. They're all deadly with emotion and self-hate.

Then there's the Dalek emperor, who has such illusions of grandeur that he thinks he's a god. If I recall, he was the only one that didn't accept the human DNA to rebuild himself, making him "pure" Dalek.

Also, I'm counting the Controller, the cybernetic human on floor 500, as an alien because -- well, she looks vaguely human, but with the blue light and the wires and everything, she's definitely got more of an alien vibe going on.

Hers is such a sad story. She spends her life as a giant computer, trapped in a tangle of wires, and dies mere seconds after she is set free. Death by Dalek is not pleasant, either. I really sympathised with her and I wish she could have had a different ending, a happier one.

Best Moments

"This is Emergency Programme One. Rose, now listen; this is important. If this message is activated, then it can only mean one thing. We must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second with no chance of escape. And that's okay. Hope it's a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The TARDIS is taking you home. And I bet you're fussing and moaning now - typical! But hold on and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it; no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on and the box will be buried. And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing, that's all, one thing. Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life."


"But you have no weapons. No defenses. No plan."
"Yeah! And doesn't that scare you to death? ...Rose?"
"I'm coming to get you."


"I sang a song and the Daleks ran away."


"Rose... before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I."


"I think you need a Doctor!"

BEST {and people wonder why the ninth doctor is my favourite}

In Conclusion
MOST COHERENT FINALE PLOT. That alone makes it worthy of much praise. (Don't even get me started on Last of the Time Lords.) Second most emotional finale right after Journey's End. It was just one slam to the gut after another.

Rose? Dead. Satellite 5? The Hunger Games, but without the Hunger. Controller? Actually a freaky human computer. Daleks? Oh yeah, did I mention -- there are actually a gazillion of them now. Lynda? Dead. Jack? Dead. The Doctor? Must face the Daleks alone. Rose? Not actually dead, but stranded in the past without her Doctor. Bad Wolf? Only the best story arc ever. Rose is back? Yeah, but she's dying. The Doctor saved her? Yeah, but now he's dying. SAD SADNESS EVERYWHERE? Just, kidding, have a David Tennant.

I... I don't know what to feel anymore! What is this ache in my chest where I thought I used to have a heart? Russel T. Davies, you have ripped it out. You are like Davy Jones, or Snow White's stepmother, or that one dude from the Tales of Beedle the Bard, or Howl Pendragon. I say to you GET OUT.

And Murray Gold, you are golden. The music in these two episodes is wonderful. I LOVE "Hologram" and "Rose in Peril" and "I'm Coming to Get You." It's epic and feeling and absolutely beautiful.

Okay, I have to go cry now.


  1. ohgoshbubbles...I forgot how sad that all was! it's a rollercoaster for sure.

    TEEEEENNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! Agh. That's mah Doctor, right thar. ^_^ <3 <3 <3

    Oh, Jack. :D Such a scoundrel.

    <3 <3 this is beautiful post here. ^_^ I need to watch Series one again, terribly. I freaking love your reviews, Clair!

    1. Thanks very much! I love writing these reviews and I'm glad you enjoy them.

      Doctor Who likes to confuse us by giving us a really sad finale and then ending it with something ridiculous or hilarious. This episode? David Tennant. Doomsday? Donna. Etc. It's like they're bipolar or something.

      Series 1 is my favourite, though. You should definitely watch it again :)

  2. Hmmm...interesting. I did a weird thing with doctor who and watched the first two episodes of season two, then Blink, and then I just started watching every Matt Smith episode until...the the one with the drill where they go underground. That's where I left off anyway. =P

    Oh, and hello by the way. I'm not at all good at introductions.
    I'm here (sort of from Jack's blog, but I guess it wouldn't be right to blame her) to follow your blog because the world will forever be in need of bookish people who are loyal fans of Tolkien and BBC.

    ---Also a very big fan of your artwork (Art is cool. Art is genius. I like art.) 'n stuff.

    *shakes hand*

    Oooh, and good review. Writing balanced reviews is rather a hard job.

    Anyway, I bid thee farewell.
    God bless,

    1. Very pleased to meet you! *also shakes hand* I very much like your blog. You're lovely and funny :)

      I'm so pleased you enjoy my artwork. That means a lot to me. How nice of you to say so.

      I did the same as you did, pretty much -- I actually started with the finale of series 6, then went back to the beginning-ish. So I was really confused, at first. I hope I don't spoil anything for you in my reviews!

      Welcome, by the way! I love getting new followers and we already have several things in common :)

  3. I agree 100% with everything you just said.
    GAH! NINE! I LOVE YOU! BEST DOCTOR EVER (well, I haven't actually seen any of the old ones.... So.. BEST MODERN DOCTOR EVER!)
    I love the pictures you included too. I love the one with David Tennant. Hee hee, his smile is one of those that just makes you smile. (Last night I was watching David Tennant's video diaries and I found myself smiling uncontrollably. I have NO clue how it happened. xD)

    Oooo. You've been watching Elementary! The show is really well acted, but I find that a lot of the plotlines have been the same... Lots of serial killers. Of course, that's what to expect from American TV - no originality. But still, it is an entertaining show. And Jonny Lee Miller is just amazing. I love his interaction with Joan.
    And M... Oh my word I was so speechless at that episode. Wow. Totally suspenseful.

    1. <3 Nine is my absolute favourite, though I think if I had seen any classic Who, I would also really love the fifth Doctor. How many men can wear a vegetable and look good? :)

      Oh, good. You like the pictures. The first review I did didn't have any, and then I slowly started adding more and more, and I felt like I went overboard on this one :P

      David Tennant has such an infectious smile, I agree.

      Hmmm... I hadn't really thought about that, but you're right. It's mostly serial killers. Hopefully they'll branch out in the future. After all, Sherlock likes the strange cases.
      I loved Jonny Lee Miller in "Emma" but I almost didn't recognise him on Elementary at first!
      M was soooo good. Really intense. Best this season so far in my opinion.

  4. I always wish Lynda had lived. I liked her a lot, and she would have been a fun companion. Nine needed another series. he could have taken her, Rose, and Jack and they could have an another year of adventures, and Jack could have turned normal and married Lynda because they woudl have been rather sweet together. (I mean, really, who cannot help but love Lynda?! Sometimes some of the best companions never got to be companions. (Jethro, Sally Sparrow...))

    Right. Agreed. If a person loves another they would be willing to help them, even if that help is more painful and a gentle kind of rebuke. Because true love doesn't over look something which might harm the person they love. They wish to help them.

    I think I adore Mr. Knightley now. And I've yet to meet him. He just sounds so wonderfully grand! I must find a movie version with him in it. Any fellow who takes time to notice others and not just the girl he loves, to show kindness to those around him, is worth meeting.

    1. Well said! I do wish that had happened... but a nice person always has to die in Doctor Who. Jethro would have made a really cool companion, too :)

      Okay. Watch "Emma" with Gwyneth Paltrow first because it's easy to follow the storyline, then watch the BBC version with Jonny Lee Miller and Romola Garai. They are both really good adaptations and very accurate.

  5. I am sold on Nine, too. I liked him better than Ten, *ahem* but Eleven is pretty awesome too.
    I think Christopher Eccleston is a brilliant actor. <3

    "What is this negative?"
    "What does it mean?"
    "It means No!"

    *Grin.* Pretty Epic.

    1. Wow, you like Nine better than Ten? I think that's the first time I've ever met anyone else who does! In all honestly, I love them all about equally, but I have a special place in my heart for Nine.

      Hehehe. I love that moment. Epic indeed. :P


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