What can I say about this episode: IT'S THE BEST FRIGGIN DOCTOR WHO STORY EVER TOLD, that's what! That's it. Nothing seems to have diluted it, not even the story that came close JOURNEY'S END and the garbage that came before Journey's End, STOLEN EARTH. Let's face it, it's always a shakey thing to do to have a love story on DW but that's what this is. Billie Piper is just amazing in this, Tennant is good too, and the entire cast is just amazing. And don't fool yourselves, it IS a love story even if the male part to the love story can't even bring himself to say it is. Rose, for all she's worth, has come into her own and is truly a great person despite the fact that maybe she does put down her mum and others for working a life in a store or whatever.
That brings me to another point. Rose says the Doctor made her life better? but did he? Really? With all the suffering? She says in ARMY OF GHOSTS that nothing ever happened in her first 19 years but is that true? I mean she had a boyfriend and a job. SHe wasn't experiencing the heartbreak she did here...and maybe, just maybe deep down she is putting others down that live like Mickey and Jackie ("it's what the rest of us do,") and somehow she's put back down into that same type of life but of course she's not going to, her working for TORCHWOOD (I'm so glad they didn't spin off ROSE DEFENDER OF THE EARTH, I think I would have gagged at a show like that, as it turns out they made a worse show than that in TORCHWOOD).
So does Rose think that having death and destruction on a daily basis in her life is something that is...well, something happening her life? Well, of course this has to be true for a science fiction adventure action fantasy but is she correct? Is having the type of terrors in her life, the type of death she saw with the Doctor and the heartbreak better than what she had before? In real life my family has gone through some very hard heartbreak thanks to 9/11 and I can tell you that it's not. If excitement of that type is "something happening" then I'd opt for the regular life where nothing much terrible happens. If that's what she meant.
On the other hand, I'd jump at the chance to travel with the Doctor so that and the fact that she willingly wants to stay with him because of what he does for everybody on "the whole stinking planet" and "every planet out there" he does alone (well, no he really doesn't do most of it alone) and that "now he's got me"...all of that is so touching and caring and Rose really wants to stay with him. On his part, some fans mention he looks relieved that Rose is gone for good and maybe he does but he also looks heartbroken at first and maybe he's just so reluctant to even say I love you until it is too late, that he's backing off from the close relationship that he was having with Rose. Maybe it scared him. I'm not sure why? He's a different alien life form? He doesn't want to start another family? He seems a bit shocked that Rose might be pregnant and again, did he think it was his baby if she were? Or was he giving that reaction because he thought it might be Mickey's or some other guy's? Frankly I opt to think that he and Rose were having some kind of sex and that he thought maybe she was pregnant with his baby. This would had to have happened, I'm guessing in the later part of the season, maybe before or after FEAR HER. Not sure.
The music : a lot of it is compliations from other episodes but if anything it sounds better here than in RISE OF THE CYBERMEN, AGE OF STEEL, and IMPOSSIBLE PLANET/SATAN'S PIT. The new DOOMSDAY theme sounds fantastic too as Rose and the Doc find themselves on opposite sides of the wall. I admit to having cried on the first watching of this or maybe the second. On the first I was just relieved that she wasn't killed off. I felt it more on the second watching and cried. On this watching I didn't really cry as much and that could be thanks to the dilution of knowing that the Doc and Rose can move back and forth....through the parallel universe...but even that and I knew that he said before they could not do it and Jake, Mickey, and Pete did...so nothing is really taken at Doctor's say....but even that didn't stop this from having an impact again and again and again. DW finally took that leap and did what it always toyed with: made a companion say that they loved the Doctor and then the inevitable, for behind the scenes always dictates that the companion leave the Doctor or the Doctor regenerate so the back ground stuff, the production stuff makes us know that someday Rose will have to leave the Doctor or that this Doctor will have to someday regenerate into a new one and leave her...that's the thing about DW, the behind the scenes stuff set up when Hartnell regenerated or when Susan left...affects how we know the show will go. THIS story gives us so much...
The Daleks do not dissapoint. Love their meeting with the Cybermen. Frankly, I always thought the Daleks would win but it would be close. Here it's a bit too not so. The CM seem too vulnerable. Also not sure about the white flag truce or that the CM would go for it at all but they did. I accept that. A missing scene has the Doctor trying to get the CyberLeader (the one that is killed by Jake) to leave with him in the TARDIS, telling him he will take him somewhere. It's a strange scene but also somewhat so SO the Doctor. The Daleks kill the scientist to get info. Not sure why we never saw this before...it would have saved them so much trouble in the past but maybe it's a new skill. One that makes them so dangerous and deadly. I also like how the Daleks fear the Doctor so much that they move back when Rose mentions him and how she taunts them a bit. Unsure that she should have told them she killed the Emperor but maybe she was stalling for time. Jackie and Pete meeting for the first time. How hilarious is it that Jackie can shut up THIS Doctor ("Oh you can just shut up") and he backs off. Also how she does care about the money as she keeps asking how much money Pete has. Their reunion/unreunion is so well done. Of course it's happening while Torchwood soldiers are dying at the rays of the Daleks but oh well, you can't have it all.
The Genesis Ark and the whatever of Skaro are a new bit, surprising and interesting. Well done. Having the Cybermen in the homes was unnerving and I thought that token family they showed had had it but glad they did'nt. For some reason I cared about the family unlike the family in STOLEN EARTH or JOURNEY'S END. RIght up until the end when Rose is saved by Pete, I thought she was going to die or end up in the void and maybe get saved somehow there...but with all those Daleks and CM in the void, I"m sure one of them would get off a shot.
One bit I love is when the Doctor spouts off the Mutt and Jeff thing, the Shiver and Shake (I have no idea who they are, Shiver and Shake). It comes right after some emotional stuff with Jackie and Pete and MIckey having had Rose leave them for the Doctor. Then the Doc and Rose ready themselves, the Daleks realize it's him, and take off for him. We've seen flying Daleks...well wait, not really FLYING....in the Colin Daleks story they hover or something a few feet up with...a glow or something. In the McCoy story they glide up steps and yet...they don't fly outside even when it could have given them a real edge for victory. In addition in DALEK they elevate and glide SLOWLY. Here they're flying all over the place and dare I say it, the GENESIS Ark sequence over the city is actually beautiful! WTF!
Other touches such as Rose crying and her parents hold hands and Jackie also takes Mickey's hand. Rose jumping when the Doc drops the magnet as she is relating to him what he's just told her about her getting shut off in a parallel universe, "That's not gonna happen." ANd the look on Mickey as he watches Rose's agony: no jealousy, no glee, just sad for her and his hands move to his mouth. The direction, the acting, the music, the sets, the ideas, the love story, the action, it's just all so spot on , all so good, that DW can never be this good again. Certainly RTD can't be this good again unless the last three specials prove me wrong but I'm not holding my breath. DD has to be the best DW story ever told and not much has dampened that feeling.
Some fans and writers (see SECOND FLIGHT if you can) feel the beach scene went on far too long. I am NOT one of those. I think that scene is perfect. Rose's "Will I ever see you again" and "On your own" and almost everything else she says is just so spot on, acting wise...she really made me cry. And to be honest, the Doc's reaction is so brave, so stalwart, and so...somewhat closed to being hurt by it all...to later see him cry is STUNNING. But her "I...I love you," trumps her other goodbye scene to Mickey---which totally made me cry more than once in AGE OF STEEL. I also wonder how much time went by from the Doc crying scene to his spotting of Donna in the very end.
About that end: it's dicky. "Oi....or O!" "What what what what?" WTF? It's not funny, not exciting and to be honest heralds a poor story following the greatest DW story ever told. Okay, not much can come close to this (HUMAN NATURE does and in some ways tops it as a great DW story and a love story but somehow I like DD better; don't worry though Human Nature's two parts is really a 10/10 too). Honestly, I think the story should have just ended with the Doc alone in the TARDIS...still crying....and even though I don't buy or like the idea that parallel world travel is impossible...this whole thing is just a great, great story. I"m saying that too many times....at one point, Rose is so choked up she can't even talk. THAT is good acting.