Season 1

Reviews by Kevin Mitchell and Chad Colvin.

1.1 — Rose — 3 stars

The new season of Doctor Who kicks off after its long absence and we’re all very excited. ‘Rose’ is essentially a pilot episode- it’s been so long now since Doctor Who was last on our screens, and it now has a very different cast, crew, extra funding etc… so it is the revived series ‘pilot’ episode and as such I’m going to cut it a little slack. It was quite a good episode underneath, but suffered from wonky acting, some awful dialogue (the Doctor’s speech about who he is springs to mind), and a poor supporting cast. I’m not interested about a character’s obnoxious mother, and poor Mickey got the hard end of the deal. Sure, I was bored of him after only seeing him for 30 seconds, but running off with another guy because he has a (much) nicer vehicle is not my idea of a strong character.

I’m not entirely convinced by Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. His grinning seems really forced, I can’t help but feel he’d be better off not trying to be clever or playful, but instead focusing on the darker side to the Doctor as I can see Eccleston being menacing if he wanted to be. Also the music is a bit 70’s, I’m sure it’s a misguided homage or something, but I keep expecting it to lead into ‘dinni dinni dinni dinni BATMAN!!!!!’.

So basically the story wasn’t so bad and I’m really excited about Doctor Who returning… but I’m not so happy with the characters or writing so far. That said, its a pilot, so I’ll let it off, and hope for better episodes in the future.

1.2 — The End of the World — 3 stars

It’s Episode Two. No more explanations of who the characters are, and most of the exposition is gone. What we’re left with is pretty decent, but nothing to be excited about. The concept of seeing the end of your planet’s existence is an interesting one, and Billie Piper’s reactions to the events around her come off as real when juxtaposed with her initial homesickness. This is, after all, a 19-year old who’s never really left her immediate surroundings at all. If only she knew what was in store for her in the months to come. While I think the “cell phone that can call anywhere at anytime” is a lazy plot device, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to call loved ones when I was five billion years away, too.

Now the training wheels are off, lets get stuck into the new season proper. ‘The End of the World’ marks the second episode of the revived series. Space station realised with some modern CGI, lovely. A variety of alien characters, the Doctor having a bit of fun, and some perilous shenanigans, all good stuff. Its the kind of concept that I was looking forward to with the new series, and its done well. I also liked that we are already seeing a bit of mystery regarding the Doctor and his relationship with Gallifrey and its past, and his reluctance to talk about it. Long may it all continue.

As I said above, the concept is cool, but the execution is extremely lacking for me. The little mechanical spiders that kill the guests are too derivative — Stargate did it first, more menacing and better with their Replicators. And Cassandra as an enemy has no teeth (no pun intended). Her subsequent outing in the Series Two premiere is by far the better installment for her character when the threat she poses can be played more humorously.

On the plus side, the scene with the Doctor and Rose fighting for her life as the station’s heat shield rises and falls is the most gripping part of the episode. And we do get our first glimpse of the Face of Boe, a character who becomes very important to the Doctor’s story in future installments … and to the Whoniverse as a whole if certain dialogue in Series 3 is to be believed.

Not a great episode, but not horrible either. If nothing else it maintains momentum. And finally, a word to the producers: If at some point in the future, you decide to do a special edition version of this episode, please remove the segment where Britney Spears’ “Toxic” plays in the soundtrack. It took me out of the episode completely for a few minutes. If nothing else, replace it with “Til The World Ends”. At least then it would work thematically.

I do have a few more gripes though, that wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the last episode ‘Rose’. The Doctor did some non-sensical thing with Rose’s mobile so she can call her foul mother from anywhere in space-time. Ummm. No thanks. More space travel, less Eastenders please. Rose ‘relating’ to the service woman was a bit forced for my liking too, which is the early signs of a pattern- they seem very keen that we ‘connect’ with the show, but the dumbed down elements that ‘we can relate to’ is rather insulting and unnecessary. Also ignorant- it supposes that the sort of people that want to watch a show about a time travelling alien would be scared and confused by alien things. I’m sure I’m just overreacting though.

3.3 — The Unquiet Dead — 2 stars

The historical setting is good, the Doctor okay though I’m still not convinced. I’m liking Rose, even moreso when her entourage is not involved. I’m a firm believer in Doctor Who script writing beginning with the question ‘What would scare the living day lights out of everyone?’ which this one certainly did. I’m not a huge fan of the seance though. In fact, as a Christian, I don’t approve of it at all!

I wasn’t a fan of Dickens either. I’ve never like the episodes that pay lip-service to how great a historical figure was, and this was no exception. Dickens was a great man- but would the Doctor really be that impressed? The entire history and future of the universe, every great mind that every superior species has produced (Gallifreyans for a start)- is Dickens really one of the best that he’s ever encountered? It sat uneasy with me. The episode also never really set me alight, it was missing something. It was like a joke that makes you chuckle, but not really laugh out loud. I liked it, but I’m hoping for an episode that will excite me.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the best episodes of Who are the ones that toy with established historical people and settings rather than future ones. The earliest episodes of Who in the Sixties were meant by the BBC to have more educational value than the ones produced later on and now — hence why some of the earliest serials came with names like “The Aztecs”, “Marco Polo”, and “The Roman”. Early audiences were used to seeing their Doctor in the midst of historical events like the Crusades and the French Revolution. That said, even if this episode features a cruddy Charles Dickens in Victoria-era Cardiff with paranormal phenomena happening…count me in.

The Gelth come across as an interesting antagonist for the Doctor, having been one of the alien races caught up in the Time War crossfire. Unfortunately, this is really the only time that we get to see them, which is sad because Doctor Who is also always at its best when it can scare you senseless…and ghosts — even alien ones — generally fit the fright bill nicely.

The inclusion of Charles Dickens into the story didn’t work as well for me as I thought it would. It’s not the first time a Victorian era author has been featured in sci-fi TV — “Star Trek: The Next Generation” featured Mark Twain as an intregal part of one of their two-parters. But the plot device doesn’t work for me nearly as well here as it did there … it seemed like a rehash of sorts, even if that comparison is a tad unfair. I just never felt like the inclusion of Dickens was necessary in order for the story to work.

This episode also marks the first time we’re made aware of a space-time rift in Cardiff. It’s an important plot point, and one that will continue to be used repeatedly for seasons to come on “Who” itself — in addition to being intregal to the plot of spin-off series “Torchwood” as a whole.

Regardless, the fun of Mark Gatiss’ story itself and the exquisite set and costume design make this episode a enjoyable romp. Bonus points for Whoniverse fans who spot actress Eve Myles in her pre-Torchwood role as “Gweneth”. Davies has stated in interviews that there isn’t a familial link between “Gweneth” and “Gwen Cooper.” But come on, man! That’s supposed to be coincidental?! Just make it canon, already!

3.4 — Aliens of London — 2 stars

I’m not even sure where to begin on this episode. You know how sometimes a show you love or want to love just goes so completely off-the-rails that all you can do is just facepalm yourself? “Aliens of London” is just such an episode. And it’s part one of a two-parter, you say? Ugh…

At first I thought this was a parody. It didn’t make sense- intergalactic time traveller sits at home to watch an alien invasion on the news (just like we would! Wow, now I can relate!). Farting aliens. Stupid rubber suits (emulating the shortcomings from the past isn’t funny, ask anyone with cholera). The moment I saw the big reveal of the alien to be a pig, a part of me died inside. ‘But Doctor Who is a kids show’ they cry. Shut up. I’ve heard this excuse repeated over and over in the games industry to justify lazy poor products, and it’s the same here. Besides which, just as many adults watch as kids.

What works here? I never thought I’d say this, but I’m beginning to really like Camille Coduri as Rose’s mom, Jackie. Her reaction and anger toward the Doctor for Rose’s return after a full year away is played exactly as it should be. And some of the special effects shots are sublime, including the plummet and crash landing of the alien vessel.

What doesn’t work? Pretty much everything else. The Slitheen are laughable enemies (fart sounds, really?) with a convoluted scheme to destroy Earth that is much better suited for a children’s series — which is why I’m guessing they become so much more prevalent years later as the go-to “bad” alien race on spin-off “The Sarah Jane Chronicles”. And Mickey isn’t given much to do either, besides pout and whine about being left behind by Rose and let us know he’s spent the year being accused of murder. Noel Clarke is a wonderful actor with the right material, but he’ll spend the majority of this season stuck in episodes that completely waste his talents.

I’d give the episode one star, but two tiny nuggets rise it up in my mind. First, Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones. Wilton is a fantastic actress and elevates almost any material she’s in. And she’s intregal enough to the plot of this story, that her presence here actually helps make the episode more watchable. Second, a small cameo by actress Naoko Mori as Dr. Toshiko Sato. It’s a role she’ll reprise full-time two years later as a regular cast member on “Torchwood”.

And yes, Harriet, we know who you are.

3.5 — World War Three — 1 star

Part of me doesn’t even want to review this. It was abysmal from start to finish, going downhill from where the last episode left off. If it wasn’t Doctor Who, I would never watch this show again.

“World War Three” is everything wrong about “Aliens of London” by a factor of ten. Take every inane idea from “AoL”, add more lazy plot devices plus the world’s worst encrypted military defense system ever( “Mickey, here’s the password that you need in order to access all the military might on Earth using your laptop and a 56k connection. Can you blow up Downing Street for me? Shouldn’t take a minute.”), and you have this episode — destined to go down as quite possibly one of the worst of this new incarnation’s entire run. And something not even Penelope Wilton can help save.

Remember back in the late Sixties through the mid-Seventies when the BBC was horribly shortsighted and opted to wipe and destroy the master copies of several years worth of Doctor Who serials featuring the first three Doctors? At least with this episode, I’m actually hoping they some day re-establish the process. It’s that bad.

I broke a promise to myself to never watch this episode again when I started reviewing episodes for my blog. NEVER AGAIN.

Blah blah blah, baby faced, farting aliens chase the main characters around for a bit. Then they get blown up. And thats it. Its like a skeleton of an episode that was written and padded out the night before filming commenced.

Please let this stop.

3.6 — Dalek — 4 stars

Oh. Thank you. Really, thank you. After the slow start to the series, followed by the worst two-parter in the history of television, this comes along. This episode was absolutely FANTASTIC.

In this episode we see the Daleks as they should be- a single Dalek inducing an anxiety and aggression in the Doctor like no one else does, an underlying menace throughout the whole episode even when the Dalek isn’t doing anything. No, ESPECIALLY when the Dalek isn’t doing anything. The strange relationship between the Dalek and the Doctor when they talk is a great scene too, they are so different yet similar in some ways. They almost have a rapport for a second if it wasn’t for the hatred they have of each other, its an interesting connection. Fantastic episode.

Originally I wasn’t too keen on the ‘Dalek absorbing human DNA to become more human’ line, but then… where the Dalek might have gone all ‘Hugh’ on us, instead it decides humanity is a disease and kills itself rather than be like us. Great writing, and exactly as it should be.

As a kid the ongoing joke about the Daleks was ‘just run upstairs then they can’t get you’. I loved the bit where Rose tries just that, and to her dismay the Dalek levitates (fine, I know they levitated in Remembrance of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, but it was great to see Rose behave exactly as we would when faced with a pepper pot on wheels). Love it. This is Doctor Who as it should be, this is what I’ve been waiting for, and this single-handedly makes me forget the Slitheen. Wonderful.

Chris Eccleston finally brings 100% of his acting ability to the camera, and you feel his horror as he realizes that after all his sacrificing and the guilt and pain he feels about committing genocide to both his own race and the Daleks, that there is still the “one who got away.” (Well, technically, we’ll find out that more than one of both races still exist so he did a VERY sloppy job…but we’ll get to that in seasons to come).

Robert Shearman’s script is tight and fast-paced, even when the scenes only involve one-on-one dialogues between the Doctor and his least favorite mechanical menace. And Rose finally begins to serve her larger purpose…and for the first time will save the Doctor from himself. We see the dark side of this incarnation of our hero on full display in this episode, no more so than at the end when Rose stands between the Doctor with a gun and a Rose DNA-infused Dalek who already feels infected with humanity and wants to die. Her question …”How does killing the Dalek make you any different than one?” … pulls him from a precipice. And it marks the first of several times throughout the first couple seasons where we see how Rose helps make the Doctor a better person.

Perhaps that’s the reason the Doctor travels with companions. Not for amusement, not for adoration, not even to combat loneliness. Strictly for the reason that he knows all too well what he could be capable of without someone to ground him and keep him from becoming a danger to himself. It’s a theme we’ll see again and again later on.

This is one of Eccleston’s must-see episodes and one not to be missed by ANY fan of Who. It’s one of my top 5 episodes of all-time.

3.7 — The Long Game — 1 star

This episode threatens to be interesting, but unfortunately is ruined. It’s like being friends with a kid who insists on telling you that she’s rich all the time. If he’d just stop going on about it for 2 minutes you might like her, but alas she seems to think it’s important and impressive so he makes you want to whack him upside the head with his own money.

Big bad media tells people what to think. This is bad. Media brainwash people. Bad. Bad editor control media, and has bad influence on people. Bad. Media create climate of fear- and closed borders, because as viewers we’re all stupid and think immigrants are stealing our jobs. Why do we have such silly views? Because the big bad media brainwash us into thinking it. Oh wait! I see what the writer is doing, he’s making a subtle reference to OUR society. Wow! Get real.

Russell T Davies can be a brilliant script writer when he wants to be, but for the majority of this season, at least, his episodes are grand ideas followed through with shoddy execution. That leaves the rest of his writing team (like the last episode’s Robert Shearman) to pick up his slack with the flashes of brilliance this season occasionally sees. And the dip in quality is no more evident than with this episode.

At last episode’s end, the TARDIS picked up a new companion named Adam. Apparently, he wasn’t the brightest of the bunch … hope none of you got too attached.

The whole premise of the episode — that the human race is a slave to media — is an intriguing one, especially considering our culture’s dependance on Google and Wikipedia, and social media like Facebook and Twitter. Our needs to always have information at the tip of our fingertips is a given in this technological age already. But what do you lose in the process? It could make for an interesting examination — but not in this episode. Again … big ideas and terrible execution. You won’t find the answers here.

What you WILL find is Simon Pegg in a guest role that is squandered. A self-professed Who fan (and sci-fi geek in general), Pegg’s presence is great but limited to what amounts as a henchman (in a suit) for this episode’s “Big Bad”. Here’s to hoping maybe we see him again down the road with a meatier part. He deserves it. And we deserve better than this episode — full of promise but self-sabotaged in the end.

3.8 — Father’s Day — 4 stars

Doctor who should be about traveling the universe, exploring time and space. But if you suddenly became a passenger in a time machine, what would be the first thing that runs through your mind? Probably something similar to what ran through Rose’s mind to bring us ‘Father’s Day’. And what a gem it is too.

‘Father’s Day’ explores the what-if’s that a time machine would create, and it does it beautifully. We see people that don’t live up to rose-tinted (sorry, another very bad pun) expectations, fear and impulse in the face of changing history, and a fearsome reminder that the time-line is not for messing with. Rose is great in this episode, Pete is fantastically done even if (deliberately) not altogether likeable. It was great to see the Doctor doing everything- even suffering in his own apparent death- in order to silently try and give Rose what she wants EVEN after chastising her for wanting it… that’s the Doctor. One of the best episodes of the season, and now we are seeing the show get back into it’s stride I am confident that the next episode will be just as good.

As a sci-fi nut, I love when the genre plays with the concept of time. It’s part of why I love Doctor Who so much. Whether it’s Star Trek, Stargate, or the Twilight Zone, almost all genre shows tackle it as a concept. Sometimes it’s schlocky, sometimes (as in the Back to the Future film trilogy) it’s handled brilliantly, and in the case of this episode of Who … it comes from the heart and moves you emotionally.

If you compensate for the fact that the Doctor normally wouldn’t be dumb enough to let someone mess around in their own timestream, the episode is nearly flawless. Rose changes history by saving her father, Peter Tyler, from a tragic accident and time begins to fight back. Who wouldn’t want to save a loved one if they knew they could prevent a needless death? But is it worth the price paid?

Billie Piper and Camille Coduri continue to be brilliant in an episode that places the entirety of the Tyler family at its core. Shaun Dingwall plays Pete Tyler to perfection, as a man whose reality is far different from the idea of perfection that has been built up in Rose’s mind — it seems Jackie’s memory enhanced some things over the years. And the scene where Pete finally realizes that the adult Rose is his grown-up baby daughter is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Because to right this wrong, a new sacrifice must be made.

For all the special effects and whiz-bang of this new incarnation of Who…the stories always play best when the basic tentpoles of human emotion are centric to the story…concepts like love, death, loss, fear, grief, elation. Every one of those emotions gets center stage here, and the episode shines because of it. Minor nitpicks have no effect on the overall rating of this puppy. Like “Dalek”, this is one of the masterpieces of the Eccleston era for me. Call me sentimental.

3.9 — The Empty Child — 4 stars

Steven Moffat gives us an episode that accomplishes two spectacular things:

First, it introduces a catchphrase for Doctor Who that I hope one day will rival the Dalek’s “Exterminate!” as part of popular lexicon. The phrase “Are you my mummy?” is in turn both heartbreaking and scary as hell, as a nanogene-mutated little boy both searches for his mother and infects all he touches. It’s eerie, frightening and tragic.

Second, the episode introduces us to Captain Jack Harkness for the first time. Here, he’s an intergalactic time-traveling con man looking for a big score — a far cry from the true hero he will become in later Who stories and within his own spin-off series, Torchwood. He may look like a pretty boy, but make no mistake. This is the role John Barrowman was born to play, and from the start, Barrowman conveys exactly the right amount of ego, cheekiness, edge and style. The character may still seem a little one-dimensional at the end of this episode…but don’t worry. He’ll eventually have shades of depth even some of the Doctor’s companions never receive.

London during the Blitz is a great backdrop, too. That said, the first season does suffer from one too many stories set on Earth. For an intergalactic traveler like the Doctor, he should be…um…traveling. While I understand it from a series budget standpoint (especially here in the first year with so many costs incurred getting the show off the ground), half the fun of the Doctor’s adventures are the senses of discovery found in places much less familiar. And for me, it was with this story that I began to think to myself “Earth again?”.

That quibble aside, this is a fantastic episode that first begins to showcase the greatness Moffat brings to this series … both in later scripts, and when Moffat takes over the series a few years later. Not quite perfect, but much better than average.

I am to this day forbidden to utter the phrase ‘Are you my mummy?’ in our house. ‘The Empty Child’ is freaky and dark, both the child and the episode. Set against the backdrop of the blitz it is disturbing and menacing, with the supporting cast- Nancy in particular- giving it depth of emotion. The dialogue is wonderful as well, making this a particular favourite episode of mine.

3.10 — The Doctor Dances — 4 stars

This episode continues where ‘The Empty Child’ left off, and doesn’t disappoint. I have already mentioned the great setting and feel to the episode in the last review, and in this episode the dynamic is changed slightly to center the most part of the episode around the crew being hunted down in the hospital. It works wonderfully, gives chance for some great character interaction, and is enough of a change to ‘The Empty Child’ to make it feel different.

It also gave us more chance to see Captain Jack, and I was indeed wrong in my first impressions. I love him. There is something about his cocky swagger mixed with genuine nice guy, which when put together with his great banter with Rose and the Doctor make me want to see him in every scene. I was really sad when it seemed he would die at the end of the episode, so when he was saved and he joined the crew I rejoiced.

The one issue I have with the episode, which perhaps kept me from giving it 5 stars, is the plot resolution. It wasn’t bad per-se, and I liked the idea behind the nanogenes, but… there was something unsatisfying, something a little wishy-washy about the implication that Nancy admitting that the boy was her son was all that was needed to save everybody. Its poetic, but not practical. I won’t dwell on that, because I loved this two-parter. That’s how it is done- ‘Aliens of London’ take note.

The second half of this two-parter continues to shine with everything hitting just the right notes.

The fact that shifting most of the action to the hospital helps differentiate this episode from the first-part. It makes the two episodes seem a shade less connected. If you didn’t like the first half, the change in tone and setting may help you enjoy the second portion — especially if you like a bit of wack-o in your genre programming. The shots of all those infected staggering around en masse definitely gives it that vibe.

3.11 — Boom Town — 2 stars

I’m always a fan of glimpses into the deeper layers of the Doctor’s personality and past. The restaurant scenes in this episode do just that. That there is almost some commonality between the Doctor and this monster sat in front of him… it’s something neither the Doctor nor the audience want to admit.

Unfortunately the rest of the episode largely blows though. The ‘comedy’ feel of the first half doesn’t sit well with the darker second, and the rubbish about the Slitheen feeling remorse in the toilet is as devoid of resonance as it is logic. Captain Jack suffers from inferior dialogue to the previous episodes, and Mickey arrives for no reason but for the writer to try and force us to care about his hangers-on. Most unforgivable of all though is the way the episode sets up a really interesting and difficult moral dilemma, only to pull the carpet out from under us at the end with a ‘get out of jail free’ card. By turning the condemned into an egg and giving her a fresh start, no one need make any difficult decisions. This was a wasted opportunity.

The exceptional John Barrowman sticks around as Captain Jack Harkness, but his appearance here is worthless as there’s very little for him to do. Ditto Noel Clarke, whose only reason for inclusion is to show that he’s still moping around at the loss of Rose and jealous of her emotional intimacy with the Doctor.

While the theme for the episode is a sound one, the execution is left very wanting. For me, I think it’s because the episode wants you to feel something (anything) for the Slitheen, and I couldn’t. The Slitheen had “comic relief” written all over them from the first “fart” sound they made. It rendered them unconvincing from the start. They fared far better in stories created for later spin-off “The Sarah Jane Adventures”. And maybe that’s for the best. Three seperate hours in the inaugural season and all of them bad, including this last proper Who appearance.

Good riddance.

3.12 — Bad Wolf — 1 star

Good grief! I can’t describe the horrible feeling I had when I saw this episode. Big Brother, Weakest Link, some make-over show… this really hits rock bottom when it comes to dumbing down and trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I thought that this was an abysmal parody gone wrong, but when I read that writer Russell T Davies meant this episode to be a positive homage to the shows- my heart sank. What are you doing to my Doctor, Davies? Please have mercy.

No mercy. Coming was the biggest case of kicking the viewer whilst they’re down in human history.

After what must have actually been an entire episode worth of ‘The Weakest Link’, evil masterminds are revealed to be behind it…. oh please no. Dalek was such a good episode, so claustrophobic and menacing with the single unstoppable dalek. Please don’t ruin it with a fleet of…. oh there they are. A fleet of Daleks. Their race dead, until Davies decides he doesn’t want them to be and they magically come back to life. So surely the same can happen to the Time Lords in a later episode, right? And destroy any emotions that the audience may have about they’re destruction and the impact it had on the Doctor? Don’t start down this path of waving away major events for the sake of bad writing, I beg you- because it is a horrible downward spiral.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m going to put this out there: I’m a huge fan of trivia game-shows. I’ve tested for “Jeopardy!” myself several times. Shows like that one, “1 vs. 100”, and the like are all ones I love to death. So the inclusion of Rose playing a futuristic version of “The Weakest Link” with an “Anne”-droid version of the host was brilliant, in my opinion. And, outside of Captain Jack’s best line of the season, the only thing that saves this episode from a zero star rating.

The episode highlights for me a very major point for the new series’ first four years. Russell T. Davies is exceptional at making you feel. He can develop characters you care for and love like nobody’s business. He’s a master at connecting with the audience through those characters and playing us like a fiddle. We experience their joys, their failures, their loves and their losses. It’s his strongest attribute. But, frankly, he’s terrible at establishing, building and maintaing cohesive narratives. Look at the best episodes of Season One. The “Rose” pilot not included, who wrote what for many fans were the strongest episodes that year? “Dalek”? Not by RTD. “The Empty Child” or “The Doctor Dances”? Both by RTD’s successor and current showrunner. The overall ratio of good episodes to bad ones would be much better in seasons to come, mainly because Davies took more steps back as a writer and focused on other producer duties. And maybe that’s why so many of his scripts in Year One are as awful as they are. The focus of trying to revive this genre juggernaut for a new generation had to have taken a toll on him, and in my view, it was his installments as writer that you see where the damage is done. In the hands of lesser actors than Eccleston and Piper, it could have honestly sunk the show. Luckily, it wouldn’t and in a matter of months, we’d be introduced to a new Doctor played by an amazing talent whose take on the character would be so iconic that it would launch the franchise to heights even bigger than anyone imagined.

Until that point, though, we were stuck with half-hearted attempts like this. And, joy of joys, it’s a two-parter?

3.12 — The Parting of the Ways — 2 stars

This episode unfortunately sets the precedent for all Russell T Davies’ finales. It’s loud, lots of CGI, lots of noise, and a plot that only makes sense if you have been drinking the same thing he has.

I had trouble writing the synopsis for this episode — once you distill the 45 minutes into a few paragraphs you see just how stupid the whole thing is. The message Bad Wolf inspires Rose to look into the heart of the TARDIS and become supreme. Oh, of course. The Doctor absorbs that power because it kills the person who has it- except of course Rose who has time to bandy about sending non-sensical messages that look cool in episode teasers and saving Jack (but not the countless dead from the invasion, thanks).

Wait, back up. The Daleks? Weren’t they dead? Not any more apparently, they’re busy playing The Weakest Link. Alright, weren’t they so fearsome that the mighty Time Lords couldn’t beat them? Shame none of the Time Lords thought to look into the heart of the TARDIS like Rose did. The most literal of Deus Ex Machinas. And don’t get me wrong, I love that the Doctor abhors violence but surely by not making the hard choice and using the bomb, and instead leaving the daleks alive, he has doomed the entire universe to extermination? Not to mention, why bother building the big bomb of death in the first place if you’ve no intention of using the thing.

They also forgot to pick up Jack at the end, though I like the way they retcon the reason for that in a later season. If the episode was so bad, why did I give it 2 stars and not 1? David Tennant was on screen for 19 seconds- that’s all he needs to boost an episode. Roll on ‘The Christmas Invasion’.

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