Hi there! This post is a day late, as noted in my previous post. Sorry about that!
Anyway, welcome to my Day 13 NaBloPoMo post, covering the 2nd and final part of the Series 1 finale, "The Parting Of The Ways."
This episode covers the fight against the Daleks at the Game Station and the end of the Ninth Doctor. That really sums it up, actually.
Jack really proved himself in this episode. He helped the Doctor rescue Rose from the Daleks, then took charge and led a team of volunteers to take down an army of Daleks that were gradually inching their way up into the control room, distracting them so the Doctor could set up a Delta Wave that could destroy the rest of the Dalek fleet. He is a pretty darn good Companion.
The Doctor really shows a crisis of conscience in this episode. When the Dalek Emperor points out that using the Delta Wave to take out the Daleks could take out the humans in the vicinity as well, he asks the Doctor if he'll be "a coward or a killer." The Doctor has to think before he responds, then declares that he'd choose to be a coward any day. This hearkens back to "Dalek" where the Doctor tells the lone Dalek that all the other Time Lords died, and the Dalek replies, "And the coward survived." That's been the Doctor's struggle all through the season - he could have stayed and brought an end to the Time War in some braver fashion, but instead he unleashed something (canon doesn't say what, but the comics - the canon status of which is questionable - tell us he used some powerful Time Lord weapon) that took out all the Time Lords and most of the Daleks, then stole a TARDIS, and ran away.
The Doctor also shows a crisis of conscience when he sends Rose home for her own safety. Clearly, he had planned to do so ahead of time - since he had the time to not only pre-program the TARDIS to take her home but also record a farewell hologram - and yet when the camera shows him pointing the Sonic Screwdriver at the TARDIS to send it away, and you hear Rose banging on the door and crying out in the background, the pain on his face is pretty obvious. He really doesn't want to have to do it, but he cares enough for her safety that he has to.
And that brings us to the whole "Bad Wolf" scenario with Rose saving the Doctor. I knew it was coming, but the whole way it played out seemed rather underwhelming. I mean, if the Heart of the TARDIS is going to grant Rose reality-warping-goddess powers à la Haruhi Suzumiya, don't you think it would be more, well, epic? Sure, she pilots the TARDIS back to the Doctor, resurrects Jack (and, we find out later - in Torchwood and in Series 3 of Doctor Who - made him immortal), and destroys the entire 200-ship Dalek fleet, including the supposedly omnipotent Dalek Emperor. But there's no pizazz about it, no explosions, no epic music, nothing. Just Rose with glowing eyes and face, with the ability to see all of space and time, and minus her London accent. It seems very anticlimactic for being such a key moment.
The ending of the episode, with the Doctor kissing Rose to get the Time Vortex she absorbed out of her before it kills her, and the ensuing regeneration scene, were also pretty anticlimactic. Sure, the kiss was great, although a little creepy with the energy flowing between their eyes. And the brief moment where the Doctor's eyes are golden and he releases the energy through his mouth is pretty creepy too. I mean, he never looks more alien than in that moment.
But in the scene that follows, the Doctor is dying, yet he jokes his way through it. It seems rather inappropriate for the nature of the scene. Maybe it's just his personality (after all, this is the Doctor who says "fantastic" at the most inappropriate times). Still, it bugged me that he could joke about noseless dogs and about whether he'd have two heads or no head at a time like this! Why didn't Rose tell him off either? Grr!
Well, that's the end of that, the end of Series 1, the end of Nine. As his successor would say, "Allons-y!"
Speaking of Ten, we get a brief glimpse of him in this episode, right at the end when the Doctor regenerates. David Tennant in all his goofy glory. He only gets a couple lines in this episode, but here he is!
Tune in next time for the Series 1 Christmas Special and the Tenth Doctor's first adventure!
Final Thoughts on the Ninth Doctor
This being the Ninth Doctor's last episode, I wanted to give some final thoughts on him, like how I wrote about my first impression of him in the Episode 1 analysis.
As I have mentioned before, I went into this series/season expecting to like the Ninth Doctor a lot, since he fit my mental idea of what I imagined the Doctor to be like. But as the series progressed, I became more and more dissatisfied with Nine. He has a penchant for dark humor (saying "fantastic" in situations that are clearly not), is extremely judgmental of humans, and is overall not a very pleasant guy. Ok, so he has PTSD and all that from the Time War. And PTSD is a serious deal; it's not something to joke about. It still doesn't give him an excuse to be as much of a jerk as he was. I found myself liking Rose more than him (much like how I like Amy more than Eleven), and even liking JACK more than him - and I never expected to even like Jack. Sure, he had his good moments, but overall he just didn't do it for me.
I'm not saying Christopher Eccleston isn't a good actor; I'm sure he's a great actor. I'd be willing to see him in something else. (He's going to be in Thor: The Dark World, which comes out this November, as the main villain Malekith the Accursed, so maybe I'll go see him in that). But, as they say, sometimes an actor's only as good as their script. Eccleston even said in a recent Q & A that he felt he could've done more with the character if he'd stuck around. (Interestingly, he said that at a Q & A for a production of Antigone, in which he played Creon - having read that play multiple times, I'd be really interested to see how he plays that role...or any other stage role for that matter, cause he seems like he'd be a good stage actor. But then pretty much every British actor of note has spent some time "treading the boards"...it's almost like a requirement there; I wish it were here, maybe we'd have better actors). Also, it's worth noting that over half the season was written by one guy: Russell T Davies, the showrunner. My experience so far with Doctor Who has been that the later seasons, which feature a greater variety of writers, seem to just work better. And yes, I realize the current showrunner, Steven Moffat, does write a lot of the episodes himself. And both him and Davies were big fans of Who before they were even involved with it. But Moffat had a lot of experience on the writing staff before becoming showrunner, which may have helped. But that was one thing I noticed watching Series 1 was that almost all the episodes were written by Russell T Davies (8 out of 13 to be exact; he also wrote the Christmas Special and the Children in Need Special), and I would actually get excited when his name did NOT appear along with the episode title. So that may have influenced how things went as well. So, I can't blame it all on Eccleston.
That all being said, I would say Nine is not my favorite Doctor. And that's my final opinion.
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler
Part Thirteen: The Farewell
Since the theme of NaBloPoMo this month is "Love and Sex" (probably because of Valentine's Day), I feel compelled to write something about love in my posts. Hence, since I am exploring Series 1 and 2 in this challenge, I am going to write a little special essay throughout the month about the growing love between the Doctor and Rose. Please note I am in no way an expert on relationships.
This episode brings a sad moment in the romance of the Doctor and Rose - the farewell. Not the final farewell, mind you - that comes later. But a farewell nonetheless.
The Doctor's feelings for Rose, though not expressed in words, come out in this episode. Not only does he save her from the Daleks, just as he vowed to do, but when things get really dangerous, he protects her -- by sending her home. Even Rose's mum points this out, by saying that even though she never much liked the Doctor, he did the right thing sending Rose home to her mother. He also saves her when she returns to him anyway, by kissing her in order to absorb the Time Vortex and send its power back to the Heart of the TARDIS. He knows doing so will kill him, but he does it anyway. If that's not love, I don't know what is.
Rose also realizes in this episode just how much traveling with the Doctor has changed her life. He made her life better when she didn't have much to live for. As she puts it, before she met the Doctor, all she did each day was get up, catch the bus, go to work, come home, eat chips, go to bed. She actually has something to live for now, and she just can't go back to a normal life. So she takes drastic measures, cracks open the TARDIS console with some help from Mickey and her mum, and looks into the Heart of the TARDIS for the Doctor's sake.
Now, one could argue that it was the "Bad Wolf" meme that truly inspired Rose to action in this episode - after all, that was the whole purpose of the meme in the first place. The Bad Wolf scattered the meme across time and space precisely to give Rose the courage to go back and save the Doctor at this point in time. And yet I don't think that was the only thing motivating Rose. After all, to give her the power to become the Bad Wolf, the telepathic powers within the Heart of the TARDIS had to latch on to something - some thought or feeling. And I'm sure it latched on to her love for the Doctor and her desire for him to live. I don't see any other explanation.
But now that the Doctor has a new face, will Rose be able to love him just as much? We'll see!
Tune in next time for Day 14 of my NaBloPoMo challenge! The halfway mark woohoo!
Picture from Sonic Biro.