Doctor Who - The New Series
TX: 8 July 2006
Written by: Russell T. Davies
Directed by: Graeme Harper
Running time: 46' 13"
Location: London, Earth/Alternate universe London
Monsters and villains: The Cybermen (human brains encased in robot bodies), The Daleks (mutants genetically engineered to feel nothing but hate for all non-Dalek life forms).
Tardisode Synopsis: A newsreader reports on the escalating Dalek/Cyberman war before being exterminated by invading Daleks.
Plot Synopsis: Earth is caught in the crossfire of a war between the Daleks and the Cybermen, but The Doctor can't save both humanity and Rose Tyler.
Smug Warning: The Doctor and Rose blithering about 3D glasses while MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE DYING.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry": No mentions.
Trivia: (1) The working title for this episode was "Torchwood Falls".
(2) The Tardisode for this episode originally concluded with The Doctor laying flowers at the graves of Rose and Jackie. A second version took the form of a dating advert, with the man watching it being attacked by a Cyberman.
(3) Torchwood was originally going to be based in Cardiff on the space/time Rift seen in 1.03, "The Unquiet Dead" and 1.11, "Boom Town", but when the Torchwood series was green lit, Davies came up with the idea of having four different Torchwood 'branches' and gave the Cardiff branch to the spin-off.
(4) As the script was being developed, the possibility of Mickey, not Pete, catching Rose was discussed. However, it was thought that having Pete catch her would symbolise his acceptance of her as his daughter.
(5) The scene where Jake ushers The Doctor and Jackie into the lift was originally a much more expensive sequence involving the pair using the Jathaa Sun Glider (mentioned in 1.12, "Army of Ghosts") to reach the top of the tower.
(6) Dalek Sec is a black Dalek - traditionally Dalek leaders were coloured in black.
(7) The scenes in Bad Wolf Bay were shot on Southerdown Beach, in Ogmore Vale near Bridgend.
(8) Although credited only as "The Bride" in this episode, Catherine Tate's character is actually called Donna Noble. She is The Doctor's companion for the duration of the 2005 Christmas special, sp.04, "The Runaway Bride". The casting of Tate, a well known comic actress in Britain, was kept so secret that director Grahame Harper had no idea that she would be in the episode until the day of filming.
(9) The last scene was refilmed for the start of sp.03, "The Runaway Bride".
(10) The battle is referred to in Torchwood episode 1.01, "Everything Changes", as "the battle of Canary Wharf".
(11) The idea of the Daleks using radiation found on time travellers as a source of energy was first seen in 1.06, "Dalek", although there the Dalek says that it needed time-traveller DNA.
(12) The scene were Rose demands to be taken back parallels a similar scene in 1.13, "The Parting of the Ways".
(13) The Daleks can be seen tumbling into the Void, but the Cybermen cannot. In the episode commentary, Russell T. Davies says that the Cybermen passed back the same way they originally came (i.e. fading into 'ghosts' and vanishing). However, this is not shown, nor is it explained why or how the TARDIS is not pulled in.
(14) This is the first time in the new series that the Dalek home world, Skaro, is named.
(15) This episode marks the first time that the Daleks and Cybermen have been seen onscreen together. They appeared in the original series story "The Five Doctors", but in separate scenes.
(16) A Dalek demands that footage of The Doctor be rewound "nine rels" - a rel being a Dalek unit of time introduced in the (non-continuity) Peter Cushing Doctor Who films. It was then used in TV-series spin-off media. This is the first time it has been mentioned in the series.
(17) Polycarbonide, the fictional metal from which Dalek casings are made, was first mentioned in the Seventh Doctor story "Remembrance of the Daleks".
(18) The Doctor mentions the fall of Arcadia during the Time War. The planet of Arcadia was first mentioned in the spin-off novel "Deceit".
(19) The point of view shots through the 3D glasses actually are in limited 3D.
(20) The Doctor's 3D glasses appear on Jack's desk in the spin-off series Torchwood.
(21) When the cyberised Yvonne Hartman appears, one of the LEDs in her mouth doesn't light up, suggesting that she is defective.
(22) Rose says that Bad Wolf Bay's Norwegian name is 'Dårlig Ulv Stranden', although this translates into English as 'crap wolf' rather than 'evil wolf'. An identical error was made when translating the name into German in 1.10, "The Doctor Dances".
Spoiler Synopsis: As the Void Ship Daleks prepare to attack, Rose catches them off-guard by referring to them by name. The leader, a black Dalek, asks how she knows about the Time War and she says she will tell them if the Daleks keep them alive. The leader says that she and Mickey are necessary and orders its comrades to protect the "Genesis Ark" - a Dalek-shaped object that has also floated out of the void ship.
In Torchwood's main office, The Doctor promises Jackie that he will save Rose, while the Cyber Leader near to them uses Torchwood's control systems to announce that humanity should accept their 'upgrade' with open arms. However, the human race proves somewhat more resourceful than it expects and the Cybermen are met by human soldiers, who use explosives to kill the cyborgs when guns prove useless. In the Void Ship room, the black Dalek demands that its prisoners tell it which of them is least important. Rose refuses, but Dr Singh steps forward and says that he will represent Torchwood. The Daleks command him to kneel, then use their 'plunger' arms to extract information from his brainwaves.
The process burns out Singh - literally. His charred skeleton falls to the floor as two Cybermen head to the lab to investigate the alien presences that have been detected there. The black Dalek tells one of its comrades - "Dalek Thay" - to investigate the Cyberman invasion that it detected in Dr Singh's brain. The Dalek meets the two Cybermen, who beam the encounter back to the Cyber Leader's control room, where The Doctor eavesdrops. Both sides demand that the other identify itself and Dalek Thay slips up when it admits that it is a Dalek. However, it also observes that the steel warriors look rather like Cybermen.
The Doctor calls Rose's mobile phone, noting that she it alive when she answers. She leaves the line open so that The Doctor can hear talk about the Genesis Ark. Meanwhile, the Cybermen propose an alliance with the Daleks, but - being xenophobic in the extreme - the Daleks refuse and Thay exterminates the two Cybermen in front of it. The Cyber Leader comes onscreen and argues with the black Dalek about it effectively declaring war. The black Dalek then notices The Doctor in the background and demands that Rose identify him, which she does.
With the transmission off, the Cyber Leader orders that Jackie and Yvonne Hartman be taken away to be converted. Yvonne begins to cry as she is led to the conversion chamber to be flensed. Meanwhile, the Cyber Leader has kept The Doctor behind to learn more of The Daleks. Luckily, at that moment, a team of soldiers materialise from thin air in the control room. They use laser guns like Mickey's to blast the Cybermen before the squad leader reveals himself to be Jake Simmonds, one of the Preachers from 1.05, "Rise of the Cybermen".
The Cybermen stop while the Cyber Leader's files are downloaded into a new body, giving Jackie the chance to escape. Elsewhere, Jake explains how they passed across the Void between worlds, using technology from their version of Torchwood to create transporter belts. He uses the technology to teleport The Doctor over to his parallel Torchwood, where Pete Tyler is waiting. In the Void Ship room, Mickey shows Rose his teleporter but explains that his will only transport one person and promises that he won't leave her. Rose explains that the Daleks need them for the time vortex radiation that has soaked into their skin while travelling with The Doctor. It's harmless, she says, but the Daleks have adapted to use it as an alternate power source (as seen in 1.06, "Dalek". She says that they must want one of them to power up and open the Genesis Ark. Mickey wonders why the Daleks would build something they can't open, and the black Dalek interrupts to say that the Ark belongs to the Time Lords, not the Daleks.
Over on the parallel Earth, Pete explains that although the Cybermen were beaten, people began to argue that they should be treated and not destroyed. During this period, the Cybermen infiltrated the alt-universe Torchwood and discovered files on The Doctor and his world. They then constructed technology to pass through the Void - but because there were so many of them it took three years for them to pass through, while individuals can move in a second. Three years later, the Preachers constructed their own technology and jumped across the breach to help.
Pete explains about his world - noting that Britain is run by Harriet Jones - and says that global warming is melting the icecaps. The Doctor explains that it's to do with the cracks between worlds; every time someone travels through to the other universe, the cracks get bigger and both universes begin to suffer. If they keep doing it the barriers will break altogether and both universes will be sucked into the Void. Pete asks The Doctor to help and he agrees. They travel back across and The Doctor uses the Sonic Screwdriver to alter Jake's gun so that it will kill the Daleks. Then he goes over to a Cyberman to surrender.
The black Dalek demands that Rose touch the Ark and threatened to shoot Mickey. Instead, she boasts about how she killed the Dalek Emperor. Before the Dalek can kill her, The Doctor turns up in the doorway. Rose tells him that the Dalek has a name and it confirms this, saying that it is Dalek Sec. Its companions are Thay, Jast and Caan. The Doctor says that they are from the Cult of Skaro, a group of Daleks given individual names and identities to help them think like the enemy. However, he says that he does not know what the Genesis Ark is.
Sec, the black Dalek, demands that The Doctor open the Ark but instead he uses his Sonic Screwdriver to blow open the doors into the room, allowing a combined force of Cybermen and Preachers to run in. The Preachers' modified weapons disrupt the Daleks long enough for the team to escape, but the Daleks soon begin to fire again, killing the Cybermen. On their way out, one of the damaged Cybermen knocks Mickey into the Ark, causing it to activate. The Daleks escort the Ark away to somewhere with the space it requires to work properly. The Doctor tells Mickey not to worry about touching the Ark, since the Daleks would have used the sun itself to open the Ark otherwise.
Jackie is discovered in a stairwell by two Cybermen, but before they can execute her they are shot down by Pete. After an uncomfortable few seconds, she and Pete hug each other. In Torchwood's main storage room, the Cult of Skaro fight their way through a squad of Cybermen and a team of Torchwood's soldiers. The Doctor runs into the room briefly to grab a pair of giant electronic clamps. The Daleks move up through the roof with the Genesis Ark, where it opens and begins to spin, spitting out hundreds of thousands of Daleks. The Doctor realises that it was a prison ship using Time Lord technology to make it bigger on the inside than on the outside. As swarms of Daleks fly out across the Earth to destroy all life, the Cyber Leader gives the command for all Cybermen to engage in combat.
Pete says that the situation is hopeless, but The Doctor says that they still have a chance. He brings out the 3D glasses and asks Rose to put them on. When she does, she sees a strange black substance clinging to The Doctor. He says that it is "Void stuff" and that since they spent so much time in-between worlds, the Daleks and Cybermen will be covered in it. Thus, when he opens up the portal by inducing another ghost shift, they will be sucked inside. He can then seal it again, having used the giant clamps from Torchwood's storage to stop himself from being pulled in. However, everyone but The Doctor will have to go to Pete's world, otherwise they risk being pulled into the Void themselves.
Rose refuses, having realised that she will be trapped in Pete's world forever. Jackie tells her that she's not leaving her behind. While they argue, Pete puts transport discs on them and transports them all back to his world. However, Rose immediately jumps back again. She tells The Doctor that she will not leave him and he accepts this. They alter the co-ordinates on Torchwood's computers and set up the clamps. They pull the levers, opening the Void and the Daleks are pulled into the void, while the Cybermen rise into the sky. However, Sec activates an "emergency temporal shift" and escapes in time.
Rose's lever begins to shut down, so she lets go of her clamp to grab hold of it and move it. The lever is harder to hold onto, however, and as the last few Daleks fly into the Void, Rose lets go. Just before she hits the void portal, however, Pete materialises and catches her before teleporting back to his world. The ghost shift ends and the Void portal closes forever. Rose is distraught.
Months later, Rose begins to hear The Doctor's voice calling her. She, Pete, Jackie and Mickey - who are now all living in Pete's mansion - head off to the source of the call, a beach in Norway called Bad Wolf Bay. The Doctor appears on the beach and says that he's using up the power of an entire sun just to transmit his image through the last of the cracks between worlds. He says that the crack is not big enough to permit him to travel through, however. Rose says that her mother is pregnant and that she is now working for Torchwood because of her alien expertise. The Doctor explains that she and Jackie are both listed as two of the millions of people that died during the Dalek/Cyberman attack (thus fulfilling the prophecy in 1.09, "The Satan Pit").
Rose asks if she will ever see him again but he says she can't. She asks him what he will do and he says he will keep wandering, alone. She tells The Doctor that she loves him and he is quite obviously reluctant to do the same. But realising it's his last chance, he says, "Rose Tyler, I--". His image vanishes. Rose runs back to Jackie in tears.
Aboard the TARDIS, The Doctor wipes away his tears and looks up to see a woman in a wedding dress stood on the other side of the console. She demands to know where she is, but all he can say is: "what?!"
TO BE CONTINUED
Review: It's Cybermen vs. Daleks! If you're as big a geek as me, that's pretty much all you need to know about this episode. The Doctor's two biggest classic enemies duking it out mano-a-cybermano with the aid of top-notch special effects is wonderful. Okay, so I would have preferred it if the Cybes had done a bit more damage (not one Dalek dying due to Cyber-gunfire? That's rubbish!) but still. This is the kind of thing that pushes all my buttons. And the Cyberman/Dalek bitch fight, while dangerously close to the wrong side of camp, is still tonnes of fun to watch.
That's not to say that the rest of the episode isn't worthwhile. It's nice to see the return of Pete Tyler and the Preachers, and although Rose's eventual fate was blindingly obvious the moment Mickey turned up, Davies makes the journey to get there thoroughly watchable. The only major problem is that even though this is her swansong, Rose doesn't really get much to do until the end of the story, which is a shame - although considering the running time I can see why they might want to concentrate on giving the other characters their own chances to shine. Another 15 minutes would've been peachy, particularly since it would have allowed the Dalek/Cybes battle to seem more like a war than a skirmish, but hey! Them's the breaks.
Granted, there're a few bits and bobs that seem a bit wonky. For a start, what the hell is "Void stuff"? If it has stuff in it then by its very definition it isn't a void. Then there's the daft standoff between Rose/Mickey and the Daleks - they threaten to shoot Mickey unless Rose helps them, so why doesn't he just use his teleporter to zip away, thus removing their only bargaining chip? And there are other bits - the Cybermen not being pulled into the Void with the Daleks, Pete mysteriously knowing exactly where Rose would be without explanation etc etc. But sod it - this is a good enough episode that these things don't really matter.
Another little spot of joy is the Cult of Skaro, the quintet of personality-gifted Daleks. This is a wonderful idea and they certainly deserve more than a mere 45 minute story, which is why I'm pleased to see that at least one of them has teleported away, presumably to return in the third season. Like the religious Daleks of "The Parting of the Ways", it's the kind of idea that can easily support a couple of stories, so I hope that they're given their due when they return. I'd particularly like to see what it's like to be one of the only Daleks with an individual personality, living in an army populated by unthinking soldiers, although I accept that's probably more of a 'spin-off book' thing than a TV series plot.
Of course, the standout scene from this episode is the coda at Bad Wolf Bay, which sees both Tennant and Piper acting their socks clean off. There was some consternation among fans that such a large amount of time should be spent waving off a character, but really - Rose is the first permanent companion that a sizeable proportion of the audience will have seen. To just throw her out without giving her a proper send off would have been... weird at best. And the decision to twist the knife by not giving The Doctor a chance to reciprocate Rose's love is gloriously nasty. Great stuff. As is the appearance of the bride, a wonderfully off-kilter way to end the series.
So there goes season two. After the wild fluctuations in quality throughout season one, this season's episodes were largely pretty great, with only a handful of stinkers. It's a shame, however, that the season as a whole fell down on more than one occasion due to Rose's botched character development. During Christopher Eccleston's tenure, Rose's role was clear: to provide a human, compassionate foil for Eccleston's cold and frequently dismissive Doctor. And over the course of that season, she would grow from a shop girl with no qualifications to a brave and experienced adventurer - likewise, The Doctor would learn to open himself up a little. And that was where we left them at the end of "The Christmas Invasion".
By "New Earth", however, both characters had completely changed again. In The Doctor's case, that was understandable; the vagaries of regeneration have always left him looking and acting like a completely different man, and his transformation from shell-shocked loner to gregarious wisecracker was an interesting move. The problem is that Rose also changed - just as The Doctor became more in tune with the feelings of others, so she became more aloof, acting flippantly around others during moments of mortal peril, particularly in "Tooth and Claw" and "Love & Monsters".
Putting aside the fact that this switch around doesn't make sense on a fictional level, there's the dramatic problem of having two lead characters that are very, very similar. Worse, two lead characters whose similarity results in them forming a smug little clique that even fellow TARDIS occupant Mickey Smith didn't get to share. It's okay to have one character be a bit of a dick if the other one calls him or her on it, but when they're both doing it, the show becomes intensely irritating. At the start of series two I was hoping that Piper wouldn't jump ship. By the end, I couldn't wait for the new companion to turn up.
The worst bit is that there wasn't even a payoff to this. Davies suggested that the end of the series would see them getting their comeuppance, but there really isn't any kind of connection between the characters' hubris and their eventual separation. There's also the problem that there's no development in Rose's character. After the quantum leap to smug annoyingness between "The Christmas Invasion" and "New Earth", Rose's character arc stops dead. There are two moments where she is confronted with the possibility of being replaced, but none of the stories build on this or allow that potential character arc to develop. It's a total failure on the part of the producers and show runner, it really is.
There is some attempt to provide a link between the episodes in the form of the "Torchwood" appearances and the repetition of the line "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry", but both come across as clumsy and forced. Particularly the Torchwood reference - at least there was an in-story reason for Bad Wolf to appear throughout the first season, but this just seems like a pathetically ham fisted attempt to get the phrase stuck in the public's mind, ready for the spin-off series that followed on from this season of Who. "I'm sorry", on the other hand, is just a bit tedious. There's no plot or thematic reason why everyone should suddenly start saying the line, and all too often it seems to have been crowbarred in at the last minute. Tennant certainly seems uncomfortable with the line whenever he has to deliver it and, to be fair, it's a bit too wordy to deliver in some situations.
So. Doomsday: awesome on toast. Season two: frequent moments of excellence, but never more than the sum of its parts.
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