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Jun 24, 2005

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Part4_1"Small beautiful events". Too right you are, Sean. And what a perfect excuse to employ some bullet points in lieu of any coherent thoughts:

  • The TARDIS collides with a couple of dalek missiles and we're only 90 seconds into the episode!
  • The TARDIS materialises around Rose and her dalek captor - a punch the air moment if ever I saw one
  • The Doctor's front drops as he leans mournfully against the doors to the TARDIS as hundreds of daleks scream for his blood outside - chilling stuff
  • Rose realising that she can never go back to her normal life even if they do serve coleslaw at that new pizza place
  • Mickey finally getting the bloody message
  • The realisation that we can all lip-read daleks
  • Jack's last-man standing routine - and he gets the best "last line" ever
  • The daleks do daleky things - like mowing down rooms full of innocent civilians, complaining about their eye-stalks and waiting until the last possible moment until they shoot anyone (which I like to read as spiteful rather than stupid). And to quote Damon - there's "fausands of em"
  • the Doctor has to confront what is ostensibly a rubber monster with one eye in a tank - it's still Doctor Who!
  • two (count 'em) heart-wrenching goodbyes
  • the best closing and opening lines from any of the Doctors. Period.

Just one of those moments cropping up in a single season would have been enough, let alone a single episode. Were we spoilt rotten, or what?

So yes, there are some wonderful, iconic moments to savour. It's just a shame about the plot.

We're supposed to be in the year 200,100. Now Jack is from the 51st century - where they appear to time travel for a living and they wear fancy digital guns - and that sounds pretty futuristic to me. But then we have to believe that this is set in the 2000th century! Where they still watch Big Brother and use machine guns! I mean, f**k-a-bout!

Part1_1I don't think I'll ever get my head around that. Does it also mean that when the daleks fell through time after the Time War they fell forward? That would actually make a modicum of sense, but the whole thing is one big head-f**k when you start to think about it. So I don't. I'll have to leave it to someone like Lance Parkin to sort out.

Speaking of head-f***ks (my head - it's killing me!) I  loved the promise behind the whole Bad Wolf concept. Even though it's ultimately a crushing disappointment (is anyone entirely happy with it?) I still enjoyed the initial premise. I even guessed it was Rose and the TARDIS on several occasions so various elements must have made sense at some point...

But the explanation that we finally get is just silly. How do the words Bad Wolf help Rose? Do they remind her that the TARDIS can travel in time? Doh! If she'd somehow figured out that she sent the message to herself from the future, ergo she must get back somehow, then I could just about buy it, but she doesn't.

And she scatters the words through time and space so badly too. She isn't anywhere near the Moxx of Balhoon when he says it, we never see her reaction to the TARDIS graffiti, she can't hear the call-sign in Dalek, she was kinda distracted by her Dad dying to notice an invitation to a rave, and the bomb fuselage was written in a completely different language! For a super omnipotent being she wasn't much cop, was she?

She would have been better off depositing leaflets for tow-truck hire firms through time and space.

Bad Wolf? Bad Russell!

Part3_1Adam as the King of the Daleks in league with the Face of Boe and Van Statten's brain in a tank would have been more entertaining than the blatant Buffy the Vampire Slayer riffing we got instead. But what do I know?

I'm a fairly hard-core Doctor Who aficionado and I couldn't tell you what happened in the last five minutes, even after repeated viewings. What hope do the general public have?

But I don't really care. I still loved every last damn minute of this show. Even the kisses. Hell, even the bit when little Miss Nuremberg gave that cheesy wink I was willing to shrug it off, because while this wasn't the best episode of Doctor Who ever, it was certainly the most epic.

Some people have complained that the regeneration is tacked on but I don't see it like that. The whole episode feels doom-laden to me, and it's not just because we know what's going to happen (thanks Radio Times). There's that desperate image of Doctor leaning against the TARDIS door in defeat, the fact that he sends Rose away because he is in fatal danger, the fact that he prepares to give himself over to the Daleks - it all leads to the final sacrifice. He knows he's going to die as soon as he kisses her. I almost believe this really was planned from the start. It certainly wasn't just five minutes tagged onto the end.

Part2_2The regeneration itself is perfect, and quite different from what I expected. The Doctor saves the life of his companion (no accidental head bangs here!), and he even manages to say goodbye properly for a change. He's even standing up! And that last line, that last grin, that last moment of acceptance. It was off the hook, mate.

And no amnesia! Thank god for that!

There's going to be a whacking great hole in my life when Saturday comes. Who's up for watching Rose at 7pm? ;-)

I was going to summarise my feelings on the season as a whole at this point but I think I'll save that for my final post instead.


What I really loved about the regeneration is that it underlines that The Doctor is one man and many men. It's funny seeing a character saying goodbye when he's obviously sticking around. Given the way this series has been going, I'd be expecting that Rose will reject the new Doctor until he does something so particularly him and she realises that he's still the same man just different.

Can I add another couple of bullet points? How about when the Doctor, while confronting the Emperor, angrily turns and shouts at the Daleks and they shrink back half a foot... :-) and a nice touch this, when the Daleks kill (maybe) Lynda through the space station window and the lights on the lead Dalek head say "Ex-ter-minate" but being in a vacuum we don't hear it. Terrific.

Sigh... Poor Lynda with a Y. Such a horrible, and yet fantastic, way to go.

Looking forward to that final post!

I was disappointed that Rose didn't die. Billie Piper is the weakest link in that whole show. She is just so bad. I thought overall it was a decent season but not that great. Some of the writing was excellent and some of it bloody dire. Let's hope they get it better next season. And one more thing...why the hell can't they get Richard E Grant to play the doctor?

I've seen people bring up this "Rose couldn't have heard it in Dalek" nonsense before. The PA clearly says "Attention *all* personnel... Bad Wolf One descending! Bad Wolf One descending!" Surely to be broadcasting to all personnel, the PA would be being broadcast throughout the base?

Yeah, cos prisoners are personnel, aren't they? Do they let their captives listen to all their radio transmissions or do they play Muzak through a PA in the cell? But since this is nonsense perhaps you'd like to explain how Rose hears the Moxx of Balhoon's comment. Or is this nonsense too?

I suspect Richard E Grant is too busy with those 'Argus' adverts... :) Never mind, we'll always have Scream of the Shalka.

In Dalek, the announcement may well have been broadcast throughout the base, and Rose & the Doctor may well have heard it on their way to the cells. As for the Moxx of Balhoon... I'm stuck on that.

But does it really matter? She may have sprinkled the phrase throughout time and space, but I don't really think she actually noticed them all. I don't believe she spotted the posters from Father's Day, nor did she figure it out from the bomb in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. She (as her Time-Vortex-tripping self) just placed them in the same areas she had been before as a reference point. Let's leave it at that, eh?

And I'm STILL looking forward to that final post.

OK, I buy the Dalek one. I was just pointing out that the messages left to herself were too subtle to have actually worked. Which is probably why subtlety went out of the window and she ended up writing it in 10 foot tall letters right at the very end. But nevermind. It didn't work whichever way you cut it. I would still like someone to tell me how seeing that grafitti made any difference whatsoever to how things panned out.

If you mean my *final post* being my season one overview, it's coming. But we're not moving anymore. Please keep up! ;-)

I'll be a bit delayed on the Rose re-watch. Gonna go see fireworks.

You said: "How do the words Bad Wolf help Rose? Do they remind her that the TARDIS can travel in time?"

The words have, at least within the show, for Rose, no meaning (they do for those who tried to figure it out, though). They are literally used as a call sign, to signal to herself that she can still go back to the Bad Wolf GameStation after the Doctor sent her back home.

The words have no meaning, they are simply the first words TARDIS/Vortex-Rose sees in the place she has to lead herself to. It is only their appearance post-being-sent-home that counts, because it makes her aware there is still a "link", that all is not lost, since she sees the words Bad Wolf (as in Bad Wolf Corporation/Game Station) at a point where she believes the Doctor, Jack etc. have already been killed, with no way of changing it, no chance of survival etc.

They do not tell her how to get back, or what to do. There is no need, because the only way to get back is by making telepathic contact with the TARDIS, and this is the moment Bad Wolf (as the union of Rose and the TARDIS/Vortex) is created temporarily.

It is when the two minds (Rose and the TARDIS) look into each other that they recognise in each other the shared wish to keep "their Doctor" safe, a wish the TARDIS seems to share, a wish strong enough for the TARDIS to give Rose the power of the Vortex in order to allow her to do what the TARDIS itself cannot do (since it cannot interact directly).

Woah. My head hurts. B-\

I understand what you've come up with, and it makes a great deal of sense - more so then most other explanations I've heard. But it doesn't explain why she would place the phrase in places where she would not be able to see/hear them, such as the Moxx of Balhoon.

It's pretty irrelevant, but someone had to pick it up, and I guess that someone is me.

And Neil, I was referring to the End-of-Series review, as opposed to the final ever post. Read between the lines, my dear boy... B-P

Thanks for the summary - I'm sure that will come in handy for the PhD ;-)

But seriously, even though the explanation above might make some sense after reading it several times, you can't tell me that the "average" veiwer could come to the same conclusions without getting a headache. All of the average viewers I've met sounded slightly pissed off when it came to this aspect of the show.

I just don't buy it either. If the words don't mean anything and they don't tell her how or what to do then what's the point? I understand how it happens but it doesn't really explain why. Unless it's a joke, or a red herring (in which case naming a whole episode after it is a bit cheeky, isn't it?)

The TARDIS is a time machine. She could have had the "revelation" all on her own 12 months later and the TARDIS still would have got her back in time. So even if the words are a trigger of some sort, they are kinda redundant too.

Not to mention the fact it's a paradox and a crushing let-down.

Darth Marsden: "But it doesn't explain why she would place the phrase in places where she would not be able to see/hear them, such as the Moxx of Balhoon."

She merely scatters the words through time and space (she even explicitly says so, as Bad Wolf), presumably along her recent timeline. She does not actively place a single word, not specifically, deliberately. Just takes the words and scatters them, knowing at least some of the occurrences would hit their target (i.e. about 10 minutes in her respective past), fulfil their purpose.

Neil: "you can't tell me that the "average" veiwer could come to the same conclusions without getting a headache."

If by "average viewer", you mean someone who has not spotted the Bad Wolf references (or at most, spotted one or two, but did not assign any significance to them) until the Doctor and Rose mention them in the show, then I don't see the problem.

For them, the words never had any meaning in the first place, and only a relatively small amount of significance.

If you can accept, without questioning, that Rose, a human being from Earth, goes travelling through time and space with a 900+ year old alien who calls himself the Doctor and has a ship called the TARDIS, a time machine that looks like a police box on the outside, but is much bigger on the inside, then by all means, Bad Wolf isn't that hard to swallow.

- The Doctor & Rose encounter the odd occurrence of the words "Bad Wolf", and in "Boomtown", they begin to notice the words, although the Doctor quickly dismissises the possibility that they may mean anything.

- In "Bad Wolf", they both independently learn that the Game Station (formerly Station 5) is run by the Bad Wolf corporation, and that the two words are somehow connected with the station.

- The Doctor seems to conclude that whoever is behind the manipulation of Earth (and behind the Station) is also behind the Bad Wolf references, and that whoever is behind the references has been manipulating him as well as Earth (i.e. he believes some bad thing or person is out to get him, the references are a personal message, warning or taunt aimed at him).

- Rose, on the other hand, is already on the right track, i.e. she recognises that the words link to the station and concludes that this means she was meant to be there. (Which is essentially a buildup to what they mean later on as well)

- In TPotW, after the Doctor sends Rose back and she has seen the emergency protocol message, she is left believing the Doctor is dead, there is no way back and nothing/nobody to go back for.

- When she starts to realise that Bad Wolf is now all over the place, un-missable, it dawns on her that the two words are not a warning about the Bad Wolf station, but a message from someone on the Bad Wolf station [she thinks the Doctor is sending the message] telling her that she can get back and save the Doctor.

- Rose, now that she *knows* that someone is 'calling' her back to the station, figures there HAS to be a way back. So she racks her brains about how to get back and remembers how the TARDIS cracked open in the past, and what the Doctor told her about the TARDIS being telepathic etc. She realises she should be able to get back if only she can open the panel on the TARDIS, then she can make contact with it and tell it to take her back to the Game Station. [This is all pretty much shown on screen, or explained by Rose]

- When they finally manage to open the TARDIS console and Rose makes contact, the TARDIS takes her back to the Station (this is what Rose *thought* she wanted, but of course she also *thought* the Doctor was sending her the words back in time).

- Somehow, the TARDIS recognises what is needed and (being unable to act on its own) grants Rose the power of the Vortex in order to end the last Time War once and for all. [And this bit COULD have been explained much better, with more depth, for example with the TARDIS showing Rose the possible outcomes, them recognising their desire in each other's minds, the Vortex being passed on to Rose etc. As things stand, we just glimpse at this from what we see and from what Rose and the Doctor briefly mention]

- Bad Wolf (meaning Rose + Vortex) takes the words ("Bad Wolf" as in Bad Wolf Corporation --> GameStation) and scatters them in time and space (presumably along Rose's timeline, concentrating on just moments after she is sent back to earth), thus creating itself. Bad Wolf ends the last Time War, once and for all, by removing the Daleks from the timeline. [I believe this is where Bad Wolf ends - its purpose was to keep the Doctor safe and remove the Daleks from the Timeline - Rose's voice seems to change and get much more like her own afterwards, especially when she says "How can I let go of this"]

- Rose, seduced by the power of the Vortex, is unable to let go and brings Jack (perhaps more people, all of them?) back to life, but realises the Vortex is killing her.

Good god. And all of this was running through Russell T Davies' mind throughout? He's a better man then all of us put together, and no mistake.

Thanks for clearing that up. I know have to go and lie down for a bit. B-?

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