Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 22 June 2005 - Reviewed by Paul Roper

I wasn’t looking forward to these episodes for many reasons; one it would mean the end of the series, once again Saturday TV would return to celebrity wallpapering or Test the nation hamster edition or such like. Secondly it would be the end of Doctor #8 the ever gurning Christopher Eccleston whose rapidly grown on me like head lice on a schoolchild. And three a guest list that sounded just as ghastly as Ken Dodd and the annoying little welsh bloke from please sir in Delta and the Bannermen. .I mean Anne Robinson as a killer robot? The Doctor landing in big brother? Trinny and Susannah doing anything, none of these things should work this should sink the Doctor back into the dark days of the mid 80’s but some it did work ,some how it was funny, somehow you cared and by the end of episode 12 you were on the edge of your seat

The timing of this cleaver witty script was inspired airing two weeks into big brother six’s run it had the Doctor materialising in the bb house where its inhabitants were a bolshy black girl a cute self obsessed wannabe and a camp over the top man who was obsessed with winning it was like id switched to channel four by mistake, Rose had landed on the weakest link with the bloke from hustle and Jack was treading the fine line from being as annoying as Melanie Bush. Talking of which I cant work out if I like Captain Jack or not, true he adds a lot of fun to the show but for me he just brings back nightmares of Edd the duck and Andy peters, could they have managed to leave him dead at the end of episode 13. Ala Adric? Of course it turns out that they are all back on the game station (not the videogame store full of spotty youths sneering as I enquire if they still sell mega drive games but the space station from the long game ep. 7) and the Doctor gets to be heroic trying to save rose from the clutches of the evil Anne Robinson Rose is apparently killed and if it hadn’t been leaked to the press you would be shocked that she had in fact been sent to a space ship full of Daleks. As The end of this episode approaches you would be mistaken for thinking that the Doctor has lost everything the advancing Dalek empire was surly going to exterminate everything in its path they’d got rose and he was stuck with annoying Jack surly he must give up? Of course this being Doctor who he didn’t in stead he acted his socks of and gave a speech worthy of Hartnell he threatened the might of the Dalek empire with a line stolen from Davinadroid by the time he said rose im coming to get you, suddenly you were nine years old again suddenly you were on the edge of the seat this what this series was missing a bloody good cliff-hanger! The trouble with this and the following episode was basically the same problem that Eastenders and many of the soaps have, the press has printed just about every shock and twist the episode had to offer and whilst it was by no means predictable you just knew everything that was going to happen, imagine if they’d promoted the sixth sense with it’s the one with the bloke from moonlighting plays the dead bloke or the crying game as find out why that birds got an Adams apple and there would be uproar Doctor who should be the same. I understand that yes knowing the Daleks were going to be in it was a draw and yes it did wonders for the ratings but imagine the shock if you didn’t know? Al ready it’s been announced that the cybermen are to appear in series two lets hope that it wasn’t a twist to the story!

The second part of the story episode 13 the parting of the waves was a rollercoaster ride it began with the best rescue ever and also conveniently forgot about the not being able to fire guns in the TARDIS rule but we’ll forgive them that for now. The Doctor and co then go back to the gamestaion to prepare the people of earth for war. It is then that Rose meats Linda, the Drs Fellow Big brother contestant. Billie piper steels the show again with a wonderful bitchy glance.

The tone of this episode is a lot darker than the other and this is a very welcome Change. The whole episode has an air of mystery. I mean you know the Doctor can succeed you know the Daleks are going to be destroyed and if the surprise hadn’t been spoiled you know that the Doctor will live to fight another day but how will he achieve the impossible.

The parting of the ways evoked memories of caves of androzoni, you knew that Eccleston would become Tenant but how would he be killed? Would he be exterminated would he sacrifice his life for others? Sacrifice was the theme of the show Jack going to his doom to ward the Daleks off, Linda valiantly getting killed in the best extermination of the show, rose becoming bad wolf and the Doctor sacrificing himself saving her. Sure the Doctor was a hero but what the show was trying to tell us was that we have it in our selves to achieve an equal greatness. It was with this message that parallels with his previous series the second coming began yes we can have a superhero/deity /adventurer alien save the would but we have it in us to do it by our selves, utter tosh but he’s heart is in the right place. There was obviously a lot of money spent on the episode and it showed. The emperor Dalek was great although it would have been nice to see Davros again. The whole religious subtext was good and gave the Daleks a much needed depth .

Rose is tricked by the Doctor into going back home where we saw the welcome return of Jackie and Mickey. It was here that the story was at its most dramatic. Rose realised that she couldn’t go back to normality and helped draw a close to he life on earth. Billie gave a sterling performance here and she is doing a wonderful job but have you noticed what a weird mouth she has she has too many teeth I’m sorry I digress. Seeing bad wolf scrawled everywhere around her she finally solves the puzzle that has had haunted her since she entered the TARDIS. With the help of Mickey who yet again realises that she will never be with him again (just how many times is he going to realise this! Just go and get another girlfriend one without a time travelling boyfriend) Rose becomes bad wolf (my bet was on the time lords it’s a good job I never put money on it!)And single handily destroys the Daleks making sure that they never return again, or till the ratings start to flag. As a mater of interest The Anne Robinson droid shot four Daleks but in the previous episode her laser been was found to be a transporter beam so where did they go? Sadly rose/bad wolf bought the annoying jack back to life before getting all the life sucked out of her (a bit like being married to Chris evens I suppose.)By the Doctor before taking her unconscious like Davidson did with with peri and she woke up to see the Doctor become Casanova. It was these final scenes that spoilt the show really, I mean regeneration is big thing in any time lord’s life and you don’t want it rushed at breakneck pass. The whole regeneration thing was just so rushed and handled in a blasé matter of fact way. Oh by the way I’m becoming another actor full stop .Did Eccleston decide he wanted to leave at the last minute so they just grafted regeneration as an afterthought? David Tenant was only on the screen for a second but exhumed a charisma to match Eccleston the Tardis keys are in safe hands. All in all a couple of classy episodes. Roll on Christmas.