you need not fear.
will remove fear. Cybermen will remove sex,
colour and creed, and become identical..."
Present Day London, Earth.
end of an epic journey as two mighty armies wage war across the Earth, with the
human race caught in the middle. But as an unstoppable terror emerges from beneath
Torchwood, the Doctor faces an even greater dilemma.
It is doomsday. Who will live and who must die?
EPISODE THIRTEEN REVIEW
DOOMSDAY. One word title.
So to recap from the last episode. No, let's not bother. Well, it might just
Needless to say another set of Daleks escaped
the Time War by "existing" outside
space/time in a Void Ship (a device that exists in the space between dimensions
where nothing exists). How and why it appeared exactly when it did (in 21 st
century Earth) is unknown but we know one thing; it's appearance allowed Cybermen
from a parallel Earth (RISE OF THE CYBERMEN and THE
AGE OF STEEL) to sneak
through the Void too (pressing themselves in the fabric of Earth as "ghosts").
An instant supply of "parts" for their growing army.
So, that's where we are. Five million Cybermen and four Daleks.
Not looking so rosy for six and half billion humans, and one Time Lord.
Thank you, Russell T Davies, for having
such a isolated childhood where nobody played with you and you had to amuse yourself
with stories & make believe.
He's was worried that what was on his (virtual) page might be too big for the
BBC WALES production team to put onto screen.
In way he was right to be concerned, it
was an epic (and probably, in years to come, iconic) story to be captured in
a £1 million 45-minute drama.
In parts it did look insignificant, trying to hard to succeed and failing to
be cinematic, but there were instance of genius that makes, like layered drama
such as THE WEST WING or BAND OF BROTHERS,
essential viewing for anyone with an excuse for a non-soap addled brain. It is
important to remember that DOCTOR
WHO is TV production and not Film production, where SERIES 2's entire
budget (and a bit more.) would be ploughed into making a two-hour feature film.
DOCTOR WHO's time will come when it will
transfer to the 'big screen' for
an epic adventure of loss and love and hope.
But, for now, this is as close as we are going to get.
Key to the undeniable success to DOOMSDAYis
not Tennant, Piper, nor the (very) special effects from MillTV, or even Graeme
Harper's orderly direction, or Ernie Vincze's exquisite choice of lens or filter
but it is the relentless music score that underlies & electrically charges
every frame. Murray Gold's contribution is genius. In DOOMSDAY,
the choral symphony (established in DALEK)
exponentially and organically grows as if it was life of its own, broadening,
deepening the threat from the aliens, like a cry of pain from the very soul of
the mutant inside the casing multiplied by millions. Contrasted by the subtle
wispy theme of 'human'
pain and love, Gold has created a 'house-style' that represents no less than
50% of the drama's success.
Acknowledgment, too, to the Sound Editors.
A Dalek or Cyberman gun without the "sound" would be nothing, or the Sonic Screwdriver "burbs" would
be just a something that you've whittled from a old broom handle (not that I
have done it. Not recently, anyway). It is the finishing touches that mark this
series against other UK drama (and the majority of USA-made drama).
And for the first time we witness the ultimate
alien monster battle-of-the-giants. Unwavering evil against deluded evil; Daleks
versus Cybermen. Slightly undermined by Mickey's "Stephen Hawking meeting the Speaking Clock" rationalisation.
Terry Nation and Kit Pedler would be pleased, rejoicing that both creations have
been given depth and reason to exist.
Of course, in superiority, the Dalek is conqueror,
and has a suitably worthy acid-drop that would make Cassandra (THE
END OF THE WORLD and NEW EARTH) blush with admiration:
DALEK (to the Cyber Leader):
This is not war. This is pest control. CYBER LEADER (to the
Black Dalek): We have 5 million Cybermen. How many are you?
CYBER LEADER : You will destroy the Cybermen with 4 Daleks.
We will destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek. You are superior in only one aspect.
LEADER : What is that?
DALEK : You are better at dying.
You can almost smell the WD40-infused testosterone pumping through the mechanical
The on-screen presence of both was, naturally, electrifying. Live action and
CGI aliens nonchalantly ripping each other (well, it was slightly one sided)
apart within TORCHWOOD TOWER and above Docklands. The development of both Dalek
and Cybermen seems to have been preciously delineated. In this episode, we have
a new, ethically aware Dalek (in the form of the Cult of Skaro - an eminent secret
sect that dared to think as their enemy and not as a dalek) and Cybermen with
the capability to self-upgrade. And cry. Dutifully.
One constant is the Doctor. Casually arrogant, care-less but loving, opportunist
but calculatingly cunning.
Even as the everything around him is seemingly lost and hopeless, he remains
true to character not passing the chance to berate and undermine his enemy with
the most powerful weapon - his gob.
In the TORCHWOOD INSTITUTE Sphere Room, confronting
the Cult of Skaro:
BLACK DALEK : Time Lord Science
will restore Dalek supremacy.
THE DOCTOR : What does that mean?
Time Lord science? What does that mean?
ROSE TYLER : It seems
that one touch from a time traveller will wake it up.
THE DOCTOR :
Using technology that one thing a Dalek can't do. Touch. Sealed inside your casing,
not feeling anything. Ever. From birth to death, locked inside a cold metal cage.
Completely alone. And that explains your voice. No wonder you scream.
Dialogue that would fit Patrick Troughton's
seminal second Doctor, Tom Baker's verbose fourth Doctor or even Christopher
Eccleston's pained ninth Doctor. In those few lines, Russell T Davies remains
focussed in the life essence of the character. It is DOCTOR
WHO. Forget about
the "soapy-subplot" of Jackie Tyler
(yes, we'll miss her) or the self-effacing "who devotee" Elton Pope (LOVE & MONSTERS),
the DNA of the CLASSIC SERIES runs through this NEW SERIES like lettering though
like a stick of seaside rock. I have questioned the writer's motives and ambitions,
concluding that he is like you, like me (well, a good foot taller.),
like millions of viewers - a fan of DOCTOR WHO.
And later, as the 'holographic' projection
of the Doctor and Rose talk on the beach.
ROSE : I love you.
DOCTOR : Quite right
too. And I suppose, if it is my last chance to say it. Rose Tyler.
(He fades away)
(Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor sheds a tear. And then another)
And then it was all over. I loathe the so-called 'series finale'. And the
two 'series finale' for this NEW SERIES of DOCTOR WHO have
both been extraordinarily stunning, visually and in their scripting, and in the
resolution. The Ninth Doctor's (too early) regeneration was must-watch-TV whilst
Rose Tyler's departure was must-miss-everything-else-TV. For me, personally,
as an 'mature' DOCTOR WHO , the former was wretched with disappointed
that Eccleston had not wanted to stay with the programme longer than nine months.
Even after months of consultation with a bereavement psychologist, I still have "get
DOOMSDAY wrapped up the "Billie Piper" years perfectly,
exiling her to a parallel planet Earth (under the Presidency of Harriet Jones,
and under the protective wings or her "real" Mother and "adopted" Father, and
shielded by the brave embracing arms of Mickey Smith), from bored shop-girl to
Consultant to their TORCHWOOD INSTITUTE. Over the (on-screen) two years, her
growth has been remarkable, and even her penchant for chips has been quelled
as if she had successfully completed a Dr Gillian McKeith diet plan. A taste
of vinegar & salt replaced by the taste of adventure & self-discovery.
Even Sarah Jane-Smith would be proud.
Of course, an end is just the beginning of another trip of your lifetime.
The instantaneous manifestation of a Bride
in his TARDIS will set the last of the Time Lords (I'm getting to like that phrase
now; there's no baggage and compounding history that he has to continual fight
against. But if two sets of Daleks survived..?) on another adventure (high five,
anyone?) "through time & space".