When we last left our intrepid heroes, mankind faced danger of total eradication by alien forces. Again. But the Doctor, despite his precarious circumstances, vowed to save Rose from the Daleks. And the Doctor keeps his promises, yo!
“You will predict his actions!” the Daleks rail at Rose. Though she refuses to tell them anything, they shoot at the TARDIS and it prompts her to cry out, “it doesn’t have any defenses; you’ll kill him!” “You have predicted correctly,” the Daleks say darkly. Those tricksy Daleks! But luckily Rose doesn’t know Jack about the TARDIS — in that Jack’s putting a “fully functional force field — try saying that when you’re drunk!” courtesy of that pan-dimensional surfboard they nicked from Slitheen Margaret Blain. Man, they’re lucky they stopped in Cardiff.
“Exterminate!” the Daleks shriek, because they like to mix it up with nifty new catchphrases. But the Doctor and Jack manage to materialize around Rose and one guardian Dalek. Jack shoots it with his defabricator-turned-automatic weapon, and after blasting it, yanks the defabricator up with, I swear, a kind of “boo-yeah!” crossed with “show us your O-face!” expression. “I told you I’d come and get you,” the Doctor says, embracing Rose. “I never doubted it,” she replies, to which he says merrily, “I did.” “Hey, don’t I get a hug?” Jack asks. Rose throws her arms around him playfully while Jack jokes, “I was talking to him.” Such the Doctor crush he has!
Both Jack and the Doctor are flummoxed by the return of the Daleks, Jack because history tells the Daleks vanished out of time and space, the Doctor because he remembers them destroyed during the last of the Time Wars. But if the Daleks survived that, “now it turns out [the Time Lords] died for nothing,” the Doctor says grimly. Well, no point in delaying it; “let’s go meet the neighbors,” the Doctor exclaims, rushing out despite Rose’s cry to stop.
Yay, the souped-up forcefield lets the Doctor, Jack and Rose stand there unharmed! And it lets them taunt the Daleks like crazy. “Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek home world?” the Doctor asks. “The Oncoming Storm.” Now I want business cards saying “Janey ‘The Oncoming Storm’ Ford.” “Doesn’t it just burn when you face me?” he mocks them. Eliminating all human emotions hasn’t set them free from fear.
How did they survive the Time War, though? “They survived through me,” a deep gravelly voice growls — it’s the Emperor of the Daleks! (no autographs, please; he’s too squid-y and squish-y to sign them). The Emperor’s ship fell through space and time — “I get it,” the Doctor cuts him off. “Do not interrupt!” the Dalek minions all shout. Sheehs, testy. But they’re crazy-town banana pants if they expect him to hush up: “I’m the Doctor, and if there’s one thing I can do it’s talk!” Right on! So if anyone’s going to shut up, “It’s you!” he shouts. (cue everyone in the universe shutting up at exactly the same time).
The Emperor drones out the story of how they infiltrated Earth, “harvesting the waste of humanity” — the dispossessed, criminals, and, it seems, eliminated game show contestants. Ugh, it’s terrible to know all the contestants were merely fodder in the Daleks gene-gathering. “Only one cell in a billion was fit to be nurtured” to create new Daleks. “That makes them half human,” Rose observes, only to be cut down with echoing, “Do not blaspheme!” cries. Since the Emperor re-created their race, he’s their God. “Worship him!” the Daleks yell.
“You hate your own existence,” the Doctor accuses them, deducing they despise the “stink of humanity” in themselves. Amid cries of “Exterminate!”, our three heroes leave in the TARDIS, where the Doctor leans his head against the door, overwhelmed.
Awww, Lynda with a “y” waited for the Doctor! “I don’t want to leave you,” Lynda confesses, while Rose side-eyes her something awful. I wish Lynda and Jack had time to share a soda and whisper about how dreamy the Doctor is, scribbling things like, “Mrs. Lynda The Doctor” and “Jack Sexy Pants Harkness The Doctor” on pink paper. But she’s not the only one: about a hundred people couldn’t get on the evacuation shuttles. Earth shut down communications, leaving the planet vulnerable. Meanwhile, Jack’s cah-jiggered the pan-dimensional surfboard into the station. The Daleks can’t blast them to bits, but it won’t stop the Daleks from boarding.
“Purify the Earth with fire,” the Dalek Emperor intones. “The planet will become my temple…this will be our paradise.” This is the first I’ve heard of a paradise where everything is burnt-to-a-crisp . Meanwhile, the Doctor prompts everyone to guess what he can MacGuyver out of bits of the station. “You’ve got to be kidding,” Jack says, realizing he intends to make a Delta Wave. It’s a transmitter that fries your brain (it also fries your Twinkies and Mars bars, but with a fried brain, it’s hard to enjoy them). But the Dalek fleet is on its way. Well, what are we waiting for, Lynda cheerleads. Let’s do this thing! Man, Rose wins the Stink Eye Championship of 200,000!
While Jack gives the defense strategy for the programmers, Lynda hovers around the Doctor to say, “thanks, I suppose. And I’ll do my best.” “Me too,” the Doctor answers, grinning. They lean in and almost kiss. But then they do that awkward flinch back, shake hands, and laugh uncomfortably gambit. Rose could not look like she’s thinking, “Pffftttt!” more if she tried.
“It’s been fun,” Jack tells them next, “But I guess this is goodbye.” “You are worth fighting for,” he says before kissing Rose. “I should have never met you, Doctor; I was much better off as a coward!” he jokes before kissing the Doctor (a second longer than Rose, but who’s counting?). “See you in hell,” Jack tells them, striding off to emphasize not only Daleks have catchphrases. “He’s going to be all right,” Rose says. “Isn’t he?” Nope, clearly marked for Dalek death!
Downstairs, Jack shoots into the air and yells, “One last time — any more volunteers?” He needs soldiers to mount a defense, but only a few step up. Others, including Rodrick (The Weakest Link winner still waiting for his coupons), refuse to believe the Daleks exist. They should keep quiet, Jack tells them . And “if you hear us dying, then tell me Daleks aren’t real.” Ouch.
As Rose and the Doctor work, she asks why he can’t go back in time to stop the Daleks. It’s impossible, but they could let the TARDIS take them away, letting history run its course. “Yeah, but you’d never do that,” Rose answers confidently. “No, but you could ask,” the Doctor answers. “I’m just too good,” Rose says archly. He gazes at the unfinished Delta Wave before suddenly turning enthusiastic, announcing they’ll use the TARDIS to cross timelines. Rose runs after, waiting inside the TARDIS while he leaves to power up the station. But instead he points the Sonic Screwdriver to send Rose away from danger.
As Rose panics, Emergency Programme One activates, showing a hologram of the Doctor. He explains this protocol runs if he’s dead or about to die. Oh. My. God. The Doctor’s prepared for this moment! It’s horrifying and loving and so very lonely — he’s always been ready to send Rose off and die utterly by himself! Just between us, I barely saw the rest of this scene because of tear-blurring.
With this Emergency Programme, the TARDIS can never return to him, to keep it from the hands of enemies. She should “Let the TARDIS die,” and collect dust, forgotten, on a corner. And if she wants to remember him, “Have a good life,” he advises, turning to face her. “You can’t do this to me,” Rose yells. “Take me back!” But she lands at the estate. Mickey runs straight for her, saying, “only one thing makes a noise like that!” She weeps and he holds her, confused.
Jack intercoms Floor 500, asking Rose to read him a code. “She’s not coming back,” the Doctor snaps. “Just get on with your work.” Realizing the Doctor sent her home, Jack asks if the Delta Wave will be ready. “Tell him the truth, Doctor,” the Dalek Emperor broadcasts. The Delta Wave can’t be refined quickly; it can only kill every living thing in its path. “If I am God, the creator of all things, what does that make you, Doctor?” the Emperor asks, triumphant.
Should the Doctor destroy the Daleks at this price? Humans will live on in colonies. For those on earth, the only option seems to be, “Die as a human, or live as a Dalek.” “You sent her home. She’s safe, keep working,” Jack answers the Doctor’s mournful question. Aww, Jack makes my heart break in two here, how he’s half in love with the Doctor but understands Rose always comes first. “But he will exterminate you!” the Emperor protests. “Never doubted him, never will,” Jack says bravely. *draws hearts and roses all around Jack*
One last thing, the Doctor asks the Emperor: how did he spread “Bad Wolf” across time and space to draw him here? “They are not part of my design,” the Emperor says blandly. “This is the truth of God.”
Rose sits listlessly at a chip shop while Mickey and Jackie urge her to eat. But “he’s dying, 200,000 years in the future…And there’s nothing I can do,” Rose protests. Jackie’s relieved the Doctor sent Rose back. But can Rose return to her old life, “Catch the bus, go to work, come home, and eat chips?” Mickey demands if she thinks she’s better than them. That’s not it, Rose says, but it was “a better way of life.” “You make a stand, you say no…you do what’s right when everyone else is just running away…and I can’t!” Devastated, she runs outside.
“This is it, ladies and gentlemen, we are at war,” Jack announces as the Dalek Fleet accelerates. Lynda’s stationed at the viewing deck to update Jack on the Daleks’ progress. The Daleks flying out their ships through space FREAKS ME OUT!
Mickey wonders if he and Rose can have a chance at a proper life together. But Rose suddenly sees BAD WOLF painted on the ground, all around them. “They’re just words,” Mickey argues. What if they weren’t a warning, Rose realizes, but a message? “Bad Wolf here, Bad Wolf there,” a link between Rose and the Doctor, meaning she can return. She must make contact with the “heart of the TARDIS”, its telepathic soul. Even with the risk of dying, she’ll go, “because there’s nothing left for me here.” “Nothing?” Mickey asks quietly. “No.” Gah, I love Rose, I want her to go back to the Doctor, and I believe she’s right to put the Doctor first, but this is such a cruel moment.
“If that’s what you think, let’s get this thing open,” Mickey says. And think what you like about Mickey wishing Rose was a stay-at-home girl, and his own aversion to adventure: when Rose needs him, he’s there, even if the help he gives her takes her further away. He hooks his Mini up to the TARDIS and revs the engine. When that fails, Jackie tries to convince Rose she should walk away, adding her dad would say the same. “No, he wouldn’t,” Rose insists, revealing she met her dad, held his hand when he died. “That’s how good the Doctor is,” Rose finishes, crying harder when Jackie, unable to handle this revelation, flees.
Jack’s civilian soldiers try their best to concentrate fire, but the Daleks use their funky fuzzy-air CGI trick to deflect bullets and kill everyone. At the viewing deck, Lynda realizes the Daleks are moving up to 495. They meet Ann Droid, who gets in one last, “You are the weakest link; goodbye!” blast in at three of them before they destroy her. Jack seems so excited by this that I’m sad the Ann Droid kicked it — though perhaps he’s just excited because he’s the only surviving character with a catchphrase. See you in hell!
“Why are they doing that?” Lynda cries, seeing the Daleks flying not just up the ventilation shafts but down them. The Daleks head to the civilians with their war-cry; Lynda sobs as she hears them dying. Then — and you can see how Lynda with a “y” would actually make a good companion — she pulls herself together enough to inform Jack, “they killed them all,” even though she’s scared and heartbroken.
“I have created heaven on earth,” the Dalek emperor claims. The Daleks bombard Earth, wrenching the continents into distorted shapes on Lynda’s monitor. “Open fire!” Jack yells when the Daleks reach Floor 499. But only one Dalek is killed, and the remainder shoot everyone but Jack. And I’m sorry, I should talk about the sad unfulfilled romance of the two programmers but it feels slotted in, so. *moves on*
Maybe her mum’s right, and she should walk away, Rose worries. Mickey insists he won’t have her giving up. Just then a huge sanitation-type vehicle trundles up, and it’s Jackie, who is MADE OF AWESOME, because damned if she won’t help Rose after all! Jackie admits Rose was right about Pete, who was “full of mad ideas, and it’s exactly what he would have done.”
“They found me,” Lynda says over transmission. The Daleks work on opening the door, which, the Doctor assures her, is reinforced against meteors. “Hope so. But you know what they say about Earth workmanship,” Lynda says faintly. The Daleks rise up outside, shooting out the observation panel so that Lynda screams and is sucked into space to die. *clutches heart*
With Jackie’s borrowed vehicle and Mickey’s sheer determination, they manage to open the TARDIS console. A blinding wash of light beams on Rose, tendrils lighting up her eyes. The doors of the TARDIS slam as Jackie and Mickey call frantically for Rose — gah, it’s horrible for them, seeing her go this way and having no way of knowing if she’ll be okay. It’s seriously amazing seeing how much they love her, how determined they are to give her what she wants.
Jack tells the Doctor he’s got a few seconds until the Daleks reach him — which means Jack’s the last man standing between the Daleks and the Doctor. After his big-gun defabricator gives out, Jack fires his laser gun until they have him cornered. “Exterminate!” they shriek. “I kind of figured that,” Jack says, spreading his hands and arms slightly to go out in style as they take aim. You’ve come a long way in a few episodes from sexy con-man to sexy hero, Jack!
The TARDIS hurls itself toward Satellite 5; Rose glows as she absorbs its soul.
“It’s ready,” the Doctor says in surprise: the Delta Wave’s finished. Immediately Daleks surround him. “I am immortal,” the Emperor claims, dismissing the Doctor’s warning. “Do you want to put that to the test?” the Doctor threatens. “I want to see you become like me,” the Emperor answers, and ouch, that is exactly what’s unfolding here. “Hail the Doctor, the great exterminator!” the Emperor jeers. “What are you, coward or killer?”
The Doctor pauses, ready to set off the Delta Wave. Then he stops, because he’s a coward, he says with a grin, any day. “Mankind will be harvested because of your weakness,” the Emperor gloats. Will the Doctor be turned into one of their angels he asks? “You are the Heathen; you will be exterminated!” “Maybe it’s time,” the Doctor says quietly.
The TARDIS rematerializes. “What have you done?” the Doctor demands, flinching at the blinding light.
When a Dalek tries to exterminate Rose, she sends the laser back, saying, “I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself.” She’s the one who’s made all the clues and messages, “scattered them in time and space,” as a message “to lead myself here.” She’s go the entire vortex running through her head, the Doctor tells her, alarmed. When the Daleks again try to menace her she says, “I can see the whole of time and space, every single atom of your existence, and I divide them…Everything dies.” With a wave of her hand, she annihilates the Daleks.
“You’ve done it, now stop, just let go,” the Doctor pleads. “How can I let go of this?” she asks. “I bring life.” At that moment, a floor below them, Jack gasps, coming back to life. Jeezum crow!
“You can’t control life and death,” the Doctor insists. “But I can. The sun and the moon, the day and the night — but why do they hurt?” she asks, suddenly changing tacks. “The power’s going to kill you and it’s all my fault,” the Doctor murmurs. “I can see everything… all that is… all that was… all that ever could be,” she pronounces. This is what he sees all the time. “And doesn’t it drive you mad?” he asks gently. Gah, so he’s in this state constantly — nearly overwhelmed by knowledge, driven to madness because of it?
“My head — it’s killing me,” Rose says, anguished. And in true Doctor Who fashion, humor mixes with crisis and tragedy as the Doctor tells Rose gently, “I think you need a Doctor.” When he leans in to kiss her, the light passes from Rose into the Doctor, illuminating his eyes as it had hers. For a moment the strands of light hover between their eyes, connecting them, then it streams from the Doctor back into the TARDIS.
Jack staggers, touching the dust of the Daleks Rose killed. He knows at that moment the Doctor survived. When he bolts to the floor above, he sees the TARDIS dematerialize before his eyes. I mean, oh my god, POOR JACK! Utterly abandoned! *flails around*
“What happened?” Rose asks as she wakes on the floor of the TARDIS. She remembers singing… “That’s right, I sang a song and the Daleks ran away,” the Doctor says jovially. It’s actually a great corrective that Rose can’t remember anything, and it helps a bit to explain Bad Wolf. Rose isn’t the Bad Wolf on her own — it’s the merging of Rose and the TARDIS into the Bad Wolf entity that performed all those impossible actions. And now the TARDIS’s soul has returned fully to the ship, so of course Rose can’t keep possessing that knowledge.
The Doctor looks at his own hand, glowing dangerously. “Rose Tyler,” he says ruefully. “I was going to take you to so many places…Barcelona, not the city, the planet,” where dogs have no noses. Why can’t they go now, she asks. Maybe she’ll go, and maybe he will, “but not like this.” As Rose points out he’s not making sense, he continues, “Bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you’re going to end up with.”
Suddenly he’s staggering in pain, jolted by energy: he absorbed all the energy of the Time Lords, and no one is meant to do that. But “Time Lords have this little trick” of cheating death. He won’t see her again, “not with this daft old face.” But before he goes he wants to tell Rose she was “absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.” I do like that we hear his trademark interjection here, as a reminder of his slightly manic, intense spirit, and as a sort of farewell.
A moment after Rose smiles sadly at him, and he grins back, light begins to shoot from his hands, his head, all around him. We can see his face distort and meld, and OH MY GOD, HE’S CHANGING INTO DAVID TENNANT! “Hello,” this new-to-us Doctor says, before running his tongue inside his mouth. “New teeth, that’s weird,” he observes before continuing, “So where was I? Oh, that’s right. Barcelona!” and grins madly.
Rose looks utterly shocked, I’m completely heartbroken at losing the Doctor I’ve come to know and love, and oooh-woo-wee-ooo-ooo, Series 1 comes to a close! I’ll be back to recap “The Christmas Invasion” tomorrow, so please join me then!