As the Daleks released from the Sphere cry “Exterminate!” Rose calls them out, yo! She knows them and the Time Wars; they’ll have to keep her, Mickey, and Raj alive to find out why. “You will be necessary,” the Daleks agree in shrill voices before checking on the Genesis Ark. Hey Rose, the Daleks, not looking so dead, Mickey points out. “Never mind that; what the hell is the Genesis Ark?” Rose demands. Something guaranteeing the Daleks the Best Extermination Ever, I’d wager!
“Oh, do some research; we haven’t got a central leader,” Yvonne snaps when the Cybermen demand one. Problem solved: with Cybers in control, conversions all around! Yay? The Doctor promises Jackie they’ll be safe while screens show London soldiers and citizens fighting their invaders. The Cybers can’t understand: why riot when you can get your brain neatly ripped out and plopped into metal casings? Humans, so crazy!
“Which of you is least important?” the Daleks demand. Though Rose refuses to answer, Raj steps up as Torchwood’s representative. Oh, I mourn how you might have Agent Coulson-ed the Doctor, Raj! I just know you’ve got TARDIS Trading Cards in that lab coat. The Daleks plunge the hell out of Raj to suck all the info they need, leaving him a dessicated corpse.
Cybermen and the Daleks appear on screens to each other; warring cries of “Identify!” prompt Mickey to whisper, “It’s like Stephen Hawking meets the Speaking Clock.” I personally think Stephen Hawkings too suave to shriek, “Identify!” at strangers, but that’s me. The Cybermen offer an alliance; the Daleks react like they wouldn’t so much as scrape Cybers off their grungy plungers. War, the Cybermen declare! It’s not war; it’s more like pest control, the Daleks sneer (hey, when did the Daleks get kinda sassy?).
Super Duper Cell Phone Time! The Doctor calls and Rose answers silently; he hears the Cybermen-Daleks trash talk-off and mention of the Genesis Ark. Wait, who’s the guy making Rose’s heart go pitter-pat, the Daleks demand (“Yeah, tell me about it,” Mickey grouses). Hearing it’s the Doctor (who’s scoping out the exchange in his 3D specs), they freak out big time: millions of Cyber, eh; one Doctor, ZOMG HALP!
“I did my duty!” for Queen and Country Yvonne weeps; the Cybermen drag her off for emergency Upgrading. See how emotions destroy humans? the Cybers scoff at the Doctor, who points out, “Mind you, I quite like hope.” Cue Jake and a crew from the alternate universe Torchwood materializing with guns full of hope, yays!
“You can’t just jump from one world to another,” the Doctor objects. They can with their gaudy yellow medallions! Jake demonstrates by zipping the Doctor back to his universe. Pete Tyler steps forward, saying in their world, the Doctor will listen for once.
Mickey’s medallion only transports one; he refuses to leave Rose alone. Whatever’s in that Ark is why the Daleks kept them alive; Rose recaps the events of “Dalek” and how her time-traveler mojo healed that ailing Dalek. Whoa, the Time Lords built the Ark? What the hey’s in that Ark anyway? “The future,” the lead Dalek answers ominously.
Pete relates how his universe’s peeps sealed Cybermen away; debates raged over their fate while the Cybers plotted. The Doctor coaxes Pete to care about the other world; “She’s the child of a dead man,” Pete says of Rose, more focused on how the “the breach” hurts their atmosphere (jumping between worlds damages it further).
Though the Doctor declares Jackie and Pete, with their respective dead spouses, a “good match”, Pete pleads him to focus on important things. “What, close the breach? Stop the Cybermen? Defeat the Daleks? Do you believe I can do that?” the Doctor asks. When Pete firmly replies, “Yes,” the Doctor, obviously encouraged, declares, “Off we go, then!” There’s that can-Doctor attitude!
The Doctor phones Jackie, who’s panicking over in her universe. Pete again says she’s not his wife, but the Doctor points out, “I was at the wedding. You got her name wrong.” While Pete is taken aback at the similarity to his world, the Doctor fixes Jake’s gun so he can shoot the “skin” of Daleks. Face it, Pete: you’re as helpless before Jackie’s nagging charms as the Daleks are now to Jake’s souped-up gun!
While the Doctor strategically surrenders to Cybermen, Rose refuses to open the Ark. She taunts the Daleks, saying she turned their Emperor to dust. “You will be exterminated!” they rail, because they’re dependable like that. The Doctor strolls in, wearing his 3D glasses and looking quite the 1980s New Wave musician! He greets Rose and “Mickity McMickey” jovially while the Daleks rage, “Social interaction will cease!” Pfft, like you could ever stop the Doctor from chatting, Daleks!
The Doctor throws down, saying he fought on the Time Wars front lines while this lot obviously ran like hell. “They’ve got names,” Rose points out (though sadly they’re not named Yelly, Screechy, Ragey, and Peanut, as I’d called them in my head). They’re the Cult of Skaro, a secret order above the Dalek Emperor, tasked to “think as the enemy thinks” and escape in emergencies to keep the Daleks alive.
Open the Ark, they order the Doctor; “the Doctor will not,” he snaps. He blasts the Sphere Room open, allowing Jake and his gang, as well as the Cybers with their leader, to rush in. In the confusion, Pete saves Rose, the Daleks blast the “primary target” Cybermen, and Mickey stumbles and touches the Ark of Genesis. As a time-traveler, his touch does the trick: the Ark begins to open, eeeek!
Mickey apologizes, but the Daleks would have blown up the sun to open the Ark, so Mickey did them a favor. Pete saves Jackie with a subdued, “Hello, Jacks.” Though she blurts out how old he looks, she soon admits, “There was never anyone else.” She doesn’t care if he’s now rich and successful (though just how rich and successful, she asks with a metaphorical hair-twirl?). “You’re not my wife,” he says weakly; soon they give in, running to embrace each other. I flail as Rose gets her genuine family moment at last!
While the Daleks and Cybermen cry “Exterminate!” and “Delete” at each other to beat the band, extra Cybers get called as reinforcements. Why do they need to get the Genesis Ark outside, Rose asks as the Daleks escort their prize skyward? Turns out Time Lord science screwed them all: the Ark’s a Prison Ship, releasing billions of angry Daleks into open skies.
Someone finally, finally asks the Doctor what the hell’s up with those 3D glasses! Turns out simple 3D specs allow him to see “void stuff,” or background radiation (of their crew, only Jackie doesn’t have it. If the Doctor everyone back to Pete’s World and stays to open the Void, he can send the Daleks and Cybermen to Hell, using the Magna Clamps he nabbed to keep from getting sucked in to that nowhere space himself.
Rose refuses to leave the Doctor, as is her wont. Jackie refuses to leave her daughter, as is her wont. The Doctor and Pete totes betray them both by hanging medallions around their necks; both women end up in the alternate universe. But Rose returns, being as she’s slippery like that, vowing she’ll never leave the Doctor. *watches through fingers*
While Yvonne pulls one last brassy move for Torchwood, stopping other Cybers even in her brain-transplanted Cyber form, the Doctor explains how he and Rose will each take a lever — and scah-reeeeeeee!!!!!
Okay, that was the sound of screeching to a halt as I ask: is there any way the Doctor could have pulled this off without Rose? Each of them needs to hold one of two levers at 100% to suck the Cybers and Daleks void-side; each of them, meanwhile, must hang on to one of the two Magna Clamps the Doctor grabbed earlier. I just. Either the Doctor planned to flat-out fail without Rose, and sacrifice himself. Or he counted on Rose returning. And I’m totally not sure how I feel about either, but *flaps around anxiously*
The Doctor and Rose throw the switches, grinning as they fly horizontal, hanging on to the Clamps while Cybers and Daleks whiz by them. But then one of the levers yanks in the other direction, and Rose sacrifices herself to kill All the CyberDalekJerks. I actually screamed as the Doctor cried out, because OH MY GOD, ROSE IS GOING TO BE BANISHED TO THE VOID. But thank Jeebus Pete re-materializes just at the edge of the void: before he and Rose get sucked in, he transports them to the alternate universe.
Holy. Hell. The breach closes. Rose is on one side of a wall at her universe’s Torchwood; the Doctor’s on the other side on his. Pete’s devices won’t work; there’s no way they can reach each other. Rose and the Doctor touch opposite sides of the wall (like the Doctor and the Wolf in “Tooth and Claw” listening on either side of the door, wow) and the Doctor, sliding his hand down, turns and walks away. Hear that? It’s the sound of my heart SPLINTERING INTO A BAJILLION PIECES!!!
Okay, I’m still all worked up about this. D:
Rose wakes in her alternate universe, having had dreams of a voice calling her name. Pete, Jackie, and Mickey all accompany her, following the voice to drive hundreds of miles. They end up at Bad Wolf Bay in Norway, where the partially-materialized Doctor exploited a tiny gap in the universe with the power of Super Nova to see Rose one last time. “I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye,” he says, and I’m all hand-to-mouth eyes-open-super-wide so this epic moment doesn’t go completely blurry on me.
He “looks like a ghost,” Rose says sadly, and cripes, it’s like the Ghosts at the start of this arc, the ones Jackie and all the others attached so emotionally to! And the whole voiceover, when Rose claims this is the story of how she died — oh my god, it’s like she and the Doctor are now dead to each other, completely cut off from one another forever, only briefly visible now in images they cannot touch.
Pause, okay? Just to say it breaks my heart that Rose says it’s the story of how she died, because emotionally, the part of her come to life with Doctor is forever gone. On a mundane level, it’s like how we all lose parts of ourselves when romantic relationships end. The person we were with that other person just isn’t accessible to us anymore. But for Rose, everything good in her life was tied up with the Doctor; to tear them apart is, at least in this moment, to destroy all of that in her. Okay. Very blurry now, the images!
The Doctor can only remain visible (he solidifies his image, though Rose still can’t touch him) for two minutes (again like the Ghosts at the start of the story). They joke Rose is back working in a shop. I was so distraught by this idea that I missed (and only realized by rewinding) that Rose actually works with her universe’s Torchwood equivalent. So, that’s something. But it’s like a band-aid on a spurting jugular to me right now, okay?
“Rose Tyler, defender of the Earth,” the Doctor says fondly (and it reminds me exactly of his pride in Sarah Jane, who he similarly left in a strange location; at least Rose has her parents and Mickey). He tells her she’ll get an adventure he’ll never have, living a regular life. But even though I love that about the Doctor, his yearning for a normal life, it’s small consolation as Rose hears for sure she can never see him again.
What about him, Rose asks? “Same old life, last of the Time Lords,” he says. He’s alone then, she realizes. “I love you,” she says desperately, the Doctor says, “And I suppose, if it’s one last chance to say it, Rose Tyler –” and VANISHES COMPLETELY. Jeezum crow! I mean, GET A WATCH, DOCTOR! *bangs head against coffee table* I know he’s sucky with time (and him a Time Lord!) but this would have been one instance where it would have been great to have a stopwatch or an alert beeping!!! Couldn’t he have factored in two more seconds to tell Rose he loves her too? *weeps*
As Jackie runs across the strand to hold Rose tight, the Doctor’s alone in the TARDIS, looking lost. After he adjusts the controls, he turns to see a figure veiled and dressed in white. While he blurts, “What?” and “But!” and “What?” multiple times, she demands to know “What the hell is this place?” Okay. Um. What what what? *boggles*
AH WOOO-WEEEOOOO AHHOOO! I can’t believe we’re saying goodbye to Rose! Now, everything’s been all frelled up with airplane-connection issues and lurgy, and for that I apologize. But for really reals, we’re nearly back on schedule. Join me tomorrow for the recap of the post-Series-2 special “The Runaway Bride”! Then come on back Sunday as I recap the BRAND NEW “Asylum of the Daleks”! I’ll have info on how I’ll space out previous-Series recaps with the new-to-us-all Doctor Who for you soon!