You may remember my my Series 1 Doctor Who review post where I said one episode ruined a great series. That episode was Parting of the Blargh (sorry, I can’t say its real name), so today I’m going to look more in depth as to why this is my least favourite finale EVER!
(Just a little note, this is a single episode. Part 1 of this story, Bad Wolf, is very good. This episode just ruins it though.)
OK, so the immediate opening and the first few minutes are actually pretty cool. The Daleks have Rose and the Doctor and Jack are going to rescue her. But then, the Emperor Dalek shows up…
So the biggest flaw with this whole episode is the ‘plot’. There are so many things which don’t make sense. If the Emperor’s ship fell through a wormhole with only a few Daleks, how can they build an entire fleet, get Dalek casings for the kidnapped humans AND fully equip the ships with weapons?
Also, it’s revealed in Bad Wolf that the Doctor defeating the Jagrafess in the Long Game caused humanity to be set back, allowing the Daleks to invade. But, if the Jagrafess was defeated, then surely the humans would re-establish themselves? Was it the Dalek’s plan to let the Jagrafess be defeated so they could set up the Game Station? So if so, WHY HAVE THE JAGRAFESS PLAN IN THE FIRST PLACE?! I find it hilarious how one episode can make two others worse than they should be!
AND, if it couldn’t GET ANY STUPIDER, it does. The Emperor’s big speech about the evil plan takes about three minutes and it’s just the Emperor talking. This is a weakness which many critics call ‘show, don’t tell’, where exposition should be revealed in an interesting way, like the opening of Thor or Up (the latter didn’t even have any talking). If the Emperor was talking with images of the Time War playing, it would have made the scene cooler.
So the rest of the episode is just the Doctor and the people on the station fighting with machine guns.
In the previous Dalek story, Dalek, and the classic series, Daleks were bulletproof. The Doctor knows this. WHY DOES HE GIVE PEOPLE NORMAL GUNS TO FIGHT BULLETPROOF CREATURES?!
There’s also some moments where the moral choices presented in Dalek show up, forcing the Doctor to decide if he should destroy mankind to kill the Daleks, but since so much screen time is spent with Rose on Earth, these themes about sacrifice, which were presented spectacularly in Dalek, are non-existent.
Oh yeah, I missed all the stupid stuff with Rose on Earth. After a scene in the TARDIS (which, I will admit, was lovely), we then have a scene with Rose EATING CHIPS! WHERE’S THE DRAMA?! WHERE’S THE THEMES OF SACRIFICE? WHERE’S THE AWESOME DALEK ACTION?!
But easily the worst part of the whole episode is when Jackie actually gets a tow truck to pull the heart of the TARDIS open.
The shots of the tow truck are after shots of Daleks killing people on the station. Talk about tonal changes! The truck scenes are so stupid, I can’t say anything about it. Apart from the question- WHERE’S THE FINALE?!
This can’t be the epic conclusion to an amazing series! Instead of deep emotions, themes and amazing action, we’re seeing people eating chips, tow trucks pulling open the TARDIS and so many inconsistencies they could fill a road with holes!
But Rose does get back to the station where the Daleks are about to kill the Doctor. Now, this could have been a fantastic moment for a deep, emotional moment where the Doctor is about to die and those themes about sacrifice and revenge shown in Dalek could pay off. But instead…
WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT?!
If the episode wanted to focus on the Doctor and the Time War, then that should have been the focus. If it wanted to focus on Rose and her loyalty to the Doctor, then THAT should have been the focus. You can’t just put two ideas with great potential and cobble them together! If it had focused on either of the two elements in the story, got rid of the inconsistencies and stupid moments, then this episode could have been a masterpiece of television. But we’re left with a mash of ideas and themes filled in with ridiculous and stupid scenes.
This ending also has another huge problem: it’s a huge deus ex machina. This is a term critics use when a writer just sorts out a problem with a single scene or an incredibly easy solution. All the great themes are just destroyed by this one scene which comes out of nowhere JUST to round out the series plot threads. That’s more lazy than lazy!
So then, in case the story wasn’t trying to tug at our heartstrings enough, the Doctor regenerates. This also comes out of nowhere. If he had regenerated as a result of trying to kill the Daleks, that would have worked and could have made me cry. But since the rest of the episode (except that nice hologram scene, once again ruined by that stupid deus ex machina) was such a huge mess in terms of storytelling and character structure, then that means the regeneration is just pointless.
Oh Doctor Nine, you were awesome (and you’re going to be the villain in Thor 2). You just had to go in an episode worthy of your awesomeness.