Arabian (arabian) wrote,

Doctor Who 1x13 "The Parting of the Ways" rewatch-review

As I've stated elsewhere, once I finished season two of New Who, I was going to rewatch and review what I call my "Her Name was Rose" collection (click here for the full list of episodes). I know it's been over two months since I did the rewatch-review for Bad Wolf, but with real life happenings and, more especially, the knowledge that after this there was no more Nine, no more Christopher Eccleston, I've been delaying doing this one.

Oh heck, it has nothing to do with real life, I just didn't want to say goodbye to Nine yet. *Sigh* I do adore the Ninth Doctor so. I've been a fan of Eccleston for years, but this show, his performance as the Doctor made me absolutely love him. *Double sigh* But here we are, at last ...

This was very good, yes, but it was as I remembered in terms of quality, as opposed to "Boom Town" and "Bad Wolf" being so much spectactularly better. Still, very good is not the jaw-dropping splendor of the last two episodes; honestly, I'm not quite sure why it didn't *hit* me completely. The only thing that I can think of is the power of the Daleks showing up and their grand scheme just doesn't affect me as someone who never watched Classic Who? I don't know; I just know that during the Dalek denouement scenes where we get the whole plot, etc. I wasn't captured. Oh well. Still that was just plot and we all know that plot isn't Russell T Davies' forte. It's characters and the beats of the over-reaching arc in which he excels. And he did so here.

Now, I don't want the implication to be that I didn't think this was an excellent episode -- because it most definitely was, it's just that after not expecting so much from the previous two and then being completely blown away, it's rather impossible to not be let down that yet again I didn't get something so much more than I expected. Or rather what I did expect. Because "Boom Town" and, especially, "Bad Wolf" were so much better than I remembered, I couldn't help but expect that such would be the case with "The Parting of the Ways." As it is, it's a solid episode, with strong acting, a satisfying end to the series and a worthy goodbye to the Ninth Doctor.

Perhaps that's it right there: Why I can't see this episode as outstanding as the ones before it. It's the end of the Ninth Doctor and I loved him so much. When I first watched Doctor Who, I was so devastated by Eccleston's morphing into a different actor in a column of fire that it took me two full years before I would even attempt to watch the second series. So I can't view this episode without prejudice. "The Parting of the Ways" will always be the episode where I lost *my* Doctor, as much as I love Ten and David Tennant, Nine is my Doctor and Christopher Eccleston so beautifully and brilliantly brought him to life. ::Sobs::

Ahem, okay, moving on from my grief ... Speaking of Eccleston, I have to say I was a wee bit disappointed that there really were no moments/scenes of outstanding acting prowess of him in this episode as opposed to the last two, but I suppose it makes sense. That's not to say, of course, that he's not fantastic with everything he is given. The big moments, the little moments in between those, of course, he's amazing, but they were subtle things, they weren't scenes that showcased him. It was more a brilliant matter of course because he's just that good. Instead, the last two episodes were about who he is now, who he's become because of Rose, and so now the spotlight was on her because she's carrying on. And this one brought it all full-circle in showing not only just how far Rose has come, but in how that brilliance has been there from day one. In the first episode of the series, "Rose", she was the focus as was her aimlessness and relationships with Jackie and Mickey and how the Doctor brought a new sense of purpose to her life. And, of course, he took that chance on her because of her smarts, her instincts, who she was ... and he was rewarded in a way he never could have imagined.

You know, Steven Moffat can have all of his mind-readers, and name-knowers, and whatever else he has up his sleeve for series five and beyond with regards to love interests for the Doctor, but you can't top Rose. You just can not. She looked into the heart of the TARDIS, willingly choosing to fly back into a fight with thousands of Daleks all for the Doctor. And it wasn't about the travel, or the experiences. No, it was about how the Doctor made her a better person, showed her a better life. She found not only a sense of purpose with him, but happiness. And, watching this episode again, specifically hearing this dialogue:
... it was a better life. And I, I don't mean all the traveling and ... seeing aliens and spaceships and things -- that don't matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life.
That right there! I heard that and, thought -- for the first time -- I'm glad they cut the TARDIS coral scene from "Journey's End," because right there, when it was still her first Doctor, Rose flat-out said that it wasn't about the travel, the aliens, the experience, the adventure ... it was about the Doctor and the life he'd shown her. They don't need the TARDIS to be the Doctor and Rose. They just need ... the Doctor and Rose.

*Sigh* And this episode was Rose fully waking up to that fact, absolute in her love and belief in her love for the Doctor. When she woke up on the TARDIS floor to see him standing before her and it was just the two of them -- as it's meant to be -- the joy on her face was lovely. ::SQUEE:: Oh, she loves him so.

And he knows it now. Yes, he does. In "Bad Wolf," when the Doctor told Rose that he was coming to get her, the look on Rose's face in that exact moment showed that Rose realized she loved him, absolutely. And in this episode, when Rose looks down at the Doctor and says ...
I want you safe. My Doctor.
... he realizes that she loves him. Absolutely. I know that there's discussion whether it was Rose or the TARDIS talking through Rose, but after listening to the specific words and phrases used during the entire time she had the time vortex in her, I do believe it was Rose speaking. It was just a Rose speaking with the knowledge of the TARDIS within her, but it was Rose. And the Doctor knew it. Just look at the expression on his face.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

Going back a bit, another bit of proof that it was in "Bad Wolf" that Rose made that realization of her love is that for the first time, she's jealous of another woman with relation to the Doctor. Of course, I'm talking about Lynda. When they first meet and when the Doctor and Lynda say goodbye, it's there, but my favorite moment of Rose's jealousy is actually the least romantically-tinged moment of the lot. After the Doctor comes up with his Delta Wave plan, Rose is about to cheer him on to get started, but Lynda speaks up first and the look of Rose's face is hysterical. It's so ... 'but, that's *my* line! He's *my* Doctor!' Heh, Billie Piper cracks me up. I haven't mentioned it in any of these rewatch-reviews, but I've mentioned it numerous times in my posts about Secret Diary of a Call Girl, it's a shame that we saw so little of Billie's awesome comic timing on Who. This scene was one of the rare, small examples of it.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

I let the scene run on a bit after that moment specifically because of the Doctor's grin at the end there. Oh, how I love that manic grin of his. Damn, I still miss him. *Sigh*

Ahem, moving along. I mentioned above how this was more Rose-focused and it was, allowing for some lovely, lovely moments for Billie Piper to shine. Like with the last couple of episodes which allowed so many different situations for Eccleston to emote, "The Parting of the Ways" did the same for Piper. There were moments of relief, of happiness, of sorrow, anger, frustration, of jealousy, as previously noted ;). And then there was Bad Wolf. I loved how we saw that it was clearly Rose -- driven by her love for the Doctor -- but that it was also clearly a Rose who had a more powerful, less, well, chavvy presence -- driven by knowledge of the universe -- running through her. The deliberate-ness of her speaking, the articulation of her words, the inflections and control, all of it was beautifully done by Piper. And yet, even with Bad Wolf, I have to say that my favorite acting by her done here was the scene between Jackie and Rose where they discuss Pete. Remembering that episode, and how the story of Pete's death changed for the better because of the Doctor's love for Rose made me teary-eyed.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

But more than those individual moments and scenes, there was Rose growing up. There was a maturity about her -- for the most part, that we saw in full bloom here. There were simple things, like how it never occurred to her to ask the Doctor to take them away from the problem. She jokingly said she's "just too good," but the truth is that yes, she is just a truly good person. Her mind just doesn't think of running away and leaving others to suffer. So, of course, she's not going to run away and leave the Doctor -- of all people! -- to suffer.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

She made her choices and stuck by them, and would not be dissuaded by the Doctor, by Jackie or Mickey. Rose Tyler knows who she is now and she knows what she wants and that is to be with the Doctor ... even if it means death because she can't leave him, just like she knew he wouldn't leave her. And Piper portrayed that throughout the entire episode. Once back at the Powell Estates, she was ever only lost and immature-sounding at one point after Jackie told her that Pete would have just let it go. She began to give up, and she did sound lost and confused. Fortunately, all of the time she'd spent before -- whether in anger, sadness or frustration -- had been so marked with conviction that neither Mickey or Jackie were willing to let her give up now.

Which was nice coming from Jackie. I think that what happened here and why Jackie changed her mind is that she realized that even though she was grateful that the Doctor kept Rose safe and sent her back, he'd taken the choice from her. Listening to and seeing the person Rose has become fully hit her when Rose told her about Pete, it was a wake-up call that Rose is not a little girl anymore. She was there, holding her father's hand in death, showing a strength that Jackie may have been unaware of that Rose even possessed. And so Jackie accepted that her daughter wasn't a child any more, but a woman with her own mind, her own convictions and one who knew and understand love. Reminding her of Pete, the man that Jackie loved, and seeing Rose's pain over the man that *she* loved was another push, and one that made sense.

Alas, Mickey's character didn't quite come out smelling so nicely. Yes, he helped Rose get back, but the fact that he sat there listening to her mourning the loss of another man, and still suggested that she could have a life with him ... Especially after the events of "Boom Town," oh Mickey, let her go, dude. Just let her go and grow a spine. She loves the Doctor. Really, she does.

And that was the the over-arcing theme of this episode to me, really: The love that the Doctor and Rose have for one another. He was so desperate to save her, he went so far as to lie to her face to trick her into the TARDIS. And, oh, that devastation on his face when he sent her away; as much as we saw that she loved him after he did this, we saw it here from him.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

Then, of course, came her realization as to what he had done. Her stunned disbelief, a slight uncomprehending air as she watched the emergency program1 and then how she was galvanized into action, trying to get the TARDIS to take her back to him.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

As much as I love the Doctor's words to her, my favorite part of this, honestly, is the "take me back." When I first watched "Doomsday," I didn't catch it, but when I rewatched this episode the first time, I realized that Rose used that exact same phrase after Pete took her into the alternate universe. Crying out, she said "Take me back," just as she had here. In hindsight, lovely, heartbreaking parallel there that Davies wrote. And not the only one. The look on the Doctor's face when he sends the TARDIS away is almost identical to the look on his face when he places the dimension-hopper button on Rose in "Doomsday." In fact, it's so eerily similar that I wonder if David Tennant deliberately patterned his facial expression upon Eccleston's in that first moment when the Doctor sent Rose away for her safety. If so, good call because that look -- as seen in the previous clip above -- is indeed devastating in its portrayal of loss, but one that must take place for her greater good. If not, then damn, yet more proof that the casting of Ten was excellent.

Ahem, back to "The Parting of the Ways" and Nine and why Nine became Ten: Because of his love for Rose. The question really isn't whether the Doctor would have essentially killed himself for anyone other than Rose as he does here, but rather would anyone else do what Rose did which would lead the Doctor to do what he did? I think not. The bottom-line is that these two would live and die for each other. But hey, what a way for Nine to go.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G Rose.

Yeah, yeah, okay so he was just taking the time vortex from her, whatever, Rusty. It was totally partially an excuse to kiss Rose as John Barrowman said in the Confidential: "When he kisses her, it's not only the thing that he's wanted to do throughout the entire series, but it gives him peace because he's letting go of the burden of the Time Lords being destroyed and he's saving the one that he -- he loved the Time lords, they were his people -- but he loves, he loves this girl." Yes, there were other factors, but he wanted to kiss her; he did.

And so ... he did.

And it was beautiful.

(View the clip via imeem or download it via mediafire here.)

There's so much love, so much ... tenderness there. All of it, all that is clipped above just makes the heart swoon. The fact that Rose has seen what he deals with all the time -- even if it's mostly gone, I find it hard to believe that the sense of it, some intangible memory doesn't remain, the Doctor's oh-so-cheesy, "I think you need a Doctor" which is so very Doctor-ish, the kiss -- the beautiful kiss itself, the smile on his face after he's returned the time vortex to where it belongs, and the tender way he holds her before and after, stroking her hair and throat.

It's just ... beautiful.

Oh, and, yes, that means that despite an earlier statement, I'm totally fine with the "I think you need a Doctor" line now. Yes, it's cheesy, but it's deliberately so because it *is* the Doctor, he does crack lame quips in heightened moments and paired with the romantic, swelling music it is absolutely perfect.

Phew! Okay, some random comments and then I'm almost done with series one. First off, a few more Doctor/Rose mentions ...

- First off, so sad. The last Nine/Rose episode and there's nary a handporn! shot in sight. *Sigh* Also sad ... their reunion hug was really not impressively done. Far away shot, no rush to get to one another, and when we did get a closer view it was shrouded in smoke. I'm a tad disappointed that our last Nine/Rose hug was so lackluster. Ah well, hey, at least from this screencap it looks really romantic!

- Heh, I love how Rose nodded in agreement when the Doctor told her that he was fantastic at the end there. Hee! :D

- I have to say that I absolutely adore that the last thing, the last moment when the Doctor was still in his Ninth regeneration before the process started ... the last thing that he and Rose shared were smiles. See ...


Now, onto just random notes about "The Parting of the Ways."

- Technically, this could/sorta fall under the Doctor/Rose section but I don't wanna put it there, so, it's here. So, yeah, I didn't have a problem with the Doctor and Lynda in "Bad Wolf," but dude what was up with half-bending down to kiss her cheek or something!? In front of Rose?!? Seriously, Doctor. Tsk, tsk.

- It was sweet how both the Doctor, and even Jack, were almost contentedly resigned to death because they believed that Rose was safe. Awww.

- Too bad, in Jack's case, neither of the other two shared that sentiment. The Doctor was all about Rose and her safety before and after Bad Wolf; and Rose was all about the Doctor's safety, not even asking about Jack post-Bad Wolf and the Dalek situation. She had her Doctor back, they were safe aboard the TARDIS and all was good. Well, until he caught on fire and turned into someone else.

- Hmm, I rather wished they hadn't gone into full-on explanation/flashback mode for the heart of the TARDIS recall from "Boom Town." I think that viewers are smart enough that they would have remembered that on their own. After all, part of the brilliance of that episode, in my opinion, was how it nicely set this up. Ah, well.

- Heh, the TARIDS hurtling through space is just funny to me. That's how it flies. When it's in the time vortex, it's different, that looks ... normal, for lack of a better word. But to see it just spinning quickly in a straight line through regular space is just funny.

- You know, I was fine with Pattersen Joseph being the Doctor after "Bad Wolf," but after this one? Yeah, I'm glad it's not him now.

- Speaking of other Doctors, oh, Tennant, how I was devastated by your appearance when I first saw this. Now, I couldn't help but grin at your grin even through my tears.

- Once again, I liked the two programmers. Their one little flirty scene was adorable and it was sad when they too died. Oh, Rusty. You and your love of killing off your one-offs.

- Look at me, praising John Barrowman again! The expression on his face as the TARDIS disappeared was a perfect mix of frustration, anguish and comprehension. Nicely done.

- Speaking of praise, I really love how Billie Piper says the line: "You are tiny," to the Dalek God. It's just chilling.

- Here we go with one last Nine picspam because Christopher Eccleston, to me, is really quite, quite yummy!

And finally, here are his last pre-regeneration-process moments with such a perfect final line, because ...

(Or download it via mediafire here.)

Yes, you were fantastic!

*Sigh* Thus ends the Ninth Doctor's run. Excuse me while I sob not-so-quietly in the corner in renewed mourning.

Click the image for previous episode rewatch-reviews:

Tags: billie piper, christopher eccleston, david tennant, doctor who, doctor/rose, rewatch-review, russell t davies, tv

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