Thursday, 31 October 2013

Boom Town, Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways

Boom Town

Annette Badland as Margaret. The mayor. of Cardiff.
This appears to be a bit of a filler episode, as we rush towards the season finale of two parts. I found it very solid, written by show-runner Russel T Davies. I suspect the main point was to save on budget, it doesn’t have a lot of characters – but we do have Mickey returning as does a Slitheen who survived the missile attack on 10 Downing street. Blon as she is known (her human visage is called Margaret), played by Annette Badland was perhaps the best of the Slitheen characters – when in human form. And this one is for the most part an enjoyable humorous tale.
The TARDIS is refuelling in the middle of Cardiff, outside the millennium centre to be precise. Ironically now that place houses the Doctor Who experience. The show has been mostly shot in Cardiff since the relaunch, so why not use the familiar sights of the city? It’s actually a really nice place. I visited once when I was having trouble with a bloke named Smythe. I couldn’t steer the TARDIS correctly. Was there for one or two minutes only. Should have spent more time there.
There’s not much to say on this one. Mickey works well when everyone’s laughing at him, and I think Noel Clarke is brilliant in Doctor Who. It’s not going to make anyone’s top ten I suspect, but it is what it is.

Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways

In the Big Brother house.
Where to start? I mean Christopher Eccleston – I want MORE! Come back! He was the life and soul of the series (1 or 27 If you like) so to say goodbye when we’re just getting to know him is difficult to do. RTD penned the story, as you’d expect a show runner to do. It works in ways and doesn’t in other ways. Obviously you try to build up to a big finale, and we certainly get that with thousands of Daleks flying through space, but the ending, the resolution, was rather poor. Not the way the Doctor ‘dies’, but it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.
So I should mention ‘bad wolf’. These two words appear throughout the series here and there, and they refer to Rose. Ok. She sends a message through time to herself to go back for the Doctor. And it’s ‘bad wolf’. Why? What does it mean? Rose is the bad wolf right? Ummm… Why? What does she have to do with wolves? I really felt the thread was extremely weak and didn’t really build to the finale, rather it just posed a question to be answered later.
Rose plays 'The Weakest Link'.
The first episode of the two parts is focussed in pop culture and television, and I although I thought it was a good idea for an episode, I am less sure it was a good idea for the season finale. It’s worked in well enough but it’s a bit sad to think that so far in the future humans are still watching Big Brother. In fact it’s rather sad to think they are still watching it today! If RTD set out to make a statement on reality TV then I am unsure exactly what it is other than this is all going to pot very very quickly!
There are some great moments though, the Dalek reveal is surprising and the end of ‘Bad Wolf’ has the Doctor vowing he’s going to rescue Rose from the Dalek space ship and save the day. It’s actually a really strong and exciting take on the concept of a ‘cliff-hanger’, which usually just sees the Doctor’s life in peril. However, it’s let down a bit by the resolution when he rescues Rose in the first two minutes of the next episode, in my humble opinion.
The Dalek fleet.
We have an epic battle on Satellite Five in ‘The Parting of the Ways’ which should have appeased those out for stuff on such a grand scale. It’s pretty well done, although the Daleks’ invincibility prevents it from really being as epic as it could be. Audiences will at least be satisfied with the annoying Rodderick’s death. The Doctor appears to have something going with Lynda with a Y (played by Jo Joyner) which didn’t convince me because the character is played as pretty stupid.

Rose saves the day.
And then we come to the ending. Rose, sent back to Earth as the Doctor is planning on wiping out the Earth in the future and all the Daleks by converting Satellite Five into some sort of doomsday weapon, is determined to rejoin him. She looks into the power of the TARDIS, concealed in the TARDIS console, and consumes the power, allowing her to return and get rid of all the Daleks. She brings Captain Jack back to life (he died fighting the Daleks) but it’s a little unclear if she brought everyone back to life who died. It’s also unclear if the Daleks were destroyed or removed from time. Lucky that it was possible to just fix everything like that.
So long Christopher, wished you'd hung around longer.
There is a wonderful moment when the Doctor is about to destroy everything but he admits to being a coward when it comes to killing and backs out. He takes the power from Rose as it will kill her, and sends it back to the TARDIS. But this exchange of energy kills him, and so he is forced to regenerate.
So early on, to have such a scene, is it bad or good? It could be argued that it’s good on the basis that the new audience is introduced to the parameters of the show early on, but this viewer was left wanting more Eccleston pure and simple. Bille Piper does a good job as Rose, but Eccleston made the first series. In the finale, when things were a bit stupid to be honest (the stuff in the Big Brother house mostly), he was still shining as the Doctor. Another Doctor added to the previous three who I would have liked to have seen another series from. (or in McGann’s case, A series)


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