And now, despite the ridiculously long time it's taken me to finish my thoughts on the second half, my thoughts on the finale:
'1x12, "Bad Wolf"
Oops...I guess "The Long Game" was slightly more important than I gave it credit for. Come to think of it, every episode seems to be important in this series. They have neither filler nor standalones. I should pay more attention to this. And now, commentary (somewhat in a running fashion) in chronological order:
-Oh man, Reality/Game Show Hell. This is going to be so awesome. *starts pre-emptively giggling* I think I'm going to have to rewind this teaser a few times. Doctor in a Box!
-"He wouldn't just leave me." Rose has this special way of making my heart crack in half.
-"The Anne Droid." Oh man, despite seeing this in the preview, Year 200k "The Weakest Link" is like THE GREATEST THING EVER. I loved this show (and now that I get the game show network at school, I can relieve its glorious days in afternoon reruns). Now that's it's 5000% scarier, I can say with absolute certainty that I automatically love it even more.
-Am I supposed to be drooly over the fact that Jack is suddenly lacking clothes? Because I'm not.
-It's funny, Jack is incredibly easy to ignore in this episode, and yet I still watched all his individual scenes anyway. I am clearly crazy. Let's pretend I was hypnotized by the voices of the robot women, along with the fact that I couldn't actually figure out what reality show he was supposed to be on. In the end, I had to look it up. ("What Not to Wear" is made of fail.)
-So many adventures we'll never get to see. Sigh. I feel like it's just taunting me the way they keep mentioning Raxa...Raxacoric...look, there's no Doctor in the room, so I don't have the same incentive to learn how to pronounce it.
-Big Brother totally will have 500+ seasons.
-I like how these questions are designed so that we can actually try to answer some of them. Also, I wonder if that Torchwood question was supposed to be relevant to something?
-ROSE. STOP LAUGHING. Things are never the same in the future; haven't you learned that by now?
-"Doctor, they said all housemates must gather on the sofa. You've got to!"
"Busy getting out, thanks."
The Doctor's eye-rolling contempt for this reality show tomfoolery is even funnier than his distaste for the domestic. God, I love Nine.
-By the by, I'm 1/3 of the way in, and, uh, Reality/Game Show Hell? Totally as awesome as anticipated.
-Wait, is that the only explanation I'm going to get for Bad Wolf? I demand more. There had better be more. All the same, *shivers* That was a pretty chilling mini-montage.
-"Outstretched hand love!" :) Go with him, Lynda!
-"I could come with you." *redacts previous statement* STOP IT. NO MORE EXTRA COMPANIONS.
Come back when Rose leaves. I like you better than Martha.
-Also, because the TWoP recaps are teaching me a lot of important British things along the way (whatever I shall do when they're over, I'm not sure), um, what? You have to pay for a "TV license" in the UK? WHAT? That is...I can't...OMG, BRITISH TV.
-Well, The Controller is sufficiently creepy...also, this is the point where I started to become convinced that she either was the kick-ass heroine from "The Long Game," corrupt and drunk on her own power after the Doctor's departure, or possibly said woman's daughter. I am disappointed that my predictions failed.
-"But that was me ... I made this world." Oh, that's not good. That is so very far from good.*lip wobbles* I may not know much, but I know that the Doctor has an angst complex twenty times the size of Horatio's and a frightening capacity for guilt and self-blame. This is exactly the sort of thing he does not need to add to it.
-ANGRY DOCTOR! "You think I don't KNOW that?" And that makes the high point of the episode for me so far. It's generally not good to make light of any situation in which Rose is in danger. He gets rather desperate and short-tempered.
-"You mind flirting outside?"
"I was just saying hello."
"For you that's flirting."
*rolls over laughing* Okay! Fine! Maybe Jack is sort of useful as humor in certain situations at times! I still reserve the right to think he's a smug bastard who is not nearly as attractive as he thinks he is, and so did not warrant his own show.
-Remember that thing about Rose cracking my heart in half? She's doing it again, with her shrill cries that the Doctor always gets there, her blind faith that despite - or perhaps because of - the myriad of close calls and rightfully impossible escapes, sometimes thanks to her own ingenuity, he's like a guardian angel.
-I don't know who put the "This game is illegal!" line in there, or who failed to leave it on the cutting room floor, but I want to smack them for making Rose sound so incredibly stupid right here in the middle of her tumultuous display of otherwise sincere emotion.
-WHAT THE - THE BLOODY HELL - you just, what, EEEEEEEHHH! EEEEEEHH! ROSE DISINTIGRATES! DOCTOR IS QUIETLY DESTROYED! JACK IS INSANE WITH RAGE AND GRIEF!
Also, guys, *this* is the tipping point, the amazing hero moment that makes me - if not exactly fall in love with - stop hating The Cheese. Not enough to stop calling him The Cheese, mind, but you might have mentioned something along the lines of "he flips the hell out when Rose is in danger" ('in danger' being a spoiler-free way of explaining the situation). Have I not mentioned how the whole protective-alpha-male thing wins points in my favor? And I think it's his dimmed but audibly passionate shouting in the background, combined with his equal desperation over the Doctor, that does me in the rest of the way. Suddenly, he has emotions. For people other than himself. That don't involve his immediate desire to get into their pants. It's like discovering a whole new person.
I think this needs a rewind or two.
*weeps as Doctor scoops up bits of ashes*
*weeps more as Jack rages with grief and helplessness, screaming "YOU KILLED HER!"*
*crawls under table and weeps* *irrationally*
My brain cannot even process the fact that logically, seeing as we've got a good chunk of part 1 to go even if it were the end, there would be some sort of magic trickery that undoes the undoable. I'm too busy being horrified by the unexpected shock of it, swept away by the emotion (fantastic acting all around), and melting into a puddle of sad whimpers at the Doctor's utter failure to put up any kind of resistance, staring at the pile of dust. Stealing from TWoP again, "He's lost half of himself."
-Action Jack! Action Doctor! Non-Action Random Sidekick! (fine, Lynda)
V: You realize this is season one yes? Rose makes it out alive?
RS: YES BUT THE DOCTOR BLOODY DOESN'T! I am preemptively weeping!
-"That's not our fault; we were just doing our jobs!"
"And with that sentence you just lost the right to even talk to me."
Should I just keep a running tally of the number of times I want to say "The Doctor is amazing"?
-"My friend died inside your games!"
"Don't you DARE tell me that!"
-Voice: There, see, your precious Rose is alive and well.
-Oh bloody hell. Damn Daleks. Reality/Game Show Hell just officially ceased being awesome.
-"There's a time and a place."
-EEEEEEEH DALEKS!! Oh man, the Doctor's face right there. Doctor's face, seeing the Dalek Ships from Beyond Hell...
-Daleks get a lot scarier when there's more than one of them. To the point where three of them are making me shiver in my seat, never mind half a million.
-"Oh, will you, that's nice. Hello!" Ability to be scathingly sarcastic under pressure: excellent.
-And this is the part where I just kind of fell to pieces and was swept away by how amazing Eccleston is right here and how I don't want him to leave, ever, even to make way for David Tennant. The grandiose hero speech, the half-hysterical hatred burned so deep he shakes when he articulates it, the somewhat maniacal gleam in his eye at "And doesn't that scare you to death?" and then softened an instant later for Rose. "I'm coming to get you" is another of the things I've managed not to be spoiled about in any way, shape or form, and I subsequently exploded from squee.
I may also have spent long minutes staring at his beaming smile right here and wondering when precisely it was that Nine became so very attractive.
-"EX-TER-MI-NATE!" *dives under table*
-*sits on hands* Not watching the preview, not watching the often-horribly-spoilery preview, going straight into the rest of the finale...okay, well, half the preview, but then I cut myself off!
-P.S. I keep waiting for the mysterious Bad Wolf idea to have some profound meaning that I'm finally able to understand in context. Have we reached the point where I'm supposed to get it yet? Because I don't.
1x13 Review Preview:
And despite my best, best defenses against heartbreak...I AM BROKEN. If you need me, I will be curled up in the fetal position in my bed, sobbing through the rest of the day. Not even tap-dancing on Jack's grave could make me feel better at this point.
Voice: Translation? She just got to the 39-minute mark in "The Parting of the Ways." Now let's see what happens five minutes later.
RS: *bounces up cheerfully* Voice! Fetch me The Christmas Invasion! Onward, I say! Onward like the glorious days of The Office's second season!
1x13, "The Parting of the Ways"
*staggers in dizzily* Well, that was a whirlwind of a mindspin. I kept careening back and forth from one end of the emotional spectrum to another. Highs! Lows! Euphoria! Devastation! Weird balance at the end! My running commentary quickly became irrelevant, so we're switching back to paragraphs for part 2.
[edit: which turned out to be a mistake, because four hours of trying to iterate my thoughts while getting distracted by watching the episode/reading other commentaries proved I am utterly incapable of laying this out thematically, so it all just comes sort of jumbled up.]
Firstly, because I'm not going to find another place to bring it up, the plot was amazing and gripping and had me glued to the screen. Also, I liked Lynda. Rose did not like Lynda. I found the former's disdainful/jealous bitchface over the latter highly entertaining, though.
And then I whimpered when her doom became imminent and may have shrieked when the four Daleks rose outside the window like so many terrifying bees with a grudge. This is the point where I decided that the Daleks are scary as hell. *sniffs* Poor Lynda, the saddest sacrifice since Gwyneth. (Pete Tyler doesn't count)
I highly approve of all the hugging at the beginning of this ep. "Told you I'd come and get you." And that little touch where she hangs onto the front of his jacket for a bit... :) I didn't even mind her hugging Jack, which was an odd feeling, to say the least. I did not so much approve of Jack's goodbye kisses, though, except to feel like "good riddance. Off you get!" Rose acts different around him. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but something's off about her character, in a way I fully realized when we got those blessed last few minutes with just the two of them working alone.
"Never even occurred to you, did it?" The way he says that is so profoundly sad, I almost couldn't muster up the squee a minute later when he jumped up, ecstatic, and pressed a firm kiss to the top of her head. I say "almost" because naturally, this caused me to skip around the room in glee. Even if it was meant to be a goodbye, and he promptly pulled cheap tricks to send her off to safety. Because...the look on his face as he did so, ignoring Rose's hysterical demands to be let out, broke me. "Let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust" did not help. By the time she found herself back where she started, alone, almost as if it had never been, I had tears running down my cheeks. As this was not even at the halfway point yet, I figured that was not a good sign for the rest of the ep.
It was just so incredibly and soul-crushingly depressing putting myself in Rose's shoes at that moment. "What do I do every day?" Suddenly I'm seeing her whole life stretched out in routine like that, bleak and empty in comparison to what was, and the way she's telling it I really can't find it in me to be sympathetic at ALL towards Mickey's yipping about how everyone else, including him, seems to manage that.
In other news, both Mickey and Jackie continue to be awesome when they finally get their acts in gear to help send Rose back, even if they don't really believe it or understand it (or, for that matter, want it). I am really, really happy that Rose brought up the events of "Father's Day" and made Jackie confront it. I am even happier that she flatly confirmed to Mickey there was nothing for her here. I am also still scratching my head over the fact that forcibly ripping the TARDIS open worked, because I would have thought the box wouldn't take too kindly to being physically abused like that.
In reference to the giant BAD WOLF tag painted across the asphalt: "I like how subtle these references have gotten."
And further to the above P.S.: I am so excited that I finally understand Bad Wolf (unless it gets complicated again down the road). I'm even more excited that it is not, in fact, something creepier and more evil than the Daleks, but merely the breadcrumbs of Rose's doing. Right? I felt like I was diciphering Shakespeare at that point, but "I take the words...I scatter them in time and space" - that's how they ended up appearing in all the previous episodes? Just arbitrary words taken from the corporation's name, a message to her non-imbued-with-TARDIS-heart self...I never dreamed the revelation would turn out to be something so simplistically beautiful. Er, well, not simplistic, because anything that deals with time-travel and parallels and multiple selves makes my brain explode on contact with the thought. But it's lovely and fulfilling all the same. Glowing half-goddess Rose is a little bit frightening, actually, in the midst of all her awe-inspiring supremity, but the parts where she's more Rose than all-powerful being sell it completely.
"I want you safe... My Doctor." To recap: BROKEN. Right about here, I think, is where the tears started afresh. I was already primed from the utter anguish on his face pleading for her to stop, and then I totally collapsed. And then - the kiss! I was spoiled about it just a few hours beforehand, while icon-hunting, but that didn't come close to preparing me for how overwhelmingly beautiful it was going to be. They cheesy triumph!music when he stands up is made of fail, as is his horribly cheesy line, but I'm so swept away by everything else that it doesn't matter. You can rationalize the circumstances all you like (and the rationalization is, in fact, very pretty and meaningful). Doesn't change the tenderness behind it. Plus the haunting vocals, and Rose collapsing in his arms, and, and, !!!
While I recover from that, let's talk about The Cheese, whom I would refer to as Captain Jack out of respect for the dead, if not for...you know, the undoing of death part. I glibly waved and chirped "Buh-bye Jack!" as the Daleks advanced, but somehow I never believed he'd actually get die. And then "DUDE!" He gets blasted against the wall and falls down very much dead. At that point, I was wondering who in their right mind would ever have chosen to bring him back, because had he died a heroic death like that, facing it head-on with his last defenses stripped away? I might have stopped hating him. I might have considered his role in the series to have had a purpose, something noble and self-sacrificing in the end that made the build-up worth it. But then All Powerful Rose decided to wreak havoc with mortality, and brought all the annoyance right back. "Damn it, Rose!" (Okay, I think a tiny part of me might actually have felt a bit sorry for Jack when I saw the look on his face as the TARDIS disappeared without him. But the rest of me just wanted to be Nelson Munce and go "Ha-ha! You're unloved!")
Okay, back to the TARDIS and the final farewell. I was afraid that she was going to lie there unconscious until after he'd changed, so I'm glad they got a wonderful and exposition-y chat, and I'm glad that they managed to keep humor there to the end, amidst the unexpected shocks that made me jump, and it was all just so perfectly them that I couldn't complain, even though I was wincing and peeking through my fingers, trying to prepare myself for whatever was coming. My exact words for what actually happens: "Um...okay! That was spectacularly less terrible than I thought it would be!"
I imagined having...I don't even know. I just thought it would be a completely horrible and terrible sight, perhaps involving lifeless bodies and Ten randomly popping out from antoher room somewhere, or, I don't know! The regeneration was rather creepy, in retrospect, but as I was watching it was relatively emotionally painless. I honestly could not have asked for a better handling of his departure. One minute he's the charming Nine, and then suddenly it's good ole familiar Ten, and my mind went winging straight away to the events of The Most Wonderful Series of Oneshots, and...yeah, I'm good.
"*bounces & bobs head to closing-credits music* Oh yes. I could get used to this. I mean, not that I haven't already, but now I get to see Ten in action. I mean, in the context of a plot rather than random clips. Oh, this is going to be fanstastic!"
Scattered Lefotver Notes, Mostly Dalek Related
-"I almost thought it was worth it...now it turns out they died for nothing." Euphoric mood: *plummets* Poor, poor, ever-grieving Doctor.
-"Do not blaspheme! Do not blaspheme!" Is it wrong that I just tipped over giggling when I heard that?
-Me: "Oh yes, ANNE DROID!! ...crap."
-Watching the self-absorbed Weakest Link winner get Dalek-blasted was quite possibly the most satisfying TV show death ever.
In retrospect, of course, I've gone back to being sad. The more times I replay bits of and pieces of this ep, the more I tumble head-over-heels for them, and I can't quite grasp the fact that he's gone. I guess despite all my existing love for Ten, within the context of the show I'm going to have to relearn how to accept him right alongside Rose. But if there's one the show is very good at doing, it's getting me to accept characters at exactly the rate they want me to (with the possible exception of Captain Jack - I'm not sure I really came to terms with him, given the grudge I still bear for the existence of Torchwood).
And, ah, luckily I found out about the existence of the Children in Need clip before I went to fetch the Christmas special. I would have been sorely disappointed to have missed that brief but exceptionally important scene. As this post is insanely long already, though, we'll save that for next time and close with...
Thoughts on Series 1 Overall: (and yes, I will always continue to bounce back and forth between 'series' and 'season' depending on my mood.)
"Father's Day" was my favorite right up until the end but it finally got eclipsed by "Parting of the Ways" as my favorite...as season finales have a way of doing. I'll always have a certain soft spot for the former, though, as the last stand before The Wall comes down and Jack arrives and everything ranges from being a little bit different to a lot different after that. Father's Day is my last bit of innocence.
Wow, that sounded dark and morbid. Anyway, "The Unquiet Dead" is firmly locked in at #3, and if I keep going like this I'll somehow find a way to make them all my favorite, because the show is just that great. If you'd told me a month ago that I would even like it, much less be completely over the moon about it, I would have laughed myself sick. And yet here we are. I somehow don't think that Classic Who would have the same effect, because it is so not about the plot or the themes or the aliens. Those are just incidental side stories - surprisingly entertaining stories, but not the main focus. Everything rests on the Doctor (which in turn is entirely dependent upon the actor), or perhaps more specifically, the Doctor and Rose. That's why I fear for my future meeting with Martha, because honestly, Rose is the reason I fell in love with this show. She's why I started from the beginning; thirty seconds of an opening with her and I was captivated.
However, because I am practicing NOT being doom-predicting, I'm going to go focus on the shiny, shiny package that is Ten + Rose + no Jack + an entire season to revel in this glorious fact. They can totally match the magic of Nine/Rose. I just need to get over my disappointment that they'll never have anything quite so visually satisfying, despite the emotional havoc they will wreak long past the season's end, and...the hell, I've never seen myself so determined to make myself miserable.
DOCTOR WHO HAS BEEN AMAZING THUS FAR. THE END.