Background: When did I first find out what happened in DD, anyway? It seems a very long time ago. Oh, OK, my records show that I was at 1x11, but it was also only February 5th when, having already seen bits and pieces of the heartbreaking parts in fanvids, I cracked and read the pertinent part of the recap, and a couple of days after that I watched the whole sad scene, where it's been looming in the back of my mind ever since. I've watched the heartbreaking parts several times with morbid fascination, and even without the visual I've cried over the ending literally more times than I can count. Every time I start to think my memory has exaggerated the level of abject misery it contains, I watch it again and realize, no! It actually IS the most emotionally devastating piece of fictional work, in any medium, known to mankind.
Still, I've let it unnecessarily bog me down for weeks. Maybe now, after I finally work through every emotion, question, and reaction I can think of in an "official" manner, I can finally put it to bed and move on with my Doctor Who-viewing experience.
Review Proper: And after finally sitting through it in full for the first time on June 2nd, I put myself through the complete experience again today. My original running-commentary notes said this: "I still think it was just cruel and unusual to throw both Cybermen and Daleks in at once. I don't mean for the characters, I mean for me. Great hunks of metal, oh joy! Why do two of the most boring villains ever have to be the ones that refuse to die? I mean, yes, they were both chilling and horrifying the first time around. But in retrospect, boring. Talk about an episode I never want to watch in full again! I'm happy to keep torturing myself with the sad bits, but whole way through? I don't think so."
Then what did I do, as I read the TWoP recap to clear my head and start writing this post? I watched the whole thing in full again (or as much as can be expected from me; no TV show is ever good enough to sit through twice without at least a little fast-forwarding). I'm not even sure what was that compelling, because I'm sitting here thinking I still have no interest in seeing it again, but something must have clicked. Then again, I was so drawn in the first time that I wrote down all of FIVE running-commentary notes throughout the whole thing. The rest of the time I was just glued to the screen.
For all that I'd spoiled myself on the ending, there was actually quite a bit I wasn't aware of. Like how Pete Tyler played into things, for one, and/or how they ended up recreating the original Tyler family in the beach scene, plus Mr. Mickey. How the Daleks and Cybermen got taken care of in the end. Why the hell Rose ever let go and dropped onto the lever in the first place (no wait, I'm still confused about that one). Pretty much anything that took place in the first 2/3 of the episode, in other words. We need categories again. In no particular order...
-It's the last time Billie Piper's name will ever properly appear in the theme song!! *sobs irrationally*
-"You didn't need to kill him!"
"Neither did we need him alive."
Oh yeah. Now I remember why the Daleks are creepy as hell.
-Still no love lost for Jake - although the Cyberman's head going 'splodey was quite fun - and permanently sick of Mickey now and forever more (one of those five commentary notes I spared time to write was 'MICKEY THE IDIOT' the second he touched the Genesis Ark). Plus I honestly don't know if I feel better or worse that the people rose up in an angry mass and took Alt!Wood by storm. Much as Torchwood probably deserved it, I also find mob action unsettling.
-No love lost on Alt!Pete either, really. At first I thought it made perfect sense for he and Jackie to be together ("Her husband's dead. Good match.")- despite knowing they're not really your spouse, it's close enough that a combination of memory and pretense would seem enough to form a platform for starting over. But then I find that the whole quasi-reunion scene (full of Jackie's "I don't care about that. ...how rich?") squicks me so violently that I can't watch it again. I'm cool with the beach scene, I just can't stomach the awkwardness of that initial meeting.
Especially after he spends so much of the episode being an infuriatingly cold bastard. Very logical, yes, caring more about his Earth than this one and pointing out at least once that Rose is no more his daughter than Jackie is his wife, but...cold logic. In a highly shallow note, still with the shorn hair, ugh. He does look old. Older than a year ago. Man, I miss 1987 Pete.
-I really do like the picture of them as a family sitting around the fireplace at the end, though. They're all in pajamas and look very cozy, as if this is the way they always were. Plus Mickey.
General Plotty Things
-Yvonne's obsessive "I did my duty for queen and country" quote me want to bash her skull in several times over. I feel like I'm supposed to be somehow impressed by her devotion to this mantra ultimately giving her control over her Cyberman body, but seeing as it was all her own damn fault in the first place that she got turned into one...
-Continuing the theme of not making connections, I hadn't a clue where they were going with the "Time Lord science" thing until they unleashed it: "Time Lord science: it's bigger on the inside." Whoa, prison ship! Was not expecting that! And in my defense, even the Doctor couldn't figure out what that meant until the Daleks were whipping out of it like it was lined with Homer Simpson's magic clone-making hammock (Yes, I have been overdosing on the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" specials lately. Sometimes, I actually watch more TV than I tell you about)
-OK, so, the Lever of Doooooom: in about my third rewind, I think I finally gathered that for no reason at all, it sparked and starting pushing itself into the 'off' position. I still don't really understand why it would have been so awful to have let it shut down until they could safely push it back into place. It surely wouldn't have taken all that long. Or was the problem that, once down, they would not have been able to get it going again? Whatever. Am grumpy that everything is ALL THE MALFUNCTIONING PLOT DEVICE'S FAULT.
On the other hand, it does my heart a world of good to know that AU's are really that easy to imagine. If not for the damn lever, Daleks & Cybermen would have been merrily sucked away, and while she still would have been cut off from her mother for
I...am going to save the rest of that for the Doctor/Rose section.
-The schoolyard trash-talking between the Daleks and the Cybermen may be the funniest exchange this show has ever produced. ("You are superior in only one way: you are better at dying!"). I think half of its humor comes from the fact that it's all in robotic speech, with varying levels of intensity, but not really proper emotion. "We feel nothing! But you're ugly! And feel free to bite my shiny metal ass!"
-Not that I don't also love the combination of fearless authority & similar taunting that Rose lords over the Daleks time and again. Shutting up their "Ex-ter-mi-nate!" chant with one shout of "DALEKS!", cheerfully informing them how she turned the God Of All Daleks to dust, and then of course the casual identification of the Doctor, which causes the whole little group to instantly zoom backwards. HEE.
-I am intrigued, a whole lot, by this "fall of Arcadia" and why the Doctor adds "Someday I might even come to terms with that." I want explanations! Payoffs! I still remember how annoyed I was when I found out that the Time War wasn't a reference from Classic Who that could be nicely explained to me on Wikipedia.
-I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to see the adorable 3-D glasses moment in context. I really didn't expect it was going to come 3 seconds before the beginning of heartbreak...SIGH...but I still think it's cute how she reaches out trying to touch the Void Stuff (technical term, that).
-The only time I've ever wanted to give the Doctor a good, swift kick was when he draped that transporter button 'round her neck and sent her off without warning, supposedly for her own good. It just seemed like such betrayal, especially right in the midst of that broken-voiced speech about how she doesn't want him to be alone. Is like dropping your loyal puppy off at the pound after he comes when you call.
-And despite my feelings of wanting to kick him, which are burning quite strongly at the moment, I can also spare a little *wibble* moment for the look of regret on his face after she vanishes. You can't tell me that wouldn't have eaten away at him for a while, if she hadn't returned.
-Alert, alert, sound the alarms! One of the only Cute Moments that's ever surprised me!! I actually only found out about the "I made my choice a long time ago and I'm never gonna leave you" quote maybe a month before seeing the episode, and I never did find out its specific context. Imagine: all the fic and all the videos, and I never saw that. Which made it all the more amazing.
I love Rose's growling "Oh no you don't - you're not doing that to me again!" and popping herself right back; I love the Doctor's furious reaction, and I love how steadily she holds her ground and looks him right in the eye, not one bit apologetic. This is the assertive, stubborn girl I like. And his "Set all those switches to 6 - and hurry up!" is abrasive and harsh, but while the recap failed to mention this, I think it's less real anger than to cover fear. In the other universe, she was separated but safe. Here with him, there are no guarantees.
-And then Hell almost literally breaks loose, and...OK, so the first time I watched this outside of a music video, I was rather annoyed with all the screaming. Appropriate, yes, but horribly unpleasant on the ears. Bah. I cheered up a bit when I realized he was screaming her name, but still. I have a tendency to watch this part on mute.
Then too, the first few times I watched it, I think it was almost worse that Pete caught her than if she'd simply fallen into the void. That split-second look, eyes meeting one last time before she disappears without a trace, added an extra bit of sting.
And I still want to know how he was able to pop back at precisely the right moment, in precisely the right place.
-Pretty sure it will never not shred my heart into a thousand pieces to watch Rose sobbing and pounding on the unresponsive wall, begging in vain for it to take her back. (Thank you, official "Doomsday" music, for coming in here with the haunting vocals; the - what did I call it? *flips through journal* "The echo left when everything else has been taken away." ) Or the way she quiets suddenly, pressing the side of her face against it as if hoping to hear or feel some last trace of him. Or how he walks up and slowly leans against the wall on his side, knowing there's nothing there but unwilling to let go of the last place she was. It's a little like a grave. Rose's tears and her mascara smeared all over the place hurt, but the Doctor's distant expression is an unexpected sucker punch.
And then he looks so dreadfully empty when he walks away from it, too. Numb. Cold. Is that season 3 I see written all over your face, sir?
*takes another deep breath* OK. Almost through it now. 8 minutes to go.
No! Damn you, Werkin' Music playlist! Did you have to go and play "My Immortal" right this second?? There are like a hundred and fifty songs on that list, and it's on shuffle, and you choose My Immortal?? Way to knock me off track for half an hour playing the sad Doctor Who video and curling up in the fetal position to make the hurt go away.
Huh. I was just waiting for WMP to make the next song some other horribly ironic choice, but it spared me any overt Doctor/Rose or general Murray Gold songs. It did choose to continue the Amy Lee theme with "Broken," though. Apt. -.-
You've gone away
You don't feel me here, anymore...
Doctor/Rose: Extended (a/k/a Beach Scene of Devastation)
Up front, have to say that the whispered "Rose" gives me chills. That's the one part of this ending I didn't know about beforehand, or knew about only recently and never saw. No description can do it justice.
I've thought about what I'd write in this space for months, and - GOOD GOD, WMP! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! [translation: it's on "Goodbyes," which either means that my music library is in cahoots with the video player, or I own way too much sad music. Equally possible.]
- and now that I'm here, I don't know what to say. I can tell you that no matter what, if I make myself sit through the whole conversation, I still cry. I always think I'll hold out, and sometimes I get really close, but then she gets to "On your own?" and he nods and I start weeping. I'd have written this review yesterday, as a matter of fact, except that I watched this scene first and was immediately knocked out by emotional exhaustion. I'm, uh, thinking we may need to dissect it line-by-pertinent-line.
"I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye." *swoons* (weepily)
"I'm still just an image. No touch." *whimpers* I want this remedied in season 4, sir! If there's to be another heartbreaking goodbye, it had better be proper. That lack of touch is what hurts even more than him fading away too soon. Not that Doomsday isn't wholly, thoroughly satisfying while it's breaking your heart and wreaking havoc on your emotional state, but...it could also be more satisfying.
"Can't you come through properly?"
"The whole thing would fracture. Two universes would collapse."
Rose is my hero, just in case you weren't aware of this fact. I love his half-smile, still Rose.
Am too lazy to look up the name/quote properly right here, but let's just say the mention of "Bad Wolf Bay" still makes me smile through my tears.
"There's five of us now; Mum, Dad, Mickey...and the baby."
OK, when I say I've been thinking for months about what to write, I mostly mean what to write about this line. And I still just have no idea how to grasp it. I literally do not have words to describe his expression or how he says that, other than that it is one of the most exquisite things I have ever seen. And I can't decide how I want to interpret it, but I've decided that the beauty of it is that you can interpret it any way you want. My way is secret. And highly variable, depending on my mood, which is why it's secret.
"You're dead, officially, back home. So many people died that day, and you've gone missing...you're on a list of the dead."
OW. OW. OW. SEND FUZZIES. You wouldn't think these words would score so deeply, but they do, glaring and ugly. That, and I don't really want to think of the destruction left behind on earth.
"Am I ever gonna see you again?"
Rose is crying, this is where I start wavering, and they've just been talking about the one adventure he can never have when "Impossible Planet" starts weaving itself through the scene again. Stop iiiiiiit! Hurts! Painful memories of mortgage conversations!
"Oh, I've still got the TARDIS. Same old life. Last of the Time Lords." Such false lightness.
"On your own?" *wibble* And with that, every single time, I have to hit the pause button while a couple of tears blink down. I can't even get into the whole "I love you" and his verbose babbling that ends with his image fading away right before he completes the exchange. It hurts, and we all know it. It's the crowning blow on a series of sucker-punches to the gut. But he was going to say it, and nothing can take that from me, and I've replayed it the *proper* way in my head enough times that it almost sounds real.
And still, still I have to confess that RTD can do no wrong with the Doctor and Rose safely in his hands, because the not saying it just makes the next clip that much more heartwrenching. The first time I saw it, I was knocked utterly speechless. "OMG. TEARS. NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WOULD BE TEARS!" I kept replaying the YouTube clip, sure I was imagining things, but no. Wow, nothing will rip whatever semblance of a heart you have left to pieces like the sight of the Doctor standing there with a look of utter shock, swallowing, tears on his face.
*keels over* Made it! Made it through the hard part! Review 90% complete! Oh God, life will move forward again! *is giddy* (Music is conforming to this bright vision: KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See")
Oh right! And don't forget, this is how it resolves itself in the future. I will neeeeever be convinced it doesn't go like this, and thus cling to its comfort.
Future Repercussions of Beach Scene
As much as the scene breaks me, and as much as I hate it a little for that, there's nothing I hate more than the idea of Rose working at Torchwood. Even if the one in Pete's world is a perfectly respectable organization, HAAAAATE. This is where I differ from everybody else, but I? Do not like Independent Rose. I do not like the previews for season 4 where Rose is toting a Big Fucking Gun; they make me sad.
As I said at the end of season 1, I don't see the point, fun, or interest of chasing aliens without the Doctor. I'd actually, and I say this with 100% seriousness, prefer that she *was* back working in the shop. Because that's a grief I can sympathize with. I can sympathize with having something fantastic and then having it taken away, having to go back to an ordinary life. I cannot rally around Rose Tyler, Defender of the (Alt) Earth. I'm sorry. I can't.
So, end tag. Thing is, I like Donna. I think. I'm pretty sure I like Donna, admittedly based mainly off the clips I saw of Runaway Bride, one really great fic that I've been sitting on for months so as to put it in a proper context, and the hearty approval she's received from every fantastic Doctor/Rose shipper I know, but still - I go in with as much enthusiasm for Donna as I have dislike for Martha. Am crazy-excited for season 4.
That does not, however, mean I think Donna belongs in this episode for any reason. Not even at the tail end. That was cruel and unusual punishment for the broken-hearted viewers to tack her on immediately after the most devastating scene in the history of the universe. I get cranky every time I forget to hit "pause" and I see that shot of her from behind. This is sad, because normally, her random appearance and the Doctor's thunderstruck expression would be hilarious. But right now, DO NOT WANT.
Do want Christmas special, though. *runs off to fetch it*
I...watched Doomsday, I watched it twice and pored over it in great detail for six hours, and didn't die. Exciting! No, seriously. I've got that feeling of special satisfaction that I can only get from accomplishing a massive blog post I've been putting off. And now I've got...all the aftermath to wade through. Man, it kinda sucks to be in the depths of despair while everyone else is in "Squee!" mode. But I will persevere. Season 3 has good things! I know it does!
Wrapping Season 2: Oh Lord, it was brilliant. Doctor Who, series 2. A time of magic unparalleled, of fresh possibility and explosion of cuteness...and unfortunately, the worst ep of the entire series to date, "Love and Monsters". But the cuteness ruled over all. The Impossible Planet/Satan Pit take it for best 2-parter, but as for my very favorite episode, I don't know. It might be one of them, or...do Christmas Invasion's cute bits make up for the Sycorax? They might. New Earth is pretty high up there too, and I'm sorry, but I will always have a special glowy love for "Fear Her." That and "School Reunion," which may have had its slow parts, but also had Emotional Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, i.e. "gold." (I rather think it was my best written review, too)
I miss you already, season 2. No matter what anyone says, season 4 cannot, will not, eclipse it.