by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who, Season Two: "Doomsday"

Posted 10 August 2009 in by Catriona

So here we are for the tear-jerking season-two finale. Does “tear-jerking” count as a spoiler?

Nah, surely not! After all, it’s been three years. Or two, maybe. The years pass so quickly these days.

Today—continuing my tradition of boring you with the minutiae of my life prior to actually getting on with the live-blogging—has been strangely variable. My beautiful, beautiful chain-mail necklaces arrived in the mail, but then Telstra took all day to fix the line fault (reported last week) that had deprived me, first, of my landline and, secondly, of regular Internet access.

Then I ended up having a debate with my mother about feminism—and I knew it was going badly when I found myself using the line “Well, you certainly weren’t a First Wave feminist, Mrs Pankhurst,” and yet I still didn’t end the conversation five minutes earlier. Why? Why will I never learn?

So I’m in exactly the right frame of mind to recap this—not the most cheerful of episodes, but one with strangely humorous and optimistic moments.

Oh, man, is that girl who annoyed me on Australian Idol several years ago releasing an album now? This version of Dire Straits “Romeo and Juliet” that I’m being forced to listen to makes her sound as though she can only remember half the words and none of the tune.

And just time for “Ode to Joy” before the show starts.

But this is Rose’s monologue again: the story of Torchwood, the last story that Rose will ever tell.

And here are the Cybermen and the Daleks, and the story of how Rose died.

We start the episode proper with the Daleks, bleating “Exterminate!” But Rose stops them dead by shouting “DALEK!” at them: she bribes them with her knowledge of the Dalek species and of the Time War, and they promise to keep her alive.

But they say that the Genesis Ark must be protected at all costs.

Jackie, meanwhile, is freaking out, knowing that Rose was in the room with the sphere. But the Doctor gives her his word that he will get them both out alive. And then he puts his 3D glasses on again, which is oddly whimsical.

The Cybermen are promising, over all broadcast channels, to make everyone identical: to remove sex and race and class.

This goes about as well as can be expected: humanity refuses to surrender, so from Canary Wharf, the bewildered Cyberman can see the city of London burning while he wonders why people are fighting back.

The Daleks have their own agenda: they wonder who is the least important of the three people in the sphere room. They want intelligence about Earth and they “extract brainwaves” from the Torchwood scientist, by crushing his head between their plungers.

No, seriously.

ROSE: You didn’t need to kill him.
DALEK: Neither did we need him alive.

The Cybermen and the Daleks meet and speak.

DALEK: Identify yourself.
CYBERMAN: You will identify first.

This goes on for a while.

MICKEY: It’s like Steven Hawking meets the speaking clock.

The Doctor meanwhile tries to ring Rose, who answers her phone.

CYBERMAN: Our species are similar, though your design is inelegant.
DALEK: Daleks have no need for elegance.

The Cyberman proposes an alliance, but the Daleks refuse their offer and exterminate the Cybermen.

CYBERMAN: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
DALEK: This is not war. This is pest control.
CYBERMAN: We have five million Cyberman. How many Daleks have you?
DALEK: Four.
CYBERMAN: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
DALEK: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek.

So, so awesome.

Now the Daleks have noticed the Doctor, and they note that “the female human’s heart rate has increased.” (Adds Mickey: “Tell me about it.”) But when they demand to know who the Doctor is, Rose tells them: “That’s the Doctor” and they noticeably quail.

The Torchwood personnel are being led off to be upgraded, with Yvonne (head of Torchwood) barely in control of herself. She shrugs off the Cyberman clutching her arm and walks, albeit unsteadily, into the conversion chamber herself, intoning, “I did my duty—oh God. I did my duty, for Queen and country.”

Jackie is right behind her in the queue.

But the Doctor, in the main Torchwood room, sees Jake (the Brummie one) from the Cybermen two-parter flip through from their own universe, destroy the Cybermen, and head off to liberate Torchwood.

Jackie legs it down the stairs.

Jake flips the Doctor back to his own universe, where he is confronted by Pete.

And there’s a slight hiatus in the live-blogging there, as my Internet connection goes down temporarily and I’m too frightened to add any more content before I can get what exists already up online.

(The important bit there was Rose’s recap of the first time she met a Dalek and the Daleks’ revelation that the Genesis Ark is Time Lord technology.)

Back on the parallel universe, Pete denies that Rose is his daughter (and, seriously? She’s not. It’s like saying that she’s his daughter if she was fathered by his twin brother. Except more parallel) and chats to the Doctor about what effect the breach is having on their world—like global warming, in short, but more so.

And a little bit of sweet-talking is all it takes for the Doctor to agree to defeat the Cybermen and the Daleks and save the world. He quickly finds out that Jackie is still alive, and then surrenders to the Cybermen (with a flag made of a sheet of A4 paper).

Back in the sphere chamber, the Daleks tell Rose that they need her handprint to open the Genesis Ark. Then she goes a little far, and taunts the Dalek, telling them that she met the Emperor “and I took the Time Vortex and I poured it into him and turned him into dust.”

The Daleks, unsurprisingly, are furious and plan to exterminate her.

But, naturally, the Doctor turns up at that point. And the Daleks ask him how he survived the Time War.

DOCTOR: By fighting. On the front line. I was there at the fall of Arcadia. Some day, I may even come to terms with that.

I love that line. Such an unusually restrained line delivery for David Tennant.

There’s quite a bit of bantering between the Doctor and the Daleks here that reveals that the Daleks are the Cult of Skaro. Perhaps the fact that they’re unusual Daleks explains the fact that they’re oddly hysterical? Well, oddly hysterical for Daleks.

Or perhaps that’s down to the fact that Cybermen have just burst into the room and started shooting them to death.

During the battle, Mickey falls and touches the Genesis Ark. It had to be poor put-upon Mickey, didn’t it? I mean, it couldn’t be the Doctor, for once?

Jackie, confronted by a Cyberman, is saved by Pete, with Rose (clasping her hands together, she’s so desperate for this to work out), the Doctor, and Mickey behind him.

The Doctor starts explaining parallel universes, but Jackie says, “Oh, you can shut up.”

Pete asks whether she ever re-married, and Jackie says, “There was never anyone else.” Mickey and the Doctor roll their eyes, but I’ve never seen why that can’t be true. After all, she never re-married, did she? Not in twenty years?

And Jackie and Pete embrace, while down on the main floor of Torchwood there’s a running battle between Daleks, Cybermen, and Torchwood troops. (The Daleks are trying to move the Genesis Ark outside, because it needs a large space in which to operate effectively.)

The Cybermen call for all their troops to converge on Torchwood Tower (Canary Wharf). Does that include all the ones we saw materialising near the Taj Mahal?

Meanwhile, the Daleks are sending the Genesis Ark outside, after the Doctor steals one of the devices we were shown last week, the one that allows you to lift massive loads.

And, outside, the Genesis Ark opens, releasing hundreds and hundreds of Daleks—millions of Daleks, the Doctor says.

DOCTOR: It’s a prison ship.

Well, we knew it wasn’t anything good.

And now the Daleks are calling for a wholesale extermination of all lifeforms below. Pete says that’s it: the world is going to crash and burn, and there’s nothing they can do. They’re going home, and Pete’s taking Jackie with him, back to his universe.

And now a particular theme is starting up, quietly. That’s not a good sign.

He finally explains the 3D glasses, explaining that he can see “void stuff” with them.

The Doctor’s idea is that he can open up the void, and anyone who had travelled through the void will be sucked into the void. Rose points out that they’ve all travelled through the void: they’re all contaminated.

The Doctor says that’s why she has to go through to the other world. He’s only opening the void on this side, not on the other side: the void will close itself off, sealing the two worlds apart.

Rose won’t go, she says. The Doctor doesn’t seem to be arguing with her.

Jackie, on the other hand, refuses to go without Rose, despite Pete’s arguing. But Rose says no. The Doctor is alone, but not any more: now he has her.

But the Doctor pops the void-travelling device over Rose’s head and triggers it, so she’s sucked through to the parallel world. Rose isn’t a moron, though, and she flips herself back.

Jackie is hysterical, and I don’t blame her.

But Rose tells the Doctor that she made her decision a long time ago and she’ll never leave him, even if it involves never seeing her mother again.

Cybermen converge on Rose and the Doctor’s position, but are stopped by Cyber-Yvonne, still chanting, “I did my duty for Queen and country.”

And the Doctor and Rose open the breach, sucking everything through the void.

Now, I have to ask: this is so powerful a force that it can suck Cybermen in from as far away as India, but Rose and the Doctor can just hang onto something and they’ll be fine?

Well, never mind about that, because Rose’s lever goes offline, and in order to bring it back online, she has to let go of her grip on the wall: she hangs on to the lever, but it’s not enough—her fingers slip, and as she flies back to towards the void, Pete flips through, grabs her, and flips back to the parallel universe.

And now the theme starts up in earnest.

The void closes.

Rose is beating on the wall on her own side, begging to go back. But Pete says the device has stopped working: the Doctor closed the breach.

The Doctor lays his head and his hand against the wall on his side, and, as though she can sense him there, Rose’s weeping calms a little, and she lays her own head and hand against his, though separated by a wall and an entire universe.

It’s obvious that I feel for Rose here, but I also feel for Mickey and Jackie, having to watch this hearbreak.

But Rose is strong, and she doesn’t kick against the pricks when there’s no point. She walks away—still broken, of course, and still weeping, but she walks back to her family.

But then she comes awake with a start, hearing the Doctor whisper, “Rose! Rose!”

NICK: Oh, Doctor. That’s just creepy.

She tells her family about the dream, and they all pack themselves in Pete’s Jeep and follow the voice for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

And we catch up with her at the point of the opening narration, telling the story of how she died.

The Doctor is exploiting a small hole in the universe: he’s in the TARDIS, in orbit around a supernova: “I’m burning up a sun, just to say goodbye.” He looks corporeal, but he isn’t. Rose wants him to come through properly, but he says he can’t, that it would destroy two universes if he did.

I don’t think he would, anyway. He loves his own universe. Remember how hard he tried to get out of E-Space?

Rose tries to fool the Doctor into thinking she’s pregnant. I’ve often wondered why she does that. It seems odd. But Jackie is pregnant.

Rose tells the Doctor that she’s working for Torchwood now. And the Doctor tells her that she has officially been listed as dead back home. (I found that such a cheat at the time.)

Rose weeps as she asks if she’s ever going to see the Doctor again. He says no.

Rose tells the Doctor that she loves him.

DOCTOR: And, I suppose . . . It’s my last chance to say it. Rose Tyler—

And he winks out of existence.

We come to a close-up of his face, tear-streaked, in the green light of the TARDIS console room.

Rose, back in her parallel universe, runs weeping to Jackie.

And the Doctor wipes his face, and wanders around the console, before looking up to see a strident bride standing in the middle of the console room.

And that’s season two to an end. I’ll give you all a chance to wipe your eyes before I expect any comments, shall I?

Share your thoughts [6]


Drew wrote at Aug 11, 05:00 am

“Now, I have to ask: this is so powerful a force that it can suck Cybermen in from as far away as India, but Rose and the Doctor can just hang onto something and they’ll be fine?”

That applies if you think of the force as something like a vacuum cleaner, yes it would have to be phenomenal and therefore impossible to resist that close up. But what if it’s more subtle than that, what if it exerts an equal force regardless of distance as gravity would – at least for the distances that we are talking about. London to India would be nothing for a gravitational attraction, the difference would be negligible.

Throwing a huge cat among the pigeons: ever think that Feminism got it completely wrong? Feminism by it’s nature constructs a binary opposition, but it should never have been about that. It should have been that everyone is equal.


Catriona wrote at Aug 11, 10:03 am

Well, I think the point re. feminism is not just a cat among the pigeons but also a non sequitur! (Or did I mention feminism in the post?)

I don’t think feminism in its truest and best form should ever have been about binary opposition. Some feminist discourses do project a sense that women should be superior, but that’s just sexism from the other direction.

Some point out a binary opposition existing in how they construct patriarchy, and sometimes these binary-opposition arguments are compelling: differences in pay for male and female workers is one.

But I’ve always considered myself a feminist and I’ve never thought of that in terms of making one gender superior to the other, but always and inevitably in terms of equality.

That’s not to say that I don’t think superiority plays a role in some things. Many, many people are superior to me in certain skill sets: I can neither sing nor dance, for example. But that’s not a matter of gender any more than it is a matter of class or race.

Other than that, I find your science compelling. That’s one area in which you are my superior.



Drew wrote at Aug 11, 09:28 pm

“Then I ended up having a debate with my mother about feminism …”

So not non sequitur. :) I’ve always considered myself a feminist as well, a rather staunch one in fact. Perhaps just a little disenchanted now through experience, power corrupts and all that…

“Rose tries to fool the Doctor into thinking she’s pregnant.”

Does she try to fool him? I guess I could see it that way but I never did before, she just references the pregnancy – 5 of us now with the baby – mmm, ok, I can see that she might be dropping that in there in a deliberately ambiguous manner.

“I’ve often wondered why she does that.” Because she loves him. She wants/needs to see his reaction to the fact that she might have moved on. I get that completely.


Catriona wrote at Aug 11, 11:22 pm

Ooh, I’d forgotten that debate. So it was only a cat among the pigeons, after all? Fair enough.


“Tries to fool the Doctor” is perhaps an over-statement, in that I can’t always check my nuances too closely when live-blogging. But that scene has always struck me, as you say, as deliberately ambiguous.

I was thinking about the second part of your comment, and you’re right. I think what struck me as out of sync in that scene are as follows.

Firstly, in narrative terms, it comes too soon after the big parting scene. The reference to Jackie’s pregnancy is the only sense we get that any time has passed at all between the Doctor and Rose leaning against the walls in their various Torchwoods and Rose rocketing out of sleep when she hears the Doctor call her. That could have been the very same night, for all the narrative tells us.

(Yes, there’s travel time to get to the bay, but she’s already heard the Doctor’s voice by that point: I’m talking about before that.)

So until she mentions the pregnancy, we have no idea that there’d be enough time for her to reasonably even think about moving on. Unless I missed some key dialogue, which is possible.

Secondly, it’s manifestly obvious that she hasn’t moved on in the slightest, and can you imagine the ‘shippers uproar if she had? So it’s this little spark of “Hey, I may be sleeping with someone else!” that doesn’t really go anywhere, and I still don’t entirely see the point.

But didn’t you notice how very nice I was to Rose in this recap? Not one critical word!

(End of early morning Who rant.)


richard wrote at Aug 12, 05:36 am

It’s good Who, dat. And Rose was mainly worthy of your nicetude!

I (still) find the conceit of “Rose’s death” annoying – and so unnecessary. Lost love, surely, is tragic enough to carry the episode.

I mean, I hesistate to use the word ‘anti-climax’, but having built up expectations of Rose’s death throughout the season, the resolution is a bit limp. And the explanation of the contrivance (Oh, yes, by the way, you’re listed as dead, fancy that…) rather detracts from the farewell.

And the less said the better about Pete’s miraculously timed void-jumping: all the panache of Rattigan’s teleporting sacrifice in The Poison Sky (spoiler!), without the clever (and guidance system).

But the schoolboy taunts of the Dalek/Cyberman, frankly, rock (“pest control” snap!); and touches like Cyber-Yvonne; the “I, Dalek” Cult of Skaro; and the tantalising “TimeLord technology – what is it? what is it?” were well worthwhile.

On the question of the void-force: you need to put on your 3-D glasses! The cybermen and Daleks were “steeped in” void stuff, but Rose and the Doctor? Not so much. So it makes sense the force acted much more powerfully on the invading hordes, than the heroes! Or something.

Goodbye, Rose!


Catriona wrote at Aug 12, 06:23 am

I agree Rose wasn’t particularly annoying in this episode: there really wasn’t anything to bitch about.

(I stand by my bitching about Rose in the two-part season four finale, though: she really got up my nose in those episodes, and I think the writers did her a disservice in making her so whiny.)

And I do like Rose: it’s Rose ‘shippers who drive me nuts, and I sometimes take that out on the character.

But I’m entirely with you on the Cybermen/Dalek taunting: that’s wonderful, though you feel a little wicked for siding with the Daleks.

Well, I sided with the Daleks. I’m just assuming that everyone else does, too.

But re. the “void stuff”: would the Daleks be particularly heavily contaminated? The Cult of Skaro came through the void in the sphere (unlike the Cybermen, who just walked through) and the majority of the Dalek forces were doubly protected: first by the sphere and then by the Genesis Ark.

But, then, they weren’t in India, so the forces exerted wouldn’t need to be so powerful.

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