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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “The Parting of the Ways”

(tons of spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: Episode 12: “Bad Wolf”)

I’m rewatching the first series of the new Doctor Who with an eye toward looking where the show has gone since.
Yeah, there’s a lot of robots shootin’ at one another and shit in this episode, and I don’t care about any of that. For me, this is all about the Doctor and Rose. The sneaky bastard, he sends her home, sends her out of harm’s way… but out of the game. She’s gone home to listen to her mother talk about tubs of cold slaw — who gives a shit? Miserable fucking Time Lord bastard, to send her back to that! Oh, I would never forgive him. I’d rather die at his side than be left with a life of eating chips and riding buses and collecting paychecks. “Have a fantastic life,” he tells her? After all Rose has seen with him, and it’s hardly anything, barely scratched the surface of what she could see? Miserbale fucking Time Lord bastard! If I were Rose, after I saved his life, I’d kill him.

(How long was Rose gone, back on 21st century Earth? Days? Weeks? Longer? It was only minutes for the Doctor, but gosh, it must have felt like forever for her, however short a time it was.)

And Mickey, the poor wretched sap. He’s actually trying to convince Rose that a “normal” life with him would be preferrable to life with the Doctor. Even after being in the TARDIS himself, he still doesn’t get it. He really does love her so much that he won’t let her give up on getting back to the Doctor… and maybe he’s just hoping against hope and isn’t as stupid as he seems. But still: Mickey, or the Doctor? No contest.

Oo, but Rose, gettin’ all jealous of Lynda-with-a-Y!

Lynda who wouldn’t evacuate Platform 1 and leave the Doctor… and so Rose should be jealous! Lynda knows the Doctor is a man, and the Doctor knows she knows, and if they actually had a chance, there might have been a moment in which to express it beyond a fumbling are-they-gonna-kiss-or-not moment:

Aww.

Speaking of kissing:

Lots of traumatic good-byes: it makes people sentimental.

And I know: this last kiss isn’t a real kiss, it’s a transferring-the-power-of-the-heart-of-the-TARDIS procedure. Like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, purely practical:

But still: *squee*!

Mucho hugging going around, too, but what else is new:

And then, in the last moments, new new Doctor:

Rose doesn’t realize it yet, but she’s gotten another chance with him. Why she deserves it, I don’t know…

Random thoughts on “The Parting of the Ways”:

• Bad Wolf Watch:

“I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself.” Whoa…

• Daleks! I hate these guys…

He’s heartbroken: the Time War, all for nothing! The Daleks still exist — Gallifrey’s gone, but they’re still here. Always, it’s the Daleks… (And Jack thought the Time War “was just a legend”!)

• Daleks with religion are a scary thing: “Do not blaspheme!” “Pure and blessed Dalek.” And an Emperor who believes it is “God, the creator of all things.” I know Russell Davies is an atheist, but: wow. What a striking conception of religion as utter, heartless evil, even “insane,” as the Doctor says. (I guess this makes the Doctor, “the heathen,” something akin to Lucifer in this mythology, defying God, though without ever having been at the deity’s side in the first place.)

• Re the Dalek outside the window, in space: I love how we know, as its dome lights are flashing, that it’s saying “Exterminate!” even though we can’t hear it. Of course, it’s killing Lynda, so that’s not fun.

• After “everybody lives,” now it’s everybody dies. Even Jack (at least temporarily)… Bummer.

• Oo, and then the Doctor and Rose leave Jack in the 201,000! They don’t know they’ve left him, perhaps, but geez, did they even look for his body or anything, to confirm what they probably suspected, that he was dead. How could they go without being sure? (This really bothers me about this episode… or maybe just about the Doctor, that he’s this selfish.)

• “I want you safe. My Doctor,” says Rose, but it’s really the TARDIS talking. I knew it loved him!

• I love how, when the Doctor realizes he’s been too damaged by absorbing the heart of the TARDIS that he’s gonna regenerate, that his watch has stopped at midnight:

It could be interpreted as noon, of course, but what fun is that?

• Great quotes:

“Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.” –the Doctor

“It was a better life. I don’t mean all the travelin’, seein’ aliens and spaceships and things, that don’t matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of livin’ your life… You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand, you say No. You have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away…” –Rose

“Wish I’d never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward.” –Jack

(next: Season 2, Episode 0: “The Christmas Invasion”)


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
  • Mimi

    • Oo, and then the Doctor and Rose leave Jack in the 201,000! They don’t know they’ve left him, perhaps, but geez, did they even look for his body or anything, to confirm what they probably suspected, that he was dead. How could they go without being sure? (This really bothers me about this episode… or maybe just about the Doctor, that he’s this selfish.)

    SPOILER for later in the series, technically, I guess — Doesn’t the Doctor say later (I think in “Utopia”) that he left Jack there on purpose because the resurrected Jack freaked him out? He didn’t fit into the timey-wimeyness of it all and that gave the Doctor the creeps? I never really loved that explanation, though, since the Doctor then seemed to get over it pretty well and it never came up again as they continued to hang out together over the course of several eps.

    • “I want you safe. My Doctor,” says Rose, but it’s really the TARDIS talking. I knew it loved him!

    I like that! I never interpreted Super-Rose as being really the TARDIS talking, though it makes sense. Now I want to go back and rewatch with that spin on it.

  • Joanne

    Doesn’t the Doctor say later (I think in “Utopia”) that he left Jack there on purpose because the resurrected Jack freaked him out?

    Yes, he does, in that marvellous conversation-through-the-door scene. I figure that the Doctor’s sensible enough to realise that Jack is a) a friend and b) useful, and also can acclimatise himself to the wrongness of Jack over time.

    I think that Rose was away a matter of hours in her own timeline – enough to find Mickey and Jackie, have lunch, and then start trying to break into the TARDIS. She doesn’t change her clothes, anyway, so I don’t see it as being much longer than that.

  • RyanT

    “Wish I’d never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward.” –Jack

    Oh dang. That quote hits hard especially after watching Children of Earth and knowing what we know about Jack now. Jeez.

  • “I want you safe. My Doctor,” says Rose, but it’s really the TARDIS talking. I knew it loved him!”

    Wow, interesting concept that it was the Tardis talking, I like it. I don’t think it was what was intended, but I like it.

    The reason why I don’t think it was intended is because (SPOILER)when Jack jumps on to the Tardis in Utopia, it is the Tardis that freaks out and runs to shake him off.

    So if the Tardis was speaking and acting through Rose I don’t think it would have made Jack immortal

  • MaryAnn

    Obviously the TARDIS didn’t realize, when Rose resurrected Jack, what the long-term (reaaaaaaly long-term) upshot would be.

    Doesn’t the Doctor say later (I think in “Utopia”) that he left Jack there on purpose because the resurrected Jack freaked him out?

    That seems like a bit of retconning to me, and not a very convincing bit. I mean, I like the idea of the Doctor being freaked out by Jack once he knows Jack is immortal, but he doesn’t know that when he and Rose leave… so how could the Doctor *know* Jack had been resurrected? He and Rose are already back in the TARDIS — before even bothering to find out what happened to Jack — before Jack “wakes up” from death.

  • RogerBW

    It’s probably “coleslaw” – “slaw” on its own is not generally used in UK English. Basically the same stuff, though.

    Daleks with religion that somehow fail to say “ex-com-mun-i-cate”. Ah well, they’d probably have had to pay Marcus for the joke since he came up with it.

  • MaryAnn

    “Coleslaw” is a concession to the fact that lots of people mispronouce “cold slaw.”

    If someday “nukular” ends up in the dictionary, it won’t make “nuclear” wrong. At least, I hope not. :->

  • RogerBW

    Cole is a very old English word for “cabbage” (in Middle English, colewort); coleslaw enters the language in 1794, from the Dutch koolsla (“cabbage-salad”). “Cold slaw” was an early variant which appears to have died out in general use (UK and US) around the 1860s and to have been revived more recently, though I can’t give you a date for the revival.

    My guess is that Noah Webster canonised the variant in his dictionary as he did so many others, deliberately to differentiate American from British English.

  • Alison

    If we accept that the Doctor knows and/or sees everything, as he has told us he does, then doubtless he would have ‘seen’ Jack resurrected the moment it happened.
    I like to watch this and then watch ‘Utopia’ directly after. They ‘bookend’ very nicely and I get to pretend that Rose actually went home in the ‘Parting of the Ways.’

  • The Doctor was in no shape to be worrying about Jack. He was in regeneration shock. Maybe it didn’t show at first, but it certainly kicked in quickly and with a vengeance. If he had a thought to spare for Jack, I’m sure he thought he had to be dead.

    In one of my fanfiction stories, when he’s telling Sarah Jane about Jack, I have him explain that he and Rose did go back and look for him, after the events of the Christmas Invasion, once he had recovered from the regeneration trauma, because that explanation makes sense to me. Jack would have been gone by then, though, and they would have assumed he was just one of the many piles of dust that the Daleks left behind. Personally, I think that scenario would have been much more in character for the Doctor than to just go off and leave Jack because he A) somehow miraculously knew what had happened, even when his own body and mind were malfunctioning in a major way and B) saw immediately that Jack was now “wrong”.

  • Leslie Carr

    Rose gets to resurrect someone on a whim, but the Doctor can’t (won’t) interfere with the outcome of the Time War and bring back any of his own people. That’s gotta sting.

  • Keith Z-G

    Not to be nagging, but this reminds me, are you ever going to post your “episode-by-episode” blogs on Children of Earth? Or at least a single spoilers-included post about CoE? Although it’s long past the American debut now, I’m still rather curious to hear what you thought of the specific developments (plot-wise, character-wise, etc). io9’s posts just didn’t quite do it for me ;)

  • MISFIT

    I just NOW began watching this show. I cried during this episode! I thought it was so sweet! You say, “how dare the doctor save Rose’s life and sacrifice his own life and the Tardis”, but it showed how much he loved her. How he had it already pre-recorded, just in case, and how slick he acted like he had this great plan, then sent her home. I LOVED THIS EPISODE! Does it get better? How could it? And I’m now watching The Christmas Invasion, but I already miss the NINTH DOCTOR!!!

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