The end of the beginning

· general ·

As I commented here, I was out on Saturday night, and so couldn't watch the last episode of Doctor Who live. I set up the video (obviously), but was paranoid all evening that something would go horribly wrong, and I'd never know who, what or where Bad Wolf was. I watched it on Sunday, but it's taken me a few days to think what I want to say about the ending. So here it is.

Spoilers ahoy, so if you haven't yet seen the last episode of Doctor Who and want to, don't click through to the rest.

What a cracking episode! It seemed to bring together a lot of loose ends from the whole series and the whole cast was on top form. First, the massed ranks of flying daleks were brilliant, and still as scary as they ever were. I actually jumped when the voice of the Emperor of the Daleks broke through on the satellite while the Doctor was busy trying to get his death ray together. Eeek. Religious fundamentalist Daleks? That's even more frightening than your common or garden 'exterminate everything' nihilist Daleks.

Before I watched this — and like Cliff — I had my money on The Master being the Bad Wolf. I was convinced that he was going to turn out to be responsible for the survival of this merry little outpost of the Daleks. However, I'm quite glad that I was wrong. Although the Master has a long history with Doctor Who, having him suddenly pop up as the explanation for everything would seem like a bit of a McGuffin. I liked the fact that it was Rose who had been leaving herself these 'Bad Wolf' hints all over the place, and also that she was ultimately the one who saved the day. It still doesn't quite explain why she chose the phrase 'Bad Wolf' though, or how she manipulated the Slitheen woman ('Margaret') to name her power station 'Bad Wolf' in Welsh. Anyway, I quite like not having everything explained — it makes you think a bit.

The three-way interaction between the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack got even more steamy than it has been in recent episodes. That's usually the kind of thing that turns up in slash fiction — not that I'm complaining in any way! Did anyone else notice the evil eye that Rose was giving Lynda when she was flirting with the Doctor? And the fact that Rose revived Captain Jack but not Lynda? Despite their frequent protestations that they are not 'together' when anyone makes assumptions, no-one can tell me that there's nothing going on between the three of them. I know that the Doctor ostensibly kissed Rose at the end to transfer the time vortex back to the Tardis via his body, but that's about as much of a lame excuse as 'you've got an eyelash in your eye, hold on a minute...'. Again, I'm not complaining at all.

Now to the difficult bit — the Regeneration. One of the reasons that I chose the title 'The end of the beginning' for this post is that — for me at least — it is the end of something that had just got going again. I think that there are lots of things that have made this series great. The writing has been wonderful, the sets and monsters resolutely non-wobbly without losing any of the charm and quirkiness of the classic series, and the cast has gelled brilliantly. However, I think the thing that has contributed most to making the series fantastically watchable has been Christopher Eccleston's subtlety, energy and charisma. David Tennant, on the other hand, looks like a startled rabbit. All the time. When he appeared after the regeneration, he looked like a little kid dressing up in his father's clothes. I've seen him in one or two things (including 'Casanova'), and I haven't been impressed. I'm sure he'll do his best, but if you don't have any sexual charisma playing Casanova, then I don't think there's much hope for you. So I almost think it would have been better if the Doctor had died at the end of this series.

Sigh. It's the whole Tom Baker/Peter Davidson transition all over again, though I did eventually warm to Peter Davidson. I'll give the next series a fair viewing, but I'm not hopeful.

Anyway, to end on a slightly more upbeat note, I found a fantastic page of children's reviews on the BBC site. They are supposed to give a kind of 'scariness' rating for other children, but they also come out with some real gems. This from Adam (12 years old):

The God Dalek was exciting. I liked the way the Daleks worshipped him. And the Daleks hovered like ghosts as they floated through space. But how do they go forwards if they've got boosters only on their bottoms?

That's a very good point, Adam, and I think we should be told.