Episode 11 – FEAR HER

Series two’s mid season slump continued with Fear Her in an episode that just had so much wrong with it. If you’re keeping up with this marathon, you’ll probably think by now I enjoy criticising episodes and I really don’t, but some stories are just not good at all. Everything was set up here for this to be great. New concept, great setting and every parent’s worst nightmare; children disappearing. The first ten minutes were pretty good. There was definite tension on the street with the children vanishing and it seemed the Doctor had arrived just in time. But then we met Chloe Webber, an annoying character who just completely took me out of the episode. And the scribble monster, quite a ridiculous idea, so ridiculous, it was defeated by a rubber. The episode should’ve continued the trend of disappearing children and Chloe Webber should’ve been introduced much later. When the episode flipped and the villain was the drawing of her dad, it just got boring. There didn’t seem to be much threat at all, so of course Chloe’s mum just had to leave her alone, even though she knew what she was capable of. So predictably, she drew the Doctor and the TARDIS, but even then, I didn’t feel as though the situation was critical. The resolution of finding the Isolus pod and powering it so it would leave Chloe was fair enough I suppose. But then the Doctor picked up the Olympic torch and ran with it through the stadium and I was sitting there thinking; what the hell is this? It was such an un-Doctor-like thing to do. Yes it’s great for the show’s social media pages now, “Oh remember that time when the Doctor lit the Olympic torch”. But really, why would he attract so much attention to himself? And surely it would have been mentioned again by somebody since? After all the Olympics have since been and gone so surely it would’ve caught a few eyes, maybe at UNIT? Finally the last line of this episode is also simply awful. “A storm is approaching” says the Doctor as he gazes into the sky as Rose asks him about their future together. Since when has the Doctor been able to look into the future and know what’s going to happen? It was just such a ridiculous ending that was only there to create some drama and give the trailer some edge. As a whole, this episode just frustrates me because it could’ve been great, but so many things went wrong and instead it was awful. 3/10

Episode 12 – ARMY OF GHOSTS

This is one of the best first parters of the modern era and it gets the series back on track. Quickly I’ll get the only qualm I had out of the way, did we really need Rose Tyler commentating at the beginning of the episode? And the line “This is the story of how I died” annoys me a bit too. She doesn’t die as we find out next week, unless that was thrown in to fool us. However, this episode is simply breathtaking. From the start, the ghosts provide an intriguing mystery. The reveal of the Cybermen from behind those plastic sheets was amazing too, they were the top villains of series two. I enjoyed Jackie’s cameo role as the Doctor’s companion, they shared some fantastically witty dialogue. The Doctor was on form too here, particularly when he sat down, stared at Yvonne and made her stop the ghost shift. It was the tenth Doctor at his best, exuberant, cocky and with a touch of darkness thrown in. It showed just how much power he has over any situation, even if Yvonne and Torchwood wouldn’t like to admit it. Towards the end of the episode Murray Gold produces yet another flawless piece of music that adds so much drama to the episode, the Cybermen’s invasion was complete and the Daleks were just emerging from the void ship. This was all escalated and brought to life by Gold’s sheer brilliance. The cliffhanger was also superb as it set up the finale perfectly. The Doctor was being held hostage by the Cybermen and Rose and the returning Mickey were faced with Daleks. Unbelievable stuff. 9/10

Episode 13 – DOOMSDAY

I chose the picture for this post very carefully. If Doomsday ended right there then I’d be talking about a 10/10 perfect series finale, one of the best episodes ever. As it was the last ten minutes completely spoiled what was such an epic conclusion to series two. I’ll start with the positives, the Daleks were brilliant in this episode. Extracting brain waves from Dr Singh was a brutal scene that we don’t get enough of from the Daleks nowadays. Their exchanges early on with the Cybermen were hilarious, a brilliant little two minutes that gave the episode some comic relief. When the two races finally got nasty, it’s a shame we never saw a Cyberman kill a Dalek but their battle was still brilliant nonetheless. The Doctor was yet again marvellous. When he entered the room just as it looked as though Rose might get exterminated, he was terrific and it was great to see him own the Daleks using a mixture of darkness and the classic tenth Doctor happy go lucky persona. Another scene I particularly liked was between Pete and Jackie, it was very interesting to see how the two would get on and I’m glad they did get on in the end, it was a nice touch. The Genesis Ark was a clever plot point and the reveal of the Time Lord science making it bigger on the inside really upped the ante towards the end as even more Daleks emerged. The Doctor’s solution of reversing the ghost shift so everything with “void stuff” was sucked back into “hell” was very clever too. It led to some stunning footage and direction where we saw Rose and the Doctor cling on as Daleks and Cybermen flew past them into the void. Now just imagine as Rose let go of the lever, she then was sucked into the void, the walls closed and the Doctor leant against the wall like he did, but without Rose at the other side. If that alternative ending had taken place then this episode would be complete perfection and safely my favourite story of the modern era. What we got instead was complete nonsensical garbage. Firstly, how did Pete know exactly when to come back to this universe and catch Rose with his arms outstretched? There was never any indication that there was a visual link between worlds so that was ridiculous. Secondly, why does the Doctor burn up a sun just to say goodbye? It’s such an uncharacteristic thing for him to do and it just made me cringe. Also, as he was a projection, how on Earth could he see or hear her? The whole thing was just fabricated nonsense to create the perfect tragic end, when in fact the perfect end would’ve been for Rose to die. The only saving grace was that we never heard the Doctor say “I love you” back to Rose, that would’ve been a step too far. A death would’ve led to a truly impactful scene for the Doctor whereas what we got was soap opera drivel. It really is a shame this is how this finale ended or it could’ve been legendary. 8/10

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