Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E13 – The Parting of the Ways

In the thirteenth (and final) episode of series one of Doctor Who, our heroes face an increasingly bleak situation in their fight against the Daleks, who reveal their plan is much more insidious and evil than original expected. When Rose makes a drastic choice to take matters into her own hands, she changes history (and the future) forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

The uniqueness of the medium of television is what allows it to tell compelling stories and is one of the reasons I was so eager to start Mark Watches late last year. The nature of “hour-long” episodes (really, 40-45 minutes each) forces a couple of things: compact scripts that are able to tell their stories (not necessarily resolve them) over a brief period of time, and storytellers to be compelling from episode to episode. Like comic books, there generally has to be some element of the show that is serial in nature (though sitcoms appear to have broken that trope here in America). Perhaps it was my obsession with waiting for comic books to be released or my love of stories like Star Wars, which are ongoing film series, that makes me appreciate the long story form for books and film/TV.

For television, I’ve also been drawn to long stories, or long cons. It’s why I loved LOST, The X-Files, The Wire, and came to love Fringe and Breaking Bad in the last few months. It had been a long time since serial dramas and thrillers were a staple on television, though it’s entirely possible I’ve truly missed out on a lot of good television in the last decade. Because Doctor Who is such a long-running show, I wasn’t sure any of this was truly going to be serialized; since I’ve seen so much of the show via GIFs (no, seriously, like half the Tennant/Smith years are in GIF form right now), I thought the show was much more about one-offs in terms of storytelling.

I was wrong and I don’t think I’ve ever been more satisfied to completely misjudge a show. In “Bad Wolf,” we learned how the Daleks manipulated the Doctor through a long con that last throughout the entire first series. This “long game” comes to it’s completion here in “The Parting of the Ways” in a manner that is deeply emotional and resonant and is a testament to the fantastic character writing the new batch of showrunners have given us. Christopher Eccleston was only with us for just under ten hours over the course of the show, and yet I couldn’t help but tear up during both of his goodbyes to Rose.

Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s reflect on how unbelievably and unendingly bleak this episode was. Davies wrote the Dalek return as something to inspire hopelessness in our characters and in us as well. Of course, we believe that there’s always a way that the Doctor will get out of dire situations because…well, he’s the Doctor. But this show is unique in that the main character can essentially “die” at the end of a season and be replaced by someone else. Because of this, Davies can be extraordinarily depressing in his season finale, and he doesn’t hesitate to make things my absolute favorite word: awful.

The reality of the Dalek invasion is overwhelming. The Doctor did destroy the Dalek race during the Time War, except for one tiny ship; that ship spent hundreds, if not thousands of years rebuilding. It’s a horrifying thought to think that the Daleks on this last ship spent so long harvesting humans, resulting in the last 100 years of shipping them off to game shows and reality TV that resulted in even more humans sacrificed to re-create the very thing that would spell their race’s doom.

I would say the only thing that this episode didn’t need was the scenes of the remaining passengers fighting the Daleks. The set-up of that was great, especially as some humans refused to believe that Daleks were real and were on their way to Satellite 5. But it was distracting to watch them try to destroy the Daleks with guns, when it’s been proven that the ability to do so is massively futile for the most part.

It’s a good thing this was such a small part of the episode, because everything else absolutely shines. The idea of the Delta Wave didn’t seem hokey or too campy, and adding the extra subtext of it killing all living things made the Doctor’s parallel to the Daleks all the more fascinating. The main difference between the two, besides his final declaration of cowardice, is that the Doctor inherently cares, while the Daleks are motivated by hatred for all things, including themselves.

As the Doctor vocalized his excited epiphany to Rose about crossing time streams, I was ecstatic at the thought of seeing a possible bit of meta-time travel. Instead, as the door of the TARDIS closed, with Rose still inside, I cried out in horror at what I was watching. He was tricking Rose, sending her back home in time, so that she wouldn’t have to face what the Doctor was about to face.

In the episode’s most emotional moment, once Rose realizes what’s going on, a hologram appears, speaking to her. If the message is playing, the Doctor says, that means the Emergency Programme One is in effect. The Doctor is about to die.

THE DOCTOR: And I bet you’re fussing and moaning now, typical. But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Programme Onemeans I’m facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it, no one will notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried. And if you wanna remember me, than you can do one thing. That’s all. one thing. Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.

It’s a statement that represents the fullest extent of the Doctor’s personal philosophy. Have a fantastic life. Live this life the best you can. It’s no wonder that this sends Rose into an existential crisis; tears in my eyes at the realization that Eccleston will soon be gone, even I wondered what Rose would do without the Doctor.

It was difficult to watch the scenes with Rose in the present time, as she tried to wrestle with the inherent pointlessness of her life with the TARDIS and the life she left behind in Cardiff. Even though Mickey and Jackie eventually come around to support her efforts, I think I felt for them the most. Their girlfriend and daughter respectively, Mickey and Jackie did lose Rose to someone else and their lives were undoubtedly affected by her choice to join the Doctor. They know that she has experienced things they’ll only dream of, for the most part, so I think that deep down, they know why she’s so restless. But it’s still hard to hear her insult their lives the way that she does and I have a feeling this will be addressed in series two.

The real kicker for this episode is the mind-melting revelation of the ontological paradox created by Rose: Bad Wolf is Rose. She sent the words throughout time and space to warn herself that it was possible to save the Doctor. I know that the idea of infusing one’s self with a time vortex is over-the-top, but I still loved it. It switches the balance between the Doctor and Rose, since she can now see all of time and space. It’s also great to see her save the day instead of the Doctor.

I also thought the companions changed every series, but the end of this episode seems to confirm otherwise. After the Doctor inhales the time vortex and sets it back into the TARDIS, they escape the destruction of the Dalek fleet. Well, sort of escape. The effects of the vortex have permanently damaged his cells and I finally get to see what this whole regeneration business is all about. As the Doctor says, Time Lords have a “trick” to cheat death: they physically change the make-up of their “human” body.

THE DOCTOR: Rose, before I go, I just wanna tell you–you were fantastic…absolutely fantastic. And d’you know what? So was I.

Yes, you were, Christopher Eccleston. And I’m going to miss you.

In a flash of gold light, the Doctor changes before our eyes. In his place? The wonderful David Tennant.

It’s starting all over again. I cannot wait.


  • I did not expect Captain Jack Harkness to make out with the Doctor. God bless this show.
  • Also….no resolution for Harkness? They just left him on board the ship.
  • “You are tiny. I can see the whole of time and space, every single atom of your existence, and I divide them. Everything must come to dust. All things, everything dies.” BAMF FOREVER, RIGHT?
  • When the Dalek emperor says, “Purify the Earth with fire,” all I could think of was the episode turning into an Earth Crisis music video. Only some of you will get that.
  • Man, A LOT OF PEOPLE DIED IN THIS EPISODE. Brutal, Davies, brutal.
  • “You know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeward? The Oncoming Storm. You might have removed your emotions, but I reckon right down deep in your DNA, there’s one little spark left. And that’s fear. Doesn’t it just burn when you face me?”
  • “I think you’re forgetting something. I’m the Doctor, and if there’s one thing I can do, it’s talk.”
  • Seriously, this is one of my favorite series/season finales of all time. So ridiculously satisfying!

As promised, the next thing I’ll be tackling is a Classic who serial! According to Round 1’s voting as of today, the overwhelming winner is THE CITY OF DEATH, which starts Tom Baker and is written by Douglas Adams. If you have Netflix, it’s on Instant Watch and is also available on iTunes! I will post the review for it tomorrow afternoon and then begin with “The Christmas Invasion” on Wednesday. DAVID TENNANT, HERE I COME!

EDIT: Yes, I will be watching the “Christmas In Need” short before I start the Christmas special!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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293 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E13 – The Parting of the Ways

  1. Victoria_Allen says:

    This episode made me cry ALL THE TEARS. But it was an absolutely fantastic episode, and I want to thank you, Mark. I probably never would have seen this show if you hadn’t started watching it.

  2. Penquin47 says:

    Most of the time, when watching TV, I can look back at the end of an episode and say "yep, that was cool, what's next?"

    This episode was different. "Whoa, that was awesome. I don't think I comprehend exactly HOW awesome. I need to rewatch this NOW." Seriously I watched the last 10 minutes or so about 4 times in the course of 2 hours.

    I really thought I would hate Tennant for the first episode or two for not being Eccleston. Then he grinned at Rose and remembered they were going to Barcelona, and I knew he would be just as fantastic in a different way.

    • Penquin47 says:

      BTW, before watching the Christmas special, you should find the 2005 Children in Need short on YouTube or somewhere. It takes place between the end of this episode and the start of the Christmas special, and while it's not necessary to keep up, it's nice to see the bit in between.

  3. potlid007 says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="christopher eccleston,doctor who">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="knock on hopefullynotplastic Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    <img src="; border="0">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="bitchin' sweet (i have no idea what he's actually saying) Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

  4. Shiyiya says:

    I still count The Parting Of The Ways as my favourite episode.

    I want you safe! My Doctor, protected from the false god.

  5. Treasure Cat says:

    I love that you love this as a series finale Mark, because so do I. It feels just so satisfying, with the perfect mix of wtfery, joy, terror, sadness, then some more joy AND THEN some more sadness. Plus Rose is full on taking BAMF to a whole new level, she constantly rocks my socks. Eccleston was a brilliant Doctor, and although I would have loved to see him do another series Im glad his exit episode was so damn awesome.

  6. barnswallowkate says:

    Something about the way Rose says "I want you safe, my Doctor" always makes me think it's the TARDIS speaking through her.

    The first time I saw the Doctor's regeneration, I was all "WHAT NO BRING HIM BACK, WHO IS THIS RAT MAN WITH HAIR AND NEW TEETH, I HATE HIM I'LL NEVER LOVE HIM." That didn't last long.

    • amandajane5 says:

      I KNOW! THE NEW DOCTOR IS BARTY CROUCH!!!! I thought there was no way I would ever like him, but he won me over pretty fast. I think I was just extra sad because Nine was my first doctor, so this was my first regeneration and then Yikes!

    • psycicflower says:

      THIS! I thought I was the only who thought of the TARDIS during the 'I want you safe, my Doctor'. My thoughts about who or what exactly Bad Wolf is change everytime I watch. Was it Rose, was it the TARDIS, was it the two combined?

      • kytten says:

        The two combined, no question for me. The proprietary way she says it, the look she gives him- it's human and more than human all at once.

        Oh, Rose.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        I think they're both talking the whole time, but that one line seems like 75% the TARDIS talking to me.

      • NB2000 says:

        I didn't catch it until I read it somewhere but throughout that whole section, there's a second voice mixed in with Rose's lines (It's kind of hard to hear, it mostly just sounds echoey but with the volume up enough it becomes a bit more noticeable, or that could just be my dodgy hearing). Maybe the second voice is meant to be the TARDIS?

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          To me, it seemed like Rose's accent was very diminished she was talking through the time vortex. Maybe the TARDIS is an American?

          • sabra_n says:

            Or Billie Piper wasn't trying as hard to maintain her Mockney. 😛

          • Mauve_Avenger says:

            Just looked up the script, and it says that "when she speaks, her London accent has vanished," so apparently it was deliberate.

    • Openattheclose says:

      I totally think it is the TARDIS too! Doctor/TARDIS otp! Amirite?

  7. psycicflower says:

    I got very flaily about the Doctor rewatching this. So badass. The start of this episode in basically Doctor=BAMF. He just vworps the TARDIS right into the middle of a Dalek ship and doesn’t even bat an eyelash.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Do you know what one of my favourite moments in the whole episode is? That moment when the Doctor, after all his talk and bravado, just stops and leans his head against the door of the TARDIS to the sound of ‘exterminate’ and Dalek blasters. He’s already been through this with the Daleks and it seems like it was more than horrific enough the first time through but now he has to go through it all over again. And that’s before we even get to the whole Delta wave dilemma.

    Rose is … I’m always so conflicted about her (don't hate me). I don’t hate but I don’t love her and I’m not indifferent either. She’s just complicated to express feelings about because sometimes she annoys me and other times I understand exactly where she’s coming from. Her conversation with Mickey and Jackie, while I understand she’s frustrated it’s not exactly nice to them. She doesn’t need the Doctor to live that life now she knows it and that she can be and do more but I suppose extra episode drama and motivation to get back.
    But then equally you have the pure BAMFness of Bad Wolf and when she goes back for the Doctor.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    Fun bit of food for thought, is it Rose, the TARDIS, a combo of them both or something else entirely? My idea always changes everytime I watch it.

    There's a lot of wonderful touches to the episode. The horror of the Daleks converting humans and going mad in the darkness, Jack getting to use his military expertise and sacraficing himself with no thought to it, being able to tell the Daleks ever saying exterminate in space because of the lights flashing on their heads. The hologram Doctor is just beyond love. I also love how the Doctor is so accepting of the whole process. It’s just a part of him. He’s changing but he’s still him.

    And thus ends our time with the ninth Doctor. I’m still sad we only got one series with him because I just love him.
    Nine Party in celebration and mourning? Y/Y/Fantastic?
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

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  8. murgatroid1 says:

    Yay David Tennant!
    Mark, before you watch The Christmas Invasion, I recommend the 2005 Children In Need special. It's a seven minute scene that sort of extends from the end of The Parting of the Ways, and is a nice little lead-in to the Christmas Invasion 🙂

  9. Araniapriime says:

    HUGS AND HUGS AND HUGS. I still cry when I even THINK of this season of Doctor Who. "Have a fantastic life" is one of my mantras now. I'm so verklempt I can't even continue. Sorry for the incoherence.

  10. petite-dreamer says:

    I don't think the Doctor/Jack kiss was intense enough to qualify as "making-out." They save the real boy kisses for Torchwood. Also, Rose is from London, not Cardiff. Mickey came to Cardiff to see her because that was the only place the TARDIS could refuel.

    I actually saw Series 1 after seeing 2 through 4, but even though I knew perfectly well what was coming, I was still just as distraught. Farewell and well done, Eccelston. On the upside, my beloved Tennant, one of only two celebrities over which I fangirl (Depp being the other).

    • vermillioncity says:

      All the same though – funnily enough, I didn't give Jack kissing the Doctor a second thought five years ago when I saw this as a fifteen year old, totally immersed in the story. It's only now that I realise what showing that at 7pm on BBC1, without an ounce of fanfare, really meant. I LOVE that they don't make a big deal of it.

  11. mybelle says:

    Someone else might post this ahead of me, but watch this little clip on youtube, Children in Need, before you start the Christmas Invasion-it really helps a lot! There are no spoilers for season 2 or anything but I found it very helpful in trying to transition from CE to Tennent.

    • _thirty2flavors says:

      lol fun fact: first time I watched Doctor Who, I confused that little clip for being The Christmas Invasion, so I went straight from that to 2×01.

      … it was pretty weird.

      • mybelle says:

        yikes-that would be confusing! I'm glad I have several Whovian friends to tell me to watch these random things, lol!

  12. xpanasonicyouthx says:


  13. kaleidoscoptics says:

    Seriously, this is one of my favorite series/season finales of all time.

    I cannot agree with you more. Rose figuring out that SHE was Bad Wolf, that the words were a message to herself, has got to be one of my favorite reveals ever.

    And Eccleston. 🙁 He was absolutely incredible, and I was really sad to see him go. He was a fantastic Doctor. But part of the reason that the show has been able to continue for so long is that it can change characters and actors without changing the heart of the show. It just takes a while to get used to when your first Doctor regenerates. "You never forget your first… Doctor" ya know.

    But re: Jack kissing the Doctor:

    <img src <a href="http://:;” target=”_blank”>:;

  14. who cares says:

    Can I just mention the scene where Rose talks about her father to Jackie. That's serious drama right there.

    Got to love Jack. Exterminate. Yeah I kind of figured that.

    Rose is the Bad Wolf. Who saw that coming? Hell of a twist. Coincidently when Gwyneth said "the things you have seen, the BIG BAD WOLF" she was talking to Rose about her world. Possible early foreshadowing that Bad Wolf was to do with Rose? Just throwing it out there.

    • nanceoir says:

      Yeah, I love Jack's not!end. The way he's all head-up and straight-backed about it, something pretty noble there. And the way he throws his arms out is kind of defiant, too.

      • Openattheclose says:

        This is what made me love Jack. He was cute and funny before, but he is just so wonderful here.

    • flootzavut says:

      If memory serves, either in the commentary to the ep or elsewhere, I recall RTD saying he just threw that line in there for fun and then afterwards went "oooh, I can do something with this" and seeded the Bad Wolf story in. Which is of course equally brilliant, if the opposite way round of doing something to, say, JKRowling, who would plan in those little hints right from the start. RTD it seems throws in random details and then finds ways to tie them up that no one would have forseen!

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        The only thing that annoys me about the whole thing is….why 'Bad Wolf'? I mean, it seems like such a random title to give yourself. I can tell why that RTD chose it because it sounds cool- but I don't see its relevance to either the TARDIS or Rose as characters.

        (My friends and I have hypothesized that the TARDIS chose it at random from her on board library. "Oh, what's this? Three Little Pigs? Perfect thing to call my God-like alter ego!")

        • swimmingtrunks says:

          This. Seriously. It isn't even the anagram of anything! =P

          But yeah. I wish he would think things through a little more, give them more purpose. Even if it were the Daleks, Bad Wolf would have made more sense- they huff and puff and blow the human race down? But then they meet the Doctor, the brick house! But yeah, Rose to the Daleks is the Big Bad Wolf that destroys everything, except… what is the brick house then, and… it all falls apart. =/

          • rys says:

            I guess it makes sense if Rose is a sort of a Little Red Riding Hood character — but the twist is that she goes into the woods and becomes the Big Bad Wolf.

          • Caraaaa says:

            I was actually thinking of possible anagrams, and I came up with dab flow. Stupid, I know.

        • sabra_n says:

          My best guess is that it's an archetype thing – with her pink hoodies, you'd expect Rose to be Little Red Riding Hood and the badass Doctor or some villain to be the foreboding wolf, but "The Parting of the Ways" hinges on her changing the narrative laid out for her and going from the girl who gets saved to the one doing the saving. She went into the woods and, rather than get eaten, came out stronger.

        • liliaeth says:

          in canon, I think it's a case of the chicken and the egg.
          Rose sees all the bad wolf references, notes them, and then realizes she's the one who spread them around to get her own attention.

  15. Karen says:

    This comment is basically going to be a love letter to Rose Tyler and Russel T Davies. DEAL WITH IT. This episode. I adore it so very much. Something that I really appreciate about RTD’s writing is that generally when he includes Daleks, it’s not just A Generic Dalek Story, but he makes an effort to introduce or explore a new part of the Dalek mythos. Here we find out about the Emperor of the Daleks and we see the Daleks gone a bit mad because they’re human-hybrids. “You hate your own existence,” the Doctor says. See that is so much more complex than just genocidal robots. Now they’re no longer racially pure and therefore must hate themselves on some level.

    I’d liked Rose throughout series 1, but it is this episode that really confirmed my undying love for her. So for me she is the real star of this episode. Rose is such a real and fully formed character. She’s wonderful and heroic, but she’s not perfect. I love that look on her face when she sees the Doctor and Lynda interact. She’s totally jealous. Just like the Doctor was with Adam, Jack and Mickey. Speaking of Mickey, I think it’s good that things have finally ended between Rose and Mickey. Rose says, “There’s nothing left for me here.” And Mickey understands. He knows what he has to do and he helps her get back to the Doctor.

    I love that Rose never even considers the possibility of getting the hell out of Dodge when she’s on the Game Station. That’s not who she is. Of course she’s going to stay and fight. But then, as we all know, the Doctor makes that decision for her. That look on his face as he sends Rose away is just so heartbreaking. He knows that he’s going to die, but he’s not about to let Rose die with him. Even more, I love Rose raging at the Tarids. “Take me back!” She’s not content to let other people make decisions for her. She wants to be there with the Doctor, fighting.

    The Doctor: And I bet you're fussing and moaning now, typical. But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return from here. Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust, no-one can open it, no-one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried. And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing. That's all, one thing. Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.

    To me, that is what Rose’s story is all about. She was learning how to live better and how to be more than just a girl from the estate with no A-levels who works at a shop. She was learning how to have a good life. She can’t just sit there eating chips with her mum and Mickey, knowing that the Doctor is in trouble. And this brings us to what is possibly my favorite bit of dialogue from series 1. I think it perfectly captures the heart of what RTD’s Doctor Who is about and what I adore about it.

    Rose : But what do I do every day, Mum? Get up. Go to work. Catch the bus. Eat chips. And go to bed.
    Mickey: It’s what the rest of us do.
    Rose: But I can’t!
    Mickey: Because you’re better than us?
    Rose: No! I didn’t mean that. But it was. It was a better life. I don’t mean all the traveling and seeing aliens and spaceships and things. That don’t matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. 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!

    I love that Rose is clever enough to figure out the Bad Wolf connection and how to use the Tardis to get back to the Doctor. But even more, I love that her family, Jackie and Mickey do eventually both rally around her. Jackie and Mickey are the BEST.

    Bad Wolf!Rose is awesome. She’s slightly terrifying and all powerful, but at the same time, she’s still Rose, saving Jack and protecting the Doctor.

    That look of love in Nine’s face when he decides he is going to absorb the vortex from Rose to save her life, in turn giving up his own. It’s lovely. I love that Nine doesn’t die while saving the world in some grandiose way. He chooses to die to save the life of someone that he cares about. And that just really sums up how RTD writes. He cares more about the characters than the action.

    “Rose, before I go, I just want to tell you. You were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”

    Yes, you were fantastic, Nine.

    • _thirty2flavors says:

      LIRL I thumbed this up immediately after reading the first sentence.

      But I agree with the rest of this comment too. Also it made me notice something I had not before (though I really should've) that I cannot elaborate on because of spoilers.

    • Vicki_Louise says:

      "That look of love in Nine’s face when he decides he is going to absorb the vortex from Rose to save her life, in turn giving up his own. It’s lovely. I love that Nine doesn’t die while saving the world in some grandiose way. He chooses to die to save the life of someone that he cares about. And that just really sums up how RTD writes. He cares more about the characters than the action. "

      THIS. Absolute perfection. I totally agree. RTD's writing and my heart are soul mates.

    • Aiffe says:

      YES THANK YOU. It's so wonderful to see some RTD love, and some Rose love. And Nine love, come to think of it, because while I haven't seen nearly as much bashing of him, I have seen some.

      ;__; You are healing the wounds this fandom has given me.

      • Karen says:


        I tend to hang out in my small corner of fandom which is full of RTD stans and Rose lovers and Doctor/Rose shippers, so I steer clear of most of the crazy. I adore Rose though, so I'm just trying to spread the love since she has so many haters.

  16. kytten says:

    And now you know. Not everything, not even close to everything, but you know about the major thing of the Doctors existence- the regeneration.

    There are an awful lot of fan theories and debate about Regeneration, which I would absolutely love to discuss with you when half of it's not spoilery.

    Now, here's an important question, for all of you- having watched your first series; seen the danger and the consequences… would you go with the doctor if he asked? I would, like a shot.

  17. exbestfriend says:

    I think there are some pretty cheesy moments in this episodes, but it is also dark and heavy and it feels like it deserves those cheesy moments. When Rose tells Jackie that the Doctor brought her back in time so her dad wouldn't have to die alone I cried and became very inconsolable. It still makes my eyes well up.

    Also I have the 5 minute interstitial video downloaded on my computer, and if can figure out how to share it, I would be happy to for those who don't want to spoil themselves by going to YouTube. It is very much worth watching.

    Dude. Earth Crisis videos. That brings me back to my other life.

  18. auddie956 says:

    i remember hearing about this doctor who.. but canceled my cable before it came on. then, so many months later, i got cable again. and… to my joy, there was a doctor who marathon!! and i LOVED it!! i cried so much on this one cause I DID NOT KNOW DR. 9 WAS LEAVING!! i cant wait till you get through the next series, and see how it stands up to this first one.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Well, I'm in the UK, so I saw it 1st time around, but although it leaked pretty much at the end of `Rose` that Chris was leaving, I thought it was going to happen in the Christmas Special, so I was still brilliantly suprised by the end of POTW.

  19. Hypatia_ says:

    I love this episode so, so much. Despite the fact that it resolves with the most literal case possible of deus (or rather dea, as it's Rose) ex machina, those last scenes are so moving.

    Also, how the hell did the Doctor's hologram know exactly where Rose was standing. It's there acting like a regular hologram and then turns and looks her right in the eye. Always gets me, that part.

    Jack is so much awesome. I love that he kisses both Rose and the Doctor. I love that his response to the Daleks' "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!" is "I kinda figured that." SO BADASS. The Doctor just leaving him there though, that was kind of shocking. To borrow a phrase from TVTropes, what the hell, hero?? This is the point at which you should start watching Torchwood if you're going to. It runs concurrently with the next season of Doctor Who and of course Jack is in it, being a badass as always.

    I always get a little teary right before the Doctor regenerates. Nine is my favorite, and I don't think we got nearly enough of him. I did love Tennant's Doctor pretty much right away, but Nine is still my Doctor. So sad.

    Looking forward to "The Christmas Invasion" on Wednesday, but I agree with others, you should definitely watch the short that comes before it. It's great.

    • psycicflower says:

      Torchwood actually starts a few months after the end of series 2 of Doctor Who otherwise there are big spoilers for DW s2.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        That's a good point. I guess I meant that the seasons themselves run concurrently. But yeah, series 2 episode 1 of DW doesn't match up with series 1, episode 1 of Torchwood.

        • Matthew says:

          The seasons don't run concurrently, you're getting confused. S1e1 of Torchwood takes place after s2e13 of Doctor Who, in chronology of the fictional universe.

          S1 of Torchwood happens at roughly the same time as S3 of Doctor Who, although what precisely happens when you could argue about forever. The easiest thing to do is watch is broadcast order, which is, roughly:

          DW1, DW2, TW1, DW3, TW2, DW4

          and then the DW specials and Children of Earth – but the details have been posted many times on this blog already. If Mark decides to watch Torchwood I'm sure we can help with a running order.

          • Hypatia_ says:

            Argh, I probably am confused. I didn't start watching Torchwood until its second season, so I get the chronology mixed up. Pay no attention to me!

    • Re: leaving Jack behind

      I get the feeling they both thought he was dead. Rose didn't remember what she did as the Bad Wolf, and the Doctor could see Jack come back to life. Not to mention he was too busy dying

      Still, sucks to be Jack in this episode.

  20. Paul says:

    I hope you like Tennant. I'm not a huge fan personally, but I like that you're enjoying this so much. Long live Matt Smith!

    • fakehepburn says:

      YAY! Eleven is MY doctor, and I can't wait until Mark gets to him!

    • NB2000 says:

      Tennant grows on me the more I go back and rewatch his episodes. But I'm totally a Matt Smith fangirl so he'll always be my Doctor.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Funny, Nine's my Doctor, but I liked Ten instantly. Whereas it took me several episodes to warm to Eleven.

        • _thirty2flavors says:

          It took me a bit to warm to Eleven as well, but now I think I prefer him to Nine just a smidge. Similarly, it took me about a season to warm up to the character who wound up being my very favourite (by a hair) companion.

          • Pseudonymph says:

            I think I may know who you're talking about and I think I need to give that character another shot because I didn't warm up to them immediately either.

    • arctic_hare says:


  21. Matthew says:

    What it took me a long time to work out that the point where the Doctor has the Delta Wave ready is essentially a replay of the Time War where he had the power to apparently stop everything, at great cost. And this time he can't do it again – and big solutions which come at a great cost never work out the way you think they're going to.

    As for "City of Death", three little things that the audience would have known before they started watching, which will help avoid some very mild confusion:

    1. the Doctor is travelling with Romana, who is a female Time Lord;

    2. they're also travelling with K9, a robot dog, who doesn't appear in this story, but is referred to by name; and

    3. the TARDIS has been fitted with a randomiser, which means in each story they fetch up at a random location.

    The randomiser is there because the Doctor and Romana pissed off a powerful entity in the previous season, so they've randomised so it can't follow them. As you'll have guessed, from the fact it isn't in the new series, it was dropped in the next season, since an explanation of where they end up isn't really needed. It's not a big part of "City of Death", but it does get mentioned.

    One final thing, the episode is credited to David Agnew – but that's a BBC pseudonym for use when BBC production staff write an episode. It was mainly written by Douglas Adams, who was the script editor, with Graham Williams, the producer, massively re-working a script that had fallen through, by David Fisher.

    Adams only spent a year working on Doctor Who, since the success of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy took over after that. But he did write another serial, "The Pirate Planet," from the previous season and "Shada", that was supposed to end the season with "City of Death" in it, but was left unfinished due to a BBC strike.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Sweet! Thanks for the info. I'll credit you and preface my review with it because you are awesome.

      • Matthew says:

        Thanks! They are pretty minor things – you'd have been fine without the background, it'll just help with the odd line here and there.

    • Karen says:

      K9 STAN FOR LIFE! I wish he were in this serial.

      haha. This was the first Classic Who story that I ever saw, but I haven't watched it since. I really should track down a copy to watch before tomorrow.

  22. fakehepburn says:

    Okay, so:
    I started watching Doctor Who in like september/october of this year, and I did it completely backwards. My doctor is Eleven, through and through. Then I went back and watched Nine, then Ten, then a couple episodes of the older (younger?) doctors (Four and Five). In order of favourites, I have to rank Ecclestone's doctor near the bottom. BUT that's still an insanely high rank over every other fictional character ever (HP excluded, because JKR owns my soul).

    What am I getting at? Basically,


    This show only gets better. I can't wait to see what you make of the next series.

  23. DLXian says:

    1- If you want resolution on Jack… start watching Torchwood

    2- Does anyone else think that when Rose is saving the Doctor, and telling him she wants him safe… that some of that is the Tardis expressing itself through Rose?

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      "I looked into the TARDIS and the TARDIS looked into me."

      Yes, that's exactly how I saw it.

  24. Hotaru-hime says:

    I first saw a Tennant episode and then went back and watched of the new series. So even though I already loved Tennant, I cried BUCKETS when Eccleston regenerated. It's always really, really emotional when he has to do it. Even though he is still the Doctor, he's not the SAME Doctor. Makes you sad.

  25. elusivebreath says:

    Mark, this is one of my favorite season finales of any show EVER even if I was devastated to lose Eccleston as the Doctor. This was the first time I had ever watched the show, so Eccleston was the only Doctor I knew. I was so upset that he was gone, that I actually didn't watch any more of the show until recently. Over the summer I broke down and bought the other seasons, but it take David Tennant a full season to stop being "that new guy" in my eyes. Bravo, Eccleston, for being so unforgettable in just one season!

  26. Fusionman says:

    Well everyone. Welcome back to today's episode of Fusion's Random Facts. Today a great man passed away. The 9th Doctor. Let's honor him with trivia about him and his actor. Let's go.

    A. It is still unknown what led to the 9th Doctor's creation. His regeneration from 8 to 9 has never been seen.
    B. He is suffering a huge case of survivor's guilt.
    C. In an audio drama he gave a letter to his fifth incarnation.
    D. Eccleston actually never has had an audio drama as the 9th.
    E. Hugh Grant of all people was the first person RTD approached to be the 9th.

    Now Eccleston's facts.
    A. As a child he wanted to play Soccer for Manchester United.
    B.He trained at the same acting school Peter Davison trained at.
    C. He was in a movie called Shallow Grave with Ewan McGregor AKA Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels.
    D.He was the Big Bad in 28 Days Later.
    E. He played Hamlet at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002.
    F.He apparently left the show because he was afraid of being typecast.
    G. In 2010 he played John Lennon in the BBC4 special Lennon Naked.
    H He says this about playing the Doctor "In all the 20 years I've been acting, I've never enjoyed a response so much as the one I've had from children and I'm carrying that in my heart forever."

    Again did I miss any facts that are worth a mention?

    • ThreeBooks says:

      Heroes? Before it began to suck balls? He was the invisible guy.

    • Shallow Grave was an awesome awesome film. Aside from seeing Keith Allen like *that*.

      • calimie says:

        Seconding the Shallow Grave love. It was Danny Boyle's first movie and it's fantastic.

        Eccleston was the scariest thing in 28 Days Later for me. I didn't want my Doctor to be like that.
        I loved him as Destro, though.

    • Matthew says:

      "F.He apparently left the show because he was afraid of being typecast. "

      This isn't true. They were trying to keep his departure a secret (just imagine if they had?) but when a tabloid approached the BBC with the story they confirmed it and rushed out a press release. The "typecast" reason was part of that press release and was withdrawn, with an apology to Eccleston, shortly afterwards.….

      For several years he kept quiet about his reasons for leaving, but recently he dropped a few hints about having problems with the way the production was run:

      He still isn't very specific, but it's known that production on the first series was pretty chaotic.

      He's a fabulous actor, worth seeing in anything he shows up in, but especially Cracker and The Second Coming.

      Here's an amazing music video that he stars in:

      • Fusionman says:

        I said I was wrong. Forgot to double check my info there. My fault and I apologize.

        • Matthew says:

          No worries. That's just appeared because it got stuck in the spam filter for having too many links. When I was writing it, there were no replies – I wasn't trying to harangue you.

    • Vicki_Louise says:

      Chris was incredible in Lennon Naked! And it had Naoko Mori (Dr Sato from Aliens of London) as Yoko Ono.

    • bibliotrek says:

      Eccleston also played the Duke of Norfolk in Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth (1998), which is how I first encountered him. I gotta say, he pretty much rocks the doublet look. (Also the out-of-doublet look…)

    • sabra_n says:

      Before Doctor Who, Eccleston starred in another drama written by RTD – The Second Coming, in which he plays a video store clerk who suddenly realizes he's the son of God.

      It's well worth watching and available on R1 DVD, incidentally. 🙂

  27. rainbowsinside says:

    When I first started watching this show, I was excited to see David Tennant because I had heard so much about him. I saw that the first season had someone else as the Doctor and I was like, "Oh great, I have to go through a season with this guy before I get to the good stuff." But I gotta say, Eccleston really made me love him. So much so that when he changed into David Tennant at the end, I felt a little betrayed like, "Who's this guy and what has he done with my Doctor?"

    Cheers, Eccleston. You were fantastic.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      I was delighted when David Tennant appeared. Not that I hadn't enjoyed Chris's 9th incarnation, but like many people, I'd seen Tennant in RTD's Casanova (just before Doctor Who returned) and immediately said, "There's the 10th Doctor!" I just hadn't expected that to come true so soon.

    • whatsername says:

      I'm in your exact same boat!

    • sophpoph says:

      I was going to comment on this review but then I read this comment and I have no need to any more. That is exactly what I thought, I almost considered skipping series 1 because I thought the only way I could get into the show is through the lovely Tennant. I was so wrong. "Who's this guy and what has he done with my Doctor?" was pretty much sums it up… except add more screaming and crying and raging to Hazel on msn…

  28. Vicki_Louise says:

    I'm so excited i can't think straight so here's a list of things i love: The Dalek Emperor. The Daleks flying through space. The music, Murray Gold isn't happy if he's not making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! Lynda's death, it's not that i love her actually dying, it's the way your tricked into thinking that a rescue might come, it would have taken ages for the Daleks to burn through that door, plenty of time for the Doctor to save her, but then you cut to that beautiful look on her face, she knows something's wrong, then the music booms, and we know something's wrong. It's horrible, but i love it. R.I.P Lynda with a 'y'. The look on the Doctors face when he sends Rose home, full of guilt and sadness. The image of the Doctor and when he turns to Rose and the audience. Billie's acting when Rose returns home, beautiful, flawless, i cry everytime. Chris's acting when Rose comes back, he's shocked and afraid and it makes me want to shout "WTF have you done Rose? OH GOD!" Rose framed in the doorway of the TARDIS, with that beautiful glow around her, she looks like an angel. The Jack's alive mind fuck. The Bad Wolf has been Rose all this time mind fuck. The kiss &lt;3, so tender and gentle. David f'ing Tennant. "New teeth, that's weird" "Barcelona" Camille Coduri. Mickey's haircut, looks much better like this. Jack kissing the Doctor and Rose. The Bad Wolf sign on the poster behind Rose in the chip shop. The jarring cut between the reveal of the Bad Wolf Corporation sign to those chickens spinning round on sticks, representing the Doctors incredible life and Rose old mundane life. Jackie in a truck. Jackie saying Rodrigo owes her a favour, (wink wink). The smallest characters getting their own moment to shine, before RTD ruthlessly kills them, God i love that man!
    Even though ten is my Doctor, whenever i watch series one i'm always reminded of just how much i love nine. Chris, RTD and Bille helped me to become a Whovian, i can never, ever, even begin to thank them enough for that.

    "Rose, before I go, I just wanna tell you–you were fantastic…absolutely fantastic. And d’you know what? So was I." I couldn't have put it better myself.

    So long nine and thanks for all the fish.

    Can we have a major Chris/nine GIF/picture/video party in the comments?
    This is my favourite nine tribute, but it's got a few lines from the CIN scene, so it's probably best to watch that first.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Speaking of the music, this is the last episode to feature all synthesised music. From The Christmas invasion onwards, it's performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (apart from the opening theme which remains unchanged for a while yet). Boy do you ever notice the difference!

  29. Wahlee says:

    You need to watch Torchwood to get resolution on Jack, but I WOULDN'T WATCH IT YET. Wait till after Season 2. Otherwise it's mega-spoilery.

    Farewell, Nine. You were fantastic. *sniff*

  30. lilah80 says:

    This was a small moment, but I loved it – Jackie missing the TARDIS because she went back for even more bags. Oh, Jackie. Never change.

  31. carma_bee says:

    The first season of Doctor Who I saw was series 2, so when I got around to watching the first series, I guess the finale wasn't as sad for me because I kind of already knew what happened, which kind of makes me sad. But that's how it goes, and it was still a really good episode. I do love the Doctor in it, Chris is just brill at the speeches his Doctor does.

    This'll also be the push I need to finally watch City of Death! Somehow I only finished watching the first episode in the story.

  32. Kaci says:

    I hope this isn't a spoiler, but I'm guessing you know that there's a spin off of Doctor Who called Torchwood and Jack is the main character. So…yes. He doesn't get resolution here. (That was as vague as I could possibly make it, but I understand if you need to draw and quarter me, Mark. I REGRET NOTHING.)

    I don't think I ever actually liked Nine until this episode. Nine is my least favorite of the Doctors but it's damn near impossible to hate him during this.

    I'm still not a fan of Time Goddess!Rose, though. Which admittedly might be because of my extreme dislike of Rose, but it's also just so darn…Mary Sue-y that I can't get over it. Meh, the speech she gives to the Daleks about seeing every atom of their existence and dividing them is still bad ass, and even I can see/admit that.

    That said, I am so stoked that you're finally getting to the stuff I love. YAY.

  33. Openattheclose says:

    Everyone was fantastic! I love this episode so much, I’ll miss Nine, but now my wonderful Ten is here! Doesn’t DT look like such a baby here compared to his later appearances as The Doctor?

    • _thirty2flavors says:

      I rewatched the CIN special after linking Mark and it's so true, omg wee bb Ten, wearing Nine's clothes! It's so weird lol.

      • Openattheclose says:

        It's not just the outfit though. He looks so young and fresh-faced! Not that he looks bad now (because he is totally hawt *ahem*), but he is so pale, and the HAIR. That is not the Ten hair I am used too. It's so tame!

        • _thirty2flavors says:

          Oh I know, he looks super young. Poor David Tennant aged a lot over his tenure.

          • Openattheclose says:

            Do you think playing The Doctor is like being the President and having your aging accelerated? Anyway I think he looks better now. He looks too much like Barty Crouch David Tennant in PotW.

            • _thirty2flavors says:

              Maybe! It seems like a pretty punishing filming schedule. I also know his mother was ill and died during the filming of the 2007 Christmas special, which could have something to do with it as well.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      It's always weird when the Doctor regenerates and then spends at least awhile running around in his previous incarnation's getup. Even if it's a fairly normal outfit like Nine's, it still looks strange.

      • _thirty2flavors says:

        Yeah, it has such a vibe of "LOL DOCTOR WHAT ARE YOU DOING THOSE ARE NOT YOUR CLOTHES". They always look like a kid playing dress-up or something, especially when you rewatch and are used to seeing them in their proper outfit. Ten especially looks so teeny in Nine's jacket, it cracks me up.

    • swimmingtrunks says:

      Totes. And that hair… so… normal looking! Barely gelled at all!

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Well, the fact that he regenerated with gel at all kind of makes you wonder about the regeneration process…

  34. ThreeBooks says:

    uHHH, gUYS? I'm watching City of Death right now, but I have no idea… can somebody tell me a few things, like who's the blonde lady with the Doctor, is she a Time Lord? I'm 10 minutes in and I'm pretty sure they haven't even said her name yet… And which Doctor is this? What were they just doing?

    [=_=" I'm such a noob gaiz, help me out.]

    • ThreeBooks says:

      (Whoever she is, though, I really like her.)

    • _thirty2flavors says:

      That is Romana and she is indeed a Time Lord! Also, it's Doctor #4.

      • _thirty2flavors says:

        I don't watch Classic Who tbh, but I was under the impression they were sort of ambiguous about whether it should be Time Lord or Time Lady, or that they used both. Idk.

        • Matthew says:

          It does seem to be pretty ambiguous, but in "City of Death" the Doctor does call her a Time Lady.

          I called her a female Time Lord to make it clear that she's the same race as the Doctor.

    • Matthew says:

      To repeat most of my post above:

      "As for "City of Death", three little things that the audience would have known before they started watching, which will help avoid some very mild confusion:

      1. the Doctor is travelling with Romana, who is a female Time Lord;

      2. they're also travelling with K9, a robot dog, who doesn't appear in this story, but is referred to by name; and

      3. the TARDIS has been fitted with a randomiser, which means in each story they fetch up at a random location.

      The randomiser is there because the Doctor and Romana pissed off a powerful entity in the previous season, so they've randomised so it can't follow them. As you'll have guessed, from the fact it isn't in the new series, it was dropped in the next season, since an explanation of where they end up isn't really needed. It's not a big part of "City of Death", but it does get mentioned.

      One final thing, the episode is credited to David Agnew – but that's a BBC pseudonym for use when BBC production staff write an episode. It was mainly written by Douglas Adams, who was the script editor, with Graham Williams, the producer, massively re-working a script that had fallen through, by David Fisher.

      Adams only spent a year working on Doctor Who, since the success of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy took over after that. But he did write another serial, "The Pirate Planet," from the previous season and "Shada", that was supposed to end the season with "City of Death" in it, but was left unfinished due to a BBC strike."

      So they're in Paris at random, that's all you really need to know. In the older series the stories are pretty self-contained so nothing from the previous story has an impact on this one.

      • ThreeBooks says:

        Oh, thanks! Sorry, I was going through the other comments trying to see if one like this had popped up, and I guessed I missed yours… But yeah, very helpful! Thanks!

  35. echinodermata says:

    Aww, Jack's kisses.
    And then that heartbreaking moment where the Doctor tricks Rose and sends her home – well done Eccleston.

    Okay, small detail, but I like how when Lynda is killed, the daleks from outside show the blinking lights that coincide with "exterminate" but that you can't hear it.

    Regeneration! Pretty much the best explanation for how a show can continue for decades and still have the same beloved characters. THANK YOU SCIFI!

  36. arctic_hare says:



    Seriously, I… haven't watched this episode again because I can't bear to say goodbye to Nine all over again. I loved him, I was so surprised to find that after all the gushing over Ten and all, I always preferred Nine to Ten, and now Eleven is my favorite (though there's an… odd story behind that that I'll tell a while from now). I teared up during his goodbyes too.

    On a more upbeat note, UNF Nine/Jack kiss! That is amazing. I wish we could've had more of that. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with my pervy mental images.

  37. nanceoir says:

    "…it’s entirely possible I’ve truly missed out on a lot of good television in the last decade." I'd say yes, you have. There have been so many great TV shows over the last 10-15 years. And that's the joy of TV on DVD — and this blog: you can catch up on it all!

    Also, I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in some Netflixy viewing parties. I've never done one, but I know that, at least through the Xbox 360, there's an option to have a viewing party. I dunno about anyone else, but it seems to me like a good way to spread the Mark Watches fun around. 🙂

  38. Scarecrow says:

    My favourite moment? The Daleks tkaing the time out to go murder everyone down on the lower decks. just because they can. terrifying.

    How can we contact mark, does he read all this? Because he should know about Torchwood, as it is MORE spoielrs to just watch Doctor Who. In the UK we saw torchwood season 1 *after* Doctor Who Season 2, and before Doctor Who Season 3. This is the best way to watch them, then, if you want to see the complete story, and the mystery surroundign certain characters.

    • vermillioncity says:

      Mark tends to show up in the comments every now and then (hi Mark!). I think he's already been given Very Specific Instructions about which order to watch DW/Torchwood/specials, heh.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I am still trying to figure out how to watch them with the limited free time I have right now.

        • syntheticjesso says:

          Step One: Acquire TARDIS
          Step Two: Travel to the original air date for each episode and watch them live, then come back to the present.
          Step Three: ???
          Step Four: PROFIT!

          Really, it's simple.

  39. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Since everything else has pretty much been said already:

    "EDIT: Yes, I will be watching the “Christmas In Need” short before I start the Christmas special!"

    <img src=""&gt;

  40. vermillioncity says:

    But it was distracting to watch them try to destroy the Daleks with guns, when it’s been proven that the ability to do so is massively futile for the most part.
    But if you knew they were just gonna slaughter you anyway, most likely… wouldn't you want to go down fighting? I think you could at least buy time by destroying the eye pieces, for example, if you knew the Doctor was hopefully up to something behind the scenes.

    Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.
    Oh man, this hit me so hard when I first watched it as a fifteen year old. And this next one:

    “What do I do? Get up, catch the bus, go to work, come back home, eat chips, and go to bed – Is that it?… It was a better life. I don’t mean all the travelling and seeing the aliens and spaceships and things. That don’t matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. 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 just runs away! And I tried and can’t!”

    Oh Rose <3
    And isn't Billie Piper amazingly powerful and vulnerable all at the same time, in that last moment with the time vortex? Love her so much. Nine pulls all the moves: 'Oh, you've got a bit of time vortex in your mouth…'

    Poor Jack, by the way: gunned down, brought back to life, and then totally abandoned =|.

  41. who cares says:

    Can't believe we've forgotten about poor Lynda with a Y already. Alas she was too sweet to last.

  42. buyn says:

    Why is there no Nine/Jack kiss gif? WHY INTERNET?
    Anyway, Parting of the Ways gets a 4 for scariness.

    Well, there's a new doctor, and he's in that leather jacket. UNF. Anyway…. here, have a gif. A completely noncanon gif.
    <img src=>

  43. Vicki_Louise says:

    I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet, but the reason behind the fact that the Doctor regenerates into a new man is because William Hartnell (the first Doctor) had someting called Atherosclerosis, and he kept forgetting his lines (there's quite a funny outake where he calls something a rude-ish word, but i can't remember what it was, grrrr my brain!), so he wanted to leave the show, so the producers just decided that the Doctor is an alien, therfore when he dies he physically turns into someone else, which allowed the next actor to take the part. I think that was a genius invention!
    When it happens on the James Bond films, and there is suddenly a new actor playing the same man, i can't help but think 'hang on a minute, James had dark hair, now he's blonde with blue eyes, why doesn't M notice?', it always takes me out of the film when there's a new Bond actor. But for Doctor Who they explain away the change in appearance and personality by saying 'yep that always happens, he is an alien you know!' SO GENIUS!

  44. KVogue says:

    I love this episode for so many reasons, one of them being that this was the first episode of Doctor Who I ever watched. Boy was I confused. I didn't really understand what was happening all the time but I teared up a couple times all the same. I think that that's a real credit to the writing and acting, that I could just jump in with the bare essentials of what Doctor Who is and still feel for everyone. Doctor Who is a roller coaster ride for your emotions whether you have the background or not.

    Also, Jack is the best. Is it appropriate to be team Jack? I think it is.

  45. doesntsparkle says:

    The Doctor is dead, long live The Doctor,

    It's sad to see one Doctor go, but it is so exciting to get a new Doctor.

  46. celestineangel1 says:

    THis is one of my favorite eps. I just can't help loving TARDIS!Rose. Over-the-top, yeah, but like you, I still love it.

  47. sabra_n says:

    Oh, this finale. It's everything the season was about made manifest, every character at their best, RTD's writing in absolutely top form, and Piper, Barrowman, and especially Eccleston doing some of their best work.

    The thread of responsibility has been wound through the whole season. For Rose it's been about becoming an adult who owns her own actions rather than a child whose parents care for her. In "Aliens of London" she learned that her spur-of-the-moment decision to run off with the Doctor had spun out in ways she never could have predicted and hurt her loved ones. In "The Long Game" she saw Adam ejected from the TARDIS for messing with time and refusing to own up to it. In "Father's Day" she messed with time as willfully as Adam had, but she did own it, and that was all it took for the Doctor to reconcile with her: "Just tell me you're sorry". But the arc wasn't quite complete yet, because "Father's Day" was also about letting Pete Tyler be a father to Rose for the first and only time in her life, by fixing what she'd broken.

    In "Boom Town" she finally admitted she couldn't have it both ways with Mickey – by deciding to leave, she'd effectively dumped him, and pretending otherwise by keeping him on a string was just cruel. And finally, in "The Parting of the Ways" she snatched back responsibility from the Doctor when he tried to paternalistically keep her safe. She refused to be shunted off to the side while he and Jack took care of things for her. She became the woman she'd been promising to become all season.

    Then there was Jack, who was an adult from the start and a whole lot more knowing than Rose, but decided to abdicate responsibility for a while in his con man phase. In this episode he came all the way back, putting up what he knows will be a failed defense against the Daleks because he believes the sacrifice will be worth it. The completely self-interested sleaze of "The Empty Child" becomes Captain Jack, full of love, kissing the two people he cares about most before going off to die. I don't think Barrowman was ever better than in that scene, especially with the rueful line delivery of "I was much better off as a coward".

    The Doctor has, in a way, been standing at that Delta Wave lever for this whole season. It's heavily implied that he did something similar to that to end the Time War – pushed some button and committed double genocide – and he has never, ever forgiven himself for it. Think of him in "World War III", hesitating so much to make the same choice on a much smaller scale, so much so that Harriet Jones finally takes the choice away from him. He doesn't want to choose. That's why so many of his stories end up with someone else saving at least a big chunk of the day – Cathica, Harriet, Mickey, Rose, Gwyneth, Jabe, Pete, Jack – hell, even that suiciding Dalek.

    The problem is that choices of life and death are an inherent part of being the Doctor – Nine gets criticized a lot for being dithering or impotent compared to other Doctors, and while I do like how much that brings out his ability to induce heroism in others, I do see why people would be exasperated at a "broken" Doctor who can't make seemingly obvious choices like the one to launch the missiles in "World War Three" while still leading a lifestyle that continually forces him into such situations.

    But you know, that's what I love about Nine – that he can't do the math because each person comprising the integers is too important, too unquantifiable, too big on the inside, and he can't bring himself to slaughter them all again. Your typical hero will pull the lever, shed a single manly tear, and walk away knowing he did the right thing even if it was hard. Nine is crippled. It's too hard. He can't claim all that responsibility again. He's a coward, every time. Given a repeat of the worst choice of his life, he chooses to say "no". And that's why it's okay that he's essentially saved by a deus ex machina – with no other Time Lords left, it's the universe/Time Vortex/TARDIS/whatever telling the Doctor that he's forgiven for the Time War, because no one else is in a position to give that forgiveness.

    Once the Time Vortex/TARDIS/Rose amalgam saves him from having to choose to be a genocidaire again, he's free to make the choice that's easiest for him – to give his life in return, to shed his skin and start again. Like Blon Fel Fetch, he gets the blessing of a second chance. It's the happiest tragedy you're ever going to see.

  48. Tilja says:

    This finale is, like Chris Eccleston would say, Fantastic! And every finale is just as great, you just wait and see. 🙂

    I don't have Netflix but I did manage to get the video, so I'll be watching it now that you mentioned that's the first winner. I also found this link posted on a page that will be useful for anyone who wants to watch the Classic Series online. I'll give you the quoted quote:

    Wikipedia numbering: List of Doctor Who serials.

    The tardismedia collection has all the Classic Doctor Who serials (1963-1996), in correctly ordered playlists, on DailyMotion. Any Whovian that uploads 1,936 Doctor Who videos, deserves their own index.

    Here's the playlist for City of the Death to save time for this one.

    Now I'm off to make use of that playlist myself.

  49. rys says:

    Everyone was fantastic in this episode. I love this conclusion to Rose's journey with Nine, it works so well with everything that's gone before. She was great this episode; you can see how she's changed from her initial desire to go on an adventure to realising what the Doctor's life really is (or should be) about. And also we can see how genuinely she cares about him.

    The bit where Rose says she can see the whole of time and space and the Doctor exclaims that that's what HE can see — amazing bit of acting by Eccleston. The Doctor seems so happy to have someone to share that with, someone who can understand, which takes us right back to End of the World, where Rose saw her planet die and the Doctor knew she'd understand the loss of his planet, too.

    Poor Jack though! The look on his face when he just misses the TARDIS. 🙁

  50. PeterRabid says:

    Argh, I'm so late to this party! I left for Firefly because I didn't want to be spoiled and had no time to watch along with you, and when I come back, you're done with Season 1 of my current favorite TV show! Ah well, I should've kept up.

    So I'm a (relative) new-comer to Doctor Who. I started in August, mostly with the later seasons, so I can't really say I had as much of an emotional attachment to Nine. That doesn't mean I didn't love his portrayal (I love pretty much all the Doctors in some shape or form, yes, even Colin Baker), I just didn't weep buckets of tears when he regenerated. There are still a few eps of Series 1 haven't seen (the Slitheen two-parter and "The Long Game"). As much as I love the 9th Doctor, I don't much care for Series 1 itself, although there were some definite favorites for me. That's no slight against those who adore it, because I can see why they do.

    Anyway, I'm glad I caught up before you jumped into Series 2, because Ten is my first Doctor, and therefore one of my favorites. The first episodes I saw were the final few of Series 2. I really hope you love Tennant's Doctor as much as I do, because despite how popular he is, I know he isn't for everyone.

    also, OMFG "CITY OF DEATH" WON?!?!?! YAY!!! Favorite Four serial EVAR!!!! SO EXCITE.

    lol I just went from rational to fangirl in 1.34 seconds.

  51. swimmingtrunks says:

    Mark, I know you're a fan of the X-files; I encountered and devoured the whole series earlier this year in the course of about a month. Having siblings who were fans when I was too young to be, and generally knowing a little bit of fandom's opinion via osmosis by internet, I fast approached the later seasons with dread. From all accounts it seemed like giving up Mulder and Scully for new blood was a bad thing. Well, inevitably, I reached those later seasons, and I went, "Huh. New leads…. Okay, yeah! Let's do this!" I had to wonder if my being in the minority there was due in great part to the school of Doctor Who, which I'd been attending at that point for about two years.

    Regeneration is an odd, wonderful, terrible thing. Such a brilliant idea that once again remains novel everywhere BUT in the Whoniverse, born of the simple need to sustain a show past the tenure of its main actor. It's a great test of maturity every time around, forcing you to let go of what you've come to enjoy and embrace change, for better or worse– something we do a lot in life, perhaps, but so little in fandom where we wank and hold on to what's precious and [our] canon and usually wrapped up in a nice little finite work. As someone else said in these comments, the Doctor is dead, long live the Doctor.

    And 9 is dead (except in novels and comics and if Eccleston ever is presented with and agrees to do a multi-doctor story. Yeah, after all these regenerations, the Who fandom has not shaken clinging to the past). As I've mentioned before, I haven't gone back and watched series 1 very many times, if at all. I re-watched 10's run in preparation for his regeneration, but skipped over 9. When I first watched the show, I started properly with series 1 (well, actually I started with An Unearthly Child but didn't make it too far through the old serials before I was wanting something more current to hang on to). I knew– somehow– probably internet osmosis again– that the current Doctor was different than the one I was watching, so I thought I would be okay letting 9 go. Not so. While experiencing a regeneration that has already happened is definitely a different experience than being a fan when one rolls around in real time, there's still a great deal of power in it. I teared up then and I teared up again this time around. I forgot how much I liked 9 as a Doctor, and my appreciation for Eccleston's wonderful performance only grows as I see it again. Woe is us, we really lost him too soon!

    But we move on to a new actor, a new set of teeth, and I daresay you'll enjoy what's to come. =)

    • Karen says:

      if Eccleston ever is presented with and agrees to do a multi-doctor story.

      I forgot how much I liked 9 as a Doctor, and my appreciation for Eccleston's wonderful performance only grows as I see it again.
      I always forget how much I like Nine. When I name my favorite Doctors, Ten, Four and Seven always jump to my mind first, but I really am fond of Nine. I just seem to forget how much I enjoy him unless I'm actually watching his episodes.

  52. THE Nessa says:


  53. peacockdawson says:

    I can never fully stop myself from singing "Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf, she's bad!" But of course Rose doesn't work for the Evil League of Evil.

  54. syntheticjesso says:


    As much as I don't really like Rose, it still breaks my heart when she's trapped in the present and knows the Doctor is dying and is so frantic to get back to him. But then, of course, she goes and basically tells Mickey that he and her mom mean nothing to her, and I dislike her all over again. I'm sorry, Rose fans, but that wasn't her being "not perfect", that was her being kind of a bitch. Kudos to Mickey for still helping her and not just saying "I'm nothing then? Eff it, see ya later."

    I really don't like how they literally hand-waved the Daleks away. I mean, really? Okay, it was the Time Vortex and all that, yeah, but it still seems very… perfect, to me. As in, too perfect. I don't know. It's always kind of bothered me. And I'll admit it may just be because of my bias against Rose, but it does bother me.

    It bothers me a BIT less now that I've read the comments here, though. With people pointing out that when Rose was talking it was part her, part TARDIS, that changes things a bit. Bad Wolf is a BAMF, but Rose is definitely not, and that never felt right to me, but when I consider that her actions are probably mostly the TARDIS acting through her, that balances the equation a lot better. Yay run-on sentences! Anyways, adding in the TARDIS makes the ending a bit better for me, but it still feels weird to me.

    But whatever, it's time for Ten! I like Nine, he was fantastic, but Ten holds my heart. He was my first, and he will always be my Doctor.

    PS: I sound so negative, don't I? Geez. I don't really hate this episode or hate Rose. I don't *like* Rose, true, but I DO like this episode, and I DO like Nine. I kind of adore Nine, really. So I'm not all negative, I promise!

  55. sabra_n says:

    I vowed I would post this right after "The Parting of the Ways", and now my only regret is that I can't embed a YouTube video in this comment. Ah, well.

    The Dalek Song

    You're welcome.

    ETA: And for anyone who just likes looking at Christopher Eccleston's weird and wonderful face, here's the music video for "Proof".

  56. StarGirlAlice says:

    YES David Tennant!!! I'm very excited about this, especially since I watched The Christmas Invasion on Sunday, so for once I will know exactly what you are talking about.


  57. Aiffe says:

    So, I have a friend who's been reading this blog since you first started reading Twilight and has followed you ever since, but I was never convinced to come on over until she told me you were watching that love of my heart, Doctor Who. And even then, I was afraid. "What if he hates it?" I asked, world-weary and suspicious. "They all hate it. My precioussss." She assured me you have excellent taste, and only ever hate things that deserve it. "Still," I said. "The haters will be out in force. They'll be turning him against everything in the comments, until his ability to find joy in this show is forever tainted." How pleased I am to see this hasn't happened.

    It's just *so wonderful* to hear someone actually praising the show, the writing, and the characters. It's fantastic seeing them get the love they so deserve. I really want to hug you.

    This episode in particular was one of the ones that changed my life. "The Doctor showed me a better way to live" went straight to the heart for me. It meant that you don't have to be a Time Lord and have your own sonic screwdriver to try to live like the Doctor–by embracing life, and adventure, and looking for things that scare you, and never putting off what you want to do and who you want to be, and most of all, never giving up just because something is inconvenient or even seems impossible. For me, that was the moment when it went from a very enjoyable scifi show and became something more.

  58. Starsea28 says:

    Still my favourite finale because it perfectly combines the big storyline (the Daleks and the Time War) with the small (Rose fighting to get back to the Doctor). Yeah, Jack's fate is… not nice. The scene in the cafe never fails to move me as Rose breaks down in tears at the thought of the Doctor dying alone. And yet, she is completely dismissing her mother and Mickey when she says "there's nothing left for me here". We can see the pain in Mickey's face but Rose doesn't. She's been blinded. (That's looking at it kindly. It's possible that she just doesn't care but Rose is thoughtless, not cruel, so I stand by my first interpretation.)

    I miss Eccleston's Doctor. I will always miss him. He was brash and funny and furious and crazy, full of fire, full of darkness. Goodbye Nine. We hardly knew ye but we know one thing – you were fantastic.

  59. Julia says:

    How do you find every show/book/muscial I love and make them awesomer?
    AND OMG OMG OMG Doctor who. I will not talk about 11 (i really want to) but I guess I can talk about ten(nant) because you've watched him already. I never thought one season was enough to really enjoy 9 but whatever.
    Rose isn't my favorite companion. I can't talk about my favorite because she's not here yet.

  60. trunkwife says:

    street by street! block by block!

    great write ups, i've been working my way through them!

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