Or rather bad title for a GREAT episode. Really. Those who say I hate RTD are wrong. I love him when he writes great stuff like this. And it's not him I don't like, it's his bad stories and it's not him that I like, it's his good stories. Anyway this gives us some outlandish sequences in (and I hate most reality TV shows, these included) the Big Brother House, What Not To Wear, and Weakest Link. Yeah, the Weakest Link was done rather more effectively in THE ONE DOCTOR with 6th Doctor Colin Baker but the tone there was completely different and ...well, this is just as entertaining and cool as that but in a different way.
Chris is just excellent in this from start to finish, making us believe every word, every action of the Doctor. Jack proves his worth at being a solo adventurer and Rose...well, honestly, her death in this is just the most shocking thing in the entire 2005 season. And yeah, I really thought she was dead so they got me there, good. Real good. It is amazing that they could do so without totally pissing me off but they did. I thought maybe they were taking Lynda as the new companion! And her scenes are sweet and rather cool too. Some of the stuff doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense but that's because the next episode explains most of it...uhm, I think. What about Rose's game cohorts? Are they still alive or have they been converted into Daleks already?
Another thing that really doesn't make sense is...how do the humans allow this monstrous game thing to go on at all? And suddenly the people running the programs are all nice and nice and sweet helping Jack and the Doctor. THAT stuff I don't buy much but I do like the two main controllers that help them, they are good personalities but again, I feel like they were villains and should always be ("I was just doing my job and following orders" indeed). "With that sentence you lose the right to even speak to me." Chris's acting is above excellent if such a thing is possible and his face when he thought Rose was dead...the music drowning out the inconsquential dialog...the feeling of being hit in the gut and Rose's death...most stunning.
But then what comes after that. The female controller betraying the Daleks...again though why would human beings go for such death games? And if they did, are they worth the Doctor going through what he will go through to save them? Of course it's easy to blame the Daleks but the games are watched by and controlled by humans...tottally and the humans...do they know it is a teleport? Or do they think it's everyone dying? And the population seem to think it's death so why do they put up with it? Who's controlling the planet down there? If random people are taken and put into death games, why doesn't the population rebel? Or is it some 1984, Brave New World type scenario with everyone like the Doctor says, sheep? ANd if so, what's happened to the human race? and again, are they worth saving? The little we see of the humans from Earth in this time (is that satellite five the same satellite we see in END OF THE WORLD?) they are cowardly, frightened, compliant and mean spirited and would rather not fight. Have they been bred this way? by whom? Daleks? Dalek helpers?
In any event, the next thing that happens is just magnificent. The Doctor and Jack find out Rose is alive and their joy palaptable, almost vivid and a thing onto itself. Then the Doctor steels himself for a face to face contact via viewscreen with the Daleks...a massive fleet...a massive mother ship loaded with a massive Dalek army and we see it all! Just wonderful. And the Doctor's NO to them is just great and his speech after that just powerful, "This is what I"m going to do, I'm going to rescue her. I';m going to rescue Rose Tyler out of the Dalek fleet and then I'm going to save the Earth and then just to top it off I"m going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!" Just great. Then, "Rose, I'm coming to get you."
It really wasn't that comforting to Rose for the Daleks should have/could have just exterminated her then and there but for some reason theytotally ignore her as they ready for war. Logically that should have been it for her. Unless the Daleks were so afraid (and they did seem that way for about two seconds) of the Doctor and what he might do ("You have no plan." "yeah and doesn't that just scare you to death?") that they may be keeping her alive just to insure that he doesn't do them too much damage...or something. It doesn't matter for that silly bit of Rose still alive after the Doctor's initial talk of his attack on them doesn't withdraw from the impact of all of this. Then there's the final sequence of seeing a huge Dalek army rising up through the air as Rose watches...just like us...wide eyed and stunned.
I feel sorry for people who didn't know and like the old DW series. They couldn't possibly understand how that last scene would make the old fans of the old series wide eyed...for them possibly huge scale effects and armies and robots were old hat from STAR WARS, the newer STAR TREKS, BABYLON 5 and the other stuff BUT for DOCTOR WHO, the greatest sci fi fantasy and horror show ever made at least in ideas and concepts (even if most of it was ripped off of other sources but not put down all in one place) to have old monsters revived in such GREATNESS is just part of why I love this new series even more than the old one. It just tops it, taking the best of the old show and bringing it to the new show with better stories, better characters, and better plots and effects and music. At least it did so in 2005. There was nothing like seeing this show return like this and nothing seemed to be able to stop the quality...even with misstep bits like the whole Bad Wolf idea and THE LONG GAME. DW had almost 13 great episodes in a row with one poor one (again only the LONG GAME) AND I might grant you some poorness in ALIENS OF LONDON/WORLD WAR THREE if you insisted but frankly I loved those too.
Chris is a great Doctor and proved it here as well as in the stories after THE LONG GAME. ANd a few before that. RTD can write good scripts or at least in 2005 he was full of good ideas, good plots, good dialog, and lots of twists and turns. He was fresh, he was interesting and he had stories that mattered and concepts and characters that we cared about.