The Parting of the Ways was the final episode of Eccleston’s time as the Doctor. This was the episode that wrapped up the whole Bad Wolf story line, and gave us our first glimpse of David Tenant as the Doctor. It was also an epic showdown between the Doctor and the Daleks, who just never seem to stay dead. This is also the origin of Jack’s not dying problem. Mainly, though, this was a pretty entertaining episode that I hadn’t watched in a while, so it was fun to revisit it.
The Daleks in this episode were a little strange as far as Daleks go. They were super religious, believing their creator Dalek was the god of the Daleks. This was a new wrinkle to the Daleks in general, and it was just kind of weird and added to their creepiness. The “god” Dalek was massive compared to the others and had a much deeper voice. He was clearly the big bad guy, and when he and the Doctor conversed, it was an attempt at the classic hero-villain dialogue. It wasn’t a great attempt, as the Doctor was clearly much more clever than the Dalek.
As the Doctor and Jack and Rose find themselves on the Dalek mothership, they gather as much information as they can from the Daleks before escaping back to Satellite 5, which will be the scene of the climactic Dalek-Doctor showdown. The Doctor sends Rose away, tricking her into getting in the TARDIS. While she is gone, we realize that the Doctor’s plan won’t just kill the Daleks, but all of the people on the satellite and on Earth. This sequence, for me, was much more powerful after seeing The Day of the Doctor. Connecting that story, of the War Doctor having to make the choice to destroy all of his people in order to destroy the Daleks, makes this sequence more powerful. The Doctor, in The Parting of the Ways, mentions that all of his people had died during the Time War, but they had taken the Daleks with them, or so they had thought. Now that they were back, it made the sacrifice not worth it. In his mind he is remembering that sacrifice, and how he is remembering it, he was the one who pulled the trigger. He was the one who made the sacrifice, that now, all of a sudden, wasn’t worth it. Then he finds himself in the same position. He must decide this time if he is willing to sacrifice earth in order to save the whole universe. Knowing his past, you would think this would be a harder decision, but he does what he feels like he has to. It was just kind of interesting to think about it in context with The Day of the Doctor.
While Rose is back on Earth, and her mom is trying to cheer her up with fish and chips, we get one of the most awkward exchanges between the two. It occurs when they are in the TARDIS and she starts going off about how Dad wouldn’t want her to give up and she knows because she met him. This whole conversation was just weird. What a weird time to bring it up, and why did it make her mom so angry? The way Rose is telling her, though, it’s like she is trying to make her mom angry, like she could finish the whole thing with a big raspberry. Whatever the conversation was, it works, because Jackie leaves and comes back with a giant tow truck to try to get the TARDIS open. Also while Rose is back on Earth, she realizes that her park is covered in the infamous “Bad Wolf” graffiti. This is the beginning of the answer to the Bad Wolf question, as she realizes it was a message she sent to herself.
I love it when she becomes the Bad Wolf after looking into the time vortex. It always reminded me of when Jean Grey becomes Phoenix. She is ultra powerful and has power to just split all the Daleks apart on the atomic level. She also has the power to bring Jack back to life. The Doctor realizes that this power is going to kill her, so he does what any responsible Time Lord would do. He kisses her, which allows him to soak in the time vortex and save Rose. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save him. It leads to his regeneration.
I love when he regenerates, because he does it in a way that only he could pull off. I love when he tells Rose that she was Fantastic, and then follows it up with “So was I.” He really was fantastic, and in this episode we really get to see all of it. We see him take charge of the situation and be in control, in a way only 9 would ever pull off. We see him have to make the tough decisions, and we see him do it all with his big dopey smile on his face the whole time. I have to admit, when I watched through these episodes the first time, I really was sad when he regenerated. I loved Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and would have loved to see one more season. I just think his Doctor was so confident and so cool. However, since there is only the one season, it does help me to appreciate his time a little bit more because it was so brief.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode. Not as good as The Empty Child, but it was still a lot of fun. I think the Doctor really shines in the episode and I feel like it wrapped up his time quite nicely. Rose and 9 had a good chemistry together, and I think I can stand to watch their time together more than I can stand her with 10. I think one thing I have enjoyed with Capaldi’s Doctor is that some of that confidence is back. It seemed like 10 and 11 didn’t have the same confidence, almost arrogance that 9 had, but 12 does, and I guess I’ve missed it.
What did you think of The Parting of the Ways? Did you enjoy? Is it one of your favorites from this season? let me know in the comments. You can also check out my review of The Empty Child here. Next Wednesday, we will be reviewing Blink, so come back next week to find out what I thought about this episode.