Review: The Parting of the Ways

Last Alteration: Monday 19 September 2005

Episode Thirteen: The Parting of the Ways, by Russell T Davies

This week's episode of Doctor Who was the second part of a two part story as well as being the series finale. Expectation was naturally high. Ultimately, this episode gave us all the greatness of the previous instalment and so much less. The effects were great, the dialogue was brilliant, the direction was sublime but the plot was sadly lacking. This was such an anti climax after last weeks great build up.

The central problem is with resolving a 13 part series by falling into the classic sci-fi magic glowing eyes resolution. It makes no sense for a start, it doesn't challenge the characters or the audience and it's tantamount to resolving the story by revealing it all as simply a dream. This just felt a bit lazy for me and being a fan I wanted and expected so much more.

The idea that Rose as Bad Wolf scattered hints to herself throughout history didn't really work either. First and foremost it created a paradox and a completely different set of unworkable time travel rules from the completely unworkable rules that appeared in father's Day. Secondly, why didn't she just send herself a letter explaining the whole thing? It gave the impression that the Bad Wolf situation was cobbled together at the last minute rather than being a theme at the centre of the series from the very beginning. It gave a good excuse for the two leads to have a snog, though in the corniest scene ever and allowed Jack to be brought back from the dead. Bad Wolf was a plot strand that built up over the course of the series (especially in the last few weeks) but the resolution to it really felt like a cop out.

On a more minor point I found the use of the Daleks in this story weakened by their sudden religious conversion. To bring the Daleks back after all these years was one of the masterstrokes of the entire production but why change their core beliefs? I always find the Daleks evil enough without the need for them to be religious fanatics (and self hating ones at that). In fact, for me this didn't add anything to their character, it seemed to strip them bare and make them something else. What a waste. I wish the Cybermen the best of luck for next year!

And then the magic that allowed Bad Wolf to disintegrate the villains was suddenly too much for the Doctor to take and he regenerated. This was a lovely scene and David Tennant was immediately fantastic despite having so little screen time. It's just a shame that after 12 weeks of great Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston wasn't given a better story in which to sign off.

However, I did enjoy all this nonsense. Russell T Davies and the rest of the production team should be congratulated on making Doctor Who such a success and producing some truly brilliant new stories to add to the mix. The last episode of which made for great Saturday night telly but very poor Doctor Who.

Jonathan Bigger

  • Read Jon's review of the previous episode, Bad Wolf.

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