Sunday, July 16, 2006

And, finally, the second series finale. We'd been told at the end of "The Satan Pit" that Rose would "die in battle shortly," and this 2 parter opens with Rose's voice-over casually informing us that this would be the story of "how I died."

Well, OK. By now, Billie Piper's decision to quit the series--which had been rumored for over a year--had been confirmed by BBC press release. And I'm cool with that. I've felt they could do better from Day 1. (Apparently, Piper will next star in a TV adaption of Philip Pullman's brilliant Sally Lockhart novels.)

The premise holds potential. Finally, we meet Torchwood proper in contemporary London. We get a tour of their operations, we learn their mission statement (to safeguard the British Empire from the aliens, ghosts, ghoulies, etc. Jackie: "But there is no British Empire." Torchwood skank: "Yet." Heh).

And we see what the problem inherent in that concept is: Torchwood--in mucking about where they don't belong--are creating as many problems as they solve. In this case, having harnessed some kind of science fiction-y energy, they unwittingly had a hand in bringing millions of Cybermen over from the parallel Earth seen earlier in the season.

Worse: they open a "void ship" containing millions of Dalek refugees from the Time War.

Who promptly go to war with each other, using the Earth as their battlefield.

Sounds good on paper, but on screen it was just unbearably silly. Even getting past how ridiculously unmenacing both the Doctor's archfoes are, their SNIPING was just too over the top to bear. (Hat tip: DWF)

Dalek: Identify yourselves!
Cyberman: You will identify first.
Dalek: State your identity!
Cyberman: You will identify first.
Dalek: Identify!
[Mickey's speaking clock line drowns it out]
Cyberman: Your actions are ??? [three sylables I think] and illogical. You will modify.
Dalek: Daleks do not take orders.
Cyberman: You have identified as Daleks.
Black Dalek (in sphere room): Outline resembles the inferior species known as Cybermen.
Cybermen: We are... [Jackie and Doctor conversation obscures]
Dalek: [Jackie and Doctor conversation obscures] ... inferior technology. [Possibly 'how did you get into this world with your inferior technology']
Cyberman: We followed in the wake of your sphere.
Dalek: Long range scans confirm the presence of crude cybernetic constructs on world wide scale.
Cyberman: [Completely obscured by Doctor/Jackie]
Dalek: [Obscured by Doctor/Jackie/We must protect the Genesis Ark] ....warfare.
Cyberman: Our technologies are similar though your design is inelegant.
Dalek: Daleks have no concept of elegance.
Cyberman: This is obvious. But consider, our technologies are compatible. Daleks plus Cybermen, together we could upgrade the universe.
Dalek: You propose an aliance?
Cyberman: This is correct:
Dalek: [pause] Request denied.
Cybermen: All hostile elements will be deleted [fire enegery weapons]
Dalek: Exterminate! [Cybermen destroyed]
Cyberleader: Open visual link. Daleks beware, you have declared war upon the Cybermen.
Black Dalek: This is not war; this is pest control.
Cyberleader: We have 5 million Cybermen; how many are you?
Black Dalek: Four.
Cyberleader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
Black Dalek: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek. You are supreior in only one respect.
Cyberleader: What is that?
Black Dalek: You are better at dying.

But, more importantly, everything was far too neatly and tidily--and happily--wrapped up for Rose and all the characters connected to her. So convenient.

It all felt forced -- and not just because Billie Piper quit the series, but because they explicitly foreshadowed her death five or six times, and then chickened out, making it a "metaphorical" death--She's "dead" because she's separated from the Doctor. (It's not even that she's separated from the adventures that were so important to her -- because, presumably, she'll still have those as an agent of the parallel Earth's Torchwood.) So it all boils down to lurve. Puke.


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