This is the fifth volume of series 2 of `Doctor Who' starring David Tennant and Billie Piper. It contains two stories - a single-episode story and a two parter. From the look of the front cover, you can see the Daleks and Cybermen have returned as they appear in the final story of the season, and it's a big swansong for one of the Doctor's well-loved companions.
This is an okay sort of story, written by Matthew Graham (his first contribution to the series) and directed by Euros Lyn.
It's set in 2012 during the London Olympics where Rose and the Doctor discover children disappearing in a suburban area and they investigate what has been going on. It's pretty creepy involving a little girl named Chloe Webber who abducts people by doing children's drawings of them, capturing their likeness and trapping them inside the paper. It's an unusual story but is well executed with its sunny context and familiar setting. It's a great way to start off this DVD collection.
To think that the London Olympics 2012 has only just gone about two years ago. All I can say is, I don't remember people vanishing in a big stadium and I certainly don't remember the Doctor carrying the Olympic torch. Must have missed that.
`ARMY OF GHOSTS' (Part 1)
This for me is one of the best series finales and one of my favourite episodes in `Doctor Who'. It contains two of my favourite monsters from the series - the Daleks and the Cybermen - in their biggest battle yet. It also features a very moving and touching send-off for one of the most well-loved companions of the Doctor. For this is the story where Rose Tyler dies...
I remember when this story went out there were these two big Radio Times covers featuring the Daleks and Cybermen with them playing footballs that also promoted the World Cup Final at the time.
The story begins with prologue scenes with a monologue about Rose reflecting on her time with the Doctor and being happy before it suddenly came to an abrupt end and how she thought it would never come to be. It was a great way to start the story and a tremendous tribute to touch upon a companion who grew up over the first two seasons of new `Doctor Who' and was there from the start since the show came back.
We get into the story with Rose and the Doctor returning back to her home in the Powell estate to return to her mum Jackie. I'm really glad we came back here to the Tyler's residence for one last time (possibly the last time before Rose goes). It's where it all started with the new series with Rose and it's nice we get to go back to her home before we start having this adventure and meet up with Jackie again.
But all is not as it seems at home as something strange is happening. Lately in London and the whole world, there are `ghosts' walking about the place. These shimmering blurry shapes of people have been appearing all over the world for some time since the Doctor and Rose left Earth. But nobody is freaked out by this as they're rather excited and pleased with having all these ghosts around. There a news shows like `Ghostwatch', weather forecasts about `ghosts', adverts and celebrity shows advertising the appeal of `ghostmania' happening in the world. Derek Acorah feels dejected off his show `Most Haunted' and Peggy Mitchell on `Eastenders' receives a visit from Dirty Den risen from the grave. These ghosts are appearing in areas of the world such as the UK, US, India, Paris in France and Tokyo in Japan.
The Doctor's not happy with this thing that's been going on and suspects there's something more to this than people know. Jackie seems to think that her dad's come back from the grave, but it's just memories that the ghosts home in to bring them into existence. The Doctor also knows that `a footprint doesn't look like a boot'. To investigate what's happening with the ghosts, the Doctor and Rose do some `ghost-busting' and triangulate one of the ghosts to trace its source. Eventually they find the source and they travel in the TARDIS that takes them to Torchwood - run by the glamorous Yvonne Hartman - where they've been waiting for him for some time.
I really enjoyed David Tennant's Doctor in this. He's so into the role and revels in playing it and has become well-versed into the part as he completes his first season. The Doctor gets to wear his groovy 3D glasses to see the ghosts and see the void ship in the vaults of the Torchwood institute. He gets on well with Billie Piper's Rose and they enjoy being in their company as in the story they are so in love with each other. I love that 'wrong way' moment when the Doctor leaves the vault turning left and Yvonne goes 'No Doctor!' and he walks the other way. I could not help but laugh.
I loved the Doctor's scenes with Yvonne when he's either challenging her or chiding her about her Torchwood ideals. The moments when he's pleading with her not to activate the next ghost shift and she refuses are truly mesmerising. Eventually he sits back and lets her do it, not seeming to care and it unsteadies her authority. It's like a staring contest between the two of them as Yvonne eventually agrees to stop the shift adhering to the Doctor's advice and wanting to know more. It's a clever way for the Doctor to outwit someone's authority and David Tennant pulls it off remarkably well and it's one of my favourites.
Billie Piper as Rose is tremendous in this. She gets to do so much in her last story. Particularly when she's using her own initiative when she's using the Doctor's psychic paper and bluffs her way through as a member of Torchwood staff with lab coat and everything. She manages to get into the vault, but is unfortunately caught out by Dr Singh who can see through the psychic paper and knows its blank. She's soon locked in the vault and has to deal with the menace coming out from the sphere with Dr Singh and Mickey Smith (played by Noel Clarke). Hang on! Mickey! Mickey's in this. How did he get there?! Last time we saw him...well, we'll just have to find out what happens as we go on through the episode.
I like the scenes in the TARDIS and she's told by the Doctor which buttons to press when tracing the ghost's energy signature and they have a laugh about it. I also like it when Rose's mum Jackie challenges her about her continuing travelling with the Doctor and what life would be like for her in forty or fifty years' time unless she settles down. This explores Rose's willingness and desire to keep travelling with the Doctor and be by his side since she emphatically loves him and doesn't want to leave him. Rose expresses her fiery spirit and love for the Doctor definitely in this one.
Jackie Tyler (played by Camille Coduri) gets much to do in this one too as she gets to travel in the TARDIS with Rose and the Doctor, even though she accuses the Doctor for kidnapping her. She takes Rose's place as the Doctor's companion by dubbing as Rose. I love it when the Doctor comments about Jackie `not being the best companion he's ever had' and stared in the time vortex and aged which was funny. Jackie gets to ask questions in this story when she's with the Doctor and seeing everything that goes on in Torchwood including the void ship and where they generate power for the ghosts to appear. She's obviously worried about Rose especially towards the end of the first episode and is terrified when the Cybermen appear.
In this episode we meet Yvonne Hartman, leader of the London branch of Torchwood (played by Tracy-Ann Oberman who's well known for being in `Eastenders'). Yvonne is this rather sassy, confident and quite sharp person who's manager of the institute at Canary Wharf. She knows her stuff and is well informed about the Doctor. She's quite friendly and pleasant on the outside, but there's something dangerous about her especially when it comes to trying to persuade her not to use anything alien that's too advanced for the 21st century. She doesn't suffer fools gladly and is on a rival basis with the Doctor in terms of authority. She is truly a remarkable opponent for the Doctor to face off but is willing to hear what he has to say especially when it comes to dealing with alien menaces and the `ghosts'. Yvonne does have a mind of her own and it falls short when chaos starts to brew within the Torchwood institute.
The remaining Torchwood staff include Rajj James playing Dr Rajesh Singh, Hadley Fraser playing Gareth, Oliver Mellor playing Matt and Freema Agyeman playing Adeola Oshodi (not Martha Jones apparently, as this was Freema's first foray into `Doctor Who' and this is what got her into becoming a regular companion for the Doctor in the next series the following year).
Torchwood is a institute that investigates alien interventions and does it in defence and for the good of the British Empire (even though the British Empire doesn't exist anymore). It was founded by Queen Victoria following the werewolf incident involving the Doctor in 'Tooth and Claw'
. Torchwood has been a word that's lingered in various episodes of `Doctor Who' like 'Bad Wolf' especially in the second season of the new series. Here we get to see what Torchwood's like. This version of Torchwood is clean and very professional in terms of style and is fully staffed with soldiers, scientists and technicians (not like the `Torchwood' under Captain Jack Harkness' command in Cardiff and this is where the origins of 'Torchwood'
start and became a springboard for its own series later in the year shown on BBC Three.).
In the vaults of Torchwood London is a strange huge sphere that's bronze. But it doesn't seem to exist according to computers and scanners, yet everybody can see it. It gives off a strange feeling to people that makes them feel empty since it gives off nothing according to computer scenes. The Doctor sees this sphere for itself and identifies it as a `void ship' that travels in `space between dimensions' called the `void' where parallel universes `stack' up on each other. Essentially it's a vessel that traverses in the `howling' or `hell' as many call it since it's a death-space and has nothing and no time running in it. The Doctor's determined to send this sphere `back into hell' knowing that something's inside it, but it turns out the sphere broke out from the void into this dimension and caused the ghosts to appear. Torchwood captured it and stored the sphere in their vaults whilst a hole existed in space.
So it turns out that Torchwood are responsible for the ghosts to appear since they built the Torchwood Tower (or Canary Wharf as it's publically called) where they could harness the energy escaping this hole in space and make it bigger to provide more energy for Britain. The Doctor's not too pleased with what Yvonne and Torchwood are doing and orders that the next shift be stopped. Yvonne reluctantly and grudgingly agrees, but it's already too late as the advance guard have already stepped into our universe and some members of Torchwood have already been `converted' with ear pods.
Pretty soon a premature ghost shift by Torchwood members starts and the levers start going up. The Doctor tries to stop it, regretfully killing the Torchwood staff in the process. He locates the source where `they' are sending the signal for the ghost shift to occur. The Doctor and Yvonne search to find it where they come upon a `working area' where a section of Torchwood's being renovated. They go inside to find plastic shrouds covering the workman area. The Doctor's using his sonic screwdriver to trace the signal and knows that Earth is colliding with another world and knows which one. His screwdriver trips something and silver metal figures stomp out of their hiding place. Yvonne is shocked and horrified. The Doctor knows who they are. `They came through first! The advance guard! Cybermen!'
The Cybermen lead the Doctor and Yvonne back to where the ghost shift's taking place and kill the technicians trying to stop the levers. They order the ghost shift to be increased to 100%. This is done. The ghost shift activates and the ghosts come through, stomping their footprints all over in the UK, US, France, India, Japan and the rest of the world. The Doctor knows what these ghosts are. `They're Cybermen! All the ghosts of Cybermen!' They fully materialise and appear to everyone in their true form. Everyone sees them and scream, running off and scattering as they march and stomp about the place. They invade everybody's homes including a family inside their house. They are everywhere. Earth is invaded by Cybermen all over the world terrorising the people on the planet. But as the Doctor says `It's not an invasion, it's too late for that. It's a victory!' it's a really terrifying and exciting moment to watch. To imagine millions of Cybermen everywhere across the world. It's frightening.
Down below the vault whilst the ghost shift occurs and the Cybermen invade, the void ship (the sphere) begins to open. Rose, Dr Singh and Mickey are down there, watching to see the sphere opening. Mickey has a big gun ready and loaded, waiting for whatever's in there to come out. But it turns out the Cyberman do not own the sphere, neither did they build it. They followed the sphere once it broken down the barriers between worlds. They do not know who built it. The Doctor is shocked and horrified when he learns of this and wonders who's inside that sphere.
In the vault, just as Mickey's about to open fire, four Daleks rise up from the sphere. Rose can't believe it, as she, Mickey and Singh back away. The Daleks land, realising they're on Earth and detect the presence of the three humans. They're led by a black Dalek! I wonder how many people were watching this and not expecting the Daleks to appear at the end. I was really excited to watch this as the Dalek and Cybermen menaces shadowed the episodes's conclusion. The Daleks advance and ready to kill Rose, Mickey and Singh with their cries of `Exterminate!' echoing over the end credits...
'DOOMSDAY' (Part 2)
Rose shouts to the Daleks calling them by name. The Daleks stop, suddenly stunned and terrified. Rose begs the Daleks to keep her, Mickey and Singh alive if they want to know why she knows about them. The Daleks decide to keep them alive saying they `will be necessary'. They've brought with them a strange container called the `Genesis Ark' and are determined to activate it. It contains something very special and dangerous, and Rose and the others are curious as to what this is.
Meanwhile the Cybermen are attacking all over the world whilst these four Daleks are down below the vault. There's battle sequences between Earth soldiers and Cybermen including one where a soldier blows up a Cybermen with a bazooka (which must have been a moment from 'The Invasion'
surely). The Daleks meanwhile soon kill Dr Singh gathering information by planting their sucker sticks onto his head and turning him into an ashen corpse. This horrifies Rose and Mickey since the Daleks didn't need him alive. It was pretty gruesome moment when I saw it.
My favourite moment in this story is when the Daleks and Cybermen actually meet. Dalek Thay investigates outside the vault before coming across two Cybermen marching down the corridor. There's that logical impasse when they each demand to know who they are. `Identify yourself!'; `You will identify first!'; `State your identity!'; `You will identify first!'; `IDENTIFTY!'. I just love that moment as it's so exciting to see these two robot-like creatures confronting each other and talking with their distinct voices, all done by Nicholas Briggs.
I like it when the Daleks and Cybermen make comparisons with each other. The Doctor is horrified to see the Daleks when he watches them on screen with the Cybermen in the room and Jackie beside her, worried for Rose. The Cybermen offer the Daleks an alliance to combine forces and `upgrade the universe'. Now for me that would have been the perfect team up. Cybermen and Daleks vs the Doctor. But the Daleks refuse the Cybermen's `kind' offer, and thus starts a hostile friction between them.
The Cybermen warn the Daleks they have declared `war' upon them, but the Daleks deny this saying it's `pest control'. I love it when the Cybermen boast their numbers being 5 million and the Daleks are only four. The Cybermen doubt their strength but the black Dalek - Dalek Sec - replies defiantly at the Cyber Leader saying `We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek!'. It turns out the Cybermen are easy to kill for Daleks when they use their death rays, which makes the Daleks better than the Cybermen unfortunately since they don't do too well against them.
I like that moment when the Daleks spot the Doctor on their screens and detect Rose's heart-beat increasing since she's happy to see him. The Daleks demand her to tell them who he is, and Rose tells them he's the Doctor. The Daleks back away, suddenly afraid. They're scared since defeating one Doctor isn't so easy as defeating 5 million Cybermen on Earth.
Pretty soon the Cybermen begin converting the Torchwood staff, including Yvonne Hartman who becomes traumatised by this as she walks into the conversion chambers declaring her oath - `I did my duty for queen and country!'. Yvonne screams as she's being converted. Jackie is next, but luckily manages to escape when one Cyberman reports the Cyber Leader has been terminated and one begins a upgrade to become the new leader. Jackie runs out onto the north staircases of the Canary Wharf building in order to escape the Cybermen.
The Doctor is rescued from the Cybermen by a strike team led by a familiar face he knows. This second episode features the return of Jake Simmonds (played by Andrew Hayden-Smith) and the parallel version of Rose's dad Pete Tyler (played by Shaun Dingwall), both who last appeared in the previous Cybermen story 'Rise of the Cybermen'/'The Age of Steel'
. They summon the Doctor to the parallel universe to tell him what's happened. The Cybermen were stored in the Cybus factories in the parallel universe until it was decided what to do with them. But the Cybermen started vanishing and entering our universe, causing unsteady global catastrophes in the parallel universe due to the breach opening. They ask the Doctor to help them save their universe whilst he saves his with Cybermen and Daleks still there. The Doctor eventually agrees before they go back to our universe to sort out the Dalek and Cybermen menaces and save Rose, Mickey and Jacke in the process.
The Doctor eventually gets to rescue Rose and Mickey in the Torchwood vault and meet up with the legendary four Daleks - the Cult of Skaro. These four Daleks have named - Dalek Sec (their leader), Dalek Thay, Dalek Jast and Dalek Cann. These are a secret order meant to strategize and develop new ways of killing. They escaped the Time War in order to survive for the Dalek race before their planet and the Time Lords were destroyed.
The Daleks have the Genesis Ark and can only be opened by touch of hand. By it's no ordinary touch. It has to be a touch from someone who's journey through the time vortex and picks up background radiation. Rose discovers this when she remembers touching that lone Dalek survivor in the story 'Dalek'
. That was why Rose and Mickey were kept alive until they Ark is primed. The Ark belongs to the Time Lords as it contains `Time Lord science' and is the last of their home world. The Doctor comes along and they order him to open the Ark by touch of hand. The Doctor refuses and he, Rose and Mickey manage to escape when he activates the sonic screwdriver to `open the doors' and the Cybermen come barging in with Jake and Pete to blow the Daleks up. But the Ark is already primed and ready to open due to Mickey accidentally falling over and touching it whilst he and the others escape. The Daleks begin to move out.
The parallel version Pete eventually meets up with our Jackie once he rescues her from Cybermen. It's a touching and eerie moment when the two meet. Jackie believes Pete's a ghost since in her universe he died in 'Father's Day'
. But once she hears the Doctor's explanation, she gradually comes to accept Pete's there. It's a wonderful moment as the two reunite and compare and contrast how different they are since Pete's a success in his world and Jackie is modestly impressed. It's a touching moment. Pete has been denying that Jackie is his wife since his version's dead. But he can't seem to take it anymore, and the two run up to each other giving a huge embrace after missing each other for so long. It seem right somehow, especially Rose who's brought to tears as she watches.
The Battle of Canary Wharf takes place as the Daleks and Cybermen fight each other in the Torchwood Tower. They chant their battle cries with the Daleks going `Exterminate!' and the Cybermen going `Delete!'. It's an exciting action sequence with human soldiers caught in the middle. The Cybermen get shot by the Daleks one by one, but each side's still persistant. It's a scene of chaos and it's about to get worse when the Cyber Leader summons all units to march to Torchwood. All Cybermen leave the households and streets in order to march to Torchwood to fight the Daleks. It's an epic battle between two great Doctor Who monsters.
Soon the Daleks have the Genesis Ark in the sky about to open. Out come from the Ark are millions and millions of Daleks. There are so many Daleks inside that Ark because it's bigger on the inside - Time Lord science. The Ark was a prison ship by the Time Lords to keep the Daleks inside. Seeing all those Daleks shooting out is really terrifying and scary. The Daleks begin exterminating all life-forms below as they kill humans and Cybermen with their death rays. It's a pretty intense moment with lots of Daleks swarming in the sky like flies.
But the Doctor already has the answer for defeating the Daleks and Cybermen. They're part of the solution as much as they're part of the problem. Why is the Doctor wearing 3D glasses you ask? Don't they make him look silly? It's because he can `see'. He can see that the Daleks and Cybermen are filled with void stuff just as they travelled through the void to get to our universe. Same principle applies to the Doctor, Rose and the others who travelled `via the void' (except Jackie). Void stuff essentially is background radiation that people pick up when travelling through the void, and the Doctor can see that when wearing his 3D glasses.
The Doctor's plan is to pull all the Daleks and Cybermen back into the void by reversing the process of the `ghost shift' and closing the breach to seal them inside the deathspace - or `hell' as many call it. The Doctor is going to send the Daleks and Cybermen back into hell - scary isn't? But it means that Rose has to go with Pete, Jackie, Mickey and Jake back into the parallel universe now called Pete's world in order to be safe whilst the Doctor stands on our side closing the breach. But Rose is not having it. She decides to stay with the Doctor and be with him whilst he's saving the universe. After much arguing and shifting between universes, Rose stays with the Doctor whilst Jackie and Mickey are with Pete on his world. They're about to seal off the breach whilst Cybermen march up the stairs only to be stopped by a Cyber Yvonne who does her `duty for queen and country' with tears coming out of her eyes.
The Doctor and Rose hold onto the grafts to keep safe whilst they activate the levers and open the breach, pulling the Daleks and Cybermen in. This works with immediate effect as all the Daleks and Cybermen get sucked back into the void from all over the world whilst the Doctor and Rose hold on. But one of the levels malfunctions and starts to lower causing the breach to close again. Rose sacrifices herself to pull the lever back up again to open the breach. She does this and the remaining Daleks and Cybermen go through. But Rose can't hold on as she's being pulled back into the void and the Doctor calls out to her. Unable to hold onto the lever, she loses her grip and plunges back into the void with the Doctor howling her name in horror. Rose screams as she plunges to her `death'. But Pete arrives just in time to rescue her daughter. With one last look at the Doctor, she's pulled back into the parallel universe by Pete whilst the breach shifts and closes, sealing off the Doctor from Rose forever.
It's a cruel and heart-breaking way for Rose to be taken from the Doctor so abruptly, and she's cries slamming her hands on the wall begging to go back, sobbing her heart out as she can't accept she's lost the Doctor forever. It brought me to tears when I actually saw it on telly first time, with Murray Gold's `Doomsday' music to accompany it making it even more heart-breaking. The moments when the Doctor and Rose press faces on the walls on either side to feel each other's presence was a lovely touch and very moving. It's just so heart-breaking to watch, as the Doctor soon walks away knowing he's lost Rose, and Rose is so devastated and upset that she has her mum, her dad and Mickey to look to for comfort after everything she's lost.
Months later in the parallel universe, Rose has a dream of the Doctor's voice calling her name. She tells her family this and they all go out to follow the voice in Pete's jeep all the way to Norway where they end up on a beach called `Dårlig Ulv Stranden' (translated as `Bad Wolf Bay'). There Rose sees an image of the Doctor, projected by the TARDIS via a supernova to send an image through the closing hole of the parallel universe. This is so the Doctor can say goodbye to Rose for one last time before he loses her forever. It's a really touching and heart-breaking sequence as the Doctor and Rose say goodbye to each other.
Rose is dead...in our universe at least. She's on the list of the dead in our universe following the Battle of Canary Wharf, whilst she's still alive and well in Pete's world. Rose is upset that she's never going to see the Doctor again, and she through such emotion tells him that she loves him. The Doctor is taken with this heart-felt feeling and just before he's about to tell her how he feels, his image suddenly vanishes and he's gone from Rose's life forever. Rose is deeply heart-broken and can't take it in, before she runs over to her mum and hugs her for comfort. I felt really emotionally drained watching Rose's departure and was really sad that we weren't going to see her again since she was the first companion I came across in the series.
The Doctor's emotionally drained too since he's lost Rose forever. But the Doctor has keep on moving since he has so much to do with his life. As he walks about around the console all alone, he sets about making plans for his new destination as he has so many adventures and places to go, as is how `Doctor Who' should be with him constantly moving forward.
`What? What?! What?! WHAT?!!!"
There's a bride standing in the TARDIS. How did she get there?! Where did she come from?! The Doctor can't believe it. I can't believe it. I don't think the bride can believe it either as she demands what's going on, where she is and how she got there?! The bride happens to be Catherine Tate. Who is she?! What's it all about?!
All will be revealed in the next Christmas special following this - 'The Runaway Bride'
These two episodes of `Doctor Who' have been wonderfully written by Russell T. Davies the man and brilliantly directed by Graeme Harper in his second contribution to the new series. It's one of my favourite stories with the Cybermen and the Daleks and a wonderful swansong to one of the most lovely companions I'm very fond of. Billie Piper is great as Rose just as David Tennant is as great as the Doctor. After watching, I hoped this wasn't the last time we would see Rose since she's a beloved character from `Doctor Who' and was hoping her return to the series would come soon.
Great 'Doctor Who' collection and with two such popular monsters to accompany it. You wouldn't want to miss this!