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More about this two-parter
This two-parter was first broadcast between 1 - 8 July 2006. A brief and somewhat spoiler-ish summary of the plot: it's got Torchwood, parallel worlds, Daleks and Cybermen, and Rose doesn't die.
I'm not really a fan of the new Doctor Who season enders, and when I first saw this two-parter I wasn't impressed. To me the big good-bye scene on the Norwegian beach seemed to have no purpose other than milking the story for every last drop of emotion, and I disliked it so much that I just stopped watching the new series for a while. (I started watching and even reviewing the new episodes again as the new season got going, not too unhappy until 'Last of the Time Lords' came along. I loathed 'Last of the Time Lords' with the red-hot heat of a thousand suns. I skipped the 2008 season when it was broadcast, came across the DVD box set in a shop, bought it, started watching and was hooked again. But I digress.)
When I watched this two-parter again I quite liked it, rather to my surprise. The action is pretty good, and I don't even mind the bit where it all ends in tears that much anymore.
The two episodes feel far more like one, continuous story than the two final episodes of the 2005 season, and what we've got for the first seventy-five minutes or so is excellent action adventure. It's tightly plotted, well-directed, well-acted and it never loses momentum. The stalk-measuring contest between the Cybermen and the Daleks ("Identify yourselves!" "No, you identify yourselves!") is a bit silly but not too distracting, and the same goes for the last stand of the Cyberised Torchwood director.
And then the emotional closure stuff kicks in. First the action grinds to a halt so that Pete and Jackie can get together again, and then we get the big send-off on the beach. I actually like the Tyler clan's reactions when Rose tells them about her dream about the Doctor, and how everyone's immediately ready to drop everything they're doing and jump in Pete's Jeep to drive to Norway with her. They care, they're believable, and that helps us to care. I still believe the season-ender would have been stronger without the final good-bye, but it is well-written and Tennant and Piper play it with utter conviction.
Which leaves Pete Tyler and Mickey. They're both wonderful in this, both the writing and the performances, and I'm sorry to see those two characters go.
A good end to the 2006 season.
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