Just as the Cybermen flash into existence all over the Earth, a new threat erupts from the voidship – a group of Daleks, known to the Doctor as a particularly dangerous bunch called the Cult of Skaro, emerge with an unknown device of Time Lord origin called the Genesis Ark. The Daleks are fiercely protective of the Ark, but despite its origins, the Doctor has no idea what it is. The Cybermen aren’t the only visitors from a parallel world: Mickey Smith, Pete Tyler and the soldiers of an anti-Cyberman resistance force have tracked their prey to this world, but now find themselves outgunned as the Daleks and Cybermen launch a full-scale war against each other, with the human race trapped in the middle and Torchwood powerless to fight back. Worse yet, the Genesis Ark is activated and reveals its Time Lord nature: bigger inside than out, it is a prison for millions of Daleks captured during the Time War, who join the fight that’s laying waste to the entire Earth. The Doctor works out a plan to send both of the alien armies back into the void. But even if he can save the world, this time he may not be able to save Rose – and even if her newly (if awkwardly) reunited family saves her, her TARDIS traveling days are numbered.
written by Russell T. Davies
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Murray Gold
Guest Cast: Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Shaun Dingwall (Pete Tyler), Andrew Hayden-Smith (Jake Simmonds), Tracy-Ann Oberman (Yvonne Hartman), Raji James (Dr. Rajesh Singh), Paul Kasey (Cyberleader), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voices / Cyber voices), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek operator), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek operator), Stuart Crossman (Dalek operator), Anthony Spargo (Dalek operator), Dan Barratt (Dalek operator), David Hankinson (Dalek operator), Catherine Tate (the Bride)
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Maybe a Daleks vs. Cybermen death match is a wet dream for longtime fans of Doctor Who, but the question here is: does it make for a good story? At the very least, it makes for some mighty memorable moments – there are a couple of rather funny instances of Dalek-Cyberman smack talk that are worth the price of admission alone (in one instance, chased down by Mickey’s one-liner that it’s “like Stephen Hawking arguing with the speaking clock”). It’s like Wrestlemania meets Doctor Who – there’s a lot of shouting about who the baddest boys at the bar are, but when the shooting starts, it’s like I always suspected: the Daleks pretty much smoke the Cybermen.
All of the alternate-universe-hopping and the Doctor’s neat solution to the problem are just gravy to tide you over between Dalek/Cybermen war scenes and until we get to the real point of this episode, Rose’s departure. The way in which it fills the premonitory mandate of Rose “dying” is, perhaps not unexpectedly, a bit of a cheat, but it doesn’t lack punch. This companion departure is milked for the melodrama and the tragic angle, but at the same time, this association with the Doctor has given her a gift that’s far above and beyond what most of his sidekicks have gotten out of the deal: she’s gotten her entire family back (after a fashion), something that never would’ve happened without her travels in the TARDIS. And yet the glimpses we get of her post-TARDIS life seem utterly joyless.
Which brings us to the big question: what does Rose’s departure do to the series in general? Well, hopefully, a new companion might freshen things up a bit. Rose’s personality having become such a major part of the show was leading to some rather formulaic development of both story and character. Don’t get me wrong, Rose got to do cool stuff in season 2, but she also frequently fell back on her well-worn weepy and smug modes, both of which had already seen quite a bit of use in season 1. Of course, Rose the character does this because the writers (and Russell T. Davies) write her that way, so I’m hoping that they have something completely different in mind for the new character waiting to be introduced in the third season. One can be bowled over by the awe, wonder and terror of the universe without being reduced to tears in nearly every other adventure. (To be fair, though, I think this episode still has less sob screen time than The Christmas Invasion.)
Now that Billie Piper stuck around for a season to introduce the British viewing public to David Tennant’s Doctor, the real cliffhanger of Doomsday is: can Tennant and a new companion keep the British viewing public glued to their sets? (And it’s already been confirmed that Catherine Tate isn’t the new companion, but a red herring who will be dealt with in the 2006 Christmas special, The Runaway Bride.)