Thursday, 27 June 2013

Doctor Who - The Regeneration Box Set: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways: Review

The first regeneration of the new series was always going to be hard to pull off; introducing a new lead to the series after just one season was going to take some bloody good explaining. As well as pushing the show in a new direction with the introduction of a new Doctor, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways also had to tie up the ongoing plot thread of the episodes that preceded it, and manages to do so splendidly.

Bad Wolf begins with quite possibly the strangest intro every devised, as the bewildered Doctor finds himself sitting on the Big Brother sofa, with Davina McCall welcoming him to the game. The Doctor isn't the only one to find himself in this position; however, Captain Jack finds himself in What Not to Wear, and Rose in The Weakest Link. The beauty of this situation is that the Doctor and friends don't quite realise the seriousness of the games until they see for themselves that those who lose the game, lose their lives.

Jack's escape from his game show is hilarious: in true Captain Jack style, he kills his butcher-droids with his, ahem, handily concealed laser pistol. The tragic moment of this episodes soon follows when the Doctor locates Rose's room in the complex, and arrives moments before she is disintegrated by Anne Robinson's robot counterpart.

Once the Doctor finds out what's really going on aboard Satellite 5, a suspense-filled scene plays out where Rose wakes up aboard a mysterious spaceship, and she is forced against the wall by a plunger. This scene is a prime example of how terrifying the Dalek's can really be portrayed, and this time you didn't even need to see the thing! The Doctor's speech at the end Bad Wolf gets me every time; sending shivers down my spine as he tells the Daleks exactly how he's going to thwart their plans, in true Doctor Who style.
The Doctor mocks the Daleks.

The Parting of the Ways picks up exactly where Bad Wolf left off, and the Doctor zooms towards the Dalek fleet in his TARDIS. The scene effortlessly shows off the Doctor's power as he forces his way onto the Dalek flagship without a scratch on the TARDIS' paint job. I really can't get enough of scenes where the Doctor is just simply being amazing -hence why, much to the hatred of many, I enjoyed The Rings of Ahkaten- and this episode is packed with them!

The Dalek Emperor is written superbly - now the mentally deranged survivor of a war, who proclaims himself god of a corrupted band of death machines. So, y'know, a really nice guy basically. The Daleks' invincibility is played a tad over the top in the episode; however - despite Jack's tips on how to defeat a Dalek, barely any of them are damaged by the time they reach the Doctor.

The Bad Wolf's appearance at the episode's climax is a brilliant moment, as for once not even the Doctor understands what's going on properly. This plot device is overused now, sadly, but back then it was exciting and fresh to see the enemy obliterated from time and space, and for puppies and rainbows to populate the universe once more.

The Bad Wolf huffs and puffs the Daleks away.
The Doctor's regeneration always had to be handled carefully, since the show hadn't even been back for a year yet, so the regeneration scene itself was safely tucked away for after "[Rose] sang a song and the Daleks ran away". Once more the Doctor sacrifices another of his lives for a companion, and he quite nicely fits in his catchphrase once more before he explodes into orange light. I'm going to let the Doctor phrase it for me this time: that scene was "fantastic!"

For me, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways scores easily as a 9/10, as it has pretty much everything you'd want from a regeneration story: high stakes, plenty of Daleks, boatloads of Doctor-glorifying, and most of all - a gorgeous companion.

The Regenerations Boxset is available to order from the BBC Shop now, and is due for release 24th June 2013.

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