OK, I have to admit it, Age of Steel was an absolutely fantastic episode. Since I've established reviews-by-numbers, I may as well continue...
1) Ubercyberman with extra shiny eyes: oh yes, very cool!
2) Tennant was quite good throughout most of this. There was the odd moment where I just thought, oh yes, that's the Doctor - especially the bit in the back of the van. But there's still the odd moment when I just see him as Tennant acting and he doesn't convince me, and there was the odd one of these in this episode. But still, I don't feel as unhappy with him as I thought I would. More on this with comparison to Eccles infra.
3) Humour! This was by far the funniest episode of this series - I particularly loved the Scooby Doo line :) And the bit where the Doctor was captured and saw Rose and Pete already had been, again very funny :) Brilliant writing all round.
4) Rose didn't have an opportunity to be too annoying, though she remained pretty self-centred. It irritated me a little that the only people she cared about saving were her 'parents', and she didn't seem to have sympathy for any of the other characters. In a parallel wanting-to-save-her-parents episode (Father's Day, last series), she cried because she was inadvertantly bringing about the end of the world, because she let the Doctor down, because of all the people who would die, not just her parents. I want the old philanthropic, sweet, emotional Rose back, dammit, I liked her!
5) Rose's Dad was wonderful again. He's such a human character, and his wanting to save Jackie was so sweet, and the bit where he held hands with Rose! Btw, I'm glad tennant hasn't made a habit of holding her hand - I think that has to be an Eccles-only phenomenon.
6) Mrs Moore was great, I liked her. Like Harriet Jones as she used to be, only with techy geekiness and experience of fighting bad people.
7) Pathos 1: The thing about Cybermen and emotions was so very sad. I felt almost-tearful when that Cyberman was dying and it was all sweet. This is the sort of thing Rose should have been caring about though. It was also sweet that the Doctor hesitated over killing the Cybermen by bringing back their emotions but Mrs Moore persuaded him he had to (again very Harriet Jones, in a way).
8) Pathos 2: Jackie the Cyberman! Again this was just so sad, and it was nice to see Rose react to something other than herself emotionally, because she hasn't been doing that lately. I'm so glad they didn't save Jackie, because I think it made it a much richer story.
9) On a general note, I'm very pleased with the script from this one, and the plot and narrative flow. Particularly, I'm glad that they didn't try to do a happy ending, not just because I like my pathos, but because it makes it so much more emotional and artistic and worthwhile. I think there are lessons to learn from parallel worlds - it's like watching how causation happens and being both involved in and removed from it at the same time. I'm glad Jackie didn't survive, and Ricky too, and I'm glad Pete didn't warm to Rose and embrace her as a daughter even though there was some sort of connection, and I'm glad they didn't all just get back into the TARDIS and go home happily.
10) OTOH, I'm also glad they returned to see Rose's real Mum at the end, because that reassurance that she wasn't dead was so touching. And yet it couldn't fix everything. I've been watching out for an episode where noone dies, and there hasn't been one this series (The Girl in the Fireplace dies in the end, and in any case it was only a mission to save *her*), and I think that's good - DW can be so powerful, and it's when it manipulates your emotions and has you frightened or sad that it's working at its best. And that means that occasionally, just occasionally, you'll have something really upbeat where everyone is saved and the Doctor can be triumphant - that's what made The Doctor Dances from last series so powerful and wonderful.
11) Pathos 3: Mickey! When Mickey decided to stay at the end, it was the saddest moment there's been this series. I cried, really properly cried. It was wonderful to see him really find himself, ironically in another world.
12) Paradox: Mickey can stay and take on the grandma and friend of his other self (even if he did deny it, he *is* staying, so...), but Rose can't have an emotional moment with her Dad. Since the Doctor kept advising Rose of this, but didn't with Mickey, why is Mickey a special case? or did he make the wrong decision? He still has Rose's phone, so maybe there'll be further contact? I hope we haven't seen the last of Mickey, he was a wonderful character. I'll miss him very much :(
13) The climactic scene was brilliant - I loved the way they brought it all together. Mickey was great doing all the working out and communicating obscurely with the Doctor - it was nice to see the two of them have that connection, because I think Miceky always wanted to have that, maybe not *just* because he was jealous of Rose being with him. He wanted to be recognised as intelligent and helpful, and in the end he proved himself and it was great. And it was coordinated perfectly.
14) Lumic hanging onto the rope ladder hanging from the zeppelin was fantastic too - I was just thinking that it shouldn't have been so easy when he started climbing up. There's been one of those scenes in so many good movies (Indy and the Temple of Doom, Goldeneye, etc., etc.), and it was nice to see an homage here.
Now, I may have mentioned that I've been watching the last series in conjucntion with this, so last night I got to see Dalek again. It was quite appropriate, what with having the Cyberman head in it - yay! It was nice to juxtapose what stage we were at in the series too - the double episode threatening the world had already happened, and this was a shorter forray into some equally stark emotional depths. It was good to think about those issues again: the justification (or not) of soldiers' deaths, and keeping museums, and euthanasia. All very good. And Eccles was wonderful (and occasionally topless - yay!). It was a good episode, I think that more every time I watch it. *sigh*
You must also have some links...
- someone's review in which the ending of Age of Steel is commented on slashtastically (contains spoilers)
- Official DW games to keep you entertained, including the Dalek one!
- Dalek in Fifteen Minutes (spoilers for last season's Dalek)
And that all I have to say. *wipes sweat from brow* Comments appreciated, since I spent ages writing that review!
Rate this episode!
Mean: 10.00 Median: 10 Std. Dev 0.00