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The final volume of Season 2 starts with yet another mediocre episode. Fear Her is a bit of a duff one, set during the time of London's Olympic celebrations. Children are going missing in a small street and the Doctor and Rose decide to investigate. What they discover is a child with scary powers beyond her understanding.
The final two episodes feature yet another two-part story that ties in with this season's Cybermen episodes. Strange ghosts are appearing all across the world....but they are not as they appear and soon the whole world is under threat.
Not only that, but there is somebody else just waiting in the wings.
Yes, the Daleks are back in the form of The Cult Of Skaro and this time they are not going down without a fight!
This two-part story sees the end of Rose and the Doctor's relationship and is about as big, bold and dramatic as Doctor Who gets! A set-to between two of Doctor Who's biggest enemies is something fans have been waiting for for some time and the end result is no disappointment! The ending too of this story is suitably emotional and poignant. It is not the first time we see this Doctor portray his feelings but it is a rare and seldom seen occurrence!
Of course, true fans will know that Rose is not gone for good, she returns in the 50th later this year, but still, you will pretty hard if the ending of these two episodes doesn't bring a little of a tear!
Once again, Doctor Who shows why it is the top of its game. Both Army Of Ghosts and Doomsday featured here are two of Doctor Who's finest moments. It is just a shame Fear Her is one of the weaker of the episodes this season!
The final three episodes of David Tennant's first season in the Tardis are a bit of a mixed bag, kicking off with a slightly weaker episode before rallying with a reasonable two-parter which although not quite as good as some of the future series enders still packs enough of a wallop in both the action and the emotional stakes to satisfy.
The real strength of Series 2 was the way the main characters were developed and fleshed out. It widened the scope from just being about the Doctor and Rose to incorporating a strong cast of semi-regular supporting characters, including Rose's sometime boyfriend Mickey and her mum, Jackie. This allows the scriptwriters to add an extra dimension to the programme, looking not just at the impact that Rose's travels have on her, but also their effect on the people she leaves behind. In turn, this gives far greater scope for a strong emotional content which balances out the more frenetic action sequences.
By the final episodes of this series, David Tennant appears to have firmed up how he wants to play his Doctor and his flippant, energetic (but still dangerous and determined) interpretation is a joy to behold. A complete contrast to Christopher Eccleston's dour (but excellent Doctor), Tennant is really beginning the make the character his own, capturing all those essential "Doctor" attributes: intelligence, danger, giddy child-like excitement, devotion and extreme loneliness and suppressed sadness.
His relationship with Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) has also blossomed. Initially a little uncertain in the early episodes, the bond between them has grown into a believable friendship; there is a genuine spark, a real sense of chemistry between them. They make a surprisingly good double act, sparking off each other and exchanging banter like a couple of old mates, yet there is also a deeper, stronger relationship forming. Rose herself has changed from clueless traveller to feisty fighter more than capable of getting herself (and sometimes The Doctor) out of danger. Piper deftly handles this change to create a believable character arc for Rose.
It's this relationship which is at the heart of the final episodes of Series 2 and which, come the climax provides an emotional pay-off that will result in a fair-few stifled sniffles and much surreptitious reaching for handkerchiefs.
There's little sign of the emotion to come when you watch the slightly tepid Fear Her. Apparently, this was a last minute replacement for a more expensive (and unaffordable) episode written by Stephen Fry, and it shows. The story is initially intriguing: on the eve of the 2012 Olympics, children start disappearing from a quiet London street, literally vanishing into thin air; the cause of the disappearance is eventually traced to a young girl who can trap people on paper simply by drawing them.
The main problem with this episode is that the pacing is really rather pedestrian. The plot takes an eternity to unfold and there is never any real sense of danger. The scriptwriters also seem a little confused as to who the "enemy" actually is and some initially promising ideas about the impact of dreams on real life or the link between imagination and reality are left unexplored. The whole episode lacks focus and the attempts to arouse sympathy for the enemy by drawing contrasts with the Doctor's own plight never really come to fruition. It's certainly not the worst episode of the series (that would be the execrable Love and Monsters) but neither is it Doctor Who at its best.
Army of Ghosts
A much stronger episode is the first part of the series finale. The Doctor and Rose return to London to visit Rose's mum, only to find the Earth being visited by "ghosts", who appear to be dead relatives returning to see their loved ones. Inevitably, the Doctor and Rose uncover something far more sinister, centred around the mysterious Torchwood Institute.
Although in many ways this episode is essentially setting up the plot for the following week's big finale, there is still much to like. The initial mystery surrounding the ghosts and the gradual uncovering of a far more dangerous and sinister enemy contains all the classic elements of a Doctor Who story. There's a real sense of excitement and danger and, although the story is quite involved (the solving of one riddle simply leads to another), it's interesting and engrossing. The longer, two-part format gives the writers the opportunity to explore some plot elements in greater detail and the constraints of the 45 minute episode (so apparent in the Fear Her) don't apply. The relatively sci-fi heavy plot is balanced with enough action sequences to keep younger viewers interested, whilst the final moments of the episode (in which the true nature and extent of the danger is revealed) is contains all the elements of a classic Doctor Who cliff-hanger.
By contrast, the opening of Doomsday is a little anti-climactic (the way Rose and Mickey escape from seemingly certain death is a cop-out). Thankfully, the rest of the episode is a cracker. Faced with an invasion of Earth by two deadly foes, the Doctor appears to be outwitted and outflanked. The timely appearance of a number of allies from earlier in the series sees the Doctor ultimately winning the day... although victory comes at a high price.
On some levels, I always find myself mildly disappointed with elements of this episode. It sets itself up for a classic three-way battle between The Doctor, The Daleks and The Cybermen, but then doesn't really quite know what to do with it. The trailer which accompanied the previous episode seems to promise plenty of action and whilst there are certainly plenty of effects-heavy sequences, there's feels to be something missing.
In fact, the invasion simply forms the backdrop to the closing chapter in the relationship between The Doctor and Rose. If you're looking for action, there's just about enough to see you through, but if you're looking for emotion, then this is a belter. The final scenes between the Doctor and his companion provide a real emotional pay-off that has been building throughout this series, and it provides a fitting conclusion to what has, on the whole, been a strong first series for Tennant's Doctor.
As befits a season finale, this episode is much more special effects heavy than previous ones, and it's clear that a large part of the budget was reserved so that the show could go out with a bang. On the whole, these effects are very good, although there are a few shaky moments (the flying enemies in Doctor Who never look right to me). Then again, slightly dodgy special effects have always been part of the charm of Doctor Who, and at least we're a long way from "man in rubber monster suit" territory!
These three episodes can now be picked up new on DVD for around £5, and at just over £1 per episode, this is pretty good value for money. Fear Her is a perfectly acceptable, if unremarkable episode, but it's worth buying this disk for the closing two-parter alone.
© Copyright SWSt 2011
This volume marks the finale of series 2 and is important because it really sees the departure of Bille Piper's Rose as a main character. The ghost of Rose would haunt us for two more seasons yet and desipte the character growing on me over series 2 by the end of the series I was quite glad she was going.
The episodes on this disc are the one off "Fear Her" featuring themes involving bullying, the olympics and a child with an unusual friend and of course the two-part Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday (these last two were given away free in the sun about a year ago).
First up, 'Fear Her' does not kick off this DVD in the greatest of fashions. Set in 2012 at the start of the olympics the Doctor and Rose intend to eatch the opening ceremony but become interested in the disappearance of local children. A girl seems to be able to make them vanish by drawing them.
The episode may not be as hammy as love and monsters - quite, but it makes up for this with an extremely slow pace, a confused script and wooden guest stars. The low light of the episdoes was probably where the girl chloe draws a 'scribble monster' and beings it to life, which was just embarrsing. This is only one of two poor episodes in the entire series, making it stand out even more. Best avoided.
Thankfully, for the two-part season finale things go up by several hundred notches. Going back to 2009, Rose goes home only to find everywhere inhabitabed by these 'ghosts' which seem to be living with people in perfect harmony. There's now also a Torchwood unit been set up in response to the Christmas Invasion of 2008 (the Dr. Who christmas special). Are the ghosts all they seem? The Doctor and Torchwood (along with Rose) investigate.
Until the last 10 minutes this is a very clever story, in fact one of the best written. There's no hint of what's to come in episode 1 of this at all and the cliff hanger is one of the most edge of your seat ones in the almost half century since Doctor Who first aired. Torchwood here aren't nearly as bad as how they turned out to be in the spin-off show either. Yes, some people would no doubt say the ending was rather rushed and there are a few flaws in the Doctor's plan for defeating the universal threat but overall I still think it works pretty well. Besides, I'm sure the army fought off the few remaining 'hostile invaders'. I didn't even mind Barbara Windsor's brief cameo - although scenes written to be speicifically funny generally annoy me in Doctor Who.
Unfortunately 10 minutes from the end it beomces very gushy with the whole over indulgent beach scene with the Doctor and Rose saying their goodbye's. Honestly out of all his companions he's never had so much trouble departing, then he doesn't normally keep hapring on about them for all of the next season either. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a departing scene, but please don't go all self-indulgent in future. The episode finishes with Catherine Tate's first appearance in the series, who doesn't make much of an impact to be honest and is another scene the finale could have done without. I'm sure viewers would return without a lead in.
The final volume in the second series featuring David Tennant as the Doctor and sadly the last in the series for Billie Piper as his assistant Rose Tyler.
Writers: Matthew Graham and Russell T. Davis
Directors: Euros Lyn and Graeme Harper
Producers: Phil Collinson, Russell T. Davis and Julie Gardner.
* FEAR HER ( 24th June 2006)
The TARDIS lands in London on the opening day of the 2012 Olympic games so the Doctor and Rose can watch the event live...but when they discover some strange events happening on a cul-de-sac, involving the sudden disappearance of many children, they begin to uncover some disturbing truths...
As the cul-de-sac is on the route of the torchbearer and has been temporarily named Dame Kelly Holmes Close for the event, it is being tenderly cared for by Kel, (played by Abdul Salis), a rather proud young man who works for the local council... but unfortunately the strange actions and rapid drawing skills of one young resident in the close, Chloe Webber, (played by Abisola Agbaje), brings much danger and fear with her drawings have sinister repercussions.
With the many mysterious and unexplained events happening on the close, the clues all lead to the young Chloe Webber and her amazing drawing abilities, so as the Doctor and Rose are once again drawn into the mysterious events they realise that time is running out as hundreds of people begin to disappear right in front of every ones eyes... and it is up to them to discover what Chloe and the disappearances have in common...?
But the monster hiding in the wardrobe has other ideas...!!
* Other characters in this episode
Nina Sosanya as Trish Abisola
Tim Faraday as Tom's Dad
Edna Doré as Maeve
Richard Nichols as Driver
Erica Eirian as Neighbour
Stephen Marzella as Police Officer
Huw Edwards as Commentator
* ARMY OF GHOSTS ( 1st July 2006) (part 1 of 2)
The Doctor takes Rose back to London to see her mum, only to discover that the world they had returned to is not the same as before...
With the entire human race, including Jackie Tyler, (played by Camille Coduri) convinced that their dead loved ones are returning for brief moments each day the doctor soon realises that things aren't quite what they seem, 'a footprint doesn't look like a boot'..?
Meanwhile, somewhere in London's Canary Wharf there are a team of scientist, led by Yvonne Hartman, (played by Tracy-Ann Oberman), called Torchwood, who are investigating a sphere like object which has pushed it's way through a gap in the fabric of time, causing more trouble than Torchwood first realised...
It doesn't take the Doctor too long before he realises that the ghostly apparitions are being caused by the experimenting from Torchwood... but will he be in time to convince the scientists that the ghosts are not ghosts but are far more sinister monsters also breaking through the fabric of time ...
So when the ghost begin to show there true form through the entire world it is too late for the Doctor and Rose to save the day... Earth has been conquered by what seems like an unstoppable force...
But what lies inside the Sphere is far more frightening than anyone can ever believe... and as the 'ghost' begin to solidify the sphere begins to open, revealing its inner secret..
* Other characters in this episode...
Raji James - Dr Rajesh Singh
Freema Agyeman - Adeola Oshodi
Hadley Fraser - Gareth
Oliver Mellor - Matt
* With brief appearances by
Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell and Derek Acorah, Alistair Appleton, Trisha Goddard as themselves
* DOOMSDAY ( 8th July 2006) (part 2 of 2)
The final episode in the second series sees the end of the Doctors companion as we know her...
This episode continues from the Army of ghost episode, with the world taken over by what everyone thought to be ghost, only to discover that they are really one of the Doctors old foes, with whom he has fought with many times before...
Things take a turn for the worst when another old nemesis of the doctors appears from the Sphere, bringing with it a strange shaped object known as a Genesis Ark, which holds many evil secrets... It really does looks like the end for the human race, with the Doctor unable to find the answer to stop the invasion...
Fortunately, through the fabric of time another group of people appear, including Pete Tyler, (played by Shaun Dingwell), to try and help save the day, but only if the Doctor can save there universe in return...?
With the story from both universes unfolding, and aided by a pair of 3D cardboard glasses, the Doctor realises that there is one way for him to save both universes and sending the invading forces into oblivion... only by doing so he knows he will lose the one he secretly loves...the Doctor must make the choice...
* Other characters in this episode...
Camille Coduri - Jackie Tyler
Noel Clarke - Mickey Smith
Andrew Hayden-Smith - Jake Simmonds
Tracy-Ann Oberman - Yvonne Hartman
Paul Kasey - Cyber Leader
Nicholas Briggs - Dalek and Cyberman voices
* IN CONCLUSION*
A fantastic finale to what is a great entertaining sci-fi series...
The first episode on this disc 'fear her' is well written and does get the mind thinking, creating a very frightening scenario with such a small jellyfish like orb as the dangerous alien force was a great idea, the story being well written and very creepy indeed.
Although a fairly scary episode it does comes across as a heart warming tale about a aliens loneliness and its connection with a young girl who, although surrounded by many, is also feeling on her own...
And with the simple twist towards the end, giving out hope for the entire nation, the real monster is fought against...
The final two episodes are frighteningly superb, and I think this is the only time that these two enemies of the doctors have ever come together in one sitting, giving such a brilliant force to be fought with, only for the two evil enemies to turn on each other for dominance of the world.
Sadly, this does turn into an emotional final episode starring the brilliant Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, telling the tale of her strange demise and the heart rendering choices that the she and the Doctor have to make, with Rose giving her life, as it was, to save the human race from virtual destruction....
The stories emotional ending, albeit set on a beautiful backdrop, it may become a little weepy for some viewers when the Doctor and Rose say their final goodbyes... but it certainly makes way for a new companion to enter the blue Box, ready for a new series of adventures... including the comedian Catherine Tate who will star in the 2006 Christmas special
* Would I recommend this...?
Yes I certainly would... It is a great 135 minutes of science fictional entertainment with three well penned tales of emotions and hope...
And with the finale to the thirteen episodes in this series being superbly written I could not find anything negative to say about the whole show..
Although I do feel that with losing the final person of the original Doctor Who comeback team could spoil the future for this show... losing Christopher Eccleston for David Tennent was bad enough, the nation getting over it, but to also lose Billie Piper as his companion could lead to some disgruntled viewers indeed
You can get a copy of this final volume from www.Amzon.co.uk for less than £7.00 or you could get the entire second series box set for the offer price of £36.97..( £69.99 after offer ends)
Although a little pricey it may be worth shopping around first...