Recap / Doctor Who S27 E13 "The Parting of the Ways"

Emperor Dalek: You cannot hurt me. I am immortal.
Bad Wolf: You are tiny. I can see the whole of time and space, every single atom of your existence. And I divide them.

Written by Russell T. Davies.

When we left our heroes, they were staring down an absolutely ridiculous number of Daleks. Who turn out to be mutated humans, trapped in their pepperpot cans forever.

The Doctor and Jack rig a force field out of Margaret the Slitheen's surfboard, and go fetch Rose. Jack tenderly kisses Rose and the Doctor goodbye on their lips, and goes off to stall the Daleks, knowing that he probably won't survive. note  The Doctor tricks Rose into going back into the TARDIS and sends her back to her own time to keep her safe. He activates a hologram recording that tells Rose to live a normal life, let the TARDIS die and experience all she can as a normal human girl.

Rose won't have any of it and, looking for a way back, notices the words "Bad Wolf" everywhere around her in cloudy grey London. For the first time, she realizes that it may not be a warning at all... it may be an inspiration. She talks Mickey and Jackie into helping her rip apart the TARDIS to expose the ship's living telepathic core to her.

The Daleks approach the comms centre of the satellite as the Doctor is still preparing his wave attack, and they EX-TER-MI-NATE anyone they encounter — including Lynda and Jack. The Dalek Emperor tells the Doctor to make his choice. Will he be a killer like he was in the Time War, murdering every last human on Earth to destroy the Daleks? Or will he be a coward and let nature take its course? The Doctor realizes that he can't bear to repeat the actions he took during the Time War, and says that he'd be a coward, any day. Even if it means letting those mutated humans live on as Daleks forever. Even if it means he'll have to sacrifice himself.

Just as he's about to be murdered, Rose steps in, with time itself pulsing through her from the TARDIS core. As a catalyst for the Time Stream, she's become a literal goddess from the machine, and with a single word she promptly kills every last Dalek she can find. On top of that, she scatters the words "Bad Wolf" — the name of the TV station — throughout time, space and parallel dimensions, as a sign to herself. Oh, and she revives Jack.

With all that, she collapses, and the Doctor, grinning, tells her... "I think you need a Doctor". He absorbs the full force of the Time Vortex from her body by kissing her. It's a beautiful moment until it kills him. He blows the essence of the Heart back into the TARDIS, and then takes flight... without Jack. Jack hears the "VWORP-VWORP" of the TARDIS as it vanishes, leaving the poor guy stranded in 200,100... From here he'll go on to star in Torchwood.

Rose wakes up unharmed from her ordeal, with some memories jumbled. However, Nine is starting to show an ominous glowing in his hand, and we realize something's wrong. He tells Rose that he had so many plans for her, like taking her to a planet called Barcelona with noseless dogs. Except that jolly rambling is interrupted by a jolt of hissing yellow energy thrashing inside of his chest. Though the Doctor's saved Rose, the Time Vortex energy he absorbed turned corrosive and it's making all his cells die. Now, he has to change into a new man to live on through regeneration. Knowing he's going to lose the aspects of this incarnation, the Ninth Doctor bids Rose Tyler goodbye, telling her that she was "Fantastic... Absolutely fantastic! And you know what? So was I!" The Doctor regenerates with a burst of flaming energy and morphs into David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor. Rose doesn't remember a thing, and is terrified when a strange man is suddenly bouncing around the TARDIS. From there, the ending segues into "Doctor Who: Children in Need".


  • All for Nothing: The fact that the Daleks are still around means that the Doctor committed genocide in the Time War to achieve nothing.
  • Arc Words: The meaning of "Bad Wolf" is finally explained. It doesn't have any inherent meaning, but was scattered across time and space by TARDIS!Rose to show normal Rose the way back to the Doctor.
  • Asshole Victim: Rodrick, killed by the Daleks, will not be missed by anyone.
  • Back from the Dead: Jack, courtesy of Bad Wolf!Rose reviving him.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Mickey and Rose have tried to reactivate the TARDIS, to no avail. Cue Jackie, with a friggen truck (she knew a guy who owed her some favours). That manages to do it.
    • Bad Wolf!Rose arriving on the Gamestation to rescue the Doctor.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Jack kissing both Rose and the Doctor goodbye — this was the first time that the Doctor had an on-screen kiss with a man (he previously had one in the novels), and only his second on-screen kiss ever. The Doctor and Rose later have one at the end when he pull the Time Vortex out of her and saves her.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": "I think you're forgetting something. I'm the Doctor, and if there's one thing I can do it's talk. I've got five billion languages and you haven't got one way of stopping me, so if anybody's going to shut up, IT'S YOU!!" [Gives the Daleks a volcanic Death Glare; they back away in fear]
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Daleks are defeated, the Doctor regenerates, and Rose lives, but Jack's stuck on his own in the year 200,100, every secondary character has been killed, and Earth (which wasn't in great shape to begin with) has been firebombed, with no word as to whether anyone on the planet is alive.
  • Breaking Speech: For a Dalek, the Emperor is terrifyingly good at this; constantly taunting the Doctor about his Morton's Fork. If he can break the Doctor's spirit then he will not activate the weapon.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Lynda-with-a-Y, who watches as nothing slows the Daleks down for very long, and gets to hear them exterminating everyone on Floor 0 one-by-one. Then they come for her.
  • Brick Joke: Just before he goes, Nine mentions going to Barcelona (Not the city, the planet Barcelona). Apparently they have dogs with no noses. Then he regenerates. The second thing Ten mentions? Barcelona!
  • The Caligula: The Dalek Emperor is mad because the Daleks hiding in space for hundreds of years has left them mad.
  • Call Back: To "Genesis of the Daleks", with the Doctor having the power to destroy the Daleks but going through a moral dilemma, before ultimately refusing to go through with it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Anne-droid briefly reappears to "disqualify" three Daleks. In fact, it's the only time before Bad Wolf shows up that any Daleks die at all.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rose, as shown subtly by the way she looks at Lynda when she shakes the Doctor's hand and gets in a line to the Doctor before her. Mr. TARDIS Reviews picked this up in his review of the episode and points out how odd it is, as the shooting scripts don't mention this at all.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Largely averted tragically. Rose herself asks how they'll be able to stop half a million Daleks when they could barely deal with one, and indeed, the Daleks, as mentioned below, completely curbstomp humanity.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Before Bad Wolf shows up, the Daleks suffer a grand total of three casualties. After Bad Wolf shows up, she vaporizes all of them in seconds.
  • Death Glare: The Doctor gives a spectacular one to the Daleks.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Lynda's extermination ends any competition between her and Rose for the Doctor.
  • Declaration of Protection: Rose, as Bad Wolf, to the Doctor.
    Bad Wolf!Rose: I want you safe. My Doctor. Protected from the false god.
  • Defiant to the End: Jack used up every bullet from the rifle, and switched to his handgun until that ran out of bullets. Facing his death, he does a "Bring It" posture before being killed.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • A literal example with Rosenote , a mere human companion, opening the heart of the TARDIS (although with help from her mother and Mickey), to telepathically pilot it to the 2001st century to save the Doctor, absorbing the vast energies of the Time Vortex, emerging from the TARDIS as the "Bad Wolf" to save the Doctor from the Daleks. "The god out of the machine."
    • In fact, Rose's example above is another case of this: after obtaining godlike powers to stop the Daleks, she sends the words "Bad Wolf" back through time to make sure her past self will follow the same path. In short, her "Bad Wolf" incarnation created itself.
  • Decoy Protagonist: First-time viewers who haven't been spoiled could be forgiven for seeing the title, seeing Lynda's role in the story and thinking it means that she's going to replace Rose.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Towards the half-human Doctor idea from the TV movie.
    Rose: That makes them... half-human?
    Dalek Emperor: Those words are blasphemy!
  • Disposable Vagrant: The Emperor has spent centuries "harvesting" people he knew society would overlook. "The prisoners, the refugees, the dispossessed, they all came to us!"
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Compared to all the other regenerations of post-revival Who, the Ninth Doctor's is different in that rather than just suddenly shifting from one face to the next (as with the Tenth to the Eleventh, or the Eleventh to the Twelfth), we see Christopher Eccleston's facial features change into David Tennant's, complete with his hair growing out.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Tenth Doctor's first reaction is to be intrigued and confused by his new teeth and then offer to take Rose to Barcelona (just as the Ninth Doctor had offered to her before regenerating).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Dalek Emperor has a teeth-rattling voice.
    The Doctor: [to the Daleks] How did you survive the Time War?
    Dalek Emperor: They survived through ME!
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Jack goes out with a one-liner, arms spread.
    • The Doctor, surrounded by Daleks, just calmly accepts it, and closes his eyes. Cue Bad Wolf.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner:
    Dalek: Exterminate!
    Jack Harkness: I kind of figured that.
  • First Episode Resurrection: Played with in Jack's case. It occurs at the end of a season, but defines much of his character on both his spinoff and the parent show from here on (though we don't learn it was permanent here).
  • Foiler Footage: An alternate ending where Rose dies was filmed with the intention of screening it for critics, but Davies decided it was too inferior to use.
  • Foreshadowing: The Doctor hologram saying he's about to die, and he hopes it's a good death.
  • For the Evulz: The Daleks going to Floor 0 to wipe out the humans before they go to Floor 500.
  • A God Am I:
    • Bad Wolf believes so.
    The Doctor: It's not right! You can't control life and death!
    Bad Wolf: But I can.
    • Also the Dalek Emperor: "I reached into the Dirt and made new life. I am the God of all Daleks!" Later he even calls himself "God".
  • God-Emperor: The Dalek Emperor is the God of all Daleks!
  • Go Out with a Smile: The Ninth Doctor smiles as he regenerates.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • After talking with the Emperor, we see the Doctor in the TARDIS, just leaning against the doors in despair as the Daleks scream at him.
    • Rose has one when she can't get back to the Doctor.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several.
    • Jack's You Shall Not Pass to buy time for the Doctor finish the Delta Wave.
    • The Doctor taking the Time Vortex into himself to save Rose causes his need to regenerate.
  • Human Resources: The source of the Emperor's army is dead humans.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mickey and Jackie still don't like the Doctor, but they'll help Rose get back to him all the same.
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: Jack continues firing his pistol at the Daleks as he's backed into a corner. "Last man standing!" Finally, they've got him, and he spreads his arms in a "bring it" posture.
  • If We Get Through This...: The two staff members. Then the Daleks kill them.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Played with.
    Ninth Doctor: I just wanna say you were fantastic... absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.
  • It Only Works Once: The Defabricator gun is able to destroy a Dalek in one hit, but in the process burns out. Fixing it will take Jack about a hundred years.
  • Kick the Dog: The upper levels of the Game Station are the higher priority for the Daleks, as the Doctor is on the highest floor working on a plan that could destroy the Dalek army. The lowest level contains a number of unarmed civilians, with Jack believing that the Daleks would focus their efforts on seizing the upper levels and ignore the civilians. Before the Daleks ascend to the next level up, they make a short detour to the lowest floor simply to exterminate all the civilians.
  • Kill 'em All: Virtually everyone on the station is slaughtered by the Daleks (who seem to sustain exactly four casualties before Bad Wolf unmakes them), and Captain Jack is the only one who seems to be restored to life. Only one person on the station doesn't die, and that's Rose. Granted, the Doctor and Jack don't stay dead. That's not even mentioning the off-screen deaths of potentially billions of humans on Earth, which the Daleks are bombing (we see entire continents distort from the blasts).
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rodrick, the guy who got Rose on the Dalek ship in the last episode, is killed by a Dalek.
  • Large Ham: Even by Dalek standards, the Emperor is incredibly bombastic.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: At the time, the reveal of the Dalek Emperor was pretty surprising... obviously not so much over a decade later.
  • Lip-Lock Sun-Block: The Big Damn Kiss between the Doctor and Rose blocks the light coming out of the TARDIS.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Also an Actor Allusion — the Harry Potter chapter is the last appearance of David Tennant in the films, while this episode is the first appearance of David Tennant in the series. note 
  • Love Triangle: The Doctor, Jack and Rose all kiss in this episode so it is either this trope or Threesome Subtext.
  • Mauve Shirt: Lynda, whose death kicks off something of a trend — if the Doctor offers you a spot on the TARDIS while a crisis is still happening, get your affairs in order.
  • Mood Whiplash: Nine says goodbye to Rose, and regenerates. The first thing we hear Ten say?
    Tenth Doctor: Hello, I— [beat] New teeth. That's weird. So where was I? Oh, that's right. [grins madly] Barcelona!
  • Morton's Fork: The Doctor doesn't have the time to refine the Delta Wave — either he lets the Daleks live and puts the whole universe at risk, or he commits another act of double genocide and takes out the human and Dalek races at once. Though the Daleks have probably already destroyed most of the humans on Earth, and the Doctor points out that humans have spread to other worlds.
  • Mythology Gag: The TARDIS' holographic Doctor was first seen in "Infinite Requiem".
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Almost happens to Rose, so the Doctor absorbs the energy and blocks her memory.
    Bad Wolf: The sun, and the moon. The day, and the night. But why do they hurt?... I can see everything. All that is. All that was. All that ever could be... My head... is killing me.
  • Not Me This Time: The Doctor, after the battle starts, assumes that, since they seemed to be behind everything else, the Daleks were behind the "Bad Wolf" words and asks the Dalek Emperor why he spread them through history. The Dalek Emperor responds that he doesn't know anything about them, and the Doctor realizes that if the A God Am I Emperor did do it, he would have gloated about it like he did with the rest of his plan.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    The Doctor: What have you done!?!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: As soon as the Doctor realizes that the Daleks have a concept of blasphemy, he starts realizing that something is very wrong with them — and throughout the episode, it shows; they're even more sociopathic than usual, particularly in their exterminations of Jack and Lynda. The Emperor is even worse; the other Daleks have the excuse of being composed of human genetic matter, which any Dalek would be driven insane by, but the Emperor went mad out of sheer isolation.
  • Physical God: The Bad Wolf/TARDIS Matrix/Rose is basically the Time Vortex in human form. It has absolute control over time.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Nine gets so worked up into a lather at the Daleks that he manages to terrify them. Think about that.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The Bad Wolf Arc Words were originally intended to be a small Easter Egg appearing in the episodes, "something for the keen-eyed fans to spot each week" according to Russell T. Davies. It was only after they realised that they'd not been nearly subtle enough and many people were speculating on their meaning that the producers created an explanation for the words' continual appearance — an explanation which would result in them reappearing as a warning in later episodes.
  • Reality Ensues: Lynda-with-a-Y. The Doctor thinks she'd be a great companion and even likes the idea of her traveling with him, but when you have a Dalek Empire descending on the station... what do you think will happen to her?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jack has some harsh words for the people on Floor 0 who won't help with the defence against the Daleks. He finishes off by telling them their only hope for survival is to stay quiet and hope the Daleks don't decide to come downstairs.
  • Red Herring: It's implied that the Doctor used a Delta Wave to end the Time War, and ended up killing all of the Time Lords and Daleks as a result. Later episodes would show this was not the case.
  • Regional Redecoration: The Dalek fleet bombards the Earth so severely that they distort the shapes of the continents.
  • San Dimas Time: Pointed out by Jackie when Rose is desperate to get back to the confrontation that's happening right now... 198,000 years in the future.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Inasmuch as a Dalek can be sarcastic, one manages to be this.
    Dalek: Launch missiles!
    Rose: You can't! The TARDIS doesn't have any defences, you're gonna kill 'im!
    Dalek: You have predicted correctly.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The last episode set Lynda up as a possible companion. She dies in this episode.
  • Sadistic Choice: Either the Doctor uses the Delta Wave to commit double genocide against human and Dalek alike, or he allows the Daleks to spread throughout the universe. Fortunately, another option comes in the Bad Wolf arriving.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: "DO NOT BLASPHEME!"
  • Scotty Time: The Doctor states that making a Delta Wave transmitter using the Gamestation, even for him, should take two days. By the time he's come up with the idea he's not got twenty minutes before the Daleks get there. Somehow he manages to successfully rig it up before they get to him, which even he seems surprised by. However, he had to cut corners in order to get ready in time and so it will kill both Daleks and humans in its range.
  • Season Finale: The first of the revived franchise, and arguably the first traditional "season finale" in Doctor Who. It's also the Grand Finale for the Ninth Doctor.
  • See You in Hell: Jack, like in "Boom Town" — except this time he knows he's going to certain death.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The elaborate battle plans and heroic resistance that most of the episode focuses on hardly slow the Daleks down. Earth's bombed enough to reshape entire continents, everyone on the station apart from the Doctor dies in a one-sided massacre and the Doctor can't go through with destroying the rest of humanity to stop the Daleks. Only Rose's return saves the shaggy dog from getting shot.
  • The So-Called Coward: When faced with destroying all life in the solar system, the Doctor will choose coward over killer any day.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted. When the Dalek rises up to the window of Lynda-with-a-Y's hiding place, while you don't hear it, its dome-lights flash in what is clearly it shouting "EX-TER-MIN-ATE", before it blasts the window apart, opening the room to the vacuum of space (evidently, the Daleks say it more for themselves than anyone else at this stage).
  • Stable Time Loop: The Arc Words "Bad Wolf" were planted by the TARDIS-possessed Rose so she could find a way to get back to the Doctor, which involves Rose getting possessed by the TARDIS so she can plant the "Bad Wolf" messages.
    SFDebris: Because paradoxes are fun!
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Briefly, when Rose is back in the twenty-first century, having a Heroic B.S.O.D.. Mickey's contribution to this discussion? He bitterly asks if she thinks saving worlds with the Doctor makes her better than everyone else.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In the Doctor's holographic message to Rose, he turns his head to her as if he knew she would walk around the hologram to its side.
  • Technobabble: The Doctor's explanation of how he plans to use the Gamestation to generate a Delta Wave.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The people in charge of the Game Station do try to warn Earth about what's coming. Earth's only response is to cancel their licence because they weren't showing any games.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Subverted. While everyone knew that the Daleks would appear in the finale, no one expected the Dalek Emperor to appear.
  • Tunnel of Foreshadowing: Temporarily super-powered Rose gets a glimpse of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) in a similar optical effect, several minutes before Eccleston's Doctor actually regenerates into him.
  • Wham Line:
    Dalek Emperor: I did nothing... They [the Bad Wolf message] are not part of my design. This is the truth of God.
  • Wham Shot:
    • A shot of the Dalek corpse that Jack killed reveals that it has two eyes. The Emperor soon reveals that his new Daleks were created from human remains.
    • Rose, feeling demoralised and upset because the TARDIS won't fly, is sitting and brooding in a sports field. As Mickey talks to her, she notices the words "Bad Wolf" written on the ground. Then then she sees several more "Bad Wolfs" among the graffiti on a wall across the playing field.
    • When the Doctor sees the back of his hand start to glow.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • The Doctor suggests to Rose that they leave, and let history take its course. She points out he wouldn't do that.
    • Later, surrounded on all sides by psychotic Daleks, with everyone else dead, The Doctor threatens to activate the Delta Wave.
      Emperor Dalek: Which are you, Doctor? Coward or killer?
      The Doctor: ... coward. Any day.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Partially justified, but the Daleks are really bad at this in this episode.note  Despite this, they still only lose three and a bit Daleks. The Emperor at least justifies this when the Daleks corner the Doctor through Pragmatic Villainy; since he knows that the Doctor could activate the delta wave and is actually interested in seeing the Doctor become a killer. Notably, on Floor 499, the Daleks don't start shooting until one of them gets blinded.
  • The X of Y: "The Parting of the Ways".
  • You Are What You Hate: Don't tell the Daleks that their Human Resources origin makes them human. The Doctor believes that the Daleks knowing this has driven them insane.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Captain Jack decides to Hold the Line against Daleks by himself.

Troper, before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what?
So was I!

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 1 E 13 The Parting Of The Ways