The return of the Daleks indicated that the Time War was useless, which must have made the Doctor feel terrible, considering that it was the only reason his entire race had become extinct. The Daleks seemed even more ruthless after it turned out that they mutated themselves with human DNA, because they were willing to accept human emotions. This is in direct contradiction to their xenophobic assertion that only pure Daleks can be superior, and a great way to start the episode — insane Daleks can only be intriguing.

In this episode, it was the companion who saved the day, not the Doctor. I think Rose really outdid herself. The Doctor’s efforts to save her were touching but rather condescending, as if she could not make her own decisions or stand up for herself. Of course, he did it because he cared about her (and perhaps, loved her!), but she had the right to stay and fight.

Despite the Doctor’s efforts to treat her like a damsel-in-distress, she was stubborn and, for once, clever enough to figure out how to activate the TARDIS and deliver the Doctor and the rest of humanity from destruction. This was fantastic because normally, companions are more like glorified sidekicks rather than the superhero. I also found the concept of helpless female companions somewhat chauvinistic, so it was reassuring to see a female protagonist win the battle. Even the overlooked ‘companions’ (Jackie and Mickey), were able to contribute to saving the day.

The character change occurred not only for the companion, but for the Doctor as well. I think the kinder side of the Doctor truly shone in this episode because he decided to finally set aside his personal vendetta against the Daleks to spare the lives of the human race, as the Delta Wave would have killed everyone. This Doctor is certainly different from the one in Dalek, who would have killed the changed Dalek had it not been for Rose’s intervention.

Having the characters’ potential realized or personalities changed was a beautiful way to cinch the finale because it shows that the series is about the bigger picture. Alongside this, the suspense of the Bad Wolf appearances was satisfyingly resolved when it turned out that Rose had been planting the words all along. I first noticed the words ‘bad wolf’ when the child tagged the TARDIS inAliens of London, so I had been wondering the entire season what the words had the do with the episode.

I was excited to learn of the regeneration, because I didn’t know who the next Doctor would be. My apologies for this, but my first reaction on seeing the new Doctor was to marvel at how much handsomer he was than Eccleston. He also seemed reassuringly cheeky — one problem I have with regeneration is dealing with a new personality, even if the new Doctor maintains his memories. It must have been maddening, however, for the original viewers to be stunned with an image of the new Doctor, and then to have to wait months before finding more about him. I felt very lucky that I could immediately watch the Christmas special and the following season.

All in all, it was a very satisfactory parting of the ways. In fact, it made me eager to say ‘hello’ again.