More stairs, more stairs, and Rose gets a call on her cell from the Doctor about how she needs to get from Level 49 to Level 46 super-fast due to the seal. She asks whether the Doctor can keep the doors from closing. "I'm the one who's closing them," he says. "I can't wait, and I can't help you." They do. Very videogame for a second. Van Statten can't keep the power flowing forever, and he tells the Doctor -- as Rose and Adam mosey up the stairs -- that he's got to close the doors. Van Statten and Goddard watch him breathing, seeing if he can get there, and then he does. He says he's sorry, hits the "Enter" key, and the bulkheads start to drop. This, if anything, should tell you how scary the Daleks are.
Rose and Adam run somewhat faster, and when they reach the door, Adam rolls underneath it, but Rose is not close enough. The Vault is sealed. Rose is inside. The Doctor jumps up and starts yelling for Rose, who takes a moment to breathe from the brisk walk she just completed, before saying -- this is rough -- "Sorry, I was a bit slow." And the Dalek is coming. "See you then, Doctor," she adds. He can't even talk. Rose's voice trembles, as she fills the silence: "It wasn't your fault. Remember that, okay? It wasn't your fault. And do you know what? I wouldn't have missed it for the world." She turns around and faces the Dalek, who screams, "Exterminate!"
The Doctor yanks out the earpiece on which he's been talking to Rose on the phone. And he stares. And he whispers, "I killed her." Van Statten shows a moment of compassion, and gets an earful for his trouble: "I said I'd protect her. She was only here because of me! And you're sorry? I could've killed that Dalek in its cell, but you stopped me." You know that saying "Nothing ventured, nothing gained"? I liked this episode. It's probably the best one so far. But there's nothing ventured. Rose is fine, the Doctor's fine, van Statten has no compelling motivation, the Dalek is a robot with a beastie inside that feels sorry for itself, and then dies, and next week the only difference is that fucking Adam's around, being obnoxious. A script full of exclamation points and lovely ideas isn't that interesting when we've taken a holiday from believable emotion. We learn about the Time War, and that the Doctor isn't all sweetness and light, but we could've learned those anywhere. We learn how he hates the Daleks, and they hate him right back, and how he genocided them, but it didn't take this particular Dalek to spell that out in letters a mile wide. We learn that the Doctor promised to protect Rose, and then somehow failed because it's real life out here, but that happens in every single episode. We watch them say goodbye and cry and act crazy because they love each other, but there's no reason to think anything's actually going to happen, and it doesn't. And maybe this would be more satisfying if the script let us actually watch this episode instead of stopping every five seconds to explain what's going on, like it's its own DVD commentary, but as it is, it's hard to look forward to working out the rest of it, because it'll always be with the feeling of somebody looking over your shoulder, about to tell you shit you already know. It makes the script feel weak because it makes the script look less than brave, instead of standing by its statements and letting us do some of the work, which makes the script weak and makes the job -- to stay inside the story, to feel along with the story -- harder, not easier, for us. But when I say I like this, I want you to know what I mean: thank God for Piper and Eccleston, because they are the only ones trying to sell this episode. Everybody else gave up at the script stage.