I am probably going to do a proper scene by scene review for this - and maybe all the episodes this season - but I thought I'd get this down while it's fresh in my mind.
The good was really very good. The bad was cringe-worthy. This leaves me with an odd feeling of conflict over the episode. I want to love it, part of me does, and then I remember the bad and it saddens me.
So here we go - the good: (in no particular order and in no way a full list)
Doctor: "Oh come on, is no one going to ask what's with the glasses?"
Jake: "Or we could always use the lift."
The first Dalek/Cybermen confrontation (and damn that slash just inspires wrong thoughts. So very wrong.)
Cyber!Yvonne and her emo tear - I really liked that bit.
The Doctor walking away from the wall.
Rose not getting to show what an amazing person she's become and instead having her become a victim.
Rose's lasting image being of a weeping needy cow. (Which I do not think she is, but that's the lasting image we're presented with)
The Doctor being a bastard with his 'I'll go on alone' shtick - that just seems horribly cruel in retrospect.
Jake not being part of the alt!Tyler clan.
The remainder of the Dalek/Cybermen confrontations - it got monotonous.
Catherine Tate. I think I may be alone in this view and I'm okay with that - she is not funny, she is not quirky. She's just annoying. (Where's Jessica Stephenson when you need her…) eta heh! I've been skimming some of the other reaction posts and thank god I'm not the only one with a problem with Ms Tate!! Ha! I've got no problem with the sudden appearance on the TARDIS, or the concept, I just have a problem with her. end edit
I got the impression that what we were presented with was a cut down version of a much longer script. There were parts that had no logical progression (and which of course I can't put my finger on right now) and parts that just felt rushed. I do think the script was pruned back and some of the things that should have been fleshed out were dropped and as a result it felt bitty in places. I kinda hate to say it, but the script editors this year have dropped the ball a few times - notably the SR/GitF mismatch of the Mickey/Rose relationship - and to drop it during the final episodes? Kinda unforgivable really.
Initially I thought the whole thing should have ended with the shot of the two of them walking away from the wall into their respective worlds, but re-watching it I actually appreciate the 'Bad Wolf Bay' scene. Or rather, I appreciate the idea behind it. The execution was not good - not the acting, which was stellar; but the set up, the writing was lacking.
In School Reunion the Doctor was faced with the repercussions of his not having said goodbye to Sarah Jane. She forced it out of him and we were left with the impression that he was actually as relieved to say it as she was to hear it. So of course, if there was any chance, he would find a way to say goodbye to Rose. He's giving her closure - and he's giving himself that same closure. The closure he didn't get with Reinette for example.
The Bad Wolf Bay scene should have worked for that reason, but the fact is that the romance aspect of it got in the way and it all boiled down to whether they would say I love you or not. For the record I don't think he was going to say it, even if the supernova power hadn't run out by that point, I don't think he would have said it. And on top of the whole romance thing, we also have a scene written, shot and acted to win the BAFTA. She shouldn't have wept, the Rose we've seen develop over the past two years would not have wept. She would have cried, she would have been upset, but there would have been a brave little sad smile (which there was just before she turned away from the wall by the way) and she would have been the strong resolute woman she's become. Not the needy little girl that would end up being the last shot we have of her.
In the Confidential afterwards, RTD and Billie (and I think David as well) all said that Rose deserved an epic exit from the show. I agree completely. I don't think she got it. She deserved more than this. She deserved not to be a victim of circumstance.
ETA I was just chatting to my sister about the show and she's suggested what she thinks would have made a better ending. Instead of the whole dream-leading-to-the-beach-scene, there should have been a knock at the door, Rose opens it and there's Sarah Jane. Fade to black. Got to agree, even with the whole 'but how did Sarah Jane know about her 'cause it's an AU, it would have been an interesting way to end it.