Episode 12 – THE STOLEN EARTH

Russell T. Davies began his final series finale in style as we saw all of his created companions as well as Sarah Jane. He threw everything at this story, and his philopsophy appeared to be; the bigger the better. And this was a stunning first part. The Earth being moved across space was a great idea and the threat felt immense right from the start. It was great to see Martha working even higher up in UNIT, and that allowed us to see how this crisis was being dealt with worldwide, rather than just locally like we normally see. The return of Davros was also brilliant. He was portrayed with majestic evil and menace by the wonderful Julian Bleach and as we were teased with his appearance for most part, it made it even better when he finally saw him clearly on screen. To be quite honest, plot wise, not a great deal happened in this first part. The Earth was moved and the Doctor’s friends tried to find him, that was about it. But there were some fantastic moments though. Seeing Wilf paintball a Dalek, before Rose destroyed it just in time, summed up everything I love about Wilf. It was also nice to see Harriet Jones return, despite the rather ruthless end to her last appearance in The Christmas Invasion. The sub-wave network was a clever feature of the episode and I’m glad we saw Jones eventually die with a lot of dignity and for a good cause, she was one of the best characters in RTD’s era. The Daleks were very powerful in this episode too. Seeing them set a house on fire when the residents refused to surrender was truly chilling and that’s how the Daleks should appear. I try to not to exaggerate in these posts but I really do think that this cliffhanger is the greatest of the modern era, probably of the show’s history and maybe even television history. There were no signs that the tenth Doctor could be on his way out and although he didn’t leave the show at this point, I don’t think anybody saw the episode ending with a regeneration. It left a whole week of fans panicking and theorising, who will the next Doctor be or how will the tenth Doctor survive? There was also a terrifying ending to this episode for Sarah Jane, as she looked to be on the brink of extermination at the hands of two Daleks. Despite not a lot of development of the plot in this episode, it did a perfect job of setting up the finale. And as I said, the cliffhanger was genius. 9/10

Episode 13 – JOURNEY’S END

If I had to sum this finale up in a sentence, I would say it’s epic but flawed. First of all, RTD deserves credit for attempting something so ambitious. The universe was at stake and there were now two Doctors. I didn’t have an issue with how the tenth Doctor avoided changing. Putting his excess regeneration energy into his spare hand seemed valid to me. Maybe we could’ve seen this scene after we were shown Mickey and Jackie save Sarah Jane, just to drag the mystery about the potential regeneration about a bit longer, but I liked the resolution to last week’s shocking ending. What I didn’t really like though was the metacrisis Doctor, it was all a bit too much. I didn’t understand how he just grew out of the hand because Donna touched it, that didn’t make sense to me. There were some outstanding scenes on the Crucible though, especially the exchanges between the Doctor and Davros. I really enjoyed Davros’ attempts to make the Doctor feel guilty for all the pain he’d supposedly caused. When he asked “How many have died in your name” it did make you think if Davros had a point? Does the Doctor refuse to carry a gun because he transforms his companions into weapons? It was a fascinating argument that added a lot of depth to the episode and it was scripted and delivered perfectly, although it’d have been nice to see Adric in Earthshock in the montage. Everything had been built up for this to be one the great Doctor Who episodes but then it ended with a few button flicks and clicks from Donna, who herself had quite inexplicably gained the Doctor’s intelligence. It was a shame the ending was a disappointment. Why did the Daleks have buttons on their ship’s controls that could allow them to be controlled? Even with an extended finale that lasted over an hour, if this story was given an extra part then maybe RTD could’ve come up with a better and more fitting way to rap it up as the last fifteen minutes on the Crucible felt rather rushed. It was simply sensational to see K9 return to help the Doctor though. I didn’t really get why we had to return to Bad Wolf Bay, couldn’t the Doctor have dropped Rose and co. off at their home? It just led to another rather cringeworthy goodbye for Rose, we really didn’t need another after Doomsday. The fate of Donna was cruel as she forgot all of her time with the Doctor, also something I didn’t get. Couldn’t she have just forgotten about the metacrisis and had her memory wiped of just that day? Wilf’s little speech to the Doctor right at the end was very poignant and emotional and partly made up for the previous twenty minutes. I enjoyed the episode but I think RTD bit off slightly more than he could chew. 7/10

Xmas Special – THE NEXT DOCTOR

For me, this was the only low point in RTD’s run of Christmas specials. It was forced and awkward right from the start where the Doctor stood still and cheesily took in his surroundings with a huge grin on his face. I think this whole episode would’ve worked better if David Morrissey had portrayed a less arrogant and more charismatic Doctor. Even though Jackson Lake’s wife had died, I found it hard to sympathise with him at the end because he just seemed like such a pompous man. There was a spell of twenty minutes right through the middle of this episode where next to nothing happened and it was a drag to watch. There never seemed to be that much of a threat, even when the Cyber King was rampaging through London. The Cyber King itself was ludicrously designed. RTD himself couldn’t even come up with a reason as to why this event didn’t go down in history. And when the Doctor took on the Cyber King, why didn’t he use his real TARDIS? The whole thing was a simple conclusion to quite a pointless special that really did nothing to excite me. I enjoyed Jackson clapping the Doctor, and then seeing everybody else follow suit. And the Doctor agreeing to have Christmas dinner with Jackson in memory of those they’ve lost was a nice touch to end the story. However, this episode would’ve been better if the potential “next Doctor” was a more likeable character, the mystery wasn’t resolved with half an hour of the episode still to go and the Cybermen weren’t misused. 4/10

Advertisements