First Time Watching Doctor Who - Series 4 REVIEW
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED - 6/10
The Doctor is without companion once again and the Titanic has crashed into the TARDIS, but it’s actually an alien replica starship that’s modelled on the Titanic - it sort of reminds me of in The End of the World when all the rich people gather to watch the sun burn and everything’s glamorized and not remembered entirely correctly. KYLIE MINOGUE IS IN THIS EPISODE! I love Kylie, it’s so random that she’s here but I don’t care. The Doctor can’t resist a party and puts on his black tie to join in, and we get introduced to the supporting ensemble as he ventures around. Kylie is playing Astrid, a waitress, who the Doctor takes a shine to early on - she feels similar to Rose already, dead-end job wishing to see more, the Doctor also warms to her very quickly in a similar way. The Doctor’s definitely got a thing for blondes. They take a trip to see Earth and I really like that we get a callback to the other Christmas specials where disaster always happens on Earth. But then we get the Titanic plot, who’d have thought a spaceship named after the Titanic would crash? But it’s Doctor Who so it’s not just a disaster movie, the Angels that act as servants are turning evil and killing people with their halos. Then just as I’m starting to really love Astrid she sacrifices herself to save the Doctor. It’s such a bittersweet ending, especially as it didn’t do the usual trope of killing off the characters we’re supposed to dislike, because life doesn’t really work like that. This episode felt more Christmas-y than the last series’ Christmas special which I liked, even if it was a little cheesy.
EPISODE 1 - PARTNERS IN CRIME - 8/10
Donna’s back, and she’s regretted not accepting the Doctor’s offer to travel with him. She’s out investigating trying to cross paths with the Doctor. Someone commented on my Series 2 review about Sarah Jane having met the Doctor investigating as a journalist, and I feel like there’s some inspiration there with Donna doing similar though she’s already met the Doctor and is trying to cross paths again. Sarah Lancashire is playing the villainous Mrs Foster, whose weight loss pills turn your body fat into cute little aliens! I really like the change in design of the monster, that the little aliens are entirely innocent and cute looking - especially the one sliding down the car. Donna finally finds the Doctor again in the middle of Mrs Foster’s big confessional scene with a less successful sneaky journalist woman, and it’s so slapstick and silly and really enjoyable, but could only have worked with Catherine Tate and David Tennant doing it. The scene where the Doctor is trying to stop the Adipose but doesn’t have two necklaces and is panicking and Donna just casually waves hers about is such a fun representation of the Doctor and Donna’s relationship. Then Donna gets a second chance to accept the Doctor’s invitation, after a funny bit of miscommunication, and she just casually chucks her car keys in a bin and tells Rose before she leaves… wait, Rose?? Well, I’m sure nothing will come of that. The man from last episode is Donna’s grandad and he’s wonderful, having a little dance as he waves Donna off at the end was very sweet. It’s nice that Donna has a supportive family member that’s tying her back to Earth, her relationship with her mother is so frustrating yet so realistic - it’s nice she has something positive that will stop her leaving forever. I really enjoyed this episode, it was very sitcom-y but it worked as a fun re-introduction to Donna.
EPISODE 2 - THE FIRES OF POMPEII - 8/10
The Doctor takes Donna on her first proper trip in the TARDIS and they arrive in Pompeii on volcano day! It seems the companion’s first trip is sort of a right of passage in testing them and proving why they’re a good companion, and in my opinion, Donna shows her potential as a great accomplice to the Doctor in this episode better than both Rose and Martha did in their first adventures. They’ve kept the brashness and sassiness of Donna’s character but she feels slightly softened as she realises how sad the life the Doctor leads really is. Catherine Tate gives an absolutely heartbreaking performance when she’s begging the Doctor to save someone, and she and David Tennant are already making an excellent pairing - I’m actually really enjoying their friendship without the unrequited love aspect, it’s nice to see the Doctor with someone he can just have fun with. Back to the plot, the Doctor and Donna have arrived on the day Mount Vesuvius erupts and they have to stop the sisterhood of creepy women led by a woman turning into stone. It’s genuinely quite unnerving, the eyes on the back of the hands, and the hoarse scream of pain when the stone woman is splashed with a water pistol. Ultimately the Doctor and Donna save the day, but it’s not quite over because the volcano must still erupt and kill everyone. It felt like quite a very un-Doctor Who ending, very dark for an episode that was actually quite a fun little adventure up until now. Donna convinces the Doctor to save a family, then we get a flash forward to the family now praying to the Doctor and Donna, which yes is very cheesy but I think it needed a silly ending to counteract just how dark the episode could have been.
EPISODE 3 - PLANET OF THE OOD - 8/10
The Doctor encounters the Ood again, and I’m still just loving their design. They’re turning rabid again, but there’s no devil this time. Donna meets her first Ood and has such a Donna reaction, at first recoiling in disgust, then trying to talk to it through the translator. The Doctor and Donna sneak into Ood corporations and see the Ood being sold as slaves, and we get a scene intercut with the saleswoman talking about how well they are treated to soldiers hunting down and capturing a scared Ood trying to run away. It doesn’t take the Doctor long to realise there’s trouble afoot, well he wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t, and he and Donna find the Ood enslaved and discover the translates are where they have cut off their brains and stitched them on. Genuinely horrific, especially for a family show, it’s interesting how they’re getting around keeping the tone from being entirely depressing - the slavery and mutilation combined into one horrific concept. Eventually the Doctor figures out the “circle” that must be broken is a telepathic field that is being suppressed by Halpen. The Doctor frees the Ood so they can sing, but the Ood have already got their revenge on Halpen by turning him into an Ood in a really grotesque manner where he rips off his own scalp and vomits up tentacles and a brain. The music in this episode is particularly eerie, the Ood’s song of captivity that reduces Donna to tears is particularly moving. Catherine Tate absolutely knocks it out of the park in this episode, I’ve warmed to Donna so much already. I’m really enjoying how this series seems to be viewing the stories from Donna’s perspective, and therefore we’re getting a darker look at things as Donna realises the Doctor’s world isn’t the fun and laughs she thought it was going to be.
EPISODE 4 - THE SONTARAN STRATAGEM - 8/10
MARTHA’S BACK! Martha’s now working for UNIT and has called the Doctor back for help. Martha and Donna start on a much better footing than Rose and Sarah Jane by a long mile, and it’s very in character for them both. Martha and UNIT infiltrate ATMOS factory, and Donna points out how much the Doctor’s influence has changed Martha - perhaps not for the better. ATMOS is a new environmentally friendly car emission system created by boy genius Rattigan. He’s visited by the Doctor and a UNIT soldier and we get a glimpse into his insecure little mind when the Doctor corrects his grammar. The Doctor finds a teleport which lands him on a Sontaran spaceship, a monster he fought back in the original series. Meanwhile, Donna is visiting her family back home and we get the return of grandad Wilf that supports her travels with the Doctor wholeheartedly and her oblivious mother Silvia who seems to find fault in whatever she does, basically a very realistic family unit. Also, Martha has been replaced by a clone working for the Sontarans, and we end on a cliffhanger of the Sontarans using ATMOS to gas the human race to death.
EPISODE 5 - THE POISON SKY - 7/10
The Sontarans are gassing the human race with ATMOS, but luckily Wilf is saved by Silvia with an axe. As much as Silvia is painted as unlikeable she’s undeniable Donna’s mother; very well written and acted character. We get a seemingly annual slew of news reports about the attack on Earth, which feels like a bit of a tradition now. The Doctor has clearly realised Martha is a clone, and stays to keep an eye on her, leaving Donna to investigate the Sontaran ship alone. It’s a nice little moment when she’s too apprehensive at first to investigate, very different to the reckless way Rose would have reacted or the bravery hiding fear Martha would have had. The story concludes when UNIT sets light to the poisonous gas clearing the skies, something that had absolutely nothing to do with the Doctor for a change, and the Doctor gets normal Martha back. There’s a small moment where Martha tries to comfort her dying clone that felt a bit rushed, but then we get the final conclusion of the Doctor planning to sacrifice himself to blow up the Sontaran ship, and at the last minute Rattigan trading places and sacrificing himself instead. Such a shame Rattigan only became likable in his final moments. Wilf encourages Donna to stay with the Doctor, and Martha is about to leave again when the TARDIS sets off without instruction leading into the next episode. I liked the story of the Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, I think the conclusion was a bit rushed and the setting fire to the gas a little gimmicky, but it was nice to see Martha again - the characterisations of Martha and Donna were very well executed. Also, the design of the Sontarans was amazing, the prosthetics were done amazingly.
EPISODE 6 - THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER - 4/10
Martha has accidentally joined the Doctor and Donna on an adventure into the future, where they use the soldier’s tissue samples to create new humans. The Doctor is forced to comply and hence we get his “daughter” nicknamed Jenny. There’s fish monsters called Hath that Martha gets stuck with. The basis of the plot is that the humans are fighting against the fish people for generations, only it turns out these “generations” are merely days as the generated people replace those who died almost instantly. Donna is the one to figure this out by being the only one actually paying attention to her surroundings, which is a nice little contrast between how she and the Doctor view travelling - this is all still new to her. Jenny is shown to be the perfect person, she flirts her way out of trouble and backflips over laser beams and her big character arcs is learning not to instinctively murder. She does have good chemistry with the Doctor and Donna, though bonds more with Donna which makes the Doctor’s anger at her death feel slightly unearned. General Cobb, leader of the humans, shoots Jenny when the Doctor stops the war between human and Hath. David Tennant gives a beautiful performance cradling Jenny as she dies, and a great moment where we’re led to believe he may shoot Cobb in retaliation but doesn’t and proves himself as the bigger man. The very sad ending is ruined slightly when Jenny uses the regeneration energy from her “dad” to come back to life, hijack a ship and head out on her own adventures with a fish man companion. It will be interesting if she comes back in another episode, but I can’t help but feel this story should have been the two-parter and maybe the relationship between Jenny and the Doctor could have been explored in more depth.
EPISODE 7 - THE UNICORN AND THE WASP - 9/10
It’s our annual the Doctor and companion meet a famous historical figure, and this time it’s Agatha Christie. It’s such a cheesy opening with the Professor in the library “I say, what are you doing with that lead piping?” but as someone who grew up with Poirot and Marple constantly on telly this episode feels very fitting, and I think would have aired at the time they were at the height of popularity. The Doctor and Donna sneak into a 1930s garden party, where Agatha Christie is one of the guests, but then the Professor is found murdered in the library and the Doctor and Donna take on the guise of detectives and set out to find the killer. The Doctor and Agatha question the other guests, and each of them is hiding secrets of their own in very Agatha Christie fashion, whilst Donna investigates the house and finds the stinger of a gigantic wasp. But it’s Doctor Who so the monster turns out to be an alien wasp because why wouldn’t it? Lady Eddison was reading Agatha’s book at the time the firestone necklace she wears, connected to the Vespiform who is actually her long lost son, fed information to the Vespiform (actually the Vicar) and made him think the world worked like the plot of her books. Eventually the conclusion of the episode sets up a real-life mystery where Agatha went missing and was found with memory loss. It’s such a cheesy and silly episode but I really enjoyed it, perhaps mostly because Catherine Tate and David Tennant are having the times of their lives and I can’t help but feel it with them. The whole charades seen in the kitchen is one of my favourite moments, nobody but Tate and Tennant could have pulled it off as perfectly as them.
EPISODE 8 - SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY - 10/10
I was very excited when I saw Steven Moffat had written this episode, because his previous ones have been some of my favourite stories of the whole series. In this episode we are introduced to Professor River Song, a character no doubt inspired by the Time Traveller’s Wife, who knows the Doctor in the future. I noted before how Donna wasn’t bothered by Martha, was perhaps even nicer to her than the Doctor had ever been, but she has some more animosity towards River Song, I think perhaps because of the mystery around her and because as soon as he enters the picture bad things start to happen. Miss Evangelista, a member of the River Song’s archeology team, is killed by the Vashta Nerada, a monster that lives in the shadows, and Donna tries to comfort a dead woman as the last remaining parts of her consciousness dies out. Another of the archeology team has two shadows, meaning he has been targeted by the Vashta Nerada. The mystery of the plot is that the library takes place inside the mind of a little girl, and at the conclusion of this episode Doctor Moon informs her that the library is real and it’s up to her to save the people trapped inside. The Doctor tries to teleport Donna home, but it fails and she is turned into an information node - where a dead person’s face is plastered into a dummy. The Vashta Nerada is chasing the Doctor, River Song and the surviving team, and it’s up to the little girl to save them.
EPISODE 9 - FOREST OF THE DEAD - 10/10
Donna, seemingly dead at the end of the last episode, has instead been entered into something of a parallel world where Doctor Moon is taking care of her, he introduces her to another patient called Lee and in a montage of scenes she marries him and they have two kids and a home together. Donna sees a flash of the Doctor but her memory is wiped whenever she remembers reality. She’s also being stalked by a woman, who she agrees to meet in a park and discovers it’s actually Miss Evangelista - the woman from River Song’s archeology team that was eaten by the Vashta Nerada, only her face was mutilated when the library database saved her. Meanwhile the Doctor and River Song are slowly losing each member of the archeology team to the Vashta Nerada until it’s just them and Other Dave left. Other Dave reveals the little girl is really “CAL” the computer system and her consciousness was hooked up to the library to stop her dying. The Doctor decides to hook up his brain to the library so it has more room to save people’s consciousness. River Song knocks him out and takes his place, not allowing him to erase any of the memories she shared with a future version of him. The way their relationship is hinted at it feels like River Song is a future companion, perhaps similar to his relationship with Rose or what they’re relationship would have become had she really spent her whole life with him and morphed into another Doctor. All the people hooked up to the library are saved and brought back into their bodies, including Donna, but the Doctor is mourning River Song until he realises he can also save her consciousness. River Song’s soul is imported into the library database and she’s reunited with her archeology team in a heaven-like world. River Song is such an interesting character and I’m really looking forward to seeing her again and finding out more about her. I’m already thinking of theories - a regenerated Jenny? Catherine Tate, again, delivers a fantastic performance particularly when she breaks down over losing her fake children. Another fantastic episode from Steven Moffat, he seems to have a great talent for adding real emotion into sci-fi which this show proves can be quite difficult at times.
EPISODE 10 - MIDNIGHT - 10/10
I’ve been very critical of Russell T. Davies’s writing in the past, saying it can be very gimmicky and silly, but I take back anything I ever said because this episode was perfection. A beautifully written horror story about a group of strangers trapped inside a stranded bus where a monster is banging on the walls to get inside. Lesley Sharp plays one of the passengers, Sky, who is possessed by this monster so that she can only repeat everyone else’s words. The Doctor is fascinated and is studying her for most of it, seemingly trying to hide his excitement. The episode is really a study on human nature and how in moments of fear they all turn on each other, then join together to turn on the Doctor - the man with the biggest chance of saving them. The moment you realise the Doctor has been possessed by the monster is a truly chilling moment when the music skews and you realise everything is doomed. David Tennant gives an outstanding performance, the tears in his eyes as the Doctor is trying to fight the monster controlling him, and he can do nothing as the other passengers try to push him out of the airlock and kill him. It’s ultimately human nature, though, that saves the day, as the air stewardess realises Sky is really the one still possessed and sacrifices herself to kill the monster and herself with it. The episode is written beautifully, performed outstandingly, and the music continues to elevate an already excellent episode. I think this episode is near-perfection, and it barely had any Donna in it.
EPISODE 11 - TURN LEFT - 8/10
We’ve had snippets of Rose throughout this series, and it’s finally come to something. We’ve got a typical butterfly effect opening of what would Donna’s life be if she had never met the Doctor. Basically, everyone would have died. It’s a bleak look at the world, amplified by the reactions of Donna’s family - Wilf’s statement that it’s happening again when the foreign family were taken to a “camp” was a heartbreaking realisation, and Silvia’s decline into depression was equally heartbreaking. Donna has a number of chance interactions with Rose, whose identity she is unaware of, until things get so bad that she’s willing to work with this strange woman to put things right. Throughout the episode Donna is informed there is something on her back, which turns out to be a time beetle because she has messed with the course of time. Donna is able to go back in time and force herself to turn left so she can meet the Doctor. Catherine Tate breaks your heart when she changes from the optimism of meeting the Doctor and putting everything right to the realisation she will have to die in doing so. She runs into oncoming traffic, stopping past Donna from being able to turn right, but Rose whispers something into her ear in her dying moments. The other Donna is restored but she remembers meeting Rose, and informs the Doctor of her final words - BAD WOLF! The Doctor immediately knows who she is and what this means, and we get a set up to an explosive finale.
EPISODE 12 - THE STOLEN EARTH - 8/10
Earth has moved place in the Universe, and everyone that has crossed paths with the Doctor has joined forces to find him so he can help them. Leading the team is none other than Harriet Jones! We get all our leading players from over the years reunited, Donna’s family Wilf and Silvia play host to Rose but have no camera on their computer so can’t join in with the video conference, Martha and her mum, the secret project Indigo was a teleport that brought her home, Captain Jack and his team at Torchwood (haven’t watched Torchwood but am aware of it) and Sarah Jane and her son (again I’m missing some information as I’ve not watched her spin-off show either). They manage to contact the Doctor and Donna, but also discover the menace behind this stranger occurrence is the Daleks. The call is traced to Harriet and she is killed by the Daleks after one final bittersweet repeat of “yes we know who you are”. God bless Harriet Jones, a politician that actually cares about people. The Doctor and Donna are pulled back to Earth, where the Doctor is finally reunited with Rose in a cheesy slow-motion running sequence until the Doctor is shot down by a Dalek and gets ready to regenerate on one of the best cliffhangers in Doctor Who so far. It’s a fun and exciting episode, perhaps let down slightly for me personally because I haven’t seen the other shows some of the characters are from so I miss that bit of excitement, but other than that it's very satisfying to finally see Rose return along with everyone else.
EPISODE 13 - JOURNEY’S END - 8/10
The Doctor is about to regenerate, but at the last minute puts all the regeneration energy into the severed hand in a jar that he keeps in the TARDIS like a weirdo. In trying to defeat the Daleks everyone is eventually captured onboard the Dalek crucible, excluding Donna who is trapped in the TARDIS as it’s sent to be disintegrated. However, the severed hand combines with Donna’s DNA and grows into a body and we have another Doctor, although he’s picked up some of Donna’s sass. They build a device to stop the Daleks, and the second Doctor runs out of the TARDIS to everyone’s amazement only to be shot down immediately. Donna suffers similarly, but the jolt is enough to awaken the Doctor’s DNA in her, as it was a two-way transfer, and she uses her new Time Lord knowledge to defeat the Daleks. The Doctor and his family of friends use the TARDIS to tow the Earth back into its rightful place in a very unrealistic scene, but the moment is more about the Doctor being surrounded by his loved ones and saving the day that I’ll let it slide. Then he says goodbye to them all in turn and it’s very bittersweet as he only just got them all together again. It’s particularly sad when he drops Rose back on her parallel Earth, but leaves him with the human Doctor so she can have a life with him. He leaves them mid-snog and I can’t help feeling like Rose was manipulated into choosing this Doctor, when isn’t he more Donna trapped in the Doctor’s body? Then we get possibly the saddest goodbye, when the Time Lord's DNA is too much for a human Donna to handle and the only way to save Donna is to wipe all her memories of the Doctor. All the amazing character development as Donna learned she was important and loved is all wiped, and she’s brought back home to Wilf and Silvia to live an ordinary human life. Wilf is right when he says she was better with the Doctor and it makes the ending so much more heartbreaking. I feel as though I keep harping on about Catherine Tate’s performances, and she delivers another great one, I honestly didn’t expect her to be the amazing actress that she is - I knew she was a great comedic actress, but I didn’t know how amazing of a dramatic actress she could be. David Tennant is also great as always, as is everyone in the ensemble cast though they do all feel slightly underused. I think it’s the only series finale without a cliffhanger ending for the Christmas special, but it feels right to end on a sadder note this time.
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - THE NEXT DOCTOR - 6/10
It’s Christmas special time so I’m prepared for a lot of cheese and robot Santas. I definitely get a lot of the former. This Christmas the Doctor switches it up and lands in Victorian London where he encounters a man claiming to be the Doctor. The Doctor is reduced to the companion role for the new Doctor as they discover the Cybermen, as a weird monkey-Cyberman hybrid. The Doctor realises the new Doctor had his memory wiped and it soon transfigures that he is really a human called Jackson Lake whose wife was killed by the Cybermen and the trauma he suffered weakened him enough for the Cybermen to import knowledge of the Doctor so he would believe he was him. The Doctor finds a workhouse of children led by Miss Hartigan, who was betrayed by the Cybermen and converted into the CyberKing. Jackson finds his son, who went missing when he was abducted, in the workhouse and they are reunited in a genuinely sweet scene. The Doctor stops the Cybermen, and stops the CyberKing from toppling into the streets and crushing everyone, and the episode ends in a Christmas tradition of everyone sitting down for Christmas dinner. The episode title was probably more interesting than the episode itself, but that tends to be a bit of a running theme. It’s not my favourite episode, but it is a Christmas special and they tend to be a bit all over the place.
SPECIAL EPISODE - PLANET OF THE DEAD - 6/10
The Doctor is travelling without a companion for the first time in a while, and in these special episodes seems to pick up a companion of the week. This week it’s a jewellery thief called Christina whom he meets on a London bus as she’s running from the police. The bus accidentally drives into a wormhole and ends up on an alien desert planet. The group of passengers work together to return to Earth, while on the other side UNIT are working with scientist Malcolm Taylor (played brilliantly by Lee Evans) to sort out the wormhole. The Doctor and Christina investigate the planet an alien race resembling giant flies (the weird animal-human hybrid alien with zero explanation why is a recurring element I don’t see much point in), but the real threat are robot sting rays that are flying towards the bus and will devour all the passengers. Christina does a cheesy spy dive on wires to retrieve a diamond, but it’s really the clamps holding it they need to make the wheels of the bus move. He uses these to fly the bus back through the wormhole. Everyone is saved, Christina runs from the police and leaves in the flying bus in an absolutely ridiculous ending, but it’s another passenger, Carmen who has psychic abilities, that gives Doctor a warning about four knocks. This episode felt like a Christmas special without the Christmas. I couldn’t really warm to Christina, she felt very similarly written to Jenny from The Doctor’s Daughter. Lee Evans as Malcolm was very funny and definitely my favourite part of the episode, especially when he finally gets to meet the Doctor at the end.
SPECIAL EPISODE - THE WATERS OF MARS - 9/10
The Doctor is still travelling alone, and this time he ends up on Bowie Base One, home to the first humans on Mars. The Doctor realises this is a pivotal moment in future history, and that the deaths of the crew inspire the next generations of space exploration. It’s a parallel to The Fires of Pompeii (even the title is the opposite), and it’s an interesting insight into how much good being with Donna did for the Doctor, as his actions in this episode feel similar to how he would have acted in The Runaway Bride and The Fires of Pompeii had Donna not been there as the voice of reason. The water they’ve found on Mars has been infected and anyone who drinks it is painfully transformed into really terrifying creatures - some of the scariest effects they’ve done. The Doctor knows he must leave, and that this is what kills everyone, but he can’t stop himself from interfering. Eventually he tells captain Adelaide Brooke that her death will inspire her granddaughter, and she allows him to leave. But the Doctor has been on his own for too long and has decided he has the right to change history, so returns and saves the three surviving crew members, including Adelaide. He takes them back to Earth but Adelaide disagrees with the Doctor’s arrogance and commits suicide, allowing her legacy to live on. It’s a terrifying horror movie episode, with terrific performances from Tennant and guest companion Lindsay Duncan. The one issue I have though is I thought what inspired Adelaide’s granddaughter was that she died on Mars doing this great work, if she died on Earth I don’t quite understand how that gives the same inspirational story of finishing her grandmother’s work.
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - THE END OF TIME - PART ONE - 8/10
It’s already another Christmas special, but the Master is back. His wife Lucy, from inside a prison, sacrifices herself stopping a group of women from bringing him back to life permanently and he returns in his human body with slight glitches. The Doctor returns to Earth after being warned by the Ood about the Master, and picks up Wilf as his companion. The Master is recruited to fix the Immortality Gate, but he instead uses the gate to swap the human race’s DNA with his own, creating billions of clones of himself - The Master race. The Doctor and Wilf are unaffected, as is Donna due to the Time Lord DNA from Journey’s End, but she is starting to remember everything which will kill her. They’ve brought back the mad Master, but this time he’s not Prime Minister and has little power. The Doctor’s recklessness from The Waters of Mars is kind of forgotten, which is a shame, but the cliffhanger of this episode is brilliant - the Time Lords are returning, headed by James Bond!
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - THE END OF TIME - PART TWO - 7/10
The Doctor and Wilf hide from the Master on the Vinvocci (space cactuses) spaceship, and Donna is stunned and her memory wiped by a sort of reset button the Doctor put in her mind. The Time Lords are being brought back after being trapped in a time lock during the Time War. It turns out James Bond is evil, and the Doctor and the Master work together to send them back to Gallifrey. We get an explanation for the sound of drums in the Master’s head being a pulse pulling the Time Lords back. Earth is saved and the Doctor is relieved to be alive, until Wilfred knocks four times on the chamber door and he realises his time is up. The Doctor shows some real fear and even rage as he proclaims he can “do so much more” in a really impassioned speech, culminating in him inevitably saving Wilf and sacrificing himself in doing so. It’s an interesting concept that I don’t think they’ve explored, of the Doctor being angry at his regeneration and not just going along with it like the previous Doctor had, the idea that it’s almost a different person isn’t one they’ve explored so much before. Then the Doctor does a “reward” tour which is basically a very self-indulgent visit to all his past friends and companions where he says goodbye. I do like that they included Joan Redfearn, or really her great-granddaughter, as one of the people he wanted closure with. Eventually the Doctor returns to the TARDIS alone, different from last time when he had Rose as company, and proclaims “I don’t want to go” before a fiery regeneration into Matt Smith. David Tennant excels in his final performance, and it’s the best part of the otherwise quite weak episode. The conclusion happens quite quickly because so much of the episode is taken up by this victory tour that gets a bit excessive.
David Tennant was an outstanding Doctor. I think this series particularly was his best work in the show, though he definitely found his footing in the character right back in The Christmas Invasion. He was the right level of silly and serious, that I think the character needs. It’s sad to see him go, but I’m interested to see where the next series goes. I have to mention just how incredible I thought Catherine Tate was as Donna, I had no idea she was as great a dramatic actress as she was in this series. I adored Donna and was heartbroken when she left, it was the most heartbreaking character departure of them all for me. I think this series was the best so far, I think I have it the highest scores by quite a margin, although there were a couple of episodes I didn’t love as much as others, episodes like Midnight and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead were some of the best the show has done.
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