Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"The End of Time, Part II"

The final part of Russell T. Davies’ and David Tennant’s swan song was a mixed bag. I have had a tough time deciding if I even liked it. There were an awful lot of pat resolutions to issues set up in the first part, the final conflict was grossly illogical, and the Doctor’s resolution was classic self-indulgence on RTD’s part.

First, the pat resolutions. The Naismiths do not even appear in this episode. The only way we know what happened to them is by an off hand comment from Wilf. There was no compelling reason for Donna to even be in the episode. She was not pivotal to anything other than an emotional moment towards the end. It was like the characters were set up to be much more, then dropped.

Second, the conflict between the Doctor, Master, and the Time Lords. It held a lot of promise and whoever decided to cast Timothy Dalton as Lord President of Gallifrey was brilliant. But it ended with the Doctor pivoting between the master and the Lord President with his gun, conflicted over who to kill in order to save Earth from the returning Gallifrey. I could see the master not doing anything about it. He had no weapon. But the lord president, who was also clearly psychotic, not was not only wearing the Glove of Rassilon, but had used it to kill just a few scenes prior. Yet he waited for the Doctor to make his decision. It made no sense, particularly when the lord president’s survival was at stake. His hesitance to kill the Doctor contradicted his stated obsession with eternal life.

Finally, the regeneration is the part I am most conflicted over. The Doctor ultimately sacrifices himself to save Wilf after a couple other instances where weare teased that he should have been killed. The regeneration process is so drawn out, the Doctor has a chance to visit his past companions in order to ensure they live happily ever after. He even visit’s a woman who looks exactly like the one he fell in love with during the third season’s ’Family of Blood” and hooks up Jack Harkness with Alonzo, the first mate from “Voyage of the Damned.” of course, he visits Rose in 2005. It was touching, but self-indulgent on RTD’s part, mainly because it went on and on. Maybe I am just feeling hardhearted at the moment.

There were some good points. I have already mentioned Dalton. I also liked John Simm’s the Master better this time around than last. He chewed up far less scenery. He was more of a diabolical madman than Jim Carrey on a sugar high. He sacrificed himself to save the Doctor, thereby destroying the Time Lords in the process. That was all fine. It was the indecisive lead in by the Doctor that seemed out of place.

I also enjoyed the admission the Doctor killed off the Daleks and the Time Lords because they were equally evil. It was not quite survivor’s guilt the Ninth Doctor suffered from. I can appreciate remembering people as being better once they are gone than they probably were in life. That is a personal point I do not care to get into right now.

The actual regeneration scene was quite good. I haveno expectations yet about Matt Smith, but he appears to be a light hearted, action oriented Doctor. After all the drama of the last three specials, that would be a welcome change. I think I am just glad to be rid of RTD. He has been phoning it in from quite some time now. new blood is needed and Steven Moffat has been my favorite Who writer thus far. I have high hopes for the future.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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