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Doctor Who XXX[4].17: The End of Time, Part One

December 25th, 2009 (07:32 pm)

I really enjoyed that. Finally, a pay-off for the use of the name 'Harold Saxon' (which presumably got lost along the way the first time round); an intriguing extension for the Donna-coincidences trope which incorporates her grandfather and looks as if it's going to have some substance; convincing madness from John Simm and general revelling in a sick sense of humour (though I thought the Master would have demanded red meat); and lots of strong visual ideas which are an RTD trademark. Non-fans of Russell's interpretation of Doctor Who are probably unlikely to be admirers of this episode, but it's written for David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins to provide coherence through the solidity of their performances, and so they do. A pity, perhaps, that the Master is once more fragile, as it feels like we've been here before. Next week, and probably for the last time, the Time War!

ETA The Obama stuff was corny, but we are used to that; the "making do" was an unsubtle reference to the recession. David Tennant as credit boom Doctor?

ETA2 And that looks like a Seer from Ribos in the trailer (and the scene on the website), judging by her make-up... perhaps that's the really fannish thing Julie urged Russell to include anyway?


Posted by: Dewi Evans (wonderwelsh)
Posted at: December 26th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)

Completely agree with your mini-review, Matthew.

I enjoyed it immensely, although clearly it was just an extended prelude to next week's finale. I wasn't sure about the Master's actions at first - they seemed a bit too 'out there' to take seriously. But the idea that such a drastic turn of events was actually a massive red herring - and basically a whimsical spur-of-the-moment decision taken by a madman for absolutely no reason - is truly creepy.

So the big reveal at the end saved the episode for me - not because it shocked me into forgetting what had gone before, but because, like all good twists, it transformed the way I saw the rest of the story so far.

I also agree that the use made of the recurring characters (Donna, Wilf and the Master) was effective in terms of their development and in terms of the actors' performances. Kudos to Tennant and Cribbins, in particular, who played that cafe scene beautifully.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 27th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
Davison Clock

It's appropriate for a last story for a regime that it should be crammed with incidents and plotlines that apparently are going to lead nowhere (though they yet might); and also a reflection on how many people experience their lives.

Posted by: Dewi Evans (wonderwelsh)
Posted at: December 28th, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)

Definitely, and it's even more appropriate for the first episode of a two-part story. I enjoyed it a lot and can't wait to see what happens next!