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Doctor Who XXX[4].18: The End of Time, Part Two

January 1st, 2010 (10:44 pm)

Effective, but less of a grand finale than I was expecting. The backstory was moved along. Presumably the lord president is the original Rassilon, though it would be effective if this was some sort of Malachi prophecy fulfilled and this was the last president, Rassilon II - though, given the status of the Master, it's possible that he is both. The Master is now within the time lock - perhaps the Time Lords will restore him (or make him president?) and make another escape attempt?

Looking forward to the regeneration overshadowed the earlier part of the episode - the Vinvocci spacecraft scenes and their counterparts at the Naismith mansion left me rather cold, despite the good structuring and the spirited performances from the Vinvocci; characters with few keys, but carefully-chosen ones though I thought Rossiter perhaps played too much with the low and high notes. (Confused metaphor I know, but I'm tired.)

I thought the farewell scenes were executed very sensitively. I didn't mind that Donna was never restored to full health in the end. For a moment (and what was the Moment? Another note to add to the mythology) I thought that the Doctor wasn't going to reach the TARDIS and that he would regenerate in a less spectacular fashion than has become normal in the present era.

Of course he didn't want to go; this Doctor enjoyed himself perhaps too much. Good to hear the Moffat dialogue at the end; and I am looking forward to Matt Smith's first episode proper in the spring.


Posted by: Penny Paperbrain (pennypaperbrain)
Posted at: January 1st, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)

Aw, admit it, fluffy the first, that coda (a 20-minute coda!) was pants.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 1st, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)

No, it wasn't - it was entirely in character for the tenth Doctor to do this, and helped put full stops to the careers of some characters which we wouldn't otherwise have had.

Posted by: skordh (skordh)
Posted at: January 1st, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)

That makes a better case for it than I had considered and I can see why it makes sense to round off the story about Donna and Wilf. But it just seemed rather implausible that the regeneration would take so long - but rather convenient if you had a writer who wanted to mark his own departure with a (second!) trip round all his favourite characters...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 1st, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)

There's an implied long gap between the irradiation of the third Doctor in Planet of the Spiders and the regeneration itself; the fifth is seen fighting off his regeneration at the end of The Caves of Androzani part three, surviving for another episode; and we don't know how long the ninth Doctor lasted before Rose woke up and he explained the change at the end of The Parting of the Ways. So I can more than live with the extended regeneration; and even if the above precedents are disallowed, it's good to do something new.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the second to third regeneration of indeterminate length? The Time Lords start it at the end of The War Games, but I don't think Pertwee actually appears then.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)

He doesn't appear then, though Troughton's face is definitely distorted and the change is certainly meant to be underway. This is clearer on the DVD than it is on the VHS release, which allowed for a more generous interpretation such as the Season 6b theory.

Posted by: Andrew Gray (shimgray)
Posted at: January 1st, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)

One of the gripes I had before is that this two-parter wasn't a Christmas special; it paid lip-service to being at the right point in the calendar, but the tone was off. The last twenty minutes? That's what we expected; cheerful and unashamedly so. Perhaps it would have worked better as Part I in advance, and Part II on the 25th?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)

I have some sympathy with this point, really, though there's a bit more to it than nods to the calendar, I think, in part one. An earlier plan was to have The Waters of Mars as the Christmas episode - an early working title was Red Christmas - but it all became too horror-stricken and depressing in rewrites.

Posted by: Dewi Evans (wonderwelsh)
Posted at: January 4th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)

Once more, I completely agree. Glad to see you sticking up for the last twenty minutes. The Rose cameo made me cry. 'Your'e in for a hell of a good year!' Ah, Russell. Thanks to you and your team, we all wer...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 4th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)

Great, thank you. I need to write a longer piece on the episodes for Life on Mars fanzine in the near future. Have you seen Frank Collins's review for Behind the Sofa? Nice idea of Russell's Who as Bildungsroman, which proves that Doctor Who remains educational as I realised that I didn't really know what one was, and looked it up; and it works.