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Well, It wasn't actually bad, but it was disappointing; didn't rise to the heights of Blink, or even of the two previous season finales. The pacing was curiously off, almost always a problem with RTD scripts.

Martha in general was pretty cool throughout, including her (temporary?) departure, and her links with the real world. The devastated Earth was well done, though, you know immediately that this means that the cast just have to find the Reset button and press it.

I did like the Doctor/Master relationship, and the Doctor's devastation at being the last of his people again, even though I am Old Skool enough that I cannot really believe it is the Master without a beard or a decaying face.

The Doctor-goes-all-glowy bit is, IMHO, actually a homage to the end of the Pertwee story The Mutants, where the same effect is tried (not on the Doctor but on another character) and done really really badly. Several other Pertwee-era homages, mainly to stories I haven't seen (Claws of Axos, Sea Devils).

The Doctor-turns-into-Dobby-the House-elf bit was, sadly, rubbish; and the Master keeping Martha's family alive on the off-chance that she might show up doesn't make sense.

Jack didn't get much to do except turn into the future Face of Boe, did he? And Mrs Master did hardly anything except shoot her husband. Waste of good characters.

Well, here comes the Christmas special.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)
My feelings more or less exactly. A lot of the problem with the finale was the directorial comedown from Harper to Teague. At the gathering I attended there was particular derision for the "clap if you believe in the Doctor" bit: being blackmailed into believing in Tinkerbell stank even when I was five.
Jul. 1st, 2007 07:29 am (UTC)
I liked the Master keeping the Joneses for two reasons - it paralleled the Doctor's attempts to keep the wrong people with him that ha gone on since the Christmas special, and it just illustrated the enormous pettiness of the Master's evil behind closed doors. On the outside he's all "Galactic war, New Gallifreyan Empire, wha-hay!" but on the inside he's making his enemy's pet's family scrub his floors.

I really hope they haven't killed off the Master for good, after so many years.
Jul. 1st, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)
No chance.

Otherwise, why zoom in to the Master's nice linkey ring being dropped into the hands of wifey at the end of the episode?
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
As zoutke said: "Ah, she'll be pregnant with a Time Lord-Human mutant."
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
I think you're broadly right; although I enjoyed the episode immensely first time through I watched it again last night and there were several 'issues' with it:

- the pace sagged in the Gollum/Dobby scenes. Obviously the Doctor was doing something but we had no feel for what he was doing.

- again, a potentially strong character was underused - Ellie Haddington's Prof Docherty.

- it just wasn't as good as The Sound of Drums.

Most of all, I have a problem with RTD's faith vs science agenda. The Doctor is a man of science, and yet what we had was effectively Martha telling the people of Earth to believe in a Messiah figure. A Messiah who was effectively brought back to life by prayer. I know RTD is more into myth, allegory and archetype than in rigorously logical SF, but I think he was one step beyond in this episode.

Martha was fantastic though. No other companion could, I think, 'walk the Earth' as successfully. It has to be someone in unrequited love with the Doctor, someone tough and independent (well, ok. Sarah-Jane Smith could've done it, perhaps). The last scenes between Martha and the Doctor in the Tardis were good; a low-key and temporary exit. Martha is far too strong a character to throw away, and at some point she's going to want to sort out more than her own hospital, more than her own planet.

I liked the idea of Captain Jack as the Face of Boe, though. Now that makes one big arc!
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
The Captain Jack/Boe thing made me laugh like a drain. But... The Doctor senses that Jack is "wrong" in time: a fixed point that shouldn't be. Why doesn't he notice the same thing about the Face of Boe?
Jul. 1st, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
That niggles me a bit as well. Still, not confirmed yet, just, well, might be cool.
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:32 am (UTC)
but who picked up the ring from the embers of the Master's funeral pyre?
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:45 am (UTC)
Lucy Saxon, who is The-Rani-as-Human, with the advantage of having been fully briefed as to her own backstory by her TimeLord-Self who had popped forward to cross her own timeline to tell her Human-Self what was going on. She knew that being shot and burnt wasn't going to be the death of the Master, but an escape plan -- all she needs to do now is find another body for the Master to steal, as in "Keeper of Traken" or the TV Movie. I'd suggest as a candidate that nice doctor fellow Martha phoned earlier.

Pure speculation, of course.
Jul. 1st, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
see I thought that maybe they had somehow swapped bodies in some kind of wierd regeneration - so I was sort of close... did I miss the timelord-self briefing her bit?
Jul. 1st, 2007 10:54 am (UTC)
Same person who stole the dead Ming the Mercilous' ring in Flash Gordon. They should have done the same at the end of Return of the King as well, leave it open for a sequel...
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:37 am (UTC)
Glad I'm not the only one who spotted the Mutants reference.

Claws of Axos and Sea Devils are actually pretty good, the latter including the Master watching the Clangers.

Your comments echo mine pretty much. The episode was adequate where it could have been much much better.
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
I thought the dobby-doctor and the floating Jesus-doctor were both so bad as to undermine the credibility of the whole thing. Now, perhaps I'm feeling a bit defensive because I was all 'don't fail me now, don't fail me now... aaaargh' on the night
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:57 am (UTC)
(I was in the same place as grahamsleight where derision was indeed the order of the day)
Jul. 1st, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
Whenever the Doctor turned into Dobby, was that the Master making him really realy old and unable to regenerate? If it is then why did he shrink when in the 'classic series' after the Master had used all his regenerations he just decayed and looked freakin' awesome?

This episode was a huge disappointment on the whole, but there were a few things I did like such as the throwbacks to U.N.I.T and the Seadevils and Jack becomin g the Face of Boe.

Jul. 1st, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
Mrs Master did hardly anything except shoot her husband

Watch her acting in the background. She's brilliant. I love that kind of silent performance.
Jul. 1st, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you have a point. I was unfair.
Jul. 1st, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, they used her well. The contrast between her expression at the end of 12, that sexual excitement as she watched the spheres drop in from the rift, and the half-hidden fear a year later in 13, that said that she was there for a reason - to be the one that does what none of the foreground characters would be allowed to do.

Namely, to take her revenge on the Master.

Now, whether her horrid fascination with him will carry through, whether she becomes a central character in the Xmas episode, that's another matter.

(And if you weren't paying attention, she could have been purely decorative. She certainly was decorative, especially in that red dress, but that wasn't her function.)
Jul. 1st, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
That's a very good point, but was it revenge or a premeditated escape plan?

It's worth having a listen to the podcast audio commentry that can be downloaded here. There are one or two minor spoilers regarding series 4 that I won't repeat here.
Jul. 2nd, 2007 08:50 am (UTC)
Without looking at stuff outside what we were shown:
  1. Escape: there must have been some pre-planning. The Master has envisioned these circumstances, and worked out that the only way out is to be shot dead, burnt to a crisp, and then somehow to come back from that. Myself, I'd have gone with imprisonment, looking for the escape. But then, he is insane.

  2. A momentary fight back by Lucy. She's obviously not happy with her situation, and if the Master is merely imprisoned rather than dead, he may come back, and if he comes back, what hope for her?
Jul. 1st, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
I have to confess I mostly liked it, but a little disappointed by the big reset button at the end. I know it's series convention that you have to put the Earth back the way it was at the end of the show, but it would be so much more interesting to have them have to rebuild the world the hard way.

I agree about pacing being poor in many of Russel's episodes. I'm really feeling that he should take a step back from writing, in almost exactly the same way Lucas should have let someone else write Star Wars 1-3. If he'd given Stephen Moffet or Paul Cornell the basic outline and let them have a free hand, I think the result would have been far better.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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