Friday, November 22, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: The End of Time

Doctor Who: 
The End of Time 
By Russell T. Davies

“This song is ending but the story never ends.”

The story that Doctor Who fans have been waiting to see since October 2008 when David Tennant made the announcement that he was leaving the show has finally come to fruition.  Well was it worth the 15 month wait? I for one thought so. Especially the last 15 minutes of part 2.

But anyway this episode has a whole bunch of things going on in it. For one we find out the identity of who picked up the Masters ring and the way it was used to bring him back from the dead. The drumming in the Masters head was resolved and what its purpose was ultimately for. Plus we had the return of the Timelords and Rassilon and of course Donna and her family.

Regeneration stories in Doctor Who are epics in their own right. Mainly putting the Doctor in a no win scenario where he makes the ultimate sacrifice. That was pretty evident in The End of Time. As in the vein of The Caves of Androzani where the Doctor sacrifices himself to save Peri the 10th Doctor does the same to save Wilf. The thing that is so great about the Doctor is that he will sacrifice himself for everyone in the universe or for just one person.   That scene where the Doctor hears the 4 knocks as the realization has dawned on him that the game is over is one of the best scenes in the Tennant era. David Tennant channels some of Hamlet in this scene to make this emotional scene all that much sadder to watch. 

You are in essence watching a man coming to grips with the realization that he is going die and he doesn’t want to accept it. But in true Doctor fashion he does the noble thing and puts his selfishness aside and does what we all knew he would do. Save Wilf.
To me watching that scene is what Doctor Who is all about. It’s about a man traveling around the universe defeating evil and saving people in peril with no thought for himself.  

The last 15 of The End of Time was pretty somber to watch. To see the Doctor go and say goodbye to his past companions before he was very touching and sad most notably the scenes with Sarah Jane and Rose. When he waved goodbye to Sarah Jane it brings me back to her speech in School Reunion where she accuses the Doctor of not saying goodbye to her.  This time he does and it looks like she knew why. The scene with Rose was just as touching.  Since he couldn’t go to the parallel Earth it only made sense to visit her in the past. It was good to see since his face was hidden in the shadow so Rose wouldn’t see him. To me one of the highlights was seeing David Tennants Doctor saying goodbye to Mickey, Martha, Captain Jack, Wilf and Donna’s mother plus the two mentioned above. It was good to see some closure for the 10th Doctor and Joan as he visited her granddaughter at the book signing definitely a heartfelt moment. 

Regenerations stories are very bitter sweet to watch and David Tennants last moments were pretty sad to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Doctor really get all teary eyed and sad before he changes. It was a sad scene indeed but then it got pretty light and humorous once Matt Smith got in on the action. Matt Smiths 1 minute of screen time was frantic and chaotic that it made me very intrigued, at the time of watching it for the first time, to see his interpretation on the role.  
The End of Time’s overall story was very entertaining and held my interest. I was enthralled with The End of Time. I was very interested to see what develops as the story went on and wasn’t disappointed at all. Lot of disenchanted fans will find any excuse to find fault with this story but for me that was minor as The End of Time entertained me for 2 + hours. Isn’t that why we watch science fiction and fantasy to be entertained and escape reality for a while. 

I liked the Masters story line that developed in this story. The fact that the Timelords screwed with his mental state in order to save themselves was pretty clever. Who would have thought that the noise he kept hearing in his head was actually a homing signal for the Timelords to use to get free from the Time War. How cool was it for the production to get Timothy Dalton to play Rassilon. I mean you have James Bond standing there confronting the Doctor in what ended up being a final show down. That was pretty cool and that scene was awesome. 

Only in Doctor Who would a solution to end the threat of the Timelords be so simple.  Instead of taking a life the Doctor does what he always does. He finds a way to save the day without killing anyone. Yes it does seem too simple to shoot the computer and destroying it but isn’t that half the fun of watching Doctor Who. Sometimes the simplest solutions that you don’t expect are the ones that work best.  

I like John Simm’s version of the Master. You have a Master who is unstable and psychotic but also a genius. If you look back on it his Master is the only to conquer Earth twice.  I mean turning everyone on Earth in copies of himself was pretty funny. I mean the Master Race how classic. I kind of like seeing the Master with super powers. It brought a different dimension to his character and made you wonder how the Doctor would deal with that wrinkle. I guess he could just give him a turkey dinner or a cheese burger for him to eat. 

The End of Time had quite a few tributes to Star Wars that were quite blatant. For one the bar scene with Captain Jack but the best one was with Wilf getting into gun turrets in the Vinvocci’s space ship shooting the missiles. The Vinvocci weren’t that great of an alien race.  I mean cactus people. I thought it was funny seeing Sinead Keenan from Being Human as a Vinvocci and one not to agreeable.

Probably the true gem of The End of Time is the interaction between David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins. Their scenes together are very emotional and touching and probably the best interaction between Doctor and companion ever at least in the revival. It was like watching a father and son having a heart felt talk. At least that was the interpretation I was getting. I mean those scenes with the two actors were very heart felt that it made you sad because you knew what was going to eventually happen. The best scene was on the Vinvocci spaceship when Wilf was trying to talk the Doctor into killing the Master to save his life.  The scene in the cafĂ© wasn’t bad either where the Doctor spilled his guts to Wilf about his prophesied death.

The End of Time is the end of an era in more ways than one. Not only does it mark the end of David Tennant as the Doctor but it’s also the end of Russell T. Davies and his production crews 5 year journey of bring Doctor Who back to our screens. Hate him or love him if it wasn’t Russell T. Davies who knows if Doctor Who would be on our television screens and for that we thank him and David Tennant for an incredible journey that will continue with Stephen Moffat and Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor and later on with Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Allons-Y
Grade A

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