Doctor Who 4.13: Journey’s End

I am still more than a little in shock, so I can only hope that what follows is coherent.


RTD obviously decided that he wanted to go out on a high so he set about creating the biggest, most epic finale ever and he succeeded. There are a few bits that I need to re-watch to clear up my understanding, but I was so blown away by the size and the fun and the scale that I don’t really care πŸ™‚

Things to love:

– Donna! I know I say it every week, but this week she outdid herself. I am filled with the Donna love.
– Rose! Not actually pivotal to the final outcome, but still brilliant because of the emotion she brings.
– Martha! She gets better with every appearance.
– Mickey and Jackie! I’d forgotten just how much I loved them and then they blasted those Daleks out of existence and I cheered.
– The relationship between Mickey and Jackie. That weird best mates vibe so totally works for them. I actually really loved that she was the thing that Mickey would miss most about the parallel world.
– Captain Jack! He seems to be so much *more* when he’s in Doctor Who. I really do love Torchwood and he was great fun in series 2, but something seems to force JB into much better performances when he’s in DW.
– The Doctor! Two Doctors! David Tennant has been such an excellent Doctor that I’m really pleased to see him still there. Getting two of them? Even better πŸ™‚
– Doctor Two, despite being the same actor and the same character in every respect, still felt different from our Doctor. It’s a testament to Tennant’s skill that he could make that distinction. It was like seeing the Doctor from Rose but with all that history as well. Brilliant.
– The Oesterhagen Key. Not what I expected and I wonder whether it was developed after UNIT discovered what had happened during the Year That Wasn’t?
– I was expecting a reset button and there wasn’t one. Thank you, RTD, for not being a coward and not taking the easy route.
– The Doctor-Donna! I just loved Time Lord Donna to itty bitty pieces. OK, yes, it’s slightly Joss-ed me, but still so much to love about it.

The first major thing that I have to tackle is Donna’s fate. She has been my favourite companion (well, favourite with Ace) and her fate actually seems incredibly cruel. Donna had grown so much from the person we saw at the beginning of The Runaway Bride and that growth has been absolutely beautiful to watch. It’s paralleled Rose’s story in some ways – the Doctor shows her what is really out there and she saves the world – but at the same time it’s so much more. Rose was looking for something better and believed the Doctor when he told her that she was amazing. Donna didn’t want to see what was out there and even to the end she didn’t believe that she was anything special. She identified herself as a temp, nothing more.

I cheered when the Doctor told Sylvia off. I don’t think that Sylvia will change, though.

So much of Donna comes from her mother, as so much of Rose came from Jackie, and it’s obvious that while Jackie wants Rose safe but accepts her daughter is a hero, Sylvia just wants Donna to be what she is. If anything, she wants Donna to be less than she is and she can’t bear to see what Donna could really be if somebody believed in her.

To see my wonderful, fierce, smart, brilliant Donna returned to the shallow shell she used to be is awful. “Eternal death” indeed.

So in my head that never happened and Donna is still the Donna we know and love.

I am guessing from those good-byes that the rumours about Martha and Mickey joining the Torchwood crew are actually true. A couple of weeks ago I didn’t really want that. I wanted fresh new characters, but now I’m wondering what the Torchwood crew can do with those two. We had some great writing in the last series and I have my fingers crossed that they’ll grow the characters in some interesting directions. Mickey in particular: I just think that there is so much potential in that character.

Sarah Jane didn’t get as much to do in this episode as I’d hoped, but what she did was great. Only she would decide that getting captured was the best plan for finding the Doctor. Strong, brave Sarah Jane is my favourite SJ. I also love that she got to show the Doctor that she’s finally moved on and created a life and family for herself. It felt like an important moment for her.

One of my favourite moments was watching everyone operate the TARDIS. And yes, I did laugh when the Doctor told Jackie just to step back πŸ™‚ It’s been fanon for so long that the TARDIS was designed for multiple pilots – a piece of fanon that I’ve always supported – so to see that confirmation is brilliant. It also makes the TARDIS seem lonelier, somehow. It’s a ship designed to have multiple operators, to house dozens or possibly hundreds of Time Lords, yet it rarely has more than two or three occupants.

The main plot got a little lost in the big explosions and effects so I’ll need to re-watch it, I sense. Actually, it was the Dalek Caan stuff that got lost for me. The rest of it made sense in the way that only Doctor Who can make sense. My best approximation is that Dalek Caan manipulated time while he was travelling through the time-lock, but I wasn’t quite sure why. To defeat Davros? He saw what Davros would do? Why wouldn’t he want the Daleks to succeed?

Was he the one who sent the Bad Wolf message?

No, I’m still sure that was Rose in her Time Vortex phase. I’m 95% certain, anyway.

I have to say that no matter what anyone says about it (and I’m sure that they’ll say plenty) it was an episode that looked absolutely amazing. It drew you in and kept you enthralled all the way through. So I really enjoyed it πŸ™‚ After not being particularly fond of last year’s finale, this one worked for me despite the pain of all the goodbyes and separations.

Speaking of goodbyes, we were back at Bad Wolf Bay. I’m sure that there are going to be two issues splitting fandom over the next couple of months, and one of those will be the scene at Bad Wolf Bay. Part of me is very happy that Rose’s story was wrapped up in that way and she’ll get a Doctor to spend her life with. Another part of me finds that monumentally creepy.

But I still grinned like a loon at the kiss.

It was beautifully acted by DT and Billie. I’m glad that Rose made the distinction between our Doctor and Doctor Two, that he’s not “her” Doctor and she wants to know why the Doctor would think that she’d be happy with Doctor Two as a substitute. The idea that Rose can heal Doctor Two is fascinating because it shows the faith that the Doctor has in her.

At the same time it’s a sad ending for the Doctor because he loses her to himself, but not himself.

I’m going to need to think about it a bit more before I really know how I feel about that ending. It’s very obvious that RTD is trying to tie up lose ends before he hands the reins over.

The other issue that will keep fandom talking for the next twenty years is that of his regeneration. Is he the Eleventh Doctor or still the Tenth? Has a regeneration been used up or did he create a get out of jail free card this time? To be quite honest, I have no idea which option I prefer right now! But it’s definitely going to keep everyone talking for a very long time.

The episode had all the hallmarks of an RTD script: huge scale, moments of brilliance and moments of incoherence, but I still adored it. My only slight quibble is how quickly the cliffhanger was resolved but I think that’s a Doctor Who thing rather than an RTD thing. I’ve watched a fair few classic adventures and quick cliffhanger resolution has been going on for over forty years. None of the threads were picked up the way that I thought they would be and none of the episode went in the direction that I thought it would. I guessed that the hand would have some part to play, but not how, and the only thing that I really knew is that the day would get saved somehow. Not being able to guess what will happen is one of the things that I loved about Doctor Who.

I’m going to miss Donna because she really is my favourite of the new companions. I’m also glad that we’re getting to keep Tennant’s Doctor for another couple of years. It has been so much fun to be a Doctor Who fan this year and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.

Let the discussion and speculation begin!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Descartes
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 02:08:48

    It was all brilliant-I am seldom at a loss for words, but all I keep saying was wow, this was just great stuff. I’ll miss Donna, too-if she stays gone-which has not happened to anyone else on the New Doctor Who.
    Was it really bad for Doctor Two to kill off the Daleks?
    Can Rose really be happy with a cheap copy of the real Doctor?
    What is the problem with Christmas anyway?
    Oh, it’s all good.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Die, Rose, Die « Life Begins at 41…or maybe 43
  3. archerygirl
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 22:03:21

    Was it really bad for Doctor Two to kill off the Daleks?

    I suspect that it sort of counts as genocide πŸ™‚ So, yes.

    Can Rose really be happy with a cheap copy of the real Doctor?

    I think that could be the subject of some really interesting fiction πŸ™‚

    What is the problem with Christmas anyway?

    The Doctor keeps visiting Earth at Christmas time? Because every time he goes anywhere near Earth, things try to invade and/or destroy it. There needs to be a rule banning the Doctor from visiting Earth and its environs throughout December πŸ˜‰

    I still miss Donna. Wah!

    Reply

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