Tv Review – Doctor Who: The End of Time Part 2

A soaring initial episode left me, for one anxious with anticipation for the final 10th Doctor story’s finish. Why? Because like a former Tranmere Rovers player Andy Parkinson* – Russell T Davis in two parters has a history of fantastic initial runs that make your heart to sing – only to fall to ash when he stumbles or falls to easy tackles to due to the fact he doesn’t looking at his feet not ahead at his goal.

Now sometimes Parky would manage to dig in and still looking at his feet all the while manage to beat a defender or two and sink a goal. And if you’re a Tranmere supporter any goal is a good goal. And that is what I think RTD managed to do here. Sometimes it was a little clunky, rarely elegant and there is a good case he spent too much time on the post goal celebrations but it was certainly stimulating.

Or to pursue another metaphor (or it simile) it was like three famous desperadoes: Who don’t care one bit about spoilers.

The Good? Pretty much anything with Wilf was a pleasure. The moments of temptation both between the Doctor and Wilf and the Doctor tempting the Master with sanity were also captivating. The idea that the Time Lords had effectively been broken by the extremities of War into the very monsters the Doctor fights was excellent in conception. (It also echoed Time of a Trial Lord.) Nice scenery of Galifrey. The name checking of the ‘big bad’ was one for the fans. The Masters insanity as the Time lords secret weapon was great will one doubt burn the internet with retrocon viewing of classic Who. The People’s Republic of Master scenes from Beijing were good. While the Lords of the Rings ‘Endathon’ did feel like an overlong celebration of ‘New Who’ the individual components all shone in their own right (lucky, lucky Mickey…) The Doctor escaping the Gun dilemma. And, of course HIM knocking 4 times – great twist.

The Bad? Well Donna’s psychic self defence safety valve seemed to make very little sense of the events of end of season 4 and subsequent specials. No visceral quantity of the Time Lords evil was really given (but it would be a problem how to do that without the petty villainy of a Steve Segal victim offing his henchmen – oh hang on they did that anyway.) I didn’t think Timothy Dalton was given enough to do and would have preferred a more urbane threat than lots of shouting with white light at one’s back. Panicy earth population on a budget has been done once too often. The sheer length of the Endathon.

The Ugly? THE SPIKEY PEOPLE no they were great but their semi comic nature (including comedy bound Doctor escape chase) didn’t suit this story I thought. The Gratuitous missile sequence well a bit of Star Wars for the kids, maybe so but how about a reasonable number of missiles for the whole of NATO not 48? The Doctor with a gun never feels right – and I know that was the point. Why did the Master feel the need to call himself ‘sir’? Finally GERONIMO ! I had hoped for a change from a manic Doctor – but it’s the earliest of days yet.

The end result was a good episode, maybe even a great one but I did wonder if it would have been an eternal classic if may be the eye had wandered from the ball a little bit and focused more on where the story was going. But that’s just one spod’s opinion.

Finally I’d just like to give a salute to RTD for what has been a terrific 5 years. Sometimes his episodes have disappointed (Love and Monsters) and sometimes they’ve been amazing (Mdinight) and often improved on repeat viewing (World War III) but they never, ever been boring. His choices in writers for the series have provided us with some excellent telly. If nothing else he brought back Who, saved Saturday nights from a never-ending Empire of Celeb-dross and helped a revival of UK SF.

Gods bless you Sir and good luck in your US endeavours.

* He now plays for Cambridge United. As far as I know RTD has never played professional football.

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