Brief spoilers for "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I find out why the Shadow Proclamation is so poorly-lit...
It's been a hallmark of -- and a source of criticism for -- the Russell T. Davies era of "Doctor Who" that each season ends with an apocalyptic showdown between The Doctor and one of his classic villains, with the fate of the Earth in the balance, and the threat level rising each year. So for his final finale, Davies ups the stakes yet again, with the Daleks (and their creator, Davros, last seen in the original series) relocate not only the Earth, but a couple dozen other planets from across time and space, and the threat is so big that all of The Doctor's allies from past seasons and present spin-offs -- Rose, Martha, Captain Jack and the Torchwood team, Sarah Jane and Luke, and even Harriet Jones (RIP) -- have to show up to help out.
And, as if that wasn't enough, Davies has to go and freak the whole world out by ending the episode with The Doctor getting shot only seconds before having a huggy reunion with Rose and starting to regenerate.
(And because of that cliffhanger, I'm going to put the usual warning about not discussing, or even hinting at, episodes that haven't aired in America yet, way up high. Do not, under any circumstances, make any reference to what happens in the season finale. I'm just going to delete any comments that are remotely suspect, and all you'll accomplish is annoying me.)
But what does all this noise, all these characters, all this danger really accomplish? Cool as it was to see Captain Jack hit on Sarah Jane, or Rose meeting Donna's parents, or The Doctor and Rose finally getting a good look at each other, this episode didn't have half the emotional impact for me of the stand-alone, FX-minimal, narratively-spare "Midnight" from a couple of weeks back. I know Davies loves these over-the-top finales, but I really don't think that's where his strengths lie.
I would ask for guesses on what's going to happen next, but I wonder if at this point there's anybody out there reading a blog entry about "Doctor Who" who hasn't already cheated and watched "Journey's End." If you exist, fire away, as there's an awful lot to speculate about.
One additional reminder: because the finale is extra-long, Sci Fi will start airing it at 8:30 Eastern next week, not 9. If you don't DVR it and intend to watch it live, plan accordingly.
What did everybody else think?