Friday, August 01, 2008

Doctor Who, "Journey's End": All together now

Spoilers for the "Doctor Who" season four finale coming up just as soon as I give myself a hand...

First, I want to thank all of you for exercising so much restraint last week in not attempting to ruin the "Doctor regenerates" cliffhanger -- even though the promo monkeys at Sci Fi couldn't be bothered to do the same. I know it's tricky to cut a promo for the episode without giving away whether David Tennant is still playing The Doctor, but it can be done. Hell, take a page from the way CBS used to do "Survivor" finale promos and not actually show any footage from the finale itself. Show a bunch of quick clips from these four Davies seasons (or even this season, if Sci Fi doesn't have the rights to the earlier stuff anymore), push it as Russell Davies' farewell and raise the question of whether we might have a new Doctor. Geez!

As I understand it, the BBC understood what to do and simply didn't show a promo at all, which raised a weeklong furor in the UK -- this despite the fact that all the advance publicity about David Tennant doing "Hamlet" and this forcing "Doctor Who" to do nothing but TV-movies for 2009 should have made it clear the guy was staying in the role. It's a measure of how good Tennant is in the role, and how much he and Davies have revitalized the franchise, that people bought into the cliffhanger and began wondering if they had been faked out.

Now, I'm not in love with the technobabble solution for the non-transformation, but I also didn't watch the original series and don't know how The Doctor usually reacted to his impending change. The Eccleston version of The Doctor was such a tortured soul that you could understand his desire to become a new man, even though it was clearly so upsetting to Rose. (If only she knew then how strongly she'd feel about his replacement.) Did previous Doctors get anxious about changing? Was it something they looked forward to? Something they simply treated as a fact of immortal life? Did the old series deal with the emotional implications at all?

Regardless, if it felt like a cheat, at least it was a cheat with a noble purpose. Again, Tennant seems born to play this part (and I say this as a guy who was annoyed for a really long time that Eccleston bailed so quickly), is so good at the disparate styles and tones of the franchise, so geeky and yet so dashing, that it would be a shame to say goodbye to him before finding out how Steven Moffat would write him on a weekly basis.

And it's not like the severed hand was only introduced a few episodes ago. It dates all the way back to "The Christmas Invasion," Tenant's first real appearance, and one the show has used for technobabble-y methods in the past. Beyond that, the severed hand led to the duplicate Doctor, which allowed Davies to give Rose a happy ending of sorts: he's not really her Doctor, but he's the closest she'll ever get who would be willing/able to love her and grow old with her. (On the other hand, the explanation for why Rose and the spare Doctor had to stay forever in Steel-world didn't really wash. Sure, he's hurt and genocidal and not dissimilar to Nine, but he's also mortal and doesn't have a TARDIS. What trouble would he cause? Why couldn't Rose -- with or without her mom and alterna-dad -- hang with him in our universe? It seemed mainly like Davies ensuring that Rose's story would end with his tenure.)

Though I imagine the Rose/Doctor 'shippers thrilled to the sight of Rose being all swooney with a Doctor (if not The Doctor), for me the finale's emotional centerpiece was the fate-worse-than-death suffered by poor Donna Noble. We knew something bad was coming, both because Catherine Tate only signed a one-year contract and because of how River Song reacted to Donna back in "Silence in the Library," but it was still brutal to witness Donna realizing how much she was about to lose. It's been suggested in the past that previous companions needed a long time to accept the return to normal life (see Sarah Jane in "School Reunion"), and I suppose an argument could be made that Donna is better off than if she had been banished back to Earth while remembering the wonders of the universe she had seen. I don't buy it, though, because at least Donna would have those memories, would know all the amazing things she had seen -- and, more importantly, had done -- and would have found some way to live a better life. Instead, she'll just go back to temping and cackling through girl's nights out, oblivious to the possibilities for both the world and for Donna Noble, and that stinks.

It stinks for Donna, not dramatically, I should say. As written, well and cruelly played, Mr. Davies. And Donna's lousy end was balanced by the more upbeat resolutions for Rose, and for Martha and Mickey, who presumably will be replacing Owen and Tosh on "Torchwood" season three. (Is Mickey any good with computers? I know he's mechanically inclined, but would Torchwood need to add another hacker on top of him?)

As for the rest of "Journey's End," I suppose there's a reason I've devoted so much space to either the resolution of the cliffhanger or the extended epilogue. I just don't have much to say about the body of the episode. I've long since lost interest in the Daleks -- and was gratified to read a Comic-Con dispatch where Moffat said he was going to steer clear of the classic villains as much as possible, as I'd like the screeching pepperpots to stay dead this time -- and while I acknowledge there's a lot of wicked kewl stuff going on that would feel even kewler if I was either a longtime "Who" fan or a 10-year-old boy, it ain't deep. I enjoyed seeing all the sidekicks work together and many of the more epic story beats, but when I look back on this season, my thoughts are going to turn more towards earlier episodes like "Midnight" or "Planet of the Ood" or the Moffat two-parter.

I also feel like these two episodes work better as a series finale than yet another chapter in an ongoing saga. Sure, this is basically the end of the Davies version of "Who," but the show has to keep going, and now Davies has left Moffat with a world where mankind has, in a four year span been witness to several overt alien invasions and a planetary hijacking that can't easily be explained as a mass delusion. Part of the appeal of The Doctor's interactions with contemporary society is that here's this extraordinary man wandering around a world so much like our own. What happens when every 21st century citizen he meets is jaded about the existence of extra terrestrial life, interstellar travel, etc.?

Moffat can, of course, choose to ignore this (goodness knows comic book writers do all the time; I'm not sure how an inhabitant of the Marvel Universe version of Manhattan would ever have the nerve to leave the house in the morning) or turn it into a background gag, or open up with some kind of reset button that winds up blanking the memories of everybody but The Doctor and his inner circle. But it does feel like Davies left quite a mess to be cleaned up, no?

What did everybody else think?

35 comments:

Bill said...

"Did previous Doctors get anxious about changing? Was it something they looked forward to? Something they simply treated as a fact of immortal life? Did the old series deal with the emotional implications at all?"

Usually, a regenerating doctor tried to comfort his companions about the coming change, rather than any worry about himself. Plus, the regeneration usually was the result of a sacrifice, so they knew it was coming and welcomed it (though the 2nd Doctor was forced to regenerate as a punishment by the Time Lords and was sentenced to Earth).

Michael said...

The fourth doctor was actually prepared for his regeneration. In his last story, he was followed by a figure in white, who turned out to be "the future Doctor". He talked with and worked with this figure until he died and the figure "merged" with Four, regenerating into Five. There's more info on Wikipedia.

Nicole said...

Although I was aware that Tennant had signed on for the 2009 specials, I really was unsure of the cliffhanger resolution, and BBC did a great job in not spoiling it. I think because I was fairly certain that Tennant was coming back, I really wasn't ready for him to regenerate into another Doctor and like Rose couldn't let him go yet. I would and will need some kind of spoiler so I can prepare myself for when the day happens. The severed hand might be a cheat, but I didn't care this time. (There was a fairly obvious shot of the hand in the earlier episode so I suspected that it would play a role in keeping this version) I also want to see what Tennant does with a Moffat controlled series.

I liked the Doctor clone when he was with Donna and thought that Tate and Tennant really did well playing each other's mannerisms in those scenes. However, I hated the fanfiction ending RTD gave Rose with her own Doctor that really isn't him, and that she doesn't really want, except she kisses him anyway. Sure, I want my own Tennant clone too, but within the context of the story, this didn't feel real and was a horrible way to destroy the beauty that was Doomsday. Rose and the Doctor are not meant to be and a fake clone is a silly way to deal with it. It also made me realize how selfish and emotionally immature Rose was, thus destroying her character for me... and I liked her a lot up until and including Doomsday.

(It reminded me of how Voyager destroyed the mystique of the Borg as set up in Next Generation.)


I could deal with the super explosions and "momentous" action because I expected it from RTD in his earlier finales, but the Return to Bad Wolf left a really bad taste in my mouth.

As for Donna, her fate was tragic, and while I wish she could have kept a few memories, I can accept why it happened, and hope that she will find herself eventually. But couldn't Wilf travel with the Doctor in the meantime? His final scene with the Doctor was so touching. A very mixed episode because there were sublime moments, and completely horrible ones.

Dara said...

Well, it was worth stopping before the teaser, and playing skip the commercials while watching Sci-Fi for the past few weeks to go into this not knowing anything. And wow, Russel T Davies take a bow.

This did feel like the two parter should have been a movie-length episode, but the cliff-hanger worked for me, even as it was resolved in the first moments. Really the last three parts are one long story and the end of Journey's End changes my perspective on Turn Left radically. It had felt like a preamble to the finale with Rose showing up, and a balance to Midnight with the last scenes showing how the Doctor and Donna both need each other as emotional ballast. But now as it presages Donna's end, it makes me question the Doctor's actions.

Donna when she could choose chose to sacrifice herself. Even peripheral contact with the Doctor through his agent Rose matured her and let her real self shine through. My take in the finale was that the Doctor saved her life, didn't let her mind burn out which would have killed her, by removing the knowledge of the time lords. Am I jumping to conclusions there? The same way he saved Rose by taking the energy of the Tardis from her. But the situations weren't equivalent, so if that's what he did, should he have? Is his perspective after 900+ years one that any life is better then the end that is death. Because he did the same thing to River.
But by saving her life at that cost against her wishes, he "killed" the Donna who had wanted to find him and wanted to grow.

barefootjim said...

Watched the BBC versions of these through, um, alternate channels, so I wasn't so worried about the Sci-Fi spoilage (though I dive for the remote the second the Moore/Eick credits show up for BSG), so not an issue here.

What was an issue for me was the Doctor Two (tm TV Club)/ Rose ending.

It was such an obvious 'shipper sop that even Rose was all "Yeah, OK, I guess" about it.

Sometimes a tragic love story has more emotional resonance staying tragic. Just ask Buffy Summers.

J said...

It was riddled with cheats and bad patch-ups. The non-regeneration, Rose's knock-off gift, all that "someone's going to die" when no one really died. And, ultimately, Donna's great gift was that... she was born with half a brain, right?

But this worked for me. I've loathed the finales in seasons one and three, teared up at two and four. This was overstuffed with gibberish and cheats, and really sloppy for something that seemed to want to slap a big bow on all things RTD... but I think it was the only ep of the season I watched a second time. The cheats all worked out toward some end (the false regeneration wasn't tossed away in the classic rocket-over-cliff serial dupe, where suddenly the rocket didn't go over the cliff at all).

The "behold your children of time" moment was great (though on some levels it doesn't really seem tragic at all - how horrible, they all become heroes), as was Caan's insubordination.

And Daleks speaking German! !!

Mostly it worked because, ultimately, this season was Donna's story. And Tate got to shine (as did Tennant-as-Tate - "Oi, Watch it Earth Girl" (!)), whether it was juggling 3200 fancy new ways to say "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" or just reverting back to pre-Doctor-Donna form. Well done, Catherine Tate.

M.A.Peel said...

Ood-a-licious!

I choked up when the team was flying the earth back home to the strains of what is being called "Oodsong Victorious." The Ood episode was my favorite, their song at the end, with that overhead shot of them standing in a circle in the snow is one of the loveliest moments in the whole series.

And to echo that here was wonderful. I didn't like some of Carmina Burana frenetic music in the middle, but OSV made up for it, with its echo of the English choir boy tradition.

I thought RTD was tying up all the ends of his rein. I don't think he's left a mess to clean up, as much as a completely blank slate.

Except:did Martha and the Doctor running through Blink with bows and arrows ever have a payoff?

Nicole said...

I forgot about the German speaking Daleks... that was cool.

I know Catherine Tate won't ever get nominated for an Emmy for her performance this year, but I hope she gets a BAFTA for it.

pgillan said...

I am also glad to hear that they won't be going back to the Dalek well any time soon. Whoever likened them to the Borg was right on, and if it kept up at this rate the Doctor would have a Dalek companion by season 6.

I remember being a little distracted by the last scene between Donna and the Doctor. It seems unrealistic that she would be so dismissive; I definitely would have expected a more "what's this, a handsome man in my parlor?" vibe, if not actual flirting. In fact, she was downright rude.

All in all, though, I liked the episode. I'm glad it was a two-parter, so they could spend the first episode getting the team together, and then devote the full hour (42 minutes?) to the different dynamics.

smaileh said...

One of my favorite moments came at the very end, when the Doctor told Donna's mum that she (mum) should tell her (Donna) that she is important every once in a while.

It was fun seeing everyone together, but at some points it felt like The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors episodes--done for milestone episodes but rather gimmicky and sometimes the story had to strain to fit everyone in. Still, I always squeal with glee when I see K-9.

jim treacher said...

I remember the first time I saw a picture of Tennant as Doctor Who, having no idea who he was or how he'd play the character, and thinking: "That guy looks really cool."

Yeah, the severed hand has been in play not only on this show but on Torchwood, so this felt like a payoff. The fake regenration might seem like a cheat, until you consider that the whole regeneration idea itself is a cheat.

And now I'm going to pop in my Jekyll DVD...

Toby said...

As far as Caan's prediction that the most faithful companion would die, I'm thinking he was talking about himself and his relationship to Davros. Because any other explanation seems unfulfilling.

J said...

Moffat on Rose and Doctor-2 on Earth-2: "You've got to give the Doctor credit for dumping a slightly clingy girlfriend."

elks said...

A lot was a cop-out and touchy feely and shipperful.
And thats what Davies does, incredibly well. Even when I was watching Rose accept her Doctor-2 and I knew this was a cop out and stupid and everything else mentioned above, I cried.
Its a weird balance that Davies can hit, that I would place money on Moffatt failing at. There are these gratuitous pay-offs, that are just too much (entirety of the new Who teams coming together, the hand being a basic panacea for all hell breaking loose) that still make you kinda happy and emotional and pleased with the show. God only knows how he gets away with it.
And the Donna-Doctor Doctor-Donna play was exactly what Catherine Tate and David Tennant did all season: be brilliant together. They just amped it up and made you prematurely miss Donna even more.

Karen said...

About two-thirds of the way through this episode, with reality bombs and planetary transmitters and half-mad prophet Daleks, I found myself thinking, "Everyone says Davies is better at the emotional stuff than the sci-fi--dunno if this is better sci-fi, but I'm certainly not feeling any emotion." I was pretty bored through most of the middle, frankly.

But then the Doctor 2/Donna interactions began, which were adorable--Tennant and Tate do pretty good imitations of each other--and I started getting interested again. I was ambivalent about the Rose ending--meh. Didn't kill me like the last visit to Bad Wolf Bay, which left me sobbing like a teenager. I assume the Doctor's child who will die is Doctor 2--what more direct child could he have?

But Davies totally destroyed me with the Donna ending, and the final conversation between Wilfred and the Doctor. It is a truly tragic end for Donna; she deserved better than that. I'll miss Catherine Tate--I think she's been a brilliant companion.

Has there been any speculation on who the new Companion might be? The Doctor, I feel, will be quite damaged in Season 5, having said goodbye to Rose and Donna forever in the same day...

Grunt said...

When Doctor Donna emerged after having been shot by Davros I turned to my husband and said, "Look! a Donna es Machina!" But truth be told, I just didn't care.

I didn't care that things kept perfectly happening at the exact right moment, I didn't care that the Doctor 2 & Rose's ended was so sappy (I still cried), I didn't care that the whole Rose must live on alta-world and Mickey gets to live on Earth with Cap'n Jack and Martha. I just didn't care. I still loved every moment of it.

And I'm wrecked about Donna. Not just because it's a fate worse than death, but because it means we don't get to see Donna and the Doctor anymore. I keep thinking maybe she can temp for Ianto in Torchwood...but it's just not the same. She won't be our Donna.

But: Love Daleks speaking German, love all the compainions running the Tardis (and the Doctor telling Jackie not to touch anything...I wish she had punched him for that one. Jackie has proven to be a far stronger and smarter person than the Doctor gives her credit for), loved Donna, even as Doctor Donna, still trying to cop-a-feel off of Cap'n Jack.

I never watched the original series, although my husband did, and he said he felt like this was a wonderful end to the whole thing (although he's excited for Series 5 and the movies) and I agreed. I loved how they ended this series, as opposed to 1, 2 & 3, with simply the Doctor, alone in the Tardis. The Lonely God.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I remember being a little distracted by the last scene between Donna and the Doctor. It seems unrealistic that she would be so dismissive; I definitely would have expected a more "what's this, a handsome man in my parlor?" vibe, if not actual flirting. In fact, she was downright rude.

I thought that, too, for a second, and then remembered that Donna has never found The Doctor attractive; he's much too scrawny for her liking. So even if he was some random guy in her mom's house, she'd be dismissive of him.

a said...

Well, I guess it seemed a lot weaker to me than to everyone else. The CloneDoctor/Rose ended just grated on me. It drained "Doomsday" of its power and just stank of fanfiction. I realize that RTD lurves Doctor/Rose but I agree with Moffat.

I hated the way Martha was used. Agyeman is such a beautiful and magnetic actress that it was palatable, but the only way I was able to stomach it was to believe that Martha was bluffing the whole time and never meant to use the Osterhagen Key.

Donna's ending was better; it was RTD at his nimble, facile (I mean that in a good way) best. The explanation even made faux-science-sense.

What I liked? Well, everyone acted his of her tuchas off. Tennant and Tait's mirror sequence was not only beautifully done, but exquisitely paced. Catherine Tait's portrayal of Donna's breakdown was great, and harder to do than she made it look. The characters from the different seasons/series were well-integrated. Davros final accusation to the Doctor had some real weight behind it.

Final opinion? I liked it, but there were some flaws that kept me from loving it.

Anonymous said...

Definitely felt like Davies was wrapping up his run here, which I felt was kind of nice. Tennant and Tate both were excellent as always. I wish all the cameos could have had more plot meaning (even Rose just stood around most of the episode before getting her kind-of-silly-resolution with the doctory clone), but it was fun to see everybody again nonetheless. Plus it set Mickey up to where he can be used again down the line, which is great news by me.

Not sure how I feel about Donna's fate. Was taking away her memories the doctor's call alone, or did I miss a part where she asked him to fix it by any means necessary? Great reactions though by Donna's family. Wilf in particular has been fantastic all season, and Donna's Mom always seemed very real, if not terribly likable.

Lastly, John Barrowman continues to amaze me by being spectacularly awful whenever he's called on to do something dramatic (ie: reacting to the appearance of the daleks last episode, torchwood in general), but so amazingly fun and enjoyable when given something funny (ie: hitting on Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister or debating nicknames while hugging Mickey). I really can't think of another actor with such an extreme divide in ability between comedy and drama.
-Lance

Anonymous said...

I thought it was pretty bad except for the last fifteen minutes where there was some real character moments and emotion instead of not particularly interesting sci fi mumbo jumbo.

KLE said...

Dalek's speaking German was brilliant - things that are ridiculous and overwrought become sublimely so in German!

And sorry to burst everyone's bubble about Martha joining TW - it's clear that's where she was intended to go -
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article1467855.ece

KLE said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article1467855.ece

KLE said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/
article1467855.ece

Antid Oto said...

I realize it's in bad form to complain about a logic hole in an episode that was such a mess in so many ways, but I've been waiting to ask this for weeks, since I also watched via...alternate means: did the central plot with Dalek Caan make sense to anyone? Caan traveled through time into the Time War and rescued all the Daleks even though he knew (and says several times) that the Doctor was just going to kill them all again? And Caan did all this, and the Daleks created a universe-destroying planet-weapon, just to make a point to the Doctor about how he corrupts the humans who follow him? Was that supposed to be what happened?

I'm not usually this geeky about details, but it's been bugging me.

Dark Tyler said...

Thank you, antid oto! I've been trying to make sense of this and every time I end up with a headache. There should at least be a bit of sense or internal logic in things like this, and this finale lacked it.

Dunno, maybe the setup was too good, but this episode felt forced, empty and way too artificial. The DoctorDonna, or DonnaDoctor, or Doctor Ten-and-a-half was just plain silly. The big tear in the universe was in the end just the Tylers coming back so Rose could get an end to her story (FINALLY) when her story was actually pretty awesomely closed back in season 2. The gathering of EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING RTD EVER USED didn't actually go anywhere. And once more, RTD 'killed' a companion without actually killing her.

Big, loud and dumb. It did it for me when I saw it, but it really doesn't hold up. But huge props to Catherine Tate. Who knew!

J said...

did the central plot with Dalek Caan make sense to anyone? Caan traveled through time into the Time War and rescued all the Daleks even though he knew (and says several times) that the Doctor was just going to kill them all again?

I think I can do this: First, Caan didn't rescue any daleks. He rescued Davros, who created the new army from his tissue, the way he created the original Daleks from his own Kaled race.

But Caan, when slipping into The Time War had to stare into time itself and was forced to confront all of The Daleks' actions throughout time and conclude they were evil.

Having been driven mad and accepting the rebuilding of the Dalek race as part of his inevitable timeline, he realizes the only proper end the Daleks could have would be at the hands of their original enemy, The Doctor (who dithered and sloppily botched his initial genocide attempt at their beginning). And Fate drives him to manipulate events so that both his creator, Davros, and his destroyer, The Doctor, are confronted by the ultimate results of their actions. (Davros is too proud, of course, to accept that his great creation would recognize itself as unworthy of existence. But still fun to try to show him.)

Not that I don't think there was plenty of poppycock, and that the TARDIS dragging the Earth across space and time is one of the most retarded things I've ever seen. But I like the idea of The Self-Immolation of the Daleks (now there's an episode title!), and that they'd need The Doctor's help in achieving that.

Tracey said...

"Did previous Doctors get anxious about changing?"

Not that I recall, and I saw several of them in the original series. But keep in mind: the Doctor is running low on regenerations. In the original series, Time Lords had a limited number (12 or 13; I can't recall), and he may be concerned about throwing away his 10th so soon, especially when his 9th didn't last so long. Of course, I'm sure that if the series runs long enough to use up his regenerations, they'll come up with an excuse to get around it (the Time War caused him to attain infinite regeneration?).

How did I feel about the episode? Well, let's put it this way: a friend of mine missed it, and I was going to show her my recording. "It's an hour and a half -- well, actually, one hour for the episode and a half hour to wrap everything up." Seemed like the storyline wrapped up too quickly, leaving the episode to tread water for the rest of the time.

That said: Loved, loved, loved Donna with the Doctor's brain, spewing technobabble flawlessly. Loved the Doctor-2 picking up Donna's accent and mannerisms.

Amusing that they beat the Daleks by, essentially, reversing the polarity of the neutron flows -- by changing the thing so that, instead of destroying everything except the Daleks, it destroyed only the Daleks. And yes, I liked the Daleks saying "exterminate" in German.

Other than that... meh. I was expecting that Doctor-2 would sacrifice himself to save the universe, thus fulfilling the "one will die" prophecy without actually killing anyone. Or Donna would die, fullfilling what they've been saying for weeks. But no, the "one will die" was just a lie, or a mind-f***, whatever. And Donna doesn't seem to be quite as special as everybody has been hinting. Bleh.

Sorry, the Rose/Doctor-2 resolution made me want to yack. And no, I don't get why she had to go back to the parallel world, other than to get her out of the Doctor's hair.

Girl Detective said...

Aren't any of Donna's friends going to ask where she's been? Isn't she going to be confused by news stories about the Earth having been kidnapped? Isn't she going to be surprised she doesn't have a job?

Anonymous said...

The Torchwood and Sarah Jane cross-overs were a big disappointment for me. The tones of those shows are far too different. The Torchwood team just isn't the Torchwood team in the family-friendly, killing-as-a-last-resort Doctor Who universe. And, even if there was no direct interaction, there is simply no way Torchwood and K-9 should appear in the same episode.

Michael said...

I'm not sure the decison to include or not include the Daleks will rest entirley with Moffatt. Like it or not, the Daleks are closely linked with Doctor Who in the UK and they do tend to generate a lot of publicity and ratings for the show. And with a year off between series, that might be enough time to let them rest and come up with new evils for them to be about.

As for the finale, I found it typical Davies writing. He sacrfices plot for the emotion of things. He wants to give Rose a happy ending and he does. But he also brings up some interesting ideas and then completely fails to follow through on them. It's almost as if he writes down every idea that comes to him and tosses them all in, rather than taking a few and expanding on them. Here you have a half-human/half-Time Lord character who is angry and born of war...and you leave him in the other universe with Rose to temper him. A Rose that has become more hardened and cynical since being left there. It makes you wonder if the Doctor has done parallel world any favors in that these two might now play off each other and corrupt each other into tryants or villians who wreak havoc on this parallel Earth.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the UK and the cliffhanger at the end of the previous episode had me in open-mouthed shock for some minutes. I can't remember the last time I was so shocked by the ending of a TV programme (possibly it was Blake's 7 a *long* time ago!!) I knew that Tennant was going to be back for the specials, but I suddenly had doubts. Perhaps his appearances would be as flashbacks, or he would only appear for a short time? However, I decided he would not be regenerating, but only because he'll get a more spectacular send off scene when he goes, and because in the Confidential Tennant mentioned in passing being on set with Davros. I just don't understand why SciFi spoiled the cliffhanger. It makes no sense on any level. Don't they want the best possible viewing figures for their shows?

The Confidential also showed a version of the HumanDoctor/Rose kiss that was much more expressive than what was included in the episode - an interesting choice.

I don't know that Rose *did* get a happy ending. It could be viewed that way, if you want it to. However, Rose was left by 'her' Doctor in the parallel universe with another Doctor who was not quite the same. He could express his feelings for her, but he also has a bit of Donna in there (and perhaps that's what lets him be emotionally more open to Rose?) Viewing the Confidential, it isn't apparent that viewers were necessarily meant to find this a happy or easy resolution. It is up to us what we make of this ambiguity.

Donna's fate was heart-wrenching, but the Doctor couldn't do anything else. How could he let her die, given who he is? And from an external perspective, this is a children's show that also appeals to adults. You can't show a character choosing suicide over a happy - if oblivious - life. It is also easier to bring back a character who is still alive than one from the dead, so I am hoping Donna will return one day. I've loved all of the companions but she has been my favourite.

Anonymous said...

"-- this despite the fact that all the advance publicity about David Tennant doing "Hamlet" and this forcing "Doctor Who" to do nothing but TV-movies for 2009 should have made it clear the guy was staying in the role."

As I understand it, it is the budget cuts across the BBC that resulted in the "specials-only" 2009 offerings, and Tennant was able to take advantage of that to return to theatre. Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures have also been affected, as have other parts of the BBC such as news and current affairs, natural history programming etc.

cgeye said...

"However, Rose was left by 'her' Doctor in the parallel universe with another Doctor who was not quite the same. He could express his feelings for her, but he also has a bit of Donna in there (and perhaps that's what lets him be emotionally more open to Rose?)"

Um, no one's mentioned how squicky it is that a man's and a woman's consciousness merged, and in one body stayed merged (remember no one had to erase any memories from Doctor Two), and that Rose was handed off to that male/female hybrid?

I mean Donna wasn't the most accepting woman on the planet, emotionally or sexually. Will that possible homophobic distance from another woman actually affect their new relationship?

Conversely, would *Rose* be gunshy mashing lips with a prole girl's consciousness partially expressed in a copy of her true love's body?

I know, I know, it would be more subtle than that, but none of the sexual politics could be or would be explored, and considering what they took away from Donna to have Doctor Two happen, that's a damn shame.

JustJoan said...

I just watched the last three episodes of DW in quick succession and I have a totally shallow question that's driving me nuts. What the frell is up with Billie Piper's voice? She sounds as if she has had major oral surgery. That or a mouth full of mush. Has anyone else noticed, or is it just me? I quite like the new makeup, as the old spider-eyes mascara was always a problem, but this is way disturbing.

JustJoan said...

Sorry to double-post, but it just hit me, and as a died-in-the-wool Anglophile I should be ashamed. The title, "Journey's End," is the front half of an old English saying, "Journey's End in Lover's Meeting." Clever old Russell T. Davies, to find a double-y, perhaps triple-y apt caption for the end of his and Rose's journeys.