27 December 2009

Doctor Who: 4.17: The End of Time (Part 1)

There is not much positive things to say about The End of Time, Part 1. First, it makes little sense, even though RTD does sort of explain the Immortality Gate (which is just a lame bone thrown to spin-off Torchwood). But like most two-part episodes of TV series these days, its all a set-up for next weeks conclusion.

In some ways I’m happy to see the RTD era end, as show was taking on way too much baggage -four seasons of episodes that seemed to have a high bit of coincidences and too many robots - and was starting to resemble the later years of John Nathan-Turner.

A prime example is the whole Master resurrection scene. My biggest issue with it was how the followers of the Master knew of him, as the Doctor explained to the Ood, only Lucy should remember him (and then there’s the convoluted scene where this liquid Lucy comes by to stop the resurrection and how she got it to begin with). And what is with the whole the legend of the blue box and the Sainted Physician at the Church? I found that out of place and probably completely unnecessary.

Ironically, The End of Time moves at a snail’s pace, setting too many things up that had no pay-off. Even a two-part episode should have some pay-off. It should solve something. But no, everything will be shoved to next weeks conclusion and that can’t be good. If only because character moments will set aside for a grand finale.

Perhaps the best part of the episode is the café sequence where the Doctor and Wilf talk about Donna while ruminating on death and loss. The rest of it is just padding, including (a RTD trademark) a lot of running around -which just seems to indicate that to maintain a certain length, they just insert more running instead of actually writing something.

And while I was never certain about RTD’s killing off the Time Lords, as the series progressed I found the idea certainly appealing -at least it kept the Doctor a more dedicated hero, thus adding an element of drama and sadness. However, like the Daleks, he has decided to bring them back. And based on Timothy Dalton’s brief appearance at the end (in a shot stolen whole heartedly from The Phantom Menace senate scene), these may not be the stodgy old Time Lords seen in the original series. Still, in a post credit opening clip of next weeks provided on the Doctor Who BBC web site shows Dalton and his fellow Time Lords discussing the Time War. It’s filled with annoying prophetess and an over-acting Dalton. So it looks like part-two does not start promising.

Maybe, with what photos that have been released, Steven Moffat’s take on Doctor Who is a more return to the classic series, with less emphasis on running around and robots.

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