Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S03E12 – The Sound of the Drums

In the twelfth episode of the third series of Doctor Who, HOW ON EARTH ARE THEY POSSIBLY GOING TO RESOLVE THIS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

This honestly keeps getting better and better.

I’m still in shock over how far the story has evolved in just a single episode, how so many questions I’ve been asking for the past three season were answered in poetically powerful ways, and how Russell T Davies was willing to write a script that puts all of the main characters in extremely uncomfortable and damaging situations.

To put things in perspective: there is no way I am even the slightest way prepared for “Last of the Time Lords.” At all.

As the Doctor, Martha, and Jack all escape the year 100 trillion using Jack’s newly repaired Vortex Manipulator, Davies wastes literally no time in allowing the pieces to fall together: Martha realizes she recognized the Master’s voice because HE IS MR. SAXON. THE MASTER IS HAROLD SAXON, WHO JUST GOT VOTED INTO THE OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER.

My god. SAXON.

I don’t think there is a single quiet moment in this entire episode. It seems our friends are always running or shouting or the Master and his wife are doing some of the creepiest shit ever. Ok, so let’s talk about the Master, right? WHAT THE FUCK. I was under the impression that the Time Lords had a very specific set of ethics/morals and yet the Master seems opposed to any of that. In this episode, he may actually cause the most murder we’ve ever seen in any episode of Doctor Who yet. (Well, for me. I’m not counting classic Who.) He spies on citizens. He bombs Martha’s flat. We find out he’s behind the people monitoring Martha’s family in an attempt to also monitor the Doctor.

What makes the Master so terrifying is how open and direct he is about his actions. The conversation he initially has with Martha is chilling because he gets off on teasing people with the impossibility of the situation. He has Martha’s family. He teases the Doctor with the knowledge that he is no longer alone in the universe, that there finally is one last remaining Time Lord other than himself, and yet this Time Lord is choosing to do everything in his power to destroy earth. To destroy the Doctor’s friends. To get involved, and in a manner that is tyrannical and destructive.

And yet, through all this, Davies continues to blow my mind. In hiding, the Doctor begins to piece together how exactly the Master was able to return to the 21st century and install himself as Harold Saxon. How was he able to trick so many people into not questioning who he was?

It was the sound of the drums. The same drumming that, FOR DECADES, existed in the very theme song of the show, that acted as a method to subliminally suggest the election of Harold Saxon. A perception filter. IT’S A PERCEPTION FILTER. (omg was i tricked into watching this show through ~subliminal mind control~ omg) Leave it to the brilliant Doctor to devise three Tardis keys that act as perception filters, using the Master’s technology to keep themselves hidden. However, the key-making is not quite the most important scene inside the abandoned building, as we FINALLY get the most amazing backstory on the Doctor, as I get the VERY FIRST LOOK AT GALLIFREY. Oh my god, I have chills right now just thinking about it. We get to see other Time Lords. And the palace. AND THE FUCKING VORTEX. You guys, I have been begging for this moment for so long and RUSSELL T DAVIES TOTALLY BROUGHT IT. a;sofa;sdhf a;sdfh a;sdhfa;slkdj;

But it is the last moment of hope that we see for the rest of this episode. I’ve made it clear that I love stories that take risks. I tend to gravitate toward ideas and stories that are bleak, dystopian, depressing, and “dark,” for the lack of a better word. I guess that’s strange because over the years, I’ve gotten pretty decent at coping with my depression, and my outward appearance is regularly fairly cheery and social. People don’t expect it. That’s ok. I don’t find that to be weird or rude. I spent at least a decade of my life with an eternal frown on my face. I’m perfectly fine not doing that anymore.

Maybe there’s something more to my desire to feel bad things. I mean, who actively seeks out movies that will make them cry? Perhaps I’m just used to it at this point, and there’s a comfort to it that’s hard to put into words. I don’t think I’ve ever given it much thought before now, to be honest with you all. I was trying to explain to someone this morning why this episode was so good (they don’t watch Doctor Who omg the tragedy), and I was ending my sentence with, “….AND THEN THESE THINGS CAME OUT OF THE TIME RIFT AND STARTED ANNIHILIATING EARTH AND EVERYONE IS BASICALLY DEAD AND THE DOCTOR GOT AGED 100 YEARS AND SHIT IS SO FUCKED UP AND……oh my god what am I saying.”


So let’s talk about the awful, awful, horrifying scene on board the Valiant, which is an aircraft carrier IN THE GODDAMN SKY. SHIT YEAH. But there shall be no more happy moments. I didn’t really know what a Paradox Machine did when it was first introduced (create a paradox, I assume?), but I was not excited that the TARDIS was no longer the Doctor’s. THE MASTER, WHERE IS YOUR TARDIS. USE YOUR OWN, YOU BULLY.

The thing that makes this episode so terrifying is the insistence that the events onboard the Valiant be aired live on television. I mean, think about it: You’re watching the news. We are making contact with an alien species. And then the Prime Minister HAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES EXECUTED ON LIVE TELEVISION. Horrifying? Utterly, unbelievably so. Another reason I adore this show: these atrocities are not committed in the secrecy of labs or behind theoretical science plots or in front of a couple people. Doctor Who doesn’t hide its horrors. They are all out in the open, for mass consumption; the show is routinely concerned with how societies adapt and deal with these things, and how the public consciousness is affected by the absurd.

And this episode ends on the absurd: the Master, using the exact technology from “The Lazarus Experiment,” and the severed hand from “The Christmas Invasion,” builds his own laser screwdriver and uses it to age the Doctor 100 years in just a few seconds. As the Doctor remains helpless on the floor, and Captain Jack nearly useless from the same screwdriver, Jack gives Martha his vortex manipulator. There is no way to defeat the Master. It’s time for her to leave. Her family is brought into the room and she faces a terrifying choice: stay and fight, surely leading to her death, or escape and try to find a way out.

I want to know what the Doctor whispers to Martha.

The rift above the Valiant opens and we’re treated to one of the scariest and greatest visual effects the show has ever given us: the Paradox Machine has allowed SIX BILLION Toclafane to come pouring onto earth. The eradication begins immediately as one-tenth of the planet is destroyed. Martha is back on earth, headed to some unknown place. The Doctor and Jack are of know help. The Master has won.

How on earth are they possibly going to resolve this?


  • John Simm is PERFECT as The Master, injecting just enough goofy humor to make him even creepier than we could imagine.
  • Poor Vivien Rook.
  • Ok, so Martha’s brother, Leo, was not captured. I’m betting that’s significant. But why?
  • “Oh! I know what it’s like. It’s like when you fancy someone, and they don’t even know you exist. That’s what it’s like.” UGH DOCTOR WHY
  • “You too, huh?” HASDFLJKHASDFJHKJKLHS OH JACK. It’s a triangle of unreciprocated love.
  • “And so it came to pass that the human race fell, and the Earth was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion as Master of all; and I thought it good.” Absolutely chilling.
  • Does the Master’s wife count as his companion? I say yes.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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479 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S03E12 – The Sound of the Drums

  1. arctic_hare says:



    😀 😀 😀

    In all the spoiler madness yesterday (SERIOUSLY, CUT IT OUT, PEOPLE), I can at least be grateful for one thing: no one spoiled you on the Saxon reveal! I knew that would blow your mind in all sorts of keysmashy ways, and I am SO GLAD no one ruined THAT one for you.

    Anyway. This post is going to have quite a few gifs, DEAL WITH IT. Because I need to gush about Simm!Master, and it works better if I use some of my many Master gifs. (If anyone posts spoilery gifs, I destroy you where you stand.)

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    (My favorite "popcorn" gif ever. <3 Fun fact: I have caught myself tapping out that rhythm without meaning to. Clearly I must vote Saxon.)

    I'll get the negative out of the way first, and then we'll move onto the gushing. What the fuck is with that line from Ten equating the perception filter to being in love with someone who doesn't know you exist? What am I supposed to take from that? Am I supposed to believe Ten is really suddenly that much of an idiot, or is he deliberately being an asshole? UGH, TEN, JUST… JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP. This is why I can't stand you most of the time. I've never quite forgiven the way he acts in this series.

    I also have a serious problem with him saying that he and the Master could "fight across the constellations" but not on Earth. Oh, so, as long as your precious Earth isn't harmed you don't care what other worlds and innocents get hurt and killed along the way? What the hell. Also-also, this is what deposing Harriet Jones enabled, Ten. GOOD JOB BREAKING IT. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. And why was it okay for Rose to work for the alternate Torchwood, but it's OMG THE WORST THING EVER if Jack revamps the one in this universe? You fucking hypocritical ass.

    Whew. Moving on, THE MASTER! I love him so much, he is one of my favorite villains in anything ever. He's just so gleefully over the top and hammy, and that's the fun of it. He takes such joy in being evil, and it's infectious and hilarious. I love his antics, they are the highlight of this episode and the whole reason I love this arc so much.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Triple take, lol. Though it's horrible to hear her screaming and not know what's going on in there. Which I think makes it better, I prefer when stuff like that is left to your imagination. Less is more.

    Also, I absolutely have to say it: The Master has friends on the other side. 😀 (I tried to find a fanvid with that song set to scenes from this episode, but unfortunately, the only ones I found were spoilery. BAH.)

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I've rewatched that part a zillion times and it never stops being funny. NEVER. I love the faces he makes in that first gif, and of course the thumbs-up he gives the guy in that second one. The Master is that perfect combination of chillingly mad and hilarious, especially here. I confess, I have a soft spot for villains like that, so he delights me oh so much.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Oh, Master. XD I always crack up so hard at the way he says "I dunno, I could make grits. What are grits, anyway?" That and him calling the President "misery-guts".


    • arctic_hare says:

      Your Fridge Horror moment of the day: The Master's glee over getting to kill Jack again. Think about that: Jack, who can't die, is in the hands of a supersadistic and no doubt creative psychopath who knows he can kill him over and over. This… is not going to be fun for poor Jack. 🙁

      Brilliant, perfect music choice for the Toclafane's emergence, though. 😀 I love that part – again with the Master making evil look fun. The crack in the sky opening up to let them through reminds me of something from a game I played on the PS1. And hey, correctly using the word "decimate"! It's horrifying, sure, but people misusing that word is one of my language pet peeves. /dork

      Oh, Martha. :/ Freema really sells it there, that horrible choice to have to leave and abandon the Doctor, Jack, and her family to the Master, and the music is, as ever, flawless. Makes my throat a bit tighter watching it, I won't lie. She's so torn up about it, and yet so brave, and Murray Gold knocks it out of the park, as usual. What a cliffhanger, oh man. This is going to be a tough wait for Monday, I'll tell you that!

      <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

      • psycicflower says:

        Basically THIS to your whole comment. I love the Master because he is just such a delightful bastard.
        The whole line about crushes really annoyed me. It was implied at the end of Family of Blood that he remembered what Martha said and Ten is not that stupid. I just wish they would stop with a reminder of the crush in nearly every episode. I also agree with the whole Harriet Jones situation.

        I'm also saving any of those Master gifs that I don't already have.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          He is a delightful bastard. That is seriously the best description of the Master ever.

        • MowerOfLorn says:

          The thing about the Master is that he's all the genius, all the insanity, all the alien-ess of the Doctor- but evil. Eeeeviiiiiiilll! Our Doctor can be a delightful bastard too, but not like this.

      • Minish says:

        I look forward to your reviews the mostest. I do a silent cheer every time I can connect something you've said to TV Tropes. (I see you've read the "You Keep Using That Word entry.) Also,

        "I'll get the negative out of the way first, and then we'll move onto the gushing. What the fuck is with that line from Ten equating the perception filter to being in love with someone who doesn't know you exist? What am I supposed to take from that? Am I supposed to believe Ten is really suddenly that much of an idiot, or is he deliberately being an asshole? UGH, TEN, JUST… JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP. This is why I can't stand you most of the time. I've never quite forgiven the way he acts in this series."

        Clap clap clap clap clap.

    • echinodermata says:

      Your Ten hate-on makes me happy. I'm so sorry David Tennant this isn't about you, really.

      But basically, yes to this review, and Simm really does do true gif-worthy faces.

    • Starsea28 says:

      What the fuck is with that line from Ten equating the perception filter to being in love with someone who doesn't know you exist? What am I supposed to take from that? Am I supposed to believe Ten is really suddenly that much of an idiot, or is he deliberately being an asshole? UGH, TEN, JUST… JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP. This is why I can't stand you most of the time. I've never quite forgiven the way he acts in this series.

      I also have a serious problem with him saying that he and the Master could "fight across the constellations" but not on Earth. Oh, so, as long as your precious Earth isn't harmed you don't care what other worlds and innocents get hurt and killed along the way? What the hell. Also-also, this is what deposing Harriet Jones enabled, Ten. GOOD JOB BREAKING IT. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. And why was it okay for Rose to work for the alternate Torchwood, but it's OMG THE WORST THING EVER if Jack revamps the one in this universe? You fucking hypocritical ass.

      This. All this. But it wouldn't be half so bad if someone – ANYONE – pointed out the hypocrisy. But no, the text allows it to all go by without any comment. Urgh.

    • bookling says:

      Oh dear, was there spoilery madness yesterday? I read the review but not the comments because I didn't have time.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Unfortunately, yes. I don't know which was worse – the double-whammy in fusionman's trivia that named episodes and spoiled something in the episode after this, or the guy who explained the Master to Mark despite the review stating in all caps to NOT DO THAT. There was someone else too, as I recall. Sigh. More than a few of us had ragesplosions over all that.

    • Stephen_M says:

      Just for the record, it's a valid character interpretation of Ten to consider him a self-centred asshole. Not saying that's what they were going for but it'd be perfectly understandable to think of him that way.

      Frankly I think the mark (heh) of getting the Master right is when, despite the sheer level of evil on show, you still kinda like and respect the guy. Certainly, in this particular case, you could understand why Lucy (yay, finally remembered her name, that's been bugging me all night!) would be his companion.

    • hassibah says:

      I actually thought that RTD wasn hanging a lampshade about the fact Martha crushing on 10 while he treated her crappily all season. I didn't think that we were supposed to think that 10 was deliberately being a dick here, I thought he was legitly oblivious to what he just did there.

      Otherwise OMG I would marry this comment.

      • arctic_hare says:

        I dunno, it's hard for me to tell, because I felt like it was implied at the end of Family of Blood that he remembered what she said and probably didn't buy her "I would've said anything!" rationalization. He's been characterized so inconsistently in this regard that I honestly do not know what to make of that line.

        • Hypatia_ says:

          My interpretation is basically that he knows how Martha feels, but so totally does not want to deal with it that he pretends to be clueless. Sometimes he takes the pretending too far. Honestly, Ten is far too human not to see how she feels.

          Which does make him kind of a dick, yeah.

          • Openattheclose says:

            This. I think he thinks if he pretends long enough it will go away. Which, in his defense, does sometimes work in real life.

            • Starsea28 says:

              Does it? Really? In any case, that's the method you use if you actively dislike or don't want to be around the person who likes you. If you are at all friendly with them, the decent thing is to make them aware that while you are flattered, it's not going to happen. *sigh*

              • kaybee42 says:

                Agreed. I'm still a teenager (18) so the memories of my best male friend suddenly deciding I liked him *that* way and ignoring me completely are a little too fresh (5 months ago, the fucking twat! We are meant to be GROWN UPS by now!) for me to want my Doctor to be doing that. Anyone reading this- *please* don't do that, people!
                (For the record I didn't like him like that, and after he did that I decided he was a prat and haven't quite forgiven him for his dickish-ness)

    • sabra_n says:

      And why was it okay for Rose to work for the alternate Torchwood, but it's OMG THE WORST THING EVER if Jack revamps the one in this universe?

      Because she's a blonde. Seriously, Ten just favors young blondes. Rose, Reinette…it's a little gross in the context of how he treats anyone who has the misfortune of not falling into that demographic. And not altogether different than Martha's dad running off with another young blonde – no wonder Martha was so sarcastic upon finding out Rose's hair color.

      • Amanda says:

        Well also he might not have realized that Jack's revamped Torchwood. He sure does love his blondes, though. I mean, look at some of his old school companions.

      • I dunno, I get a little bummed out that Martha was sarcastic about Rose being blonde, as if it's some kind of personal failing. It's a shame blondes take so much shit thanks to a few biased blokes. I got tired of people assuming I was either easy or dumb as a rock for years, and oddly enough people never make those comments about me since colouring my hair auburn. What gives, world?!

        • mkjcaylor says:

          Yea, I hate getting the blonde shit, too. But I can't bring myself to color my hair simply because I like flaunting my natural color in front of other people who do color their hair. 😉 Although I have had highlights done before.

        • Starsea28 says:

          Hey, you're in good company, that's what Amy Adams did. In the UK, it's fine to be a blonde but people get the piss taken out of them for having red hair…

        • hassibah says:

          It's one of those things that you could read two ways: either she was snarking on Rose or she was snarking on 10 for getting enamoured with blondes. I looked at it the second way, given the tone of the Capn's line right before that.

          • Very true, I'm just a wee bit sensitive on that note, but I know most of the US is pretty cool with blonde jokes. Tennant's Doctor was a bit of a blonde-chaser. (Hilarious since he has a habit of dating blondes!)

            On a completely unrelated to Who note, I've always wondered why it's okay to make crude jokes about people of a certain hair colour.. when I was a kid I was targeted pretty heavily by it, which is why I don't find them particularly funny as an adult. I don't like joking about anyone's appearance, anymore than I'd targed someone for being a different ethnicity, or thinner than/heavier than I am. :/ Whenever I raise that question I get called overly "Politically Correct", which is odd, since my big mouth gets me in trouble for *not* being PC most times.

            • hassibah says:

              There's a really annoying thing that if people tend to be stereotypically attractive then people will assume they're stupid, shallow and generally shitty people. It's really crappy and often totally sexist IMO, it's just as shitty as treating someone like less of a person cause they have less than perfect looks.

        • sabra_n says:

          I don't think Martha was sarcastic about Rose as a person so much as the men she cares about the most – her father and the Doctor – both turning away from Martha in favor of a young blonde. (On top of being a black woman in a world where she's probably been implicitly told all her life that paler is better and blonde is the very palest of all.)

      • mkjcaylor says:

        Well, okay, BUT. I know they took it out, but wasn't the initial thought that he regenerated specifically to be appealing to Rose?

        So I can see how Ten would favor blondes.

        Randomly, wasn't the girlfriend of someone's father in Sarah Jane Adventures also a young blonde (like Martha's dad's girl)? RTD has some fixation on that.

        • sabra_n says:

          wasn't the initial thought that he regenerated specifically to be appealing to Rose?

          I don't know about "initial thought", but it's something…someone or other said in a Confidential, yes. But "appeals to Rose", even if you believe that (which I don't), is not the same thing as "favors young blondes over all other people". Unless you're saying that "favors young blondes over all other people" is a quality which is appealing to Rose in her men, which is…a bit harsh. 😛 And I'm not particularly fond of Rose myself.

          But the important bit is this: He's the Doctor. He shouldn't be as shallow as…well, as Martha's dad in the midst of a midlife crisis. All this stuff about Twu Wuv and pitting Companions against each other romantically made the Doctor small and petty in ways that I hated watching.

    • trash_addict says:

      'I always crack up so hard at the way he says "I dunno, I could make grits. What are grits, anyway?"'

      You know what? As a non-American, I've Googled grits several times and I STILL kinda don't get it. So this makes me laugh a lot, too.

      • arctic_hare says:

        I not only know what they are, but I eat them a LOT, and I'm not even Southern, IDK what that's about. XD So the combination of him wondering that + the way Simm says it makes me laugh so hard.

      • drippingmercury says:

        It's ground up corn boiled into a grainy mush. It's similar to other crushed grain mushes such as cream of wheat and oatmeal in that it's largely a bland base used to convey more interesting flavors to your mouth.
        Grits are pretty good, in that porridge-y sort of way.

    • syntheticjesso says:

      I'm so sad that your comment is all "Bandwidth exceeded" placeholders. When does photobucket reset the bandwidth meter?

      • arctic_hare says:

        I don't know. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Hopefully soon, as that's where my LJ moodtheme pics are uploaded to and now they're not displaying. AWKWARD. Guess it's off to tinypic for me, as I have MOAR GIFS for Monday (and onwards).

  2. Stephen_M says:

    This and Utopia really do work very well together. I do sorta wish we'd gotten a little more of Jacobi's Master mind, the few glimpses we got were very very interesting and it's a shame that's all we'll ever see. That said Simm is just awesome here, a wonderful cracked mirror image of the Doctor and a match for him in pretty much every way. I've always loved the fact he plans ahead to the point of having the perfect soundtrack for the invasion of the Toclafaine programmed into the Valiant's control panel. Yep, the Master is still the same Magnificent Bastard we all know and love.

    Pacing's good and the payoff for earlier setups work nicely. Captain Jack is pushed firmly to the background here though and you do get the feeling that RTD is maybe running up against the limit of the number of characters he can juggle in a 45 minute slot (Doctor, Martha, Jack, Master + 1, Martha's family… there's a LOT going on). The Valiant is a fantastic Captain Scarlet nod as well 😀 The conversation between the Master and the Doctor on the phone is a great way to fill in backstory although you really can see RTD giggling at the Foe-Yay as he's writing it.

    Downsides? Yeah, a couple. The Doctor's plan with the key really isn't the best he's ever come up with and while he's limited in terms of resources he's got a lot more time than normal… Still don't like Martha's mum (her Dad is kinda awesome though) which takes out some of the emotional impact the scene of them being taken away should have had. Oh, and the resolution to the Utpoia cliffhanger suffers a tiny bit from RTD's usual 'and with one bound they were free' trick.

    One thing I've been waiting two whole bloody series to mention is we get to see the consequences of the Doctor's actions in The Christmas Invasion. Casually ruining Britain's Golden Age because Harriet Jones had the audacity to defy him, personally, was bad enough but it turns out that thanks to that Harold Saxon managed to come to power… I do think it's a shame that more wasn't made of that but I should know better than to expect RTD to call Ten out on his God complex.

    Overall though a nice middle to the three parter and a good setup for the finale.

    • echinodermata says:

      "Oh, and the resolution to the Utpoia cliffhanger suffers a tiny bit from RTD's usual 'and with one bound they were free' trick.

      I hate when shows do this. It's just such a lazy way to create drama, when it gets resolved within 5 minutes of the next episode. Also, do it enough times and the audience learns to stop caring.

      • Tauriel says:

        Yeah, well, that's typical RTD for you, I'm afraid… 🙁

      • jackiep says:

        Actually, this time it's not lazy when we consider that Jack's wristband appeared when Jack first appeared, he's been wearing it ever since, he wore it throughout Torchwood series 1 and mentioned that it got fritzed with the massice time jump when he and the Doctors were getting their rulers out in Utopia (though kind of glosses over why Jack didn't use it to escape his about to explode spaceship in The Doctor Dances…).

        So it's always been there, a time travelling machine on Jack's wrist.

        • Stephen_M says:

          Yep, that's why I'd say it's only a tiny thing in the overall scheme of things, RTD did indeed play fair with the audience and show the gun over the mantel before it was fired. Nowhere near as egregious as the Series 2 Cyberman 2 parter f'instance…

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Not `lazy`. That's a really bad word to use. Like it or dislike it, fine. But lazy implies less than 100% effort and attention when it's a deliberately chosen writing style.

        I actually have a long post prepared about Russell's approach to writing, but that will have to wait until Monday.

        • echinodermata says:

          1. I wasn't specifically speaking to DW/RTD, but rather any show that decides the way to keep viewers watching is to end with a cliffhanger that's presented as "how ever will out characters get out of this?" then it's resolved immediately in the next episode.

          That's not really what this ep and the last ep did, so my criticism (won't speak to the OP) just speaks to this general use and that I think this episode walks perilously close to performing the above.

          2. I do think it's lazy, when it's a stock option many shows take regardless of the circumstances of the plot, and it certainly isn't as rewarding as a well thought out escape. "100% effort and attention" is not synonymous with a "deliberately chosen" style.
          Was the cliffhanger/resolution deliberate and given attention? Yes. But I don't believe it took 100% effort to come up with that resolution.

          • mkjcaylor says:

            Have you seen the resolution to the conflict in the first episode of Syfy's new US Being Human series? I wanted to smack a writer after that one.

          • nyssaoftraken74 says:

            Well I have to disagree. An obvious cliffhanger resolution isn't bad or lazy. It's often the best way. I think it *should* be resolved quickly and immediately so that you can get on with the story. Especially when it's obvious *and yet we don't see it coming*. That just means it's obvious in retrospect.

            More generally, I just don't believe anyone has the right to suggest it's less that their best effort. If anyone said I was lazy when I knew I'd done my best job, I'd want to slap them! Say what I've done is crap, by all means. I may or may not agree that it's my best work, but don't tell me I didn't *try* to make it my best work. I'd rather be called incompetent than lazy. And I don't think that's just me.

            I don't believe that Russell EVER gave anything less than his absolutely best efforts on Doctor Who. You're free to like it or dislike it. You're entitled to your opinion on how successful a script is, but I don't believe you're entitled to criticise the level of effort of someone who is clearly giving everything they have.

    • One thing I've been waiting two whole bloody series to mention is we get to see the consequences of the Doctor's actions in The Christmas Invasion. Casually ruining Britain's Golden Age because Harriet Jones had the audacity to defy him, personally, was bad enough but it turns out that thanks to that Harold Saxon managed to come to power… I do think it's a shame that more wasn't made of that but I should know better than to expect RTD to call Ten out on his God complex.

      This. It's one thing for every incidence of dungeon-room torture never to be commented on in BBC Robin Hood, but I expect more from Doctor Who. :/

    • Star says:

      Do you really think Harriet Jones being Prime Minister would have stopped the Master? He would have probably just killed her.

      • Tenalto says:

        I think it was more that the deposing of Harriet Jones created a power vacuum — things were thrown into something of a mess, and then, "Oh look! Here's a brilliant, charming young up-and-comer whom everyone loves! He'll do nicely!" The Doctor essentially carved out a place for the Master to step in and take power.

      • It would have been more difficult for him to get voted in – with Harriet Jones still alive at least. I got the impression that he wanted to carry it all off in a way such that the humans actually gave him the power – if he'd killed Harriet Jones, it wouldn't have been so knife-twisty

      • Stephen_M says:

        In addition to the above (and I'd say Tenalto has it spot on) you have to remember the Master's working on a deadline. He's got a max of 18 months before he can expect the Doctor to turn up (let's face it, stranding him at the end of the universe was never going to stop him and the Master is genre-savy enough to know that) and in order for his plan to work he doesn't just need to be PM. He starts with a ministerial position to build the Valiant and the satellite network and then uses that network to get elected. If the power vacuum didn't already exist he'd have been VERY hard pressed to get all that done. At the very least the risk of exposure in the initial phases when he didn't have global mind control on his side would have been WAY higher if he'd also had to bump off the PM and probably several others to create the opportunity he needed.

        But here's the thing… it doesn't really matter what the Master WOULD have done or not, in the Whoniverse (this week anyway… wibbly wobbly, timey wimey etc) the Doctor effectively removed Harriet Jones from power and created a hole the Master exploited to take over the entire world (and decimate the population which, incidentally, bonus points for the correct use of 'decimate'). That really does deserve acknowledgment in-universe.

    • Neil says:

      Jacobi plays another version of the Master in "The Scream of the Shalka" on the BBC Doctor Who website with Richard E Grant as an alternative 9th Doctor. It's flawed, but fun

  3. Hypatia_ says:

    "To put things in perspective: there is no way I am even the slightest way prepared for “Last of the Time Lords.” At all."

    At least you realize this.

    Holy crap, this episode. I don't want to say much because YOU HAVE ANOTHER EPISODE YET but oh, the Master. He's one of my favorite villains ever. And yet, I feel bad for liking him so much. He's a batshit insane, sadistic meglomaniac. I will have more to say on the subject on Monday.

    The treatment of the US President always makes me giggle. It's an amusing view into how the rest of the world sees the US. Having lived outside of my native land for some time, I know pretty well how Americans are seen by other countries. President Winters makes me cringe a little, because, well, it's kind of true. "I dunno, I could make grits. What are grits?" Actually, most Americans don't eat grits, Master, just FYI, but it made me laugh anyway (I'm from the Pacific Northwest. I'm not entirely sure what grits are…). "I will accept mastery over you, if that is God's will." Oh for chrissake, I'll be renouncing my citizenship now.

    This episode also contains some excellent fridge horror. First, the TARDIS turned into a paradox machine. Remember, the TARDIS is alive. She's also pretty much the Doctor's oldest companion. And the Master did god knows what to her. ::shudder:: Also, the gleeful "I get to kill him AGAIN!" is funny at first, and then it's kind of horrifying when you think about it. The Master knows Jack can't die. The Master is a sadist. I don't want to know. Really. I don't.

    You need to organize these reviews so you don't end up waiting over the weekend to finish the finales. Of course, it's only two days and the rest of us waited a week, but still. It's gotta be worse when all the episodes are RIGHT THERE on Netflix. Your will is stronger than mine, my friend.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Part of what makes me laugh so hard at the grits thing, besides Simm's delivery, is that I'm from southern California and I eat them every morning. XD

    • cdnstar says:

      "oh, the Master. He's one of my favorite villains ever. And yet, I feel bad for liking him so much. He's a batshit insane, sadistic meglomaniac. I will have more to say on the subject on Monday. " – this. Gosh, I absolutely love the master, as John Simm does such a fabulous job in the role. But he's … yeah, he's an absolute asshole through and through.

    • amandajane5 says:

      As a grit-eater from way back, I can definitely agree that most Americans don't eat them, I, personally, was called a Southern Smell for my love of them. I've turned many a New Englander around about them (bacon-cheese grits are awesome and the dinner-time ones I make with chicken-broth, mushrooms, and Parmesan are to die for) but there's definitely an inherent dislike of them that has nothing to do with the grits exactly, probably more anti-Southern thinking.

  4. nanceoir says:

    Another call for gif requests. (I need a life or something.)

  5. PeterRabid says:

    I can’t say much without blurting out spoilers, so instead I’m going to focus on Gallifrey. Because I’m a geek and I eat up every single reference to it that the writers throw at me.

    “Remember me to Gallifree!” ~Drax

    <img width="550" height="318" src=""/&gt;

    Ain’t it puuuurdy?

    But, um, why is there a Time Lord standing outside the Citadel looking majestic? They never ever go outside. The land around the Capitol was wild and only Outsiders lived out there, Gallifreyans that chose to return to nature. In “Invasion of Time” as soon as Leela and Rodan were exiled from the Capitol, Rodan (who had never been outside) was all “Nature? OMG WE’RE GONNA DIE.”

    Whatevs, it’s still puuuurdy.

    <img width="688" height="400" src=""/&gt;

    For some reason, I’m super interested in Gallifreyan fashion, while I can’t be bothered by trends in Earth clothing. I adore the classic Fourth Doctor onwards look of the Time Lords. We haven’t seen the chibi!Master’s outfit since “The War Games,” which is a lovely little nod towards the Troughton Era.

    <img width="563" height="422" src="–2z88.jpg/563px-St–2z88.jpg"/&gt;

    So yeah… I’m going to go try to learn the next few lines of Gallifreyan Buccaneer without choking on my own tongue in the process. Maybe after that I’ll go out and get a life.

  6. kaybee42 says:

    "THE MASTER, WHERE IS YOUR TARDIS. USE YOUR OWN, YOU BULLY." MARK- STOP MAKING ME LAUGH OUT LOUD! I am living in crappy student accomodation and the walls are thin! Damn you, Mark! 😛
    Also, question for classic whovians, but don't worry if the answer is spoilery:
    The master. Is he gay? Or possibly asexual? It's just the way the Doctor said "The master and his *wife*?!" made me wonder…

  7. NB2000 says:

    I rewatched this episode earlier and I STILL have Voodoo Child stuck in my head. Why do insane evil monsters have such good taste in music?

    <img src=”… ”>
    Man, first Lazarus and now The Master, why do villains keep hitting on Tish?

    • arctic_hare says:

      NGL, I'd totally hit on her too. 😀 But I'm not evil, to be fair.

      Well… not evil in THAT way…

    • feminerdist says:

      Yup me too. But Voodoo Child is completely perfect for this episode.

    • NB2000 says:

      So, it's now been eaten by my attempts to post my gif of The Master doing his double thumbs up (which will not post, I don't know why), extra throughts I was in too much of a rush to put in my first post:

      Young!Master has the BEST hair, possibly even better than Creet's from the last episode. He's also suitably creepy with those staaaring eyes.

      Love Martha standing up to the Doctor when her family are being arrested (well not the part of blaming him, but the "I'll do what I like" is pretty awesome). Very impressed with her driving skills while being shot at. I'd probably just start freaking out if that happened to me.

      It's a tiny thing but, during the phone call between The Doctor and The Master, when The Master says "All of them?" I always half expect him to start asking after specific Time Lords by name all Red Dwarf "Everybody's dead Dave!" style.

      It's been a while since I indulged in some TARDIS!Love so: "He's cannibalised the TARDIS" *flail* Bastard!

      • kaybee42 says:

        Did you know Young!Master played young!Casanova whose adult version was played by David Tennant? Oh Britain, sometimes the acting pool really does feel very small! I hope it's like one big happy family! 😛

        • trash_addict says:

          I only re-watched Casanova a couple of weeks ago and didn't pick up on that at all! Oh Britain indeed.

      • Stephen_M says:

        You'd think the Doctor would at least install an immobilizer on the old girl to stop stuff like this happening…

        Oh, and as for the Trish comment, she's a) pretty and b) dumb enough to fall for sudden and unexpected promotions / attentions from the boss TWICE and not twig to the evulz… if you're an evil overlord with time to kill why not?

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          &gt;You'd think the Doctor would at least install an immobilizer on the old girl to stop stuff like this happening…

          Yeah, but if you think you're the onlone in the Universe who can drive the thing, I guees you can understand why he doesn't have one.

          THE MASTER: Woolly thinking, Doctor!

  8. sirshay says:

    I adored this episode. To a ridiculous degree, actually. And, because I run the risk of spoiling you if I continue, let me just say YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

  9. Tauriel says:

    The phone conversation between the Doctor and the Master is the best thing ever, that's all I'm saying.

  10. Anon says:

    Apparently Tony Blair and George Bush were the inspiration behind the Prime Minister and President. It has to be said Blair does have that manic grin & and as for Bush, not very popular in the UK.

    • Tauriel says:

      Oooh, I so want to post a certain comment, but it would be spoilery for Life On Mars, if Mark ever decides to watch it… 😀

    • bookling says:

      I could tell he was based on Bush because he keeps making comments about God and had a southern drawl. Ha!

      • Donald G says:

        Winters didn't sound particularly Southern to me. To this Southerner, he sounded fairly Northern and patrician (in a North American Broadcast Standard kind of way). The actor who portrayed him is Canadian and had played US American in British TV before in the second season of the late-eighties Peter Davison vehicle, "A Very Peculiar Practice".

        • bookling says:

          I didn't think it was a particularly strong accent, but I thought there was a little bit of a southern drawl there. I'm from the northeast, though, and I think it's funny that we're hearing each other's accents in his voice.

          • Hypatia_ says:

            He sounded pretty Standard American to me. I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest.

          • mkjcaylor says:

            I think he definitely sounded like Bush, with the sort of 'drawl' that Bush had when he said 'My fellow Americans…'

            There was no doubt in my mind that it was intended to make fun of W.

    • PeterRabid says:

      (As an American) I love when they show a group of Americans watching the news broadcast. They're eating popcorn out of an American flag patterned container, wearing football jerseys, and there are flags everywhere.

      • who_cares86 says:

        Stereotype win?

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Ture. You have literally 1 second of screen time to establish it's an American family, so what's a production designer to do? 🙂

      • Openattheclose says:

        And this is happening at 3 a.m. EST too! Although I guess they could be some West Coast Buffalo Bills fans?

        BTW, I have to mention that it drives me crazy that the American newscaster says "3 a.m. in the morning." Lady, either say a.m. or morning, not both!

      • mkjcaylor says:

        I know, I noticed that too! Why not have, like, a lone American flag somewhere. No need to smack us in the face with that!

    • jackiep says:

      It's funny, in the UK there was a feeling of wanting to cheer when The Master was so openly taking the piss out of the US President at the airbase. Yes, that's wanting to cheer the Master when he's twitting a human. Then again, one Classic episode's cliffhanger was mortal peril to the Master, so as villains go, he's always had a special place. However Tony Blair's open crawling to Dubya at the time really stuck in a lot of our throats. Yes ok, be mates, but do you really have to lick him THERE?

      The John, David and Freema commentary for the season finale was hilarious about the assassination of the US President, carefully pointing out the date "just in case people are watching this at a time when the US President is somebody really good…"

      • nanceoir says:

        Except it's not the actual president who gets assassinated. At one point, he says that he's the President-Elect, which is only used by someone who's not already the president and has won the election but hasn't been sworn in yet. Like, a president winning a second term isn't called President-Elect. So, it's the new guy who's gonna take over, not the guy still with the job.

        For me, it throws me out a little, because I think they set it in real-time, in 2007, which was not a national election year in the US anyway. If only he hadn't said President-Elect right before he died….

        • agrinningfool says:

          Maybe he said President-Elect to try and make clear that he was an Elected official?

          • who_cares86 says:

            That was probably the intend but in any case RTD didn't do the research. In all cases the current president would deal with the situation even if he's leaving the next day. The president elect has no power or authority to do anything.

        • maccyAkaMatthew says:

          I think that's just a gaffe on RTD's part (and the whole team, to be fair).

          Timing wise, Aliens of London means the world is a year ahead, probably, so it's 2008, which would be an election year. But it doesn't look like November or December, so it still doesn't really fit. And anyway the President Elect has no authority. I think it's easier if he's just the President, nearing the end of his term and (if he's a Bush analogue) not able to stand for re-election. So, just a mistake.

        • jackiep says:

          Now I think that President Elect was an RTD cock-up. After all President Elects wouldn't have access to Airforce One (yet) and I doubt that an outgoing President would leave first Contact to their not yet sworn in successor.

          So let's take that as a slip of the tongue by a nervous POTUS meeting aliens for the first time?

          • Scarecrow says:

            Technically not a gaff as such. As a phrase it has existed and can be used in the way RTD means, to say "I am President elect" rather than "I am President-Elect". The gaff was in using the more generalised term in reference to a American politican, where they have that specific meaning.

  11. who_cares86 says:

    This episode gets bonus points for the correct usage of the term decimate. I don't think anyone was expecting to ever see Gallifrey again after the time-war but damn doesn't it look amazing. Thank god technology has moved on. They never really did it any justice in the classic series. Sacking Harriet Jones wasn't such a good idea after all, Doctor. Nice job breaking it hero.

    • jackiep says:

      You see, Harold Saxon can't be all bad when he's insisting on the correct useage of the word "decimate"…

      • virtual_monster says:

        I love that he uses decimate accurately.

        Although, he could well be the ultimate in grammar police… "you will use your words correctly or my six billion Toclafane will make you die slowly and screamingly. That's at least three-door openings slowly."

        • PeterRabid says:

          The only moment that I like Eric Roberts as the Master is when he corrects Grace's grammar.

          Grace: Does she kiss as good as me?
          The Master: As well as you.
          Grace and the Doctor: O.o

        • syntheticjesso says:

          "Three door-openings slowly"

          LAWL. That sequence made me laugh, until I realized I was laughing at the screams of a dying woman. Then I was horrified, but still giggled at the Master's fist-biting.

  12. Caroline says:

    "I didn’t really know what a Paradox Machine did when it was first introduced (create a paradox, I assume?)"

    Oh, Mark. So not prepared.

  13. echinodermata says:

    Youtube link to a Doctor Who parody of the Potter Puppet Pal's "Mysterious Ticking Noise"
    Tiny spoilers for season 5 of DW at the very end, so be warned – when it goes to black at 1:57, stop watching/listening if you're avoiding spoilers.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    I honestly love how manic the Master is – new Who is my only familiarity with him, but I know he's an iconic villain, so I figure going all out with his character makes sense.

    And I love the aspect of the drumming; it's such a little detail that makes his character for me.

    Also, since I hate the Doctor for screwing Harriet Jones over, I'm a little gleeful that her downfall is implied to allow Saxon to come to power. Take that, Ten! Why yes, I am incredibly petty about this.

    I said in the Human Nature review that I tend not to ship the Doctor with anyone because of all the power inequalities in his relationships with people. While I still tend not to ship the Doctor, I do think that Doctor/Master makes the most sense as a pairing given the fact that the power dynamic is leveled out for the most part, and that they have so much history together, and here, they're the only ones left of their species. Plus, all the "say my name" stuff makes me lol. And his name's the Master, ffs.

    "It’s like—it’s like when you fancy someone and they don’t even know you exist"
    Oh, ENOUGH ALREADY. He's an alien, not an idiot. He's apt enough to make that analogy, but completely oblivious to her feelings? Really?

    And frankly, I think this episode is really strong until the Master starts aging the Doctor. My tolerance for bad special effects is pretty minimal, so the ending kind of sucks for me. But I like the rest of the episode! Okay, and I like the pop song bit at the end.

    • kaybee42 says:

      The "say my name" stuff is SO freaking KINKY! Doctor/Master might not exactly be a healthy long term relationship, but oh my! The Foe-yay is just…. well, you know! It being John Simm and David Tennant helps too 🙂

    • Tauriel says:

      John Simm in a "Vote Saxon" shirt = HAAAAWWWWWWTTTTTT!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    • That first pic of Simm = MAXIMUM UNF

    • psycicflower says:

      There's a general election in Ireland at the end of the month and I'm now sad that I don't have a Vote Saxon tshirt for the day.

    • bookling says:

      The Master aging the Doctor bothers me because, isn't the Doctor like 900 years old? Aging him by 100 years shouldn't make him look that old. It should make him look like, five years older.

      • maccyAkaMatthew says:

        I think the idea is that it's aging him within that regeneration.

        The only problem with that being that if you want to even vaguely reconcile the ages the Doctor gives at various points in the series, he has to go off every now and then for 100 year or so – and doesn't seem to show the effects that much.

        • bookling says:

          Hmm, true enough. I guess he can only live for so long in one body because he has to regenerate again. That makes sense.

          Also, the more I think about it, it's pretty hard to come up with a definite age for a Time Lord, anyways. How do you track time when you're constantly jumping back and forth through it? How much older is Martha, even? We know she came back to Earth four days after she left, but how long was she actually gone for? You'd be hard-pressed to even do the calculations.

          • maccyAkaMatthew says:

            That's Moffat's theory about the various age discrepancies that people worry about – he doesn't know how old he is, so he guesses.

            There's also the possibility that he's past a thousand but doesn't want to admit it.

            • sabra_n says:

              There's also the possibility that he's past a thousand but doesn't want to admit it.

              That's my favorite explanation, because it amuses me to imagine the Doctor denying turning 1000 the way humans deny turning 40.

            • Amanda says:

              Well he admits to being 1012 in the EDA Vampire Science, at any rate, but I'm fairly sure those aren't considered canon.

              • sabra_n says:

                Maybe the Time War took away some of his years somehow. That's pretty much the only explanation for his fluctuating age that I'll accept other than "he's vain and refuses to admit he's turned the big 1-0-0-0". 😛

      • whatsername says:

        I thought the same thing but then I was thinking, well, he's regenerated lots of times during those 900 years. It could be each "incarnation" ages like humans do…

      • virtual_monster says:

        Perhaps it's not Earth years he's aging him by? Yeah, I know I'm stretching there, but it kinda works…

        • Amanda says:

          I don't know if that would work anyway, because according to the History of the Time Lords (a fascinating read but full of spoilers so I won't link it) the Gallifreyan year is the same length as an earth year.

  14. Openattheclose says:

    The epic music that plays when we get our glimpse of Gallifrey is called “This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home” and it is one of my favorite pieces of music EVER

    So the Doctor basically caused all of this by interfering with Harriet Jones. He really shouldn’t have done that. Did you see what they did here? You almost don’t even notice through this series, but the Doctor is barely on earth during the time period that Saxon is taking power. Except for “Smith and Jones” and “The Lazurus Experiment,” he has barely been around since the Runaway Bride, so even without the Archangel Network, he really hasn’t spent much time here to notice Saxon.

    I absolutely ADORE the black coat with red lining that the Master is wearing in the airport scene.

    • Openattheclose says:

      Huh that is supposed to say could things possibly get any worse? I give up on posting from my iPhone lol.

    • PeterRabid says:

      I could listen to that piece on repeat for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.

      I kind of like that they weren't on 21st century Earth a whole lot in Series 3. It gets a bit boring after a while, and if you had a time machine I doubt you'd want to keep showing up there all the time.

      Also, for some reason the Master's coat reminds me of the Third Doctor's red lined cape, especially when it's billowing in the wind. YAY CAPES.

    • Donald G says:

      I'm biting my tongue to avoid the first "blink and you'll miss it" mention of Mr Saxon and British politics prior to this season to avoid falling afoul of Mark's spoiler policy.

      • flootzavut says:

        I think I just spotted that earlier on today, I can't believe I never noticed it before it was a yay moment 😀

    • carma_bee says:

      I love the Master's coat too. I love how it's like the cloak thing that the Third Doctor wore a lot of the time.

  15. KVogue says:

    This is such a good one! I love how Martha really comes into her own here. Often when she has scenes with the doctor they're all about how she's hopelessly in love with him, but here she's not taking his crap. I love the part when she's calling her family and the Doctor tells her not to tell him anything and she just snaps at him.

    I also love the music in this episode. When the Master really starts to show his power the music incorporates the four note beat, like it's trying to get it into your head just like the theme. I actually find myself tapping the beat from time to time, I guess the Master's subliminal mind control works.

  16. Anon says:

    The Master is my favorite villian, John Simm plays him so well i was actually on his side in this episode. The great thing about The Master unlike the other villains he's just as clever as The Doctor, he's an equal which means shit will get fucked up.

  17. HOW ARE THEY GOING TO RESOLVE THIS pretty much perfectly encompasses my mental state while watching this for the first time. It's just so WHAT WHAT WHAT NO OH GOD EVERYTHING IS WRONG AND TERRIBLE HOW CAN YOU EVEN I DON'T KNOW.

    And yeah, The Master is both hilarious and terribly, terribly frightening.

  18. xghostproof says:


    Pretty sure my mind exploded so many times this episode. Honestly, the whole last half to series 3 is the most flawless thing to exist, in my opinion, but fff this episode. ;klfnsgpsfd;kjgn. I CAN'T EXPRESS ALL MY FEELINGS WITHOUT LOTS OF KEYSMASH.

    “Oh! I know what it’s like. It’s like when you fancy someone, and they don’t even know you exist. That’s what it’s like.”

    The Doctor is really not perceptive sometimes, yeah? And dlskjgbhldf Jack's comment to Martha. "You too, huh?" Poor Jack, too.

    Also, I really love the Master's choice of music in this episode. This song totes gets stuck in my head, and was so totally appropriate for the scene it starred in sdgjnfdjdsb! (okay I fail at embedding? here's a link to voodoo child)

    And in conclusion, as I can't cope without more keysmashing should I continue, my gifs for this episode:

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Yeah- the Doctor's just a little bit thick in this episode, although he might be being deliberately obtuse. But c'mon Doctor, if you are, why are so cruel?!?

      And Martha- don't go the same way as Jack. He spent over a hundred years tracking the Doctor down, hanging onto his spare body parts. Probably best to quit while you're ahead.

      • darth_eowyn says:

        "And Martha- don't go the same way as Jack. He spent over a hundred years tracking the Doctor down, hanging onto his spare body parts. Probably best to quit while you're ahead."

        Hee hee. Yes.

        Although in Jack's defense, he was looking for the Doctor partly in hopes that the Doctor could fix him, I think.

  19. leighzzz31 says:

    So much love for this episode! But I have to say all its doom and gloom – and there was a lot of that, aged Doctor, omg, tears – was pretty overshadowed by the awesomeness that is the Master. I can honestly say I have never loved a villain so much. The jelly beans sealed the deal for me on that matter. And then the song! I wanted everyone to join in and dance even though the world was ending.

  20. maript says:

    In order to avoid accidental spoilage (I haven't seen this episode in a few weeks) I'll just say OMG JOHN SIMM I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. He is SO MUCH like the Doctor that it absolutely highlights the fact that they're the last – so similar but so different. This casting and acting choice was absolutely brilliant. And it makes the Foe Yay even more delicious (RTD must have loled writing that phone call)

    Also, again, I love the title of this episode and the sound of drums itself; I have absolutely no sense of rhythm but I find myself tapping it all the time now, it's the only rhythm I can consistently keep.

    Finally, you are not prepared for anything ever, Mark, but don't worry, nobody ever is.

  21. Tauriel says:

    It was, and the thing I wanted to talk about still makes me laugh every time. It's genius.

  22. nextboy says:

    i love how cartoon villain the master is, it’s like watching looney toons with the dynamite and the crazy music and the hammy dialogue and i love it!

  23. Albion19 says:

    Martha: I'll do what I like!


    I love the Master ad Lucy eating Jelly Babies. Also the Gallifrey scene is great, I love the music (s3 has a wonderful soundtrack)

  24. psycicflower says:

    TARDIS! What has the Master done to her?
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> I'm all about sentient TARDIS so it is so sad to see her cannibalised like that.

    What do you know, Saxon popped up for the first time 18 months ago, directly after the fall of Harriet Jones. Side eyeing you Doctor, side eyeing you so hard. I can't decide what's more intriguing about the Master, his time as Saxon and rise to power, or his resurrection and part in the Time War. I love any and all Time War hints so even small things like how he was there when Dalek Emperor took control of the crucible is fascinating. The Doctor/Master shippers should start emerging now, especailly after that phone call.
    Equally his and the Doctor's childooh on Galiifrey is so interesting. I love that the Doctor freely admits to being one of the people who ran. I’m sure half the people here going to link to this but ‘Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home’ is pure love and deserves as many links as possible. I especailly love that it played during some Yana scenes in 'Utopia'. Musical foreshadowing without us even knowing.

    There's just so much happening in this episode that I'm sure others are going to cover better.
    Random things I loved was the fact that earth time wise Martha has only been gone for four days. Martha's dad telling her to run was great, as was Martha's impressive driving skills. How the Master quickly isolates Team TARDIS by making them terror suspects and cuts them off from anyone who could help, like Torchwood being off on a wilg goose chase. Also the contrast between British and American news making their own leader look good, Saxon’s letting Winters do it, Winters was chosen for the job. Really though I love it whenever the news people are in an episode.

    The ending is just so bleak and it's pretty hard to see any hope at all. The Master has control, the Doctor and Jack are trapped on the Valiant and Martha is alone on earth as the Toclafane descend. And then we had to wait a week for the next episode Mark, a whole week.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • psycicflower says:

      Oh I forgot to include this. The TARDIS chameleon circuit keys in this episode, I was totally surprised when an old friend made me one years ago (although I was the one who got him into DW). It’s just a key with some wires and a chip soldered on to it on a bit of twine but I love it so much.
      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • Openattheclose says:

      It is not possible to give too much love to that awesome piece of music. I could listen to it over and over.

  25. Kaci says:

    This episode is why years later, I still have voodoo child on my phone. Any other comment I might make would inevitably lead to spoilers. “Oh hear it comes, the sound of drums!”

  26. Meadow says:

    Mark, I am so disapoint. No mention of the most epic destruction of Earth set to awesome music? Or the foe-yay between the Master and Doctor? xD

  27. pica_scribit says:

    I love how the Master is only a couple of degrees away from what the Doctor is. Instead of using his power to help people he uses it to help himself, but he's got a similar sort of eccentric, over-the-top personality, and yes, a companion (Chantho, too, was a companion). Time Lords like having someone else around to explain things to and make themselves look all clever.

    Oh, and I love the characterisation of President Winters. It really shows how the rest of the world sees the US government, which is not a view we get in this country very often.

    So much happening! OMG! Are we really waiting for Monday for the big finish?!

    • doesntsparkle says:

      That's why he's the best villain. Seriously, The Master is so much scarier that Cybermen, Daleks, or other monsters. Charming sociopaths cause more real world problems that alien robots.

  28. Caroline says:

    Oooh, just realized… this time next week you'll be into series 4, y/y? So excite!

  29. buyn says:

    This episode rates a 4 for scariness.
    Also, I'm going to post an image, but I'm scared about whether or not to, So I'll post it on the spoiler site first to get it approved/disproved.

  30. Hypatia_ says:

    And I love that he's eating jelly babies. Classic Who reference FTW!

  31. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    Sorry I probably shouldn't have mentioned them. Here's a link, but you can't unread what it contains:

    No spoilers* for anything other than Lungbarrow (which I've only read a few pages of before giving up) so it doesn't spoil the show, but it will make your head hurt.

    *oops – the "behind the scenes" section is a bit spoilery for later in the new series, so skip that if you haven't seen it.

    • doesntsparkle says:

      Thanks, I was thinking of literal, cloth weaving looms and was very confused.

      • echinodermata says:

        That's what brings it from eye-rolling to hilarious for me. The "weaving" metaphors people use to describe DNA are metaphorical, Author.

  32. bookling says:

    This episode. THIS EPISODE. You are completely not prepared for the next one.

    AND I NEVER NOTICED THE SOUND OF DRUMS WAS IN THE THEME SONG YOU JUST BLEW MY MIND MARK. OMG AM I HYPNOTIZED NOW? (At work last night I was totally tapping out the rhythm, too. Oh god.)

    Also: check out these Americans watching the president on TV!

    <img src=""&gt;

    We sure do love our football and pizza and fried chicken! And… letterman jackets! This must be how British people feel when they see themselves portrayed on American TV as being fussy with posh accents and having tea and scones and wearing monocles.

    • nextboy1 says:

      I also never made the connection to the theme tune before, amazing!

    • PeterRabid says:

      LMAO As an American, I love how other people stereotype us. That may be partly because I watch so much Hetalia (the personification of America in that anime makes me… strangely patriotic). Seriously, we all watch football and eat pizza, chips, popcorn, and KFC at the same meal. And they have to put an American flag on the popcorn container just in case we didn't get it. XP

      • jackiep says:

        Are you suggesting that some American families don't look like that? That's like suggesting that some Brits don't live in stately homes with hyphenated names!

    • samarkand_ says:

      Wooooow that is an amazing screengrab! I want to make that my wallpaper!

    • Anon says:

      There's a wonderful story from Michelle Ryan who is British and played the Bionic Woman on US tv. In one episode she had to use a English accent, but they told her she couldn't use hers because it wasn't English enough! They actually hired her a voice coach so she could do what americans think of as an English accent. Mental!

      • Hypatia_ says:

        In the States, I once worked with a girl from Liverpool, who had a very strong Liverpool accent. I once heard a client tell her to "Knock off that fake British accent, you're not fooling anyone." When she tried to tell him that no, this is her real accent, he said "I know what English people sound like and YOU DON'T SOUND ENGLISH!"

        I don't know exactly what happened after that, but he did leave pretty shortly after. Messing with this girl was a bad idea. She was six feet tall and could be scary when she wanted to be.

        • sabra_n says:

          I admit that when I went to study in London I was a bit surprised to hear the accents of well…everyone, having only been exposed to the old-school BBC accent before. Since I started watching way too much British television I've gotten better, though I still can't for the life of me understand a heavy Scottish accent. They're freaking incomprehensible.

        • kaleidoscoptics says:

          Hah, I once had the same thing happen in Ireland. One of the girls in our group had a really strong Southern country accent, and the clerk at the convenience store told her "No one really sounds like that!"

    • agrinningfool says:

      Monocles are cool. I wear a monocle now.

    • arctic_hare says:

      LOL I know, I find that so hilarious.

    • jennywildcat says:

      One question though – if it's 8:00 am in the UK when the Toclafane appear, etc., why are there Americans up at anywhere from 3:00 to 12:00 am with pizza and fried chicken? (well… I guess they could be up at midnight if they lived on the west coast, but the Bills and Redskins jerseys make me think these kids are all watching from the east coast, which would make it 3:00. Still, it just bugs me).

      • kaybee42 says:

        Some people here stayed up for 4amtill 4.45am for the Blink liveblog, I would DEFINITELY stay awake for 3am for FIRST CONTACT WITH FREAKING ALIENS!

      • exbestfriend says:

        The fact that they are wearing a Bills jersey and a Redskins jersey bugs me. It's like the costume department just picked random blue and red things. Then again, when I really look at that picture I realize that they are just the tag along friends of the couple in the center. And whenever the couple gets together here are their friends that always bicker. She's a neat freak and he's a slob. He thinks the passing game is key and she thinks that the defensive line is where games are lost and the couple always has to say "Quiet you two! Every time we get together all you do is argue! Can't we just have one night without any arguing?" And then one day they'll look into each others eyes and realize that they really just want to have sex and get it out of their systems. Sigh, it doesn't work out for them. The sex is kind of lousy and the couple in the center breaks up so they never have to see each other again.
        /end of story. Sorry. Sometimes my brain does weird things.

    • kaybee42 says:

      Um, I know you've got lots of thumbs up, but it's just that that being said in a future episode was an amazing moment for me… like mind blowing key smash style amazing… would you mind deleting it so that Mark wont see? I know I appear to be in the minority here so I wont be angry or anything…

      • psycicflower says:

        Done. Sorry. I thought it was just a generally accepted thing and didn't even realise that it was mentioned in a future episode.

    • BBQ Platypus says:

      I just love this image. It's one of the most hilarious damn things I've ever seen. The sheer concentration of stereotypes is simply mindboggling.

      My favorite part is how inappropriately they're dressed – it's like they misread the TV listings and think the Super Bowl is on.

    • Minish says:

      You can totally tell those are actually British people though. Their faces just… look British. 'Specially the bloke in the BILLS shirt. Even wearing a red, white and blue Letterman jacket on red, white, and blue furniture eating star spangled pizza and fried chicken, they reek of Britishness.

    • sinead says:


      American Fried Chicken?

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Maybe the stereotyping is so blatant so you would understand that it was in American?

      I dunno, I have no problem with most American stereotypes like this. it just makes me LAUGH.

      • bookling says:

        Oh, it doesn't bother me at all either, it just gave me a laugh. It's so AMURRICA, FUCK YEAH.

      • arctic_hare says:

        I'm the same way, they never fail to crack me up.

      • Cleo says:

        You mean you're not all fast food junkies that are obsessive about "football" and everything in your house is co-ordinated along red, white and blue themes?

        I have been badly misinformed by TV!

        The only way they could have done a bigger job stereotyping was if they'd pulled out the 'Americans are obese' one. Oh well, so long as you believe we have bad teeth it's all equal 😉

  33. The Master rates just below the angel statues in terms of scariest Doctor Who villian for me. As always Mark, you are not prepared for the finale. I'd say it's the best season closer in New Who but I'm sure that can be debated heavily because Who does do some great season closers.

  34. And this episode ends on the absurd: the Master, using the exact technology from “The Lazarus Experiment,” and the severed hand from “The Christmas Invasion,”
    I love the way this show weaves in little pieces throughout each season that come into play in the finale.

    I want to know what the Doctor whispers to Martha.
    "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time."

    The rift above the Valiant opens and we’re treated to one of the scariest and greatest visual effects the show has ever given us: the Paradox Machine has allowed SIX BILLION Toclafane to come pouring onto earth.
    Isn't it amaaaazing? Plus, I love that it's set to "Voodoo Child," of all things. Never has planetary genocide been so much fun to dance to!

    The eradication begins immediately as one-tenth of the planet is destroyed.
    The decimation!

    I love the BBC promo for "The Last of the Time Lords," which incorporates the sound of drums. Da da da DUM, da da da DUM, da da da DUM!

    In conclusion, here is one of my favorite LJ icons:

    <img src=""&gt;

  35. auddie956 says:

    mark baby, i just love reading your reviews!!! think i will have to have a doctor who marathon this weekend!!

    and if you wanna watch a fantastic slit my wrists movies…. watch "THE ROAD"…. cant get more dark than that movie

    • Treasure Cat says:

      Ive been debating whether I want to say something to you for like half an hour and I think I do. Please could you not use the phrase 'slit my wrists movie'? I dont think its necessary to describe something as depressing or dark like that and frankly it makes me feel really uncomfortable. Thank you.

    • sabra_n says:

      House of Sand and Fog is one of the most depressing things ever, too.

    • FlameRaven says:

      'Revolutionary Road' is also deeply tragic and upsetting. ):

  36. buyn says:

    Alright the picture has been approved.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Love and Monsters.

    • Tenalto says:


    • Kaitlyn says:

      Going all the way back to season TWO?


    • doesntsparkle says:

      RTD doesn't get enough love, he's so good at planting little hints; Bad Wolf, Torchwood, this.

      • sabra_n says:

        "Bad Wolf" was pretty elementary stuff, really. But I will give RTD credit for learning on the job and getting better and better at the arcing thing as he went along. I think he reached the peak of his skill in this finale, but I won't really ramble about it until Monday.

    • carma_bee says:

      I love this. I only realized this was in the episode last week when I was looking up Saxon references, and I just had to go 'wow'. Because the series three ones can be kind of obvious if you're looking, but you'd never think to go this far back into series 2.

    • MowerOfLorn says:


      I'm curious to know whether RTD had already come up with the over-arching plot for season three at that point, or whether he remembered seeing that prop and deciding to roll with the name 'Saxon'.

      • rys says:

        I think the rest of the page hints he was setting it up deliberately, as the fall-out from Harriet Jones and the Christmas Invasion.

      • maccyAkaMatthew says:

        The "You Are Not Alone" message was originally going to be in New Earth (they even filmed the Face of Boe giving it to the Doctor) and it's in the piece about the Time War what he wrote for Doctor Who Annual published before The Christmas Invasion went out. So it was in his head that he was bringing the Master back for a long time.

        Also in the audio commentary for Love and Monsters he shouts "look at the newspaper!" so it was definitely deliberate. Love and Monsters was among the last stuff filmed (it was done at the same time as The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit) so at the time they were having production meetings for it they would also have been planning series three.

        Even though RTD is famous for getting stuff done at the last minute, he still has ideas about where things are going a long way in advance and often drops things in that he knows he can pick up later.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      Also, for the future: Once a big plot point has been reached (like learning Saxon is Prime Minister), it is totally ok after-the-fact to point out the foreshadowing I missed. Sound good?


  37. HungryLikeLupin says:

    Arrrggghhhhhfkljdakl;fjkl;qjrkdl;sjvk;ads I still have to wait one more part for most of the things I want to talk about but THAT IS OKAY. PERSEVERANCE. CONSTANT VIGILANCE. SOMETHING LIKE THAT IDEK.

    The Master provides most of the absolute best moments in this episode. (Possibly in the entire series. For reals, they're amazing.) Pretty much every time I think about it, his scenes are the ones that stick in my mind the most.

    1) The first time we see him back in the present day, on the giant viewscreen immediately after Team Doctor arrives. "In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what this country really needs . . . right now . . . is a Doctor." And then the CREEPIEST SMILE OF ALL TIME AAUUUUGGHHHH.

    2) His conversation with the Doctor on Martha's phone. It's absolutely chilling the way he goes from disbelief that Gallifrey is gone, to shock that he and the Doctor are the last two of their kind left, to near-sexual excitement at the idea of wiping out two such enormously powerful species.

    3) The scene where he executes the entire Cabinet. The thumbs-up gif says it all, really, and is also one of the greatest things ever. XD He's hilarious, and wacky, and all the way out of his entire mind.

    4) Again, talking to the Doctor through broadcast television, in the moments before Martha's flat blows up. He could have just as easily stayed quiet and just let the place blow up, let all of them actually die, but that clearly wasn't what he really wanted. What he wanted was to play with the Doctor, to rub his nose in the fact that the Master had been there and could blow up Martha's flat and there's no safe place for them to hide and OMG this is the most fun ever. This episode is really all about establishing the fact that human lives mean absolutely nothing to the Master–an interesting juxtaposition with Professor Yana, and that's all I'll say about that right now.

    John Simm's the Master. *delightful horrified shivers* Love it more than most things.

    • virtual_monster says:

      It occurred to me about five minutes ago that the Master looks into a news camera and says "What this country needs… right now… is… a Doctor" just minutes after the Doctor, Martha and Jack bounce back to the 21st century on Jack's Space Hopper vortex manipulator.

      Given that Time Lords apparently know *taps head* up there when others are about (which is why Nine thought he was the only survivor) do you think this is the Master saying 'hello Doctor, I sense you've just arrived. You'd best nip off round to Martha's where I've left a nice bomb taped to herr Magpie Electricals TV"?

      It's only just occurred to me that it's potentially a direct in-character message rather than the Master just being smug and creepy, although he can do that too if he likes.

      • HungryLikeLupin says:

        Oh yeah, I definitely think it's meant to be an in-character message. It could be that he just knows that the Doctor is there, like you said. It could be that he's been monitoring the security feeds, watching for a sign of him. (Apparently London has the highest rate of surveillance in the world? Not sure if that's still true, but I can attest to the fact that there are cameras all over the place.)

        Or–and it says a lot about the Master that I see this as a genuine possibility–it could be that he's just been dropping references like this in every TV appearance he's done since he appeared in this time. Yeah. I can actually see him doing that. XD

        LOVE HIM.

        (I also love the fact that the bomb strapped to Martha's TV looks like something straight out of a cartoon. :lol:)

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      I agree, the Master is horribly delightful. The scene in the cabinet is way creepy, and I love the 'we need a…doctor' line. He's basically saying "HELLO DOCTOR COME AND FIND MMMMEEEE!"

      One I really love is when he has the Toclofane kill the poor investigator, and how he basically peeps in behind the door, reveling in the sounds of the lady's screams. Simm's acting completely sells it, and its far more horrifying than if we'd actually seen the death.

      • HungryLikeLupin says:

        Yes, that's another great one! All the worse, too, because every time I watch it I want to laugh at the completely ridiculous faces he's pulling but there is a woman being murdered surely I shouldn't be giggling, right?

  38. karate0kat says:


    OK, but seriously, as a few others have pointed out already, THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T DEPOSE THE LEADER OF A GOLDEN AGE AND SWAN OFF WITHOUT ANOTHER THOUGHT DOCTOR. Did he have any way of knowing an evil Time Lord would take her place? No, but he really didn't know who would. Even if it wasn't a genocidal alien, it could have been someone much worse. Harriet Jones at least tried diplomacy first and only resorted to violence after the Sycorax had murdered humans and threatened to murder more.

    It's disappointing to me that the Doctor's arrogance in that moment is never really called into question. I mean, OK, who's going to do it? No one from that time is around but the Doctor anymore, so I get that it would be hard to fit in organically. But you could have at least had the Master give a little dig when they were speaking on the phone.

  39. jackiep says:

    John Simm's Master is at once the most openly deranged of them all and yet the most calculating. Hey guys, a plan of the Master's which worked?

    He's really the anti-Doctor here. Faithful companion, Lucy. However he's married his companion and suggests that this Timelord has an active lovelife with his companion. And the real shock here is that she's not an innocent dupe, but she's in on the plot (and is apparently rather deranged herself – look at that odd little dance she does near the end! Mad as a box of frogs.).

    The Tellytubbies is a nice call out to an early episode where the Master is watching the Clangers. He loves his Kiddies tv.

    And of course, the Doctor created the power vacuum that "Harold Saxon" was able to exploit.

    Incidentally, the bonkers endorsements. McFly? Sharron Osbourne and Anne Widdecombe? The latter was a politician, now retired from that and most recently seen "dancing" in Strictly.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      >He's really the anti-Doctor here. Faithful companion, Lucy.

      Oh yes!

      LUCY: I made my choice a long time ago.

      Who does that remind you of?

    • virtual_monster says:

      I had some comments to make but you seem to have read my mind and posted them almost exactly.
      I think I'll just go check my phone's not running on Archangel now…

  40. flootzavut says:


    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the chemistry between Simm and Tennant, it's just so incredibly messed up and funny and sinister and yeah. Perfect. I LOVE it. LOVE IT!

    And that song… and just wow, two of my favourite ever actors in the same show and also John Barrowman of whom I am very fond and who is not coincidentally very yummy. Just so much love for this ep. Though aged-up Ten is freaky…

    • jennywildcat says:

      "Though aged-up Ten is freaky…"

      IKR??!! When I realized what the Master was doing to the Doctor there, I did NOT want to see the results. It's just… wrong somehow.

  41. flootzavut says:

    (now gonna inevitably go to bed with "here come the drums" in my head!

    • exbestfriend says:

      Did you read xkcd today? Because I’m willing to laugh over that if you read the comic today.

      • virtual_monster says:

        Oh my, the tension…

        • exbestfriend says:

          (it has been bothering me ALL DAY and people kept reblogging it on Tumblr and I thought I was going to have a literal panic attack. My brain kept making that Excel noise of when you make an insufficient formula. IT BURNS! IT BUUUUUURNS!!!!! ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  42. Albion19 says:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I know that the mug isn't upside down but that doesn't stop it messing with my brain. Just look at it! lol

  43. Wookie_Monster says:

    Doctor/Master, the ship that launched a thousand slashfics.

    • PeterRabid says:

      And fanvids. Mustn't forget the lovely fanvids.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Yesterday's episode with Professor Yana's drumming noise getting worse when anything Time Lordy was mentioned made me want a fanvid of them set to Florence the Machine's "Drumming Song."

        I looked it up earlier today and sure enough they're there, but I don't want to post any now because of spoilers. Good old internet.

        I kinda wanted it to be the song played during the end scene as the TobleroneToclafane descend, though the song they used was far better. And now I'm going to have both songs stuck in my head for days. "There's a drumming noise inside my head that starts when you're around. I swear that you could hear it, it makes such an almighty sound…"

        • PeterRabid says:

          Are you a fan of KoloSigma?

          They make some of the BEST Doctor/Master vids. And there are plenty on the channel.

          • Mauve_Avenger says:

            I'm actually pretty new to Doctor Who (not quite as new as Mark is, but still) and not generally shippery, so I haven't seen this at all. Thanks.

            • PeterRabid says:

              I'm not that shippery either, but KoloSigma has Gen videos as well and a remarkable talent for finding the perfect clips. Also makes some of the best Eleventh Doctor videos.

            • David Zaine Aarons says:

              I love the word 'shippery', though my instinct is to use it in a manner completely different than you intended.

              *walks in on friend writing slash fic*


    • pica_scribit says:

      Well, they've clearly known one another a while. Are we to assume they've never encountered sex pollen?

  44. Starsea28 says:

    It's already been mentioned by so many people but the reason Great Britain is having a general election? A vote of no confidence in Harriet Jones. Hmm, how did that happen? OH WAIT, WE KNOW. Nice job, Doctor. Hope you're proud of yourself. The first time I saw this episode, I had never heard of the phrase "Foe Yay" but a video of this conversation should be on the TV Tropes page, because good grief, these two wrote the book.

    Yes, Lucy does count as the Master's companion. I often wonder what he did to her to make her so… enthralled with him. Enthralled enough to excuse murder and genocide.

    There are two moments that I love in this episode. One is Martha telling around and yelling in the Doctor's face "I'll do what I like!" Yes, you most certainly will, Miss Jones, and I will cheer while you do it. The shock on the Doctor's face still makes me very happy. The other is when Martha turns around at the end of the episode, her family imprisoned, the Doctor and Jack incapacitated, the world burning around her and says "I'm coming back". And you believe her.

    • kaybee42 says:

      "I often wonder what he did to her to make her so… enthralled with him."
      I was thinking about that today, too.. She said something like "he was so good to my father" when talking to the journalist woman, and I think she was telling the truth then, cause if it was a lie then it was a pretty pointless one.
      So I reckon he charmed her, he probably also used his 'hypnotic powers' a bit too….and it's probable that she was a bit of an overly ambitious person in the first place (would have probably been a slytherin! You know, if she was a witch…and magic was real…)

  45. Treasure Cat says:

    I love the Master's wife because she is called Lucy, which is also my name 😀 She may be evil and junk and stuff but we are ~name twins~ and therefore she is also great and epic and bunches. This is basically my reaction whenever I come across a character in anything that shares my name.

  46. carma_bee says:

    I know you don’t watch the trailers, but when the trailer for this episode came up after Utopia, it made me so excited, I love the trailer for this episode. I think it’s the mixture of the depressing stuff you see in it and the mean Master with the happy Master (the board room bits) and the happy sounding middle eight part of the theme tune playing the background. I don’t think I had seen any episodes with the Master before that, but I had gone on an information hunt about him on Wikipedia, so I knew what he was all about, and I had heard rumours that the YANA stuff meant that the Master was coming back, so I knew to look up stuff.

    And I do love him a lot. He’s just really interesting. He was originally created to counter the Doctor, like Moriarty to Sherlock, and I think that’s great, it’s really cool to watch. There’s so much past between the two of them.

    I also love the ‘the Master is the prime minister’ revelation. That’s huge stuff, right there. And I love how the Master just knows that the Doctor is on Earth when he’s doing his speech. He’s like ‘alrighty, time to put this part of my plan into action’ *rubs hands together*

    I am going to take this time to say, again, that I love John Simm.

    ~The brand of Martha’s TV is Magpie.
    ~ At one point the Saxon website that the gang go on was a real woking site, but it’s not up anymore. Sadness. All of the series two tie-in sites are still up (and there are a lot of them).
    ~ Before series 3 started, they made Martha a myspace: There are lots of blog entries on it, because that’s apparently what Martha liked to do in her spare time on the TARDIS, write blog posts about her time traveling life.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    Oh my god, this whole conversation, I love it a lot. It’s great to have some more insight on the Time War, and especially have it be between them, because they’ve had such a crazy past. I love how he says the line “You must have been like God.” Guhh… And a few other lines too, actually. John Simm just says them really well. And not gonna lie, I love the slashyness that shows up in some of these scenes (I’ve got no shame about shipping them, nope).

    Some pictures:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • carma_bee says:

      And now I'm actually rewatching the episode, I like how when the Doctor tells Martha and Jack about his plan to cancel out the Master's perception filter, you can see the Master smiling in the foreground. He knows what's up. Nothing gets past him.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Must be wierd to be aged like that. If it were me, when I was old, I'd have to compare to see how much I actually looked like that.

      • jackiep says:

        I loved the way that in the Video Diaries, DT was planning ways in which he could escape in full makeup to see what the reaction would be in Asda!

  47. Fiona says:

    Apparently i posted a spoiler yesterday without meaning to, so sorry about that people.

    But still:


  48. clodia_risa says:

    The Master is just fantastic. Funny and scary and impossibly powerful.

  49. virtual_monster says:

    I'm pretty sure I recall them admitting afterwards that RTD had just misunderstood 'President Elect' to mean 'an elected president'. Or maybe my brain made that up to avoid squirming. No, I'm pretty sure I remember it.

  50. doesntsparkle says:

    It bothers me that the Doctor judged Jack for working for Torchwood, when it was great for Rose to work for them in the altwhoverse.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Ah, but this world's Torchwood took Rose from him. Alt-Torchwood saved her.
      Therefore Alt-Torchwood = Good, `Our` Torchwood = bad.

      I know it's not that simple, but I can understand the Doctor thinking like that.

  51. potlid007 says:

    whenever i watch this episode i start dancing. and singing. and then i realize there is impending doom and i stop and look serious.

  52. jennywildcat says:

    Mark, how do these things happen?? You have to wait THE WHOLE FRICKING WEEKEND to see "Last of the Time Lords!" Didn't this happen with "Doomsday?" And you're going to wait – AGAIN??? I salute you. (and I have a gif I would use – 'cept it's spoilery, so I won't).

    Oh, oh, guess what – THIS IS THE EPISODE WITH "THIS IS GALLIFREY"!! (it was in "Utopia," but more subdued and as background music) This is SERIOUSLY the best piece of score Murray Gold has come up with – so gorgeous!

    (Mark, after you finish Series 4, you should listen to Doctor Who at the Proms. It's a concert with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing Murray Gold's music from the show as well as some other time and space-themed music and it's just amazing. They did a concert in 2008 after Series 4 aired, then they did another one in 2010 for Series 5 – don't search them out just now because they are very spoilery, but look into it when you get there. I just had to throw that out while I was thinking about it).


  53. nanceoir says:

    See, everything you're saying makes perfect sense, and it's all fine and I'd let it go (in my head) except that Winters refers to himself as President-Elect, which I absolutely cannot imagine a normal, seasoned politician saying that, because it has the very specific meaning, and because the politicians are so specific with those sorts of terms. (Other things, not so much.)

    That said, it's not ultimately a big deal. It throws me out of it momentarily, 'cause I get to be all, "Wait, that's not right!" *pushes up nerd glasses*, but I get right back into it. And, you know, it's half the fun of these comments, to get into the niggling things. 😀

  54. Flumehead says:


    🙁 The TARDIS is one of my favourite characters. Damn you Master :O

    oh, Mark. Never prepared ever

  55. jackiep says:

    Can I just mention how much I loved the "ticks all of the demographic boxes" snark?

  56. Matt says:

    I think its safe to say now that the Master returning was just as big a deal as the Daleks and the Cybermen. Basically they were working their way through the epic villains.

    Awesome bit of sound editing – when Professor Yana is thinking about opening the watch, they played in audio of two of the previous Masters, Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley.

    Finally, John Simm was the sixth actor to play the Master, and MISTER SAXON is an anagram of MASTER NO SIX.


    "What's that?"
    "Mff mf mfff mff"
    "A what?"
    "Its a gas mask"
    "Why are you wearing a gas mask"
    "mf-mff mf mf mfff"
    "Because of the gas."
    "What gas?"
    "Mf mff"

    • PeterRabid says:

      Finally, John Simm was the sixth actor to play the Master, and MISTER SAXON is an anagram of MASTER NO SIX.


    • virtual_monster says:

      If you watch carefully you'll see he puts the gas mask on upside down at first and then it magically rights itself when we change camera angles. They have cunning powers, those Time Lords y'know.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I think RTD said that the "Master No. Six" anagram wasn't deliberate, though.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        No, he hadn't noticed at all. Sometimes these things are just coincidence. Speaking of which…

        The Paradox Machine activated at 8:02

        The Empty Child's hospital room was 802


        Well, erm, yes actually. :/

    • Scott says:

      Really cool when you consider that Series 1: Daleks Series 2: Cybermen Series 3: The Master and that coincides with how they were the primary villain of Doctors 1, 2, and 3.

  57. hassibah says:

    Everything else that's awesome aside, I have no idea why but stories where people are living underground have always been my favourite thing in the world, so this episode makes me so happy in that could-shit-get-any-worse way that I know totally makes me weird.

  58. Karen says:

    Oh look. The cliffhanger from the last episode was resolved in the first five seconds of this one! How shocking.

    First off, I LOVE John Simm. I loved him in Life on Mars and I think he makes for a brilliant Master. RTD’s take on the Master is completely manic and out of touch with reality. This Master is full blown crazy. He’s not just scheming to take over the world or whatever; he’s completely lost it. He wants to destroy the world. And that kind of insanity in a man who has that much cleverness and power is terrifying. I think it’s a brilliant villain. I should also note that the Saxon arc is my favorite of all the series long arcs.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    The Master: No. No. That wasn't funny. You see, I'm not making myself very clear. Funny is like this.
    [he grins]
    The Master: Not funny is like this.
    [he frowns]
    The Master: And right now, I'm not like this.
    The Master: I'm like
    The Master: Because you are traitors. Yes, you are! As soon as you saw the votes swinging my way, you abandoned your parties and jumped on the Saxon bandwagon!

    As a sidenote: I think it’s REALLY interesting that Saxon/the Master was able to rise to prominence because of the power vacuum that the Doctor’s takedown of Harriet Jones left. I love that even as a random aside, there ARE consequences to the Doctor’s actions even though they might not be immediately apparent.

    Captain Jack Harkness: What do you say I use this perception filter to sneak up behind him and just break his neck?
    The Doctor: Now that sounds like Torchwood.
    Captain Jack Harkness: Still a good plan.
    The Doctor: He's a Time Lord, which makes him my responsibility. I'm not here to kill him. I'm here to save him.

    LOL. DOCTOR. WHAT? More issues than the New York Times. First trying to save the Daleks and now trying to save the Master? *pats Ten*(I also have to wonder if the Doctor’s hatred for Torchwood stems from the fact that it’s Torchwood’s fault that he lost Rose.)

    Martha Jones: What about you?
    The Doctor: Oh, the ones that ran away! I never stopped.

    Just putting this in here because I LOVE this characterization of the Doctor. I like seeing him as in some ways still being this young boy who runs.

    • Karen says:

      <img src=""&gt;
      The Doctor: Master.
      The Master: [smiles] I love it when you say my name.
      The Doctor: You chose it. A psychiatrist's field day.
      The Master: As you chose yours. The man who makes people better. How sanctimonious is that?

      Heh. I LOVE this whole conversation. I love that the Master and the Doctor both know where to go to get at the other.

      The Master: The Time Lords only resurrected me because they knew I'd be the perfect warrior for a Time War. I was there when the Dalek Emperor took control of the Cruciform. I saw it. I ran. I ran so far. I made myself human so they would never find me. Because… because I was so scared.
      The Doctor: I know.
      The Master: ALL of them? But not YOU. Which must mean…
      The Doctor: I was the only one who could end it. And I tried. I did. I tried everything.
      The Master: What did it feel like, though? Two almighty civilizations, burning.
      [sighs at the thought]
      The Master: Oh, tell me, how did that feel?
      The Doctor: Stop it!
      The Master: You must have been like God.

      Idk. I just love the Master’s insanity peeking through here. There’s just something so deliciously unhinged about him.

      The Doctor: I've been alone ever since. But not anymore. Don't you see? All we've got is each other!
      The Master: Are you asking me out on a date?
      The Doctor: You can stop this right now. We can leave this planet. We can fight across the constellations if that's what you want, but not on Earth!
      The Master: It's too late.
      The Doctor: Why do you say that?
      The Master: The drumming.
      [taps out a drumbeat on the table with his fingers]
      The Master: Can't you hear it?
      [taps the beat again, continuously]
      The Master: Inside my head. I thought it would stop. But it never does. It never, ever stops. Inside my head. The drumming, Doctor, the constant drumming.
      The Doctor: I can help you. Please, let me help.

      YOU CAN’T SAVE EVERYONE DOCTOR. Sometimes you just can’t save Gallifrey or Rose or the Daleks or the Master. Poor Doctor. No wonder he has so much manpain.

      And of course this episode ends with a nice little bit of destruction of the world set to some techno music. So very Doctor Who.

      <img src=""&gt;
      The Master: Shall we decimate them? That sounds good, nice word, decimate.
      [to the Toclafane]
      The Master: Remove one tenth of the population!

      I have more to say about other characters like Lucy and Martha, but I’ll leave that until the next episode, since I think both characters will be better served by talking about them in the context of both episodes.

      Maybe there’s something more to my desire to feel bad things. I mean, who actively seeks out movies that will make them cry?
      I think that seeking out dark things can be cathartic. I am super bad at expressing and dealing with emotions in real life, but watching sad things and crying at them is a kind of an outlet for my own emotions.

      ALSO, I am very mature because I used to annoy/freak out one of my former roommates who also watched Doctor Who by knocking on her door with the rhythm that the Master uses for his mind control. LOL.

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        >ALSO, I am very mature because I used to annoy/freak out one of my former roommates who also watched Doctor Who by knocking on her door with the rhythm that the Master uses for his mind control. LOL.

        Ooh…there's something I would love to say about that knocking, but I really can't.

    • Starsea28 says:

      (I also have to wonder if the Doctor’s hatred for Torchwood stems from the fact that it’s Torchwood’s fault that he lost Rose.)

      But it's perfectly fine for ROSE to work for Torchwood, while Jack gets his head bitten off. Oh Doctor, you are such a hypocrite.

      LOL. DOCTOR. WHAT? More issues than the New York Times. First trying to save the Daleks and now trying to save the Master?

      I know, right? That's the smell of desperation right there. *lol*

    • sabra_n says:

      I love that frowny-face so much. I call it the Master's Angry Muppet Face.

  59. Minish says:


  60. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I tried to post this yesterday because of all the spoiler flubs, but it wouldn't take for some reason.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Just say no, people. Seriously.

  61. sabra_n says:

    The Master's wife absolutely counts as his companion. Along with Chantho, she's part of the final storyline's direct commentary on the Doctor/Companion relationship – commentary that I found to be pretty trenchant in some ways I'm not going to get into before you see "The Last of the Time Lords", but that's exactly what was frustrating about it in some ways. It's like RTD knew all along EXACTLY how and why he was making Ten an asshat, and he continued to do so. ARGH. But let's go back to this episode itself.

    John Simm is an absolute treasure as the Master, playing the perfect evil mirror of Ten. The manic humor, the speciesist ego, and yes, the cruelty are all things the Master has in common with Ten. It's just that the former never pretends to be controlled by anything but his id. Simm's chemistry with Tennant is also scorching – as far as I'm concerned, the Doctor and the Master had phone sex during this episode, and I won't hear otherwise. 🙂 Alexandra Moen is also great in the very difficult role of Lucy Saxon.

    (On a completely shallow note: How awesome is the Master's red silk-lined coat/cape of EVIL in the tarmac scene?)

    And once again I say: Poor Martha. Her pretty apartment has been blown up, her family is in the hands of a murderous Time Lord, and oh yeah, the Doctor has put the entire burden of saving the day on her again. But as she's shown in episodes like "The Family of Blood", she can bear up under almost any burden. It's just…kind of awful how often that fact is put to the test. (Still, though: SHE'S COMING BACK, MOTHERFUCKERS.)

    This season and this finale are just hugely emotionally audacious, and I really appreciated that after the comparative…meh-ness of S2. It's not an increase in the evil robot population that makes this finale bigger than the last; it's how it seems to thrum and resonate with the notes that have been played throughout S3, building into something that will really reverberate. And…that's all I'm going to say about that. For now. 🙂

    • Starsea28 says:

      And once again I say: Poor Martha. Her pretty apartment has been blown up, her family is in the hands of a murderous Time Lord, and oh yeah, the Doctor has put the entire burden of saving the day on her again. But as she's shown in episodes like "The Family of Blood", she can bear up under almost any burden. It's just…kind of awful how often that fact is put to the test. (Still, though: SHE'S COMING BACK, MOTHERFUCKERS.)

      That is what I love about the second half of this series – Martha taking care of the Doctor time and again, Martha taking control of the situation, Martha being the strong one instead of the Doctor. It's just a shame that the way they counteract all this strength is by saddling her with the unrequited love plot.

      • sabra_n says:

        The thing is, because of that juxtaposition of Martha's awesome and the stupid unrequited crush, the longer the season went on the more it seemed that the Doctor was viewing her instrumentally more than with any actual regard. Martha was smart, brave, and self-sufficient – what a wonderful tool for him to use, to watch over him when he was human and support him when they were in 1969 and now to save the world while he's stuck in the Valiant.

        I never expected the Doctor to "return the favor" or some such repulsive thing by loving her back romantically. But because of the crush storyline, they kept him deliberately cold and obtuse to the point of making me even doubt his friendship. 🙁

        • Starsea28 says:

          because of that juxtaposition of Martha's awesome and the stupid unrequited crush, the longer the season went on the more it seemed that the Doctor was viewing her instrumentally more than with any actual regard

          I'd never thought about it like that before. I suspect you're right, though I don't think he acted that way deliberately (giving him the benefit of the doubt). But I wouldn't be surprised if he subconsciously recognised how good Martha is at taking care of people and decided to take advantage of that.

          I never expected the Doctor to "return the favor" or some such repulsive thing by loving her back romantically. But because of the crush storyline, they kept him deliberately cold and obtuse to the point of making me even doubt his friendship. 🙁

          I didn't expect him to suddenly fall in love with her, either, but treating her like a human being with feelings would have been nice, as you say.

    • FlameRaven says:

      I think it was stated somewhere in an interview that Rose is RTD's favorite character, which I'm sure affected a lot of the writing choices in the show and some of the choices for plots. Particularly the way that Martha is treated. I think they do eventually realize the backlash this caused for some fans, though.

      I will say, I already had SO MUCH respect for Martha just for managing the Human Nature/Family of Blood plot (a difficult situation I cannot see Rose handling, at all) and I have even more respect for her in this arc, because things are completely hopeless, and she's set up as the only one who can save them, since the Doctor and Jack are both captured. She has gone through so much just in these two episodes but SHE IS GOING TO COME BACK AND KICK ASS, DAMMIT. D< Heart her so much.

      • sabra_n says:

        You can have a favorite character without treating other characters badly. That's a great weakness of RTD's tenure: He can't have one character be strong without deliberately making a "comparative" character weak. Companions only save the day when they're separated from the Doctor because otherwise that would be "undercutting" him. Martha can't be loved in her own right as a Companion because to do so would be "undercutting" Rose. Characters are forever bound up in a hierarchy rather than taken as individuals. And I think that's shitty.

  62. sabra_n says:


    (Sorry, I had to go there. Eventually the looms became a joke standing in for those few staunch fanboys who insisted the Doctor must be asexual even after the new series made it even more clear that no, guys, he really isn't.)

  63. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    OK, I'm going to post a list of the Master's classic series appearances. I'm posting it in reply to this comment because his presence in stories is often meant to be a surprise, so you shouldn't look at the list if you're going into exploring the classic series completely unspoiled. However, if you're seeking out appearances of the Master, there's really no way around the spoiler thing – hence the list.

    I will mention one story, that's on DVD, where he isn't a surprise and that gives a good idea of how he was originally set up – that's The Sea Devils. In general, though, you only get a sense of the Master cumulatively, there's not really a single story that sums him up.

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      The list:

      Terror of the Autons
      The Mind of Evil
      The Claws of Axos
      Colony in Space
      The Daemons
      The Sea Devils
      The Time Monster
      Frontier in Space
      The Deadly Assassin
      The Keeper of Traken
      The King's Demons
      The Five Doctors
      Planet of Fire
      The Mark of the Rani
      The Trial of a Time Lord*

      *he only appears in part of this (it's officially a single 14-part story, but it's made up of four separate sections) but the bit he's in makes very little sense even if you've seen the other parts and you've no chance if you haven't.

      • rys says:

        Out of curiosity, which do you think is the best Master story/serial?

        • maccyAkaMatthew says:

          I have great difficulty thinking of stories as definitively the best. I'm also wary of the expectation that places on the viewer. Any time a story wins a poll I end up thinking "that's not the best" even though I couldn't say what is. With Master stories, the further complication is distinguishing between the best story overall and the best appearance by the Master in a story.

          So, with those caveats, I'd probably recommend, for someone seeking out Master stories:

          Delgado Master:

          Terror of the Autons – as his first apperance, with lots of great moments, although it's a bit shaky (and not on DVD yet – it's due sometime this year)

          The Mind of Evil – for interesting Master/Doctor stuff and as probably the strongest story in its season, but it only exists in black and white and won't get a DVD release for some time because of that (they are due to release everything by the end of 2012 though, I think).

          The Daemons – as probably the most iconic story of that season (season 8) although it is pretty silly. Also not on DVD (but they are working on it, so it should be out late this year or early next year).

          The Sea Devils- probably the best interaction of story quality and Master moments (although The Silurians is a better take on the same theme, I think – and worth watching first, although the Master doesn't feature).

          If I had to pick one, it'd be The Sea Devils, even if the others were also on DVD.

          The Beevers/Pratt Master

          The Deadly Assassin – that's an easy choice over the Keeper of Traken (but see below).

          The Ainley Master

          The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva – all three since you get the origin story and see things through (which is why they're all in a DVD box set together). If I had to choose one it'd be Logopolis. After these three it's arguably a case of diminishing returns when the Master reappears, except for:

          The Five Doctors – in all its barking mad glory. The Master is only a smallish element, though.

          Survival – easily Ainley's best performance as the Master and a pretty good story to boot.

          If I had to choose one it'd be Survival.

          The Roberts Master (I missed this off my original list)

          The 1996 TV Movie – his only appearance, not especially good but plenty to enjoy

          So, that gives us a shortlist of three stories for the first three masters:

          The Sea Devils
          The Deadly Assassin

          Of those, The Deadly Assassin is probably the best story, but Delgado I'd say is the best Master. So, if forced just to choose one Master story it'd be The Sea Devils. It wasn't just its availability on DVD and the non-suprise appearance of the Master that made me mention it in my first post.

          Edit: and because second (collective) opinions are handy, here's where the stories placed in the Doctor Who Magazine poll of the 200 stories up to and including the 2009 Easter special:

          The Deadly Assassin (20)
          The Daemons (34)
          The Five Doctors (38)
          The Sea Devils (50)
          Terror of the Autons (51)
          Logopolis (53)
          The Keeper of Traken (70)
          Survival (80)
          Castrovalva (88)
          The Mind of Evil (92)
          Frontier in Space (113)
          The Claws of Axos (129)
          Planet of Fire (134)
          The TV Movie (135)
          The Trial of a Time Lord (142)
          The Mark of the Rani (148)
          Colony in Space (171)
          The King's Demons (181)
          The Time Monster (187)
          Time-Flight (196)

  64. Angie says:

    Blink was the first Doctor Who episode I watched on television. Like many kids of the '80s, I'd at least seen bits and pieces of Doctor Who (I definitely remember Tom Baker and Peter Davison's faces), but I don't recall ever sitting down to watch an episode. Until I was 27 or so. I broke my leg and was desperate for entertainment, so I decided to plunge into Doctor Who. I figured I'd just start with the revival and go from there. From the moment Chris Eccleston told Rose to "run!" I was hooked. I watched and and watched and watched all I could.

    I remember sitting in my comfy chair with my casted leg propped up on pillows and watched Blink. It was awesome, amazing, and scary. And the three-part finale blew me away. It's been a long time since I watched The Sound of Drums. I'm watching it as rapt as I was that first time.

    I'll always prefer the "first" season, and Eccleston's Doctor; and the following seasons have been very hit-or-miss for me. All the same, it's Doctor Who. And I love it, even the not-so-good.

    One of the things I enjoyed most about this episode was seeing (and hearing about) Gallifrey and Little Master. And watching it again (as in right now!), I love the part where the Master offers Lucy a jellybaby. The Classic Who fangirl in me is going "EEEEEEEEEE!<3<3<3"

    Also, Rogue Trader's Voodoo Child. On a permaloop in my brain.

  65. arctic_hare says:

    If the Toclafane hadn't gotten them, food poisoning would have.

  66. Fusionman29 says:

    Hey Fusion here.Using a slightly different name because someone is using Fusionman.

    Well three things first.

    A. I'm pretty sure this has the most death in Who history. Arguably live action TV history. Millions of people. Let me repeat before you correct me. LIVE ACTION1
    B. That song the Master sings is called Voodoo Child by the Rogue Traders. The title of the album is Here Comes The Drums.
    C. Nice noticing that that was the drum-beat in the theme.
    D. There's actually tons of references to Old Who here. From lines actually said in earlier Master episodes to references to Gallifrey used in earlier episodes.
    E. Martha asks whether the Master is the Doctor's secret brother, to which the Doctor replies that she's been watching too much TV. It was originally rumoured that the Master would be revealed as the Doctor's brother in a story at the end of Season 10; however, this storyline was pre-empted by the unexpected death of Roger Delgado. An unfinished statement made by the Master at the end of Planet of Fire spoken by Anthony Ainley was also intended as a possible reference to this. Interestingly, in Smith and Jones the Doctor had implied (for the first time on screen) that he may have had a brother when Martha asks him if he indeed does. His quipped response is, "Not anymore".
    F. An alarm clock was the actual inspiration for the beat of 4. The title of the episode was based off of the album I mentioned.
    G. The Master watches the Teletubbies in a similar fashion as he did with the Clangers in DW: The Sea Devils. (This was confirmed to be intentional on the DVD Commentary)

    • Fusionman29 says:

      Also can someone tell me how to post a GIF?

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Interesting point re the Voodoo Child song, Russell had that in mind at the earliest stage of thinking about series 3 and got the team onto it early to make sure they could get the rights. Many months passed and he finally wrote the script…and totally forgot about the song until someone (maybe Phil Collinson, but I'm not sure) reminded him.

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      Going by the rather brilliant Shannon Sullivan site, this is the story behind the brother line:

      "Martha's suggestion that the Doctor and the Master are brothers — dismissed by the Doctor — was Davies' response to a popular fan theory he found rather daft."

      Link (SPOILERS as it covers both episodes):

      I'm pretty sure that the Smith and Jones was a deliberate set-up and a bit of a tease though.

      As for the original planned story (actually supposed to be at the end of series 11, not 10), I'm pretty sure the brother rumour is a distortion of what they had in mind. Here's Shannon Sullivan again:

      "Roger Delgado had played the Master on Doctor Who since 1971, but during 1972 and 1973 made only occasional appearances in the programme. Despite this, he was discovering that many casting directors believed that he was still fully committed to Doctor Who, and were passing him over for work. As such, during the making of Frontier In Space — Delgado's only story in Season Ten — he and producer Barry Letts came to an agreement that the Master would be written out of Doctor Who in the final serial of the eleventh season.

      To author the Master's swansong, the producer turned to Robert Sloman, who had written (with considerable input from Letts) the concluding stories of each of the last three seasons, most recently The Green Death. Sloman was beginning to tire of Doctor Who but acquiesced, and on February 15th, 1973 accepted a commission for a storyline entitled “The Final Game”. Drawing on Letts' proclivity for Eastern philosophy and the feature film Forbidden Planet, “The Final Game” would have revealed the Doctor and the Master to be two facets of the same person, with the Master as the “id” (instinctual needs and desires) and the Doctor as the “ego” (conscious perception of and adaptation to reality). At the adventure's climax, the Master would have perished in an explosion, in the process saving the Doctor and others from death — although it would have remained ambiguous as to whether or not this was an act of redemption."


      His sources (included in the link) are the David Howe (and others) books and Andrew Pixley's Doctor Who Magazine articles on the production of the series, so I tend to trust him (although I haven't read them myself).

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        Another thing about the brother line, is that plans for a US Doctor Who series in the early 90s (before the Paul McGann movie came into being) involved the Doctor and the Master as brothers on Gallifrey with their father Ulyces. For more, check out the extras on the TV Movie as released in the Revisitations Box Set.

        (There was stuff online, once upon a time, but I haven't been able to find it.)

    • Fusionman29 says:

      While I do agree and that is correct and I was being really stupid I must give you a thumbs-down for spoilers. Both the appearance of the Master in that episode and what he does is a surprise. Spoilers.


      • sabra_n says:

        *facepalm* You're right, of course. I wasn't thinking because it was the old series. I wish the edit capability didn't disappear after a comment gets a reply.

  67. Amanda says:

    If you look, you'll notice that the bucket actually says AFC. Clearly this is another institution altogether, which is open around the clock. Also, I love your user pic alot.

  68. Hotaru-hime says:

    You are not prepared.

  69. Danielle says:

    You… *sigh* You are not prepared.

  70. MowerOfLorn says:

    What I find interesting about the Master is that he is a perfect foil for the Doctor. He's just as insane, brilliant, intelligent and powerful as any Time-Lord; but while the Doctor tries his best to do good (even if he doesn't always succeed) the Master does the exact opposite.

    This is even reflected in Lucy. A big theme about companions is taking ordinary people, and showing that they're extraordinary, and can change. Lucy's not the brightest, "but basically harmless", and the Master too makes her into something bigger, all on the excuse of seeing more of the universe. But in the process, instead of making her better, he perverts her.

  71. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    JELLY BABIES! AND TECHNO PLAYED TO THE END OF THE WORLD! The Master has a great sense of music.
    here come the drums here come the drums HEY THERE BABY BABAAAYYY! YOU ARE MY VOODOO CHILD, MY VOODOO CHILD.
    <img src="; border="0">

  72. sophpoph says:

    "I mean, who actively seeks out movies that will make them cry?"

    Uh, I do… is that really weird or something?

  73. EmmylovesWho says:

    I've had Voodoo Child on my ipod for days in anticipation of this eppy.

  74. trash_addict says:

    'To put things in perspective: there is no way I am even the slightest way prepared for “Last of the Time Lords.” At all.'

    When you acknowledge this, what do you expect us to write in the comments section? Oh no!

    John Simm loves scenery. He could chew it all day. I love him so much. And I love that he's only doing it because it's perfect for this role, because holy shit you need to see Life on Mars but I will not spoil you for it. B

  75. blackrose says:

    Here's a really awesome trock song about the Master. Check it out! It does have spoilers, though, so don't watch until you've seen the next episode.

    "You Are Not Alone"

  76. Tilja says:

    According to what it was said, yes, the Master's wife counts as his companion. 🙂

    I really hope the last part lives up to your expectations. I really love all of the series finales without exception, so for me is superb. Especially since The Master is THE BEST EVER!

  77. swimmingtrunks says:

    I find myself unable to say much for this episode? Two parters are like the worst, I have such a hard time assessing them in pieces. Three-parters? I give up.

    I will say my appreciation for Martha has grown this season, and I felt like she was one of the better things about this episode. Seeing her strong in the face of all that's going on and standing up for the safety of her family was awesome. (Remember, guys, Monday. Martha discussion. Be there or be square.) Not nearly as good as the Master, but the sheer amount of energy and craziness in that role is going to be hard for anyone to top. It was going to be tough to out-eccentric the Doctor, but RTD and Simm did it. Nothing but villain love for him!

    I will say that the pacing felt a bit weird to me, and even though this season finale is three parts and not two, at times it felt like RTD was still trying to pull off too much here, imo.

    But on to the conclusion of the finale! And Mark?

    <img src='; border='0'/>

  78. Westonian says:

    Has Mark seen, or has some one suggested that he see "The Curse of Fatal Death"? Fantastic Doctor Who spoof that still manages to shed a little light on the Master.

    Oh, and it's written by Steven Moffat. Can be found here:

    • pica_scribit says:

      I rec'd it over on the "Classic Who" thread. Mark has definitely now seen enough Who to properly appreciate it. Although when I first saw CotFD, I hadn't seen any Who, and I still thought it was hilarious.

    • blackrose says:

      I love CotFD! Brilliant spoof. Mark should definitely watch it!

    • drippingmercury says:

      thank you for posting this! "endless gravel quarries" lol FOREVER. I've only seen a few Classic arcs but I'm a huge fan of Blake's 7 so the BBC gravel quarries have a special place in my heart.

  79. __Jen__ says:

    I love everything about the Master in this episode. He truly is a dark and twisted funhouse mirror version of the Doctor.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Martha is once again totally amazing, and Freema totally sells all the emotions in this scene.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I fear being spoilery, so I will save the bulk of my comments for next episode.

  80. FlameRaven says:

    I don't think I've seen it mentioned here, but they did obliquely reference it in the episode– all of this IS sort of the Doctor's fault. If he hadn't been so prideful and gotten Harriet Jones sacked… this was supposed to be her 'Golden Age' of Britain. Instead… he opened up a spot for the Master, who is completely batshit. Great job, Doctor. D:

    I put off rewatching this arc, but seeing it again, it really is not as terrible as I remember. I think it's just the Doctor's old makeup that puts me off and overshadows the rest– it really is really unsettling and strange.

    I do like the tension of having the Doctor lose, though. Great drama, fun character stuff, and it's always entertaining watching the Master even if he IS terrifying. But man, that makeup for the Doctor… ):

    • arctic_hare says:

      YANA on the makeup. I can't look at it, I just CAN'T. It's too freaky.

      • FlameRaven says:

        I'm watching part 3 at the moment, and there's a reason I am also playing my DS at the same time. The plot is fantastic, but whenever the Doctor is on screen, I need to be looking at something else.

        Massive special effects fail on this one. I think it's an uncanny valley thing but I just… no. Just no. I rejec

  81. ontophantoms says:

    I hope most of y'all have seen this – the best macro'd phone conversation between the Doctor and the Master ever:

  82. Openattheclose says:

    Another take on the Doctor and the Master's phone conversation 🙂
    And DT pranking Freema Agyeman

  83. Starsea28 says:

    It does make some parts of the third series hard to watch, I agree. But I could never dislike a series that contains Martha Jones, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Blink, Utopia AND Simm!Master.

  84. agrinningfool says:

    But KFC at 4 am right from the fridge is like THE. BEST.

  85. Matt says:

    One thing I forgot to say earlier…

    Lucy Saxon.

    I so would.

    That is all.

  86. illusclaire says:

    "Maybe there’s something more to my desire to feel bad things. I mean, who actively seeks out movies that will make them cry? Perhaps I’m just used to it at this point, and there’s a comfort to it that’s hard to put into words."

    I think that that's compelling reasoning. I know that sometimes I find myself unconsciously looking for things to worry about because I got so used to feeling heavy worry over almost everything. But I think that craving or enjoying doom doom DOOM on shows like Doctor Who, where you just KNOW that everything HAS to be OK by the end..

    I think that's a very optimistic way of approaching your familiarity with bad-feeling.

  87. virtual_monster says:

    You guys, I have been begging for this moment for so long and RUSSELL T DAVIES TOTALLY BROUGHT IT. a;sofa;sdhf a;sdfh a;sdhfa;slkdj;

    Mark, I just noticed that your keysmash is hiding behind a sofa. Now that's what I call getting into the spirit of Doctor Who!

  88. Laura says:

    The indicator of an amazingly written, brilliantly planned episode. When it all goes to hell and you cannot think anything besides "we are so fucked."

    “Oh! I know what it’s like. It’s like when you fancy someone, and they don’t even know you exist. That’s what it’s like.”
    “You too, huh?”

    Those two lines make me so happy. And yet so sad at the same time. Because yea, who hasn't been there? And how can you watch this show and NOT love the Doctor (whichever incarnation is your preference)?

    I don't know too much about other Time Lords. But the Master doesn't seem to be your typical specimen. If the Doctor is the one that ran away, and the Master is the one that went insane, well, the other Time Lords were inspired.

  89. Jacinta says:

    When I'm in a quiet room in public, I like to start absentmindedly tapping the sound of the drums and see who reacts. It's quite fun.

  90. RJM says:


    So there are some pretty darn good fanvids on the internets for the Master. I rather like this one to Voltaire's "When You're Evil" but there are a few spoilers for the next episode so watch it after you see it:

    Also, with a similar spoiler for next episode warning, Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain":

    And also someone did a brilliant fanvid for this trio of episodes in particular but I will post that one when you watch TLOTTL.

  91. Cass says:

    I’m so late to be commenting on this post, but, re: dystopias — Yes. I so get what you’re saying. I’ve been bizarrely and morbidly fascinated with dystopian fiction since I was a very small thing, and I’m always attracted to those stories. This arc is my fave of all of Doctor Who, old and new, that I’ve seen, for that reason.

    To me, though, it’s the spark of hope inside all the horror. After all, in any dystopia… someone’s survived. Someone’s gotten through, somehow. And usually, someone’s still fighting. And that’s what I love. To see a society that’s degenerated, reduced to the lowest common denominator… but still striving, still looking up for something more, still believing.

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