Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S04E11 – Turn Left

In the eleventh episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who, Donna gets separated from the Doctor and WHAT THE FUCK HOLY SHIT GOOD GOD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

What if you could change just one event in your life? What would it be? Why that moment? Why do you believe that one act or decision would change where you are now? Can the ramifications of one moment change your entire life? “Turn Left” explores both this concept and parallel universes but in a much more disturbing way: What if you were forced to make a crucial decision differently? And what if you never knew you were living a life so different from the one you’d experienced?

Let me just get this out of the way so I can get back into the swing of things: the giant beetle is one of the worst things I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a giant toy. Unbelievably distracting, folks. Additionally, I groaned at the whole PERSON OF COLOR TRICKS WHITE PEOPLE INTO RUINING THEIR LIFE thing. NO. No thank you.

OK. DONE WITH THAT. ON TO AWESOME.

We’re heading to the final three episodes and “Turn Left” is less part of the final thrust and more of a set-up to what I imagine will be the main narrative focus of the end of series four. We’ve seen how much Donna has acted as a foil and a mirror to the Doctor, even right from the beginning. She stopped him during his attack against the Racnoss; she showed him that he could save people in “The Fires of Pompeii.” You get the idea. You don’t need me to go over all the examples! You’re all EXPERTS compared to my Doctor Who knowledge. Anyway, I had a feeling that this entire season would provide a much-needed analysis of the Doctor’s actions, both positive and negative, and the way in which he affects his companions. As Donna makes the small decision to turn right, never meeting the Doctor, we’re treated to the events of the previous two years in a new light. What happens if Donna doesn’t meet the Doctor? Well, there’s no one to stop him during his destruction of the Racnoss, and he dies. THE DOCTOR DIES. WHAT? I thought he couldn’t die!

But if that was depressing, the chain of events to follow are heartbreaking. Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith are killed when the Judoon steal Royal Hope Hospital. There’s no one to stop the Titanic from “Voyage of the Damned” from crashing to earth, and all of London is destroyed in an atomic blast. Davies, who penned this episode, uses this last moment to paint a terrifyingly eerie portrait of a world in constant attack. (I agree that this is not the Earth at war. There’s no war. It’s all destruction with no hope of defense.)

I’ll get back to that point, as I’m sure most of you are squirming in your seats waiting for this. But as we find out the Doctor has died, a woman comes running up to Donna from behind her; she’s blurry, hard to make out, until she comes into focus and HOLY FUCKING SHIT IT’S ROSE TYLER HOW THE FUCK DID SHE MAKE IT INTO THIS UNIVERSE WHAT THE GOD ALKSFJD A;KJ A;LKSDFH IO 453#$% AFG

I can’t. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! Rose Tyler can TRAVEL IN BETWEEN UNIVERSES. Not only that, but we’ve been seeing flashes of her because SHE FOUND OUT ALL UNIVERSES ARE COLLAPSING.

My god, I’m not prepared for the end of this series, am I?

I feel that, ultimately, as cool as it is to have Rose come back, it’s a bit underwhelming. However, I think that’s a good thing this time around; this episode really works best as an examination of the Doctor through Donna, and I’m glad the story doesn’t distract from that. “Turn Left” made me realize exactly how much Donna has changed since we first met her in “The Runaway Bride.” As Donna pulled farther away from the life we’d seen her life, I couldn’t help but worry about how this was all going to come together. Why do so many people have such a bad feeling about Donna? River Song balked once she found out this was the Donna Noble, and I feel like there’s another subtext to Rose hinting to Donna that she’s sorry for how the future unfolds.

Still, aside from that, there is some phenomenal world-building here that I referenced here. As Britain sinks into chaos and the Nobles are forced to relocate to Leeds….ok, sorry, I had to laugh. See, my buddy Kasper lives in Leeds and when Donna was livid they were moving there, all I could think was, “BUT YOU WILL GET TO HANG OUT WITH KASPER SHUT UP DONNA NOBLE.”

WELL. Ok. Moving on. I seriously LOVED the way Davies created such an uncomfortable and unsettling atmosphere towards the end of Donna’s “life” in the world without the Doctor. I was especially impressed that he included the allusions toward labor camps through Rocco. It’s never the “native” population that gets sent to camps like that and, for all the times this show slips up with its portrayal of people of color, I was happy that they acknowledged that this is the sort of thing that historically happens to the “other” during times of war or chaos.

I’m still unsure of the grand scheme of things. The resolution to “Turn Left” doesn’t seem to provide any answers as to what the Doctor and Donna are going to face in the series-ender, but it gives us one of the more depressing things this whole series. We have to watch Donna Noble die. (That’s not what River Song was talking about, was it? DON’T ANSWER THAT.) It’s a sign that, even in this alternate world without the Doctor, Donna is courageous on her own. For me, that is a beautiful, powerful statement. Donna does not need the Doctor to be a royal badass, and I love the message that sends.

I was surprised that time reversed in a way that still allowed Donna to remember some details, at least enough to relay to the Doctor so that he could figure out the beetle was part of the Trickster’s Brigade. I also figured that whatever Rose whispered to Donna wouldn’t be known until at least the next episode or so, but Donna, confused as all hell, merely repeats the words to the Doctor:

Bad Wolf.

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lhgki2bCiN1qfvatb.gif

I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT I’VE USED THIS GIF BEFORE. BAD WOLF BAD WOLF BAD WOLF HOLY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON

Never, ever prepared. I am in an eternal state of unpreparedness with this show, I swear.

THOUGHTS

  • Badwolf badwolf badwolf badwolf BADWOLF!!!!!!
  • “It’s sort of complicated. I ended up on a spaceship on my wedding day. Long story.”
  • “I’m losing a fortune!” “Well, sack one of this lot. Sack Cliff. He just sits there. Don’t know what he does all day. Sorry, Cliff. Actually, I’m not sorry. What do you do all day?” Love you forever, Donna Noble.
  • “Hole punch, having that, stapler, mine, toy cactus, you can have that Beatrice, cath. Cliff, I’d leave you my mouse mat, but I’m worried you’d cut yourself.”
  • “Dad, take that thing off!” “I shan’t, it’s Christmas.” FUCK YES. Wilfred rules YOUR FACE.
  • BAD WOLF!!!!!!!!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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878 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S04E11 – Turn Left

  1. UsualThing says:

    YOU ARE NOT PREPARED

    • LittleCaity says:

      I think it's safe to say that Not Prepared is officially an understatement at this point.

      Mark's brain is going to EXPLODE.

      • flootzavut says:

        I have been waiting with unseemly glee for head explosions and the mother of all keysmashes 😀

  2. arctic_hare says:

    You know, RTD, I recall someone here posting this quote from you: "I was convinced – I'm still convinced – that nothing of any dramatic merit can happen in a dream sequence." Interesting, in light of what happens in this episode; perhaps you don't consider this a dream sequence? Or maybe you just finally realized at some point that you were wrong when you said that. Whatever the case is, this is a damn good episode, one of your best. I love alternate realities and what-ifs, the concept of one seemingly small event or person being so monumentally important to a timeline, how alternate timelines and realities get created, etc. so I ate this up like candy (in a revelation that will surprise probably none of my fellow gamers in the community, my favorite video game of all time is Chrono Trigger, and although its sequel is disappointing in many ways, one thing I loved about it was the concept of alternate worlds diverging on what most people would think were small footnotes in time, and I really wish it had executed the plot better, but now is not the time or place for that discussion). Really really depressing, awful, fucked up candy, but still delicious candy nonetheless. I'm a sucker for this stuff, no matter how horribly sad in execution, because it makes me think and wonder and enjoy the creativity of the writer(s) responsible.

    Don't like the use of the "evil Asian fortuneteller" thing, though. That's pretty gross. And did we need the superstitious maid, too? Ew. I'll let other people go into detail on this, I don't want to speak for anyone, but I did find that repugnant and can easily see why people would be offended by it.

    I really hate you, Sylvia. Always. She's so horrible to Donna.

    Man, the horror starts with the Doctor's hand falling out of the gurney, and then it just gets worse and worse. This whole episode is the embodiment of It Got Worse. Martha and all but one other person in the hospital dead. T_T Sarah Jane and the kids too. 🙁 🙁 🙁

    But even that seems like small potatoes compared to the Titanic crashing into Buckingham Palace and destroying London in a mushroom cloud. Jesus. At least before that we have Wilf in his marvelous reindeer hats. I will always love you, Wilf. <3

    And then the brief joy in the midst of all the depressing, the scene of everyone singing Bohemian Rhapsody together (Queen = <3 <3 <3) is broken up by gunshots fired at ATMOS cars, and the terrifying moment in which Donna is nearly fired on herself. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: the Torchwood team is dead too, and Jack's been transported to the Sontaran homeworld. ALL THE TEARS FOR JACK.

    AND BAM. Suddenly, Runaway Bride seems so much more important, doesn't it? This whole episode, especially in this scene with Rose on the park bench, just hammers it home that that special was more than just a bit of fluffy fun. It made me appreciate it even more in hindsight. I also just love Rose all through this episode, just the way she interacts with Donna is great.

    "It's happening again." I can't, I just can't. The knowledge of what he means + seeing Wilf cry just wrecks me. I always start crying too when he does, no matter the episode, and he has damn good reason here.

    Orion is one of my favorite constellations, so it makes me happy/sad to hear that one named.

    Seeing the TARDIS like that is so heartbreaking. She's dying. 🙁 🙁 🙁 DNW.

    The whole ending is just tears, tears forever. Catherine Tate kills it in this episode, and so does Murray Gold, I love the music as usual, but it also stands out even amongst the usual, if that makes any sense.

    You are brilliant, Donna. You are. Please believe it.

    To sum up, this episode:

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/p0ug5.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    And in closing, Mark, you = NOT PREPARED. NOT EVER.

  3. Karen says:

    This is a fabulous episode, another example of just how good RTD’s writing can be. He’s so good when it comes to handling larger themes and character arcs. What I love about “Turn Left” is that I think it shows us what Donna’s story has been about. Rose’s story was about the transformation from a 19 year old shop girl without a lot of future possibilities becoming the kind of woman who can save the universe (as we see in “Turn Left”). Martha’s journey was about recognizing the awesome that was already residing in herself and seeing her own self as fantastic. But I think that Donna’s story is all about needing someone to believe in her (notice how Sylvia says to Donna, “to be honest, I’ve given up on you”?), but that someone doesn’t have to be the Doctor. Yes in our universe it was the Doctor who believed in Donna and brought out the best in her, but here in the parallel world, it’s Rose. Rose believes in Donna and reaffirms that she is brilliant, and that’s what enables Donna to be incredibly brave and die to change the world.

    Anyway, that’s more about big, grand themes of the show. Now I should probably discuss the actual episode. (random sidenote: I’m sure I’m not the only one who immediately thought of Firefly when Donna and the Doctor were in the Chinese marketplace.) I think it’s a solid concept for an episode. I really love the exploration of how the seemingly insignificant choices that we make can have unintended consequences.

    And of course that beetle thing is creepy as fuck. Remember what Lucius said in “The Fires of Pompeii”? “There is something on your back”. Well, this is where we find out what he meant by that.

    This episode is all about what happens if the Doctor doesn’t exist. In this episode we see just how bad of a place the Doctor was in after losing Rose. If it weren’t for the fact that Donna was there to snap him out of it, the Doctor would have drowned with the spiderbabies in “The Runaway Bride”. The Doctor needed Donna, but because she wasn’t there, everything changed.

    EVERYTHING IN THIS UNIVERSE IS HORRIBLE. MARTHA IS DEAD. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT MARTHA JONES. SARAH JANE SMITH IS DEAD. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL

    I like how this episode shows that Earth (and the universe) needs the Doctor. And London is gone. Like, you have to understand how huge that is. And all of southern England flooded with radiation? This is devastating and it creates this awful atmosphere because there is just this sense of hopelessness. As Donna points out, this isn’t a war. This isn’t a situation where everyone bands together and tightens their belts for a few years to unite against a common enemy. This is just how life is going to be. It’s going to take decades for Britain to recover from something like that. Their major commercial and financial center was wiped out. Huge segments of their population have been displaced. It all becomes so ugly when, again, much like in “Midnight” we see the darkness of human nature. A scapegoat has to be found, so they turn to the immigrants. A bit heavy handed, yeah. But the point is valid.

    Donna : It'll be quiet with him gone. Still, we'll have more room…
    Wilfred : Labour camps… that's what they called them last time.
    Donna: What'd you mean?
    Wilfred: It's happening again.

    <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/28m4ix.jpg"&gt;
    That entire scene with Donna and Sylvia on the camp beds is just heart breaking, but I especially like this part. Yes, Sylvia is hard on Donna. But I think that this scene shows a real human side to Sylvia. She’s not all nagging.

    Sylvia: Mary Mahenty. Do you remember her?
    Donna: Who was she?
    Sylvia: Worked in the new agent on a Sunday. Little woman. Black hair.
    Donna: Never really spoke to her.
    Sylvia: She’ll be dead. Everyday I think of someone else. All dead.

    But then we get that fabulous scene that shows maybe a spark of hope with everyone singing “Bohemian Rhapsody”, including Sylvia with a tentative smile on her face. But of course that little bit of happiness is CRUSHED with the Atmos stuff, reinforcing how dark and scary this parallel world is.

    • Karen says:

      Donna in “Turn Left” is really fascinating. She starts out as very much that same woman we met in “The Runaway Bride”, shouting at the world.

      Wilf: You’re not going to change the world by shouting at it.
      Donna: I can try.

      But living in this new horrible universe changes her. She becomes downtrodden and is losing hope. But in spite of that, she still has the potential to be that brave and wonderful Donna we’ve come to know. In that moment when the stars start going out, Donna knows what she has to do. She has to go with the blonde woman. She is ready to die. She does what she has to do in order to save the world. Donna’s always had the potential to be a hero, she just needs someone to push her, and Rose is able to do that.

      I love that in “Turn Left” we get to see how Rose has continued to grow and become the most awesome thing to ever awesome. In a lot of ways she’s become a kind of Doctor. She even wears the same clothes all the time. LOL. AND she tells the UNIT lady “don’t salute”. ILU, ROSE. She even has a “the Tardis is bigger on the inside!” moment with Donna. Hee! IDEK. All I know is that get super happy and gleeful whenever I see Rose in this episode. Rose didn’t become stagnant while in Pete’s World. She just continued on her trajectory of fabulocity.

      I think that even though the Doctor is absent, we still get a sense of his relationship with Rose.I love the way that Rose describes the Doctor.

      Rose: I think you dream about it sometimes. This man in a suit- tall, thin man, grrreat hair. Some… really great hair.

      And I love the way that her voice catches in her throat a little bit when she talks about how she’s been traveling across universes to try and find him because the world needs the Doctor.

      <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/2dgj5ur.jpg"&gt;
      <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2edzjmw.jpg"&gt;
      But obvious the more interesting character interaction is the one between Rose and Donna. I think the way that Rose relates to Donna is fantastic to watch.

      Donna: What do you keep telling me for? What am I supposed to do? I’m nothing special. I mean- I’m not- I’m- I’m nothing special. I’m a temp! I’m not even that! I’m nothing!
      Rose: Donna Noble, you’re the most important woman in the whole of creation.
      Donna: Don’t. Just. Don’t. I’m tired. I’m so tired.

      And how can you NOT love Rose when she smiles and responds, “that’s more like it” after Donna comments that blonde hair might work on men, but it won’t work on her. Hee! ILU, ROSE. And Rose is able to encourage Donna.

      <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/2ic8sw7.jpg"&gt;
      Donna: If he was so special, then what was he doing with me?
      Rose: He thought you were brilliant.
      Donna: Don’t be stupid.
      Rose: But you are. It just took the Doctor to show you that, simply by being with him. He did the same to me. To everyone he touches.
      Donna: Were you and him…?

      COMPLETE SIDENOTE: Someone over at the Doctor_Rose_Fix community on lj recently pointed a really interesting parallel between this scene and the one from the end of “Smith and Jones”.

      THE DOCTOR: It's just me.
      MARTHA: All on your own?
      THE DOCTOR: Well, sometimes I have… guests. I mean, sort of friends, travelling alongside me. I had, there was… recently, friend of mine. Rose, her name was Rose, and…. We were together, and… anyway.

      <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2istxjd.jpg"&gt;
      Anyway, back to “Turn Left”. BAD WOLF. HOW UNPREPARED FOR THAT WERE YOU?

      <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/6s8906.jpg"&gt;
      Haha. Such a brilliant revelation. That look on the Doctor’s face. It’s just some wonderful acting. He’s shocked and scared because he knows that if Rose is able to move between universes, then something BAD is happening. But at the same time you can see a little, tiny piece of him that is daring to hope. He’s going to see Rose again.

      And… one more Rose picture. Just because I can.
      <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/xgcxhw.jpg"&gt;

      • blis says:

        It broke my heart when Donna saw the bug on her back and started crying, saying that Rose lied to her, that she wasn't special at all, it was the bug. Poor Donna, as mentioned she just needs someone to believe in her, and she thought she found it, but then started doubting it. I need to hug Donna.

      • Jenny_M says:

        Oh hi there, extra Rose picture! Aren't you cute?

      • ldwy says:

        Karen. I always ALWAYS love your reviews. But I just need to say that I REALLY REALLY love this one. It organizes all the whirlwind of things I felt during this episode.

        I was amazed by all the fabulous character interactions, and you spelled them out so well. I hadn't quite thought of Donna/Rose so clearly: Rose does for Donna what the Doctor did. Donna gets the confidence to believe in herself because she sees someone else believing in her.

        And I love the sparks of terror and glee and worry and hope we can see in the Doctor when he hears "Bad Wolf". David Tennant, I love you. Such good acting.

      • EmilyAnne90 says:

        Another parallel between Rose and Doctor: She refuses to tell Donna her name.

  4. Nicole says:

    So not prepared.

    Also, I saw mention of a spoiler section? Where is that located?

  5. Spugsy says:

    Oh god this episode. There are no words.

  6. blis says:

    Before watching the episode, i remember seeing the preview and i lost my shit, when Rosy Tyler was there telling Donna she was gonna die. Then they show the light and the music starts. i couldn't wait to watch this one, and it did not disappoint. Well maybe the rubber beetle.

    I also was freaking out because another prediction from the Pompeii episode came to light "you have something on your back"

    ITS JUST SO OVERWHELMING!

  7. leighzzz31 says:

    Remember the prophesy way back when in “The Fires of Pompeii”? Made by Lucius? “And you, Daughter of London, there is something on your back.” I flailed when I rewatched that episode because it made horrifying sense about this one.

    And, dammit, the beginning had me expecting a really fun story, definitely NOT ridden in utter tragedy. They’re in this colourful planet, drinking who-knows-what-delicious beverages and then Donna and the Doctor seem to separate, a few steps from each other. That’s when I had a gut-wrenching feeling that all would go wrong. And I was right.

    Free fortune-telling? And only for red-heads? Oh Donna, why did you go inside, that woman had the evil smirk down to a t. And that horrible creepy-crawly. I was shivering in front of the screen.

    But I love the idea that a single, insignificant decision can make the whole world change. Butterfly effect anyone?

    Suddenly we’re transported into a world where Donna made a right turning, a world without the Doctor. When the sonic screwdriver turned off, I may have teared up a bit. And then ROSE turns up. And then Martha and Sarah Jane are dead. And then ROSE turns up again and warns Donna to leave London. AND THEN LONDON IS GONE. This episode was turning out to be a giant funeral going way too fast.

    The second half of the episode was chilling with its reminiscent of World War 2 atmosphere. The evacuation, Adipose America, ATMOS suffocating Europe and Africa, everything was being destroyed because of the Doctor’s absence. But it wasn’t just the events themselves that made the episode haunting. Bernard Cribbins’ line “Labour camps. That’s what they called them last time.”? It was so horrifying, the implication of what he was saying and the way he said it.

    And, then, finally, the stars go out and Donna decides to save the world, even if it means she might die. Catherine Tate, especially in the final minutes of the story really delivered. Her fear, her genuine belief that she was nothing made my heart break for her.

    Lastly, Bad Wolf. I recognized the theme throughout the episode and I knew it would have some significance or other. And, OMG, I don’t really consider myself a shipper, but the Doctor’s face when he realizes Donna met Rose made the anticipation for the next episode unbearable.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      THE PROPHECY WAS CORRECT.

    • nanceoir says:

      "…drinking who-knows-what-delicious beverages…"

      I'm pretty sure they were drinking Coke Floats. Like, root beer floats, but with Coca-Cola instead of root beer.

      So you, too, can have the delicious beverage!

      *thinks on that happy thought instead of the utter tear-inducing tragedy that is this episode*

      • psycicflower says:

        That was my first thought as well because the delicious foamy top looked the same. Now I really want an ice cream and coke but there's no plain vanilla ice cream in the house 🙁

      • Openattheclose says:

        You mean it's not butterbeer? 🙁

      • leighzzz31 says:

        oooohhhh really? because it looked very tasty! Coke floats it is then!

  8. Openattheclose says:

    I LOVE THIS EPISODE TO PIECES EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE SADDEST THING EVER.
    Before we get into the absolute misery of this episode, can I just say how cute the Doctor and Donna are at the beginning? They are so BFFs.
    IT'S CHANTHO. Chan, why do you always show up before shit gets real, tho?
    DONNNA, THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR BACK!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/tumblr_lc861dsaPH1qzufnjo1_250.gif"&gt;
    "The Doctor is dead" GUYS GUYS THE DOCTOR WOULD HAVE LET HIMSELF DIE IF DONNA HADN'T STOPPED HIM.
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/23sgrk3.gif"&gt;
    ROSE! HELP! EVERYTHING IS AWFUL!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/indysad.gif"&gt;
    "We couldn’t breathe, we were running out of air… a colleague of mine gave me the last oxygen tank. Martha, Martha Jones… and she- she died." WE'VE LOST MARTHA TOO!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Disney/robinhood.gif"&gt;
    "There was this woman who took control, said she-she knew what to do… said she could stop the MRI or something. Sarah Jane her name was, Sarah Jane Smith."
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Disney/tumblr_lhd3jbKoui1qcnhhzo1_500.gif"&gt;
    "Miss Smith had a son, called Luke…along with his teenage friends Maria Jackson and Clyde Langer. It is feared that they also perished." NOOO NOT THE CHILDREN TOO!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Buffy/4g165t.gif"&gt;
    "A replica of the Titanic is falling out of the sky and it's heading for Buckingham Palace."
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Buffy/tumblr_lexeknVNmk1qzlk7p.gif"&gt;
    "Well, America, they'll save us. It was on the news. They're going to send Great Britain fifty billion quid in financial aid. God bless America!"
    "America is in crisis, with over sixty million reported dead. Sixty million people have dissolved into fat."
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/tumblr_lhc8qfjfU91qhykl0o1_400.gif"&gt;
    THEY ARE SINGING BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY AND IT IS THE ONLY NICE THING IN THIS EPISODE!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/tumblr_lh8z2ev6ya1qcesqp.gif"&gt;
    "That was the Torchwood team. Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, they gave their lives. And Captain Jack Harkness has transported to the Sontaran home world." YAY! JACK IS GOING TO BE KILLED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Doctor/tumblr_la26qdNAAf1qd005u.gif"&gt;
    "Labour camps. That's what they called them last time"
    Oh… OH!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/tumblr_lcogg8jxU21qa3mlu.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/b4t8u9.gif"&gt;
    WILF IS NOT ALLOWED TO BE SAD EVER, IT MAKES ME SAD TOO.
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Doctor/tumblr_lfazbcfWfo1qb064c.gif"&gt;
    "I think it's dying."
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/1hwmyg.gif"&gt;
    "Still trying to help."
    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/2h7i5bp.jpg"&gt;
    DONNA CHOOSES TO DIE TO MAKE ANOTHER UNIVERSE BETTER.
    <img src="http://www.gifsoup.com/view/519349/lost-hurley-cries-o.gif"&gt;
    I have never been so happy to see the Doctor in my whole life. But I am too sad from the other stuff to post a happy gif.
    BAD WOLF!!
    <img src="http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Doctor/tumblr_lezn0yjwkS1qaao63o1_500.gif"&gt;
    Donna:"I suppose I've always been a disappointment."
    Sylvia:"Yeah"
    "Well, what do you keep telling ME for? What am I supposed to do? I'm nothing special. I mean, I'm… I'm not, I'm nothing special, I'm a temp. I'm not even that, I'm nothing!"
    "But if he was so special, what was he doing with me?"
    "Don't be so daft. I'm nothing special."

    "HE THOUGHT YOU WERE BRILLIANT." "You're the most important woman in the whole of creation." "I thought it was just the Doctor we needed, but it's the both of you. The Doctor and Donna Noble. Together."

  9. I can’t. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! Rose Tyler can TRAVEL IN BETWEEN UNIVERSES. Not only that, but we’ve been seeing flashes of her because SHE FOUND OUT ALL UNIVERSES ARE COLLAPSING.

    My god, I’m not prepared for the end of this series, am I?
    One thing I love about Doctor Who is it's so ridiculously epic in scope. Come finale time, you know what's at stake? Not just the fate of the planet. The fate of the universe. Or maybe all universes. Or maybe REALITY ITSELF. And it's just so amazing that the whole of time and space can be saved by one man. And a woman. And sometimes a truck.

    I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT I’VE USED THIS GIF BEFORE. BAD WOLF BAD WOLF BAD WOLF HOLY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON
    A) The GIF isn't showing up.
    B) I KNOW RIGHT HOW AWESOME IS THAT.

  10. roguebelle says:

    Mark, and I mean this sincerely…

    YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN LESS PREPARED.

    Ever.

  11. E.L.S.O.S says:

    BEST. EPISODE. EVER. This entire episode is one long line of sad and tragic. And it is fantastic at it!

    But here is one thing that will blow your mind. As someone pointed out over at the spoiler blog as we all talked about how you were going to love this episode, (AND I CAN'T REMEMBER WHO IT WAS!!! I'M SORRY! I'M NOT WORTHY! DON'T THROW ME OUT OF THE BUS AGAIN!) the music that they play when they take the family away to the 'labour camps' is the Cyberman Theme.

    So not only do we have a resurgence of the death camps of WWII, you could also take it as an implication that the people brought there will be changed into Cybermen to make them more 'useful.' Which just makes it even worse!

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      "the music that they play when they take the family away to the 'labour camps' is the Cyberman Theme. "

      Oh my god. I never noticed that. That's horrifying. D:

    • psycicflower says:

      'the music that they play when they take the family away to the 'labour camps' is the Cyberman Theme.'
      I never noticed that before but that is just horrifying.

  12. PeterRabid says:

    Screw you, “Love and Monsters,” THIS is how you do a quasi-clip-show.

    Alternate universes may be one of my favorite tropes, so naturally, I really like this episode, even though it provokes ALL KINDS OF TEARS. It’s just so so bleak. First the Doctor, then Martha. Sarah Jane and Luke, Maria, and Clyde. The entirety of London. America being dissolved into Adipose. Atmos resulting in Gwen and Ianto dead and Jack on another planet.

    The goverment of Britain is just devolving little by little. At first it seems okay, what with the refugees being billeted houses, but then we find out those refugees don’t get a vote. England for the English, with immigrants and foreigners being sent to labor camps. When Wilf says “It’s happening agian,” I always break down and cry.

    Perhaps the worst part of the whole situation is the change in Donna herself. Without the Doctor, she’s back to her even louder bluster. She has little to no self-esteem and her mother isn’t helping much. Thanks a lot, Sylvia.

    I may not be the biggest fan of Rose, but wow, Rose. She’s being a BAMF. A+ for creepiness.

    And ultimately, Donna has to throw herself in front of a van in order to save a universe she’s never seen. She can only trust that it’s better than the hellhole she’s stuck in.

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lga77mmLPO1qdufy3.gif"/&gt;

    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lh9e7bbpSz1qam96co1_500.gif"/&gt;

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgxnulKGVB1qefgc0.gif"/&gt;

  13. Minish says:

    This is the episode where even the most vocal Donna/Cathrine Tate haters (henceforth known as "Taters") turned to one another and said… "damn."

    • E.L.S.O.S says:

      I refuse to believe that there is anyone that could hate Donna. There is no one that soulless or evil in the world.

      And lol on 'Taters.' Considering that I really only have lunchmeat and potato tots in the house to fashion dinner out of tonight, I'm going to take great pleasure in chewing Donna haters to bits. (Metaphorically. In RL that would just be a long EWWW moment.)

      • Openattheclose says:

        LOL TATER TOTS. They were like the MRHP mascot.

      • sabra_n says:

        I refuse to believe that there is anyone that could hate Donna. There is no one that soulless or evil in the world.

        Unfortunately, there are, but they are few and we can safely ignore them here. 😛

      • Minish says:

        There was a a girl who would review Doctor Who in videos that I use to watch, and she never really warmed up to Donna or saw the point of her or think her character ever developed and thought she was only really there for comic relief and was kind of annoying.

        Then she saw this episode.

        Let's just say… I beleive she went to comic con dressed as Donna Nobel a couple years ago.

  14. Bad Wolf says:

    Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf.

  15. CJBadwolf says:

    Of course I love the Bad Wolf reveal, but it's so secondary to Donna's sacrifice and Tate's fearless acting here. While all Doctor Who is wonderful, this marks for me the final episode of the best run of 4. From the Library, to Midnight, to here. This is kind of the best of all things.

    The problem is, you can't just hold out Turn Left and say "this is awesome" to a new viewer. This is a journey from small-minded and self-involved to BIG DAMN HERO.

    • whatsername says:

      I sort of feel like the Bad Wolf reveal and the rest of the episode are separate. Like, we have the episode and it's all epic and horrible (in a great way of course) and then we have the Bad Wolf reveal that really goes more with the finale arc.

      Does that even make sense?

  16. Mary Sue says:

    Wilf's face as he salutes Rocco getting on the transport truck…. MY SOUL IS CRUSHED FOREVER.

    I took some guff back during The Runaway Bride because I mentioned I didn't like Donna Noble at that point. Not at all.

    It wasn't until I saw Turn Left for the first time and realised that now I loved her, that I could really articulate why I didn't like her in TRB– Donna was me.

    I was an overeducated, underemployed temp with bossy, nosy family for the better part of a decade, and this idea that getting married would somehow not fix everything, but make things better was also something I had stuck in my head for a while. Which lead to so much disaster in my life, omg not even funny, all of which was still fresh and raw when TRB first aired. So I didn't like watching what felt a lot like the worst years of my life play out on the screen in TRB.

    But RTD and the rest of the writers of this season, plus Catherine Tate her awesomeness self? Worked it, and worked it hard, and worked it fierce until I not only loved Donna, but loved that she was like me– a temp who had loved and lost and then got back up and kicked behind across time and relative dimensions in space. I've only got the one dimension to run around in, but I've got nice, sturdy shoes with which to kick.

  17. Patrick says:

    I love the music they use at the end of this episode, that starts out really quiet and more stringed instrument-y, right until Donna says "Bad Wolf" and then IT GOES FUCKING CRAZY! I think they used it at the end of Utopia too, actually.

    And Mark, you are so unprepared it's not even funny.

  18. Inseriousity. says:

    2 words…

    ROSE TYLER
    ROSE TYLER
    ROSE TYLER
    ROSE TYLER

    ……

    BAD WOLF.

    OMG WTFOTSMGHMAMGHMAMGHMAMG A WTF AKGHMAMGHMAMGMAMGH

    lolol that was my reaction the first time I watched this. 😀

  19. Jenny_M says:

    I'm an unapologetic Rose fangirl, so having a Rose/Donna episode just made my life a little bit better the first time I saw it. I really, really adore this episode, and it can make me cry every time. I am a sucker for big, emotional gutpunches and this is nothing if not the biggest gutpunch of them all!

    • Karen says:

      haha. I too am an unapologetic Rose fangirl. And I ADORE Donna too. So seeing them interact with each other was jsut ;lsl;kjdf djls

  20. Hypatia_ says:

    I rewatched this episode last night and honestly, I could not put together a coherent comment. It's just…so goddamn crushing. There's this category in my mind of "Things Which Induce Feelings of Inescapable, Claustrophobic Horror". 1984. The Road (book and movie). Never Let Me Go (the book, not so much the movie, even though it's fantastic). This episode is way at the top of the list.

    It's interesting to see Donna going through something similar to what John Smith did in "Family of Blood". Like him, Donna had to choose to live as herself or die in order to save everyone. Like him, Donna chose to die. This is one of the many things that make "Doctor Who" so amazing, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

    THE DOCTOR DIES. WHAT? I thought he couldn’t die!
    He can die if he's killed too quickly for regeneration to begin. Apparently that's what happened under the Thames.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      Or if, like the Master, he chooses to die. ):

    • awildmiri says:

      Or if he chooses not to regenerate, like the Master. So either he passed out due to drowning and so he couldn't regenerate when he actually died….or he was in such a dark place that he didn't even want to regenerate. I'm not sure which is worse.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Personally, I think it'd be worse if he'd just decided not to regenerate. The idea of the Doctor being that hopeless is pretty awful.

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Or another possibility; as he was drowning, his body tried to repair the damage, and regenerated. And died again. Then regenerated. Then died again . Maybe he used up all his last lives.

      • Openattheclose says:

        *whimpers* Oh Doctor. That would be horrible.

      • PeterRabid says:

        That reminds me of the deleted scene from the fancomic "The Ten Doctors," when Leela kills a Time Lord by stabbing him repeatedly as he regenerates. Eventually he just dissolved into goo and it's pretty much the most disturbing thing ever.

        • Hypatia_ says:

          That is an incredibly disturbing panel. Kind of a Leela thing to do though.

        • whatsername says:

          Jesus Christ that sounds awful.

          • PeterRabid says:

            The author wrote this in his notes for the page: "After I'd drawn the page I realized that it was pretty shocking, really. Although I still find it an interesting study of what WOULD happen if someone kept murdering you through the process, the body structure breaks down as the lindos hormone is unable to keep up with demand, as it were. I also felt it made Leela a bit too monsterous."

      • kaybee42 says:

        Oh god. I didn't cry at the Doctor's body being revealed and the sonic screwdriver dropping from his hand. Nor did I even cry at the idea that he was in such a bad place that he *refused* to regenerate, but I was close to it… the idea of that horrible, *horrible* death? Tears forever. Oh Doctor.
        Sometimes I hate this programme for making me cry over alternate versions of fictional characters' possible deaths. Then I remember just how amazing it must be to make me do that.

  21. Anon says:

    Catherine Tate was brilliant in this. Also, i really wanted to slap her mum.

  22. Karen says:

    That gif you used is especially apt in light of the scene where Wilf, Donna, Sylvia and Rocco's family are all sitting around singing Bohemian Rhapsody.

    And on the "POC tricks white person" thing, I think the problem is more to do with the fact this is happening in either a China Town style section of an alien city or maybe an entire world that is influenced by Chinese culture (it actually made me think of Firefly). And because of that the people involved in the action are Asian. BUT the problem with that is it has definite whiffs of Orientalism. So yeah…

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      The "Evil magical gypsy woman" trope is really old and gross. :\ If they wanted something with a carnival atmosphere, that still wasn't necessary.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Firefly is exactly what that reminded me of. I'm still not fond of the Evil Asian Woman thing, but I liked the setting because it made me think "Firefly!"
      <img src=http://lh5.ggpht.com/_3lVOb8wvDlE/TQ1IwfwylFI/AAAAAAAAA0U/034DwdregM8/kaylee.gif>

    • anon says:

      As an Asian and Doctor Who fan, this very much bothered me. Why? Because they're not depicting actual Chinese culture; they're depicting a white person's stereotype of what Chinese culture is supposed to be: fu manchu, evil funny talking old ladies, exoticism, kitschy decorations, etc. etc. They probably did not put any thought into it of course, just took whatever imagery was familiar to them, imprinted by other movies or tv shows they themselves saw, and used that. (and so the cycle continues…)

      But then Firefly bothered me as well, and I've been told I am "too sensitive" about racial issues.

  23. Openattheclose says:

    I am so glad you posted "A Dazzling End." I love that music.

  24. doesntsparkle says:

    Thanks for calling out the Orientalism, it is a flaw in an otherwise damn good episode.

    Wilf, I will love you forever and always, it doesn't matter that you are fictional. You are the heart and soul of the Noble family and the reason that Donna is so awesome. Too bad awesome skips a generation. He keeps the family together, and bonds with the other people in the boarding house and makes that a family. Why isn't Wilf my grandpa?

    I know that it's morbid, but love the dystopian alternate reality. It's horrifying without being over the top.

    • Karen says:

      My friend tells me that my grandpa reminds her of Wilf. 😀

      • doesntsparkle says:

        You're so lucky.

        • Karen says:

          I tend to agree. I <3 my grandpa. It's really sad though because he has Alzheimer's and it's been getting worse over the past couple of years. 🙁

          • doesntsparkle says:

            That's really sad and hard to go through.

            • xpanasonicyouthx says:

              Yeah, that's what my dad had the last year of his life. It's a really frightening disease.

              • nyssaoftraken74 says:

                My Dad has a form of dementia, too, although not Alzheimer's per sae. He sort-of knows who I am sometimes on a good day, but it's really sad when the person he was is essentially gone. My <3 goes out to anyone going through anything like that.

  25. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/2dshbbn.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/b8wgwo.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    So this episode is endless sadness. Everything is so grim and it only keeps getting worse.

    I do love this episode though. Alternate timelines/universes are a favourite sci-fi trope of mine because one little thing can change so much. Throughout the whole time I first watched I was jumping ahead of the plot going ‘but that means this happen so that person’s dead and oh my god what about event so and so’ I don’t know how my sister put up with me.

    My favourite scene is the labour camp one. (God that sound's horrible out of context but you all know what I mean.) It is just so well done. As soon as he said 'England for the English' and started talking about labour camps I just started going ‘oh no, oh no, oh please no.’ And then you see Wilf’s teary face as Donna asks what kind of labour and the husband quickly glances at Wilf but he pretends everythings okay for Donna. When the husband and Wilf salute each other you know that they both know. And then Wilf has to say ‘Labour camps. That’s what they called them last time’ and I just break a little inside. Then the shot of the parents clinging to each other and Wilf crying ‘It’s happening again’ and I am completely broken. It just goes completely beyond heart break when Donna realises what's happening and tries to chase the truck down.
    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/28jfgxt.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I loved that they also used some familiar background characters like the UNIT guy from the Sontaran two parter and Martha's fellow med student Oliver. Endless tears at Martha, Sarah Jane and the kids, Ianto and Gwen being dead and Jack probably suffering terribly at the hands of the Sontarans.

    ‘To be honest I’ve just given up on you.’ I have so much rage for Sylvia. I may feel some sympathetic later in the episode when she becomes a broken woman but she treats Donna disgracefully with her constant put downs. (Not to mention I'm really sensitive towards unemployed jibs right now.) There's no excuse to talk to anyone like that, never mind your only daughter.
    I love Wilf though. He is like ray of sunshine and the definition of 'keep calm and carry on'. He constantly tries to be positive about the situation (reindeer antlers love!) and keep his families spirits up. I love when Donna finds him singing 'The Wild Rover' with their housemates.
    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/15cmr05.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    ROSE! BAD WOLF!
    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/kumm8.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    YOU ARE NOT PREPARED

    • Karen says:

      WOULD THAT THIS HOODIE WERE A TIME HOODIE

      Lol. Sorry. That's just one of my favorite episodes of Community purely for a) the ridiculousness of all the conspiracies and b) all of the dialogue from the Dean's book that he makes Professor Professorsin/Wooley/Gareity say.

    • Openattheclose says:

      ’"And then you see Wilf’s teary face as Donna asks what kind of labour and the husband quickly glances at Wilf but he pretends everythings okay for Donna. When the husband and Wilf salute each other you know that they both know. And then Wilf has to say ‘Labour camps. That’s what they called them last time’ and I just break a little inside."

      THIS. It gets me every time. Wilf is such a darling man in this episode. He never loses his humanity, no matter how bad things get. Compare him to the humans in Midnight.

      • psycicflower says:

        Wilf is just the best of everyone. He's kind, caring, supportive and curious. I could never see him turning against anyone without an extremely valid reason.

  26. potlid007 says:

    ROSE!!!!!! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!

    <img src="http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/bb385/potlid007/tumblr_lfpflkYJPv1qduqqv.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  27. maccyAkaMatthew says:

    I live in Leeds as well. So I can tell it's not Leeds they filmed (just as I know that the Harrogate hotel tha Agatha Christie ended up in is completely different).

    The series producer, Phil Collinson is from Leeds – so I always thought it was probably a bit of an in-joke. Also Russell T Davies is sort of based in Machester when he's not in LA or Cardiff, so there was kind of a North/South joke going on with the idea of Londoners being shocked by the very idea of the North.

    Evil Chantho (it's the same actress) is rather unfortunate. I've disagreed in the past about portrayals of flawed people of colour as being a problem because I think they've still come across as individuals rather standing for a whole culture or ethnic group. This time around I think they've rather thoughtlessly fallen into a load of Orientalist cliches (still a big problem in UK TV – see also The Ruby in the Smoke and Sherlock). I'm sure there's no malice in it – they probably thought a Chinese planet would be neat (inspired, perhaps, by Firefly) and its supposed to look all positive and fun (the whole "weird market selling odd things" idea makes me uncomfortable, though). But then we get scheming fortune teller and it all goes to a bad place.

    Now it has to do that for plot reasons and then the story has to be mainly not about that planet – so they don't have time to go beyond broad strokes. And because of that it needed a rethink – there's not a lot of room to not stereotype in.

    Still, the rest of it is so good. I'm always impressed by how well judged the performance of Rocco is. He plays up to the stereotype of the jolly Italian because he is desperately trying to make the best of a bad situation. The way the he and Wilf play out the labour camp scene is just brilliant. And in a Saturday teatime adventure programme for families as well.

    And, after all this, you're still NOT PREPARED.

    Edit: and I love Captain Erisa Magambo.

    "And this… is to combat dehydration."

    • Edit: and I love Captain Erisa Magambo.

      "And this… is to combat dehydration."

      Yeah OMG that was the best thing EVER. Donna was probably grateful by the time she was panting at the end! Um, as grateful as a person about to throw herself in front of a truck can be…

  28. I love Turn Left. Yeah, it's pretty much the Doctor Who version of It's a Wonderful Life but it's done in a great way. I love exploring alternate realities and when writers ask "what if it had gone down this way instead?" and this ep is one of my favorite examples of how to that. Also this is when I decided Wilf was awesome. he almost outranks Jackie as favorite companion family member (almost!).
    Only complaints are 1) I wanted more info on the baddie because it seemed wierd that random fortune teller goes around putting life-altering bugs on people's back for no real reason (and yes, I hated the race thing too). and 2) I started to severely dislike Sylvia Noble at this point. I hate mothers that put down their daughters like she does. No wonder Donna has inferiority issues.

    • anobium says:

      We didn't get to hear about the Trickster Brigade's motivation in this episode because it had already been exposited elsewhere. See this comment for more information.

  29. Ali says:

    I did love the idea, depressing though it was, that even without the Doctor, the people who's lives he changed did the best they could to carry on his work – Sarah Jane Smith and Martha trying to help the people in the hospital, the Torchwood team giving up their lives to save the world from the Sontarans…

    I suppose, in a subtle way, it also shows the effect of the Doctor on them, just as this episode shows the effect of Donna on the Doctor.
    I just love the fact that Donna is so important in lots of little ways – she feels worthless throughout the whole episode, without even knowing that it was she who prevented all this from happening in reality. The idea that one ordinary person can change the world, and that his companion is often just at vital as the Doctor himself – THAT right there is why I love Doctor Who.

  30. Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna
    Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf!
    Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna
    Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf!
    Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna
    Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf!
    Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna Donna
    Argh, Rose! Argh, Rose! Roooooose! Roooooose! Oooooh, it's a Rooose!

  31. pandalilies says:

    I have no idea how you are coping with ALL OF THE SAD FOREVER in Mockingjay PLUS ALL THE SAD FOREVER in the who-niverse.
    I would explode if i'd done both for the first time, at the same time.

  32. nanceoir says:

    I just can't take ol' Wilf crying, y'all. Just… no, Wilf's too lovely to cry, it's not allowed. So I'm cheering myself up by listening to him sing a silly song. Ah, that's better.

  33. Guesty McGee says:

    Midnight+Turn Left= Perfection. Wanted to say this yesterday but couldn't, for obvious reasons!

    That moment with the Titanic gives me chills (in a good way) every. single. time. My thought process generally goes "wow, I can't believe they just saw that happen, that's very cool in a very scary way…oh wait, did they just kill me off?? yeah, i think they probably did…."

    Just one thing about this episode annoys me though, and I would love to hear other people's take on it: why is Rose so omniscient?? I can understand her knowing some stuff through working with the "other" Torchwood, as we assume she has been in the parallel universe. But how does she know all that stuff about Donna? How can she possibly know that The Doctor would describe Donna as brilliant, and that Donna dreamed about him sometimes?!

    However,despite that nagging in my mind whilst watching it, this episode is still one of my favourites 🙂

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      You know how she's been appearing on all the screens and stuff? She'd also been watching them through security cameras and web cams. The whole time. Just tracking them. Remember;
      'ROSE TYLER IS WATCHING'.

      • Guesty McGee says:

        Hm…I think that is a very plausible explanation! Still, the only way Rose could know that Donna dreams about the Doctor is if she watches her sleep…Bad Rose!

        • rys says:

          I think Rose was drawing on her own experience as a companion there, trying to convince Donna. It was hinting she herself dreams about the Doctor as well as suggesting that Donna's subconscious knows what's going on.

      • nanceoir says:

        Also, I think they establish in Series 2 that Pete's World is ahead of them, so Rose is also able to see the future a bit.

  34. michelle says:

    ROSE TYLER IS A BAMF FOREVER <3

  35. Karen says:

    If you have a livejournal and are interested in talking about Rose (and the Doctor and Doctor/Rose) might I suggest a community on lj? http://community.livejournal.com/d_r_meta

    And I'm not just saying that because I'm a mod. LOL. But it's a new community where we have a new topic each week for discussion. It should be good times. There are Rose fans out there! We just kind of tend to stick to ourselves.

  36. Penquin47 says:

    This was the episode where I completely let go of how much I hated Donna after Runaway Bride. It had been building all series, but between Midnight without her and Turn Left all on her, I realized just how much I loved her.

    Between Rose and River… I'm terrified for Donna.

    Yesterday, with "Midnight" you talked about tropes and how certain tropes just get people. This is my trope. Alternate universes, seeing how things play out differently with different choices that seem ridiculously insignificant at the time. This episode reminds me a lot of Star Trek's "Tapestry", which also has a chance to go back and do something over and realize just how important your choices are. It was one of my first Star Trek episodes and is still one of my favorites.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Also makes me think of City on the Edge of Forever, which showed how very different human history would've been if one seemingly insignificant person had lived instead of died. Not surprisingly, that's my favorite original series episode by far.

  37. Jaxx_zombie says:

    This episode just makes me completely sad. You see the whole world fall apart.

    <img src="http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd494/Jaxx_zombie/qpfn7s.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Now remember people NO SPOILERS or angry sun will be angry!

    <img src="http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd494/Jaxx_zombie/angrysun.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • Openattheclose says:

      OMG that last gif! A+

    • arctic_hare says:

      What is that second gif from?

      • Jaxx_zombie says:

        I don't even know, I randomly found it one day and decided that it would be wonderful to express rage.

      • thiamalonee says:

        I'm not entirely sure, but it kind of reminds me of Terminator 2.

        • NB2000 says:

          It is Terminator 2, with the sun faces added on.

          • Jaxx_zombie says:

            Then the mystery is solved!

          • Openattheclose says:

            The sun face is from Super Mario Bros. 3, right? I am not imagining that?

            • NB2000 says:

              I have no idea sorry, my knowledge of video games is basically limited to The Sims and Portal.

            • psycicflower says:

              I think it is. Either way I hate that sun.

              • Openattheclose says:

                But it protects us from spoilers!

                • psycicflower says:

                  No spoilers are pure evil! I meant in the Mario Brothers game I hate the sun with its evil chasing and swooping.

                  • Openattheclose says:

                    Oh!! Me too. That thing was evil, that and the little guy that dropped spikey things at you from a cloud.

                    Oh, and I found a gif that is somewhat relevant to this discussion!
                    <img src=http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/129167586636177506.gif>>
                    This town must have posted spoilers in their newspaper or something.

                    • psycicflower says:

                      I hate the guy in the cloud too.
                      That gif is all kinds of epic. Silly, silly town. They should've known better.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      OH GOD FUCKING LAKITUS

                      HATE

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      THAT'S THE NAME!! I KEPT THINKING "LOKI" LIKE THE GOD BUT I KNEW THAT WASN'T RIGHT!

                      THANK YOU ARTIC_HARE!
                      (btw, it is awesome that their are others on here that remember Mario 3. I loved that game)

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      I have to admit, the reason I remember it is because my other favorite game of all time is Super Mario World and I've played it a million times, more than I've played the others (I sadly didn't have an NES, but there's Super Mario All-Stars to compensate).

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      I was in the NES generation and it was awesome. We still have ours, but it is very glitchy now. I'm not familiar with most of the Mario games after it, sadly. Although I heard the Wii Mario game is just an update of the originals?

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      I have no idea, I've not played it. The DS Lite is the most current system I have (not that I mind, I love my DS and my PSP).

                    • Fuchsia says:

                      Yeah, the New Super Mario Bros. is an update of the original game, but there are still quite a few differences. It's been a while since I played it (I bought it when it came out for the DS) but I remembered most of the worlds being the same, but a couple were different. And there are certain things that make game play different (a new power-up that lets you SMASH EVERYTHING EVER, finding hidden star coins in every level). It's a lot of fun, just like the old games, but not.

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      So I have wanted a Wii forever, but I couldn't justify getting one, because I already have an XBox. This is helping justify it, so thank you!

                    • Fuchsia says:

                      Haha, no problem? In my experience, there's a world of difference between XBox and Wii. I think that Nintendo still holds truer to the "gaming should be fun" concept, XBox games are… more serious? Not that they're not fun, just in a different way. I don't own one, for the above mentioned reason (plus my family has always been and always will be a Nintendo family) but I've spent a lot of time playing, watching others play, and browsing games for XBox. (Yeah, I'm a gaming nerd. Has that not been made obvious? I've had every Nintendo system ever made from release date, and my former best friend worked for WB Games so we got sneak previews of games, which was AWESOME.)

                      Wii = Totally worth it. The Mario games are absolutely wonderful. And there are others that might not be classics, but really integrate the movement of the controller with the game play (two words: Harry Potter. Waving your controller as a wand, in specific movements to conjure a spell? Amazing). You're always having fun. Really. I've come across very few games on the Wii that have bored me, and that's saying something to this ADD-riddled person who just spent 30 minutes writing this comment.

                      **disclaimer: I used to sell game systems, but haven't for years, so I'm not trying to get commission or anything. 😉

                      But nothing beats Atari or DOS games. Whatever. I still have a working Atari 2600 and dozens of its games in my apartment this day. The sad thing is, it doesn't hook up to my fancy schmancy new HD TV so… yeah.

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      My Atari (well actually it's more like my older siblings' Atari) no longer works and it brings me all the sads. The reason we got an XBox is because my boyfriend likes the graphics better, and at the time, I was fine with it because all of the games I wanted were available for it.

                      I really want a Wii mostly for the *active* games, but the Mario nostalgia is also a big factor for me.

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      Blah, four hours later and I just noticed that I wrote *their* and not *there* and that is one of my big pet peeves. I'm so sorry!

                    • Fuchsia says:

                      The gifs in this thread are amazing. So much nerd love, not going to lie. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to go play some Mario Brothers… I love that I have them downloaded on my Wii. 😀

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      Oh God I need a Wii.

                      I seriously think the little 2D 8bit games I had when I was a kid were more fun than the games now. Well, except for the Lego games, because those rule.

                    • Fuchsia says:

                      I agree, the only "new" games I enjoy these days are just… new versions of the old games. Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario and Zelda: Twilight Princess are my Wii games that I've put the most time into. The New Super Mario Brothers is fun, but I had it on my DS and haven't yet had the money to get it for Wii (although I assume it's basically the same… I'd like it since my DS and games got stolen). It's mostly an update of the original game, but some things are different. I beat the base game in under a day (with plenty of breaks) but there are a couple other ways to beat it as well.

                      Oh, and if you're just looking for a quick fix, this is pretty much the best thing ever: http://nintendo8.com/ (Not all games work though, sadly)

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      Thanks! I'll check that out 🙂

    • who_cares86 says:

      Spoilers they hurt.

      <img src="http://i694.photobucket.com/albums/vv301/vick1986_album/random anime screenshot/vlcsnap-00385.jpg">

  38. buyn says:

    So… the man in Pompeii said there was something on her back, and now there is…
    DNW DNW DNW.

  39. feminerdist says:

    Okay so I said before that this is the season is the first one I started watching in real time. Sure, I'd seen random episodes of past seasons here and there. When this episode first aired, I hadn't seen very many episodes. I knew basic arcs, Rose was gone somewhere somehow, Martha was before Donna, the doctor could regenerate so the BBC could change actors, etc. But I didn't know everything. So the end for me was:

    Donna: She said "Bad Wolf."
    (Doctor freaks out)
    Me: Is that bad?
    My husband: (opening Netflix streaming to season one) Start here.

  40. Fusionman29 says:

    You know there’s nothing left I can say. Even trying to post trivia will get me raving wildly.

    So instead let me say 2 things.

    1. YOU THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T PREPARED EARLIER!? THIS 2-PARTER WILL MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE FUCKING BATMAN!!!

    2. Get a box of MAN TISSUES. You will need them for the MANLY TEARS!!

    Say can we use Man Tissues as a term?

    For example Finnick made me use Man Tissues. Suzanne Collins then made me buy another box.

  41. MowerOfLorn says:

    I absolutely love this episode. Besides the fact that it highlights the importance of both the Doctor and his companions in the DW universe, its complete bleakness and the cleverness of the script, there are a few scenes that really stand out to me in particular.

    Firstly, the scene where we see the Doctor’s body. Now, we know that a reset button has to happen, but it’s still a punch in the gut because not only is that the body of the show’s main character, it is the body of a character who basically cannot die. We know what happens in the episode; the Doctor could have escaped if he wanted to. But it seems he was so distraught over losing Rose that he lost the will to live, and either didn’t try to escape or regenerate. And Donna’s just watching his body get pulled away, and she doesn’t care in the slightest. Talk about a punch in the face!

    When Donna’s housemates are getting taken away to the labour camps; that is such a heart breaking scene. The actor who plays Mr. Collastano had been playing a borderline annoying character, who was also endearing for his optimism and willing to share, and it was amazing to see him trying to keep a happy face. But when he and his family began being taken away, and he began to cry, my heart started to break. And Bernard Cribbins’ acting; “Labour camps, that’s what they called them last time…” My God. Wrenching to watch.

    But my very favourite scene is the moments just before Donna is going to get sent back in time. The music is incredibly powerful, somehow badass but uplifting, perfectly fitting Donna’s speech about how she can’t wait for the Doctor’s world to take this universe place. And then she says “Because I don’t die! I- I don’t die, right, and the music changes sharply. Rose’s face becomes bleak, and we hear the Doctor’s mysterious theme in the background…and suddenly we realise, it’s not over yet. To save the universe, one last sacrifice must be made. Everything about that scene, from the setting, the acting to the music just works together to make that impression. Brilliant.

    Still, I don't like some of the subtle racism just under the surface. When the futuristic China town came up I was thinking "Oh, yay, more Chinese stereotypes, even in the far future," because really, most of China isn't like that today. I know, I living there. And the old 'superstitious latina maid' trope. Ugh. Still, its not enough to taint the rest of the episode for me.

  42. who_cares86 says:

    Russel you sadist. I mean killing all the adults is one thing but killing the kids… oh you evil man.

    <img src="http://i694.photobucket.com/albums/vv301/vick1986_album/Donnasworldsja.jpg"&gt;

    Wilf is awesome and Catherine Tate once again shows here acting skills. Also bohemian rhapsody what's not to like.

    You Are Not Prepared.

    Ps. How come the new reviews don't show up anywhere for me until about an hour after they're up?

  43. stellaaaaakris says:

    Personal story time:

    What if you could change just one event in your life? What would it be? Why that moment? Why do you believe that one act or decision would change where you are now? Can the ramifications of one moment change your entire life?
    The way you started this review really made me think about how such little things can change everything. For example, I was in 8th grade for 9/11. My brother had been sick and gave me the cold and we both spread the germs enough to my mother to make her a little late to work that day. She worked in Tower One on one of the floors that were hit. Her co-workers who were on the side of the building she worked on didn't survive. Fortunately for my mom, her leaving a little bit later than usual because of a slight cold meant she was still in the subway at the stop and they were able to reverse. My life could have been so different.

    But about the actual episode! Rose finally gets to talk out loud, yay! Question: Did her voice sound different to anyone else? It might be I'm just so used to Donna's sarcastic, loud brashness (that I love, btw) and didn't remember what she sounded like.

    Totally did not expect Bad Wolf to come back. Mind is blown.

    • I have nothing intelligent or pithy to say, only that your story rattled me to my core. I bet she was never so glad to have caught a germ. I'm so glad that your mum wasn't there!

    • My head just exploded. I'm glad your mom got sick!

    • Fuchsia says:

      Not my family, but my friend's father had a business meeting in one of the towers that morning but his alarm didn't go off and so he was running late for the meeting. He was still a few subway stops away when the first plane hit. Little things do sometimes make a huge difference.

    • Stephanie says:

      My uncle worked in Boston during the week and took a flight home to California on the weekends. On 9/10, he was staying in a hotel, and the guy in the room next to him was snoring so loudly that he couldn't fall asleep. He ended up oversleeping and missing the plane that would end up crashing into the World Trade Center.
      Little moments…

  44. Matt says:

    On a slightly lighter note, because it's a rubbish beetle that isn't as good as the other elements of the creative enterprise, fandom gave it the name "Ringo".

    Chan/ Didn't anyone recognise the actress playing the fortune teller then? /Tho

  45. echinodermata says:

    I'm glad you brought up race, Mark. I'm going to post my comment before reading others, so I may be repeating an ongoing conversation.

    Okay, I'm gonna say right from the start that I pretty much hate the fake Asian world. It's pretty much the same concerns as Firefly, where I dislike the use of the culture when there are so few characters, even minor ones, of Asian descent on both shows. And it's my culture and heritage, so I'm more sensitive to it than I am with other instances of cultural appropriation. Additionally, Turn Left also includes the evil Asian fortune teller. Thanks a lot, show. The actress is the same one who plays Chantho, so when I saw the love for Chantho in S3 on this blog, I couldn't participate because her character is marred by the fact that I hate the role the actress plays in this episode.

    Honestly, I find it hard to get past those concerns. I normally really like AUs, and I liked finally getting to know what's on Donna's back, and the Bad Wolf reveal was awesome. So this episode should be one that I really like, and I hate that I felt it fucked up with its racial and cultural aspects.

    What I will say about the rest of the episode:
    The implication that Martha and Sarah Jane are dead hits me harder than the Doctor being dead. I guess it's probably just cause I know the show would never actually kill him off, whereas companions don't have the same luxury.

    I like the short little Tochwood music bit when Rose tells Donna about Torchwood. It's a small detail, but it's lovely.

    The idea of a giant bettle attached to someone's back freaks me out.

  46. Laura says:

    So. Hands down one of my favorite episodes, because it brings up this important idea:

    A UNIVERSE WITHOUT THE DOCTOR.

    And no question about it, it is the most fucking horrifying universe ever. But the reason the Doctor dies? Is because he doesn't have a companion. So:

    A DOCTOR WITHOUT A COMPANION.

    Is, like… not good. And Catherine Tate shows us this. Oh so brilliantly. I love Donna. Because she is scared to death. But she is so sassy, so strong, even on her own. Yes, the Doctor showed her she was amazing. But you know what? She already was.

    Rose Tyler, you are wonderful.

  47. Openattheclose says:

    I love that Indy gif and I have been waiting for a good Doctor Who moment to use it. I think this qualifies 🙂

  48. who_cares86 says:

    Think of poor Allen and Chrissie and Carla. Losing their only son/daughter.

  49. nyssaoftraken74 says:

    >Additionally, I groaned at the whole PERSON OF COLOR TRICKS WHITE PEOPLE INTO RUINING THEIR LIFE thing. NO. No thank you.

    OK, first thing I'm going to do is poke that with a stick, because I maintain that skin colour is irrelevent here. The fortune teller is asian to fit in with the wonderful, striking image of the far-easten style alien marketplace. Nothing more.

    Now, if we're going to make skin colour an issue, it seems to me that there's no way to win with this scene. Let's look at the alternative options:

    (a) White person tricks non-white person into ruining their life (e.g. if this had been Martha instead of Donna) – there would be so many complaints about this! (The Black/asian/non-white character gets her life screwed!)

    (b) Make them both non-white – now you've got a non-white person being evil ( = complaints) and you STILL have a non-white person having their life ruined!

    (c) Make them both white – that means one fewer role for a non-white actor.

    (d) Make the fortune teller a blue alien – that means you need other blue aliens in the marketplace or it would look odd. Also, you could still choose to view the `blue alien` as a metaphor for `non-white`, which frankly, it would be.

    Now, I admit I'm saying this as a white girl, so maybe I just don't understand the emotions involved. But looking at it objectively, it seems to me that the only way to eliminate racism in TV/film is to cast completely colour blind unless you are deliberately making a point (e.g. Mr Colasanto).

    Chippo Chung was specifically cast because the production team were impressed with her performance as Chantho in Series 3 Utopia. They realised they could have her back as a different character – this time in a role where we'd be able to see her without alien make-up and prosthetics.

    • echinodermata says:

      (e) write roles for people of color but don't write in tired stereotypes. What happened in the ep, and your scenario in (a) and (b) can still be avoided, by:

      (f) avoiding appropriation of Asian culture in the first place

      • hassibah says:

        I think I just repeated you, oops. Somehow I didn't see this comment before I made mine. Just saying I wasn't trying to steal your thunder or anything like that.

    • Karen says:

      I agree with this comment because I think the problem lies more in the fact that it was set in this pseudo-China Town which could definitely be seen as a form of Orientalism (because it does kind of fetishize Eastern cultures). But if they were going to set it in this eastern marketplace, I'm glad they used an East Asian actor because OMG. It would have been like Avator: TLA movie ALL OVER AGAIN where they would have hiring white actors to play roles in a world that is clearly inspired by Asian cultures.

      Now the problem really becomes why set it in a Chinese market in the first place? And then you have to wonder if it's a good thing because it shows the existence of another culture in the future that isn't British for once. Or is it a bad thing because this is a show made by white people (someone correct me if there is a POC on the production team that I am unaware of) and they're using this culture that isn't theirs to create a certain kind of atmosphere for the show?

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I think that last point is what's most poignant. I think they could have easily created a bazaar or carnival feel without appropriating Asian culture into a negative stereotype.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          Well I'm sorry, but I don't see a negative stereotype. I just see a beautiful asian style marketplace that happens to contain one person who is up to no good.

          I really wouldn't swap that visual image for anything. Maybe I just take things at face value, but I truly believe nothing was intended in that image beyond that.

          • echinodermata says:

            I don't give a fuck about intentions – there is a history of appropriating Asian cultures in White and European societies. Doctor Who, as I understand it, had a pretty heinous episode about Orientalism in the past. Someone else already brought up Sherlock. So it's also UK media and this specific show that has a problem, because I know that was a point for you in the past.

            This is my culture. I don't want to see people using it because it's "beautiful" – it's a goddamn culture and shared history and it deserves more reverence than just ooh, visually nice.

            I see a negative stereotype, and so do others. So to be quite honest, I don't care about your opinion.

            • echinodermata says:

              …and I've been downvoted at least twice. This is why I said a while back on the spoiler board that I hate talking about race in Doctor Who on this blog specifically.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                Yeah, seriously guys? Stop it. This person is pretty goddamn spot on and I would appreciate you not erasing their experience and outlook on this through downvoting or REPORTING IT.

                The end. Stop it.

              • maccyAkaMatthew says:

                I agree with you on this one but I'd still have upvoted you if I hadn't.

                The discussion we were having before I think needed a more nuanced and carefully thought out format than the comment format allows. And the possibility of not spoiling Mark as well. I hated that people were voting you down back then and I don't like the idea carrying on in that type of combative environment. Along with breaking my wrist (that makes it difficult for me to type for a long sustained period) I though I'd probably be best leaving the whole race thing alone.

                I couldn't let this episode pass though, for the reasons I've already said in my previous comment on this. But beyond that I'm not sure if we're getting anywhere useful. Maybe one day I'll blog about it at length – there is something interesting about individuals as against cultures to wheedle out. I just don't think here is a good place to do it.

              • swimmingtrunks says:

                What the shit, I can't believe you got downvoted and reported. I really wish there was a way to moderate downvoting. I'm sorry talking about race here has not been a good experience for you, but I'm really glad you do it anyway, because when you do you make excellent points and bring your own important view/experience to the table.

                What I'm trying to say is, know despite the downvotes that you are ~appreciated~.

                • echinodermata says:

                  I'm actually pretty sure I'm still getting downvoted. This is why we can't have nice things, fandom.

                  Thanks for the appreciation and moral support.

                  • Openattheclose says:

                    Upvoting you because downvoting for differences of opinion is ridiculous.

                    The Doctor would so not approve, neither would Donna or Wilf.

                  • You know what would rock? No downvote buttons! Make negativity walk the plank!

                  • peacockdawson says:

                    I think it was that fact that you were rude and, while clearly stating you don't give a damn about this person's opinion, you still took that time to write this out in a manner that makes it look like you actually DO care.

                    • rys says:

                      Oh god, thank you for this comment. I was starting to feel like a crazy person for thinking it was rudeness.

                    • DBeR says:

                      Absolutely. I was with her 100%. But when she added " So to be quite honest, I don't care about your opinion.", she lost my support.

              • doesntsparkle says:

                Oi, the down voting thing is ridiculous. It's the only thing I hate about this board.

                I like it when people tear into characters, stories, writers, that I like(as long as they are thought out arguments that aren't racist sexist, etc). They make me think about my opinions.

                It's too much to ask for the Internet to be a civil place, but I expect better from this place.

              • notemily says:

                After the ableism discussion on Mark Reads, I got a Downvote Stalker who downvoted ALL of my comments for a while, even the ones that didn't have to do with the conversation. I don't even know.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  I've begun to suspect lately that I may have at least one, since I often seem to get downvoted even when I express only positive things about episodes, and even got a downvote for saying that I loved the Lost series finale.

                  • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                    I'm going to look into disabling downvoting. That's ridiculous.

                    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

                      MIght not be a bad idea. If something is spoilery, it can simply be reported to protect you. And as for the voting on classic Who, we don't need negative votes. Whichever suggestion gets upvoted the most, wins. Simple as that.

              • ffyona says:

                I want to apologise for accidentally downvoting you, my computer farted as I was trying to click reply. Suffice to say, I actually want to upvote you, because I totes agree with you.

            • maccyAkaMatthew says:

              The market is a positive stereotype in the sense that it's shown as a place where the Doctor and Donna are having a really good time. So it doesn't set up the idea all Asians are bad people, which a blatantly racist text could well do. But that's rarely what Orientalism involves – it's the idea that Asians are mysterious and unknowable and other which is strong and which we get in the "isn't everything odd" market scene.

              And because the story requires it to be a brief scene it ends up being window dressing rather than a serious look at what a Chinese planet might actually be like.

              So then you have a Chinese Zimbawean actress who the plot requires to be evil and duplicious. So now the Orient is weird and unknowable and threatening too. Yes the people are mainly lovely but there's this dark sinister undercurrent – Time Beetles lurking under the Shangri La exterior.

              Maybe, just maybe, if there was time to flesh out the character you'd see an individual with their own motivations separate from the culture. But there isn't time because the Chinese planet and the people who live there aren't what the story is about.

              So we end up with something that is at best thoughtless and perpetuates the idea of exoticism and separateness and at worst suggests that other cultures are dangerous. Now that wouldn't be such a problem if it was in the context of a wide variety of stories and characters, but we mainly seem to get variations on old Orientalist tropes.

              I think this is maybe because we are a long way away, geographically, from East Asia and have a relatively small Chinese population who haven't had the same cultural impact as other immigrant groups. Also, our relationship with the East has historically been an imperialist and exploitative one – and that still floats around in the culture, to be unthinkingly seized on by people without sufficient direct experience to transform it.

              The Talons of Weng Chiang thing is somewhat removed though – it was almost thirty-five years ago and with a different production team. In that respect old Who and new Who are different shows made in different environments. There are also two separate problems with it. The first is that there's a white man playing Chinese in the lead role, which wouldn't happen today in a drama, at least. The second is that its essentially a pastiche of Fu Manchu. Now the fact that it's a pastiche and certain elements of the plot give it some ironic distance from the racism of its source – but not enough. So you end up with something that I feel very ambivalent about, I can almost see how it could be redeemed if they had either cast a Chinese actor or made the character (a stage magician) a white man playing Chinese (which did happen in Victorian London, I think). And there are moments when the script appears to be mocking its source but others when it just comes across as outright racist.

              Its such a good story though that people really want to defend it – which can lead to some discussions with more heat than light (since people who can see the racism get understandably enraged by the attempts at denial).

              I think it only feeds into Turn Left in a general way, in that its part of the weave of Orientalist culture will probably be all a white British writer has to draw on unless they make an effort. At, as big fans of it, both Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat may well have not wanted it to be racist and not not wanted to interrogate the idea of orientalism too closely.

              Like I said in my original comment, there's no malice in any of this – but thoughtlessness and ignorance don't get a pass.

              • I think this is a brilliant description of what's wrong with the setting for this episode. Thank you!

              • echinodermata says:

                "And because the story requires it to be a brief scene it ends up being window dressing rather than a serious look at what a Chinese planet might actually be like. "

                "Also, our relationship with the East has historically been an imperialist and exploitative one – and that still floats around in the culture, to be unthinkingly seized on by people without sufficient direct experience to transform it. "

                That pretty much sums up the problem with cultural appropriation. Thanks for explaining it so nicely and efficiently.

                I haven't seen "Talons of Weng Chiang" but I know it exists and I know it has problems, and I think it's still somewhat relevant to the discussion because if I know about it without having seen it or much of Classic Who, then the current creators better be damn well aware of it and conscious of not perpetuating similar problems in the same show decades later. So I don't personally think it's as removed as you say, with the big caveat that I haven't seen it.

                Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

                • maccyAkaMatthew says:

                  I've never seen Russell or Steven excusing or condemning the racism of Talons of Weng Chiang so I'm not sure how much cognitive dissonance there may be going on there.

                  The thing is that a lot of people assume the racism is down to the use of an actor in yellowface (which some still try to defend, amazingly). Now nobody would do that in a drama these days (it still happens in sketch shows like Come Fly with Me, though). So its possible to think you were not making the mistakes of the past while falling into similar Orientalist modes yourself.

                  But like I said, Talons has an odd relationship with its subject matter so it is possible to read it is a ironic. I'm not really convinced that it is (there are some horrible lines in it) but if you take out the casting issue it becomes a bit more ambiguous.

                  Even then, the lesson they took might well have been "let's not do a pastiche of Fu Manchu" (although The Blind Banker is too close to one to make me sure that either Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss have learned that lesson) and they could still have got to Chinese planet that their paucity of resource inevitably makes Orientalist.

                  I suppose my thought is that if Talons of Weng-Chiang didn't exist the UK creative culture would probably have brought RTD to the same place. But you're correct in saying its existence should have been a signpost to things to avoid.

                  You should maybe try watching it sometime – it would probably be interesting, although maybe not enjoyable.

              • __Jen__ says:

                I applaud this comment! Thank you for this thoughtful description of how Orientalism is still sadly at play today, and how it's an issue in this episode. All the +1s to you.

                Can I just say that I love that we can discuss this here? I saw that there were some seriously screwed up shenanigans up above, but it's awesome that these comments can still be made and thoughtfully discussed.

              • hassibah says:

                Excellent explanation thanks so much for writing this!

            • rys says:

              The only issue I have with this is you saying 'I don't care about your opinion.' Surely if we are to have good discussions about these sorts of things, we need to be open to hearing everyone's opinion. Closing it down by implying she/he doesn't get to have a say isn't helpful.

              • echinodermata says:

                I think it's pretty clear from context that I specifically meant that I didn't care about them not seeing the problem when I do and so do others.

                I get what you're trying to say, but I actually still stand by that sentence in the context of the rest of my comment. I was angry and I certainly wasn't going to change my mind about there not being a problem, and frankly with these sorts of discussions it sometimes feels like people want to explain why I'm wrong and they're right about very sensitive issues. I'm not accusing anyone of that, but after time and numerous iterations of similar discussions it can feel like that's happening when it isn't.

                Also, "framing" and "tone" issues are always a touchy subject to bring up, fyi, when someone is trying to explain what they perceive to be problematic. Look up the "tone" argument if you don't know what I'm talking about.

      • echinodermata says:

        It feels like appropriation to me. As with Firefly, if you have a startling dearth of Asian actors, you shouldn't use the culture. So as with Firefly, I frankly would prefer them not using these cultural aspects, given its use as only a construction of setting without the necessary respect given to the cultures.

        In contrast, see the ATLA TV show (which as I understand it is also made by white dudes, but clearly different and frankly better than DW or Firefly in this respect).

        • maccyAkaMatthew says:

          I thought that watching Firefly. If you're going to run with the idea that the US and China merge into a galactic culture then you should at least make a good bulk of your cast east Asian. And add more than a few visual trappings and some Chinese swearing.

          It took me a while to work out ATLA = Avatar the Last Airbender.

          • echinodermata says:

            It's a long title; forgive me.

            Oh Firefly, I hate hating you since I love you. My least favorite part of the bloopers is watching actors screw up the Chinese dialogue. We'll get there on the blog eventually, but Whedon doesn't have the greatest track record with race.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Whedon is not as progressive as he likes to think he is, on multiple things, and is an awful one-trick pony to boot. I was once a fan, but am not anymore (though I still like some things he's done).

              • echinodermata says:

                I'm still a big fan, but I do think he's overrated. He's kind of my American Moffat, basically. Write, don't talk to the press (especially about how great a feminist you are, Whedon), admit you repeat yourself a fair amount (and I'll admit it too).

                • mkjcaylor says:

                  Please tell me why Joss isn't a great feminist. And maybe I'm defining feminist a different way than you, but I think he is.

                  I also highly respect him for all of his support of Equality Now.

                  ETA: I don't think Mark is watching Dollhouse, so I think examples from that are spoilerfree (since I realize it's hard to debate stuff when you can't actually say it). I think Echo and Sierra are both great examples of strong female characters.

                  • echinodermata says:

                    I don't have time right now, but I'll try to post something in the spoiler blog in a couple hours.

                    Basically, he does a lot better than others, but he pats himself on the back and calls himself a big feminist too much when it's not all deserved.

                  • Openattheclose says:

                    IMO, Joss started out great with feminism, but after awhile on Buffy it became just a woman that happened to be stronger than most men and could beat them up. That is not feminism to me. I can't say more because of spoilers, but some things that happened as the show progressed seemed to veer away from feminism for me. And then there was what happened to that character on Angel, which had something to do with the actress from what I've read and really pissed me off.

                    • "Joss started out great with feminism, but after awhile on Buffy it became just a woman that happened to be stronger than most men and could beat them up. That is not feminism to me."

                      I think I love you.

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      <img src=http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad311/Chritter710/Doctor/tumblr_la34fzsgOW1qc649a.gif>

                    • David Tennant wink, for ME? You cured my migraine!

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      Really? I'm glad I could help!

                    • mkjcaylor says:

                      Buffy wasn't in any way the only "strong female character" in Buffy, I guess, is what I mean. And Buffy does not characterize Joss (there are many writers on Buffy). I think the best way to judge Joss is to judge him through his most recent works, because I freely admit he's made mistakes in the past, but I think it shows the kind of person that he is that he is attempting to revise what he has done and improve it. I think Dollhouse, like I mentioned, is a more recent and accurate view of Joss on feminism. And it has problems too (hence the outrage that the dolls were basically prostitutes) but I think it's what we need to look at when judging him.

                    • Openattheclose says:

                      I didn't say Buffy was the only strong female character in Buffy, so I am not sure if you are quoting someone else or not. I was just using her as an example, because I think she was the main reason he got branded a feminist in the first place. I guess my point is, if you can't even keep feminism in your *flagship* feminist character, there's probably trouble elsewhere too.

                      I have some problems with Dollhouse and the main ship in it, but I agree with your earlier post that Sierra is a good example of feminism. I wasn't that into that show, to be honest, although I think it got canceled just when it was at its finest.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      YES, this.

                  • echinodermata says:

                    So we're having that discussion on the spoiler board now. My post was multifandom but current discussion is Buffy and Angel.

              • hassibah says:

                I agree with all this, but I'm just one of those people that can still enjoy things despite their problems. Otherwise I would like like 2 movies.

          • mkjcaylor says:

            Gonna preface this with the fact I'm a bigger fan of Whedon than Doctor Who.

            He has been asked in the past about the lack of Chinese cast members, and he flat out admitted that he "didn't even realize it at the time" which is definitely something to think about. I wonder though, if he had had more than the 13 episodes, if there would have been more actual Asian characters or not. I really think there would have been more. But I also admit that I love the cast of Firefly to absolute bits and I can't even think about changing them.

            Have you heard the "No One's Asian in the Movies" song on the Commentary! The Musical? (From the Dr. Horrible DVD.) I'm really not sure how you'll interpret it, but I'm just wondering. Personally I think it's cute and I love the writer/actress who sings it, but it's not my culture she's singing about.

            • hassibah says:

              I def think the lack of asians in the cast would haven been something that would have made them go "oh shit" and try to rectify by the end of the first season, especially as reviews of the early episodes came in. Just another reason it's totally a shame the show couldn't last longer.

            • echinodermata says:

              Honestly, that Whedon anecdote doesn't surprise me. Not seen the commentary, but I do remember seeing that "geisha" song outtake in the Firefly gag reel and went kind of apeshit at it the first time.

              There's a fanvid specifically about this Firefly discussion we're having; I can look for it if anyone's interested. Or if anyone can link it themselves, even better.

              • mkjcaylor says:

                WELL. That geisha song outtake smacks of Nathan Fillion and not Whedon at all.

                • echinodermata says:

                  Ah, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that was about Whedon at all, just general Firefly fail. I had written the geisha part of the comment first because that's what the comment reminded me of, then I wrote the first line. At the very least, I should have had a line break or something.

      • hassibah says:

        "Now the problem really becomes why set it in a Chinese market in the first place? And then you have to wonder if it's a good thing because it shows the existence of another culture in the future that isn't British for once. Or is it a bad thing because this is a show made by white people (someone correct me if there is a POC on the production team that I am unaware of) and they're using this culture that isn't theirs to create a certain kind of atmosphere for the show?"

        It's a bad thing because they chose to write the scene in a way that perpetuates stereotypes and exotic cliches about Asians, which unfortunately are seriously ingrained in literature and culture in general. You can write Asian and any other minority character with positive or negative traits, but it's when those traits are consistent with stereotypes that come out of ignorance is when it's problematic.

        This touches on the question of why have it in the Chinese marketplace in the first place: because they wanted to have a skeezy untrustworthy Asian character. The idea of the fortune teller probably came first, not her setting.

    • With option d – not sure you necessarily have to have more blue aliens, the one blue alien could just be from a fortune-telling species and they set up shop where there aren't any competitors. Though admittedly, I can't remember whether there were any non-human alien species at all there.

      I suppose the alien option is slightly better because it makes it less about non-white and more about non-human and in a series with the science fiction element that allows that as an option I think I prefer it.

      Having the fortune-teller be white, while removing a role for an actor of colour, also removes the issue of yet another minority actor being the bad guy. Chippo Chung could have been cast elsewhere in the series as a more neutral character if they wanted her back.

      The ethnicity of the victim in the scenario is less of an issue since we see that Donna manages to break out of this alternate universe – so regardless of ethnicity this character will triumph in the end even though the AU does involve her life and pretty much the entire world being ruined.

      It's the whole idea of the exotic, sinister othering that mostly irritates me about it I think. I get enough of it day-to-day, so I'd rather not see it in my leisure time. That and also that I doubt this even occurred to whoever was writing and casting this episode that this wasn't really a good thing and some other option could have been explored.

  50. lastyearswishes says:

    YESSSSSSSSS, I LOVE THIS EPISODE SO MUCH. <333 And lol the Beetle is definitely a ridiculous prop but sub-par special effects are what I've come to expect from BBC shows so it doesn't bother me that much anymore~

    Yeah dude, seriously, can't be said enough: YOU. ARE. NOT. PREPARED.

  51. t09yavorski says:

    This was a really good episode but I just want to say that I miss happy Rose. the one who was filled with glee over the fact that they were being chased by a werewolf and hanging out with Queen Victoria. Not to say Serious Rose isnt an awesome BAMF but I am hoping we get to see her happy at least once.

  52. Vicki_Louise says:

    Okay, so this comment is going to have a lot of the words 'love' and 'adore' used in it, if you didn't like this episode (or are clinically insane because how could you not love this episode?), then please move along, nothing to see here.

    I absolutely adore this episode, it's heartbreaking, desperately sad, soul-destroying, sad face inducing but completely and utterly beautiful!

    Catherine Tate is a phenomenal actress! In every scene she's in, even when she's in the background, her performance never falters. Even when she has no lines, you can see the emotion through her face and eyes. I like looking at the tiny details of every episode, the people and things in the background, and i have never noticed that Catherine ever stops being Donna Noble during a scene. Catherine completely outshines Billie in this episode (well, to be honest Catherine outshines everyone and everything!) and i love the fact that Billie is gracious enough to not try to steal the limelight.

    I love/hate the moment when Donna is lead into that circle and there's so much hope and optimism in her face and voice, she believed everything Rose told her, that "a better world would take it's place. The Doctor's world." and she'd be reunited with a man she's never met, but heard so many incredible things about. Then she looks at Rose who has tears in her eyes and all that hope is gone. This version of Donna is going to die, not only die but sacrifice herself, and she'll never get to meet that wonderful man. It's a beautiful/devastating moment and one of my favourites in any of the episodes.

    "I asked about jobs, with the army. They said i wasn't qualified. You were right. You said i should have worked harder at school. I suppose i've always been a dissapointment."
    "Yeah."

    Okay Sylvia Noble, i understand that you're living a bleak, soul crushing, seemingly endless life of misery, pain and death, but that does not give you the excuse to talk to your ONLY CHILD in that way. I would really quite like to slap some sense into you right now! All the doubts Donna has about herself and her abilites has come from you. From you not realising what a beautiful person, inside and out, your daughter is. The phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is wrong. Words CAN hurt. Words CAN destroy a person.

    • arctic_hare says:

      or are clinically insane because how could you not love this episode

      This is otherwise a nice review, but I really don't care for the ableist phrasing here and that's why I downvoted.

  53. jennywildcat says:

    The beetle didn't bug me so much (forgive the lame pun) because it wasn't on screen for very long. And the parts that they showed were there just long enough to be all crickly and creepy and freak Donna out.

    The universe without the Doctor = ULTIMATE CRAPSACK. (Wasn't that a line from "The Five Doctors" back in the day? Something like that, anyway).

    What I love is that Donna has no idea what that "mysterious blonde woman" is. The whole time I was yelling at the TV – ROSE, TELL HER WHO YOU ARE!! (I don't know how that would have made anything better – but I just wanted it for my own selfish reasons).

    Okay, folks – buckle up because you are not prepared. Hell, I've watched the season finale of Series 4 so many times and I'm not prepared. Shit is going to get so real that it'll make previous "shit getting real" moments look like that fake rubber poo that they sell in joke shops.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      >The beetle didn't bug me so much (forgive the lame pun)

      Forgive? I'm *upvoting* the bad pun! 🙂

  54. Starsea28 says:

    You've already picked out two things I hate about this episode.

    the giant beetle is one of the worst things I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a giant toy

    Right? The build up was so good and then… PLASTIC BEETLE? SERIOUSLY? Not good.

    I groaned at the whole PERSON OF COLOR TRICKS WHITE PEOPLE INTO RUINING THEIR LIFE thing

    Yeah, the whole set up makes me wince. But the fortune teller was Chantho! 🙂

    Here's the third: we get more proof that Sylvia is a harridan. Wow, thanks for making her even less sympathetic!

    Rose is pretty awesome in this episode. I love the way she gets Donna on her side. Then when Donna gets all excited about bringing the Doctor back, what is Rose's response? "I'm sorry." God, it's so chilling and heartbreaking.

    • Karen says:

      I actually thought Sylvia was portrayed… not sympathetically. But she was shown to be more than just a nagging mother. I think the Sylvia doesn't understand the concept of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. I think she really does want what is best for Donna. That's why she (in a really awful way) encourages Donna to take the permanent job instead of the fancy temporary one in the city.

      But I think you see that Sylvia just isn't as strong as Donna. She's not unfeeling. That conversation that she and Donna have while laying in bed shows how much this is all affecting her and she can't really deal with it. Then you see that small and uncertain smile on her face while everyone is singing Bohemian Rhapsody, and I think that makes her seem more human. But then at the end, I think you just see how broken this has made her. She totally looks like a shell of her former self and a bit dead in the eyes when she confirms that Donna has always been a disappointment.

      Also, I think a major reason behind this characterization of Sylvia is to hammer home the fact that Donna's story is about someone affirming and believing in her because her mother never did. It's not that Sylvia doesn't love her daughter. She just seems to think that the best motivational tool is to yell at her when what Donna needs is encouragement and affirmation.

      • Starsea28 says:

        Oh, I agree. Sylvia does love Donna. But she wants what SHE thinks is best for her and her way of getting there is by browbeating her daughter over and over with the idea that "she's not good enough". Which is horrible.

        I do agree that she's not as strong as Donna. In fact, I found this alternative Sylvia far more sympathetic because you at least understand why she is so beaten down and depressed. Even when she says "I've just given up on you" I know she means that she's given up on everything and not just Donna.

        I think a major reason behind this characterization of Sylvia is to hammer home the fact that Donna's story is about someone affirming and believing in her because her mother never did.

        I agree, but I don't think we needed it hammered home this hard. Personal taste, I know. 🙂

  55. @nessalh says:

    I'm just sitting quietly on my couch with my hand over my mouth, waiting for you to finish this season.

  56. And here is where I fall on my face in awe of Catherine Tate's madfabulous acting chops!

    I tell you, that woman makes me cry. Between her and Wilf, as soon as they sniffle I know I'm doomed and hunt down a box of tissues.

  57. kilodalton says:

    I think Rose "unpopularity" is way overhyped by her very-vocal haters. I think they want her to seem way more disliked than she truly is. She just won "Favorite Companion" in the Radio Times poll a few months back, after all! And when s4 aired, there were not originally supposed to be THREE instances of Rose appearing before Turn Left – she was only supposed to be in The Runaway Bride before Turn Left. But fan!squee and the publicity were so overwhelming that Davies decided to add in the additional 2 appearances on the TARDIS and TV screens. You don't do that for an unpopular character — you do that for your MOST popular character!

    So … I don't like to let the minority of haters "win" by tacitly agreeing with them that she is unpopular. We Rose-lovers aren't a minority – it's the haters who are.

    • serptle says:

      I think a lot of the people who say they dislike Rose are really talking about disliking some Rose/Doctor shippers, especially when they belittle other women (Martha, River, you name it), believing that they are evil bitches for "getting in the way" of their shipping. Unfortunately the fannish behavior encountered online may influence some people's attitude towards a character.

      But Rose being popular should not be surprising. As we see with any fandom, romantic shipping can can surpass all. (Just browse your local bookstore's "young adult" section)

  58. _thirty2flavors says:

    BEST EPISODE OF ALL THE EPISODES Y/Y/Y/Y

    Well actually to be fair my VERY favourite still isn't there, but this is my #2 OF ALL TIME 4EVA because it is wonderful omg. It has so many things I love including but not limited to:
    -CREEPY DYSTOPIAN FUTURES (lol)
    -ROSE
    -DONNA
    -ROSE AND DONNA BEING AWESOME TOGETHER COULD IT BE MORE AWESOME??? I am pretty sure it could only be more awesome if Martha was there. Fact.
    -DONNA BEING AWESOME ON HER OWN
    -DONNA BEING MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT EVEN IN TRB take that, people who talk about how worthless she is in TRB
    -ROSE BEING ALL DOCTOR-Y
    -dealing with the Doctor's dark/emo side HE WAS TOTALLY GOING TO GIVE UP IN TRB YOU GUYS :O
    -the greatest cliffhanger/ending type thing ever in the world. BAD WOLF OMG

    Seriously. ENDLESS PROPS to this episode.

    • Karen says:

      SPEAKING OF YOUR FAVORITE EPISODE. YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FORWARD TO AN ENTRY IN MY LJ THAT I AM WORKING ON.

      BUT YES. I AGREE. THIS IS A FANTABULOUS EPISODE. But it is actually really hard for me to rewatch just because I cannot handle Donna's freakout when she is surrounded by the mirrors. IT UPSETS ME, OK?

      • _thirty2flavors says:

        OMG I CAN GUESS THE TOPIC AND I AM EXCITE

        I haven't rewatched this episode in a while but I looove it. It is super upsetting but we all know how I feel about sad, angsty things, so.

        ALSO Donna sings Bohemian Rhapsody. BEST.

  59. Bilbo-sama says:

    The one thing that bothered me about this episode lately was that it occurred to me that even if the tenth Doctor is dead, there is still nine other Doctors (and a younger Ten I guess) around. We could have had one of the classic Doctors show up to save the day.

    But then then I realized that Donna probably doesn't know about the Doctor's previous selves and thus in her perspective, Earth is screwed if the Doctor is dead and I'm Fridge Logic-ing for nothing.

    • nextboy1 says:

      I'm sure there are some rules about crossing his own time-stream and such though.

      I do really like this episode, but I don't love love it. Seeing Rose is cool, but takes quite a bit away of emotion away from the end of series 2. Sealed forever and ever and it's so sad…oh ok she's back. I'd been spoiled for her return on my first watch through last year anyway but there we go.

      Also, the dystopian disaster universe is all very over the top, which I GET, but I wish it had been all done slightly less hammy, and not list ALL THE WORST THINGS and ohnoit'sallgoingnazi and hmm, I get the point, but no, not for me.

      BUT I do love Donna in this episode, I was a huge Catherine Tate doubter before watching this series, actually had a little bit of hate for her, but she'd converted me by now and she is amazing in this episode. So determined despite the hopelessness and fear. Excellent writing and acting. If RTD does one thing well, it's characters.

      Bring on tomorrow!

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      That doesn't quite work for me though; after-all, we know that in the 'correct' time-line Ten was the one who fixed those things. So if any of the past Nine Doctor's had landed there in the revised time-line, they must have landed there in the 'real' time-line, and that would have caused Evil Time Roaches to eat everything.

  60. Bryce says:

    What I love about this episode is it takes a lot of mediocre, even bad episodes, and remains them into one of the most balls tighten fantastic episodes of doctor who since… um… midnight… um… the library two parter. Damn this has been a fantastic run of episodes.

    Also, America got it's arse handed to it on a plate by the Adipose. Brilliant.

  61. Minish says:

    When you understand the thugs, you will feel many thugs.

  62. Tauriel says:

    HOW THE FUCK DID SHE MAKE IT INTO THIS UNIVERSE

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Russel T. "I just can't let Rose go" Davies. Rose is gone, stuck in the parallel universe and can't never ever ever ever come back. Ever.

    …. Oh, no, wait, she can! Yay!

    Way to go, RTD, you've just spoiled and cheapened everything that was heartbreaking about Doomsday.

    And I used to LIKE Rose.

  63. EmmylovesWho says:

    I love this episode but jeezo does Rose's accent sliding annoy me.

    Love Donna forever.

    • notemily says:

      Didn't someone say in the comments for an earlier episode that she had just gotten veneers on her teeth and wasn't used to them? That could make it hard to keep your accent consistent, and also explains why she looks a bit different.

  64. ScarecrowCeno says:

    Beautiful episode, so moving and powerful. Seeing the world go to Hell was horrible, all the deaths, Sarah Jane and the kids, Martha, the Torchwood team, Captain Jack taken away to a horrible eternal fate… that opening sequence gives me goosbumps every time as the world is changed.

    Chan-The evil fortune teller is the same actress as Chantho-Tho.

  65. Fuchsia says:

    Why does it always end up that you have the series finale on Mondays?

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v40/kretch1967/gifs/LotR/tumblr_lcchy4P6vX1qzub73o1_500.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Stressful weekend ahead!

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      >Why does it always end up that you have the series finale on Mondays?

      Simple maths, I'm afraid. 14 episodes + 1 classic = 3 x 5 day weeks.

      But depending on the exact schedule with the specials, etc, it may go a bit different after this.

      • Fuchsia says:

        Oh I know, it was more a rhetorical question to laugh at the fact that this keeps happening. Same thing with the Hunger Games (two chapters left!). I think the specials coming up will… well, at least change things.

      • agrinningfool says:

        THANK YOU. I have been trying to figure that out myself and I KNEW it had to do with the math.. BUT.. My brain. It no longer likes math.

    • elusivebreath says:

      I KNOW! Today is my birthday so tonight we are going to bbq and watch the next episode and then we have to wait until Sunday for the 2nd part? Mark, why are you torturing me on my birthday????

      • Fuchsia says:

        Aww well I hope you had a nice birthday despite that! And if I were you, I'd watch the second part as a special present to myself. But that might just be me.

  66. hassibah says:

    Just, holy crap, Catherine Tate wins at everything. She's bloody brilliant here.

    Also "listen Mussolini" and singing Bohemian Rhapsody made me laugh.

    It didn't make sense to me at all that the Doctor could die there but that's the kind of thing I could let slide. I think this will be an unpopular opinion but inserting the whole holocaust thing in thi episode…was just way too heavy a thing for me. And yeah I realize nuclear holocaust from outer space isn't that pleasant either but it's a more abstract and less likely thing to happen. If it had been gone into in more depth as a subject I think I could have a different opinion but mentioned in passing as kind of a footnote it just felt like too much. I'm not really explaining this well but oh well.

  67. Michelle says:

    My face when Donna was standing in the "time machine" and going, "I'll die here but I get to live on in the other universe!" and Rose just says, "I'm sorry" : D: OMG. And Donna's face right then, omg.

  68. echinodermata says:

    "I simply take the view that skin colour is *completely* irrelevent."

    I think you're confusing what is and what should be. Obviously, skin color is not completely irrelevant in society, so it does matter. And that's why a colorblind approach doesn't work – race does exist, and I think you do people a disservice by trying to ignore it. Plenty of people's identities are greatly shaped by their race, even if yours may not be.

    So race and skin color actually matters quite a lot, even if in an ideal world it shouldn't (outside of the biological consequences of melatonin).

    • echinodermata says:

      ARGH why did I do this and why did no one correct me? About an hour and a half ago at school it suddenly hit me: did I accidentally say melatonin? And it bugged me so much that I couldn't use a computer then to rectify my mistake immediately.

      Anyway, I don't think melatonin has anything to do with skin color, but MELANIN absolutely does.

  69. I'm just not going to talk about race/ethinicity in this episode, because I think it's simultaneously awesome and awful.

    Why does Donna fall for it? I don't know, why do companions wander away from the Doctor?

    "I see the future; tell me the past."

    It's fascinating to see this insight into Donna's life: what choices she makes, what choices have been available to her. I think Donna has always come across as someone with very little agency in her life on earth. Limited skills, limited options. (As someone who's on the job market right now, I TOTALLY FEEL THIS PERSONALLY, but that's an aside!) So it's interesting to explore Donna's agency: how unbeknownst to her, Donna's been making good, right choices. Although not always for the right reasons.

    "HC Clements is in the city. It's nice, it's POSH, so STOP IT." Posh matters. Does it matter to Donna, and what she imagines for herself? Or does it matter to her mother? Could Donna back then even distinguish between the two?

    "When was the moment; when did you choose?"

    This is a scary episode for me. What if every trivial choice really matters this much? And OH GOD WHAT IS THAT THING? WHAT IS ON HER BACK!?!?

    "TURN RIGHT"

    What's wrong with Donna turning right? Listening to her mother instead of herself, I think.

    BILLIE PIPER'S NAME IS IN THE OPENING CREDITS OMG!!!!!!!

    So now Donna has a career and money… and there's something a little wrong with it. And we're back to the events of the Runaway Bride, and Donna's being clever, and her instincts are… well, they're frankly companiony! She runs towards the disaster, still, even while everyone else runs away. And then the spaceship is destroyed, by the Doctor (as we learn from UNIT)… BUT THE DOCTOR IS DEAD! And that's Donna's only encounter with him. And then….

    OMG ROSE! OMG ROSE! Rose and Donna meet! And Rose oh god. Her shock and grief, the slow subtle changes in her face, and then she's just gone. She came so far, and all for nothing.

    <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/2expp5j.png&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    The events of what would have been the Runaway Bride affect Donna anyway and she loses her job because of the damage to the city. And now we're up to Smith and Jones. And MARTHA IS DEAD! WOE. She sacrificed herself. She's still companiony too, isn't she. And SARAH JANE. It's too much! It isn't the Doctor that makes people good… he just draws it out of them.

    And one by one, the world loses the Doctor's fighters. And Rose keeps running into Donna. Slowly Donna is becoming a bit selfish and hard… but she still listens to Rose's warning.

    WHAT THE FUCK IS ON DONNA'S BACK? And now we're up to Voyage of the Damned, and the Doctor isn't there. And there. goes. central. London. The survivors are refugees, and oh, it's just not pretty. All this for Donna, who wanted to be posh… The US is demolished by the Adipose breeding.

    "Everyone needs secretaries." That's Donna: hardworking, helpful, optimistic, and shouting the world into submission, as far as she can. The Sontaran Strategem, and there's no help… but there is Rose again. Rose, who explains to Donna everything. Rose explains what's wrong. Rose's bit about the Doctor's great hair is adorable.

    Who is Rose? Good question. Is this Rose? Is she really here? Every single universe is in danger, and Rose is here to give Donna her agency: again. To convince Donna not to be different, but to be true to herself. To be a hero like everyone else whose name has come up in this episode. To be willing to die. Die to save the world from alien disaster and humanity turning on itself. (This is a nice follow-up to Midnight, isn't it?)

    The stars are going out, and Donna believes she's useless… but she isn't. What alt!Donna can do is what Donna did. Go with Rose, who's assumed the Doctor's role. Become a time traveller. Enter the dying TARDIS. Find out what's on her back. TURN LEFT. And stop the stars from going out.

    IN CONCLUSION: BAD WOLF.

  70. Hotaru-hime says:

    Surprised you didn't list the obviously Firefly reference that was the world they were on.
    This episode shows how good Catherine Tate is as an actor and anyone who criticizes her can go to hell.
    Also, watch Fires of Pompeii again. This entire episode was foretold with that soothsayer-off.
    WHAT IS ON YOUR BACK?
    I was really annoyed by that apparently Hispanic maid who pointed and shook her head menacingly at Donna after London blew up. That was just… I don't even fucking know. It reminded me of that Brazilian maid in Breaking Dawn.

    • kaybee42 says:

      "It reminded me of that Brazilian maid in Breaking Dawn." I thought that on my re watch too. Oh Doctor Who, I should NOT be comparing racial sensitivity/ racism in DW to something written by Stephenie Meyer.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Someone (was it flaming_pie?) made a disturbingly sound argument for the Doctor being a sparklepire back during "Last of the Time Lords" too. GTFO of our Doctor Who, SMeyer!

      • I thought so too! Next thing you know an alien baby is going to nom its way out of Rose's stomach. O_O

  71. SusanBones says:

    It kind of blew my mind that Donna was on her way to the job that she had in Runaway Bride. How cool was that?

    I found Donna a little annoying in her first few episodes, but I like her a lot more than Rose now. I've come to appreciate Martha, too. But Donna is awesome.

    This episode reminded me a little of the Star Trek/The Next Generation episode where Q shows Picard what his life would have been like if he hadn't stabbed a guy in a bar fight. He ends up in a dreary lower level position because he didn't want to take a risk. It was eye-opening.

  72. Gil says:

    THIS EPISODE IS SO AWESOME WHY DID THERE HAVE TO BE AN MOTIVELESSLY EVIL "ORIENTAL" VILLAIN ):

  73. Kyra says:

    Oh my gosh, I loved this episode so much. I can't even quite remember all my reasons for loving it–apparently it just hit all of my buttons, which is unusual for an RTD-written episode. I mean yeah, it's horrifyingly depressing, but…Donna and the Doctor totally visit the Firefly-verse! Donna is completely awesome! Random interesting people are randomly psychic! Wilf is the best ever, the end! The subtly heartbreaking labor-camp/Holocaust references! All the awesome people in general! Rose being, basically, exactly how I wanted to see her being! BAD WOLF. Other things I can't remember. It was just kind of perfect for me, apparently.

  74. Kaci says:

    Nothing is more heartbreaking to me than when Donna pleads with Rose: "I'm not important. I'm nothing. I'm a temp." It's not only sad that she usually thinks that, but it's more sad in that moment because she wants so desperately for it to be true. She doesn't want to be important or special; she just wants to be a person without life-and-death obligations. But she's not, because she's Donna Noble, the most important woman in the whole of creation.

    Which brings me to Rose, actually. For all the horrible things I said about her during seasons 1-2, which I still standby, I genuinely like her in this episode. I don't think the Rose we lost at the end of season two would've been prepared to do the things Rose had to do in this episode. Not only with the figuring everything out and sending someone to their demise for the greater good (which is SO like the Doctor, but we'll get into that once you've caught up and I can speak freely about every episode without fear of dropping a spoiler) but emotionally, when she told Donna that she was the most important person in the whole of creation, I was shocked the first time I saw it, because that is a completely selfless thing to say, despite Rose's motive of needing to send Donna back to that point in time. Emotionally, it's selfless because in saying it, she's also saying, "You're more important than me." One of my biggest gripes about Rose in s1-s2 was her selfishness (as I saw it, as has been well documented, not everyone agrees and that's fine), so to see her say something so completely selfless like that, and to step to the side and let someone else be the hero, was a huge thing for me to see. It became clear in that moment that the Rose who got trapped on the other side of the dimensional wall was not the same one we see here. I can appreciate that. It was maybe the first time in the entire series that I liked Rose Tyler, but at least it finally happened…right?

    • mkjcaylor says:

      It became clear in that moment that the Rose who got trapped on the other side of the dimensional wall was not the same one we see here.

      For all that I disagree, I agree with you here. This is not the same person. There is so much different about Rose here that I can hardly see her as the same character.

      To me, this is a disappointing moment, to see that the character I loved was changed irrevocably from before and we were not 'returning to season 2' but were in fact seeing what happens to Rose when she is forced to suffer all that depression and sadness.

      Despite ME not liking new Rose very much, I do like the understanding that things never return to what they once were, even though TV can try to make us believe that in other lesser shows.

      I always begrudgingly accept this changed Rose and admit that a whole person can and does in fact change completely after what emotional stuff she has been through.

      • Kaci says:

        There is so much different about Rose here that I can hardly see her as the same character.

        That's probably what I liked so much about her. I'm far more drawn to characters like Donna, who for all her attitude has been saying all season, "I'm nothing; I'm just a temp." That, compared to Rose, who quite literally when she looked into the heart of the TARDIS, seemed (to me, as I said, others feel differently and that's fine) to come from a place of, "I am everything." For comparison, Martha came from a place of, "I want to be everything, why am I not everything?"

        (cont'd)

        • Kaci says:

          I don't like characters who either are or who want to be the center of everything; I prefer characters who are forced into the center and then have to deal with it. (Which Donna was in Turn Left; though she chose to travel with the Doctor, there's a difference between simply being his companion and being "the most important person in the whole of creation.")

          So when I see the Rose we meet in Turn Left, the one who is capable of saying, "You're more important than anyone, including me," it's a huge step forward into the kind of character I can get behind. There's a humbleness to it that I personally wish she'd always had.

          Which isn't to say that I wish depression or sadness on anyone, even a fictional character I disliked–only that I like the girl we meet here, regardless of how she got there.

  75. rewritten says:

    So glad you approved of this episode Mark! It's a personal favourite, despite the beetle, OH DEAR GOD WHY THE BEETLE?!

    For me, it's not so much the story, but Catherine Tate's stellar performance and the simply perfect soundtrack from Murray Gold.

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lflgfg8csS1qdufy3.gif"&gt;

    BRAVO!!!

    The best example of this is the scene where Donna steps inside the (mirrors and lamps) time machine. "A Dazzling End" plays as she convinces herself that she is doing the right thing, but moments after, the music changes as her true fate is revealed:

    – Donna: "I'm ready, cause I understand now. You said I was going to die but, you mean this whole world is going to blink out of existence. But that's not dying, cause a better world takes it's place. The Doctor's world. And I'm still alive. That's right isn't it? I don't die? If I change things I don't die that, that's right isn't it?"

    – Rose: "I'm sorry."

    – Donna: "But I can't die. I've got a future, with The Doctor, you told me…"

    – Captain Erisa Magambo: "Activate!!"

    P.S. MARK, I MUST STRESS, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

  76. cdnstar says:

    This episode. Great.

    The part in the episode that really gets me? When they're taking away that family, and Wilfred is out in the street, red-faced, teary-eyed, monumentally upset. God, Wilfred. Why do I love you so?

  77. Ananas says:

    What this episode really left me craving is an entire series of Rose Tyler and Captain Magambo working together to save the multiverse. I think it would be a comedy.

  78. peacockdawson says:

    "Additionally, I groaned at the whole PERSON OF COLOR TRICKS WHITE PEOPLE INTO RUINING THEIR LIFE thing. NO. No thank you."

    OKAY, THIS. This is a prime example of what I was talking about. Your problem, Mark, is that when you think like a hammer the whole world is a nail.

    "…and, for all the times this show slips up with its portrayal of people of color…"

    It seems to me that, most often, when you see something like this it is because you expect to see it. Every time a 'person of color' is in a negative role it does not have to mean anything racist.
    I don't mean to say that you think that, but it doesn't always have to be about skin color.

    • gsj says:

      i don't even know where to start with this comment.

    • echinodermata says:

      Go find nyssaoftraken74's comment and read the subsequent discussion.

      • peacockdawson says:

        Thanks, I'm reading it now.
        But I do think that I was making a slightly different point.

    • I think I see what you're trying to say, but I recently looked into fortune tellers in media, and they're almost always a person of colour..
      At a guess, I don't think Mark was saying that the people were being intentionally racist, but that their actions were still adding to an unfortunate (*fortune*–geddit? Because—-sorry, bad puns distract me) stereotype that is understandably painful for people of Asian descent.
      Mark's big into societal prejudices/injustices, so he's going to comment on it. It's one of his most endearing qualities.
      You don't have to agree with me, this is just my two cents, which isn't even worth that much money, but I offer it free of charge.

    • A person of color can be in a negative role without it being racist. This was racist because a person of color was in a negative role OF A SPECIFIC KIND that has long and negative associations with people of color. Moreover, there is NO PARTICULAR COMPELLING REASON for the villain to be played by a person of color, or the reinforce particular person of color stereotypes.

      Come on. Give Mark some credit.

      • TheGreatOm says:

        I agree with your comment: A person of color can totally be in a negative role without being racist. Selective racism is just as much of a problem as the more generalized kind. I get riled up when people are offended by any negative qualities of a non-white character – especially if it is in-character. How is it fair if all non-whites can only be "the good guys"? Following this line of reasoning, it would seem that only whites are 'allowed' to be bad guys, which – believe it or not – is racist as well. So kudos for saying what I was thinking.

  79. gsj says:

    this episode is pretty much dope (despite lol asian stereotype fortune teller? really not one person thought that was a bad idea?). donna is fierce as hell, and i do like when a character that thinks of themself as useless are shown how important they really are. it's like it's a wonderful life, except with a lot more death.

    i'm usually not a fan of making references to facism and WII as a marker of how bad things can get – i just don't like that particular event to be used in that way. it feels disrespectful. here it bothered me less although i wish wilf hadn't come out and said it. have faith in the audience! we can connect the dots. although, i guess doctor who has never exactly been subtle.

    speaking of not subtle: bad wolf. not subtle but fucking awesome. my favorite thing about season 1, back in fully force. hooray!

    also, has anyone noticed that billie piper can't seem to get rose's accent quite right? and her teeth are weird.

    • Um, what defines weird teeth? I think it's a little harsh to pick at the girl's appearance..

    • allonsy10 says:

      "i'm usually not a fan of making references to facism and WII as a marker of how bad things can get"

      You know I didn't think about it until you said it, but I just had an epiphany that its disrespectful in another way too. Everyone focuses on the holocaust as an example of genocide and oppression when there are even more recent genocides that were perhaps just as bad, but have gone unnoticed. I think its more disrespectful to the victims of those genocides.

      • gsj says:

        you know, that's a really good point. it's not like genocide is over – and for wilf to say (or RTD to write – wait, who wrote this episode?), "it's happening again," is pretty ignorant. it's still happening.

  80. etcake13 says:

    High octane nightmare fuel: When the Italian guy and his family is taken away, listen to the music. Seriously, one of the best things about this episode is the music. Murray Gold = genius. The music playing in that segment just happens to be the Cyberman theme.

    • PeterRabid says:

      OH GOD REALLY? D:

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Really. Which is worse, "labor" camps, or Cyberman conversion? Honestly, I don't know.

        • Openattheclose says:

          I think the labor camps are worse because that is all done by *humans,* whereas with the Cyberman conversion, you can blame the monsters.

          • Hypatia_ says:

            I'm inclined to agree. People are pretty much the scariest things out there.

            However, I'm not sure which would be worse to have done to you. Imprisoned in a camp, or converted to a Cyberman? I suppose as long as the mechanism that keeps you from understanding your situation is working, being a Cyberman would be preferable.

            • Openattheclose says:

              Yes, I agree, I would take Cyberman conversion over being in a labor camp. I'd like a third option please.

            • notemily says:

              I'd still take the labor camp. The thought of losing my consciousness, my personality, is terrifying to me.

  81. Loz says:

    Ignoring the terrible plastic beetle (I went to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, the bloody beetle is bloody plastic!) and the awful racial stereotypes–

    THIS IS THE BEST DOCTOR WHO EPISODE OF THEM ALL.

    Donna is FUCKING AWESOME.

    Rose channelling the Doctor FUCKING AWESOME.

    The whole world going down the shit hole FUCKING AWESOME (I love my angst)

    Catherina Tate TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME.

    Season four is MY season. Donna is MY companion. Ten is MY Doctor. Ten/Rose is MY ship. Turn Left is MY episode.

  82. trash_addict says:

    Amazing episode is amazing. I love you Donna (props upon props to Catherine Tate).

    Oh, also? You are not prepared. Just thought I'd mention that.

  83. notemily says:

    I love how in every universe, WILF RULES EVERYTHING. He will never not be awesome.

    Mark, I am so looking forward to your reviews of the final two episodes. I hope you go scene-by-scene because I want to count exactly how many times your head explodes from not being prepared. WITH GIFS.

    OMG when Donna says "I suppose I've always been a disappointment" and her mom is like "yeah," I am like THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, MOM.

    I noticed in this episode that Donna has ADORABLY crooked teeth. We don't see her genuinely smile much, and when she did she just blew me away with her cuteness.

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lhin0e3LVj1qzog5j.jpg"&gt;

    "Pop your clogs on and go and feed whippets!" DONNA WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.

    The beetle-thing itself wasn't scary to me, but the CLICKING NOISES, OH GOD THE CLICKING NOISES. NEVER OKAY.

    Also, I know it's an episode or two late, but I just found this.

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lhin14JhK31qzog5j.jpg"&gt;

    O__O

  84. Emily Crnk says:

    Can I just say the the scene of the doctors hand falling out form under the sheet was one of single most terrifying things I've ever seen!?! I screamed aloud.

  85. VicarPants says:

    Standing by for Your Head Asplode…

  86. qwopisinthemailbox says:

    I CRIED SO HARD DURING THIS EPISODE. JUST. SO HARD. EVERYTHING IS CRAP AND HORRIBLE AND IT'S ALL BECAUSE DONNA AND THE DOCTOR NEVER MET. ROSE HELPED VERY LITTLE.

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y11/kem_bruce/Doctor%20Who%20moods/sad.gif&quot; border="0" alt="sad Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

  87. prideofportree says:

    Good luck going through the end of season 4 and the end of the Hunger Games series at the same time.

    Have an unrelated gif.

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/sosbic.gif"&gt;

  88. You Are Not Alone says:

    This episode is one of my joint favourites of the whole series. Two particular sentiments make it for me: one is, like you said, the idea that Donna always had the potential to be awesome, even without the Doctor, and the other is the journey Donna goes through fromm being supremely self-absorbed to reaching out towards people she shunned at first and complete selfless heroism.
    I don't swear much, but FUCK YEAH BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.
    I think the balance of humour and darkness, tragedy and hope, was exquisite.

  89. DBeR says:

    I have a question about the plot of this episode. There's a certain aspect of it that's never made sense to me, and I rarely have a chance to ask this question of people who've recently seen this episode.

    Toward the end, Rose whispers "Bad Wolf" in Donna's ear, and then Donna dies of her injuries. The incarnation of Donna who survives and goes on to meet the Doctor is the Donna in the car who is making her choice about which direction to choose, not the one who lived in that terrible reality without a Doctor.

    The Donna who heard the phrase "Bad Wolf" ceases her existence; her version of the world ends. So how in the world does the Donna who is with the Doctor — the one who did, in fact, turn left and meet the Doctor — remember meeting Rose and pass on her "Bad Wolf" message to the Doctor?

  90. CBG says:

    Hate Rose. Srsly. She wouldn't tell anyone her name because it might mean badness but she doesn't give a shit about bouncing between universes?

    Also, if we're talking relationships I'd rather Capt. Jack and the Doctor be a couple. At least we know that Jack would want him no matter what he looked like.

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