In the twelfth episode of the fourth series of Doctor Who, WHAT THE HOLY FLYING FUCK JUST HAPPENED????? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
OH MY GOD. WHAT THE HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE HOLY HELL DID I JUST WATCH
I am speechless. What do I say? WHAT DID I JUST WITNESS?
It took some context outside of what was given inside the episode for me to begin to both understand and appreciate the monumental amount of work went into making sure “The Stolen Earth” could even happen. I wasn’t aware that this was Davies final series as showrunner and it helps to explain so much: why all of the companions returned, why the two other Doctor Who-related shows converged in the story, and who so many clues and hints from the past four years were all seemingly answered with grand narrative sweeps. The Shadow Proclamation. Bad Wolf. The Lost Moon of Poosh. Adipose III. The Medusa Cascade. FUCKING DAVROS. DAVROS!!!! Oh my god, my brain is overloaded with information.
On Rose Tyler’s warning from the alternate universe, Donna and the Doctor head back to earth and THE EARTH IS TELEPORTED TO A NEW LOCATION. I mean, seriously, yes, this is all ridiculous and over-the-top and incredibly Russell T Davies and, for now, I JUST DON’T CARE. Oh god, we’ve seen hospitals transported to the moon, but TWENTY-SEVEN PLANETS? Good lord!
At the beginning of “The Stolen Earth,” all of the characters are scattered over various parts of planet Earth while Donna and the Doctor head to the Shadow Proclamation. THE SHADOW PROCLAMATION. IT’S REAL AND WE ARE GOING TO SEE IT.
I honestly did not expect that the Proclamation was an actual organization. I’d always assumed the Doctor was invoking a rule or a set of laws and then I saw the Judoon and HEAD EXPLOSION. I loved the Shadow Architect; her make-up and costuming was another unexpected detail, but I was sort of surprised they had no idea the Doctor was still around. Wouldn’t they have known if there was one singular Time Lord left?
Regardless, one of the main theme’s of Donna’s character is continued here in “The Stolen Earth.” Donna’s self-esteem was a main focus of that episode and we still see how she questions and doubts herself, yet it’s her two suggestions that help the Doctor put together the pieces of what’s happening. I love the idea that this season is building up to a point where the Doctor realizes he needs Donna (and all of his companions) far more than they need him.
The big reveal for this episode is the return of the Daleks. I’m going to admit a couple things here, just right off the bat. I don’t understand the logistics of Dalek Caan bringing back Davros. So he escaped last series through a temporal shift, entered the locked time war, grabbed Davros, lost his sanity while being able to see the future, and then Davros built the Dalek empire out of his stomach? Is that correct? I think those are all the pieces, but this episode in particular is extensively dense, so it was hard enough trying to keep track of the twenty million separate plots on top of this.
Additionally, I like the idea of Davros, and I recognized his name as the one who initially created the Daleks so long ago. His make-up was some of the best in the entire run of Davies’s reign. But I was reminded of my experience watching “School Reunion” in series two, when, incidentally, we first met Sarah Jane Smith in the newer series. Like that episode, I understood the dramatic weight Davies carried in bringing back Davros, but for me…it’s not that I didn’t care. I do!!! But I have no history with him, no real experience with his character and what he did in the canon of the show.
That being said, I don’t think I would have been as excited or joyous to have the Daleks return with Davros. He’s the real key to tie this all together, especially since it creates such an awful situation for Sarah Jane and the Doctor, who have battled him before. Putting Davros in the center of this gives a much more credible justification for the return of the Daleks. (Which I wondered about anyway, since it seems the Daleks must appear at least once each series.)
I think my only complaint for this first parter is that THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON. I don’t watch The Sarah Jane Adventures and I’ve only seen the pilot of Torchwood, so I can’t feel too attached to all the time spent on both of those teams. I mean, I think I understand the need to have the Doctor’s companions appear here. Well…I’m sure I’m completely unprepared. But you know what I mean. Still, THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON. Martha Jones has the ability to transport herself via technology stolen from the Sontarans and has an Osterhagan key that does…something? It opens a door? LOOK, I DON’T KNOW.
I like Jack’s team from the only exposure I’ve had to them, but they certainly do a lot of…hiding. So does Sarah Jane and her son Luke. Rose is back, but she’s unable to contact anyone aside from Martha Jones, but I didn’t realize why this happened this way until the end. WHICH I WILL GET TO. There’s a way that all of this frenetic works; it was incredibly hard for me to turn my eyes away from the screen for even a second, as I knew I’d miss something. I am worried that Davies has bit off more than he can chew, but at the same time…look, it’s his last couple of episodes. He’s going to bring it all out, isn’t?
To further tie things together, I found the episodes greatest casting surprise to be the return of Harriet Jones, ex-Prime Minister, who managed to contact Mr. Copper from “Voyage of the Damned” to help with a “secret” that she uses to contact all of the Doctor’s companions. (Well, not Rose, BUT I’M GETTING TO THAT.) We’re at a point where there’s no need to expect the companions of the Doctor to fight with each other or to feel jealous, and I think that’s part of a larger theme that Davies likes to address in his more grandiose scripts. When Harriet Jones shares her idea for contacting the Doctor with the companions, I feel that it’s this theme manifested. The concept of the entire group phoning the Doctor at the same time is, of course, really silly, but who cares at this point? It’s about cooperation. It’s about people who have met the Doctor coming together on their own to do what they think is right
But really, if we’re going to talk about companions and the Doctor, this episode rests on an emotional climax that we’ve been waiting for, for a long, long time. As the companions succeed in contacting the Doctor, who also figures out that Earth is hidden in a DESYNCHRONIZED POCKET UNIVERSE, which is THE COOLEST THING EVER, the inevitable begins to happen. The Doctor learns of the Dalek invasion at the hands of Davros. He learns that his companions are on Earth, ready to save the world. But all of this pales to the moment when the Doctor and Donna stand on earth, the Doctor wondering what Rose told Donna in the alternate universe, and she tells him: “Why don’t you ask her yourself?”
It’s beautiful. And as they run towards each other, I suddenly felt suspicious about Davros’s demand to the Daleks and when one appeared, I knew that Rose would die, that this is how Davies would write her out of the series.
And then the Dalek shoots the Doctor.
And then the Daleks descend on the Torchwood Headquarters.
And then the Daleks confront Sarah Jane.
If that isn’t enough of a goddamn cliffhanger, I watched in disbelief as the Doctor is dragged to the TARDIS and he begins to regenerate. AND THEN THE EPISODE IS OVER.
Is this it??? Is this where Matt Smith steps in? I yelled at the screen SO LOUD. Oh my god THIS EPISODE. THIS EPISODE.
- Man, the Daleks straight fucked shit up in this episode. The Valiant and the UNIT headquarters are gone. And I imagine there’s no way to bring them back, is there?
- The “lost moon of Poosh” rolls off the tongue really well.
- What the hell is the Osterhagen key?
- I never would have expected that Rose would end up with the Nobles. Wlifred seemed particularly weepy in this episode. Just a thought.
- That’s ok, though, because Wilfred used a paintball gun against a Dalek. Greatest thing ever or greatest thing ever?
- Ok, so “maximum extermination” is pretty scary.
- I feel like the “time lock” detail regarding the Time War is a HUGE reveal to me. It helps explain why the Doctor hasn’t gone back to change the war or do anything about it.
- Harriet Jones is an interesting character, and her death was pretty sad, though I’m glad she went out fighting and doing something good.
- “Have you got a webcam?” “No, she won’t let me. She told me they’re naughty.”
- “Death is coming! I can see it, unending death for the most faithful companion!” UGH COULD THIS NOT HAPPEN
- NEVER PREPARED