In the first part of the final 2010 Doctor Who special, the Doctor races to Earth to confront the Master, only discover that he’s too late. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I know that I have Matt Smith to come after all of this, but this special really has an air of finality to it, as if these were the last Doctor Who specials the world would ever see. Which…ok, I don’t want to think about a world without Doctor Who right now, so I’ll just carry on. I’m pretty sure this is the first episode of the entire show with a narrator, and that added to the SRS BSNS atmosphere of it all, as if another character needed to tell us the story of the Doctor’s death. (It was kind of irritating at first, but only at first, because…well, I’ll get there.)
It was a pleasure to start this special off with the Ood, who might be my favorite alien species on Doctor Who. Thankfully, this also wasn’t a story about the Ood being used by someone else, but they’re still met with dread. They inform the Doctor that yes, the Master is indeed returning. (OMG JOHN SIMM OMG) But I was more creeped out by the idea that something else will emerge from the darkness, as they said, to bring about “the end of Time.” Wait, so something that’s not the Master? Worse than the Master??? What the hell?
Much like the two-parter that ended series four, a lot of familiar faces are brought back to the story. Besides the obvious one (OMG JOHN SIMM I LOVE YOU SO MUCH), we see Lucy Saxon and Wilfred Mott again. Lucy Saxon, who has apparently been imprisoned ever since she shot the Master, is a huge part in his resurrection. A cult dedicated to Harold Saxon (unaware that he is a Time Lord) uses genetic material from Lucy’s lips to bring him back. I’m….not really sure how that works? Hasn’t it been a long time since the Master kissed Lucy? Whatever, details aren’t always Doctor Who’s forte. It brings back the Master. THE MASTER IS BACK. And John Simm’s hair is so wonderful and look I may have a slight obsession with John Simm stop judging me
I don’t understand the failsafe at all. If it’s explained in part two, don’t tell me, but I don’t understand what it is that Lucy does to kill herself and everyone in the prison and permanently damage the Master. I did find it interesting that she ruined the Master’s plans twice now. BAMF, right? Sad she’s gone so early in the story, as I would like to see more of her.
A common theme throughout “The End of Time: Part I” is that the Doctor is simply too late. I mean that in a literal and figurative sense. He arrives at the prison simply too late to do anything about the resurrection of the Master, as he’s already gone when the TARDIS arrives. But during this story, I get the sense that the Doctor is late to change anything, really, as what is coming is absolutely inevitable. It’s a product of his action and a product of what the world has been building towards for many, many years. But still…if it’s not the Master, what is arriving that could end time?
The Doctor continues to trace the Master in an attempt to find him and crosses paths with Wilfred Mott, and more of the story begins to come together. I’ve suspected (only barely) that Wilfred means a lot more to the Doctor than we’ve been told, since he just keeps appearing in stories over and over again. We learn about the “nightmares” that people can’t remember, but I really don’t want to talk about the plot too much because LET US TALK ABOUT THE SCENE IN THE CAFÉ.
Holy god, I teared up. I don’t know if I can stand seeing the Doctor that broken, that scared, and that terrified. At the end of “The Waters of Mars,” I know that was the first time that I personally was terrified by the Doctor, and I feel like this is the polar opposite of that. We’ve seen the Doctor scared, but this is a mortal fear, something he doesn’t necessarily ever need to feel, and if he feels that he is truly about to die, then I believe him. I feel that Bernard Cribbins, who plays Wilfred, does a fantastic job playing off witnessing the Doctor’s fear, as there is a moment where you see that fear cross over on to his face as well. To Wilfred, there is no more fearless person to the Doctor, so seeing him so raw and frightened had to be mortifying to him.
And then Donna shows up outside. I honestly didn’t think we’d see her again, since she isn’t allowed to remember her time with the Doctor, so it made her appearance so much worse to me. I’m still ticked off at the ending this show gave her, so it just made me sad to see that she hadn’t really changed her personality, it just reminded me how much I truly enjoy her character. Ugh, Donna. :: cries ::
This scene also confirmed that the Doctor knew that Wilfred meant more to this story than I’d suspected before, and with that information, they part, as the Doctor heads off to confront the Master. I can’t imagine a better actor to play the master than John Simm, who highlights both the terrifying and the amusing aspects of that character. Here, though, suffering from the effects of the botched resurrection, Simm really soars as he gets to take those personality features from the last time we saw him to their extremes. He’s all the more frightening and silly this time around, a sort of heightened sense of the absurd permeating his actions. That comes to a fever pitch when the Doctor and the Master finally do confront each other. There are few things more chilling in this series than the image of the Master banging that large container, knocking four times, and seeing the Doctor realize his time is coming soon. But I was completely surprised when, just minutes after this, the Master literally shows the Doctor that the drumming in his head is real. I thought it was safe to assume that it was all in the Master’s head, but now I’m intrigued as to why it’s occurring at all.
The storyline of Joshua Naismith, introduced earlier, finally makes sense here, though, as Naismith’s forces abduct the Master. We’d seen Naismith and his team working on some sort of gate-like device, but Davies kept these earlier scenes shrouded in mystery. That gate, though, is not a method of passage to a place. I mean, it’s a gate, so it leads to somewhere, right? NOPE, NOT EVEN CLOSE. It’s an Immortality Gate. It gives eternal life. GREAT AND NOW THE MASTER IS NEAR IT.
I know I have a (quite long) second part to watch, but Naismith and his daughter seemed like nothing more than stereotypes of rich humans about to do something foolish. I’m willing to admit that they might be given some more depth and context in part two, but I was left NOT GIVING ONE FUCK about them.
And really, with what happens left, there’s no sense to caring about the Naismiths. The Doctor and Wilfred do arrive in time to discover that two aliens, part of the Vinvocci race, are working in disguise in order to retrieve the Immortality Gate, but I was surprised that it wasn’t really for a sinister reason. The gate heals beings and they just want to use it. Wilfred (good ol’ Wilfred!) asks a really obvious question that I failed to even consider: Why is the device so large?
It heals entire planets. IT HEALS ENTIRE PLANETS. HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK
But, like I said, the Doctor is simply too late. Because the Master breaks free and in a moment that is just as silly as it is terrifying, the Master uses the Immortality Gate to CLONE HIMSELF AND TURN EVERY HUMAN BEING INTO HIMSELF. Billions and billions of Masters. (I know it’s goofy, but the “Master” race is kind of brilliant.)
I can’t believe it. We see that hilarious side of the Master, through John Simm, but what is initially a pretty funny situation quickly becomes immensely disturbing. How the hell is the Doctor going to get out of this one? How is Donna going to survive remembering the Doctor???
But it doesn’t matter. Because the final scene of “The End of Time (Part One)” continues to blow my mind. I don’t know how it’s possible. It’s revealed that the narrator I found kind of irritating is not a narrator at all. It’s the Lord President of the Time Lords. The Time Lords. THE TIME LORDS ARE NOT DEAD. AND THEY ARE BRINGING BACK THE END OF TIME.
HOW IS THIS AT ALL POSSIBLE. HOW ARE THERE TIME LORDS. WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK IS GOING ON
- Hahahaha, the fake Obama is HILARIOUS. HILARIOUS. It’s so bad.
- Watching John Simm eat that entire chicken was…ridiculous. And not all too pleasant. And seriously, did Naismith’s people just have a whole chicken sitting around? What?
- Donna’s fiancé is pretty handsome. Just sayin’.
- Why do the Vinvocci aliens look like Bannakaffalatta so much?
- The TARDIS can be locked like a set of remote car keys. I laughed.
- “I’m going to die.” “Well, so am I one day.” “Don’t you dare!” “All right, I’ll try not to.”
- “I thought it’d be cleaner.” “Cleaner??? I can take you back home right now!”
- “Blimey, try to make an Ood laugh.”
- Who on earth is the woman in the white suit? I don’t get it.
- HOW THE HELL ARE THERE TIME LORDS