Doctor Who – Utopia

This week’s episode –

Another winner.

The plot? Who cares. There was a plot? Not really — it was more of a “Doctor Who Greatest Hits” collection: A location that was obviously a quarry; some refugees that need help doing something; the plucky survivability of mankind; some vague monstery-things; a base under seige; running through corridors, etc. None of it really mattered a toss.

It served as a background for the bits of true focus — the reintroduction of The Master, and some nice answers about Jack Harkness.

The whole fob-watch thing was a brilliant solution to the ‘you’re the last of your kind/you are not alone’ paradox. The Master survived because at the time of the destruction of the Time Lords, he wasn’t one. He had gone into hiding, having re-booted himself as a human, with his true identity hidden stored as a “data backup” in the watch (just as the Doctor had done in Human Nature). A neat solution. Of course, we don’t know how he got out of the last mess we saw him in (being thrown into the Eye of Harmoney in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie), nor do we know why he felt that he needed to hide. But that’s cool — some mystery is always a good thing.

The regenerated Master, played by John Simm (AKA “Mister Saxon”) looks to be, to quote Jack’s assessment of the 10th Doctor, “cheeky” — far more snarky and almost playful than any of the previous dead-serious incarnations:

“Why don’t we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you work out a way to stop me…. I don’t think!”

It was also nifty to hear about how Jack had gotten from the future to present day Cardiff (explaining along the way why we had flashbacks of him in World War 1 in Torchwood.)….and, more importantly, why the Doctor left him in the first place. The idea that the Doctor’s Time Lord senses make him AFRAID of Jack, because Jack is “wrong” is very, very cool.

“You’re a fixed point in time and space. Unchanging. A Fact. You shouldn’t be.”

The fact that this ended on a cliffhanger, making it our first “three parter” in the new show, was unannounced — but it doesn’t really matter. The final two-parter is the real story. This was just the set-up. (Plus, the “cliffhanger” is a false one — the gun is on the mantlepiece already — anybody watching the episode knows that the Doctor is going to repair Jack’s “burned out” Time-Travel wrist-thingie that they made sure to show us, and they’ll use it to travel to present-day London because Martha recognized The Master’s voice as Saxon’s.)

So, the short version: Negligible, unimportant plot, serving as a mise-en-place for the serving up of some tasty character and continuity nifties.

7 Replies to “Doctor Who – Utopia”

  1. I love that expression – “The gun is on the mantlepiece”. As for the rest of the episode, yeah. It was a reminder of what the show once was and how its come a long way since then. :)

  2. Yeah, this was an excellent episode. Jacobi was brilliant, as always–he’s such a talented actor, it was a treat to see him here. Jack was excellent, and back to being the Jack we knew and enjoyed from Season One rather than the gloomy angstmonster from Torchwood. I agree, the setup was obvious, but it was well-handled. And the fact that the watch looks exactly like the Doctor’s–well, that fits nicely with one theory/rumor about him and the Master.

  3. Word of warning. Be careful around the BBC web site. I accidentally stunbled accross their press releases for the fianl two episodes (fair enough, i stumbled accross the press release for the finale and then looked up the week before)…

    Be warned the TV Guide listing contain an awful lot of spoiler information, less so after the closing moments of Utopia, but theres an awful lot revealed that you might not want to see.

  4. You see, one reason I stopped blogging about DW is that you do it so much better.

    Just want to point out, talking to my sister-in-law last night: she’s 17, and extremely un-geeky. She also adores David Tennant, so catches Dw when she can.

    The look in here eyes when I told her john simm was now in the lastt 2 episodes as a rival time lord… well, the words “eye-candy” were bandied at this point.

    Tennant vs simm scenery chewing should get HIGHLY entertaining.

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