Doctor Who – Last of the Time Lords

Meh. A let-down.

I’m getting very, very tired of Russell T. Davies’ propensity for writing Who finales that feature a deus ex machina ending, where there are some pretty lights, some howling wind, and *bam* — the big re-set button has been clicked. Everything is back to normal! How? It was MAGIC!

The Master’s plan made no sense — I’m using the future humans to destroy the past humans, and make them build rockets so I can….start a new Time Lord empire? How, exactly? Doesn’t matter! It’s MAGIC!

The Doctor changing into Dobby the fucking House-elf was completely without purpose, other than to show off the CGI (complete with little CGI pinstripe-y suit)….and perhaps to lay the groundwork for the theory that Jack could somehow age into a giant, obviously non-human head (as the Face of Boe). How, exactly? Doesn’t matter! It’s MAGIC!

The Doctor biding his time for a year, to attune himself to the telepathic field generated by the Archangel satellites was nifty, as was the plan for Martha to seed the instruction of a unified thought across the Earth. Two problems, however — how did he know that The Master was going to be planning a countdown in a year’s time for him to use as a trigger for the thought….and how does a bunch of humans thinking “Doctor” result in him being suffused with special-effects light, transformed back from being a House-elf, and given Jedi powers? Doesn’t matter! It’s (literally) MAGIC! (As said — “The Doctor is Tinkerbell! Clap, everyone!”)

I actually liked Simm’s Master more in this episode — especially his stubborn refusal to regenerate, so that he breaks the Doctor’s heart, and announces “well, look at that. I’ve won,” before dying. Nice.

Not so sure about the “Flash Gordon” bit, where a female hand picks up Ming the Merciless The Master’s (previously un-established) ring from the ashes. Speculations abound among the fans — was it The Rani? Apparently (according to the wikipedia entry), in the podcast commentary for the episode, RTD “jokingly refers to it as “the hand of the Rani”, and also states that they will not be picking up on that scene next year — he just put it in there to give any future production teams something to use if they want to bring back the Master.”

Then we get Martha’s exit. As the BBC announced this morning, she will appear in three episodes of the upcoming series of Torchwood, and also appear in the last half of the next season of Doctor Who, as a guest star. They’ll be giving the Doctor a new companion, who they’ll be announcing sometime soon. Maybe this time they’ll come up with a character who *isn’t* desperately pining away for him.

I’m pretty glad to see Martha go, actually — her first appearance was her best: confident, capable, smart. A woman on the verge of becoming a doctor. That lasted precisely one episode, before they shifted into standard companion mode — panicking, needing rescue….and then they decided to give her an unrequited love of the Doctor, and a complex about Rose. Yuck. Badly handled, all around.

In the plus column, though — Freema on Torchwood…..possible sex scene? A man can hope.

Then we have the end-of-series cliffhanger, with the Titanic crashing through the wall of the supposedly-inpenetrable TARDIS. “What?” Indeed.

All in all, a good series — though episodes like the Human Nature two-parter and Blink were so amazingly well-done that they made other episodes, which were merely pedestrian, seem actually *bad* by comparison. I remind myself, though, that as a fan, I am ecstatic to have even “bad” episodes to talk about, having lived through the Long Night When There Was No Doctor Who.

10 Replies to “Doctor Who – Last of the Time Lords”

  1. Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I enjoyed it immensely.

    The house-elf was annoying (and yes, everyone’s calling him that) and the Jedi bit was a little vague and a bit odd, but I’m fine with it–they’ve established before that he’s a low-level telepath already, and that the human mind has vast potential, so by tapping into the entire world he was literally able to do wonders.

    I liked the Master from the start, and still did in this ep. I thought his plan made sense, particularly since it was partially designed just to upset the Doctor and partially caused by the Doctor’s interference. And I adored Martha right from the get-go, and never changed that opinion. I’m sorry she’s leaving even for a little bit, but it makes sense character-wise, and I’m really hoping she helps bring Torchwood around (just as I’m hoping Jack doesn’t revert to the angst-mode he had in the first season).

    Most people agree that the hand was probably Lucy. And the ring was established–we saw it in Sound of Drums (not before, so presumably he gets it after he strands the Doctor) and it has the Lazarus symbol on it. We already knew he was behind the Lazarus experiment, and now he’s found a way to store his genetic code in that ring, a la the pocket watches.

    I do think it’s funny, though, that twice now we’ve had a season end with the Doctor going “What?”

  2. Yeah, I thought the telepathy was neat — it was almost a deus ex machina, but not entirely, since we’d had clues about it earlier on & since it was consistent with the RTD canon.

  3. The Doctor as a house-elf was annoying. I was okay with the Doctor as Tinkerbell for the same reason mentioned.

    Martha bugs me for two reasons. First, no character development. When we meet her, she’s a smart, capable intern on her way to becoming a great doctor. When she leaves, she’s pretty much the same thing. She didn’t grow, or change, or really affect the Doctor in any significant way, and that leads to the second reason. I spent the entire season worried about her, because the Doctor doesn’t really seem to care about her. In fact, I’d say he was actually bad for her. Unless they were doing that deliberately, which I doubt, I don’t think that’s a good way to feel about the companions. I want to feel that they’re getting some sort of trade off for the danger they face, and I just didn’t feel that way for Martha. I spent most of the season thinking that he might set her down somewhere and then forget where he left her. Not good.

  4. Interesting. See, I disagree about Martha. When we first meet her she gets flustered when the doctor puts her on the spot for a diagnosis. She’s smart and capable but doesn’t stick up for herself–she’s busy mediating her family’s issues but never puts her foot down. By the last ep. she’s grown up and come into her own. We saw it in the Lazarus Experiment, where Martha defied her mother and helped save the day. And we see it here, where she gives up the adventure of a lifetime to be with the people she loves. She no longer lets anyone push her around or tell her what to do.

    I agree about the Doctor being bad for her, though, which is exactly why her leaving worked so well. She recognized that and finally had the courage to do something about it. But she definitely gained from her travels with him, and she’s a much stronger person for it.

    I also think she made the Doctor stronger by her presence, even though he didn’t always realize that. He did by the end, though.

  5. Martha’s a tin dog.

    Hmmmm…Nope. Sorry. I remain unconvinced by your argument. :)

    Not, mind you, that I blame the actress entirely. I think she suffered from the writers not knowing who the new companion was going to be while some of these scripts were in development, so they ended up writing for Rose/generic and fine tuning stuff to FA later. It ended up leaving Martha a bit all over the place – some writers made her stronger, while others stuck her in ‘the Doctor doesn’t love me, wahh!’ mode, and it went back and forth with no progression. But the way she left was the most telling part for me.

    And it happened both through editing and writing. When asked if there was anyone special, Martha flashes back to the Doctor’s kiss, which as we were told at the time, meant nothing to him. She got into the TARDIS because the Doctor kissed her – not for the adventure of a lifetime. She got out of the TARDIS because he wasn’t actually interested in kissing her again – not because she missed her family. And when she goes back to tell him that at the very end, he actually appears bored/puzzled by her return, not hopeful that she’s changed her mind. It’s as if the Christmas Bride told him that he needed a new companion, and instead he got another pet.

    I don’t hate the character or anything. And I don’t mind that she’s coming back – I just hope that the writers for Torchwood and Season 4 can get a better grip on her strengths.

  6. Re: Martha’s a tin dog.

    “Hmmmm…Nope. Sorry. I remain unconvinced by your argument. :)”
    Fair enough. I feel the same way about yours. :)

    Martha was clearly a different character from Rose, and part of that was that she did see the Doctor’s invitation as a possible date, whereas for Rose he was originally a father figure and she had to adapt when he changed. But I think saying she only left because he wasn’t interested is doing her–and the writers–a major disservice. She didn’t go because she missed her family, either, but because they needed her. And that’s the sort of person she is. She’s there for them because she’s responsible and does what she feels is right.

    And sure, some eps she was stronger than others. The same is true of Rose, Jack, the Doctor himself–anyone who was written by more than one person. Nature of the beast and all that.

    Anyway, we’ll agree to disagree. And we’ll see what happens to Martha next season.

  7. Hi there.
    Our new ultra annoying sidekick for the now ruined series is Donna. As in ‘the runaway bride’. I’ve got visions of Bonnie Langford all over again.

    And I agree with your summation. RTD needs to step down as a writer, IMO. Produce, direct, yep. Not write.

  8. If Jack reverts to sulky and angsty people are going to start wondering if he’s got something else wrong with him, otehr than the everlasting angst and turning out to be the Face of Bo (saw that coming in the ‘New New York ep’. He wasn’t in the slightest bit flustered by the doc’s regeneration for a start.

    I think the hand WAS Lucy, and the Master will be back. Though I didn’t know regeneration was optional.

    As for Martha/Torchwood. Not keen on her, but she’s better than Kathrine ‘am I bovverd’ Tate (and yep, that’s who they’ve announced as the new companion)

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