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06 January 2010 @ 05:16 pm
The End of Time  
I've skimmed some reviews and I can see that The End of Time has been accepted a lot more favourably than Journey's End and while I agree with the general fannish catalogue of Journey's End's flaws, it was, at least, pacey and fun to watch whereas I felt The End of Time was an awkward mix of interesting/exciting things that were thrown away before they actually managed to become interesting or exciting and things (like the ep 1 cliffhanger) that were allowed to continue too long after they'd stopped being interesting and exciting.

It felt really slow and while slow can work, you need something for the audience to sink their teeth into with slow and I didn't feel we had it here. Which is odd since there was a lot going on, much of it potentially thematically rich, but instead we got the Doctor wandering around a wasteland looking for the Master. Donna, for instance, appeared to be there for no purpose other than to make us a bit more worried at the cliffhanger when surely something could have been made of the way in which she was part Doctor which had, itself, died/been sacrificed. Lucy Saxon and the Master's resurrection were come and gone before you noticed it, almost as if the Master's death and surviving wife/killer were an unfortunate inconvenience to the script. The temporary villains of part 1, the Naismiths, didn't even get anything to say in part 2, did they?

Normally, in an RTD script, you get a sense that every line has really had to fight for its right to be there, but when The End of Time chose to explore something it felt flabby to me. The scene where Wilf tries to get the Doctor to take the gun in the ship, for me at least, felt too long and the general lack of pace meant it gave no impression of a calm point in the middle of a storm which, I presume was intended.

There were too many endings, that goes without saying right? I see that the extended farewells really appealed to many people and I was blubbing like a baby (NB. I cry at Neighbours), but even as I cried I felt manipulated and I was irritated by the self-indulgence of the sequence. Funnily enough, I liked Martha and Mickey bit best, where most people seem to have liked that segment least (and yes, I know the whole marriage thing, doesn't fit well with Martha's back story but hey! she's allowed a broken engagement/divorce). In the show both of them were clearly made to feel second best to the Doctor or Rose so it seemed kind of fitting that, as a result, they found their own "best" in each other.

Honestly, I don't particularly object to any of The End of Time but I'm not excited or wowed by any of it either. I came a way with a sense that RTD wanted to write a handful of scenes: the Doctor in the cafe with Wilf, "Get out of the way", the cameos at the end and that he really couldn't be bothered much with anything else in the script, nor with his normal policy of making sure that those scenes he so wanted to write were still absolutely as tight as they could be.

Is John Barrowman's acting deteriorating? He's usually watchable, at least, in Who?

OK, I'm nit-picking now which I could for a while. I felt this script had many of RTD's weakness without his normal strengths of verve and fun. I've not actually been this disappointed about a Who episode since the Eccleston series where I was still getting used to RTD's plot-lite/set piece heavy version of Doctor Who and that is a shame. I had expected to be writing a review which said "the plot was rubbish but what a ride!" and instead I'm just kind of `meh!'
lukadreaming: Splottlukadreaming on January 6th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
I agree with pretty much everything you've said. My perception of RTD as a writer is that he either plays a blinder, or misses by a mile. I got the distinct feeling that a lot of his writing, if The Writer's Tale is to be believed, is last-minute seat-of-the-pants stuff. And these final two eps would have benefited from a lot of re-writing -- they felt to me like first drafts.

As you would expect, there was some great stuff there, but it felt swamped. You could have cut the extraneous matter and got one good ep out of the whole thing.

I'd forgotten all about the Naismiths by the time it got to part 2! And the Time Lords theme felt like an excuse for Timothy Dalton to emote a lot and then to be pushed aside too easily.

The farewell to all the companions felt self-indulgent, but perhaps understandable. I rather liked Martha and Mickey together as well.

Bernard Cribbins was worth the entrance fee, mind *g*.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 6th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
I assumed, on reading the Writer's Tale, that Davies got unusually late there in part because of the Who schedule. I assume once upon a time, actually even early on in this new run of Who, he had to be more disciplined, he would never have got where he is, working his way up through serial television if he weren't.

So, I think you're right, The End of Time, looks like a script that needed more work, I'm just not sure why, this time round, Davies didn't have the time...
lukadreaming: Splottlukadreaming on January 6th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
I got the feeling that Davies did a lot of rewriting of other people's scripts, which left him pushed for time with some of his.

That wouldn't happen here, though, so maybe it was a matter of him wanting to tie up all manner of loose ends . . .

OK, you're the Who expert -- who was the mystery woman? *g*
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 6th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
Theories I've encountered so far:

a) He looked significantly at Donna, therefore she's a former companion, therefore it's Romana
b) He looked significantly at Wilf and Donna, Donna is Wilf's grand-daughter, therefore she's Susan
c) He looked significantly at Sylvia and Donna, Donna is Sylvia's daughter, therefore she's Susan's mother, the Doctor's daughter
d) He looked significantly at Sylvia and Donna, Sylvia is Donna's mother, therefore she's the Doctor's mother
e) He looked significantly at Donna, who was a bride, therefore she's the Doctor's wife
f) Time Lord Chancellor/President Flavia

I think the only female Gallifreyan/lives on Gallifrey we've ever heard about who hasn't been mentioned is Leela

Oooh! and Rodan (who is a technician in The Invasion of Time)

Me, I reckon, she's K9 in a really cunning disguise...
lukadreaming: Splottlukadreaming on January 6th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Me, I reckon, she's K9 in a really cunning disguise...

Hee! That'll be it!
joereavesjoereaves on January 6th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
LMAO K-9 yes :D

My feeling is it's either Susan or his mother. There was a definite maternal vibe to the interactions but with regenerations meaning you can be kind of a new person while your descendants might not have regenerated for a while and therefore feel 'older' I suspect time lord relationships are somewhat different to human ones :D I definitely got no romantic vibe at all so I'd be surprised if it's a wife or something. My money is on mother though.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 7th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
Someone elsewhere has pointed out that RTD is very interested in mother/child relationships while Moffat is more interested in romantic relationships ~ it may therefore be that RTD's intent was she be his mother but Moffat will instead make her a wife/Romana/random love interest...
reggietatereggietate on January 8th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
My guess would be that it was his mother. I think I'd like that better than some old flame, unless it turns out to be Romana or possibly Susan.
fififolle: Eastenders - Christian pretty in pinkfififolle on January 6th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, I agree much. It really says it all when I got more enjoyment out of watching Eastenders that day...

telperion_15: Tardistelperion_15 on January 6th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
'Meh' was pretty much my reaction to it (although having said that, I just watched it again this evening, and cried buckets!).

I think the two main problems for me, now that I've thought about it a bit, were:
a) there were far too many loose ends/redundant bits of plot or characters/convenient plot devices - it all felt a bit cobbled together.
b) For a story where the Time Lords and Gallifrey come back, it seemed strangely lacking in scope. Apart from the odd CGI shot of the planet, and the Council of Time Lords, it was essentially Timothy Dalton and a few of his mates. And they were only around for ten minutes. It all fell very flat and was curiously undramatic...
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 7th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
I agree the Time Lord stuff was surprisingly flat, that may have been a bugetary problem, or just as Luka says, a lack of enough editing passes to make those bits really grab you by the throat.

I thought Dalton was good actually, managed to make the role a bit less cardboard than it might have been, but it was strangely lacklustre nevertheless.
joereavesjoereaves on January 6th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
I thought the plot of both episodes was kind of ... tacked on and neither was a really satisfying story, but I found the second episode to be more fun to watch. The little visits to everyone were just sappy and I felt some of the references to past storylines were just gratuitous. I did love the timeywimeyness of why the Master is insane and the scenes between the two of them rocked, but I suspect that was due to DT and JS and not the script. In the end it was a collection of enjoyable scenes rather than a story and there were more enjoyable scenes for me in part 2 than part 1.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 7th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Well plot's never been RTD's strong points, but his normal strengths seemed somehow lacking and/or muted to me.

I agree that the past storylines seemed gratuitous but RTD has demonstrated, with things like Journey's End that actually the public at large have a lot more enthusiasm for continuity than fans normally give them credit for. I think the fact that many people find t he cameos the most successful part of the story is telling...
daniel_saunders: Doctor Whodaniel_saunders on January 6th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
Donna, for instance, appeared to be there for no purpose other than to make us a bit more worried at the cliffhanger

This was probably the thing that most surprised me, as Davies had teased us in DWM by stating that he had got Tate's permission early on by telling her what he had planned for Donna, which made it sound as if Donna was going to play a crucial role in the story.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on January 7th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
I'm a huge Donna fan, so I was particularly disappointed in what we got here. I think I'd hoped for something that would demonstrate how she managed to develop all those strengths the show demonstrated she could, even without the Doctor's presence, but instead, much like the return of Sarah, it ended up suggesting that her life became one of a kind of mundane making-do...
reggietatereggietate on January 8th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it a great deal, but I think some bits could have been left out without damaging the whole. Loved Wilf, and the Master in his hoodie, and the companions bit was fun, and probably kind of necessary, but somewhat self-indulgent. I'd like to have seen more of the Time Lords, and less of the multiple Master stuff. Donna's bit seemed superfluous, though it was nice to see her again. Jack was a complete surprise. The regeneration was cool, and I think I may like Eleven.

On the whole I thought it better than last year's finale, but not as good as the Simm Master's first outing. The set-pieces were great, and DT excellent, as were John Simm and Timothy Dalton. It could have been better, but I wasn't too disappointed, and I shall miss Ten.
Gabbygabcd86 on January 11th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
First part over. What the fuck just happened? This better make sense in part 2.
Gabby: scruffygabcd86 on January 13th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm three minutes away from the end. (Remember those MegaVideo limits I told you about? This is almost certainly the worst one I've ever seen.)

Didn't enjoy it much at all. It must be said, that is partly due to the fact that I didn't watch it on telly, but on the bloody webz, meaning:

1)Short attention span...reading the Guardian.. "wait what?"...rewind
2)Stupid, stupid, stupid, waiting for it to load, for so long that it drains the fun out of it, or the annoying breaks that drain what little pace the episode had.

But still, I thought it lacked the urgency of other BIG episodes. I mean, I know RTD overuses the Daleks, but they don't half make for some tension. The Master cloning? That was just a really annoying effect (also, pretty confusing. Were they all "him"? Was the hoodie-one THE master? Could he see through their eyes? Cos he seemed to be communicating telepathically somehow), and not very scary. The Time Lords, I must have been missing something. Dalton was great (Is it just me, or he is a very handsome kind of guy?), but it was all a bit... "what? Oh, so that's what... OK.. Oh? Gallifrey crashing into the Earth? Damn...". I quite liked the Time Lords dead, to be honest.

Loved Wilf though, and the last scene was good. Hated the Doctor's little tantrum, I was worried that would be his last moment and forever sour DT.

And bloody hell - I've missed Rose.