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31 March 2015 @ 09:21 pm
NuWho Rewatch: The End of Time  
Watched in context of the whole of the Tenth Doctor's tenure The End of Time is... still pretty rubbish.

I was really hoping that, watched in context, this would show us the tenth Doctor pulling back from the brink while at the same time being confronted by the logical end point of the idea of the Time Lord Victorious.

But no. He's still, if not sulking, contriving to make everyone else's problems all about him. He's not so worried about the prophesied end of time as he is about the prophesy of his own regeneration. He's not so worried about whether Donna is happy as that she wasn't there to stop him. He is, if anything, even more self-obsessed than he was in Waters of Mars. It's not particularly pretty.

Meanwhile, although Timothy Dalton (an actor of whom I'm fond) is doing his best, and does give the impression that he's read the memo about Time Lords victorious, there really isn't enough there in the script to really convey the concept.

And around this you've just got lots of random stuff that barely holds together. I rather wish the whole regeneration had ended with Journey's End. It's a better story and a better send off.

NLSS Child wanted to know who the woman was. I said I thought it was Romana. After I had explained who Romana was, NLSS Child rejected this hypothesis and opted for the Doctor's mother. Just so you know. Then she stood in the centre of the room for about ten minutes while Tame Layman and I sat on the sofa, and held forth about the superiority of the ninth Doctor. We agreed with her thesis, though much of her reasoning seemed to obscurely centre around a sight gag involving a banana.

So, yes, still rubbish*. A disappointing end to an era and, I think, one of Davies' worst efforts.

*Though, I should point out, that in this context "rubbish" still implies its better than the TV Movie (which I have something a of a soft spot for, and isn't dreadful by a long shot) and so in an entirely different league to, say, Time and the Rani. This rubbish in the context of NuWho not in the context of some of the horrors classic Who occasionally managed to perpetrate. A lot of my bitterness about it is that it is such a disappointment after what has gone before.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/151238.html.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on March 31st, 2015 09:44 pm (UTC)
I still like it despite the weaknesses; the anticipation built up around characters who end up not meaning very much is an irritation but does encourage speculation about roads not taken which nevertheless would have led inexorably to the Doctor's regeneration.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 1st, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
Is that what it's trying to do though? It just feels rather disjointed to me. First you have the rather powerful sections involving the Master in the wasteland, then you have comedy older people, followed by the Naismiths. That's part one, basically then part two involves a lot of running around with the cactus people, the pointless inclusion of Donna, the Time Lords return and then an over-extended farewell sequence - with the regeneration hinging on the rather daft design of the nuclear bolt box.

It doesn't feel like a lot of what ifs, more like random ideas thrown at the screen and a regeneration at the end.
parrot_knight: DavidIconparrot_knight on April 1st, 2015 08:53 pm (UTC)
The 'comedy older people' are a comment on the Doctor's age as well as providing a context for Wilf's search for the Docctor. The Naismiths are sufficiently bonkers that their scheme could easily have led to a similar crisis without the involvement of the Master, Donna is there because she represents the consequences of the Doctor's hubristic use of his power (though she is dismissed rather quickly). The nuclear bolt box is really a big symbol for a big problem, and might have worked better in its original context in Russell's small-scale regeneration story, but I appreciate it poetically. It could have been more polished, and The Writer's Tale shows how much was lost as RTD was more interested in characters who were peripheral to the plot, but I still find it works, long farewell to the companions and all.
dm12 on April 1st, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
The very concept of the Doctor not wanting to go seems foreign. Ten was extremely self-obsessed and, as Eleven pointed out, had vanity issues. Regeneration is a normal part of a Time Lord's life cycle.

I have to say, though, that Ten had a very short, tragic life. You might say he was a failure at his role in maintaining proper time lines, especially at the end... and that may be one reason he didn't want to go; he knew that.

The scenes with him and Wilf, though, were extremely heart-wrenching. Wilf looked at him with respect, but also saw him as a son. The reverse was true as well, the Doctor had high respect for Wilf and viewed him as a father-figure. Most heartbreaking of all was in the cafe, when Wilf pointed out Donna, and the Doctor really wished he could fix her, because he definitely needed her. Not just wanted her around, but needed her...

As for Donna's "reward," well, this brought her right back to where she was at the start, along with a lottery ticket. Not exactly a true reward for all she did and all the growth she experienced... That "defense mechanism" was a bit rubbish as well; falling asleep? I just wish she regenerated... it sure looked like she might have, but no, she just fell asleep...
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 1st, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure we're supposed to infer his life was that short. It's certainly longer than nine's and probably longer than sixes. There is the implication, at the start of this episode, that he's been taking his own sweet time getting around to visiting the Ood. I think, he's just mostly feeling rather sorry for himself and acting out.
dm12 on April 1st, 2015 03:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, there is that, but I have to say that, if we go by "Day of the Doctor," Nine lived for 100 years before he met Rose. The War Doctor mentioned he was 800 years old, and he regenerated at the end into Nine. He told Rose he was 900 years old.

Ten was 900/901 at the start of his life, and 904 during Day of the Doctor. He probably regenerated shortly after that, even accounting for wasting his time getting to visit the Ood. He couldn't have dallied around too much, since he was suffering from radiation sickness. I seriously doubt he was a millennium when he regenerated, since Wilfred Mott was still alive when that happened. I'd estimate he was maybe 906, max 910 when he went.

Still, you are absolutely right in saying that he definitely was feeling sorry for himself, pitying himself and absolutely acting out. He had major issues!!
louisedennislouisedennis on April 1st, 2015 03:36 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, Eight gives his age as 1,125, in Rose Nine acts as if he's just getting used to his new appearance, Ten admits to lying about his age, and Moffat says the Doctor has actually forgotten how old he is.

I'm not sure you can infer much from the ages the Doctor states.
dm12 on April 1st, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC)
Ha, Ha! That is so true, and Ten is vain enough to lie... Eleven for sure said either he was lying or he's forgotten how old he is. (I'm not sure where Ten actually said he lied, but he probably did.)

I'm not sure the War Doctor or Nine would deliberately lie... maybe the trauma of the Time Wars just made him forget how old he actually was.

Add to that the wibbly wobbly time thing, and I might have to concede... having a TARDIS makes actual time calculations so very difficult! You just never know how much time really elapsed.

Sheesh, this makes using simple math impossible!

*cracks up with the effort*
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on April 1st, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
I hated this at the time. Watched again a while back it seemed to have elements that worked, but it's telling that I can't really remember what they were, except that Timothy Dalton and Bernard Cribbens were good. The last twenty minutes was overly indulgent (especially after The Stolen Earth/Journey's End) and seemed to last an eternity. And I agree about the tenth Doctor being irritatingly self-obsessed, but you probably knew that already.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 1st, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
The confrontation between the Master and the Doctor in the Wasteland is particularly good but then goes nowhere. Timothy Dalton and Bernard Cribbens are both good as well, as you note. The cactus people are a nice counterpoint to malevolent aliens but ultimately serve little purpose beyond providing a convenient place for the Doctor to hide while some set up takes place.

I just feel, really, that its a mess. It's not even focussed enough on the Doctor's self-obsession to make that a point.
dm12 on April 1st, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
I think it was a bit like attention deficit; didn't really go anywhere...

Oh, look a chicken! (Sorry... lost track there.)

You're right, one minute there's a zillion Masters floating around, then it turns out he wasn't really the main problem at all. He just brought the trouble. There was a lot that didn't serve any purpose.

His "farewell tour" was interminably long and self-indulgent with bits of silliness thrown in (the car beeper? Come on!).

As I have said, the best parts were with Wilf. I loved his comment when he entered the TARDIS for the first time; instead of an impressed/surprised "It's bigger on the inside," he simply commented that it could be a bit cleaner!

It was unbearable to watch Donna in this... after all she'd done.

Edited at 2015-04-01 08:31 pm (UTC)
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 1st, 2015 08:32 pm (UTC)
I think it was a bit like attention deficit; didn't really go anywhere...

Oh, look a chicken! (Sorry... lost track there.)

Yes, absolutely. Lots of stuff that could have been made into something but wasn't and so *pffzzt*