So, “Journey’s End”, the finale of the revived Doctor Who’s fourth season aired tonight in the UK. (Or season thirty, if you include the original 26 seasons, but don’t count the Paul McGann TV movie, the 8th Doctor novels or audio adventures as seasons.) Of course, it doesn’t air in the US for a couple of weeks or in Canada for a couple of months, but I’m sure the impatient and tech saavy can find a way to see it sooner.
Oh look, it’s on YouTube already.
There’s the link if you want to go looking for the other parts.
It’s a funny thing — spoilers. I avoided the message boards today and wikipedia and YouTube. I avoided all things Doctor Who until I had seen the episode. But really, I wasn’t protected from spoilers. Reading the Doctor Who Forum from what was once Outpost Gallifrey, I had already read months of posts from Dr Who fans with a passion and curiosity shared by political bloggers although not most mainstream reports already.
Set reports from Bad Wolf Bay filming suggested there would be two 10th Doctors — one in brown and the other in blue. Either script leaks or just fine fannish guessing suggested that the Doctor’s hand was involved in the duplication. And people had reported on some filming outside the Nobles’ house where the Doctor told Wilf he could never tell Donna … It wasn’t hard (for anyone who’s seen 2nd Doctor story “The War Games” or Superman II to hazard a guess at what may have happened.)
But still, there was a lot that I didn’t know. And certainly some of my own suspicions about where the season may have been heading were wrong.
Hmmmm… the duplicated Doctors wasn’t as bad as I dreaded. I mean, yes it was sheer technobabble relying on scraps of old continuity. And it was fairly silly. But then, so was the magical floaty Doctor last year or well … the resolution to other stories written by Russell T. Davies. His episodes don’t have the diamond hard plotting of Steven Moffat’s gems. The plot resolutions often feel well… like they were pulled out of the story’s rear, not truly organic.
But the double Doctors didn’t bother me, because RTD excels at big emotional moments. Not just giving Rose a shipper’s happy ending so to speak. I am thinking more about giving the half-human Doctor that terrible responsibility of wiping out the Daleks. (Of course, Rose did the exact same thing … but well, “logic is a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad.”) And the idea that the Doctor can remain weaponless by militarizing those around him. And especially the real horror of Donna’s fate.
No, I don’t mean that she won’t travel with the Doctor anymore. Or even that she’s lost her memories. She’s lost all the character growth. Once again, she’s back to the shouty temp of limited ambitions. Like if Rose turned back into the shop girl of the first episode, but even more so.
It’s interesting that this doesn’t quite the same comic book crossover feel as “The Stolen Earth”. Maybe it’s just because it’s not quite the novelty to see Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures characters together. It’s still daft, mad, cameo-happy and winking at fannish continuity – such as Rose and the Doctor realizing that Gwen is from an “old Cardiff family” — just like a classic comic book crossover. And it was cool to see Davros recognize Sarah Jane Smith.
I don’t think it’s the best story RTD’s ever done. But it’s certainly a capstone to his era. (Like acknowledging how Rose made the Doctor better.)
I’ll probably add to this tomorrow.