Doctor Who season four episode 12 (‘The Stolen Earth’) spoilers are contained in the following post!
So let’s start at the beginning. Best Episode Ever? Definitely as good as series three’s ‘Utopia’ (before it then went a bit weird with parts twelve and thirteen). Why did I love it so much? Why did I squeeeee so much? Why did I yank me feet off the floor in parts and squeeze cushions and nearly drop me tea and --
Oh, alright. I’ll calm down and start at the beginning beginning.
Donna Noble. When she realises that Rose is coming right now, she’s Donna enough to remind the Doctor that even though shit is about to his reeeeeeeeally big fan, the silver lining in all of it is that, hey, Rose is back. How amazingly loyal of Donna...
So I was wrong and the planets weren’t actually obscured, really actually moved. Score one for Russell T. Davies, he’s come up with a fab masterplan. I did have a horrible thought that the Earth had been potted in a game of intergalactic bar billiards - which is why they were all stuffed in together like they were sitting in a bag - or snooker/pool table pocket. Again, I were wrong. I love it when they prove me wrong. It means it’s not as predictable as people think.
The faces in this came thick and fast: Ianto Jones - how ace is he? Very. Really really very. We love Ianto. And the fact that he watches Paul O’Grady and laffs his arse off, even when being told off by Serious Captain Jack. And Wilf the granddad - Bernard Cribbins is so bloody ace - could he be any more ace? ‘You green swine!’ ‘They always want the women!’ And him carrying his cricket bat - oh Wilf, we love you. And Sarah Jane, back again! (That rhymes.) Ace! Again, ace I say! Rose Tyler with a BFG 9000? ‘D’you like my gun?’ Fan-bloody-tastic!
Martha Jones is back, giving us a hyowj clue by revealing that her phone can’t get through to Ten. And why is that? Hmm… But it’s ok, cos that dude from ‘Dempsey and Makepeace’ (no, not Glynis Barber, Michael Brandon) is in charge over in Noo York. Aceness!
But Sarah Jane, Captain Jack, Martha, Rose - everyone who’s ever heard or seen a dalek before - they all react with such fear, such hopelessness when they hear that fatal word coming over the message system. Did anyone else hold their tea so tight their knuckles went white? (That rhymes. Again.) I didn’t. No, not me, not at all… Bet Rose is pretty pissed off - she must have thought she sacrificed enough last time, losing Nine after she thought she’d wiped out the last of the daleks and their precious emperor. I suppose she never knew the last four turned up in 1920’s New York for Ten to sort out all over again. And that tricky Dalek Caan (‘Kaaaaahhn!’) having done the impossible (but no, Cap’n Mal, that does not make him mighty). And then a whacking great dalek ship over the top of Camden! Taking potshots at pedestrians and making as much damage as possible! How excellently sci-fi is that? Oh, takes me back to the heady days of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ and the battle to re-take Terok Nor… And then we see Martha’s point of view as Noo York get a pasting too - only fair to share the destruction about a bit, right?
And then, ho ho, what’s this? A Supreme Dalek? A red one? Who’s spouting about ‘ultimate destiny’? Does he mean the ‘Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny’? Hmm… No, possibly not. Must be another kind of Destiny we’re talking about. Dalek fleets in battle formation? Supreme Daleks giving orders? How amazing is this? This is what TV were made for!
And then Ten whisks Donna off to the Shadow Proclamation, and we get the Judoon again! Why did the TARDIS not translate the Judoon words into English for Donna / the viewers? And is it me, or did Doctor Ten say ‘bob-a-job’ to make them put their weapons away? And then them running through the missing planets, and hey-ho, there we go: Klom’s gone! Who’d want Klom? Just a poor neighbour of Raxacorricofallapitorius, isn’t it? Where Peter Kay comes from? Or sorry, the Absorbaloff. Always get those two mixed up. And Donna putting her foot down and reminding Shadow Proclamation Boss that humans are just as important as Time Lords - nice little smile from Ten, I think, too. And then Donna does the voice of the audience at home thing and reminds everyone that those planets (and the moon) missing throughout series four must be connected, Time in between be damned. And bingo!, there we are,
Sherlock Holmes Ten has half of it figured out. It leads him to the natural conclusion...
And then the Valiant, designed and built under the watchful eye of the Master back in series three, takes a beating and she’s down. Bugger! The UK, the US, South Africa, Japan, they’re all getting their arses kicked. U.N.I.T.’s being decimated and Martha gets the only way out - no, not an emergency temporal shift, but close to.
And then here he is - dunt matter you can’t see his face. Dunt matter he’s in the dark, and all we get is a hand. We know him when we hear him. It’s Davros - and suddenly a knee-jerk reaction kicks in from twenty years ago and I’m half thinking about dashing behind a piece of furniture. I’m older now, some would say wiser, but that dunt mean I’m not seriously thinking about the cushion sitting next to me ont sofa. It’s the creepy voice, the little whine of electric as his bionic type support unit moves, the knowledge that at any moment the camera could pan up and bring him out of the shadows.
But we’re saved, and he’s kept in the dark for now. Cos instead we get Dalek Caan, all melty and off his meds, rambling the raves of a prophetic madman: ‘He is coming - the threefold man! He dances in the lonely places...’
Donna. We are reminded that Donna’s lost her planet, Arthur Dent stylee, except her Earth has not been demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Instead she’s apparently pondering the sound of her heartbeat - the last human, bar Rose? Is that an echo I hear in the heartbeat? Just an echo. Not a second beat. Just an echo… The girl on the stairs - what did she mean? Donna had something on her back - we know that. ‘I’ll save you’, is that what she said? How? For what purpose? And what is her coming loss? Her family? The Doctor? Herself? Is that why River Song didn’t know her?
And then Ten thinking that perhaps Donna knows summat that would have been going on before he met her. Learning from the past (Martha saying she would have voted for Harold Saxon?) or just thinking perhaps she’s going to blurt something really useful - as she has a habit of doing? And then she does - oh Donna, didn’t you just? The bees! The bees were disappearing! And then Ten confirming what we already thought - the bees ‘pulled a dolphin’ and left Earth before it was nicked. ‘So long and thanks for all the nectar’, indeed, Mr *! The Tan Doka Scale for the win!
The Shadow Proclamation ordering Ten to hand over his TARDIS and lead them into battle? Are you off your head? Quick Doctor, exit stage right (right, I said right!) before she can stop you!
And then Wilf the granddad, with his paint gun trying to take out dalek eye-stalks. Good shot! And then Rose calling him her last hope - is he Luke Skywalker in disguise? (Last hope, not her only hope. Ahem.) And then here we are - at the Medusa Cascade. Finally, after all its hype and mentions throughout the series, here we are. Looking much like a Michelangelo painting half-done. Something iffy about this place, right? Something slightly off? Like… it stops TARDISes in their tracks. It blocks out all kindsa fields and Time Lord workings - and he should know, he were there when he were just a nipper, barely ninety years old...
And it’s all over. Just like that - everyone surrenders, and the daleks reign supreme. And then here she is - where did she go? Where was she hiding after she were deposed? Why, it’s Harriet Jones - and lovely continuation of the ‘yes, we know who you are’ gag, used every time she’s in a scene throughout her career. She’s a crafty one (using Mister Copper’s ideas and help to develop her carrier system? Mister Copper from the Titanic? Excellent!). And yes, she’s a brave one. She’s prepared to do whatever it takes, and she does just that. But in doing so she brings it all down on Torchwood.
And then we know Martha Jones is back at home and perfectly fine - and with her mum. And then we get introductions but purr wee Rose is missed out. But we’ve got Murray Gold in full force with his acest music, and then get everyone doing their damndest to connect every phone in the world to try and call the TARDIS. Imagine that phone bill.
Up next is the mother of all conference calls - and even Gwen Cooper’s liking the face of Ten, while Donna’s liking the face of
Boe Captain Jack. But again, purr wee Rose is left out. Big ‘aaaaaaaah!’, everyone! But he knows she’s missing, and that’s why we know summat’s going to hit the fan. There he is - it’s Davros! And he looks the same! Git!
Purr wee Ten gets the wobblies in his head, but that’s understandable - but Donna’s there, being the loyal one, trying to help him. And so Davros has built a new race of daleks - not the pansy-assed, weak-kneed bunch of fannying-about girls that we have in series three, but true daleks grown using bits of himself. Ultimate spewage, or very clever? Time will be the judge. Or will that be Dalek Caan, babbling away about ‘ever-lasting death for the most faithful companion’? He’d better not be talking about Donna Noble, or there will be Trouble. Or is it Rose Tyler, who resurrected Nine from his suicidal post-war syndrome, only to lose him through him saving her life, only to lose her new Ten to a closed-off universe? Or Martha, who trod the Earth and spread the word, through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered. She fought her way to the castle beyond the goblin city, to take back the Time Lord that the Master had stolen. I do hope it’s not Martha.
But then it all kicks off and you just know summat’s not only rotten in Denmark, but pretty much completely decomposed: Jack picks up his BFG 9000 and makes a dash for the Doctor (using the hand, in the jar, on his grating?), leaving Gwen and Ianto to the mercy of the daleks. Cheers then! Sarah Jane makes a dash for the Doctor too, leaving her son to giant super-computer John Smith (imagine her electric bill), and then Rose decides it’s high time she took matters into her own hands and finds the wayward Ten herself. And you know it’s about to go very, very Pete Tong, don’t you...
So Sarah Jane is about to get blown to smithereens for using her car. Gwen and Ianto are about to be vaporised for firing first, and Jack is left to rip Rose and Donna from the gurgling Time Lord, slowly dying on his own grating from a lucky shot by a passing dalek.
Next to his hand in the jar.
And then there is it - the moment I’ve been fearing and wishing&hoping wishing&hoping would not appear for the past three series. Ten goes into full-blown regeneration.
I’m still holding out a lot of hope that he doesn’t complete his regeneration. I’m still racking my brain to find a way for him to stay Ten. Not that giving us Eleven would be a bad thing - Time marches on, no-one can carry on forever, and surely getting over change is the whole point of a central character that regenerates every so often. (It is, and don’t called me Shirley.) It’s not the change to a new Doctor I’m worried about - it’s the end of Ten. I like Ten. He’s so unbelievably cool. He’s everything a Doctor should be. And I’m upset that I’ll have to get over that and welcome this new Eleven, if need be.
So will Doctor Ten really exit stage left? The Ood did tell him, after all. But is he really about to have to regenerate and do all that re-inventing all over again, just when the worlds need him to straighten out several million daleks and somehow stop everyone from using this Oster-Haagen key (and what is that, exactly? Cos if it rather too handily rolls back Time to put everything back as it was before characters died and people regenerated, Russell T. Davies, you’re in for a smacked bottom) or whatever it’s called. Ooh, hold on, d’you think it makes ice-cream? Like Oster-Häagen-Dazs?
I’m worn out. Well and truly. Good job Tuesday is 1st July, and therefore Hong Kong S.A.R. Day (or handover day, whatever you call it) and therefore a holiday. I’m going to be sleeping in, I think...
Soopytwist, everyone. I don’t think a peach and lube is in order - not until the end of next week’s episode.
Doctor Who ~ David Tennant ~ Donna Noble ~ Catherine Tate ~ Dalek ~ Davros ~ Sarah Jane Smith ~ Rose Tyler ~ Billie Piper ~ Captain Jack Harkness ~ John Barrowman ~ Ianto Jones ~ Gwen Cooper ~ Torchwood ~ HHG2TG ~ Labyrinth