are the killer robot Santa Clauses, only to be replaced
by something even more bizarre. "The End of Time: Part
One" tries to avoid being another campy Christmas Who
special by exploring the darker story of the Master’s
return and the impending doom surrounding both the Doctor
T. Davies leaves very little time for lollygagging around
the Christmas tree in his penultimate episode. The first
half of the Tennant-Davies finale begins like the epic story
Davies had promised fans, with an ominous voice (Timothy
Dalton) talking about the bad dreams that plagued humanity
in the final days of planet Earth, followed by a familiar
maniacal cackle and sepia-toned face. Unfortunately, the
Narrator’s attempt to put the episode on a grand scale
is hurt by its overly labored storyline.
last week’s "The Waters of Mars" is a tense
build-up to a superbly frightening ending, "The End
of Time: Part One" is more of a relentless assault
of plot point after plot point after plot point. He’ll
shoot your eye out by the end if you’re not careful.
Doctor, dressed in a silly “holiday in Hawaii or some
other tropical planet” outfit, is barely out of his
TARDIS before he once again encounters Ood Sigma and learns
that the End of Time prophecy involves something much darker
than the inevitable return of the Master.
to Lucy Saxon, the Master’s wife and murderer, being
taken out of her prison cell by a warden and prison guards
who reveal themselves to be part of an underground cult
following the Book of Saxon. The idea of the Master’s
very own cult may be too absurd for some, and the entire
resurrection scene plus Lucy’s ultimate betrayal seems
very over-the-top and a little too convenient for the plot.
that scene goes by quickly, so that we can almost forget
it ever happened and just enjoy watching John Simms get
back into his role as the Master. Erm, sort of.
to a resurrection mishap, the Master’s insanity has
increased ten-fold, and Simms has a field day chewing up
the scenery, a hamburger, roasted turkey, and a smattering
of human beings. The Master also gains superpowers that
allow him to jump really far and shoot electricity out of
his hands, for no discernable reason other than to trick
viewers into thinking they are watching an episode of Heroes
— which, if you’ve been bothering to follow
Heroes, is a really bad thing.
again, just enjoy John Simms. Amid all that silliness there
is still something sinister and disturbing hiding behind
the Master’s constant smirk.
much-anticipated return is Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott,
Donna Noble’s ever-hopeful, star-gazing grandfather.
He does delightfully well in fulfilling the role of the
Doctor’s companion, providing the episode with some
obligatory jolly Christmas cheer. However, we find him still
trying to cope with the tragedy of Donna from the end of
Season Four. One of the episode’s most poignant moments
is with the Doctor and Wilf conversing about death in the
café. The grief in Cribbins’ eyes as he desperately
pleads the Doctor to just say hello to Donna is heart-breaking
enough to give Tennant’s own sad eyes a run for their
its many questionable plot points and overcrowded narrative,
"The End of Time: Part One" does succeed in establishing
everything Davies wants us to know before the grand finale.
Davies’ trademark cliffhanger ending to the penultimate
episode reveals that the Master’s plan to obliterate
humanity is actually part of some grander design, a design
that will bring the return of something unforeseen by both
the Master and the Doctor.
get a peek at what is to come in the finale, and it may
be enough to get us incredibly excited for Part Two—that
is, if we weren’t already planning our lives around
watching David Tennant’s last Doctor Who
episode on January 2 (BBC Americans still have to wait a
long 24 hours, sigh). With all the exposition taken care
of in the first half, "The End of Time: Part Two"
should have plenty of room to be the brilliant epic adventure
that we have been waiting an entire year to see.
in the Doctor Who panel for Comic-Con 2009,
Russell T. Davies, David Tennant, producer Julie Gardner,
and director Euros Lyn warned us all of the dreadfully fearsome
and traumatic ending that is to come for our dear Tenth
Doctor. Let’s hope the final episode lives up to all
their promises on New Year’s Day. But no matter what
happens, it is certain that 2010 will be starting off with
piles of empty tissue boxes and a brand new Doctor in the