Yesterday I watched the final episode of season 3 (29 if you’re being picky, 34 if you’re really picky) of Doctor Who.
Yesterday was also the first time I have been really disappointed by the series.
When the season first started, I have to admit I didn’t think it was as good as what had come before it. ‘The Shakespeare Code’ seemed more like it was trying to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon than celebrate a famous historical figure, and having the shows most loved enemy in an average story in ‘Daleks In Manhattan’/’Evolution Of The Daleks’ did seem a tad wasteful. Minor quibbles aside, it was still essential Saturday night viewing.
And then came the second half of the season, which was fantastic. ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’ gave us a real insight into the Doctors character, as well as showing off David Tennant’s talent. ‘Blink’ was everything Doctor Who should be, funny, dramatic, and taking full advantage of the “big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff”.
‘Utopia’ was a great introduction for the season finale, and although the Master’s appearance didn’t come as the biggest surprise to me (it happens if you discuss rumours on the internet), I still thought it was well conceived, and a great cliffhanger leading to ‘The Sound Of Drums’, quite possibly one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who ever. Not only was John Simm perfect as the Master, bringing the right elements of humour to the role without overdoing it and still keeping his aura of absolute evil, but the tension between him and the Doctor was great, as were the glimpses of Gallifrey itself. But ‘The Last Of The Time Lords’ just tended to spoil things for me.
Maybe the end of season hype and greatness of ‘The Sound Of Drums’ just gave me unrealistic expectations for the finale, but it was probably more that I, never in five trillion years, would have expected Russel T Davies to turn the Doctor into Dobby, The House Elf!! Bandwagon jumping again, perhaps??
Right from the start we are told that it is now “One year later”, which just gave me the impression I might have been watching Battlestar Gallactica by mistake. Whilst spreading the word of the Doctor was certainly a different way of saving the world, and hailing a big cheer from pacifists everywhere, it still seems like a bit of a cop out and certainly far fetched. Almost as far fetched as the result of everyone in the world chanting his name would magically transform him to exactly how he looked before (including wearing the clothes he had previously grown too small for), and being able to levitate, unaffected by laser fire, whilst at the same time bask in an all glowing aura.
Basically, everything up to “I forgive you” could have done with a few rewrites. And then a few more, but luckily things seemed to pick up afterwards. The Doctors crying at the death of his arch-nemesis was a great touch (even though he was probably crying because it meant he was the last of his kind. Again.), and the funeral pyre was blatantly a Return Of The Jedi rip-off. The picking up of the ring was a nice way to explain how the Master might come back again, rather than going with the traditional magically reappearing with no logical explanation, which normally happens.
And Captain Jack Harkness as the Face Of Boe?? Nice idea, but does beg the question of how he goes from bi-pedal human to big head in a jar in a matter of 198,000 years, whilst spending the next 5 billion(ish) years unchanged. And it does make you wonder how far in advance they planned it all. Even if they haven’t answered the dangling cause of his missing memories, but they’re probably just saving that for Torchwood.
Which leaves us with the Titanic. Somehow creating an enormous hole in the interior of the TARDIS twice the size of the exterior, unless of course the chameleon circuit just happened to fix itself and disguise the TARDIS as an iceberg. And are the producers planning another multi-Doctor story, or have they forgotten that the Doctor has been there and then before?