Anyone who hasn’t seen Doctor Who or who gets offended when I criticise it, skip this blog.
Harry Potter on crack. That was what I thought when I saw the opening scenes of the new Doctor Who special, The End Of Time. First impressions – biometric imprints taken from lips long after The Master died, Potions Of Life, A KANGAROO MASTER – what the hell were they smoking?! I was half expecting Lucy Saxon to yell ‘Expelliarmus’ to kill her former husband, but no, we got some sort of DEATH POTION. This turned The Master gleefully insane, which was fascinating to watch. John Simm plays this role gloriously well (some might say a little too well), while you can really see the emotion in David Tennant’s eyes as he nears the end of his time as The Doctor.
The acting in this episode is bloody brilliant, you will see nothing to beat it this year. The actors throw themselves into their roles with great energy and emotion. Timothy Dalton was actually spitting as he was speaking his lines (the few he had) and as previously mentioned, John Simm was positively feral, more like wolf than man. Admittedly a flying wolf, but you have to allow some writing license. Bernard Cribbins was also a good companion for Tennant’s Doctor, as they are both nearing death (in Bernard Cribbins’ case, probably quite literally).
This episode did have some good moments as well as bad, one of which is the expression on the Doctor’s face when he works out what the Master’s plan is (and I loved the Master race pun). There were actually a few ‘oh crap’ moments in this episode, each of which was beautifully well done.
The thing I love about this episode is the idea that time itself is conspiring against him. Not just the Master, time. Like the title of this review says, that would be one hell of a persecution complex. It is set up in such a way that you know he is a doomed man but that he’s trying to fight it as best as he can. That’s the most that any of us can do when faced with our own deaths, really. Although I don’t think that time itself tries to kill us.
Oh, and the usual cliché of the Doctor walking away from some flames in slow motion is slightly changed in this episode. It’s changed because he’s still doing the ‘slow mo flame walk’ but The Master hits him in the chest with a lightning bolt. Idiot.
I didn’t enjoy this episode as much as I have some others, because it all seemed closer to Harry Potter than Doctor Who, what with all the life-force hurling and kangaroo jumping and such, and this episode is better if you skip the first ten minutes and just know that the Master comes back. That said, it was still pretty good and quite engaging. Bottom line, this was one of the better specials produced this year. By all means, try to check it out while you can on the iPlayer.