The Doctor Knows The Time Lords Are Returning. And Knowing Is Half The Battle…

Monday, January 4th, 2010

This is a review of the latest episode of Doctor Who, so there are many spoilers. A great many.

As I write this, Facebook statuses and forums are starting to come to terms with the fact that the last episode of Doctor Who with David Tennant has been and gone. And what an episode it was. For the truly uninitiated, the Tenth Doctor’s life expires in this episode and the Eleventh steps in to take his place. David Tennant has been with us for four years of quality viewing time on a Saturday evening and it was a shame to see him go. He showed us a very believable character of a man who doesn’t want to die.

The prophecy from the frequently used Russell T. Davies Scroll Of Foreshadowing* says that someone will knock four times and the Doctor will die. Why this matters to someone who can regenerate is explained away by saying that it feels like he actually dies. And by the end of the special, you’re wishing for him to hurry up and die, as it’s clearly a foregone conclusion.

If there’s one thing I don’t like about Doctor Who, it is the large amount of foreshadowing that goes towards ramping up tension for the finale. I actually think this episode might have worked better without it, so they could have the death be more of a surprise for the viewer. The only problem I can see the lack of foreshadowing creating is that this episode is all about the Doctor trying to escape his death, so the point of the story would need to be changed somewhat. Although I think an episode about the Time Lords returning doesn’t really need anymore dramatic tension than that.

Yes, the Time Lords return in this episode. In retrospect, it’s very easy to say, why didn’t they do that before? Well, due to the nature of the ‘timey-wimey ball’, they have done it before. It’s always been done, ever since the Time War’s conclusion. Gotta admire dickery with time.

During the course of the episode when the Doctor is describing exactly why the Time Lords shouldn’t be coming back, he mentions “the Could’ve Been King and his Army Of Meanwhiles And Neverweres”. Is it me, or does that sound like a character on a kids’ tv show; or a fairytale? Actually, a lot of the Time War just seems like personification of time-related phenomena. For example, ‘The Nightmare Child’ just sounds like personification of a black hole or other such singularity.

The Doctor and Wilf are good together as a companion and Time Lord, and I would be interested to see if they get back together again (however briefly) during the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure (oh God, I have to get used to saying that). It’s looking highly unlikely, but you never know. Speaking of the Eleventh Doctor, I wonder how many people are going to declare that he is ruining Doctor Who when his season starts? The first you saw of him on screen, he looked like he was constipated and he took the piss out of his own hair. Now that’s encouraging…

Doctor Who has its good episodes and its bad, but when I say good, I mean good. This episode had its high points and low points, but it was a cracking episode overall. One that I will certainly be watching again in the near future.

*Not actually an in-programme scroll…yet.

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