So, this is the final episode of season three—which means the last of the live-blogging, unless they want to replay season one, until the latest special, “The Waters of Mars,” airs on the ABC in, oh, about three weeks.
In other news, I’m live-blogging this from one of my armchairs, which is unusual. I normally live-blog sitting at my little Tibetan coffee table, but it’s currently covered in about this much marking, give or take another ten papers, so it’s out. Sadly, the armchairs, while seriously sexy and pretty much exactly like this (oh, I’m going to be sorry when that link expires), are not really conductive to typing: the arms are too close together. So I apologise in advance for any typos. I’ll fix them up later.
In other, other news, I may or may not have just watched “The Waters of Mars,” and it may or may not have, in the words of the great Atlas from Astro Boy, have put me out of the mood for live-blogging Doctor Who.
(Well, technically, Atlas said, “This idiocy has put me out of the mood for fighting” after Daddy Walrus smacked him in the head with a series of baseballs shot out of an automatic pitching machine, but the principle is the same. Why, yes: I have spent the entire day marking. In fact, I’ve spent every day marking for much of the last week. Does it show?)
In other, other, other news, if anyone can tell me what’s going on with these helicopters that have been flying over the house more or less constantly for the last hour, I’d be really pleased to know what’s going on.
Yes, yes: I’m waiting patiently for the episode to start now. And writing witty things on people’s Facebook statuses, which is one of my favourite hobbies.
But here we are with the actual episode, and the Doctor pointing out that the Master is Prime Minister of England, that he has cannibalised the TARDIS to make a paradox machine, and that Martha is coming back. Well, the Doctor doesn’t point that bit out. Lost my parallel structure, there.
When we come back, we hear a recorded message saying that Sol 3—planet Earth—is entering final extinction, and is closed for space traffic. This is a year later, and we see a boat reach the shore carrying Martha Jones. She’s met by Tom Milligan, who says there’s no need to ask who she is: “the famous Martha Jones.”
She says that she needs to see Dr Docherty, and Tom says there are many stories about Martha and her adventures in the last year. He says that the story goes that she’s the only person on Earth who can kill him: that she and she alone can kill the Master. She tells him to drive.
And here we have the Master singing and dancing to “track three”—the Scissors Sisters—while he kisses his wife (who looks drugged, actually, and not that thrilled) while Martha’s mother, in a maid’s outfit, serves him coffee, which he spits out onto the table, and the aged Doctor crawls out of the tent he’s been living in.
The Master wheels the Doctor across to a window, and tells the Doctor that they broke his heart, the Toclafane, ever since the Doctor figured out what they really are. He tells the Doctor that rumour has it that Martha is back in England, and wonders what she wants.
Tish, dressed as a maid, takes Jack his cold mashed swede for breakfast, and signals “three” with her fingers.
Martha, on the coast, see a massive statue of the Master, looming over the coast. She says they’re all over the world; he’s even carved himself into Mount Rushmore. Martha and Tom crawl up and overlook a shipyard—a spaceship yard. She tells him that he should see Russia: that’s shipyard number one, she says, all the way from the Black Sea to the Baring Strait.
Two Toclafane fly down and challenge Tom, who is all right because he has a medical pass. They tell him soon he’ll be very busy, and fly off. He’s surprised they can’t see Martha, and she explains about the TARDIS keys from the last episode. She tells him she’s been in space, and he asks if there’s anything else he needs to know.
MARTHA: Yeah. I’ve met Shakespeare.
He asks what time it is, and she says it’s nearly three. At which we see Martha’s family and Jack heading into action mode, as the Master asks who he should have for his massage today while his wife, who seems to have a black eye, now I look again, looks on blankly.
Jack gets out, and is shot repeatedly. Martha’s mother and Tish don’t get far, while Martha’s father is grabbed almost immediately. And the Doctor grabs the Master’s laser screwdriver—remember, who’d have sonic?—but it has isomorphic controls, so it only works for the Master.
The Master taunts the Doctor a little with his previous potency and authority, and then says he has a message for Martha.
Martha, meanwhile, meets Dr Docherty, who is trying to get the television to work: “God, I miss Countdown,” she says. Martha says that televisions don’t work any more, but Dr Docherty says that they’ve been told there’ll be a broadcast from the Master. And, sure enough, there is. But only so he can show the Doctor, and then add all nine hundred of his years to him, so that he ends up as a little stunted CGI creature—much to the Master’s apparent bemusement, since he looks terribly sheepish at this point.
MASTER: Message received and understood, Miss Jones.
Dr Docherty says that the Archangel network is the Master’s weakness. Martha says that’s why she’s come to see Dr Docherty: “Know your enemy,” she says. She has a CD with information about the Toclafane’s weaknesses, after a lightning strike brought one down in South Africa. They ask if that’s what she’s been looking for, and she says no: she just got lucky. Dr Docherty says she heard Martha was looking for a weapon, but Martha doesn’t answer.
On the UNIT ship Valiant, Martha’s family have been locked up for the night, as they each fantasise about killing the Master. Martha’s mother doesn’t want Tish to kill him, but Tish says that he made them stand on deck and watch the islands of Japan burning—millions of people, she says. The Doctor is in a cage, too, but a cage for a bird. And Jack is chained up again.
The Master comes to the Doctor, with the drugged-looking Lucy, and tells the Doctor that tomorrow is the day. A Toclafane flies in and says that tomorrow they rise, never to fall, and the Master says that the Doctor should be grateful: after all, he says, the Doctor loves them, so very, very much.
At the same time, Dr Docherty manages to open the Toclafane sphere that Martha and Tom captured, to see a little shrunken head—a little shrunken head that tells her that the sky is made of diamonds.
Ooh-er. That makes them . . . well, that makes them humans. The humans who were escaping to Utopia.
We cut back to the Master, who says that he took Lucy to Utopia, to show her the end of the universe. She says that everything was dying, and she saw that there was no point in anything. Her voice is so blank as she says this.
MASTER: You should have seen it, Doctor. Furnaces, burning. The last of humanity, screaming against the dark.
Martha says that she’d rather worked it out when she saw the paradox machine. Because these are the future of humanity, come back to murder their own ancestors, which is a paradox: without the cannibalised TARDIS, the two could not co-exist.
Tom asks the captured Toclafane why, when they’re the same species, they kill so many humans, and he says because it’s fun, and laughs and laughs.
Dr Docherty asks Martha to tell her the truth: legend says that she’s been travelling the planet looking for a way to kill the Master. Martha says that the Doctor told them that people have been watching the Doctor and the Master in all the years that they’ve been coming to Earth, and they’ve come up with a weapon. Not just a gun, but a gun of four chemicals, which, combined, will kill the Master stone dead.
Martha only has three, but the last, she says, is in London. Dr Docherty says they can stay the night, but Tom says that they can get halfway and stay in the slave quarters in Bexley. Slave quarters are just houses: Tom says that it’s cheaper than building barracks. And when they arrive, they ask Martha if she says who she says she is, and if she can really kill him. Tom says to leave her alone, but she says they want her to talk, and she’ll talk.
But Dr Docherty is sending a message to the Master, after asking—futilely—whether her son is still alive. She says she has information about Martha.
And Martha, in the slave quarters, is talking to the slaves about the Doctor, about how many times he has saved their lives without them knowing. But she’s barely finished before the Master is out in the street, calling to Martha.
The slaves hide her, but the Master knows that she’s there.
His soldiers take up their positions. He says he’ll give the order unless she gives herself up.
So she does.
She steps outside, to a round of applause from the Master, who asks for her bag. She throws it to him, and he blows it up. Then he tries to kill her, but Tom throws himself out of the house and takes the blast instead, which the Master finds hilarious.
It seems to have given him an idea, though, because he says that the Doctor should be witness to Martha’s death.
So he takes her back up to the Valiant, past her family. She gives him the teleport device that she took from Jack, and he tells her to kneel. He says his ships are ready to launch, to “burn across the universe,” in three minutes’ time, when the black-hole converters are ready.
He plans to kill Martha, and asks if she has any last words. When she doesn’t, he says that she’s not a patch on his old companions: once, he says, the Doctor had companions who could absorb the Time Vortex.
Now, how does he know that? How does he know about Rose?
But Martha is laughing. She’s laughing at the Master’s credulity, at the idea that he would believe in the “gun in four parts,” that he thinks they didn’t know about Dr Docherty’s son and the fact that she would betray them.
The important thing was the story, she says. Everyone on Earth, all thinking about the Doctor at once.
Prayer and hope? the Master asks. Is that her plan?
Yes, says Martha. Prayer and hope—and fifteen satellites transmitting a telepathic field.
NICK: Classic Master overreach.
And sure enough, the power of millions of people thinking the Doctor’s name brings him back to full health. And more, since he’s now levitating across the floor, with his arms out-stretched.
Oh, this is messianic. Especially when he grabs the Master and says, “I forgive you.”
But there are still the Toclafane, so Captain Jack, who has been brought in to watch Martha’s execution, heads off to destroy the paradox machine.
The Master, though, has transported to the coastal shipyards with the transport device that he took from Martha, and though the Doctor says that he can’t win, he says that there’s a black-hole converter in every ship, and he can destroy the planet. If he can’t have it, no one can.
The Doctor disagrees, though. He says he knows the Master, and the Master will never kill himself. Sure enough, he won’t: they transport back to the Valiant, just as Captain Jack destroys the paradox machine. The Toclafane disappear, and the Valiant is at the centre of a storm as time reverses.
Why does time reverse? Oh, who cares.
At any rate, with the paradox machine gone, time is reset to the point at which the Toclafane were called through the rip in the universe, just after the President of the United States was killed.
DOCTOR: None of it happened.
ME: Well, except for the poor President!
Everyone on the Valiant can remember, though, because they were at the eye of storm or some such [technobabble].
Jack wonders what they’ll do with the Master, and Martha’s family want to kill him. They say they saw everything: they saw everything he did, and they remember it. But Martha’s mother, who has picked up a fallen gun, can’t bring herself to do it. She drops the gun.
The Doctor says that the only safe place for the Master is the TARDIS. Maybe, says the Doctor, he’s been wandering for too long, and he needs someone to care for.
But Lucy shoots him.
“Always the women,” he says.
The Doctor says that it’s only a bullet wound: the Master can just regenerate. We know that’s possible, because the Doctor himself regenerated after a bullet wound which was, incidentally, in the Master’s presence, though the Master was rather disembodied at the time.
But the Master refuses. He tells the Doctor that he’s finally won, and dies.
The Doctor burns the Master’s body on a pyre, which reminds me (simultaneously) of the end of Return of the Jedi and, not surprisingly, of Tim Bisley burning his Star Wars memorabilia after The Phantom Menace came out.
Back in the present, Martha gives Dr Docherty a bunch of flowers, and tells her that she really doesn’t blame her. A bewildered Dr Docherty asks, “But who are you?” as Martha runs off.
In Cardiff, Jack runs off, though the Doctor says he could travel with him again. But Jack says for the whole year, he’s been thinking of his team in Torchwood.
First, though, the Doctor disables Jack’s time-travelling device.
DOCTOR: You could go anywhere. Twice. The second time to apologise.
Jack asks about aging: what if he lives for a million years, he asks? The Doctor says he doesn’t know, and Jack says he knows it’s vanity. But he used to be a bit of a poster boy, back when he lived in the Boeshane Penisula and was the first boy from there to be signed up for the time agency.
JACK: The Face of Boe, they used to call me.
And he runs back to the Hub as Martha and the Doctor goggle at him and say, “No, It can’t be—no” to each other.
Outside the TARDIS, Martha talks to her family and rings the hospital to make sure that Dr Thomas Milligan is still alive. When she wanders into the TARDIS, the Doctor is rambling about how brilliant Agatha Christie must be, and would Martha want to meet her?
But Martha says that she can’t travel with him any more. She says that her family saw half the planet slaughtered, and they’re devastated. She needs to stay and take care of them. The Doctor says he understands, and that Martha saved the world.
And so she did.
She leaves, but pops back in to tell a rambling story about her friend Vicky’s unrequited love for Sean, and how this is her getting out of a bad situation. But she gives him her phone, and says that when it rings, he better come running, because she’s not having him disappear.
And in the ashes of the Master’s funeral pyre, we see a red finger-nailed hand come down and pick up a ring, as the Master laughs in the background.
Then the Titanic drives through the TARDIS control room.
“Voyage of the Damned” is on next week, but I won’t be live-blogging it. Well, not again. It’s already here. It’s not great, but it’s there.
And that’s season four! See you in about three weeks—the 6th of December—for “Waters of Mars,” the third of season five’s five specials.