Live-blogging Doctor Who: "The End of Time Part Two"
Posted 21 February 2010 in Doctor Who by Catriona
So here we are for the end of the Tenth Doctor’s reign. Does that count as a spoiler? Nah, don’t think so.
I would like to go on the record at this point to say I really, really hate the tendency that’s cropped up online to refer to the Doctor just be the number of his regeneration: Nine or Ten, usually. I blame the recapper from Television Without Pity, though I can’t honestly say he started it. Either way, I really, really hate it.
I was listening to the news but not watching the telly when the newsreader said, “Next, a rejected rooster makes his debut as a cowboy.” If you don’t know that those are football teams, that’s a seriously weird statement.
Sadly, I was watching the television when they reported on the funeral of that Georgian luger—I really wish they’d told us in advance that it was an open coffin. I didn’t entirely want to see him being carried through the streets in an open coffin.
Heather is joining us again for this episode, but Michelle is not, sadly.
Oh, look: the advert for Doctor Who just gave away a massive spoiler.
But here we are with the episode, recapping what happened last episode, with the red-eyed Ood and Donna’s freakout and the “Master” race and Timothy Dalton’s voiceover.
We open with a shot of Gallifrey, an amazing shot with Dalek saucers crashed and burning in the foreground and, behind them, the dome over the Time Lord city, with a hole smashed in it and the city beyond burning.
So we come to a Time Lord council meeting, where the seeress tells them that this is the last day of the Time Lords. The Doctor has vanished, but he still has “the moment” and will use it to destroy Time Lords and Daleks alike.
The council’s token woman suggests that maybe it’s time to end it: that though this is only the far edge of the Time War, people are dying in blood and terror across the universe, and time itself is unravelling. But Timothy Dalton disagrees, and burns her alive with his magic glove.
He will not die, he says.
So another council member, who doesn’t want to die either, tells Timothy Dalton (who I shall call The Narrator) that there will be two children of Gallifrey remaining, whose eternal enmity will come to a final conclusion on Earth.
On Earth, the Master has tied both Wilf and the Doctor to chairs.
NICK: The Master would have waited about thirty seconds and then started plotting against himself.
As the Master is plotting, Wilf’s phone rings, which the Master says is impossible, because he’s not ringing Wilf, so who would be?
Wilf explains about the meta-crisis, and the Master says, “Oh, he loves playing with Earth girls.”
Wilf shouts to Donna to run, but Donna’s trapped by Master clones, and stuck to one place by her reviving memories of her life with the Doctor—which then cause a blinding golden light to flash down the alleyway, taking out the Master clones and causing Donna to faint.
The Doctor’s grinning, and Heather says “What a bastard!”
But when the Master strips the Doctor’s gag off, the Doctor just says, “Do you really think I’d leave my best friend without a defense?”
He tells Wilf that Donna’s fine: she’ll just sleep. But, Doctor, you said if she remembered you her brain would burn and she’d die! Now I’m bewildered.
The Master asks for the Doctor’s TARDIS, but the Doctor just tells him, “You could be so magnificent.” He wants the Master to travel the universe with him, saying that he doesn’t need to own the universe, just see it.
Then the Master tells, again, the story of how he first heard the drumbeat in his head after he was taken, as an initiation, to stare into the Untempered Schism.
And we cut to The Narrator, saying the drumbeat is the mark of a warrior. One of the other council members, who clearly has a death wish, says that it’s a sign of insanity, but The Narrator says no: “It’s the heartbeat of a Time Lord.”
Because it’s four beats. I wonder if that’s significant?
What the Master realises now, though, is that six billion people on Earth have the same drumbeat in their heads, so he can triangulate its original location.
Demanding to know the location of the TARDIS, the Master orders one of his heavily helmeted guards to kill Wilf. But the Doctor says that even after all this time, the Master is still incredibly stupid.
Because that guard is one inch too tall.
Because it’s not a Master clone, it’s one of the Cactus People.
WILF: God bless the cactuses.
DOCTOR: That’s cacti.
CACTUS: That’s racist.
After some frenetic running through the corridors—during which the Doctor is still tied to his chair, and declares it to be the “worst rescue ever”—the female Cactus Person teleports them all to their ship, which Heather declares the cutest spaceship ever.
Wilf is amazed that he’s in space, but the Doctor needs the engine room. The Cactus Woman says that they’re safe in space, but the Doctor points out that the Master has control of every missile on Earth.
So he kills the engines, so that the ship gives no sign of life whatsoever.
Just to be on the safe side, the Master (in the guise of a soldier) destroys the Earth-end of the teleport technology, so that the Doctor is stranded.
The Cactus People are furious, because they’re stranded in orbit with no way down. Wilf says he’s sure that the Doctor has something up his sleeve, but, as it turns out, he doesn’t.
We pan back from the Cutest Spaceship Ever, now drifting dead and dark with the Earth below it.
The Master demands that all of him—all six billion of him—just concentrate on the signal, on that Time Lord heartbeat beating in his head. When they do, he says, “The sound is tangible. Someone could only have designed this. But who?”
Oh, who indeed?
The Time Lords, that’s who. Sending the signal back through time from a moment just before they are locked in the Time Bubble, after the end of the Time War.
I’m typing “Time” with a capital T a great deal in this live-blog.
But the Time Lords need something tangible to attach to the signal—and, sure enough, there’s the appropriate object on the end of The Narrator’s staff. Whatever it is, it comes streaming down to Earth: the Doctor sees it pass from the Cutest Spaceship Ever, and the Master sends his men out to find it.
And they do. It’s a diamond. But not just any diamond: it’s a white point star.
This news delights the Master, who starts laughing hysterically—as though the Master could laugh any other way.
Back on the Cutest Spaceship Ever, Wilf is wandering around, calling for the Doctor and declaring himself lost.
“And yet you were found,” says Claire Bloom, popping up behind him in her white suit.
She asks Wilf if he armed himself, and he shows his gun. She says that at the end of his life, the Doctor will need to take up arms or he will fail.
When Wilf finds the Doctor, the latter is trying to fix the heating in the Cutest Spaceship Ever. Wilf’s rather delighted: “I’m an astronaut!” he says, slapping his thighs. But when he spots Earth, he worries, first, that he might never be able to visit his wife’s grave again, and, second, that the Master might have turned even the dead into his own clones.
Wilf starts talking about his war experience, but cuts himself off, saying that the Doctor doesn’t want to hear an old man’s stories.
DOCTOR: I’m older than you.
WILF: Get away.
DOCTOR: I’m 906.
Wilf finds this staggering, as you would.
WILF: We must look like insects to you.
DOCTOR: I think you look like giants.
Wilf tries to hand his gun to the Doctor, but the Doctor steadfastly refuses it, pointing out that Wilf had the gun on him in Naismith’s manor but didn’t shoot the Master.
DOCTOR: I would be proud.
DOCTOR: If you were my father.
Wilf asks what happens if the Master is killed. The Doctor says that the template will snap, and they will revert to their original forms.
WILF: Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare put him above them. You take this gun. That’s an order. You take this gun, and you save your life. And don’t you die.
But at this point, the Master begins an open broadcast, telling the Doctor about the white point star.
This freaks the Doctor out. He tells the anxious Wilf that white point stars are only found on Galifrey, so this means “it’s the Time Lords. The Time Lords are returning.”
Wilf says that’s a good thing, surely. He says, “They’re your people.”
But the Doctor takes the gun, and he runs.
Using the white point star, the Master reverses the signal, opening a pathway.
The Narrator walks into something that looks rather like the senate from the Star Wars prequels. (Thought Nick calls it the panopticon.) The Narrator says that this is the time when Gallifrey falls or Gallifrey rises—and the Time Lords chant “Gallifrey rises! Gallifrey rises!”
On the Cutest Spaceship Ever, the Doctor explains that the entire Time War was time-locked, and nothing can get out. Except for something that was already there.
The signal! says Wilf. Since the Master was a child!
Man, time paradoxes give me a headache.
The Doctor, saying “Allons-y!”, sends the Cutest Spaceship Ever (now with restored power) flying straight back to Earth at an insane speed, while Wilf and the Cactus Man re-enact that scene from Star Wars when the Millennium Falcon is escaping the Death Star.
Now, just remember: don’t get cocky.
I would think that causing a cruise missile to blow up this close to the Cutest Spaceship Ever would actually cause the ship to blow anyway, but then I’m not actually a scientist.
The Master knows that the Doctor is coming to Naismith manor, but he says it’s too late—and, sure enough, The Narrator says that only two voted against the plan for the Time Lords’ return. We see those two, one a woman and one perhaps not, standing behind The Narrator with their hands covering their faces.
Then The Narrator raises his staff, and opens a glowing passage, as the Doctor launches himself from the spaceship and—as Nick coughs “Bullshit!” into his hand—falls through the skylight onto the ground in Naismith manor.
But, though he raises the gun, it’s only to see The Narrator and his companions standing in front of him.
The Master tells The Narrator, whom he addresses as “Mr President,” that he intends to transplant himself into all the Time Lords, as well. But the President merely raises his glowing glove, and reverses the Master’s process, turning everyone back into themselves.
The Doctor’s not really paying attention, though, because the Time Lords never really meant to just bring themselves back.
DOCTOR: Don’t you ever listen? “Something is returning.” Not someone, something. It’s Gallifrey.
And it certainly is—right on top of Earth, throwing our planet out of orbit.
NICK: Oh, I think the Elgin Marbles are gone for good this time.
People flee, just as Wilf makes it into Naismith manor. Wilf sees a man trapped in one of those radiation-proof booths, and runs to let him out (which he can only do by locking himself in the other booth).
The Master still thinks that the return of Gallifrey is a good thing, but Doctor says that the Master wasn’t there at the end. He didn’t see what Gallifrey became, and what monstrosities arose—monstrosities like the Nightmare Child, who could have been king, with his army of meanwhiles and neverweres.
I love that description.
But the President says that the Time Lords will ascend to beings of pure consciousness, ripping time apart in the process.
That, says the Doctor, is what they were planning in the final days of the war.
So the Doctor stands and draws his gun, training it on the President. The Master eggs him on, but the Doctor spins around, to train the gun on the Master because, after all, the link is in the Master’s head. Then he spins back to the President.
But before he can decide, the woman behind the President drops her hands from her face. It’s Claire Bloom, and she’s weeping.
So the Doctor spins again, and tells the Master to get out of the way. Instead of shooting the Master, he shoots the machine, breaking the link.
“Back into hell, Rassilon,” he says.
Wait, what? Rassilon? That’s Rassilon?
Then, as the Time Lords fade away, the Master realises that these are the people who drove him mad for their own purposes. And he shoots Rassilon with the lasers from his hands.
I’ll just say that again, shall I?
The Master shoots Rassilon with the lasers from his hands.
Gallifrey withdraws from the sky, and the Earth settles down. The Doctor takes a deep breath.
And then Wilf, trapped in his booth, knocks four times on the glass.
The Doctor knows what this means. The Master left the “nuclear bolt” running, so the machine is going into overload. And it’s gone critical. So if the Doctor touches one control, the booth will flood with radiation.
Wilf knows what this means.
WILF: All right, then. Just leave me.
DOCTOR: All right, then, I will. Because you had to go in there. You had to go and get yourself stuck, didn’t you? Because that’s who you are. Waiting for me all this time.
WILF: Seriously, leave me. I’m an old man.
DOCTOR: Exactly. Look at you. Not remotely important. But me: I could do so much more.
Look, Doctor? You know I love you. I have loved you for my entire life, and will love you for the rest of my life. But you’re really trying my patience right now.
But, of course, he steps into the booth, and releases Wilf, taking the fatal dose of radiation himself.
DOCTOR: Wilf, it would be my honour.
ME: Just ignore all that abuse I just levelled at you about how much less important than me you are.
But the Doctor doesn’t die and he doesn’t regenerate. He tells Wilf that the system is dead, that he absorbed all the radiation. Wilf says, “Well, here we are, then. Safe and sound.”
He points out that the Doctor is carrying some battle scars, but the Doctor runs his hands over his face, and the cuts disappear.
We know what that means: we’ve seen him regrow his hand, remember?
He tells Wilf that “it’s started,” and Wilf falls into the Doctor’s arms.
Donna, in her mother’s home, comes back to consciousness as we hear the TARDIS materialise in the street. She says, “What happened? Did I miss something, again?” And it seems to me that this suggests she is not quite the same Donna, because the old Donna didn’t care if she missed things.
Wilf asks where the Doctor is going, and he says, “To get my reward.”
And we cut to Martha, running through a wasteland towards Mickey, while being fired on by a Sontaran.
MICKEY: And this is no place for a married woman.
MARTHA: Well, then, you shouldn’t have married me.
Wait, what? The hell?
The Doctor pops up behind the Sontaran, kills him, and stands dramatically on the platform just long enough for Martha and Mickey to see him.
Then we cut to Sarah Jane Smith’s son, wandering along the road chatting on his phone, failing to see a car—though the Doctor knocks him out of the way and saves his life. Sarah knows what’s happening: she was there when the Third Doctor regenerated in “Planet of the Spiders.”
Then we’re in the cantina on Mos Eisley—or, as Heather suggests, the restaurant at the end of the universe—where a post-Children of Earth Jack is drowning his sorrows. He slips Jack a note, allowing Jack to pick up Alonzo from “Voyage of the Damned” with a quick “Going my way?”
Then we’re back on Earth, where Verity Newman, grand-daughter of Joan the matron in “Human Nature”/“Family of Blood” is signing copies of the book she wrote based on her grandmother’s memories. He asks if Joan was happy, and Verity says “Yes, she was. Were you?”
He walks away.
We’re at the church with Donna on her wedding day. The Doctor watches from outside the church gate, and Sylvia and Wilf head over to greet him.
Wilf’s delighted, because the Doctor has the “same old face.” So he thinks everything is going to be all right.
Wilf says, “There’s one thing you never told me, Doctor. That woman: who was she?”
The Doctor says nothing, but glances over at Donna.
He hands them an envelope, saying he wanted to drop by a wedding present. But he never has any money, so he borrowed a pound from a lovely man: Geoffrey Noble.
When Donna opens the envelope, she says a lottery ticket is a “cheap wedding present” but you never know: it’s the treble rollover the week and she might get lucky.
Sylvia and Wilf grab each others’ hands and grin.
But when the Doctor turns his back and we hear the TARDIS dematerialise, Wilf watches him leave and weeps.
I whimper a little, because Bernard Cribbens weeping always makes me wants to weep, too.
And that would be Rose’s theme rising in the background, and Rose and Jackie walk across the estate. Jackie leaves, and Rose sees the Doctor, staggering and shaking in the background.
She assumes he’s had too much to drink, especially when he asks what year it is.
It’s January 1, 2005.
The Doctor tells Rose that she’s going to have a great year, and she offers him the same wish, before walking away.
The Doctor is shaking and moaning. He falls to his knees in the snow—and an Ood appears before him, saying, “We will sing to you, Doctor. The universe will sing you to your sleep.”
A lovely choral melody arises, as we see the Oods in their city linking hands.
OOD SIGMA: This song is ending. But the story never ends.
Much like this live-blogging, then.
The Doctor makes it back into the TARDIS, and as his hands begin to glow, I realise that I have no idea what happened to the Master. Does anyone know? Did I just miss it in the live-blogging frenzy, or was it skimmed over?
The TARDIS leaves Earth, and the Tenth Doctor takes a long, shuddering breath, saying, “I don’t want to go.”
But he has no choice: the regeneration process has started.
And this time, apparently, it sets fire to the TARDIS, and blows out its windows. I guess that’s a function of the radiation?
And here’s the Eleventh Doctor. For the first time, the Doctor is younger than me.
Of course, the TARDIS is on fire, but he seems more concerned with wondering whether he’s a girl or not, and whether he’s finally ginger.
But no: he realises that he’s crashing, just in time to shout “Geronimo!” into the closing credits.
And thus ends the reign of the Tenth Doctor.