Monday, July 07, 2008

Doctor Who: Journey's End

Better late then never...

Well. There seems to be rather a lot of cross Whovians out there on the Internet, and in some ways I can't blame them...

I am fully with Marie about the rubbish ending Rose got, but I also think Lisa and Anna's assessments are quite fair too.

So...

Here goes, this is what I thought of it.

I know, I know. The will he won't he regenerate being solved in ten seconds flat was a bit disappointing, but I did kind of enjoy being played with, and well... at least we get to keep David Tennant for a bit longer.

I really enjoyed Jackie and Mickey arriving to save Sarah Jane, and thank THE LORD, SJ and Jack were miles better this week. Jack and Mickey's reunion was hilarious.
Jack: Hallo Mickey Mouse
Mickey: Hi Captain Cheescake
Jack: That's beefcake
Mickey: That's enough hugging.

Torchwood being trapped in a time vault? Best place for 'em.

I was really on the edge of my seat when the Doctor finally met Davros who was properly scary just like a Dr Who villain should be, and also mad as a hatter. Great. That's how an arch nemesis is SUPPOSED to behave.

Martha transporting to Germany was fabulous, just to hear those German daleks saying Extermineren... I thought that was a stroke of genius.

I really enjoyed the companions doing their bargaining trick, while the Doctor was made to see what he did to people. That was brilliant and bleak, and David Tennant showed again what a fabulous wonderful actor he is. You don't just see his pain, you feel it. I think he deserved a bit more support from them all though. Let's face it, what he does do is inspire the best in people, they are prepared to die for him for a reason. Because he makes the universe a better place, and without him, as we saw in Turn Left things go horribly wrong. (Yes, I do realise I am talking about him as if he exists. Please don't disabuse me of the notion).

The other absolutely wonderful thing about this episode was the Doctor/Donna strand. It was brilliant. I had despite my best intentions been trawling the internet last week and seen all sorts of spoilers about Donna. I thought there would be a Timelord connection because of the beating heart, but I was really glad that Donna as the Rani/Donna as Romana never came to pass, and it was a surprise that she became part Doctor. No spoilers. Total surprise. Fan-bloody- tastic. Especially as Catherine Tate and David Tennant copied each other so brilliantly. That was hilarious. Especially when they came back, saved the day and started sending planets back home. I loved that.

I also unashamedly loved the scene when everyone got to fly the Tardis home (Not you, Jackie - ha!), and silly and all as it was, I loved the use of the time rift as a lassoo. But then I like my Dr Who silly from time to time. Cos, let's face it. This is a programme about an alien, who goes through Time and Space in a BLUE BOX. And that's NOT silly????

Now... though. To the bits I didn't like.

So it was hi hi companions, and bye bye companions pretty quickly.

Sarah Jane off to have some more adventures with Luke and co.

Jack, Martha and Mickey off to take part in the next series of Torchwood. Maybe it will be better for it. I certainly hope they can bring some of Dr Who Jack , who was thoroughly splendid in this episode, into Torchwood, where he is frankly a bit crap.

And then it was Rose.

Oh bloody hell. Why oh why did he have to do that to Rose. I'd rather she'd never been brought back from her parallel universe. I might have mentioned before, I like my romantic endings bitter sweet. Characters kept apart by being trapped in parallel universes/time slip stuff work for me (Sliding Doors/Amber Spyglass/Sterkarm Handshake/Time Traveller's Wife). I even have such a story up my sleeve to write one day, I hope. But.... oh god, this was so wrong. Dr2 (not Who) isn't the Doctor. For starters he's part Donna. And then he's only got one heart. And he's not got a Tardis. AND he's just committed genocide. Rose would have to be pretty shallow to want to stay with him wouldn't she? Please RTD don't tell me she is. I love Rose too much to see her suffer that fate.

In a way I kind of see he's done a bit of Sarah Jane on her. Dumping her back in the parallel universe because, really he is a Time Lord and he doesn't get it. He thinks he is helping her, but can't see that he's not (I'm trying to put a positive spin on this, because I hate it so much). Donna got it right at the beginning; Two hearts? Why do I want to mate with that. Rose and the Doctor can't ever be together because he isn't human. But then... how does that work with River Song then???

So yes. Very disappointed that Rose not only didn't get her Doctor but got a carbon copy. That is so not going to work. Having had people fancy me because they think I am my twin, and others fancying her because they think she's me, I can tell you categorically that no one gets over the disappointment of discovering the object of their affection isn't the right twin. Rose cannot possibly fall in love with this Doctor, because he isn't hers. Crap crap crap ending. And I think from what Billie Piper said on Dr Who Confidential, she agrees. I do hope we see Rose again, because I think she deserves better then that.

As to Donna. Again total surprise. Bloody terrible cruel ending for her too. Awful. Awful. To make her go back to what she'd been. Would it have been better to let her keep travelling and burn out? Not sure at all. It is a bit like a reverse of the It Was All A Dream Dallas storyline. And probably another copout. RTD doesn't want to kill off the Doctor's companions apparently because it's a kid's show. Well. I think they could take it, even if they were distraught. No 3 cried for WEEKS after Rose left first time around and no 1 hasn't stopped going on about how sad she is about Donna. I'm not sure they'd have been less upset by seeing her die properly.

I also always feel cheated by the You Have To Forget All About This ending - ever since I read the brilliant Susan Cooper Dark is Rising series, which remains among my favourite fantasy reading. Except the ending... All the characters you have loved over five books, who've had wonderful adventures and done amazing things then don't get to remember any of it. WHY NOT???? That is so unfair to them and to the reader. (If I ever get to my parallel universe story, I am going to make damned sure my characters remember everything, however much pain they suffer.)

So yes. Didn't really like Donna going back to normal, although I rather hope that her bloody awful mother is a bit nicer to her now. (What is it with RTD and mothers, he is pretty down on them isn't he?). And if the Doctor has any kind of compassion he will search the universe high and low for the bloke she met in the Library episode, so at least Donna can get the life she never had in virtual reality. (How I love Doctor Who for letting me write incomprehensible sentences like that).

But...

Having moaned about all that. Oh God. I found the last ten minutes absolutely gut wrenchingly awful. Bernard Cribbins and David Tennant pulled out all the stops to make you realise the full extent of the tragedy, not just for Donna, but for the Doctor.

Now he truly is alone.

And I have to say. As endings go, I did rather like that.

18 comments:

musicobsessive said...

Yeah - that just about sums it up for me too. Actually, I thought Donna's demise was almost inevitable and to me it was well handled. But Rose...Oh dear! What have they done to her...again!

RTD has clearly been studying the master, Joss Whedon, and given us a highly emotional people story set against a scifi background. Joss always said 'give people what they need...not what they want' and what we need is to be sad. Dr Who is really a tragedy at heart (or two hearts) and RTD made damn sure we know it.

Oh well...when's the Christmas sepecial?

lynniep said...

I really agreed with your review of Journeys end. The Rose ending was very disappointing and very much ruined the last show for me. I might have been a bit happier had she at least kissed the real doctor before he left, but as she said in confidential - for some utterly bizarro reason she drove the knife in deeper for the doctor by snogging Dr2 - allowing real dr to pootle off heartbroken without a goodbye again ! Poo to that :(

Danielle said...

Thank God someone could voice what I was feeling about this episode . . . But all the ladies have to admit, we got to see 2 doctors at once, and him with no clothes . . . oh yeah, I admit I squealed at that moment.

stu-n said...

"Rose and the Doctor can't ever be together because he isn't human. But then... how does that work with River Song then???"

River Song is an adult. He said, cattily.
But seriously... Rose expected her relationship with the Doctor to be like any other relationship, together forever, for the rest of our lives... which isn't possible for the Doctor, who hates watching people die (and doesn't understand the human attitude to death AT ALL). River didn't have any expectations like that; she didn't even travel with the Doctor, it seems. He pops up at various points in her life, in non-linear order; sometimes she issues a pan-galactic booty-call and he turns up (does he do that when he has a companion, I wonder? Does he chloroform them and leave them in the Tardis?). And we now know that he's already watched her die anyway, and knows he won't ever have to watch her age and fade. Which is weird, to us, but might be a comfort to a Time Lord who constantly lies about his age.

That's not nerd polyfilla, it's full nerd plastering, including a skim coat on the ceiling. Don't paint it til it's dry.

Marie said...

Am I the only person who would commit genocide on the Daleks given half a chance with nil guilt?

Anonymous said...

Stu-n made the point I was just coming on to make. I think the Doctor will be happy to have a relationship with River Song because he's already seen her die, he knows the worst, and won't have to see her age. The other thing is,he knows it is inevitable and also he has seen her sacrifice herself for him, so when he next encounters her, he will have some powerful emotions from the get go.


I do agree with you about how terrible it was that Donna forgot, I think it is worse in this case because she forgot what a great person she had become. But the pain for the Doc when she blanked him was very real. And emphasizes he is always the lonely traveller...

Still it got us all talking didn't it? And hats off to RTD for keeping the nation guessing all week about the resolution to the regeneration. It's ages since anyone's managed to do that on TV.

Mad Twin

stu-n said...

Marie — no, you're not, but the Doc has a record for wimping out on that front.

Jane Henry said...

Oh hallo all you lovely people for dropping by. Sorry have been a bit slow to respond. Busy busy end of term sports day kind of stuff and panic that next week they all STOP for seven weeks...

Musicobsessive do we need to be sad? Not sure. But I sort of think we need the Doctor on his own (just like Indiana Jones should be alone. If you haven't seen it yet, look away, But....

I predict if Indy makes a return trip he will do so unaccompanied.)

lynniep nice to see you here - oh now I hadn't seen that snog as Rose digging the knife in, but if she was as pissed off as I would have been in her position, I can understand why she'd do that. If they ever meet again I think she's going to be pretty pissed off with him...

Danielle. Ok. Yes. DT in the buff was nearly worth Rose kissing the wrong Doc.

Stu-n oh now that is also an interesting take on it which I hadn't considered. I do think he thinks he's doing the best thing for Rose by giving her Dr 2, but I think it is also shows how much he doesn't really get about humans. So yes, maybe you're right about that. I promise never EVER to paint nerd plaster till it is dry as a bone.

Marie. I'm with you on the genocide thing too. Though we wondered why the Doctor offered to save Davros, but not Dalek Caan. Spouse thought it was because he didn't see him, but I watched it again and you can just see DC squeaking, A companion Will Diiiiiiee at the end. Did I say how much we enjoyed Dalek Caan in our house?

MT. Yes. RTD HAS got everyone talking. I wonder if he is as bemused as I am though, by the level of vitriol floating around in the ether on both positive and negative reivews of this episode.

Shouts very loudly. IT IS ONLY A TV SHOW...

MediumRob said...

"Would you commit genocide or wouldn't you, without guilt?"

Depends how. All sorts of lovely psychological experiments have been done to investigate under what circumstances people do deeply unpleasant things, including the infamous Milgram experiment where volunteers are told they must administer electric shocks to subjects. Even when they hear the screams and are told it's a lethal amount, 2/3 of the volunteers administered the shock because they were told to.

Give someone a magic button that will kill all Daleks, probably people would. Ask them to go round to each Dalek in turn, open its casing, then stab it while it pleaded with them, maybe not. Even if they had the time.

Me, maybe I would if I could see no other way (although quite how I ended up in a situation where I was able to commit genocide and no other option, I'm not sure) and didn't have to face the Daleks I was killing, but boy would I feel guilty. If I had to go round to each Dalek in turn, probably not.

It's worth remembering that a significant number of Britain's hangmen ended up mental as a result of their actions, too...

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm with Medium Rob on the issue of genocide. Think the Doctor's point was that a) Doc 2 was damaged by what he had done - whatever the necessity - just as Christopher Ecclestone was when he met Rose (&this is probably the only bit I can accept of Doc 2 with Rose, that she can heal him - not very fair on her though) and b) He was born out of rage and fear and anger and may get a taste for it, so he'd be better off having a quiet life.

On that basis, he wasn't leaving a genocidal maniac with Rose, but someone who needed help...

I think.

Still I'd have rather he reabsorbed himself or something and the Doc and Rose said, look this will never work and got on with it.

Ho hum

PS Another thing that makes me cross is that I thought there'd be a good reason why Rose was crossing the parallel universes and causing all that disruption to the fabric of space and time ie the universe needed the Doctor. But no, she was selfishly just using Torchwood resources to go and look for the lost love of her life, and then belatedly when she realised there was a problem, actually going after to him to sort things out. Thought the Rose of Turn Left (bad accent and all) was far superior to the one in Journey's End.

But as you say JH - tis only a programme! And I think RTD is well used to the vitriol from the mosquitoes as he is now calling them. I am looking forward to the moment all the Stephen Moffat lovers turn on him when they realise he isn't writing DW as they want it!

MTxx

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm with Medium Rob on the issue of genocide. Think the Doctor's point was that a) Doc 2 was damaged by what he had done - whatever the necessity - just as Christopher Ecclestone was when he met Rose (&this is probably the only bit I can accept of Doc 2 with Rose, that she can heal him - not very fair on her though) and b) He was born out of rage and fear and anger and may get a taste for it, so he'd be better off having a quiet life.

On that basis, he wasn't leaving a genocidal maniac with Rose, but someone who needed help...

I think.

Still I'd have rather he reabsorbed himself or something and the Doc and Rose said, look this will never work and got on with it.

Ho hum

PS Another thing that makes me cross is that I thought there'd be a good reason why Rose was crossing the parallel universes and causing all that disruption to the fabric of space and time ie the universe needed the Doctor. But no, she was selfishly just using Torchwood resources to go and look for the lost love of her life, and then belatedly when she realised there was a problem, actually going after to him to sort things out. Thought the Rose of Turn Left (bad accent and all) was far superior to the one in Journey's End.

But as you say JH - tis only a programme! And I think RTD is well used to the vitriol from the mosquitoes as he is now calling them. I am looking forward to the moment all the Stephen Moffat lovers turn on him when they realise he isn't writing DW as they want it!

MTxx

Jane Henry said...

Hullo Rob. Cripes. Now we're getting all philosophical (who says Dr Who's for kids?) Joking apart, and I was being rather flippant, I think I could possibly do what Dr 2 did in those circumstances, because presumably his point was if they left it Davros would just pop up next week and start the whole shebang again. I have to confess, though the main man kept talking about genocide, I wasn't actually convinced all the daleks bought it. Temporal shift anyone? And Davros dead? Come on... he appears to have nearly as many lives as a Time Lord.

On your quite right serious point about what one would really do in that situation. I think you are probably right and that experiment proves most people would do it under orders, but couldn't do it if they had to face an individual dalek .

I did blog about all this stuff last year after I'd visited Auschwitz. One thing that struck me really forcibly when I came out of Camp One and saw the site where Rudolf Hoss who ran Auschwitz was hung by the Allies after the war, was as a result of what I'd seen in the museum, how strongly I felt hanging was too good for him. I was genuinely shocked by that because I am against capital punishment. But some actions perhaps are so inhuman, our responses to them are less humane. I also think we could all probably do terrible things if we dehumanise our enemy. That's what the Nazis did, and that's how they could do it.
I blogged about it all here.
http://maniacmum.blogspot.com/2007/12/auschwitzauschwitz-birkenau.html

MediumRob said...

Yep, it's me, or to use me my full Native American name, "Sucks Fun Out of Conversations".

Course the Daleks will be coming back in 2010, maybe with Davros in tow. Or vice versa. I'm pretty sure that Davros buys his escape capsules from the same place as Zoltar from Battle of the Planets, and they're guaranteed to work in all situations.

Interesting that the post-Time War, post-Rose Doctor still can't do what he was asked to do by the Time Lords (thus starting the Time War) in Genesis of the Daleks and commit genocide.

Jane Henry said...

Rob I actually quite like going all philsophical about Dr Who, so you can suck out any fun you like.

Much as I like DT's Doctor he is a bit indecisive sometimes isn't he? No wonder everyone ends up being soldiers for him cos they do what he can't. But presumably Rose humanised him again, and he keeps losing people all over the place, so he can't bring himself to be the ultimate destroyer. Also, crap and all as the Human Dalek episode was there was that moment when Dalek Sec offered hope for the Daleks to evolve into something better, and though Dalek Caan's actions were intended to destroy the Daleks, I guess the fact that he worked out they were wrong gives the Doctor hope for the future.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think these debates about genocide or not/ how to deal with the really big baddies etc, one of Dr W's greatest strengths. A slight weakness is that the writers can't quite make their minds up how pacifist he is, but that does allow a number of agonising moral positions to be considered and debated. Whatever your take on nonviolence versus violence, capital punishment versus death penalty, don't you find it refreshing these issues are being thrown up by a children's programme? At the very least it should help children become more rounded and thoughtful about these issues. And as a mother of a boy, I am very grateful for an alternative to Transformers/Power Rangers/Fantastic Four/Superman etc where the good guys only win by being big and tough and shooting the crap out of the bad guys. Dr W shows boys there are other ways to be tough. I like that.

Mad Twinx

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Sorry I came by SO very late to this conversation but it was well worth the visit. Not least for Stu-N's fabulous lines:

That's not nerd polyfilla, it's full nerd plastering, including a skim coat on the ceiling. Don't paint it til it's dry.

BWAH!

Jane Henry said...

Thanks for bothering to come by at all, Lisa. And yes the nerd plaster comment was ANOTHER coffee cup moment...

Sethos said...

I have a problem with the concept of The Doctor being so distraught over genocide of the Daleks. The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) was sent to destroy them at their inception (but failed), and the 7th Doctor sent the Hand of Omega to destroy Skaro (the Dalek's homeworld). Also, the 6th Doctor was tried and aquitted for genocide against the Vervoids. How is this incident any different?
On a different note, regarding the duplicate Doctor and Rose. Just because he doesn't have a TARDIS doesn't mean he doesn't know how to make one, as the War Chief did (although a very primitive model) in War Games.