>TV Round-Up: Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part 1

>As the Tennant era draws to a close, the final victory laps of specials has been a hit or miss one. In many ways, it felt like David Tennant and Russell T. Davies really threw everything and the kitchen sink into series four’s finale, leaving me to wonder just what exactly they could or would do with the final victory lap.

Or just how a victory lap all written by Davies would work.

I’ve not been a huge fan of his stories, especially when Davies feels the weight of trying to pull together an entire season story arc–or in this case to pull together an entire era in two episodes.

“The End of Time, Part 1” suffers from a lot of the excesses that previous Davies-written finales have. There’s a lot of time spent running in place as we wait for the final ten or so minutes to be breathless with revelations and things happening as we build to the cliffhanger. The first half hour or so (longer if you watched on BBC America) is little more than what in the 80s took up a few lines on the classic series–bringing the Master back from the dead. And then, once he’s back from the dead, he’s not stable and we spent the 20 or so minutes getting him stable and finding out what his nefarious plan for this time is. It’s interesting to see how the Master has gone from a guy who used to be all about universal domination in the 80s to this version where his ambition is…apparently to clone himself over the entire planet Earth.

I’m not quite sure I get it, but it’s no more half-baked than any of his other schemes from the John Nathan-Turner years.

In many ways, it feels like large chunks of this story are designed to allow Tennant and John Simms to chew scenery. And while it’s nice to have these two actors chew the scenery, it does little or nothing to advance the plot and it feels like a holding technique as we wait for the Master’s plan to come into focus and to build to the cliffhanger.

Which is an interesting little doozy, though from what we see of the return of the Time Lords, I’m not sure their going to be portrayed in quite the same way as they were in the classic series. More RTD re-interpretation of the classic series mythology, I guess.

Meanwhile, I found myself more and more annoyed at the hero worship given to Barak Obama. The number of times it was mentioned that he was going to save the world with a Christmas speech really grated on me and it will definitely lead to this story being dated within a couple of years and not having the timeless nature of a lot of classic “Who.” Of course, it’s just more of RTD’s political agenda being written into the show. It can work in sci-fi if you do it with subtlety, something that RTD has never been accused of having…

And while there have been comparisons made by RTD to “Logopolis” and a feeling of an end of an era, I’m not really seeing it. But then again, maybe we’ll see it next week when this story and the era concludes…


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