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Sunday, July 06, 2008
Exterminieren! Halt! Sonst werden wir Sie exterminieren!
Aren't DALEKS clever? They speak German!

Now, where's that Endor Generator?

In case you're wondering, that was a quote from the final DOCTOR WHO episode of the current series, JOURNEY'S END. As usual, if you have not seen this particular installment of the world's greatest television show then I suggest you stop reading now. Don't even look at the pictures or skip to the last paragraph - this review will SPOIL your enjoyment of the SERIES 4 finale. Got it? OK, here goes.

Superman III, anyone?

I've felt empty all day. Or to be more precise, full. Full of sadness because DONNA NOBLE has gone from my screen. And, not just that, it looks like she's gone forever. Even worse, her past has been erased. For her anyway. That's the real tragedy; more powerful, more lasting than a 'simple' death. Donna's adventures won't be recalled again. When I watch the past series it will be tinged with the thought that she'll never know. My favourite companion has gone, never to return (but please find a way to make her do so) and that affects me in a real and meaningful way.

Cathy T in sneeze alert!

Ultimately, I guess I'm super~down about CATHY T leaving too. That episode neatly displayed why I lurve Donna so much - we got to see three sides to her: the old Donna; the Donna we've seen recently; and the DoctorDonna. It's a credit to Tate's acting skills that she made it all so crushingly brilliant and achingly beautiful.

Davey T has just touched her knocker.

Miss Noble will live long (in my memory at least) and to put it bluntly, she's probably the best, and most intriguing companion DOCTOR WHO has ever seen. No wonder RTD raised her to the heights of a Time Lord in the finale, she deserved it. But how cruel of you Russell. Worse than death, a living lifeless~ness. And that line from WILF, "but she was better with you." More hurtful than a blast from a DALEK or a bolt from DAVROS. She was better and now, like the aforementioned pepperpots creator's dust and atoms, she becomes nothing. A nihilistic end to a wonderful and fascinating lady.

He's somewhere else now...

So what was wonderful about her in JOURNEY'S END? How long have you got? Erm, not long you say? Ok then, I'll be brief (as I am aware that not everyone lurves her as much as I do, their loss). At first, it looked like she was going to be endowed with a very special end - dying with the TARDIS. But it was not to be as we were presented again with the haunting heartbeat that accompanied a particularly good moment last week. In the craziness of destruction she kept her head (well, not really) and touched the hand of God (again, not really).

And done.

Before becoming part~Time Lord - did someone say PAUL MCGANN, no? - Cathy T got some great material with DAVEY T (more of him later, both of them) as he impersonated her. The compliment was re~payed when she mimicked him with precision, chucking out bafflegab (and more of that later too) at some rate of knots. And then, as she knew what was about to happen she pleaded, "I can't go back, don't make me go back." Heart~breaking. Her return to THE RUNAWAY BRIDE~esque Donna at the denouement demonstrated perfectly her journey. And I shall miss her very much.

"I'm a complicated event in time and space." I bet you are!

Sticking with the cast, let's look at Davey T, and we were expertly treated to a two~for~the~price~of~one here. As just mentioned, he perfectly recreates the Donna Noble Experience with some ease but we're also presented with usual end~of~series lonely Doctor routine. Sadly, he does the now patented explanation racethru' again. JULIAN BLEACH delivers a suitably macabre performance as Davros and adds some maniacal fever to the more studied display of THE STOLEN EARTH. A real good bad guy.

An arrangement? Is that half the rent plus bills?

I have to admit that BILLIE wasn't exactly engaging and ROSE comes off as a rather desperate teen~in~lurve here. Everything she does is for her relationship with The Doctor alone and not for the greater good - unlike Martha and Donna. The former gets another journey be herself to save the world and I've warmed even more to her - a very strong, independent woman. Will she join TORCHWOOD? Here's hoping! Likewise, nice to see MICKEY and how he's grown but the inclusion of JACKIE was odd and unnecessary. I mean, come on. Seriously? What the flip would she be doing there with a huge effin' gun?

MARTHA "I've Got A Job To Do" JONES is back!

The lack of PETE only highlighted the superfluous nature of her character. And what's with leaving the dads out? Martha's father is nowhere too! RTD got some issues there perhaps? As last week, SARAH JANE was terrific and I think Davros could have been speaking for all of us when he said, "That face after all these years." How very true 'ole blue eye. That's some flirtin'!

Davros has his eye on you...

It was a great moment seeing all of the gang flying the TARDIS and Martha's cheeky look straight to the camera evoked Davey T's similar fourth wall breaking manoeuvre from last year's finale. Her glance (apart from tightening my trousers no end) included us - we were the pilots too. And what about CAPTAIN JACK and his pumping action, cripes!

Ready for your close~up Freema? Oh, I see you are...

As usual GRAEME HARPER helms the direction with some applomb and the special effects nerds also do sterling work. So to the actual writing/plot and RTD. That guy has got balls for sure. If you are an 'international' reading this then let me tell you that the media in the UK has been going wild over DOCTOR WHO this week with newspapers doing stories every day and even the television news covering it all day Friday. What were they covering? The regeneration angle. Although I watched the news and came to the conclusion that the nub of their report was that there was a programme was airing that nobody knew what would would happen in it. That's news in the UK!

The speculation ends, the betting closes. Bad luck Mr Nesbitt.

And how did it pan out? With brevity and huge amount of cheek. Some 'fans' (and I use the term so lightly that it is probably wrong) feel it is cheap to do so, tinkering with such a fundamental part of the show. But I admire his bravery. Last year he gave us an old Doctor, this year he gives us two! Very different. And I guess that's what fans dislike. Something new. He also, however, gave us something old, and used. I'm referring to the companion~will~die mantra that first reared it's metaphorical head in SERIES TWO. Again, nobody actually died. I'll be honest, once was enough for that trick.

Now we know why he's the "three~fold man" Copyright 2008, Dalek Caan)

While I'm on the negatives, the bafflegab was at full level this week with phrases like "Zed (or was it Zen, I couldn't make it out) Neutrino", "dimensional retro~closure", "human/Time Lord metacrisis" and "reality bomb". Oh, hold on, I understand that last one. Well, I understand what it is but why would Davros & Co want to use it? Surely it would wipe them out too? Perhaps the CRUCIBLE (along with all the snooker tables) has some kind of shield. If it does/did, I missed that bit too (and I've watched it three times now!)

Davey T comes last in the SERIOUS FACE competition.

It doesn't end there with my grievances (although they certainly did not get on the way of my enjoyment). On the Crucible there's one panel which seems to control everything from the reality bomb to the Daleks' movement to Davros's finger~ray and this led to some comedy pushing~about Dalek routines. Pity, 'cos they had been quite the foe up until that point disabling the TARDIS an' all. Davros also became a bit shouty and pointy at that moment too. During this we were also treated to: "Just stay where you are mister," from Mickey - who kissed his huge blaster (stop it) goodbye earlier; and "Like I was saying, feel this," from Jack (whose coat seemed to be as powerful as he was, coming out of an incinerator unscathed - hem, hem) as they used their weapons. An apt display of why the Doctor hates guns. Me too, I equate them with cars (but that's another story).

Freud would have a field day with this.

A couple of other things bothered me. Why did The Doctor drop Rose & Co at BAD WOLF BAY? It's in flippin' Norway (if I remember correctly - which I do), that's precisely nowhere near where they live. Also, THE MEDUSA CASCADE was one second in the future, wasn't it? That did not get addressed and the Earth, when returned to its original point, seems to travel in space but not time. I know, I sound like a real geek~a~zoid, don't I? I would have preferred to have seen our planet being materialised with the TARDIS rather than dragged through the cosmos. But it was a nice scene with the the guys and gals at it around the console with a beautiful score from MURRAY GOLD.

The Eighties TARDIS over~crowding is back!

Now, my final 'niggle'. Fifteen minutes of goodbyes? A tad excessive. This ain't LORD OF THE arse~ing RINGS you know! I would have liked to have seen the post~apocalyptic Earth on its return. The Daleks did do a lot of damage in the first episode, would have added a bit of 'realism' to the story. But as these finales seem to get bigger, the focus seems to get smaller. They can't keep getting bigger, it's just not possible. And, for me, not necessary but I understand the need for publicity, etc...

The gang discover SKYPE.

And now the positives, and there's much to admire. Apart from the aforementioned 'bravery' of the writing (he's not scared you know) RTD, as always, delivers a script with such knowing flourishes that it seems churlish to knock it at all (though I just have, a bit). Great move to have CAAN the bringer of doom for the Daleks, a bit like Rose at the end of SERIES ONE. He saw time (as she did) and goes a bit mad with it all - nice mirroring. The hand plays a crucial part again and it's weird to think how long it's been bubbling away (pun intended), popping up now and again to feature prominently.

Put Sarah Jane back on!

There's a great sense of scale to the finale, epic and hyper~emotional with the companions now weapons created by The Doctor. The Osterhagen (anagram of "Earth's Gone" fact fans) Key was an unpleasant idea and The Doc's "Who invented that?" was only matched in exasperation stakes when Captain Jack played with the Warpstar (nice link with Sarah Jane and her 'adventures').

Is it bad form to do a chipmunk gag here?

The Daleks speaking German (as demonstrated in the title of this post) was a masterful stroke and eerie. Nice touch too to have GWEN recognised by The Doctor. And it wouldn't be an RTD script without his trademark larf~worthy lines thrown in too: Jackie's mocking "No, you plum, he's called Tony" when The Doctor thought she'd named her son after him; Jack's "I can't tell you what I'm thinking right now" at the idea of three Doctors; and the "Oh, end of the universe" from Davros.

Take two Doctors into the shower?

All~in~all, a superb television event that may be lacking in plot and, at some points, sense, but it was an immense story that gripped millions and flew by. And so it's gone from our screens for the time being (back at Christmas - 171 days away!) and, right now, I'm missing the thought of Donna rather than the show. Bittersweet? No. Just bitter. But she was always sweet.

"The universe has been waiting for me" and, sadly, it will continue to do so...

'Til the next time,

PS. Yes, I realise how lame that last sentence was but I haven't written an essay in ages so I'm getting a bit wordy and flowery with my reviews these days.

Davey T is the new Derren Brown, apparently.

PPS. Oh yeah, there was no "What? What?? WHAT??" at the end or a title for the Christmas Special. Unless it really is RETURN OF THE CYBERMEN (which it isn't).

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posted by Cameron McEwan at 11:49 am -
  • At 1:37 am, Blogger Kate said…

    I think the title should be "A Very Cybermen Christmas." And Oh Donna.


  • At 3:34 am, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    It reminded me of the last episode of CHEERS, when Diane was brought back but Sam realized he was better off alone -- Sam Malone. So the series ended as it began, with Sam in an empty bar.

    The Doctor is like the Hierophant in the Mythic Tarot -- The Hierophant is Chiron, the Centaur, wise teacher of many a hero in Greek Myth and history. Half man and half horse, Chiron had qualities of both. Educated by both Apollo and Artemis, Chiron was wise in both the arts of war and healing. For all his great healing powers, he could not heal himself when his friend, Hercules accidentally pricked him with an arrow dipped in the poisonous blood of the Hydra but since he was Immortal, he could not die, hence, he had to endure the pain as he continued to impart his great wisdom to others.

    The Hierophant can heal others then, but not himself.

    What, I was the only one thinking about CHEERS and Greek Mythology?


  • At 3:35 am, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    Oh, and the last couple of minutes play much better with the DOOMSDAY theme.


  • At 9:39 am, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    After the seriousness of the recent episodes, that would be a welcome title.

    I see the 4th Of July celebrations haven't affected your train of thought.
    Or have they?

    Greek mythology and Cheers?

    Interesting allusion to Hierophant. The Doc does go through a lot of pain these days. Poor lad.

    I'll try out your Doomsday theme idea but I was pretty 'happy' with what the Gold~ster (as I have just decided to call him) provided. Quite subdued when Wilf is chatting to the Doctor. Also, I like that theme used when he's in the TARDIS at the very end. Hits the spot for me.

  • At 4:24 pm, Blogger joy said…

    Ya know, repeated viewings, and still mixed emotions.

    I'm still mad as all get out about Donna. A little wary of Rose and the Doctor/Donna Ten ending up together. And just once, even though it'd be out of character, I'd like the Doctor to end up with a little bit of pixie dust.

  • At 4:51 pm, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    I just like to think that the Doc is still thinking about Rose.

  • At 4:59 pm, Blogger Richard Starkings said…

    BTW was that Miranda Richardson in the teaser?


  • At 6:53 pm, Blogger joy said…

    Oh! And this business of all those people calling the Doctor's cell is kinda silly.

    However - the BBC missed out on what could have been a brilliant contest and/or tie-in to one of your telecoms.

    And, second, if they *weren't going to do a tie-in, then why shoot the two prominent close-ups of the phone number in the first place.

    Silly all around, methinks.

  • At 6:55 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    Mixed emotions just about covers it. Still pretty annoyed at Donna being treated so cruelly. Bah!

    I think the day the Doc gets his pixie dust will be the day he regenerates again.

    It was DERVLA KIRWAN. More pics can be seen at BLOGTOR WHO. Though only one of her!

  • At 9:06 pm, Blogger joy said…

    Oh. And, this comment you don't have to post...

    But, I had you and a few other bloggers/YT posters and rootforum1 folks in mind on Saturday when I blogged this:

  • At 1:45 pm, Blogger FRANK said…

    Oh, Cameron, you've been so charitable to 'Journey's End'. I loved the review - nice balance between the good and the bad - but I'm afraid I just found the episode fell of a cliff into a seething sea of nonsense after Doctor/Donna did her 100wpm on the Wurlitzer organ. And it didn't really recover until the very sad conclusion to Donna's story. I did watch it again last night after leaving it alone for just about a week and I still think the middle section is a pile of shit. The departure of Rose, with her bargain basement version of the Doctor, totally undermined the emotional powerhouse of 'Doomsday'.

    Not happy about what RTD did to Donna. Teared up again at the end last night.

    Richard - totally love your reading of the symbolism and allusions to mythology. Top stuff. Pity the episode didn't measure up to your reading of it!

    I guess with the likelihood of 10 million viewers in the final ratings one should be glad that as the four year arc closes the series is still as popular as it was when 'Rose' debuted. Can't argue with that.

    Keep up the good work, Cameron.

  • At 11:56 am, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…


    Ha ha, Mr charitable, that's me!

    You know, I'm still genuinely a bit down about Donna. It's a bit like getting losing a girlfriend - you know she's still out there but you cannot have her.

    Having watched Journey's End a number of times I'm still quite happy with it as an end of series romp.

    Not too happy about the switch in Davros and the Daleks becoming powerless but there you go.

    In the future, I would like to see the Doctor~lite episode perhaps look at a villain. In this case, I would have liked to have seen an episode featuring Caan going back to save Davros and creating their 'Empire'.

    And finding out just why the Supreme Dalek was 'in charge'.

    I can understand why some people have problems with it but I've never really had a problem with the 'reset' theory. But I would like to see a less dramatic finale (and perhaps not one on Earth).

    Still, I'm sure the BEEB are more than happy with how things are going.

    Mind you, so am I.

  • At 10:46 am, Anonymous pobrediabla said…

    Your words are so TRUE! I really miss Donna too:( Funny thing is, I found DW a year ago through Catherine Tate (her comic relief appearance with David T).
    I'm sure the writers can easily find a way to bring her back (like Rose- I mean the parallel world problem seemed to be much more difficult to deal with, and see, the end of the universe was enough to solve it:) Even I have an (ok, it's a bit wicked) idea to bring her back, though not exactly Donna: the rebel Lauren Cooper!:) Donna could be her mother:)

  • At 1:16 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    I think there are many of us who want Donna back.

    Cathy T certainly seemed to win over her doubters by the end.

    I'm sure the character could come back if CT and the production team wanted it to happen. It is sci~fi after all - anything can/should happen.

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