The End of Time– Shades of Battlestar Stupidity

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I guess it’s possible the Doctor Who Christmas and New Year’s specials don’t suck as much as I thought they did on the first go round. Well, to be fair, I actually liked where part one seemed to be going, and then part two was just horrible. So blah. Round two, part one:

James Bond is intoning things about the last days of planet earth. Evidently everyone is having bad dreams about the Master, and no one remembers but Donna’s grandfather, Wilf. I love Wilf! He’s in a church with a stained glass window rendering of the TARDIS, chatting with an old lady I didn’t take note of the first time around. But you, gentle readers, have the benefit of my 20/20 hindsight. This, my friends, is foreshadowing.

Doctor Douchebag lands on futuristic Ood planet to have a chat with Ood Sigma about his future death. Apparently he had sex with Queen Elizabeth I and is the sort of man who kisses and tells. Gross. There’s some annoying time banter here where Ood Sigma is mad at the Doctor for “delaying” and then tells him about all the crappy stuff happening on 20th century Earth which the Doctor has to “hurry” to stop. Um. What? This is a show about TIME TRAVEL. You should always be able to turn up on time, jeez louise. Also, the “it” that is returning is a problem the Doctor solves in like, ten minutes. So basically the Ood prophecy is a little underwhelming. It’s like the Opera House vision in BSG: really ladies of Galactica? You need years of prophetic dreams to tell you to pick up a toddler and carry her through a door away from gunfire? Isn’t that pretty fucking obvious? (I watched BSG in a glut over a couple months, I imagine it was less stupid when it was more spread out.) The comparison to BSG isn’t purely a product of my feverish imagination either. Ood Sigma is all “Events that have happened…. are happening now” which is the new “All this has happened before, all this will happen again.”

So there’s a fake-out where you think it’s the Master who has been resurrected via horacrux magic ring, and then this creepy father-daughter team want to round him up for their immortality machine, but they might as well be named Pa Plot Device and Ms. Plotdeviceovna.

Also contrived… President Obama is going to be giving a Christmas Day speech announcing how he’s going to save the world from the economy. This is just awkward in the way where you feel really uncomfortable watching something, even though you have nothing to do with it. First of all, Doctor Who doesn’t share our history. The American president (some white dude not named Bush) died in a previous episode, and they have different prime ministers. Even assuming Obama managed to be independently elected in this alternate ‘verse, the US president would never give a big speech about the economy on Christmas. Finally, it’s just sloppy semiotics. What is Doctor Who trying to say: beware of charismatic world leaders with easy fixes you idiotic Americans? I may have my differences with Obama, but I definitely don’t think he’s a genocidal ancient alien with an eerie fixation on ethnic cleansing and doomsday machines.

So anyway, Wilf finds the Doctor apparently “way too easily” although trust me, this comes to nothing. The Doctor tells Wilf about the prophecy of his death (he will knock four times) which is important, because Wilf is uncharacteristically stupid later in the episode. Whatever, the Doctor is afraid to die. I’d tell you to take note, but he will repeat it nine MILLION times before the episode is up. Church lady reappears to Wilf to say portentous things about old soldiers and how Wilf has never killed but must take up arms, and that he must tell the Doctor nothing. Again, this seemed really interesting at the time, but it came to nothing.

Anyway, through some stupid medical tech, the Master turns everyone on earth into himself. The two cactus aliens disguised as techs explain that it’s like the nanobots of The Empty Child, and will rewrite the DNA of the whole planet. So everyone but the doctor, Wilf (who is in a special box), Donna (who is part time-lord), and the aliens turns into the Master. Including Barack Obama, who has just begun his speech. The machine only affects humans because the Master “set the template for human.” Why is that even an option when 20th century humans don’t have inter-stellar travel? Whatever. Weirdly all the other Masters are happy to serve the “real” Master, because subservience is so in his character. So, in that annoying way where prophecies are always sort of lies (see: Death of Tyler, Rose) this is what Dalton meant about the end up planet Earth. He voiceovers about the return of the Timelords, and it is a SERIOUS say-it-don’t-spray-it/asked-for-the-news-not-the-weather moment.

So that’s part one!

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One Response to “The End of Time– Shades of Battlestar Stupidity”

  1. aerynthrace Says:

    I agree with pretty much all you’ve said here; comparing it to BSG’s finale is very apt. I loved Tennant, and this was an almost painful send off to his doctor (though I can’t say I was expecting too much better!)
    Also regarding the BSG opera house prophecy…as someone who watched the show in real time, the fulfillment of that prophecy was extremely disappointing, given viewers had years to speculate what sort of awesomeness it could mean. And then it ends up meaing, well, like you said, stupidity.

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