The End of the World

Reincorporated from Scary Rob’s Doctor Who Blog

So Doctor Who returned on Easter Saturday with what some would call a vengeance. Personally, I’d have called it a shuddering cough: yes, the engine had started but I wasn’t convinced it was running smoothly. I loved the fact that the viewer was made to feel as if he’d come in in the middle of the plot along with Rose, and the sense that something bigger was happening than the events on Earth, but it was patchy, a bit too silly and it felt like it was suffering from typical first-episode jitters. I enjoyed it, but I was a little sceptical. On the one hand, this was a show that has had to undergo sixteen years of evolution without the stages in between but, on the other, I was beginning to suspect that that evolution was in a direction I wasn’t likely to be fond of. Thus it was with trepidation that I set the video before going to work on Saturday night.

Imagine my surprise at what I played back on Sunday morning. It had all the good bits from the first episode and then some. Rose’s discomfort with the alienness of her surroundings was brilliant, and the criticisms I’ve read on the net of having the little blue aliens I would say are void in the face of the brilliant scene with the plumber where she thanks Rose for giving her permission to speak – their role in the universe summed up in one poignant line.

The End of the World had a lot of tension which shone through in some well-edited scenes and the touches of humour worked very well in their context. And this episode gets the prize for the coolest scene ever: the one where the Doctor closes his eyes and judges a step through the blades of a rapidly rotating fan (I think the implication was that he slowed down time here, but there seems to be some doubt about this on the Outpost Gallifrey message boards).

As usual, I leave my criticisms ’til the end. I think the ending was rushed and that the Doctor was acting somewhat out of character by leaving Cassandra to die. I also think the opening scenes where he starts showing off to Rose smack of desperation on Russell T Davies’ part in terms of ideas to get the ball rolling. But these are niggles when compared to the rest of the plot, and the subtexts about the nature of the Doctor (though I wish the explanation of the allusions had been left to a later episode rather than just ’til the end of this one) and the nature of life in the year five billion.

I now wish to join the party of people who believe that Doctor Who is back with a vengeance, because, despite early jitters, it really is.

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~ by Scary Rob on 6 April, 2005.

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