Doctor Who – The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End

So here it is: the end of an era. Ish. At least, these were the final episodes of Russell T. Davies’ final full season as head writer for Doctor Who. Given that the show is now on a hiatus of sorts, this final two-parter had to deliver a lot of things to make sure we keep watching in 2010. There had to be spectacle, there had to be drama, there had to be a sense of inspiration, and there had to be Daleks.

Yeah, like it or not, Daleks are so much a part of Doctor Who that it would be anticlimactic to tie up four seasons of plot without them. And Davies made a good choice in going a step further with them and bringing back Davros. In fact, Davies delivered everything that this serial needed to be to keep the viewing public happy. The downside is that the demands of a grand finale to end all grand finales mean a writer can end up painting by numbers a little – and Davies paints by numbers enough as it is. The whole shebang ended up a little bit predictable as a consequence.

Don’t get me wrong. I have to agree entirely that there should be a scene where everybody is gathered in the TARDIS near the climax. To have that scene, everyone needs a role to play in the build-up. Sadly, this means that an already frantically-paced show gets positively bitty. Furthermore, Davies managed to deflate what I considered to be two major contributors to the excitement of the show. By allowing the Doctor to regenerate from a Dalek gun shot, the subtle implication that the Daleks could even take a Time Lord out in one shot has been quashed. And all because Davies wanted to deflate a loving embrace between the Doctor and Rose. Worse, the Doctor-Donna defeating the Daleks by pressing a few buttons on one console in an unimportant part of their ship deflated the drama of the whole Dalek invasion. My suspension of disbelief would have been less broken if she’d at least ripped the guts out of the thing and re-wired it to hack into another part of the system first.

But those are little wrangles compared to what this season finale achieved. The sense of scale was brilliant, giving a truly apocalyptic end to the series that even topped The Last of the Time Lords, and the special effects really brought the concepts to life. And I must save my highest praise for Julian Bleach’s Davros. He played the part brilliantly, with shades of Michael Wisher’s calculating villain and Terry Molloy’s megalomaniac. There was something really menacing about his portrayal, helped by Graeme Harper’s inspired direction.

In all, this was the kind of send-off that Doctor Who deserves for a year’s break and I think we’re all going to be glued to the coming specials and the start of the new season under Steven Moffat.

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~ by Scary Rob on 10 October, 2008.

3 Responses to “Doctor Who – The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End”

  1. Pretty much agree with the review, just one thing though, the Daleks weren’t in last years finale- it was The Master.

  2. Great review….I’m going to miss the show till it comes back

  3. Carl – yes, I’m aware. I was using it as a point of comparison for epic scale, not for anything to do with Daleks.

    Boso – cheers, dude! Incidentally, I think the comments function on your blog may be broken. I’ve tried to make several comments recently and the button at the bottom tells me they’ve been posted, but you can see the lack of visible comments on your last few posts for yourself…

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