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October 4, 2015

Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 28th 2008 9:38AM
Doctor Who(S04E12) Russell T. Davies seems to include everyone and the kitchen sink in this episode. Appearing in the parent program are Captain Jack, Ianto and Gwen from Torchwood and Sarah Jane and Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures. Also making appearances are Martha Jones, Martha's mother Francine, Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister...yes, we know who you are), and British celebrities Richard Dawkins (real-life husband of former Doctor Who companion Lalla Ward) and Paul O'Grady as themselves. Oh, and Rose is back.

The Daleks prove themselves to be the cockroaches of the universe when they once again save themselves from extinction. I find it hard to believe that the emergency temporal shift of Dalek Caan at the end of "Evolution of the Daleks" saved Davros (who is a marvelous combination of Hitler and Stephen Hawking) from certain death in the Time War. Why could a Dalek, no matter how enhanced, get through the time lock on the event? Caan's insane, precognitive ramblings are kind of fun to watch. No Dalek has ever behaved like that before.

I like how the Medusa Cascade and the Shadow Proclamation are finally defined. The Shadow Proclamation is a weird name for a police force though. Why wasn't it mentioned in the Judoon's first appearance in "Smith and Jones" that they worked for the Shadow Proclamation? Did I miss that part? At least we now know why the bees went missing and we get a piece of the puzzle regarding the missing planets.

I liked how the sets from Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures are used for those scenes involving the characters. It's a good way for the series to save money by using pre-built sets.

The episode was building to a Doctor/Rose reunion, but that was interrupted by a Dalek gun. To my knowledge, this is the first time the Doctor has ever been directly shot by a Dalek. The Dalek guns scramble organic matter, so you'd think they would prevent regeneration. Still, what a great cliffhanger! We all know that David Tennant is signed through next year, so what will happen with the regeneration? Will the Doctor regenerate into Tennant again? Will some sort of timey-wimey stuff happen that prevents it from happening in the first place? Will he regenerate into someone new and next year's episodes will be "missing" ones? Will they retcon the first four seasons? The mind boggles.

It's interesting how former-Prime Minister Harriet Jones reappears in a situation much like the one she once described to the Doctor, in which the Earth is in danger and he isn't there to help. This resulted in the Doctor getting her thrown out of office and I find it hard to believe she doesn't hold a grudge. We never did see her actually exterminated. I liked how Harriet Jones' sub-wave network was designed by Mr. Copper, an extra-terrestrial that the Doctor met in "Voyage of the Damned" (he didn't strike me as an engineer, though).

The core scene of the episode has to be when one of the women working for the Shadow Proclamation approach Donna while she's sitting on some stairs. The woman apologizes for the loss that is yet to come. One storyline has been blatantly missing in this episode: the one involving the return of the Master from last season. It would better explain how Dalek Caan got through the time lock. What was with the sound of the heartbeat at the beginning of the scene? And how did Donna get the ring she's wearing?

This episodes represents the culmination of storylines from all four seasons of the relaunched Doctor Who and is loads of fun to watch, even if the plot is so riddled with holes that one could drive a truck through them. The non-stop action and fun in-jokes and references of the episode make up for the superficial plotting. I look forward to next week's season finale.

What is Donna's secret that the season has been hinting at?
She's the Master in disguise42 (14.6%)
She's the Rani in disguise26 (9.0%)
She's going to die168 (58.3%)
She's the fifth Beatle52 (18.1%)

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I liked how Harriet Jones' sub-wave network was designed by Mr. Copper, an extra-terrestrial that the Doctor met in "Voyage of the Damned" (he didn't strike me as an engineer, though).

According to Harriet's exposition, the sub-wave program was developed by the "Mr. Copper Foundation", not by Mr. Copper himself. You can assume that after he'd done what he wanted to do with the millions of Pounds loaded onto his credit card, Mr. Copper wanted to find a way to help the Doctor, and created the foundation - a sort of 'anti-Torchwood'. (Or at least, antithetical to the Torchwood Institute's original mandate.)

July 29 2008 at 1:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well I just started watching Dr Who a few weeks ago.. though have watched torch wood from the begining.. I may add Sara Jane if that is currently on. In a couple of weeks I loose Dr Who and Robin Hood.. so I will need 1 british show to tide me over till torch wood is back.

Though I didn't know anything about H Jones that was still funny when the aliens knew who she was.

I don't have a problem with way off the wall stuff like how someone survived... as you just never know. But I had a hard time figureing out how the Daliks were able to go down the stairs at torchwood when there bodies don't look like the can. The should have shown at least 1 fly or hover or float... i just don't see it.

Can't wait till next year.... well and next week

July 28 2008 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I liked how the sets from Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures are used for those scenes involving the characters. It's a good way for the series to save money by using pre-built sets."

What a bizarre comment! Where else would those characters be?
That's like saying "I like how they have the Doctor in the TARDIS. It's a good way to save money by using a pre-built set."

July 28 2008 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What plot holes are you referring to? I thought it was pretty solid...

July 28 2008 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

The Ring Donna has been wearing has been there for awhile. It's not new to this episode.

July 28 2008 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

you can also watch Sarah Jane on You Tube.

July 28 2008 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I have loved sci fi since I was a kid. Sci fi isn't just techno stuff. Suspense, fear, anger; all are a big part of it. Not to mention PEOPLE. Sci fi is nothing without people. Who would have thought that Harriet Jones could have stood up to the Daleks like that? She was awesome. And, if we can believe in the TARDIS, why can't we just accept everything else? I think sometimes we are so into the special effects, and wizardry, that we forget the story. Anyone who remembers the really old Doctor Who shows will know that the effects were pretty cheesy, and so was a lot of the acting, but it was still riveting.

July 28 2008 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tina - When two people love each other...

But seriously - "Luke" was created by the Bane in the premiere episode of SJA.


July 28 2008 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't (can't?) watch Sarah Jane Adventures. Can someone explain how she has a son?

July 28 2008 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tina's comment

Luke was this, I guess, genetically-engineered being made by a company, for purposes I can't remember. He's hyper smart because he has the intelligence of hundreds of people.

Anyway, Sarah Jane "adopted" him. Now he's her son. They made a big to-do about how she had always wanted a family.

July 28 2008 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby O\'B

It's tough talking about the first half of any two-parter when you know how it turns out. In fact, I thought the delay in posting was more to do both parts at the same time next week rather than perhaps a Comic-Con delay.(?) Maybe that should have been the way to go, since I can't see how any real fans of the show don't know how it's all going to play out already.


I'll always give RTD this - he's great at character development and those little moments between characters. And he's great with set-up. He's just rubbish with the pay-off. This was especially true with last year's two-part finale. While not as good as "Utopia", "The Sound Of Drums" was pretty exciting. But it all fell apart with "Last Of The Time Lords".

Still, how can any fan not sit there and watch this hour without a big grin on their face for all the crossovers and character returns? Even characters who couldn't be squeezed in were accounted for - Maria, her Dad, and Clyde from "SJA", specifically. And there was a nice acknowledgement for the late and lamented Toshi and Owen.

I think you could tell that RTD was clearing house with this last finale he'll ever do - for instance, Sarah Jane castigating Mr. Smith for his fanfare. This may mean we won't have to endure that each time the computer opens up on SJA. And then there was the farewelll appearance of Harriet Jones - I'll forego the joke, but it was a great line in a tense situation.

And RTD may not be great with sci-fi only because he can't quite master the techno-babble to give some believability to what he presents. But I did like how he tried to come up with a TV/sci-fi reason as to why the honeybees are all disappearing. Too bad that couldn't be the reason in real life!

I especially liked the way Rose was shut out of the reunions until the very end; it gave that scene in the street even more power than it already was guaranteed to have when the Dalek showed up.

But like I said, RTD is great on the build-up. There's always next week to come.....

July 28 2008 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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