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Doctor Who: Journey's End (season finale)

by Brad Trechak, posted Aug 1st 2008 10:00PM
Doctor Who(S04E13) The latest season of Doctor Who gets resolved with a story that seems rushed, confusing and filled with self-love on the part of showrunner Russell T. Davies. But that doesn't necessarily mean it was bad.

To begin, the CGI and special effects are quite possibly the best ever seen on the show. Despite being in charge of the specials that will be airing next year, it seems that this episode was treated as the last that Davies will ever run. As a result, he wrapped up most every storyline he could think of going back to the first season.

"Journey's End" did have more than its share of disappointments. Due to the sheer complexity of the story (I won't even bother pointing out the logical plot inconsistencies. It would take too much time), it was difficult for any of the Doctor's companions to get much screen time. It would be best to give a character-based review rather than a story-based one.

The Doctor: Having the Doctor regenerate into himself (and create a clone from the regeneration to boot) felt like an easy cop-out. Does this mean Tennant is both the tenth and the eleventh Doctors? Does the character only have two regenerations left rather than three? The duplicate did keep with the season's overall recurring theme of cloning (and, in a looser sense, teamwork). The entire "half-human" concept seemed a wink to the 1996 TV movie with Paul McGann. Since this series pretty much definitely denies the assertion that the Doctor is half-human, now fans will have to figure out why he believed he was way back when. His inhuman side came out again when he had to wipe Donna's mind. This part of him was last seen at the end of last season's episode "The Family of Blood."

Donna: I firmly believe that the next Doctor should be female and Catherine Tate convinces me even further in her role as a half-Time Lord this episode. Her behaviors once she absorbed a Time Lord intellect were fun to watch. She is without a doubt my favorite companion of the show, making her loss of the memory and personal growth she experienced with the Doctor ever more tragic. She went back to being the snarky, shallow woman she was in "The Runaway Bride" (and she even lost her memory of that). Still, Rose came back when she supposedly couldn't so I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of Donna Noble.

Rose: The Rose/Mickey relationship was always destined to fail. That was easy for anyone to see. It was nice for Rose to get her wish of a romance with the Doctor (albeit a half-human copy). Jackie Tyler remained comic relief. I know she loves Rose, but why was she even on the mission?

Mickey Smith, Martha Jones and Torchwood: Both are being set up to join Torchwood. Mickey Smith's defection to Torchwood was surprising but somehow appropriate. Martha Jones, on the other hand, was easily being groomed for that role to replace the fallen Owen. I wouldn't mind seeing a romance between the two since they're such different characters (Martha is analytical and Mickey is street-wise). It's ironic that even in death, Tosh is still saving the team. Captain Jack remains the same. It was nice to see the acknowledgment of Eve Myles role in "The Unquiet Dead" from the first season.

Sarah Jane: The only current character other than the Doctor who was there when Davros first created the Daleks. It was a nice touch when Davros remembered her. It was also nice to see K-9 again for an instant.

Harriet Jones: I was hoping she would come back as some sort of revenge-crazed harpy, but I was mistaken. Rest in Peace, Harriet.

Davros and the Daleks: As usual, we didn't see Davros die so he could still possibly return. I like how they kept his Sith Lord electric finger ability from the classic series. The Nazi origin of the characters are evident when the Daleks are flying around speaking German after Martha teleports to Germany. The Daleks are notoriously simple creatures, despite their homicidal tendencies. Dalek Caan proved the exception (being the second member of the Cult of Skaro to realize what the Daleks actually were). Davros also managed to retain his complexity by doing what other villains do: showing that the Doctor is in his own way just as monstrous as he is. It's the sort of self-justification that evil people often do.

Other points:
  • Continuing his love of anagrams, Osterhagen is "Earth's gone" with the letters rearranged.
  • While I recognize the deaths shown in the montage were only from the relaunched series, the Doctor's interference when the classic series is taken into account has resulted in many more deaths. I guess they didn't have enough time to show them all.
  • Bernard Cribbins also delivers a fine performance, particularly at the end of the episode.
It was an exciting season overall. Quite possibly the best the new series has yet produced. While Davies seems to be making it up as he goes along, he can still produce a decent story.

And that's the season. In July, for a few minutes we see the return of a "dead" companion. In December, the Cybermen return. I'm looking forward to it.

Rate this season of Doctor Who overall:
Excellent262 (53.5%)
Very Good171 (34.9%)
Good30 (6.1%)
Fair14 (2.9%)
Poor10 (2.0%)
A waste of digital celluloid3 (0.6%)

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oldskool138

The Doctor was, up until this episode in his tenth body but only his 9th regeneration. Now, it's evened out. 10th body and he has used 10 regenerations.

August 04 2008 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PB

Sorry for the double post ... the board is acting up!

August 03 2008 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PB

I assume that the "one who will die" was Donna. I mean, with her memory wiped, she's essentially dead because she's not the Donna that the Doctor knows.

I'll miss Donna. She's my favorite companion.

August 03 2008 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PB

Wow. I really loved this episode and was SERIOUSLY bummed that Donna got her mind wiped. Of all the companions, I've liked her best.

With respect to "the one who will die", I think that's Donna. Caan said "die", but now how the one would die. To me, having Donna's mind wiped and all her experiences with the doctor is a death in and of itself. The Donna the Doctor knew is no longer there ... she's died. The Donna who remains is a stranger to the Doctor.

*sigh* I'm going to miss Donna.

August 03 2008 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K.V.C

I assumed that the "one who will die" is Rose's Doctor.

How can you assume that? They will all die of old age..

August 03 2008 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

These last two episodes of the series were awesome ... I can't wait to see what they do next.

August 02 2008 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

"Does this mean Tennant is both the tenth and the eleventh Doctors? "

I was thinking the same thing, but most likely won't mean much right now because new people will be taking over.

And the fact Donna isn't dead and doesn't remember was like a kick in the gut, it was handed perfectly.

August 02 2008 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

RTD is, without a doubt, awesome. SM has a lot to do to be even miles from him. RTD did a great job. I sat and cried through a lot of this. The Doctor found Rose, only to lose her. To himself. And Donna, who was his second favorite, will never remember him. How utterly tragic! And she will never know just how wonderful she is! God, I'm tearing up again! I don't think Martha will be in Torchwood, which makes me happy, as I don't think she's that wonderful. Mickey, okay. It was so nice to see them all together. And seeing Donna pull Sarah Jane away from Jack was a hoot. I wonder if Rose will ever forget the Doctor. Yes, she has one, but not THE one. Any woman could tell you, it isn't the same. I don't think Jenny will be the new companion, as I hear she may have her own show. I also read a quote from SM that he didn't really like Rose, as she was too needy. After a backlash from fans, he then said it was a joke. I'm beginning to think that, after seeing the movies, I may not watch. I really don't think SM's episodes were that great. Too little character involvement.

August 02 2008 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

I assumed that the "one who will die" is Rose's Doctor, who doesn't have the real Doctor's regenerative immortality.

August 02 2008 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
jun

Ooh, that's interesting. More like 'one of the Doctors will die' in that sense.

August 02 2008 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erroneous_nick

Yes, Donna went from being my least favorite companion to passing up my previous favorites (Sarah Jane and Rose), so I'm disappointed she didn't stay for a few more seasons/series. She could always be brought back, but somehow I doubt we'll see Donna other than a few odd episodes, if that.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even though it was made out to look that way, Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister. Yes, we know who you are.) was never shown being "exterminated" was she? There's still hope, however small, that the woman who can truly say "everybody knows her name" may be back in some capacity.

This new series desperately needs to get a companion or two that hangs in for a long haul. All these one year companions is getting old and I, personally, like having some regularity in the companions as much as in the Doctors. Maybe Moffat will do something like that.

No matter what, I'll stay tuned as I've been a Whovian for decades and always will be.

August 01 2008 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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