Doctor Who: The Last of the Timelords

If anyone expected a well plotted and ingenious solution to the predicament The Doctor, and all of Earth, were left in at the end of last week’s episode they might be disappointed. I predicted that they’d throw the cosmic reset switch to return everything to normal, and that is exactly what happened. Fortunately, such a cosmic reset switch made more sense on Doctor Who, than when it was used on Star Trek: Voyager. Many more spoilers ahead.

The Last of the Timelords takes place a year after the events of The Sound of Drums. The population of the earth has been either killed off or turned into slave labor as The Master plans to attack other planers with the help of the Toclafane. I earlier commented that we never learned the fate of the last remaining humans who went off to Utopia. That should have been my clue that would turn out to be the source of the Toclafane. The Master turned the Tardis into a Paradox Machine to enable the classic time travel paradox, going back in time to kill one’s grandparents. Once this was revealed, it was no surprise that all would return to normal if the Paradox Machine could be disabled.

Normally The Doctor in operates in obscurity, known to only a handful of humans. To get the power to defeat The Master, The Doctor breaks from his usual modus operandi to have Martha travel the earth spreading the legend. Thanks to tapping into The Master’s own Archangel Network, The Doctor channels the thoughts of the remaining humans, resolving the conflict a little too easily.

While the resolution might be a little too simple, the episode makes up for it with what we learn of the characters. As with past incarnations of The Master, Mister Saxon takes delight in humiliating The Doctor rather than killing him. After the first process of aging him, The Doctor is treated as a dog. After making him still older, The Doctor becomes a CGI Gollum type character who is kept in a bird cage. Later in the episode it becomes important to have learned that the aging of a being who does not die leads to transformations in their body form over time.

We see once again how lonely The Doctor is as he desires to keep The Master alive, under control in The Tardis, as opposed to losing the only remaining Timelord. The Master would rather die than suffer this fate, and seeing how his refusal to regenerate after being shot has distressed The Doctor, declares he has won. The conflict between the two might not be over. The Doctor leaves his apparently dead body to burn, but a hand picks up a ring. We’ve already seen both The Master and The Doctor store their essence in a watch, and perhaps the ring will act the same way– assuming it wasn’t a regenerated Master who picked up the ring.

We also learned more about the two companions. Captain Jack actually felt a sense of responsibility and decided to return to Torchwood. Before leaving he questioned what he will become as he cannot die yet continues to age. It was suggested that, like The Doctor whan artificially changed, Captain Jack’s fate is to ultimately become The Face of Boe. Meanwhile, Martha tires of waiting around to see if The Doctor will notice her attraction to her and leaves, at least for the moment.

Reportedly Martha will not be around for the Christmas episode, which takes The Doctor to the Titanic, but will return next season. Her relationship to The Doctor will be changed by the addition of a new companion.A British tabloid spread rumors that the show will end after the next season due to Russell T. Davies stepping down. While Davies may be stepping down, the BBC promises Doctor Who will remain for years to come.

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