The End of Time Part II will be a classic for the major events of the episode, even if not for the quality of the story. This post contains major spoilers.
Russell T. Davies tend to go over the top with season finales, and it was clear he would do this from Part I which ended with his version of the Master race. Last year had planets moving in space without regard for the scientific impossibilities. This year he only had one planet move but it was not just any planet but Gallifrey appearing next to earth.
The episode managed to remain entertaining despite frequently not making very much sense. The escape with The Doctor tied in a chair was a perfect chase scene for the episode. The return of the Time Lords made little sense, and it was disappointing that they reversed The Master’s act to turn everyone on earth into a copy of himself in a moment. It again made little sense that the Lord President didn’t kill The Doctor while wearing Glove of Rassilon as The Doctor was spinning back and forth between him and The Master.
The episode did explain the tragedy often felt by The Doctor as it revealed why he had to try to destroy or seal in time both the Time Lords and the Daleks. The Time Lords had become as evil as the Daleks.
The show included several scenes reminiscent of Star Wars, following the Imperial Senate scene in Part I. The second episode felt like it was beginning on Death Star, including a killing in which Darth Vader could have filled the role of the Lord President. Later Wilfred Mott was involved in a space battle which also appeared to be out of Star Wars, and there is a brief scene with Captain Jack in a Cantina. The scene in which The Doctor was exposed to the radiation was also reminiscent of Spock’s death in The Wrath of Kahn.
In addition to all these homages to other shows in the Peter Tennant/Russel T. Davies finale, a sit-com airing the same day included a quick homage to Doctor Who. The fate of obsolete robots at Veridian Dynamics was seen on Better Off Ted, including a Dalek in the background.
The show teased viewers with The Doctor’s death before he actually did take the lethal dose of radiation to save Wilfred Mott. This then dragged out to the longest death and regeneration scene ever. The Doctor had time to visit many of his former companions and help them live happily every after. Donna had the largest role in the episode but it was mostly pointless. After all the warning that having her memory return would fry her brain we found that there was a safety device which not only prevented any harm to Donna but saved her from a hungry version of The Master.
Finally The Doctor, after declaring he did not want to do go, did regenerate. The episode ends with destruction to the Tardis which will give Steven Moffat an excuse to redecorate. Moffat has also discussed how he will return to many aspects of the original series including, as I suspected in my review of Part I, the return of Gallifrey. From Airlock Alpha:
Steven Moffat is looking to restore the BBC icon to its classic roots that some are describing as an effort to integrate fans of the original “Doctor Who” series. However, others say it’s more about what Moffat likes.
“Every showrunner has brought their own personal touch to ‘Doctor Who,’ and [Moffat] is someone who just can’t get away from the episodes we all grew up with,” a source, who wished not to be named, told Airlock Alpha. “There is just something to the original show that made it magical, and finding a way to bring that back is something Moffat has been working hard to achieve.”
And Moffat has already done some things that have fans wondering. Changing the look of the Tardis to a more classic appearance, adjusting the “Doctor Who” logo to appear as if it was simply touched up from the 1980s, and even reports that new opening credits have been commissioned that will feature the likeness of the new Doctor, played by Matt Smith, an obvious homage to past opening credits that did the same for many of the actors who played The Doctor over the decades.
But that’s not where it’s stopping.
“The re-introduction of Gallifrey was not just a late-[season] twist,” the source said. “The idea is to create a transition from the RTD version of ‘Doctor Who’ to the Moffat version. And Moffat wants to go back to as close to the original program as possible.”
It’s not that Moffat had any issues with the way Davies brought the show back, or what it become, the source said. Moffat himself wrote some of modern “Doctor Who’s” better episodes including “Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” and “The Doctor Dances.”
However, now that Davies has successfully brought the show back with full network backing, there is an open door to restore “Doctor Who” to much of its original self.
I wonder if one unexplained item, the woman giving Willfred Mott advice, was intentionally left open for Moffat to return to. It appears that it might be The Doctor’s mother but her role is not clear.
This BBC promo for the fifth season shows that Moffat will be returning characters from both shows he has written and classic Who with scenes showing both the weeping angels from Blink and Daleks:
While it is sad to see David Tennant go, I am looking forward to this spring to see what Steven Moffat and Matt Smith do with Doctor Who.