Doctor Who: Utopia

Recap
The Tardis is no stranger to travelling in time, but it has never before been all the way to the end of the universe- and especially not with Captain Jack clinging onto the outside! Now, the Captain, Doctor and Martha find themselves on one of the last planets in existence, where the last humans in existence try to defend themselves from the fanged Futurekind and launch a rocket to take them to the fabled Utopia.

Alien Guide

  • Malmouth: Blue-skinned aliens whose home planet is the one this episode is set on (we see one of their conglomerations built into a rock formation). They can sustain themselves on their own internal milk, and in their culture it is considered polite to begin each sentence with “Chan” and end it with “toh”- not to do so would be the equivalent of a human swearing.
  • Future humans: Back in their current form, the remnants of humanity live in a silo, waiting for the rocket that should take them to Utopia to be completed.
  • Captain Jack (updated): Ever since Rose used the temporal energy of the Tardis to bring Captain Jack back to life, she accidentally made it so that he can never die (hence his immortality in Torchwood). This was the reason the Doctor left him behind (a basic prejudice against an unchanging existence), forcing Jack to try to jump in time to the 21st century in an attempt to catch up with him. Unfortunately, he ended up in the nineteenth century and had to live out the intervening years, until finally locating the Doctor with the help of the hand he lost to the Sycorax.
  • Futurekind: Rumoured to be the future evolution of humanity (who have themselves gone through several evolutions before returning to their current form), Futurekind have tattooed skin, sharp teeth, and an insatiable desire to hunt and kill humans.
  • Timelords (updated): As we all anticipated ages ago, the Master is back. At some point, he used the Chameleon Arch to turn himself into a human, instead living his life as ‘Yana’, a man who eventually designed the Footprint Drive for space travel.

Episode Thoughts
Mixed feelings about this one- there were some very good parts, and some not-so-good ones. Even though I guessed it when he first heard the word Tardis, the twist was good, although I feel the Master was better as an older man than a cheeky young one.

The Good

  • The suspense as the truth behind Professor Yana’s identity is slowly revealed, especially when the watch is brought into the open.
  • The Master refusing to sit down and tell the Doctor his plans so that he can be foiled at the last minute.
  • Captain Jack and Martha talking about being Rose and the Doctor’s companion, before he accuses them of ‘blogging’.
  • The return of Captain Jack- I can’t believe I didn’t like him at first.

The Bad

  • The Futurekind seemed a little pointless; I suppose they added some tension to the humans’ situation, but it doesn’t look like they’ll ever get much in the way of development.
  • Wasting a whole exchange talking with that kid- what was the point of that?
  • “Chan”, “toh” got annoying after a while.

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • Is the fact that the Master used up his thirteen lives already going to be addressed or ignored? Or was that covered in one of the pre-revival series?
  • I meant to say this last week, but doesn’t the Doctor get separated from his Tardis a bit too often? Shouldn’t Time Lords have some kind of link to their all-important spaceship that prevents an extended spatial or temporal separation?

Extra: True Doctor Who
I’ve long felt like writing this, and so here it is- my interpretation of what the Doctor character would be like were I in control of the series.

The Doctor
Unlike his fellow Time Lords, who are jaded, decadent and superior, the Doctor still retains an intense curiosity for the things that his peers consider worthless and below them. Even so, he isn’t always completely considerate of the lives of others, meddling wherever his whims take him with little regard for the consequences.

On the exterior, the Doctor may come across as something of an idiot, with a tendency to voice random trains of thought; nonetheless, when pushed to action or tested by his enemies, he always proves to be at least one step ahead. He has complete and utter confidence in his brilliance, to the extent of respecting few as equals.

Physically, the Doctor should have some degree of enhanced abilities, but within sensible limits- no going out into space near a solar corona, for example.

Companion
Be it someone to show off to or someone who forced their way along, the Doctor likes to travel in company. As the humanity of the show, the companion is the one who tells the Doctor when to stop, and, in an ideal situation, is the one person who the Doctor truly respects (even if he rarely admits it). If there is any romantic attraction between the two, it should be understated, inferred by some of their actions but not dwelled upon or explicitly mentioned.

Possibilities for the companion’s personality include an inquisitive person with keen intellect but a lack of direction or motivation for the working world, or perhaps a genius by human standards who is shocked and delighted to find themselves totally outclassed by the Doctor, but are still able to hold their own due to a unique perspective. It would also be nice to see more people from different planets and time periods come and go from the Tardis.

Other story concerns
Obviously budget reasons mean that the TV series is largely set on Earth, but it would be interesting to visit more planets and future time periods, as well as paying more attention to scientific and temporal concerns (some dramatic license is of course allowed, but add too much and it gets a bit ridiculous).

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Utopia

  1. “Is the fact that the Master used up his thirteen lives already going to be addressed or ignored? Or was that covered in one of the pre-revival series?”

    I looked up wikipedia after I watched this ep, it explains that 😉
    I’d forgotten Eric Roberts (Julia Roberts’ brother) was the last guy to play The Master, LOL

  2. They’ve been largely rewriting what’s canon with the new 3 series – like the time war etc, so I wouldn’t be too surprised about any revoked rules on reincarnations.

    Hmm…your rewritten Doctor doesn’t actually seem very different from how he’s actually portrayed.

    Good episode I thought. I enjoyed Jack’s return too, and the sportscar vs spacehopper analogy amused me particularly.

  3. When rewatching this episode, it dawned on that when Martha mentions the Face of Boe’s final words, Jack does not respond. He doesn’t comment whatsoever, and yet he announces in Last of the Timelords that it was his childhood nickname. I find it hard to believe that he would have no reaction whatsoever to someone who knew the Doctor having his nickname.
    Just another little nickpick for you; do you agree?

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