Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords

And so we come to the end of another reason to update this blog, meaning that I really should watch more Stargate Atlantis and write that review of Eragon that I keep going on about. In the meantime, I’d like to ask for some feedback from you, the three people who read this blog- would you like me to go back and do posts like this for the last two seasons of Doctor Who? Or, even if you wouldn’t particularly care one way or another if it never happened, would you read them if they did appear?

A year has passed since that fateful day when the Toclafane descended and the Master took control of Earth, and the Earth of today is very different. With the aged Doctor, Captain Jack and the Jones family as his prisoners, the Master pursues an aggressive agenda, building machines of war so that he can expand his empire throughout the galaxy, all in the name of the deceased Time Lords. Yet on the surface of Earth, one woman’s name is spoken of in reverence as the one person who can put things right- and that name is none other than Martha Jones.

Alien Guide

  • Toclafane (updated): As I suspected ever since the Master said their true origin would break the Doctor’s heart, the Toclafane are modified humans, but whilst I assumed they were from some alternate Earth, they are actually from the future we saw in Utopia. With the end of the universe approaching, they chose new forms and a regression into a more childlike state of mind, enabling the Master to travel back and forth to the future and easily take control of them.
  • The Master (updated): Apparently refused to regenerate after being shot by his wife, his body was burned on a pyre- but is this truly the end of the Doctor’s nemesis (see below).
  • Captain Jack (updated): Despite being immortal, Jack’s body still shows signs of aging (albeit very slowly). The fact that his childhood nickname was the Face of Boe seems a clear indication of what his final form will be.

Technology Guide

  • Paradox Machine: I forgot to mention this in the last post, but the Doctor’s Tardis was turned into a Paradox Machine for a time, using its energy to sustain the paradox of the Toclafane reaching back in time to kill their own ancestors. When the Tardis was damaged, the paradox was cancelled by time being reversed by one year.

Episode Thoughts
Another episode with some good parts and bad parts; the acting was generally of a good quality (even Martha’s family weren’t annoying for once), but putting Martha and the Master to the front meant that poor Captain Jack and the Doctor were short-changed. The old Doctor was a bit hard on the eyes, whilst elements like the betrayal and the big reset were easy to spot a mile off. The whole psychic energy thing was a bit too farfetched even by Doctor Who standards, so even though it was good to see Martha put one over on the professor, it became somewhat disappointing when the denouement was revealed.

I also don’t want Captain Jack to become the Face of Boe- it just doesn’t feel right and comes across as more of a throwaway line put in to tie things up (like last year when the Absorbaloff was said to be from the previously unmentioned twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius).

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • Is that hideous thing the Doctor became really what Time Lords would turn into if they couldn’t regenerate? Somehow I imagined them being more thoroughly ‘immortal’ than that.
  • Using a Paradox Machine to reset time brings up all sorts of thorny issues about the amount of paradoxes even ‘regular’ time travel would actually create, and why none of them are undone. In fact, why didn’t time reverse to earlier on, when the Master first brought the Toclafane in to kill that reporter?
  • Is the Master really dead (doubtful)? What was that ring that was picked up (possibly by the Master’s wife)? Did the Master already take over her body, or is he in the ring somehow? Could it be that he actually arranged for her to shoot him as part of a pre-planned escape to keep him out of the Doctor’s clutches? Could it even be that she is somehow pregnant with the Master’s child?
  • Speaking of Mrs Saxon, at least we now know that he strangely detached attitude is probably an effect of having seen the events at the end of the universe.
  • Could this be the end of Martha as a regular companion? Rumours aside, Freema claims she isn’t leaving, but that doesn’t mean she will necessarily have a full time role next series.
  • How can the Titanic break the wall of the Tardis when even the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t manage it?

Extra: A bit more on the ideal Doctor Who
Neriya quite rightly commented that my rewritten Doctor Who of a couple of weeks ago did not seem too dissimilar from the real thing, and so I wanted to explore in more detail how it could differ. First, a few words about what I initially wrote- what I also wanted was for those elements to be brought to the forefront more, instead of their inclusion seeming more like a happy accident than the writers’ intention (even if it is intentional, it doesn’t always seem that way).

As far as individual stories go, I’d like to see fewer story threads packed into one forty-five minute episode, with an emphasis on writing good conclusions instead of cheap deus ex machina.

The Master
The Master should be just as dissatisfied with the jaded Time Lords as the Doctor, but with more of an emphasis on using the lives of lesser beings to fulfil his whims. He enjoys exploring new extremes, as well as setting up complex schemes just for the sake of it. Deeply insecure, he once thought himself the best until he met the Doctor, and is now obsessed with proving himself the better man in a series of contests. Although the Doctor secretly suspects that the Master may be his equal, he cannot bring himself to consciously admit that he isn’t the best, causing great frustration to his rival. The most important facet of the Master is that he should by no means be a “gwakaka”-ing villain who sits in his chair and sips wine.

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords

  1. Heh, one of the three reporting in. I don’t think it would be really worth going back and doing the existing Dr Whos – I generally like reading blog entries having recently watched the subject matter.

    A lot of things I thoroughly agree with in this post.

    It was an…interesting episode. Not what I thought it would be though. Psychic energy stuff aside, it felt decidedly strange having the Doctor, especially in his frail old form willing to wait around for the year necessary to enact his plan. It just doesn’t fit his usual style.

    I’d have liked to have seen more of Jack, rather than him just being in the final 2.5…err 3 episodes. And I agree, he really shouldn’t be the Face of Boe. Like Martha and the Doctor, I refuse to believe it until the BBC give us conclusive evidence.

    Next series really needs to allocate more time per episode for the endings rather than to piling the odds against the protagonists. Or failing that more non rushed 2-parters, even though that would cut down the number of available storylines. Catherine Tate as a new companion may be interesting – she did well in the Christmas special, but I’m not sure I’ll be so convinced when she’s there for the long run.

  2. very nice write up of the last of the time lords. I agree there should have been more of Jack- but he does have his own series to shoot and his time is probably limited. I really loved the opening dance to music intro to the Master- especially after I saw on Confidential how they shot it. I really liked Martha giggling in the face of her imminant death at the master. I think she played it perfectly.

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