Monday, July 07, 2008

Liveblogging: Journey's End

OK, so as a particular favor to my girlfriend, who wants to hear my reactions to 'Journey's End' as they happen, I'll be doing my best to blog while watching the season finale to Doctor Who. This is by way of particular warnings to everyone who hasn't seen it yet, but wants to. Spoilers may very well abound, and I have absolutely no idea how to do that clever thing that lets you hide posts. So, um, I'm just going to yammer for a bit here, so at the very least you have this paragraph as warning and can avert your eyes as you scroll down to this week's storytelling engines post.

So, one last paragraph of yammering, mainly about how much I'm glad that Russell T Davies is done as showrunner. It's not that I haven't deeply enjoyed his run, but the law of diminishing returns seemed to have been setting in lately (in particular his finale to Season Three, which I was generally not fond of.) The wonderful thing about Doctor Who, though, is that when the law of diminishing returns begins to set in for an actor, a writer, a producer...the show renews itself through change. "Regeneration" is an absolutely brilliant concept, the heart of the series, and it's time for the Steven Moffat era to begin. "Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon!"

OK, yammering over. 'Stolen Earth' is still running at the moment, and I'm still fairly not fond of the Shadow Proclamation. I thought they would be more majestic, like a parliament of the Eternals who regulated the Time War...finding out that they're just the guys in charge of the space rhinos is a bit underwhelming. (Albinos running space rhinos...there's a filk in that, but I'm not the man to write it.) I suppose I should write my guesses as to what's going to happen here, but really, I try not to guess these things. Inevitably, I come up with an idea that I think would be cool, and then I'm disappointed that they don't do it. Sometimes I do get bursts of, "Oh! 4022 the hard drive!" and I'm happy to be right...(I figure that if you're willing to be spoiled on 'Journey's End', 'Forest of the Dead' shouldn't bother you...) In general, though, I don't obsess over it all.

Woot! Shaun's mum! (Sorry, that's my instinctive reaction whenever Penelope Wilton shows up on this series. She was wonderful in 'Shaun of the Dead'.) The "Yes, I know who you are" joke has, though, been officially run into the ground. I notice as the episode plays out that everyone seems to have been watching the DVDs of the series; Sarah Jane knows that the Doctor deposed Harriet Jones, Jack Harkness knows Sarah Jane's adventures, the only person not filled in on every episode is Rose, and she's been in another universe.

I still think the "Davros!'re dead!" moment doesn't work very well, because we, the audience, don't find out he was supposed to be dead until after we find out he's not. They should have mentioned in one of the previous seven Dalek episodes that Davros died in the Time Wars. As it is, the shock value is a bit reduced (although it's nice to see Davros again. It's especially nice to see Sarah Jane's reaction; as one of the only people present at the genesis of the Daleks (or, more particularly, the "Genesis of the Daleks"), she and the Doctor alone know what evil he represents.) (Oh, and the Davros makeup is spectacular.)

Just about done now, the Doctor's just being And he's And here...we...go.

Love that Lis Sladen gets credits billing as a companion. Very cool. Mickey! Mick-mick-mickity-mick-mickey! And Jackie! Yay! (Where's Pete?) Um...the regeneration cheat was pretty spectacularly lame. He decided not to? Ugh. Daleks looking up...always a source of unintentional hilarity. What does the Osterhagen Key do? It loves you! Aww, how sweet! Ooh, Daleks speaking German!

"You were brilliant. And you were brilliant. And you were a bit of a ham, and I'm glad they stuck you on Torchwood." Yes, pleading with the Daleks for mercy generally works so well... David Tennant is offically totally awesome! "You're naked!" "Oh, yes!" Oh, and there's Jack, dying again. He must enjoy extreme sports a lot.

David Tennant absolutely carries this series. Seriously, there is not a single scene that he can't rescue, absolutely not a one. Not fond of the "generating out of the hand" thing, but Tennant sells it. (Grr, could people not have long scenes in Germans with no subtitles?) Oh, sorry none of this is timecoded, but I have barely enough attention to write and watch at once, looking at the time is too much extra work.

Geez, Jack's really having a bad day. Shot, incinerated, and the episode's not even half over (probably.) Ah, as usual, Davros can't resist making Daleks that proceed to betray him. Look up "failsafe", Davros. It'll blow your freaking mind. Wouldn't Rose have seen everything Kan saw, when she looked into the Vortex too? She must have, if she left the "Bad Wolf" message for him all over everything.

"I'm so sorry," a verbal tic I'm now getting heartily sick of. Yes, that does seem like something Davros would do now that I've seen the whole sequence. (I thought it was a bit out of character when I saw just the trailer.) Um...when exactly did Mickey and Jack, They're acting like buddies, but...

Okay, the Osterhagen Key is officially a STUPID idea. Really, really stupid. Because yes, there's no way that three people could get ahold of these keys and hold the entire world for nuclear ransom... Oh, the reunion between Davros and Sarah Jane is officially brilliant!!! Strictly speaking, Davros' argument is mere sophistry. Those people all made their own choices, the Doctor's not morally culpable for the actions of every person he meets. Just because he feels bad about their deaths doesn't mean it's his fault.

Why bother with a countdown to the destruction of all existence? (When Davros started laughing, I half expected him to say, "Kidding! Oh, God, Doctor, if you could only see the look on your face! Like I'd destroy all reality just to prove a point...")

The heck?

No, seriously, the heck?

OK, so Donna's part Time Lord and I get that bit, but...why do the Daleks have anti-Dalek systems and neutralizers and everything on their own ship? Honestly, why? Le sigh. I like Donna even less as a Time Lady... Ooh, crazy human Doctor has the cojones to do what full Doctor doesn't. (Again, though, why do the Daleks keep something around that can destroy every single Dalek? Honestly, why?) Davros got awfully self-righteous there at the end, for someone prepared to wipe out all existence from existence.

Oh, and there's K-9. They're really pulling out all the fanservice stops, aren't they? Jackie should get more screen time, dangit. (And I still want to see Pete.) Remarkably gentle ride, for the towing of an entire planet at super-light speeds. (And is it worth complaining that next season, there will still be people who don't believe in aliens?)

This, I think, is what I'm most happy to be rid of. The self-congratulatory tone of the Doctor's triumphs under Davies. It's not just that everyone wins, it's the sort of "woo-hoo, look at us, aren't we brilliant, we saved the world!" bits that get right up my left nostril.

Okay, I missed something...why is the Doctor returning Rose to the parallel universe? Sort of being a tit, isn't he? Okay, they're explaining it, still think it's a bit of a plot kludge to get Rose back out of the series. (I still think "that sentence" ends, "...traveling in the TARDIS made you sterile...sorry.") OK, time for Donna to keel over dead, right? Half Time Lady, half human, all not in the series next year...

So, um...doesn't this mean the ersatz Doctor is going to babble all freaky and then drop dead, right in front of Rose? (And one last, "I'm so sorry," thanks so much...) Ehhh...kind of a cop-out, really. I think the death would have worked better. And let's face it, it's not like Ten can really even get any more emo at this point. Ah, Bernard Cribbins...good to the last moment, really.

Teaser trailer's nice. And let's bid a fond farewell to RTD, and a fond hello to Steven Moffat!


Eric TF Bat said...

OK, I have to say I loved the bit with the Daleks and Harriet Jones: Yes! We! Know! Who! You! Are! But I always liked HJ, and I was sorry she got the six-words treatment just because she was write and the Doctor was wrong.

That said: my #1 feeling about the entire two-parter, but especially the second two thirds or so of Journey's End, was: how is the fan fic going to outdo this, he?. I mean, count the beats: Daleks repenting of their evil (well, one of them); Donna having a real live destiny that, I have to say, worked well; the TARDIS being flown properly with a full complement of crew; the entire freaking universe under threat; Jack using his "get out of death free" card; Rose and the Doctor getting together and living happily ever after; and K9! Did they miss anything at all? I think not!

Yeah, I'm glad to see RTD go -- he's the man who gave us Love & Monsters, after all, which is surely grounds for immediate incarceration and punitive loss of limbs -- but he certainly kept a narrative going. He wasn't pulling stuff out of his arse at the last moment; this really was all set up. If you ignore the occasional farting aliens and sexually active paving slabs and the whole Gandalf/Gollum/Tinkerbell transformation in the S3 finale, he's been pretty damn good.

And Moffat? The man who gave us Captain Jack, Sally Sparrow and River Song? Oh. My. Gods. It's gonna be superb.

Devi Shakti said...

Thanks, sweetie. We'll geek later. :) :)

Anonymous said...

I liked the episode as a classic cheese-filled Doctor Who story... but it is a bit disappointing as a Davies'-era story. I think what I didn't like was the need to do something world-shattering just to wrap up each plot point and return the Doctor to a starting point (that is... no companions, and no guest-stars constantly showing up).
How to get rid of Donna? Make her brain burn up by being part Time Lord for a bit, then never being able to remind her of the Doctor. Why not make it simple... she finally does decide to go home.
How to give Rose a Doctor and not tempt a writer to bring her back? Create a crisis that can only be solved by a psychotic half-Doctor who MUST be locked away from Doctor-prime's universe. So on and so forth.
One thing I DID like was Sarah-Jane turning the tables on the Doctor, even if she didn't realize she did it. She left him this time, because she had important things to do that didn't include the DOctor or the TARDIS.
Another good moment: the Doctor possibly realizes now that his meddling in Earth's affairs has loosed the worst set of monsters the universe has ever seen on... humanity. Does humanity remind the Doctor of his own people... so much potential... so brilliant, but so destructive.
Ah, well... the Steven Moffett era will be exciting, assuming that his writing won't suffer the way that Davies' has. said...

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