Doctor Who: The End Of Time (2009) Review

Doctor Who The End Of Time Vale Decem

“The End Of Time” is quite the momentous milestone for Doctor Who. It’s not only the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration story – bringing David Tennant’s three-season tenure as the rebel time lord to a close just in time for Christmas – it’s also Russell T. Davies’ last episode as the series’ showrunner. After Doctor Who had been canceled for sixteen years from 1989 to 2005, Russell T. Davies and his crew put in the hard work and poured all their creativity into the show (when they had no way of knowing whether it would pay off or not) to make Doctor Who a success again for four seasons straight.

Russell knew for quite some time when he would be ready to bow out and move on to other projects, since he had already singled out Steven Moffat as his successor by 2008, and he purposely wrote his last full season as a nostalgic victory lap of sorts: celebrating everyone and everything that made his tenure special. After the big blowout finale that was “The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End“, a year of specials followed, giving the viewers at home some sporadic new content to tide them over while the show changed hands behind the scenes. Steven Moffat and his crew had plenty of time to prepare their game plan for Series 5 (and cast the Eleventh Doctor), while Russell T. Davies had plenty of time to decide what the Tenth Doctor’s swansong would be.

Russell already tied up most of his companions’ character arcs in the Series 4 finale, and wrapped up several story arcs like the Torchwood Institute, Harriet Jones’ fall from grace, and the Cult of Skaro, so “The End Of Time” wound up being a story that is very Doctor-centric. He originally toyed with the idea of giving Ten a small-scale send-off, before he decided to go big by bringing back the Master (who was seemingly killed off in his last appearance, but was also given some wiggle room so he could be able to return at any time in the future) as well as the time lords to complement Ten’s story. If there’s been any sort of theme bonding the Series 4 specials together (despite them all having vastly different plots), it’s the Tenth Doctor being confronted by his own morality, his hubris, and the fact that sometimes you can’t fight fate, and “The End Of Time” is the culmination of all those ideas.

When it comes to the flaws of this story, you could make a good argument that “The End Of Time” is hurt by how much ground it has to cover early on. Your average season of Doctor Who has ten or eleven episodes building up to the finale, while “The End Of Time” (as the climax of the Series 4 specials) has only had a handful of episodes preceding it. The first twenty minutes of this two-parter have to work heavy-duty and cram as much exposition in as possible, to get everyone where they need to be in order for the plot to happen, which can feel more than a bit forced, especially during the Master’s resurrection ritual. “The End Of Time” can also suffer from mood whiplash in places: the tone of this special tries to be tragic, campy and epic all at once, and sometimes those three different moods do not mesh well. But for the most part, this story holds up.

Doctor Who The End Of Time Allonsy 2

In “The End Of Time”, the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) has to save the world from the Master once again, as he nears the end of his life. And unfortunately, he’s several steps behind his old foe, because he decided to put off having an important talk with the Ood. Compared to the complete mental breakdown he had in “The Water Of Mars“, Ten seems to have calmed down by now, but he’s still in a pretty chilly, morose mood in this episode, due to what’s on his mind. Regeneration is probably the most alien concept in the series and the hardest one for an ordinary human to wrap their head around. It’s both a death and a rebirth: an ending and a new beginning. Whenever the Doctor is fatally wounded, his soul carries over to his next body and he’s given another chance at life, but his current personality is lost as a result and he’s never quite the same man again. Ten’s problem is that he’s hyper-fixated on the death part of the equation, and he’s really not interested in being reborn.

It’s pretty ironic that the Ninth Doctor only had one season under his belt but he still lived for decades (from all those offscreen adventures he had without Rose), while Ten has had three times as many seasons to his name, but he’s aged roughly in real-time with the audience (give or take the odd year he spent in an alternate timeline). So he’s only been around for six years by “The End Of Time”, which makes him one of the shortest lived Doctors in NuWho, especially compared to Eleven and Twelve after him. This is one of several reasons why the Doctor is in a somber mood in this episode: even if the death Carmen foretold isn’t permanent, he’s pretty content with his current way of life and he’s not ready to reinvent himself and start all over again from scratch – but clinging on like this and worrying about the future all the time clearly isn’t healthy for him. Not to mention, the Doctor is still haunted by how he (unwittingly) drove someone to suicide in the last episode, which was really messed up, even for him.

Ten’s dangerous quest to stop the Master becomes a lot more daunting once he also has to stop him from bringing back the time lords, at all costs – since they went completely insane at the end of the time war, and were willing to destroy all of reality to save their own skins. In hindsight, “The End Of The World” was one of the most important early episodes of NuWho when it came to establishing one of the main themes of the RTD era (which is something that I feel is very often overlooked in the show’s fandom). When the Ninth Doctor took Rose on her very first trip through time, a hard lesson he imparted on her (and by extension, the audience) is that everything has its time and everything ends eventually. Over the following four seasons, it became very apparent that everything must end eventually, because the alternative is so much worse.

Clinging onto life as your morals deteriorate, doing everything in your power to deny your own mortality at other people’s expense, it’s the quickest way to lose yourself and your humanity. How many villains in the RTD era have we seen be driven to extremes and commit atrocities in a desperate attempt to prolong their own lives? Cassandra O’Brien, the Dalek Emperor and his fanatical followers, John Lumic and his Cybermen, Professor Lazarus, the Family of Blood, the Toclafane, the Master and now Rassilon and his time lords. The Doctor has always spoken out against this kind of madness and tried to get them to see reason, but he is not infallible – he’s been tumbling down that slippery slope himself recently out of selfishness and fear. It’s not until Ten is yelling at Wilf about how unfair it is that he’s going to have to sacrifice his life for him that he realizes, to his horror, that he’s starting to think a lot more like the Master and Rassilon, and it’s definitely time for him to regenerate. After all, you either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.

Once the deed of saving Wilf has been done, Ten decides to be self-indulgent for once and take one last look at all his friends before he changes. Martha and Mickey’s scene, where they’re revealed to be married now, is by far the strangest. I get what Russell was aiming for with this ship: they both learned a hard lesson about unrequited love during their time on this show, so pairing them up probably seemed like a fitting choice, but they have zero chemistry together since their relationship came about entirely offscreen. The Doctor sets Captain Jack up with Alonso Frame, and since Jack is apparently quite the sex god, this hook-up can also be seen as a gift to Alonso. The Doctor saving Sarah Jane’s son, Luke, from being hit by a car is a very poignant moment, which is immediately topped by the show giving us one last bit of closure for “Human Nature“, a story I never expected the Doctor to bring up again.

Ten sets Donna and her new husband up for life with a lottery ticket that he bought, with some help from her deceased dad, a sweet little gesture that only her folks will ever know about. And finally, Ten pops back to 2005 so he can see Rose, the love of his life, again one last time. When the big moment finally comes, it’s pretty tragic. Nine got all his affairs in order and had Rose to keep him company during the change, so he managed to find some peace of mind before the end, while Ten winds up dying afraid and alone in the TARDIS, filled with regret about his life choices and how he handled all his most important relationships. Is it any wonder Eleven wound up being your classic Stepford Smiler, who always pretends to be much more cheery and carefree than he actually is, considering the circumstances of his ‘birth’? Out of the fires of David’s regeneration, we’re given Matt Smith, who I love as Eleven. As far as Doctors go, Eleven is completely nuts in all the best ways, and in the two minutes of screentime he has in this episode, you can already see it.

Doctor Who The End Of Time Wilf At Church

Ever since he was introduced as a minor character in “Voyage Of The Damned“, Wilfred Mott’s role in the show has steadily grown more prominent over time. When Donna was brought back to the series as a full-time companion, he was retooled to become a member of her supporting cast back home – the lovable grandpa who served as her supportive father figure – and he really shined in that role, thanks in no small part to Bernard Cribbins, who can sell the hell out of a good sad scene. And now, as the Tenth Doctor’s tenure draws to a close, Wilfred’s role gets bumped up one last time as he becomes the Doctor’s temporary companion for this Christmas special, a gig that once belonged to his granddaughter in her debut episode. Old Wilf’s been haunted lately, by dreams of the Master and cryptic messages from a woman trying to tell him something, and in his gut, he knows the Doctor is the only one who can make sense of it all.

We’re also given an update about the status of the Noble family as a whole, since this episode is the last time we’re ever going to see them. Donna has moved on: she’s met a nice man who isn’t an evil scumbag, settled down with him and gotten the sort of nice, domestic life she always wanted when we first met her in “The Runaway Bride“. Her amnesia is still in place, which means a big piece of her personality is still missing and it always will be, and that’s quietly sad. She helps to move the plot forward subconsciously, and she’s given quite a scare when the Master tries to have her killed, but otherwise, Catherine Tate doesn’t have a lot to do in this two-parter except give the Doctor a chance to tie up some loose ends. Elsewhere, Donna’s mom, Sylvia, has finally mellowed out and her relationship with the Doctor has improved, to the point where she actually shows him some gratitude for saving the world in this special. So at least the lesson she learned, about being less of an overbearing mother, seems to have stuck.

Over the course of Series 4, Wilfred grew to admire the Doctor, for everything he does for the world, and during this story the two of them clearly start to form a bond. Wilfred serves as the heart of this Christmas special, which is heightened by the fact that David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins have a lot of natural chemistry during their scenes together. Many of their quiet exchanges are really quite sad and emotionally raw, due to the Doctor being a lot more candid and truthful about all his doubts and regrets than he usually is, as he nears what he thinks is the end of his life. Several highlights include Wilfred trying, in vain, to get the Doctor to restore Donna’s memory, even though he knows that’s not an option, and Wilf trying to get the Doctor to take up arms against the Master, which he knows is a lost cause from the start.

Wilfred’s military background has been hinted at a few times since his debut, but his status as an old soldier who never got to see any action is made explicit here, when he’s called to fight one last time. He knows he has a role to play in whatever’s coming, and more importantly, he feels compelled to help the Doctor with the good fight, since he can tell the time lord could really use a friend right about now. The prophecy about a man who would knock four times before Ten’s demise: no one would ever have guessed that that man would be Wilf, especially with cartoonishly evil villains like the Master and Rassilon running around, acting as red herrings. When he gets trapped in a cage that’s about to be flooded with radiation, it’s a nice touch that he accepts his potential demise with more dignity and grace than many of the other characters in this episode – it shows the strength of a regular human’s character compared to several immortal time lords – and Ten making the ultimate sacrifice for him is the culmination of their camaraderie. Wilf is clearly broken-hearted afterwards, and it’s easy to imagine that he was a bit haunted, for the rest of his days, by what the Doctor did for him.

Doctor Who The End Of Time Showdown 3

“The End Of Time” doesn’t waste any time addressing the hook Russell T. Davies left at the end of “Last Of The Time Lords“: a way for the Master to return from the dead. As we quickly discover, Harold Saxon apparently had a secret cult of personality devoted to him, and considering how narcissistic the Master is, that idea checks out, even if it seems to come out of left field. It’s a pretty well-established part of the Master’s character that he tries to avoid the Grim Reaper at all costs – hell, he spent a good chunk of the classic series looking like a desiccated corpse once he reached the end of his regeneration cycle, and he still refused to throw in the towel – so naturally, he had a back-up plan in the event of his demise. The scene where his secret cult revives him is actually pretty disturbing to think about if you put yourself in Lucy Saxon’s shoes – imagine being forced to watch a bunch of brainwashed fanatics bring your abusive, tyrannical ex-lover back from the grave against your will – but thankfully, she manages to get the last laugh over him by screwing up his resurrection.

He comes back as a ravenously hungry zombie who can strip a bone clean in seconds and needs to drain other people’s life energy in order to sustain himself, which barely lasts him for very long, giving him a similar affliction to Professor Lazarus in “The Lazarus Experiment“. The Master has always been a villain with plenty of charm and charisma, and a deceptively debonair appearance: now he once again looks like a beast on the outside as well as the inside, and his monstrous new form allows him to unleash all of his sadism and depravity. The Master is still tormented by the drumbeat from his last appearance in Series 3, and if he was already mad before, his schizophrenia is even worse now. John Simm is still great in the role and genuinely creepy from how quickly and seamlessly the Master seems to jump around between moods, in every scene that he’s in.

The Master is angry and frustrated and bitter about his current circumstances, but he’s also enjoying the thrill of the chase, toying with the Doctor. He still has plenty of mixed feelings about his old friend: he resents him for all the times the Doctor has thwarted his plans, but at the same time, his constant clashes across time and space, with the only person he would really consider to be his equal, make the Master’s life so much more fun. Ten tries to reach out to the Master, in the name of their old bond, and of course he’s met with more abuse. The Master may feel nostalgic about his old friend turned foe, but he won’t let that get in the way of his plans. It’s a testament to the Master’s egomania that he decides to turn the entire human race into copies of him, and once he realizes the drumbeat in his head is real and it’s a signal coming from Gallifrey, he’s delighted. He’s more than willing to play the role of his civilization’s destined savior, since it’ll give him the status and notoriety he feels he deserves.

The Master, being the Master, tries to betray them all and grab all the power for himself, but unfortunately for him, Rassilon is way ahead of him when it comes to being a competent villain, and he was already planning to betray him first anyway. The Master takes it pretty personally when he discovers the time lords don’t give a damn about him, and he’s as insignificant in Rassilon’s eyes as humanity is in his. The Master ultimately winds up attacking Rassilon and saving the Doctor with his new Sith Lord lightning, which, needless to say, was only partially for the Doctor’s benefit. No matter which way the climatic showdown panned out, the Master wouldn’t get anything out of it, and the Doctor clearly wasn’t going to ice that guy, so he figured he might as well get some revenge on Rassilon for using him – causing them both to get sucked back into the time lock. And in my opinion, those two characters truly deserve each other.

Doctor Who The End Of Time Rassilon 2

We’ve slowly been dripfed information about the time lords over the last four seasons of NuWho, but “The End Of Time” is our first major look at their civilization. The overseers of the universe, the time lords are advanced, futuristic time travelers who’ve taken it upon themselves to keep the safety and integrity of the time-stream intact. In the classic series, their biggest rule was never to interfere with history’s events, only to observe them, which put them in direct opposition with the Doctor, who’s about as big of a meddler as you can get. At the height of their power, they were feared and respected by everyone; then the time war happened, when the Daleks rose to power and they finally met their match, and everything changed. Nowadays, their civilization is in ruin and the time lords are a shell of their former self: just barely clinging on to life and just barely holding back the Daleks, and as a result, a good many of them have lost their minds. Even in Classic Who, the high council of Gallifrey was established to be pretty corrupt and untrustworthy with some rather questionable morals, and after the time war pushed them to extremes, they only got worse.

I have some mixed feelings about Gallifrey-centric stories. On the one hand, it’s always fascinating to learn new tidbits about how time lord society works and where the Doctor came from. But on the other hand, the show doesn’t really do much with the time lords as characters (in the RTD era, the Moffat era and the Chibnall era) except have the Doctor pine for them and have them show up every few seasons to remind the audience that they’re terrible people (“The End Of Time”, “Hell Bent“, “The Timeless Children”). I primarily watch Doctor Who as a show about a time traveler and his friends solving problems in history every week, and I can safely say that if you’ve seen one story about how the time lords are dicks, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

At any rate, Rassilon (Timothy Dalton) serves as the main villain of this two-parter, alongside the Master. As president of the time lords, and the one who helped found their civilization a long, long time ago, he symbolizes the moral decay of the high council more than anyone else, since he’s gone from being a respected individual that everyone holds in high esteem, to a crazed ruler that they clearly only follow out of fear by this point. His introductory scenes make it no secret that the president is a power-mad despot who, underneath an icy and reserved exterior, is a very smug, callous and entitled man.

It was apparently Rassilon’s brilliant idea for the time lords to give up their corporeal forms and destroy all of reality in an attempt to become gods, which reflects his god complex just as much as the Master’s conquest of Earth reflects his egomania. And I have to say, being even crazier than the Master is actually quite an accomplishment. He also shows himself to be quite the hypocrite, who’s elitist to his core: he and his followers will use the Master to suit their own needs and save themselves, but they won’t give him a spot in their new Eden because he’s impure now, and that bit of last minute back-stabbing quickly proves to be his undoing. While it’s debatable how much helping the Doctor was actually part of the Master’s intentions at the time, it does feel fitting that Rassilon is brought down by the very two people he helped to pit against each other.

Another notable member of the high council is a mysterious, nameless woman who appears to Wilfred at several points with her own agenda, preparing him for the time lords’ return as best as she can. It’s left up to the audience’s imagination who this woman is and why she’s so interested in the Doctor’s welfare, but it is hinted at that she’s meant to be the Doctor’s mother, trying to save her son’s life (and Russell has admitted that he wrote her character this way), which adds an extra bit of poignancy to this story’s proceedings.

Doctor Who The End Of Time Ten's Indecision

There are a few other side characters present in “The End Of Time”, who mostly serve as plot devices to move the main story forward and are swiftly taken care of once they’ve served their purpose. Like Lucy Saxon, Harold Saxon’s former lover and his most devoted follower from the Series 3 finale – the Harley Quinn to his Joker who loved him and enabled him to the best of her abilities, but eventually grew to hate him when she saw his true colors. By the end of that arc, Lucy wound up shooting him herself to finally rid the world of him, and here’s she given a definite moment of redemption, when she screws up the Master’s resurrection ritual at the cost of her own life. She can’t stop him from coming back entirely, but she did cripple him vitally and prevent him from coming back with his full strength, which would have been so much worse for everyone.

Some minor antagonists in “The End Of Time” are Joshua Naismith and his daughter Abigail, high-class rubes who also illustrate this story’s main message about why it’s foolhardy to chase after immortality, albeit in a far less destructive way than the Master and Rassilon. Joshua wants to use his vast wealth to help his daughter live forever with the aid of alien technology, and for his efforts, they both wind up being turned into clones of the Master, and then their actions almost lead to the time lords destroying the world – so that investment did not pay-off, to say the least. Lastly, you have Addams and Rossiter, two outer space salvage-men who have been infiltrating Joshua’s workforce to reclaim his technology. Addams is the more aggressive one of the duo, while Rossiter is a lot more timid. When they’re basically drafted into helping the Doctor, Addams has little love for the time lord who shows her very little respect, and once they’ve gotten him where he needs to be, they quickly (and understandably) scamper off back to safer waters.

“The End Of Time” is the last episode Euros Lynn (who’s been with NuWho since the beginning) worked on, and like Grahame Harper before him, he really goes out with a bang with his depiction of the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration story. During the establishing shots, we’re given grand, sweeping movements, augmented by lens flairs that give the overall presentation of this story a nice, cinematic appeal, and during the more quiet and intimate two-hander scenes, the slow and steady pan-in shots are handled with so much gentleness and care by the cameraman that they rarely ever take you out of the moment.

As the end of an era in the show, Murray Gold takes the opportunity to revisit many of the most important themes and leitmotifs that he’s written over the last four seasons with his score – reworking “The Greatest Story Never Told”, “This Is Gallifrey”, “The Master Vainglorious” and “All the Strange, Strange Creatures” – while also transitioning to a new musical style for the Moffat era with some of his new material, like “All In The Balance” and “The New Doctor“, which lay down the groundwork for “I Am The Doctor” in the following season. Many of Murray’s tracks throughout the special are stunning and pull on the heartstrings like “The End Draws Near“, “The Master Suite“, “Final Days“, “A Lot Of Life Behind Us“, “The Clouds Pass“, “Four Knocks“, and “Vale“, but the biggest gem has to be “Vale Decem“, which is one of the rare times a piece of Murray’s music becomes diegetic in the show. The Ood decide to sing Ten to sleep, so he won’t be entirely alone during the big change, which is such a beautiful sentiment, and the somber vocal track reaches its full crescendo with another reprise of “The Doctor’s Theme”, a musical remnant of Nine that takes the RTD era full circle from where it began in Series 1.

“The End Of Time” is a very cheeky, bombastic, audacious, and occasionally tonally messy two-parter, and considering that sums up the Tenth Doctor’s tenure as a whole, there was really no other way our leading man was going to bow out in his swansong. I think this Christmas special runs on a bit too long for my liking (clocking in at 130 minutes), and I like “Bad Wolf / The Parting Of The Ways” more than it as a regeneration story, but it does a great job of wrapping up Ten’s character arc and giving the RTD era in general a strong sense of closure, clearing the table for the next stage of NuWho.

Rating: 9/10.


Doctor Who The End Of Time Captured Master 2

* The Doctor, wanting to show off, tells Ood Sigma that he installed a car alarm into the TARDIS. Ood Sigma doesn’t say a word in reply, but you can just tell he’s internally cringing.

* Towards the end of his tenure, Russell really fell in love with prophecies, didn’t he? Between the soothsayers in “The Fires Of Pompeii“, the Ood in “Planet Of The Ood“, Dalek Caan in “The Stolen Earth”, Carmen in “Planet Of The Dead“, and now Rassilon and his council in “The End Of Time”, they’re freaking everywhere. Though I suppose it does fit with his tendency to portray the Doctor as some sort of modern day mythological figure.

* “Something vast is stirring in the dark. The Ood have gained this power to see through time, because time is bleeding. Shapes of things once lost are moving through the veil, and these events from years ago threaten to destroy this future, and the present, and the past. This is what we have seen, Doctor. The darkness heralds only one thing: the end of time itself”.

* “Don’t you dare. I’m ordering you, Lucy! You will obey me!” “Till death do us part, Harry!”

* One of the most hilariously over-the-top scenes in this episode is the Master using his new Sith Lord powers to hunt down two guys in a junkyard and eat them. It is a thing of beauty.

* “IT’S DINNERTIME!!!” “NOOOOO!!!!” You’re not you when you’re hungry.

* I kind of love the fact that the Master spends the bulk of this two-parter wearing a hoodie. Combined with his new, messy white hair, it gives off the impression that he’s adopted a new emo look for himself.

* Minnie, honey, you putting your hand back there without the Doctor’s approval is sexual harassment, and I really doubt it would have been played for laughs if the genders were flipped.

* “I can still die. If I’m killed before regeneration, then I’m dead. Even then, even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away, and I’m dead” Oof, Ten. That’s a pretty depressing way to look at it.

* “Far away, the idiots and fools dreamt of a shining new future, a future now doomed to never happen” There was no need for such savagery, Rassilon.

* “I had estates. Do you remember my father’s land back home? Pastures of red grass, stretching far across the slopes of Mount Perdition. We used to run across those fields all day, calling up at the sky. Look at us now”.

* “I did my duty” “You never killed a man” “No, I didn’t, but don’t say that like it’s shameful!”

* “I like you” “Thank you” “You’d taste great” And just like that, that conversation got a bit too weird for old Joshua.

* I get more than a bit uncomfortable during all the quick cuts of the Master scarfing down food like a bottomless pit. I feel like I’m watching G-rated food porn.

* “Abigail. It means bringer of joy” Okay Abby, thanks for sharing that information with us.

* “The visitor will be restrained” “What? But I repaired it” “I’m not an idiot, Saxon!” That’s not what Rassilon thinks, apparently.

* “I’m President, president of the United States! Look at me! Ooo, financial solution. Deleted. Haha!” Thanks for that Master, thanks a bunch.

* “And so it came to pass, on Christmas Day, that the human race did cease to exist. But even then, the Master had no concept of his greater role in events. For this was far more than humanity’s end. This day was the day upon which the whole of creation would change forever. This was the day the Time Lords returned. For Gallifrey! For victory! For the end of time itself!

* “You let him go, you swine!” “Oh, your dad’s still kicking up a fuss” “Yeah? Well, I’d be proud if I was!”

* You see, this is why I always worry about the Doctor’s friends more than the Doctor whenever the Master shows up. The Master has only known about Donna’s existence for two minutes, and he immediately tries to have her killed off.

* “Say goodbye to the freak, granddad!” I’d just like to remind everyone that the Master is currently a flesh-eating zombie with Sith Lord lightning who hardly has any room to call anyone a freak at the moment.

* “You could be so wonderful. You’re a genius. You’re stone cold brilliant, you are. I swear, you really are. But you could be so much more. You could be beautiful” That’s very debatable, Doctor.

* “I don’t know what I’d be without that noise” “I wonder what I’d be, without you”

* “God bless the cactuses!” “That’s cacti” “That’s racist!

* “No, not the stairs! Not the stairs! Oww! Worst rescue ever!

* “Nine hundred years. We must look like insects to you” “I think you look like giants”.

* “The Master. That noise in his head? The Master is going to kill you” “Yeah” “Then kill him first” “And that’s how the Master started”.

* “There’s an old Earth saying, Captain. A phrase of great power and wisdom, and consolation to the soul in times of need” “What’s that, then?” “Allonsy!

* It’s canon that time lords are a much more durable species than human beings, though exactly how much varies depending on the episode. In this one, the Doctor jumps out of a spaceship that’s like a hundred feet up and falls through a skylight with nothing to break his fall when he hits the marble floor – and somehow that doesn’t shatter every single bone in his body. That probably should have forced him to regenerate, even before he had a chance to take a bullet for Wilf.

* “But, I did this. I get the credit. I’m on your side!” You’ve gotta love the “Bitch, please” face Rassilon shoots the Master on that line, clearly giving zero fucks.

* “The war turned into hell. And that’s what you’ve opened, right above the Earth. Hell is descending!” “My kind of world”.

* I do enjoy the Mexican stand-off where the Master and Rassilon are both spurring the Doctor on to shoot one of them. Instead of your usual symbolism where an angel and a devil are whispering on someone’s shoulder, messing with their head, here you’ve just got two different flavors of evil.

* “Get out of the way” That little smirk from John Simm when the Master finally figures out the Doctor’s true plan shows why I both love and hate his character. He’s just so gleefully wicked.

* “Get out of the way. You did this to me! All of my life! You made me! One! Two! Three! Four!!!

* If I may take another moment to gush over the score, the way the choir soars with euphoria during “The Clouds Pass” is just wonderful.

* “Well, exactly. Look at you. Not even remotely important! But me? I could do so much more. So much more!! But this is what I get. My reward. And it’s not fair!!! Oh. Oh. I’ve lived for too long”.

* So, um, why is there a baby Adipose toddling around in a space bar meant for adults? Are drinking laws vastly different in space, or is there some irresponsible parenting going on here?

* “We will sing to you, Doctor. The universe will sing you to your sleep. This song is ending, but the story never ends”.

* “There’s something else, something important! I’m, I’m… crashing! Haha! Geronimo!!!

Further Reading:

Doctor Who The End Of Time Rassilon 5

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