To accommodate this extra-long episode, an extra-long series of thoughts about Journey's End.
As widely predicted, regeneration fake-out! If there HAD been an actual regen, the BBC would have to be the cunningest organization that ever cunned, faking pictures of DT filming the Christmas episode and so on, but they aren't, and there wasn't. Still, it was a pleasant relief. I have my reservations about Ten, but I'm not ready to give him up just yet.
Yay, it's Mickey, with his mean and moody face on, gearing up for some Smith on Smith action with Sarah Jane! And what's more, Jackie's got a gun, which must mean that the universe is in a worse state than I thought.
Meanwhile back at Torchwood, Ianto and Gwen pull the best orgasmic gun faces ever, and then stand around gazing at the pretty sparkly bullets, frozen in mid-air. Aren't they lucky that clever Tosh can produce plot devices even from beyond the grave?
To celebrate the lack of regeneration, there's a full-on TARDIS love-in. Doctor/Hand adoration! Doctor/Rose hugging! And Donna desperate to get in on the action with Jack! Strangely, he doesn't fall for it: I think he must be queueing for the Doctor. (Quite a queue for the hugs - always has been, always will be.)
This episode's run of thrillingly original ships continues with Mickey/Big Gun. Their love is so about-to-be-left-behind-a-van-in-Chiswick!
GERMAN DALEKS! I rolled around on the floor laughing, and thinking of allemande. But I still maintain that Italian Daleks are the funniest.
I found it both refreshing and peculiar that when Rose told the Doctor about the dimensional cannon, he grinned in a flattered way, rather than telling her off for endangering the fabric of space-time over him.
All aboard the Dalek Death Star Crucible! Nice visual paralleling of The Parting of the Ways here, with the Doctor, Jack and Rose facing down the massed Dalek hordes again. Aww, just like old times.
Donna/Hand: their love is so sparkly and makes handwavey genetic mishmashes all over the floor. Crikey.
Altogether now: UNEXPECTED NAKED DOCTOR! I cheered at this, because all the other New Who guys (Nine, Jack and Mickey) have had a shirt-off scene, so it's only fair that DT gets to do one as well. Also, Donna may not have got much love action this series (barring Lee in CAL's world) but she certainly got an eyeful of Time Lord here.
(BTW, you might not believe me but I woke up this morning and thought "What if the Hand grows a new Doctor, due to regeneration proximity/sympathy or something?" Ask livii if you don't believe me: I told her so that I'd have a witness. Hee!)
Then Jack gets himself shot for plot convenience reasons. It struck me afterwards: no one ever mentions Jack's immortality to Rose, do they? Which is a shame, since it's her fault, and rather a large determining factor in the life of Jack himself. Still, lots to do, action action action, etc.
Nice little flash of DT in a tight T-shirt here. There then follows a somewhat tedious scene of David Tennant and Catherine Tate doing Catherine Tate impersonations. Not surprisingly, Catherine Tate wins. The moral of the story is: "You can't teach your biological metacrisis half-mother to suck eggs."
Meanwhile, back in a corner of Wales that is temporarily Deutschland, Martha is having an encounter with a fearsome bit-part actress, who Teutonically tells her to go away, because this is a local Osterhagen Station for local people. Or something.
Jack is about to get burninated, like a Patrick Troughton serial, but fortunately he is self-recycling, and so is his magic coat of indestructibility.
Davros and the Doctor have a full-on face off. "We have... an arrangement." Yes, Davros dear, the arrangement is that you are the Daleks' bitch. The Doctor refrained and said "pet", but we all know what he meant.
The Daleks fail to notice Sarah Jane and Mickey sneaking off. For a universal master race, they are pretty unobservant.
Jackie is saved from the Dalek reality ray but it is the fate of Gita from EastEnders to disintegrate in an unflattering cardigan.
"Structure falls apart." Yeah, it's always a risk at the end of a series, innit? Try a spot of mad handwaving, Davros, it sometimes works for me. Nonetheless, Davros ought to be congratulated for the positively Shakespearian enunciation of his preemptive victory speech. It was quite heroic, given the quantity of latex and false teeth he had to speak through.
I don't think the Daleks have thought through their master plan. They claim they want to become the only lifeforms in existence, but what would they do after that? Bicker with each other about which style of metal casings are fashionable this season? Devote themselves to opera and formation dancing? Catch up with The Sopranos on DVD? Collectively die of boredom?
Big cheers for the reunion of Mickey Mouse and Captain Cheesecake, although Mickey's upper limit for male bonding is clearly quite a lot lower than Jack's is. Oddly enough, Jackie is not seen to raise so much as a lascivious eyebrow in Jack's direction. Maybe Pete has her totally satisfied these days.
Meanwhile, in Chilly Chilly Osterhagen Planet-Nuking Bunker With A Key, UNIT's fresh-faced Emo division have an international MSN chat and consider blowing up the world. But Martha sensibly decides that they should have a talk to the grown-ups first.
Hooray, it's a galactic Mexican stand-off, with everyone boasting about the size of their weaponry and me getting a bit lost as to which option meant what. Captain Jack's shout-out to all the Dalek boys and girls was fun, but Martha's bang was definitely going to be the biggest.
"That face, after all these years... this is meant to be." Davros/Sarah Jane shippers rejoice! Either he's been pining for years, or he wants to know where she buys her L'Oréal Revitalift.
Davros distracts the Doctor with a gratuitous clip sequence of various people dying, from Jabe way back when to Harriet Jones last week. The Doctor gazes sadly at the floor, remembering when he was Christopher Eccleston and much better at this sort of brooding emotional scene.
Totally unexpected transmat leads to a somewhat expected cast reunion! Everyone, on your knees! (Pervy Davros-shipping: there really is no escape.)
When Davros announced the end of the universe, I checked my watch. No chance, mate, there's half an hour still to fill.
"EXPLAIN. EXPLAIN. EXPLAIN." It's Donna, getting her Time Lord mojo on! Do you Daleks know what a mojo is? No, I don't suppose you do. Well, it makes your blasters go all floppy, and your eyestalks twist around the other way. Ask Sigmund Freud about it if you ever get a chance.
As I realized the other day, Donna is Latin for "lady", and she's a temp, and tempus is Latin for "time". Time Lady, geddit? So maybe the clues were there all along? Or maybe they are just convenient coincidences.
"I got the best bit of the Doctor. I got his mind." Remember, this is coming from a woman who's seen everything else he's got to offer and clearly wasn't all that impressed. Or maybe he's just got a really HUGE brain?
"I can't tell you what I'm thinking right now." Oh Jack, don't ever change, darling.
Awww, Dalek Caan is a good guy! He deserves to be shipped with... well, any tentacled beast of your choice. But Davros grasses him up to the Supreme Dalek immediately, because Davros is such a weedy little splitter.
New Doctor makes all the Daleks go kablooey! Old Doctor bitches at him for it! Which is fair enough, in a way, but how would he have got around it? We don't get to hear, conveniently enough.
Brace yourselves for multipilot TARDIS action! Completely random Gwen-Gwyneth connection time! (Is "spacial genetic multiplicity" science-fiction speak for "not many actors in Cardiff"?) Completely gratuitous K9! Completely amusing telling Jackie to keep out of the way! And biggest of all, completely ridiculous Earth-pulling escapades. (Still, I bet pulling the entire planet was one of Captain Jack's dreams fulfilled.)
Best of all, the earth REALLY moves for Torchwood, leading to another fabulous ship: Ianto/pole!
Gwen certainly seems to be enjoying the show.
Donna tells Jack that he's the best, baby. Her shoving Sarah Jane out of the way to get to him was pretty groovy too. Meanwhile the Earth celebrates by editing together lots of footage of New Year's Eve firework displays, and Martha's mum dances about in her front garden, wondering vaguely where the rest of her family have gone.
The Doctor dismantles Jack's plot device again. Little does he know that Jack's got a Post-It note in his pocket reading "buy milk // shag Ianto // oscillating 4/9".
Guess who's joining Torchwood next series? Well, I don't know for certain but I've got two characters lined up for interview. (Mickey/Jake shippers are probably doing a big sadface at this point, but hey, sexual preferences in Cardiff are nothing if not flexible.)
And now we come to The Rose/Doctor Solution. In a multidimensional case of having your cake and eating it, Rose gets a custom-built Insta!Doctor of her very own, brand new and unused. (Well, apart from his right hand, which has spent some quality time with Jack. And with the Master, come to think of it. Blimey, that's one well-travelled body part.)
Oddly enough, I felt no real swoon at this point. I don't know whether time has made me less of a fangirl squealer (then again, judging by my Torchwood reactions, I don't think so), whether my brain was just confused over exactly who the NewNewNew!Doctor is and what he means, and what he ought to mean, and whether the plot makes emotional sense or is merely convenient, or whether they've just lost a bit of chemistry over the years, I just don't know.
I don't object to this as a plot development, since I see why the Doctor has to remain free and single for plot reasons, and yet this way Rose gets a potential happy ending. But I don't know, I just didn't really FEEL it. With one exception, however: at first I thought Old!Doctor was a bit cruel for running off at the end, but when I rewatched it, I realized that he's jealous of the other him, and finds it hard to watch, even though he's chosen something else for himself. This bit did feel right to me, especially knowing that more sadness was to follow with Donna.
By the way, how are we going to refer to the Other Doctor, the one that stays with Rose? Human!Doctor? NewNewNew!Doctor? Hand!Doctor? Bad-Wolf-Bay-Never-Mind-You'll-Do!Doctor? Mr Complicated Event In Time And Space? Actually, this should be two questions: a) What will Rose call him? Just the Doctor? Or will he become John Smith for old time's sake? And b) what will the fandom call him, since John Smith is purely speculative here and anyway, already refers to the Human Nature version of the Doctor? I suggest naming him after his mum and dad: so either Han Donner (for a Star Wars-y feel) or Don Handina-Jarre (for a classier sound).
And now we come to the real emotional kicker, the sad fate of Donna. At least Rose has her memories, AND a Doctor of her own to train up. Donna just gets a complete retcon, and basically loses herself, and everything that made her so brilliant and happy has to be brutally taken away from her. It's heartrending. At least the Doctor told off her mother, who is such a hypocrite in the way that family members can often be, praising someone to the skies to other people and knocking them constantly when they're around. If Donna can find an independent life for herself, she must still have the potential for brilliance, somewhere inside her.
Despite the sadness of the previous scenes, I didn't start to sniffle until Wilf told the Doctor that he'd think of him every night. Oh Bernard Cribbins, I'll miss you, sir!
And we end with the Doctor, alone in the TARDIS and very, very damp. Just another Saturday night, then.
And coming at Christmas: Cybermen! David Morrissey! And Dervla Kirwan in a corset! This is not just Christmas viewing, this is M&S Christmas viewing. (With M&S in this case standing for Metallic and Snowy.)
Overall: Is the series over already? A riproaring sack of spectacular everything, much of which worked, a few bits of which didn't, but nearly all of which entertained me heartily at time of watching, although I'll warrant that it will niggle away at me over the coming weeks. Now, like Donna, I've got to go back to my everyday life. It's going to be a bit of a wrench, I can tell. Still, at least I've got the internet to see me through...