Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

The End of Time, mistletoe and wine

Christmas greetings from the snowy north-east of England! I hope you're all enjoying the festive season, the festive food, and more importantly, the festive viewing.

You may have noticed that there was an episode of Doctor Who today, and I'm sure nobody will be surprised if I have a few opinions about it. So, here are my thoughts about The End of Time, Part One. Please be aware that I've only had the chance to watch it once AND have consumed a certain quantity of alcoholic beverages in the intervening hours, so my recap might not be quite up to the high standards of factual accuracy and critical reflection you expect from me (hem hem). Still, I'm sure you'll cope...

  • Oh dear, everybody on the planet is having bad dreams. And that's before Christmas Day, so nobody can put the blame on Brussels sprouts.

  • I saw the Doctor's quick holiday outing to Planet Ood on Children in Need night, but didn't feel much need to comment on it out of context. Its purpose, it turns out, was to get everyone to hold hands and have some handy iPlayer flashbacks (and flashforwards) which will help inattentive (or drunken) viewers figure out tonight's plot.

  • Now, welcome to a brand-new cutting-edge Who spin-off: Prisoner Cell Block Saxon. In the first (and only) instalment, it turns out that dear sweet Lucy Saxon is being held in a prison that makes its inmates wear gratuitously tight vest tops and also harbours a secret cult of ladies who think the Master was the best thing that ever happened to this show and should be brought back as soon as possible, preferably without clothes.

  • And so, enter the Totally Expected Naked Master, reborn from what looks like a lot of scented bath oils and a used kleenex (subtle symbolism there, Russell). But why hasn't Lucy Saxon washed off her lipstick for two years? If only she exfoliated regularly, perhaps the world wouldn't be in such a pickle. (Yeah, I know, it's meant some sort of mystic energy imprint that doesn't wash off... but maybe it would, with the right cleanser.)

  • I was very amused that the TOP SEEKRIT plan to resurrect the Master was foiled by a MORE TOP SEEKRIT plan to stop him being resurrected, which was then foiled by an EVEN MORE TOP SEEKRIT plan to stop the resurrection from being stopped. Apparently some people in the universe CAN plan ahead, who'd have thought it?

  • Now it's time for the socially conscious portion of tonight's show, and it's a symbolic condemnation of binge-eating and the all-fast food diet! Consuming a burger van is probably what drove the Master over the edge: botulism AND the sound of drums make a lethal combination, and not even a bit of salad on the side can save you.

  • Despite Ten's Skeletor reference (stop spending so much time with your He-Man DVDs, Doctor), the supercharged Master is much more like a Dementor crossed with General Zod. Having said that, the Heroes obsessive in me must point out that he's also quite a lot like Sylar: the flying, the electricity, the HUNGER (but not the eyebrows).

  • I'm using this icon in order to celebrate the gratuitous appearance of the legendary June Whitfield. And some other old folk in a van, most of whom didn't have any lines, but never mind. It was a bit of a daft interlude, really, but as long as it (and Minnie) keeps Wilf happy, I can't complain.

  • And speaking of the main man himself, Wilf! WILF! And not just Wilf, but Wilf being heartbroken by Donna, and Wilf being confused by stained-glass windows and mystical white-clad ladies, and most moving of all, Wilf and Ten doing manly sobbing in a cafe. See, Wilf is so great that he can even make me feel sorry for Ten! Personally, I think Wilf should start a self-help group for angst-ridden men of the Whoniverse. He and Captain Jack can swap endless war stories, it'll be great.

  • Aw, poor Donna. Even though we didn't see much of her, Wilf's reaction said it all, really. I suppose she's got Shaun, but will he ever be more than a consolation prize?

  • I enjoyed the Master's vindicated glee at discovering that the drums are not just in his own head. There's nothing like saying "I told you so", is there? Then the commando guys from Brazil were helicoptered in to drag the Master away and stretch out the homoerotic head-touching action for another day.

  • Meanwhile, somewhere else, someone has invented a cheapo Stargate rip-off which seems to be made of milkcrates and shopping trolleys. A piece of technology that even Torchwood didn't want: that MUST be tacky.

  • Abigail Naismith is clearly a VERY spoilt girl. First she gets the Master wheeled in like a kinkily-wrapped Christmas present to be her ultra-special IT consultant, and THEN she demands immortality. I am guessing that what she really wants is to become the ultimate Mary Sue and marry Captain Jack and have 307 time-babies and call them all Ianto and live in a fluffy-wuffy world of TRU WUV 4EVA. I suppose that if your daddy is super-duper rich, just isn't enough any more.

  • I have yet to discern the point of the green Bannakaffa-cactus people, a.k.a. the Vinvocci, because it rather felt like they'd wandered in from the Sarah Jane Adventures, but presumably they will enable the Doctor to have more helpers next week than just Donna and Wilf.

  • Behold the Master race! Behold SILLINESS IN THE EXTREME. Even if it did give John Simm an opportunity to model a variety of outfits, I imagine that even the most doolally of dictators would soon get bored with living on a planet entirely composed of himself (well, after the requisite orgy, of course). Having said that, I rather wish they'd shown a clip from the festive edition of Strictly Come Dancing in that timeline. Sequins, feathers, and every dance performed to the sound of drums: that's entertainment.

  • However, I must admit that there is a certain element of realism to the plotline "On Christmas Day, everyone turns into a turkey-guzzling maniac", depending on the household you're in.

  • In case you hadn't guessed from the Dalton-direct-to-camera speechifying at the halfway point, the Time Lords are back, back, BACK. And there are zillions of them. Is Claire "lady on Wilf's TV" Bloom one of the two women standing behind Timothy D. on his fancy platform? I'll bet you a novelty cheese selection that she is. And is her "Don't tell the Doctor" scheming in the aid of good or EVIL? Now that, I cannot guess, no matter what seasonal dairy products you offer me.

  • As is usual at Christmas, I watched this episode en famille. My brother's comment: "Timothy Dalton produces a lot of spittle." Everybody else fell asleep, but I don't think RTD should take this personally: we did have a VERY big lunch.

  • I did watch the trailer for next week, which didn't give a whole lot away. But I'm guessing there'll be some sort of trip back in time to explain that stained-glass window, for a start.

  • I am now rather worried that Wilf won't survive. He needs to live and get it together with Minnie, even though she's clearly a bit of a flighty filly, what with her gratuitous Ten gropage.

  • In conclusion: pretty peculiar viewing. Normally, sitting down to a bout of Who means being dropped into fairly familiar territory: here's the setting, here are the supporting cast, here is the engine of the plot, you know the drill. But this episode moved in bizarre fits and starts, a string of odd scenes that were by turns moodily ominous or disjointedly light-hearted, with very little clue as to what was coming next. There was a sense of something building, but what was it: a disaster or a huge pile of ridiculousness? Or perhaps a bit of both? I'm definitely intrigued, but I'm also a bit worried that we could tip over into insane self-indulgence at any moment. (Come to think of it, isn't that what the Master has now done?) Still, I'll be there next week, when all will be revealed, but no refunds will be given...
Tags: doctor who
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