EPISODE REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO: "The End of Time, Part One" (Season 31, Episode 4)

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We come to the end of an era: the beginning of the end of the Tennant Doctor. Is it worth the build up? Allons-y, after the jump!

Play-by-play

Wilfred (Donna Noble's Grandfather) sees the Tardis in a stained glass window in a Church. He's told the story of a 'Sainted Physician" who smote a demon, and then the teller of the story disappears….

The Doctor ends up on the Ood homeworld, tries to make Ood sigma laugh, fails misterably… and discovers that the Ood have advanced far more than they should have… and they are having bad dreams. The Doctor joins into an Ood circle and sees the Master, some unknown people and the Master's wife.

We find that Ms Trefusus is the person who picked up the ring. She is one of the Master's followers on Earth…. the prison in which Mrs. Master has been held for the last couple of years is now run by the Master's acolytes. They are his back up plan in case he died. They take the Master's imprint from Lucy (Mrs. Master), and in a show of flashing lightning he starts to come back to life. Lucy, however is also prepared for the event, and throws a potion at the Master, which blows the whole prison to bits.

Wilfred boards a bus where he's organizing a Doctor hunt with his geriatric version of ?????. In the meantime, the Master is inhaling fast food and so insane that he's creeping out the homeless. (And the reviewer as well.) He's smoked the food cart attendants, quite literally and is exhibiting superpowers we've never seen in a timelord.

The Doctor has tracked the Master to a quarry (of course). The Master knocks on a barrel four times… in the pattern of the drumming in the Master's head. In the midst of the chase, Wilfred and his crew locate the Doctor.

Wilfred and the Doctor wonder why Wilfred can come across him so frequently and they talk about death a bit, and see Donna across the street.

We finally see the annoying narrator… Timothy Dalton??? In what looks to be Time Lord robes?

The Master is using his lifeforce to power his superpowers… and proceeds to blast the Doctor with "Force Lightning". He begins to reminisce with the Doctor about life on Gallifrey, and then goes a bit nuts. The Doctor asks for help to forestall the End of Time. The Doctor hears the Drumming the Master's head,… it's not just the Master's insanity, it's real.

The Master is kidnapped by helicopters, taking him to the compound of one Mr. Naismith, who with his daughter are apparently in possession of alien tech from Torchwood… the Immortality Gate. It apparently can perform cellular regeneration on humans, when working properly. Naismith wants the Master to repair it.

The Doctor infiltrates Naismith's compound and finds two alien salvage workers who tell him what the purpose of the Gate is.. it mends the whole population of planets. This inspires some running by the Doctor, who crashes into the gateroom just as the Master breaks free and jumps into the gate, turning everyone on Earth into the Master.

The human race is now the Master race….. and perhaps worse yet, the Time Lords have returned from the dead.

Observations

Wow.
Not as much running as I anticipated.
The Master is honestly terrifying with his high octane, energetic superpowered performance…. and what is the drumbeat that he he hears? Now the Doctor knows that it's an actual phenomenon, and not part of the Master's madness, does it have bearing on the return of the Time Lords?

Isn't it interesting that Lucy Saxon is now very much anti-Master? She continues along the path that she began when she shot him two years ago… she messes him up pretty good, no?

The Doctor and Wilfred wonder why the Doctor keeps crossing Wilf's path. I kind of wonder that as well. Wilfred's group 'The Silver Cloak' (reminiscent of LINDA, a bit) finds the Doctor in record time.

The return of the Time Lords could be a very, very bad thing. The Time Lords weren't always nice, and they look to be back with a vengeance. (R3, remind me… sometime in the next couple of weeks, I need to write "A Brief History of the Time Lords")

Overall, this is one of Davies' best episodes, and I'll probably have some more comments on it when the second half appears next week.

And somehow it just seemed fitting that Barack Obama was namechecked and 'doubled' many times in the episode... just to be converted into the Master, the Embodiment of Evil.

What did you guys think?

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