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END OF THE WORLD
Rose picks going into the future (hiding something about the past? is she?) and the Doc takes her to the most far flung time but not place: the end of the Earth. RTD decides to show far flung aliens and monsters and spacestations and robots and...live or die by that. And it lives. Just. The aliens appear one by one in a fast minute and frankly, most of them look great. The Moxx is as embarassing as Sil and Lady Cassandra is this show's Rani. She's an embarassment. Delighted that by her treachery and for his misdeeds, she is killed off and the Doc allows it. That leaves NO room for a return or a sequel featuring this un-fun skin trampoline. Thank you, RTD. Not.
Anyway, this story is pretty good, all things considered. Why? Rose's reactions and some action from and for the Doctor. Rose's reaction to the aliens is so real, so felt, so emotional and so right spot on from the meeting with the blue steward (poor guy!) to the first talk with an alien, the blue female (?) plumber (poor andrognyous female blue alien) who's from a strange place or strangely named place (RTD starts his annoying habit of naming things that are not planets as places where people live? What are they, other dimensions?), to the meanness of both Rose and Cassandra ("Don't start any fights!") Rose's reactions are so human and caring and angry. The only one that doesn't ring true is the one at the time of first viewing that did: her concern that the Earth died with no one watching. The bi$%h. I mean it seemed as if even one of the cute little blue boys died, one of almost each alien died and poor Jade and all Rose can care about is the empty planet. Still nice theme song for Rose. I also like her reaction to the Doctor ("Tell me who you are!" "What planet are you from?") and his reaction back. He seems a damaged Doctor, a callous Doctor ("Everything has its time and everything dies"). We also get RTD's faithless, lack of God, lack of an afterlife here which annoys me to no end as it's constantly shoved down our throats in this show and TORCHWOOD and maybe even SARAH JANE, oh, except when he judges that it's okay to show a spirit. Anyway, if I'm giving the impression I didn't like this, I did.
I like the setting. I like the music and even TAINTED LOVE is used correctly as Rose's feeling overwhelmed by seeing too many aliens too quickly. The sets are marvelous and the tension builds well.
The Doctor: yes, he's damaged and he seems almost happy when something starts to go wrong and as Jade mentions, there's nothing left so a man or Time Lord feels that danger and death is fantastic. The bas#$#D. Him, not Jade. So much death but it could have been worse. In some ways the Repeated Meme reminds me of the gas breathers from TERROR OF THE VERVOIDS and some of this reminds me of that story, the murder mystery, although here it is more of a mystery. The Doctor also, early on, seems to be showing off. I guess he's always been arrogant and always trying to, even in his 5th body, get to show his companions a good time and prove he can take them to places they want to see. Here, he's just a big show off and Rose realizes it right away. He's like, trying to impress her. Cassandra says he's never been kissed and other than Grace (and a tempt at Ian Chesterson) he's probably not, except for maybe Susan's mother's mother. Or was it her father's mother? Anyhoooow....he's like a child on a first date, like a boy, like Tom Baker was to Romana in STATE OF DECAY, happy he impressed the girl. And the scene where he starts to dance is...HORRID. I almost thought the show was going down the crapper as in fast succession we see little blue boys, a giant face in a jar, a skin lady, parrot people, trees, and then the Doctor shaking his shoulders and head! My God! but it all worked out. I think.
The sonic screwdriver is a good idea, saves us having to waste an ep in a cell or time trying to devise ways out of a room. Ditto the psychic paper. Wastes a lot of time having the couple (That's Rose and the Doctor to us) explain who they are or get arrested for tresspassing blah blah blad or having to arrogantly stroll in and explain that they were asked here so push off (Ace and the 7th in FENRIC).
After this episode, I was still in a "wait and see" mode. It was good. There was some good stuff, some embarassing stuff and I'm not sure which the Cell Phone stuff falls under. If the Doc can use a cell phone and give one to his companions, what does that do for the stories? It certainly doesn't hurt the characters on LAND OF THE GIANTS to have walkie talkies and/or radios. But they are up against HUGE odds all the time and need something to fight back with. I mean if the comp is stuck someplace, all she has to do is call, "Doc, I'm in the drainpipe stuck behind a sun shield, come and get me" and that cuts down the excitement somewhat, if you see what I mean. That doesn't happen but with cell phones on them, why not? Jackie is only in this briefly but she's still a treasure and that link to back home holds my attention.
RTD begins his long, never abolished Earth-fetish, feeling that if you're a million thousand billion miles from Earth somewhere far flung with only aliens on an alien planet facing alien problems no one will care. I can't fully agree with him but I do see his point. Once in awhile, though, a totally alien story would be nice and we almost get it in the fourth season or in fact, rather we do. I think.
Anyway despite having a serious climax ripped off from GALAXY QUEST (the trap over the shut off button) and some silly parts and silly costumes on some of the aliens, this story is enjoyable. But I still felt wait and see. The next story would cement that the show was on a good track. Again, I like this but it's not my favorite story.