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THE LAST OF THE TIME LORDS
okay tempted to give it a 3/5 but really no, it remains, sadly, a 0/5 or a 0/10. Let's look at why shall we?
Let's get this straight: a year has gone by and the Toclafane aren't everywhere, the Master isn't watching everyone everywhere? And he can't see Martha at all? Then there's that music and the dancing of the Master. BATMAN!!!! The Toclafane leave Tom alone and don't kill him or search him or report him and of course don't see Martha due to the perception filter. Martha tells Tom she hasn't seen the Doctor or that there was someone else in her life a "long time ago"---a year is a long time? I guess it can be due to what she went through. A novel that I dare not read has short stories about that year. Gosh!
It seems that the Master's slaves including Jack and Martha's family mostly, have worked out a plan...how? Havent they been watched by recording instruments? And just why are they being kept alive? I can almost understand why the Master is keeping the Doctor alive...just...he feels he would be the last Time Lord, he feels a love for the Doctor that cannot be spoken? Etc. BUT to keep Martha's entire family alive? Maybe he feels he can use them as leverage against Martha should the need arise. Some of this feels as if RTD is parallelling the slavery of the past...but and I"m sure many slaves wanted to kill their master in pre Civil War and Civil War times but there were some that felt a bond with them, too. I sometimes wonder if some of them wanted to stay as slaves? I can't imagine that but perhaps none of them did. Perhaps they wanted to be treated with some more dignity. But did some slave masters give them that already? Either way slavery is wrong and should have been stopped and was...
JUST WHAT THE HELL does Mrs. D (I can't sound out her name, Mrs. Docatity?) say in her first few scenes? I didn't have the subtitled version on and didn't care to dig it out either. She's okay in tahe rest of her scenes and she's really just the same old woman character from RISE OF THE CYBERMEN/AGE OF STEEL.
Then the Master talks some more. Eve of War, lovely woman. What? Eve? War? What is he on about? Gosh. Side note: in the past, Delgado's Master and Ainley's Master had something in them ---a look, a voice tone, a glance here and there, a glint in the eye and of course some of the dialog---that made them seem more than an empty villain. Sim's Master has nothing. He's an empty villain and maybe that's deliberate...maybe the Master's reached that point. BUT for me, it just doesn't work, not with him. Maybe with the excellent Derek Jacobi it would have worked, for he was a great Master in just a few short scenes. But with Sim it just doesn't work at all. Ther'es one point later on that he seemed quite menacing...the time the Master touched the ground and came at Martha and killed Tom---Sim seemed to start to be the menacing Master and with a new twist but that's it. Before and after that he just never really does it for me as the Master ...at all. He also seems to call the Doctor, the Old Doctor, Candor or Gelfdor or something that seems as if he meant a character from LORD OF THE RINGS, an equally long tired "epic" of non epic proportions.
Okay then we get the midget Doctor. What can I say? On first viewing, I was appalled by this turn of events. He looked like that monster/man from LORD OF THE RINGS mixed with Yoda from STAR WARS's sequels/prequels. Gosh. It was kinda cute though. Again though the Master had the Old Doc eating dog food and living in a tent. Would Masters of old do this sort of thing? Humiliate? Yeah sure but in an intellectual sort of way, a showdown of mind vs mind. But this? I guess it's a new slant on the Master and to see how far he's degenerated in his mind but it just doesn't work. Then there's the bird cage bit. Sim might just be carrying on the Eric Robert's Master as he seems to go in and out of that kind of over the topness but even Eric's Master was better than this. Menacing in a way that Sim just really isn't.
On top of that: what's his plan? As a Time Lord he will rule with the Tocalafane for...until the end of the universe comes again? He seemed genuinelly upset that all the Time Lords were gone and now he plans to make a New Gallifrey? Why? Why would he do that? He's killed billions by wiping out Japan. Did the old Master want that? I think some of his side plans got many killed or THREATENED to have many killed rather than actually have that happen and to be honest, to have it happen has two sides. On the one side, it is rather more villainous to have actually killed that many people and makes it more...dangerous...but on the other side, it's actually very very depressing AND the third side is that we either have to carry on with that happening OR it will be reset as if it never happened. Either way it does'nt work in DW. If this were a movie it would be depressing as in MAD MAX but in that movie series we have to carry on and enjoy the adventure that follows. Here, it's difficult as things keep changing on us and not for the better and the action isn't MAD MAX or even MAX MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME. It's just sorta flat.
To make matters worse, the Toclafane are the human race. That's just taking it all a bit too far and too depressing. It's here we know that either this will be reset or changed in time or just be...yet it's played later both ways. In addition to that, that poor little cute boy from UTOPIA is now a Toclafane. Why? Why do this? It's very defeatist for not just this sad little "epic" but for all of DW. It puts it all in a new and difficult and different light: a sad one. Again, if this were a movie series like PLANET OF THE APES, it might be an okay twist and turn but to realize that the DW universe has to carry on with THIS being the ultimate fate of humanity is highly disturbinb and upsetting. Not only that but viewing past DW is made sadder by this development. In addition to all of that, this seems to be almost totally ripped off from a Big Finish audio adventure with the 5th Doctor and Turlough who found out that the creatures WERE humanity from the end of time. It was just as upsetting there as it is here. Although, humanity seemed to make themselves in the Toca and I forgot what happened in that dismal Peter Davison opus.
The brief capture a Toclafane sequence seems to be exciting but then you realize a few things. The lightning strike that brought down one might have been shown to us. The lone Toclafane that is captured here is captured too easily and it's totally on its own...what? No other one was with it? And isn't this plant watched? As it turns out Mrs. D is working with the Master because he has her son. A bit more resistance on her part would have worked toward giving her a better character--she doesn't even get the info if her son is still alive before she betrays Martha. Perhaps it was all being watched.
Okay, we've seen the Ancient David whisper into Martha's ear FOUR times already and I'd bet we will get to see it yet again. Does RTD think we're stupid to have this repeated over five times by ep's end? I guess he does. Oh and btw, when the Master talks about the Doctor he says something about the Time War having Sea Devils and Axons there OR was he trying to go over old times? I might just believe Axons were there but Sea Devils? Huh?
Okay, let's get one thing straight. A bullet can kill a Time Lord. He can't just come back from being totally dead! Or can he? Maybe? As in most things DW, in the past series, this was not made totally clear. Jon's Doc seemed to die in PLANET OF THE SPIDERS but his regeneration was kick started by another Time Lord. The Hartnell Doctor might have died of old age and changed OR he might have regenerated before he died. Tom's Doctor was not dead when the Watcher took into him !!!! Davison's Doctor might have died...but it seemed he regenerated just before. Colin hit his head. In one of the UNBOUND audio adventures an alt Fourth Doctor who is evil is shot over and over and over and over again regenerating each time. Not sure how I feel about this new / old superhero type power. I always felt the Tom Doctor could be shot, thrown off a building, incinerated and killed. In almost ALL the Gallifrey stories, Time Lords (if they were all Time Lords --I mean there's a whole debate --are all Gallfreeans Time Lords? Are all Time Lords Gallefreans? Are the guards Time Lords? Do Gallfreans all have two hearts or just the Time Lord ones? Which of them, TL or G's live forever? Etc etc etc)...where the f was I? Oh yeah, in almost all Gallifrey stories Time Lords are shot and killed and stay dead. This includes Goth and many guards, this includes Presidents. So ...anyway to have the Master or the Doctor be able to actually die and be dead (as the 7th Doctor clearly was in the TV MOVIE) and come back to life...is really...rather undramatic.
How did Martha's story about the gun get any credence? Rumors? I mean the Doctor would have had to know about the gun from UNIT or TWood. As it turns out this is not true. The story Martha told is the thing. More on that guff later.
As Martha tells her story to the slaves (none of whom really seem to register much as proper characters) the music is quite good and I hope it's on the soundtrack. Freema is great throughout this series and here she's just as good and throughout this mess, she keeps her dignity and excitement.
Then comes the Master walking on Earth scene and I must admit here, Sim is menacing and just about becomes the Master. Yet again though he fails to kill Martha. Tom's death is most upsetting as he's a good character and well, hot. Hope he and Martha meet again some time in the future but it seems as if that won't happen now but just wait. Later the Master claims Martha's future death will his first blood? Is he talking about the movie FIRST BLOOD? He's just killed Tom himself so it can't be his first blood.
Oh and one more thing: the Doctor, Jack and Martha sent humanity to UTOPIA with no thought about how they will work it out. I'm not sure but I dont even think the Doctor had any plans to meet them there and find out how they survived but I could be wrong about that. Maybe he planned to find out but didn't get the chance due to the Jacobi Master stealing the TARDIS.
Okay Martha's capture and kneel scene is pretty good until...
the story. Okay the "story of the godlike Doctor" is so much like PETER PAN it hurts. In fact, the entire ressurrection of the Tennant Doctor is JUST like the Peter Pan vs Hook in the excellent Dec 2003 movie PETER PAN that it hurts. Sim looks like Hook vs the flying Peter Pan Doctor. Everyone chants the Doctor's name (and this won't be the last time this kind of thing happens) and it's so embarassing and goofy. IN PETER PAN it works...as faith and magic take over. In DOCTOR WHO where supposedly there is no magic and supposedly no faith and no God, it just doesn't work. The Doctor had a whole year to tap his what--mind--into the satellites---he can DO that? Wow. He's amazing this god Doctor. Still it was nice to see Lucy chanting the Doctror's name just as much as it was nice to see Smee chanting I do believe in fairies to bring Tinkerbell back to life in the hands of Peter Pan (an excellent Jeremy Sumpter).
Then the Doctor tells the Master, "I"m sorry. I'm so sorry." What? Why?
WHAM BANG: we get another climax: the Doc and Master whisked off to fire the rockets. I DO like that the Master just hands the Doctor the new Black Hole weapon over. I also like that the Doc appears and praticaly in Martha's arms back on the Valiant/whatever that flying thing is called. The Doc says what I was thinking, too in the scene on the hill over the rockets, "Weapon after weapon." RTd just goes crazy here. Time reverses, the Master is forgiven, and...Francine tries to shoot the Master...and to be honest, I felt nothing throughout all this but cheated. Yes, I felt cheated. Cheated out of a good plot, cheated out of the Master returning in a good story and cheated out of a good actor playing him.
There's almost no emotion to any of this. Tennant is good however. The Doc continually saying he's alone---is annoying. Okay he doesn't want his race to die. I get that. But this is the Master here, who the Doctor once hoped was dead in DEADLY ASSASSIN and dead as sa result of their fight together where the Doc threw the Master into the black hole! Now he's crying over his dead or dying body, telling him to regenerate from just a bullet... and claiming he's got no one else in front of all his friends, two of whom are dying to have a relationship with him. He's a prat and I can't wait until he regenerates. NONE Of this rings true at all and the Doctor comes off as a real messed up jerk.
As if all of that is not bad enough, Lucy shoots the Master...is this the woman who picks up the Master's ring in the end or was that someone else? Was this all a plan by Lucy and the Master to revive him? If so, the Doc is stupid to burn the Master's body and leave anything on him around.
As if all of THAT is not bad enough...time reverses, negating most of what we've seen including thankfully Tom's deat. ANd Japan is alive. Still...it reverses to the President's death...so he still dies...I think. AND worst of all: the Doc says, "Before the spheres arrive..." BUT wait...the spheres were already here--they came before the President dies and in fact the spheres killed him! So if time reversed to that, then logically the Master ---perhaps because he was on the ship and near the Paradox Machine/Tardis he wasn't back where he was as PM---should be still planning but he's not---maybe due to the Paradox Machine and the protection of the ship/TARDIS but...the PM machine and the TARDIS was shot by Jack.
Hold on: if the Paradox Machine could be stopped by shooting it, why didn't the Doctor and Jack do that in the last episode when they found the machine? Were they captured inside the TARDIS? maybe that's why. They certainly had time to that but maybe there were no weapons on them or on board.
Okay...so this end STILL has humanity STILL becoming the Toclafane. A most unsatisfactory ending for the show, the DW universe, Earth, and this story. ANd the Doc has no plans to undo that at the end of the universe, even though he helped send the last humans there!
The Doc also planned to bring the Master into the TARDIS. He's be safe there? Wait. What? You don't trust this guy so you plan to cell him up in the TARDIS and now you'll have him as someone you can take care of. It's still all about the Doctor, isn't it? "Now I can have someone to look after." What? The Time Lord who got out of prison in MIND OF EVIL and THE SEA DEVILS, not to mention escaping more than in those two episodes, a Master of escape and you want to put him in THE TARDIS, which can go anywhere and do anything? Safe? Safe for whom? Again, we know the Doc is not going to give up travelling and we can see what's going to happen next...surely the series isn't going to end so the Master has to die or escape. As it turns out both cliches happen: he dies and most likely in his ring he escapes. Wow. How boring. Eye openingly shocking as to how poorly all this is resolved. And there's more: Martha calls Tom and hangs up; she gives flowers to Mrs. D...who doesn't know her. THe longer time means we can have furtive scenes of Francine half smiling out the window at the DOctor as he waits for Martha, as if nothing has happened and he will just take her with him again. The jerk.
During the Maste'rs funeral the music is quite good. The Doc now shakes off his "I hate Jack because he can't exist" and asks Jack to come with him, which Jack, so formerly happy to abandon TW, refuses now. For God's sake, of course: he's got his own inferior series. Then Jack tells us he's aging but living. He is the Face of Boe. Yet another sad revelation for our Jack character. In hindsight maybe it's not so bad. This means the Doctor will not be able to cure Jack of his problem and Jack's end has already been seen. Does this give us an incentive to watch TW or not watch? I don't care as I've sworn off TW for good after the horror show that was CHILDREN OF EARTH. Goofy enough but Jack suddenly stops and turns and tells the Doctor and Martha his childhood story...who cares? Leave already. Similarly but perhaps more realistically, Martha leaves the Doctor, then reenters the TARDIS and starts telling him a story about her mate Vicki's unrequited love. And the jerk asks, "Is this going anywhere?" David's poor when having to listen to other character's stories and here he's pretty bad. It's nice to see Martha leave. For me, she was much much better than Rose ever was and the Doc should have seen it instead of using it for his own needs.
OH and Martha has to stay to care for her family? That's just baloney. They are safe, the world that was blown to crap is back intact...she should stay to finish her career as a medical Doctor. ANd just how far along was she? Was she done? Was she just starting? We never find out.
One other thing I almost forgot: Martha's story about the gun was untrue, but she apparently never told Tom about it so in a sense she gets Tom killed for no reason.
Then a ship crashes through the wall of the TARDIS. And Tennant badly does his "What what what what" Shtick. It's not funny, not realistic, not plausible and we know it will be reversed...just like the ending of this crap. I hate that ending.
It's clear RTD is in love with the Doctor himself, perhaps too much and this hurts some of the stories such as this one. UTOPIA may get a 3/5 or a 7/10 thanks to Jacobi and the plain fact of the setting and the monster humans but this mess of an ep gets 0/5 and 0/10. THe Master here just doesn't work for the most part. There is no reason to have told this story and most of what there was was negated, except for the sad stuff. The story just doesnt' work and is the worst story since the show's return in 2005.