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Pirates of the Burley Griffin
A schedule bears the same relationship to reality as Astrology.
The End of Time Pts 1 & 2 
26th-Jan-2010 10:08 pm

I saw End of Time Pt 2 just after new year's day. It was entertaining enough, in its own way, I suppose. It has taken a while for my thoughts to crystallise beyond that.

First cast your mind back to Journey's End which ends with the Doctor burnt on the subject of companions. In short: having companions sucks like a black hole and he doesn't want to play that game anymore. A solitary Doctor, to the point of disconnection from the humanity that he has been so heavily connected with for so long.

Then the first special "The Next Doctor" included a hint that, maybe, this was beginning to change. That, maybe, the Doctor would consider taking a companion again. The otherwise excreble "Planet of the Dead" did show a growing reconnection along with the red herring of an utterly unsuitable companion (on a moral level at least). "The Waters of Mars" continued the trend towards reconnection, although it possibly overplayed it and the editing of the ending seriously needs to be tightened.

So obviously I was expecting "The End of Time" to produce a Doctor willing to reconnect. Instead we got a Doctor who was essentially committing suicide and completing the disconnection. Allow me at this point to simply go: Arrggh!

The second major disappointment is that the leader of the Timelords (Rassilon apparently although I missed that bit) clearly hasn't read The List. Particularly #4 and #6. That whole scene with the Doctor swinging between the Master and Rassilon was just ridiculous, especially while Rassilon was still wearing the Glove of Myhnegon (sorry, couldn't resist the Buffy reference there). As soon as the Doctor started doing that Rassilon should have just killed him...as we'd seen him do earlier in the episode for nothing more than a minor disagreement.

Apart from anything else it made the Doctor look like an indecisive idiot.. The Doctor knew about the diamond before jumping into the mansion (and let's not even start on Die Hard With The Doctor!) so he should have known what to do once he got there, ie: destroy the diamond immediately.

Having said that I'll apply Bellisario's Maxim and the MST3K Mantra so that I'll just enjoy the pretty pictures next time. :)

26th-Jan-2010 11:18 am (UTC)

Waters of Mars annoyed me more than anything.

I felt you actually DID get a Doctor re-connecting; that was Wilford's purpose. However, you also had a Doctor realizing that everything bad that had HAPPENED actually traced back to HIM and his own people, and that he was going to have to undo it all. At the end, he goes and retraces all his connections, refusing to die until he can make sure he's made peace with those he's loved, left behind, or simply changed so they can no longer truly go back to who they were.

Of course Rassilon may have READ the list, but he's not going to FOLLOW it. (A) he's a Timelord. No, wait, he's THE Timelord. Aside from the Doctor, but from his PoV the Doctor is a meddling young punk who disrupted everything with his incompetence. (B) It's Not Allowed for them to actually follow the advice on the list; this is high melodramatic space opera, this is Doctor Who, and following those lists is a guarantee of poor melodrama. My villains agreed with some parts of it, but a lot of the advice boils down to "Bad Form". If you follow ALL of it, you end up not an evil overlord at all, just a pragmatic ruler with some nasty tendencies. Just like if you follow the equivalent list on the other side, you're no longer a Hero or Benevolent Ruler, you're a grim Antihero or a Pragmatic Ruler with some nice tendencies.
26th-Jan-2010 11:44 am (UTC)
Waters of Mars annoyed me more than anything.

I only really have one problem with Waters of Mars which dalekboy pointed out: it is about 1 minute too long.

Cutting it just after the blue flash in the window, and leaving out all the foreshadowing, would have tightened the ending right down to a good story.

As it was, yeah, further annoying proof that some people really need good editors... :(
26th-Jan-2010 12:39 pm (UTC)

I had a problem with the entire episode, starting with the "on Mars we will become fountains of endless water" creatures who could materialize water from nowhere in job-lots, but for some reason (A) had let Mars dry out, and (B) wanted Earth's water (making them look even stupider than the Visitors), and ending with "well, you know, he could have actually, you know, SAVED those people, including the heroic one he spent so much time talking to and hero-izing, but instead set her up, then couldn't even have the decency to talk to her in such a way that she WOULDN'T commit suicide." There was a trivially obvious solution to his problem, one that he could have applied easily. There was another solution that would have been more problematic, but THIS Doctor could have pulled it off if he'd been willing to take twenty more seconds and a little reasonable dialogue.
26th-Jan-2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
The thing about trivially obvious solutions, of course, is that they're often a lot easier to spot when it's not you the problem is happening to.
26th-Jan-2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
That's an excuse that might work for the humans involved, but it doesn't wash for the Timelord who's decided he's actually going to DO this. If the trivial solution simply involves selecting the right time, and he doesn't, well, it means someone handed the Doctor the Idiot Ball.
27th-Jan-2010 01:42 am (UTC)
The Time Lord who, in deciding he's actually going to DO this, is attempting to ignore the bone-deep certain knowledge that he can't do this, is in a state of high excitement and not thinking straight.

There's never a point in the episode where the Doctor actually thinks about solutions. At first, he knows there are none; and he goes from that straight to being fixed on the idea of making a Grand Gesture of Defiance. He's going to spit in History's eye by returning Adelaide to her family alive and well. He's in a frame of mind where, even if the trivially obvious solution occurs to him, he's not going to accept it; he's going to Change History, and saving the person while leaving history apparently intact is not the road for him. Nor is the Time Lord Victorious, He Who Tells History Where To Go, somebody to look to for twenty seconds of reasonable dialogue.
27th-Jan-2010 02:06 am (UTC)
There's never a point in the episode where the Doctor actually thinks about solutions. I always see the Doctor as a thinking hero rather than as an instinctive or reactive one. This sounds like a classic example of plot induced stupidity / the Idiot Ball to me.
27th-Jan-2010 08:27 am (UTC)
There's never a point in the episode where the Doctor actually thinks about solutions.

I think I overstated that; there are many places in the episode where the Doctor thinks, and solves problems. It's just the central problem that he has trouble with.

And the thing I'm trying to say is that he didn't just become arbitrarily stupid, there's a reason within the story why he has trouble with that particular problem.
26th-Jan-2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
That does require that someone actually write that dialogue.

Out of interest what trivially obvious solution do you see?
26th-Jan-2010 09:26 pm (UTC)

Take them to a time AFTER their heroic loss has had the desired effect. She could meet with her SUCCESSFUL descendant. These are all adventurous types willing to exile themselves from all civilization for years already, and fascinated by the future. They'll adapt just fine to the future. This is a no-brainer. "They need to APPEAR to die, and stay dead long enough."

The slightly harder one is talking to her about how, because you have the power of the Lords of Time, she DOESN'T have to die to have the future go forward. She can tell her relatives of what has happened, of what she's seen, of what could be, and inspire them just as much in life as she did in death. This requires a little work on making the dialogue work just right, but it's perfectly doable and would have fit even better with the Doctor's stated purpose.
26th-Jan-2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
Both of those would have been better solutions.
26th-Jan-2010 11:45 am (UTC)
In general I agree with your assessment of the list but there are some cases where failing to apply it simply looks stupid on film. This being one of them.
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