The Narrator: 'This was the day the Time Lords returned. For Gallifrey! For victory! For the end of time itself!'
the exception of 2005's 'The Christmas Invasion', Yuletide episodes
have never been the show's strong suit. After season three's 'The
Last of the Time Lords', I had visions of this year's offering being
another gag-laden, testosterone-fueled, face-off between the Doctor and
the Master—high on festive cheer, but distinctly lacking in satisfying
storytelling. How wrong I was. I was pleasantly surprised by this
episode. It wasn't perfect, but the flaws were minor and the storytelling epic. I even enjoyed the Master's return! How's that for a
It's episodes like
this that make me glad that I avoid spoilers like the plague. The return of
the Time Lords completely blind-sided me. I thought the cliffhanger was
going to be the Master's return—it never for one moment occurred to me that the
narrator might be an integral part of the story. I thought the
voice-over was just a gimmick, thrown in to add drama, but when the
camera panned round, and we caught our first glimpse of Timothy 'Spit-master' Dalton
and Co. (standing before what appeared to be the Panopticon), I almost
choked on my mince pie. Aren't the Time Lords supposed to be dead?
Weren't they killed in the Last Great Time War... or locked
inside it... or some shit like that? Obviously, Russell T. Davies has got some 'splainin to do—but, regardless of the logistics, what a bomb shell!
I was completely thrilled to see Wilf step across
the threshold of the TARDIS for the first time. And all because the
Doctor couldn't bear to leave him with an irate Sylvia. What an absolute
thrill for Wilf, to accompany the Doctor on his last adventure. But
what is it that's connecting him to the Doctor? I have this uneasy
feeling about Wilf. I hope the next episode doesn't turn out to be his swansong, too.
Doctor opening up to Wilf was the highlight of the episode for me. It
was a relief to see him confiding in someone. He even told Wilf of his
impending death. We got a real insight, too, into how the Doctor feels
about regeneration. His body and personality will change—the man he is will die—but why does he fear this death
more than any other? Is he afraid the prophecy foretells his utter
annihilation? Regeneration isn't a given, after all. There are conditions which can
prevent the process from completing. Is that what he's afraid of? Dying
He also admitted that his self imposed
solitude had caused more problems than it had remedied. Mistakes had been
made, lives had been lost—and, of course, he still misses Donna. How
awful, to be able see her through the café window, yet be unable to
communicate for fear of killing her. There was a real forlornness
about Donna's existence. Ostensibly, she'd moved on—but Wilf knew that there
was this great sadness inside of her: a void which had once been her
life, a life in which she'd once been someone, a life she was slowly starting
to remember—with potentially fatal consequences.
Master taking over the world didn't really work for me. One cliffhanger
per episode is more than enough. Plus, everyone turning into the Master
seemed like small potatoes in comparison to the Time Lords returning.
But I can't lie, I did get a kick out of seeing John Simm in heels and
a dress. When he stood up in front of the President, arms raised, and
whooped with delight, I howled with laughter—but the whole master-race
plot reeked of overkill, and his OTT laughter quickly became an
irritation. Which was a shame, because his condescending smile was
undeniably infectious. Even imprisoned, he looked supremely confident.
And I really felt the connection between the two Time Lords, as they reminisced about
Gallifrey like old friends. The Master even allowed the Doctor inside
his head—desperate for confirmation that the drums were real, and not
the product of some degenerative madness. Of course, real or not, the
Master is bordering
on the insane. He's never been the most stable person in existence, but
his recent resurrection must surely have unhinged him further. Nobody likes
burgers that much.
So, what about the prophecy? Who's
going to knock four times? Has it been fulfilled yet? The Master seemed
to think the prophecy pertained to him. Of course, he would—he's mad
and full of his own self importance. The Doctor, however, seemed less
—What was with Timothy Dalton gobbing all over the place? Swallow before you speak, man!
—The secret books of Saxon? The potions of life? Biometric signatures? We give ourselves so Saxon might live? What a load of old shite!
—Loved the Vinvocci. Far less annoying than Bannakaffalatta.
—I didn't think much of the Naismith's. As characters they were horrid
stereotypes, and the Immortality Gate sub-plot was as old as the hills.
—How comes the Master had blond hair and stubble after his resurrection?
—The Legend of the Blue Box? Kids will be looking for blue boxes in stained glass windows the country over.
Doctor: 'Last time I was here you said that my song would be ending soon. And I'm in no hurry for that.'
Narrator: 'The darkness heralds only one thing. The end of time itself.'
The Master: 'The whole stupid stinking human disgrace can fall into the pit.'
Doctor: 'Who are you?'
Wilf: 'I'm Wilfred Mott.'
Doctor: 'No, people have waited hundreds of years to find me and then you manage it in a couple of hours.'
Doctor: 'I'm going to die.'
Wilf: 'Well so am I, one day.'
Doctor: 'Don't you dare.'
Wilf: 'All right, I'll try not to.'
Doctor: 'Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I'm dead.'
Wilf: 'She's making do.'
Doctor: 'Aren't we all?'
Doctor: 'I've been told that something is returning.'
The Master: 'And here I am.'
Doctor: 'No, something more.'
Donna: 'Are you shouting at thin air?'
Sylvia: 'Yes. Possibly. Yes.'
The Master: 'I like you.'
Naismith: 'Thank you.'
The Master: 'You'd taste great.'
Wilf: 'Oh my Lord. She's a cactus.'
The Master: 'My name... is the Master.'