Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 3/12/15 3:27 am
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The Doctor and Rose take their first trip in the TARDIS and it sends them to year 5 billion where it's the world quite literally. The Earth is uninhabited and nature is at last taking its course and Earth is dying. Everything dies, the Doctor tells Rose.
After the mostly Earth-based opener with some effects that were less than spectacular, the End of the World shows the practical effects the new series was capable of and it shows some very vibrant designs.
For Rose, the story affords her chance to explorer her decision to travel with the Doctor and clearly she's processing a lot as she deals with being at the end of the World and meeting the "last human", Cassandra who has become a grotesque parody of humanity.Rose's disgust at Cassandra seemed to challenge her own perceptions. Rose's own awkwardness with alien is challenged by Cassandra's contempt for them. In some ways, the episode seems to be pushing Rose towards expanding her definition of who "people" are to include aliens and a wide variety of lifeforms which is an odd focus given how few of these she runs into.
The story established the darker tone of this first series as the Doctor lets a villain perish, just because everything dies, everything ends. In RTD's world, Earth dies with a whimper and "pure" humanity that refuses to adapt become Cassandra.
It's also a very odd question as to why the Doctor chose this time. The stated reason that he was trying to show up how far the TARDIS would go was lame. Did he want Rose to see the destruction of her world so some other being would understand what he had seen or at least part of it? Was he trying to take her somewhere to see if she'd stay to test her? In the aftermath of the Time War, does he think a "natural death" like Earth is slated to get is a happy ending? And there are other options.
On the other hand, the realization of the villain and the motive is weak. This wouldn't be the last time Russell T. Davies presented us with a fantastic crime committed for the most pedestrian of reasons.
While the series featured lots of guest characters and aliens, there was rarely a sense of the alieness of any of them (and the only interesting one was Jabe), Davies instead extrapolated 21st century trends for parody purposes which seemed to clash with the darker themes of this season.
Overall, a decent second outing for the 9th Doctor that says the stage for future events.