Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 3/21/19 1:49 pm
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The Doctor Who fanbase is a broad church covering many generations (and regenerations!) and so tastes and viewpoints vary a lot. It is a pity, I think, when people dig themself in to a particular viewpoint and shut themself off to enjoying parts of the show. Some refuse to listen to audio adventures because they feel they HAVE to have visuals, some cannot enjoy classic Who because they see it as 'old and dated' and some cannot appreciate new TV episodes. I think that is a shame. I strongly dislike obsessions repeatedly pushed in much of Steven Moffatt's era - illogical resolutions which destroy storylines for those who question them, hugely frequent fake deaths of main characters, trying to make out the Doctor is morally wrong in his behaviour - but I watch every Moffatt era story open minded and looking to enjoy it so I am able to love numerous episodes and rate them 10/10 even though episodes in between might fall to 4 or 5/10 when elements I dislike take over. I also found the 6th and early 7th Doctor's seasons very disappointing but I always looked for positives and totally embraced the complete turnaround in McCoy's era when Season 26 was brilliant. In my opinion there are some fans who are closed off to enjoying all New Series episodes and others who are closed off to certain Doctor's eras whether it is Jodie Whittaker, Capaldi, Smith or whatever.
Many fans are more open minded and in the ratings for this episode there are hardly any ridiculously low ratings which is good to see but it has a lot of lukewarm ratings which I think is still a bit unfair. It gets rated less highly by some for being over the top and for its resolution where bad events on Earth are conveniently wiped from ever happening. If those criticising judge The Big Bang, The Wedding of River Song and numerous other stories as harshly then they are showing some consistency but, for me, this story is way better than those examples as the resolution is logical in the context of the story as opposed to the illogical contrivances of many Moffatt stories. Yes the events on Earth are undone but the whole story features the Master using a Paradox Machine and the destruction of that logically means that events after the paradox began cease to exist. It makes sense. I still feel all the horrifying events shown retain most of their strength and impact despite the fact they get wiped from ever happening. When watching the impact of the Master and the Toclafane on Earth it is hugely dramatic and dark. To show such events so well was hugely impressive but to maintain those events as happening and continue with a decimated Earth for all future stories is unrealistic. To have a story featuring a paradox machine allowing a logical reset was, I think, clever and perfectly well executed.
As well as the dark and scary themes this episode also still has some funny humour, brilliant acting in all the main roles, superb dialogue, moving scenes and high standards of direction and production. My only real complaint is the way they depict the Doctor being aged into a small withered figure with out of proportion head and eyes. I would happily do a George Lucas and superimpose a better version with modern graphics over the top of the original effects haha.
All in all this is mostly great.
This episode - 9/10, The Sound of Drums - 10/10, Overall 2-part story - 9.5/10.
New Series 3 Review:
Series 3 started strongly with a few very good episodes before dipping with 3 less successful episodes with the 2 part Dalek story and The Lazarus Experiment. After that there was a run of such high quality that rivals the best of any era of the show. A simply amazing run of great episodes up to an excellent, if very slightly less perfect finale. A great season that is in my all time top 10 seasons.
Average season rating - 9/10.