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< 4.16 - The Waters of Mars
5.1 - The Eleventh Hour >

4.17 - The End of Time

Rating Votes
10
6%
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10
8
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16
7
13%
17
6
20%
25
5
9%
12
4
11%
14
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2
2%
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1
14%
18
Average Rating
5.7
Votes
127
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/15/17 10:04 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

There has never been a harder regeneration story than The End of Time. Whilst every regeneration story has to provide a fitting send-off for its departing Doctor, not only did this one have to write out one of the most popular Doctors of all time but it also had the job of creating a fond farewell for what was considered by many as a golden era of the show. Russell T Davies had a gigantic job ahead of him and it is testament to his writing ability that he managed to write something that seems like a strong send-off for both David Tennant's Doctor and his era of the show.

The End of Time's two episodes may resemble one full story but it can be argued both tell completely different narratives. Whilst The End of Time Part One is more focused on Joshua Naismith's (David Harewood) plan to give his daughter Abigail (Tracy Ifeachor) the 'gift' of immortality with help from the Master (John Simm) and stolen Torchwood technology called 'the Immortality Gate', The End of Time Part Two shifts the focus onto the Time Lords' (lead by Timothy Dalton's Rassilon) return and their plan to achieve it via the drums in the Master's head and the Three-Point Star. It is clever the way Russell T Davies splits the narrative up in this way as it prevents a problem that can occur in some two-part stories, where the first part is nothing more than a prequel to the events of part two.

There are some obvious plot holes in the story, such as how the Master gains his weird blue beam powers, but who cares when it's this much fun? The End of Time is basically like your Summer movie blockbuster: it's made to be entertaining and not to be a story that's picked apart. As much as those of us in the Whovian fandom like to think otherwise, Doctor Who isn't Shakespeare or Dickens. It isn't going to be analysed by English professors years into the future. It's just intended to be Saturday primetime fun around the sofa. And The End of Time IS fun. Who cares why the Master's powers aren't explained? Do we need an explanation for anything? Why can't we just enjoy Doctor Who like we enjoy a movie blockbuster at the cinema? Picking apart the plot holes is sometimes what spoils the fun of simply relaxing and watching a piece of television.

Russell T Davies was clearly having a lively time writing this story and it is clear that he has taken inspiration from the Marvel films. The 10th Doctor's initial confrontation with the Master in the wasteland could easily have been something from Thor: in this case, with the Doctor (David Tennant) as Thor and the Master being the nearest equivalent to Loki. It is an extremely well-directed and choreographed stand-off that has a certain gravitas to it. There really couldn't have been a better choice to direct David Tennant's final story than Euros Lyn. He has directed some of the show's best episodes including Silence In The Library (which he won the BAFTA Cymru award for) and The Girl In The Fireplace. Euros Lyn clearly knows exactly how to direct Doctor Who and the combination of Russell T Davies and Euros works perfectly.

Talking of well-directed scenes, the scene where the Doctor confronts Rassilon with a gun is in my opinion one of Doctor Who's most iconic scenes. It is full of drama and tension; it is so expertly written by Russell T Davies that as the audience you literally question whether the Doctor will shoot either the Master or Rassilon dead despite this incarnation's hatred of guns. It is definitely one of the show's most powerful scenes and a great example of one where the Doctor's morality is questioned: as Rassilon puts it, will the 10th Doctor's last act before 'death' be murder? Will he really go that far? Russell T Davies doesn't stray from asking powerful questions like this during a show kids will be watching and Doctor Who is all the better for it.

Many complain about the 'farewell tour' (a scene where the Doctor visits his companions and the great-granddaughter of past love interest Joan Redfern (Jessica Hynes) during his time in the TARDIS) but personally I didn't mind it. It felt like a nice way to celebrate the end of Doctor Who's golden era and the 10th Doctor's regeneration story wouldn't have felt right without Captain Jack (John Barrowman) appearing, given how prominent he had been during David Tennant's run. Nothing in the farewell tour detracts in any shape or form from the narrative anyway; it doesn't leave any kind of impact on the story and I am glad for its inclusion. The Russell T Davies era deserved this kind of celebration; the show may never return to the excellent ratings the RTD era produced, especially with catch-up services becoming the way many now watch television.

Without a doubt The End of Time for me features the best regeneration scene Doctor Who has ever seen. The way David Tennant utters the line 'I don't want to go' is utterly heart-breaking and I dare anyone to try and watch it without shedding a few tears. If this were a movie, David Tennant would have been nominated for a 'Best Actor' Oscar purely for this moment; it is comparable, if not better than Anne Hathaway's I Dreamed A Dream or Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. David Tennant without a doubt gives his best performance as the 10th Doctor in this story and you feel the pain this incarnation is going through when he wants to stick with his current incarnation a bit longer.

The emotion is only heightened with Murray Gold's brilliant score. Vale Decem is the best piece of music beside the theme tune that has ever been composed for Doctor Who and again, had this been a film I suspect it would have been nominated for an Oscar. It would certainly have deserved an Oscar anyway. 'Vale Decem' literally translates in latin to 'Farewell Ten' and that's exactly what it feels like: a fond farewell. A sad goodbye. This is the end but the moment has been prepared for. I enjoyed this piece of music so much that I bought the television soundtrack and the Specials soundtrack still remains the only Doctor Who orchestra music I own.

I can't talk about the regeneration without mentioning Matt Smith. Matt Smith was so great in his first appearance at the end of the regeneration sequence that he sold me from the word 'legs'. He oozes a natural eccentricity that feels suitably Doctor-ish and helps to establish just who this Doctor is. Unlike Peter Capaldi's (who I think is a great Doctor) debut in Time of the Doctor, you feel like you know this Doctor right from the off and suddenly he no longer seems too young (as many had complained at the time). Sure, he has a youthful energy about him but he seems like the same ancient Time Lord we know and love. It's definitely the best regeneration introduction of a new Doctor the show has ever and will ever see. Matt Smith simply was the Doctor right from the start.

One person who threatens to steal the show is Bernard Cribbins. Bernard Cribbins is extremely loveable as Donna's grandfather Wilfred Mott and it is a shame he never got a complete series in the TARDIS alongside the 10th Doctor. I love his grandfatherly relationship with this incarnation of the Doctor and could easily watch thirteen episodes of it. It's a shame that the show seems to think it always needs to introduce a young female companion; why can't we have an old gentleman for a change? If Big Finish could feature Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe as a companion before her untimely death, then why can't the TV series have Bernard Cribbins join the Doctor in the TARDIS? It feels like a massive missed opportunity that Russell T Davies never thought to include Wilf as companion for an entire series; hopefully one day he can come back and travel with a future Doctor.

The End of Time also features some of the best special effects from the VFX production company of the time 'The Mill'. The Master's blue skeleton skull and the Immortality Gate for example would not look out of place in a Hollywood movie. They are spectacular special effects and add to the feeling that The End of Time was perhaps made on a bigger budget than usual. For me it took until 2013's Day of the Doctor to top the special effects in this story, which is a testament to the production crew of 2009 that they made something with effects that look better than those in stories ranging from 2010-2013.

Overall, The End of Time is a fantastic send-off for both David Tennant and Russell T Davies. It feels like a big-budget Hollywood movie and is therefore great fun to watch, even if some would point out various plot holes present in the story. David Tennant gives a performance that would be worthy of an Oscar had this story been a big Hollywood production and Euros Lyn does an amazing job of directing one of the show's most epic and action-packed finales. This story is also notable for featuring some of Doctor Who's best special effects. If you've never watched Doctor Who but like the Marvel movies, then this would likely be a good starting point for you. Otherwise I would probably start from an earlier episode in the RTD Era like Rose or The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. The End of Time is definitely more than worth your time though; who cares about plot holes when the story is this much fun?
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
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6
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Reviewed By: biggerontheinsideReview Date: 1/21/17 10:29 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I quite like this story, although the plot was a bit silly and the Master's new powers are completely out of the blue.
We finally get some context about the Time War and what pushed the Doctor to end it all in the end. There are also some great emotional moments with Wilf and the Doctor. Overall I felt it was a fitting end to David Tennant's era.

I have a bit of a problem with the regeneration though. I can't help but compare it to the Fifth's, as both Doctors sacrifice for their companion. However, whereas the Fifth didn't even think about it, the Tenth was really a whiny baby and it seems even considered letting Wilf die. It's made even worse by the fact that Five didn't even know if he would regenerate.
From the Reviewer:
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Reviewed By: AbortedFoetusReview Date: 1/11/16 4:15 am
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

I'm leaving the acting/ performances, plot, soundscape/ambience and replay value unticked as they're not the aspects of the story I disliked. Firstly the plot is easily one of the worst things to ever stem from the doctor who logo, the acting from the cast is okay, but the script is appalling, the dialogue is tripe, Wilf is good in this one. Everything looks nice. however nothing else is that good. Donna was wasted, 2 hours and 15 minutes of boredom. 2 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES??? REALLY!!?? The regenration itself is 20 minutes of self indulgent boring crybaby crap and I hated how he left a bitter taste in the mouths of audience welcoming the 11th doctor. Matt Smith is fantastic but all the fangirls hate him because he's not David Tennant and he's not crying.... ehrhhh

The Master is at his worst. (beside when it's michelle gomez) as he's given flying powers and lighting like the emperor from star wars for no reason. He turns into a skeleton and eats people because... reason... it has nothing to do with the plot, it's just there. The Time Lords are underused like mad and are really boring. I hated around 90% of the episode. The reason why it's a one/ten not a 0. is because at some points David Tennant shines through the terrible script and there are a few parts where the doctor shows glimpses of a darker side to himself which I liked.. however he's really unlikable all around and I get mad whenever I see how much praise his regeneration gets. It's not a good one. There's a character who appears randomly and we're told OUTSIDE OF THE STORY that it's the doctors mother.. but inside of the story, it means nothing. She's the biggest plot device and breaks the fourth wall. The story is hilariously bad.

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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 5/15/15 1:12 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Tenth Doctor's final story is a messy one about the Master and the return of the Time Lords. There's so much in this story that doesn't work or is odd like John Simms' over the top performance as the Master and a plot that's silly even by the silly science standards of Doctor Who, and is convoluted. The story also has the Doctor make a final visit to his companions (and in one case to the granddaughter of someone who was a guest star in Season 3). The big problem with this is that it's specialness is that the former companions all came back in "Stolen Earth/Journey to the End." To be fair, "The End of Time" a mere three weeks after watching "Journey to the End" rather than the 18 months that the original audience waited, but other than the original audience, no one else was going to wait 18 months. The story was full of plot contrivances and conveniences that were a tad too obvious.

What worked in this story were the character moments. Bernard Cribbens was superb as Wilfred Mott and Tennant had so many great emotional moments. Tennant had some solid memorable and iconic moments such as his final allonsy and the moment he explains the end of the Time War to the Master. Overall, this was a fitting conclusion for a Doctor whose stories were far more character-driven than his predecessors. We did get some good insights into the Time War and the Doctor's decision to end that war by destroying Time Lord and Dalek alike. great memorable moments including his It had its strengths, but this was a story that was hampered by Russell T Davies tendency to use huge concepts but have limited success in actually implementing them in a thoroughly satisfying fashion on the screen.