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“Welcome to the end of the world” Apr 03

Last night was The End of the World.

On first viewing, I thought it was excellent but it didn’t really engage me. I’ve watched it again today and enjoyed it much more.

Billie Piper continues to shine as Rose. The use of Britney’s Toxic as incidental music worked surprisingly well – disappointing they didn’t opt for Because We Want To though. We’ll have to wait and see whether Toxic and Tainted Love are cleared for the DVD release.

The opening titles worked much better than on Rose. Following the recap and teaser worked really well. The Doctor’s bicycle pump in the TARDIS scene has, of course, caused controversy amongst some of the loonier fan element. I just thought it was fantastically vulgar and one of many fun scenes throughout the episode.

The aliens were very well realised, especially Jabe who Yasmin Bannerman made absolutely real. Cassandra was wonderfully silly, although you can debate until the cows come home how a stretched piece of skin could have a voice. And was it just me, or did Rose appear to shout “Stop f*cking about!” at one point? The Doctor’s reply – “I’m not mucking about!” – implies she didn’t…

I did have some quibbles, though. The story is set up as a whodunnit but it doesn’t achieve that. It can’t in 45 minutes – that’s why shows like Midsomer Murders and Inspector Morse are feature length. Consequently, the villain turns out to be one of only two aliens with any real depth.

Why don’t Cassandra’s moisturising sidekicks return with her if the Doctor is simply reversing the teleport device? Why don’t the other monsters leave the room to avoid being crisped? And why is the platform’s reboot switch cut off at the end of a fan room?

The Doctor appears to use the force to pass the last fan – rather more Buffy than Doctor Who. More annoyingly, if he’d rushed past the fan blades when he had the chance a few moments earlier, he could’ve got to the switch much more easily. A bit unsatisfying dramatically.

My biggest gripe, though, was the Doctor’s treatment of Cassandra. He treats her pretty callously. Murderer or not, this didn’t work for me, although other fans I’ve discussed it with weren’t bothered by it at all. Hopefully this is the sort of thing Billie Piper was referring to in interviews when she talked about educating him and will be part of his character’s development in the remaining episodes.

Those issues aside, though, this was still one of the technically most accomplished episodes of Doctor Who ever. Visually magnificent, funny and real, it continues to bode well for the rest of the series.

5 Responses

  1. 1

    It does get better with further viewings. I’ve seen it three times now – due to different family members watching it at different times – and only caught some lines the third run through.

    They are clearly building the Doctor as a darker character this time, following the destruction of the the Time Lords and gallifrey in some inter-galactic war. I suspect there will be more of that later.

    As others have suggested the test of this series will be whether it catches the imagination of children. My little boy, Jimmy, arrived back from school the other day with a pile of drawings which he described to me as ‘these are the good monsters who help the Doctor and these are the bad monsters who fight the Doctor’.

    I suspect it is going to be a hit;-)

  2. Yeah, but who did they lose the war with? The only candidates have to be Daleks or humans (assuming they’re not the same thing; and Cassandra shows that they’re not). Now does he make more sense?

  3. 3

    If it’s the Daleks, I guess we’ll find out before long…

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