Doctor Who 4:12 (Spoilerama)


























The Stolen Earth

So Ten is killed by the Daleks eh? I guessed as much.

The Earth is stolen by Davros and transported into the Medusa Cascade along with 26 other planets, which the Doctor discovers operate as an engine when aligned correctly, when he visits the Shadow Proclamation for assistance in finding the Earth. The purpose of the engine isn’t revealed, nor is the reason for retaining the severed hand, and yes, I noticed that Donna still has something on her back (how much of this is really happening?). In revealing his presence to the Doctor, Davros calls himself Lord and Creator of ‘The Darkness’, which remains unidentified (and just how does Rose know about it?), whilst his Daleks invade the Earth. Davros is allied with Dalek Caan, who escaped New York in ‘Evolution of the Daleks‘ through a second temporal shift, except this one went right into the Time War itself, and he saved Davros. The Doctor says that’s impossible because the Time War is ‘time locked’ (the talent for seeing things as they are, should be and will be from ‘The Fires of Pompeii‘), except Caan has succeeded in breaking the unbreakable rules, and it’s driven him mad. Davros cloned the new Dalek race from himself, and it’s subjugating mankind.

Mankind in turn hasn’t been without help. Captain Jack and Torchwood, Sarah Jane and Luke and Martha and UNIT all work to find the Doctor, without whom they and the Earth are lost. Helpless, they’re contacted by Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister (they all know who she is), who has developed a sentient technology to contact the Doctors’s former companions simultaneously. She appears to pay with her life, but she succeeds in reaching them all. All but Rose – why? Rose meanwhile is walking around London with a really big gun, and rescues Donna’s mother and grandfather. Using Harriet Jones’ technology, they manage (all but Rose) to contact the Doctor who has also been trapped in the Medusa Cascade. They all converge on the arriving Tardis, and Rose gets there first. And in his rush to meet his lost love, Ten is killed by a Dalek. Regeneration time, but what will be the outcome?

A patchy episode, trying to juggle far to many ideas at the same time, although the formal crossovers with the spin-off series are very welcome, if a bit ham-fistedly written (a typical RTD failing). The big deux ex machina is a bit painful – Harriet Jones’ motivation is sound, but her timing is awfully convenient, and getting the technology from Mr Copper’s foundation (he of ‘Voyage of the Damned‘) is similarly awkward. Also the reused locations are an eyesore – the Shadow Proclamation in the same location as the finale of Torchwood’s ‘Dead Man Walking‘ and UNIT’s New York branch in one of the Adipose Industry’s offices from ‘Partners in Crime‘). But these are small quibbles, and I was genuinely moved by the Doctor and Rose’s brief reunion. There seems to be no way out of Gwen and Ianto dying. There seems to be no way out of Sarah Jane dying too, and there appears to be no way out of Ten regenerating into Eleven, or is there? What is ‘the Crucible’? What is the ‘Osterhagen key’? What is the purpose of the Doctor’s severed hand? What is ‘Bad Wolf’ really all about, and what’s the world engine really for? If Caan was able to re-enter the Time War, what’s to stop another player following suit? And who is Donna really? Very little revealed this week, and I don’t believe for a second that most of what we see is what is really happening. Something’s still on her back after all…

I’m going to guess: Ten’s regeneration goes wrong and causes the severed hand to generate a second Ten (and ‘prime’ Ten will regenerate as himself, which ‘The Doctor’s Daughter‘ has shown he can do), whatever’s on Donna’s back might still be an entity feeding off altered timelines – last week’s conclusion might have been both a red herring and a hint, which could make this the parallel reality which many have theorised since ‘Rose‘. Maybe she just has the Master’s ring. One player – Rose? Donna? Maybe one of the two Tens looks like they’ll go back in time and end the Time War properly. Given the constant tragedy affecting Ten and Rose, I’m guessing Rose will go back and undo even her’s and Nine’s first meeting, by restoring the timeline into how it should have been (hence the possible entity still on Donna’s back having something to feed off now ). Gallifrey will be restored, as will the other companions (Jack no longer immortal?), but the Bad Wolf will end up heroically giving Ten back what he needs even more desperately than her. Who’s been systematically blocking her though, and why?

24 responses to “Doctor Who 4:12 (Spoilerama)

  1. I thought Davros said “lord and creator of the Daleks”, not darkness. And Caan referred to the Doctor as the “three fold man” and “the dark lord” – just what is that all about.

    There’s a lot of threads to be tied up, and a lot of little mentions of things too – a planet that was part of the key to time, the Archangel drum beat when Harriet contacted the others. And the regeneration – that was a surprise. Though what will happen is anyone’s guess.

    Also, I thought that it was said that “there was something on your back” to Donna, along with the little sound of the beetle. Hmmm.

  2. Just checked and my quote was right – what it means is anyone’s guess right now. You’re right about the past tense with Donna, yet we hear the beetle sound anyway. Just what is going on with her?

    I know exactly what’s going to happen with the regeneration by the way, although not how it eventually resolves itself…

  3. I have an idea what might happen, but I’m not wanting to know, so I’ll be keeping clear of any further spec this week!

    Not sure what’s going on with Donna. She keeps maintaining she is Donna Noble, temp. Which, if you feel like following people looking for meaning in everything, could be translated into her being a lady of time… (Donna -> lady, temp -> time).

  4. Hahaha you really don’t want to be on this thread then. Few of my guesses are mere guesses…;)

    We know from ‘Turn Left’ that Donna has since birth had extraordinary power, and this week was described as ‘something new’. Is she a Time Lord? Did she steal the Master’s ring? I just don’t know. I don’t think it’s the latter – rumours have the ring being addressed at another time.

  5. Funny thing it would be, if Donna secretely carried an old hand watch, turned out to be Romana or The Rani…

    I’m all prepared for yet another Deus Ex Machina. The storyline is already too large, and played down anyway, not to afford it. I don’t mind a temporary regeneration, if there’s a reboot in the next episode, as there were at the end of last year. [Sigh!]

    I still look forward to find out who’ll be playing the short lived 11th.

    Wouldn’t it make a huge ending if 11th went in after Caan and Gallifrey were to come back?

  6. I wouldn’t rule out a final fob watch, no. But that would indeed add far too big a further element to an already crowded story, wouldn’t it? Then again who/what else could she be?

    I don’t know for sure, but Eleven doesn’t look like he’s happening this series. If he does, I suspect John Simm will play him, although I wouldn’t be very happy with that. Rumour has it the Master’s return is going to be delayed to the specials next year anyway.

    I think Rose and one of the Doctors will find concrete proof that the Time War was ended in a way which made the reality of the relaunched series yet another alternate, parallel universe. And they’ll go back and fix it, which will give the Doctor Gallifrey back, yet wipe the slate clean for him, and somehow curse them never to be together.

  7. I just watched the episode a third time. And found a whopping clue, Donna’s ring …

  8. You could be right, she is wearing one for a change, but it’s the first time this season I think. The bigger clue I suspect is the casual reintroduction of Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister. She contradicts herself about the detectability of the sub-wave network, casually says it was developed for her by the Mr Copper Foundation (awfully convenient – did she know this was coming?) and where did she go after the Doctor caused her downfall? They were hardly allies anymore after she used Torchwood London to murder the Sycorax…I’m going out on an limb and going to guess Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister has the ring.

  9. I noticed a ring and the wife mentioned one too. Didnt someone pick up the masters ring last series? We’re on the thrid viewing now too.

  10. Hmm. I’ve noticed Donna wearing big rings a few times this series, but its hard to follow up since they’re never up close to the camera that much. I might be wrong, of course, it’s Doctor Who, anything can happen, but you could easily conceal another ring inside some of hers. And well… when she went in her own little world there was definatly something resembling a drum beat then. Agh, I hate 3-part episodes. I can’t wait long enough!

  11. Hmm hang on (sorry to double comment and all) but since birth? Maybe it was Donna’s mam who picked up the ring. I’m just widely speculating now and getting a bit far-fetched. It’s probably totally ridiculous but you never know… Like I said before it’s Doctor Who. I must admit I’ve heard madder.

  12. There is always the chance that Donna is the Doctors daughter…

    LOL not that i think they would go there. still haven’t seen this one but if Donna keeps declaring herself a “temp” i think it’s safe to say that her form will change

  13. if Donna keeps declaring herself a “temp” i think it’s safe to say that her form will change

    Now that makes perfect sense. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a good account of how Donna’s story ends, but not at all how she gets there.

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  15. Hi cosmodaddy. Just to briefly go back to your original posting, are you really hearing that line as “…Davros, lord and creator of the darkness”. Because maybe my ears are playing tricks on me, but I’ve listened to the line three times and I’m as certain as I can be that he’s saying “…Davros, lord and creator of the Dalek race”. Obviously his softly spoken mechanical rasp (nice job there by the way) doesn’t help but anyway…

  16. @ BigEnos – I know I wasn’t the only person to have trouble hearing dialogue properly this episode – the production problems were a big distraction on first watching, and I probably expected ‘…of the Daleks’ – you’re probably right.

    As far as Donna goes, the speculation I’ve seen this week is starting to make sense out of her. ‘I’m just a temp’ is a clue – a huge one. She’ll be some form of ‘key’ (like Dawn in ‘Buffy’, which RTD constantly swipes from), created by the Doctor, the Master, the Time Lords or another player for the Bad Wolf scenario. It seems likely she’ll sacrifice herself upon realising this to lock Davros into the Medusa Cascade, and Ten will be so outraged that he’ll do what Caan did and go back and remaster his timeline to prevent her death. Jack can then wipe her mind with Torchwood technology, allowing a happy but non-superheroic future for Donna.

    What do other people think? It would join a few more dots, but not explain definitively why the ‘Doctor-split’ happens. Maybe that really is for the Master’s benefit, and Donna, as his creation, turns on him?

  17. I think it’s worth remembering just how wily RTD is at teasing expectation, often quite subtly before confounding it. He seems to sew ‘false hints’ in with the real ones to keep fans guessing. For example, from this years trailers, how many of us suspected that Miss Foster would be the Rani (given the genetics angle and shots of her waving a sonic screwdriver around) or that the unseen beetle would be a Metabelius spider? That was clearly the intention and it’s great fun guessing. Another thing I like about RTD’s treatment is the in-jokes. Just his episode the Doctor referred to The Dalek Invasion of Earth (moving the Earth had been tried before, a long time ago), which incidentally featured none other than Bernard Cribbins in the Peter Cushing movie version…Delicious! Anyway, mainly I’m looking forward to seeing if they can satisfactorily write themselves out of the cliffhanger…

  18. Just been looking at pics of the first doctor and he is wearing a ring… and it looks a better match for the one Donna has than the Master’s!…

  19. I don’t think that Donna ‘has’ something on her back – I think that the Shadow Proclamation woman said she ‘had’ something on her back past tense.

  20. BTW – I would rather Donna went out in a blaze of glory than lived a life on non-consequence having had her memories of time travel wiped – what an anti-climax that would be – let her stay a hero

  21. Oh yes, that’s very true. She did say it as past tense, but the beetle’s ‘sound’ from the previous week was definitely there too. I doubt it was anything other than a red herring though – I do hope not. I also hope the Master isn’t there, although ‘fixing’ last year’s anti-climax *would* be a parting kindness of RTD, so who knows?

  22. Rose absorbed the Time Vortex, Captain Jack was made near-immortal by her, Donna has been emitting strange power readings ‘since birth’ – all three are with the doctor in the middle of an unexpected regeneration. I don’t think that is a coincidence – not sure what will happen, but I think that Rose, Jack and Donna are all unknown quantities.

  23. Looking at it like that I suspect you’re on to something. As many subplots as RTD currently has running, he never goes down the path of weaving them into a super-massive story where they all play a part. The Master might be a red herring, but there’s every possibility that we’re going to riff JMS’ grand idea for his ‘Thor’ relaunch at Marvel. When the Time War ended, and the Doctor destroyed them and Gallifrey, they sent their essences out throughout the universe, which could be awakened. The Master simply ran and fob-watched himself into safety at the end of the universe, but where are the rest? Donna? Jack? Rose?

    As I discussed with a friend last night, the fact that Rose was avoiding the Doctor in person and ultimately got Donna to invoke ‘Bad Wolf’ (which got the cloister bell to go off) is also significant and maybe connected. Why did Rose know about the universal barriers breaking down and not the Doctor? Why was she shadowing him, with the occasional transmissions to him being blocked? Has she been trying to awaken Donna all along?

    For that matter why has there been this recurring theme with changing the timeline into a form without the Doctor? We don’t know who was really behind the attack on Donna in ‘Turn Left’ or what their purpose really was. Davros? I doubt it. Particularly if RTD really is riffing DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths’, the real ‘Darkness’ would have to be far more substantial. Someone along the lines of a ‘Dark Rassilon’.

  24. One of the themes I like through all of the crossovers is the fact that they are creating lots of different kinds of life – not just all ‘time lord’ or ‘human companion’ but a whole variety – so Rose is Badwolf – Jack is immortal – Donna is ‘something new’ – Sarah Jane Smith’s son is a clone (is that right?) – Owen was ‘dead man walking’ – only poor Dr Jones is left out – she is just normal human. So I think that it is a running theme that RTD likes to think up new quirky ways of people being different – rather than making them all Timelords.

    The way I read it is this, with the Timlords gone, the rules of the universe are a bit looser so we get all sorts of unusual anomalies. But maybe they are all going somewhere.

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