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?