Saturday, 5 July 2008

Time we said goodbye

…of course, nobody really thought he was regenerating, did they? Still, that ‘regeneration energy’ business struck Team Watcher as slight swizz, as if Rassilon’s great gift to the Time Lords - a complete cellular remix, but only when strictly necessary - was little more than the recipe for a pick-me-up, like Lucozade.

That said, it only registered a 4.4 on the ‘Naaaaaah!’ scale from the voters on the sofa; the Daleks’ temporal prison round the TARDIS got a six, while Jackie ‘Flippin’’ Tyler’s return got a nine, plus four for her gun. Honestly.

No, here’s the thing: at least the non-regeneration had a sort of purpose, and linked to the spare hand, which was in the first Tennant story, and later reunited him with Jack, and was used by the Master last season, and so brought a kind of… well, one hesitates to use the phrase ‘organic unity’, but… brought a kind of organic unity to proceedings. We were in the tonal rough and tumble of Russell T Davies’s masterplan, but at least things had been thought through.

Although there are the stand-alone specials to come, this really felt like the end of the RTD era, too - flashing back, wrapping up, signing off. One always worries about the extra-long eps, especially after last year’s season-closer, and the one with the… (shudders) Scissor… Sisters… bit…, but this time it wasn’t just for gorging, trumping and exploding (although there was plenny o’ that), a blow-out for the big man.

Rather, there was space for characters we’ve come to really love - yes, we’re looking at you, Donna Noble - to step forward and shine. And nice as it was to see all the old faces, if any more fellow travellers had come back they’d have needed another TARDIS; time too, for some real goodbyes, and a clearing of the console room.

Having rebooted Rose, and risked devaluing all the emotional capital invested in 2006’s Bad Wolf Bay parting (no, it’s all right, it’s just something in my eye), it was brave to go back - and it worked beautifully. It’s odd to think of that one-hearted Doctor and Rose really together, but it’s right, too. If RTD wants his cake after he’s eaten it, let him. Somebody get him another cake!

But if Rose brought the Doctor back to life, he brought Donna alive. Has any companion suffered a crueller fate than she? To see new worlds, expand her mind, save the universe, save reality - and then have it all, even the memories, snatched away, rubbed out like the stars were.

Forget your lovey-dovey stuff, that is yer actual A-grade heavy, RTD creating a fate genuinely worse than the show’s oldest friend, death. And it was all there from the start, the clues about lost worlds, rubbed-out reality… Donna had every world at her feet, and it was taken away; she lost the universe, her better self stolen. Gulp.

All brilliantly played, needless to say; the performances this time round make season four (or 30 if you prefer, ye olde Whovians) the best of the new series, we’re saying. Tennant outstanding, of course, his efforts lifted and matched by Tate’s range and energy; love the moments when they riff on each other, he gawping and wide-eyed, she rabbiting and brilliant-ing and uncheckable. It’s a real shame it had to end.

But things do, don’t they? This has! Your correspondent toyed with a Bonekickers blog but… well, our hearts just weren’t in it. And then they flagged up that new BBC Merlin thing, didn’t they, and we suddenly remembered that in one of the Doctor Who spin-off books he, the Doctor, sort of was Merlin - with ginger hair! - only it was a future projection of an alternative Doctor, and then it didn’t happen like that because of the TV Movie, so the timelines changed and then…

Ah, but I can see you’ve already stopped reading. I know that look.

See you at Christmas, then (or when they officially reveal Paul McGann is coming back; same thing!).


Anonymous said...

Having not read any of your previous blogs until now (having only very recently found myself hooked into blogs!) ... Reading the first paragraph of this most recent entry first, I was expecting some revelation about local politics/politicians!

Being a Dr Who follower I quickly realised it wasn't regeneration in political terms you were introducing here ... (although I 'm sure the same paragraph could be applied to that very process here in Nottingham)... and despite being a bit of a Dr Who fan I can't help feeling a little disappointed...

Anonymous said...

So. Matt Smith. Your thoughts Watcher?