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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Journey’s End”

(tons of spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: Episode 12: “The Stolen Earth”)

Whew. After all that agitta, and a week’s worth of wondering what the hell new torture Russell Davies had concocted for us — the Doctor cannot regenerate! (can he?) — the not-regeneration scene was a little rushed, a little anticlimactic, wasn’t it? They seem to think so, too:


Oh, hey, and when I said, two episodes back, that this new Rose seems wiser… well, I was wrong. What the hell is wrong with her, anyway? Bad enough that she doesn’t even kiss the Doctor after the heartrending trauma of 1) losing him, 2) finding him again only to, 3) watch him get shot by a Dalek, and then 4) believe that he’s about to regenerate, and 5) finding oneself flooded with relief that the Doctor she knows and loves is back and actually in her arms:

How do you restrain yourself from kissing him in this situation?

Bad enough, that, but then there’s this:

= “We’ve been building this travel machine, this dimension cannon so I could come back.” –Rose
= (the Doctor giggles in apparent delight that she went to such lengths to find her way back to him)
= “Shut. Up.” –Rose, like she’s 12 years old and cannot countenance the fact that she’s attracted to someone, or that he might be atttracted to her

Could she have had a more immature reaction to the fact that he’s thrilled that she wanted to come back? I doubt it. And hey, why does she even hesitate to tell him she’s been trying to come back? She’s still a child, it seems.

I’ve been turning it over and over in my head, how the Doctor treats Rose at the episode’s end — dumping her in the alternate universe with a faux pseudo Doctor who’s probably going to drink himself to death out of the boredom of being stuck in one place and time — and I can only think: She deserves it. She has proven she wasn’t really worthy of him, and that all she’s able to handle is a crippled, half-human “Doctor.”

But of course, I hate the Doctor too, for not being brave enough to take on Rose again, in the full knowledge of where their relationship would have had to go now. I hate him to chickening out and abandoning Rose — not to mention this faux half-Doctor. But he was always, always going to leave her, he’s told as as much himself, and I predicted it:

“How long you gonna stay with me?” the Doctor asked Rose. “Forever,” she replies. Except we know — we know — he would have dumped her eventually like he dumped Sarah Jane. Oh, he would have made some excuse, lied to himself, even, to justify the dumping, to make it into something other than him dumping her (like he did with Sarah Jane). But he would have done it.

That was after the decision was taken out of his hands, in “Doomsday,” hence my conditional language, but now that the decision is back in his hands, he goes through with the dumping of her.

This may be the worst possible ending I could imagine for Rose: left with an approximation of the Doctor. “He’s not you,” Rose says, and she’s right. She’s getting the leftovers, and he — the Doctor-clone — is getting a raw deal, too. (If the clone “thinks like” the actual Doctor, then there’ s no way in hell he’s gonna be happy stuck in one location in spacetime, even with Rose.) The Doctor condemns him for being, basically, exactly the same as he, the Doctor himself, was not that long ago. And I get that the Doctor doesn’t want to face that again, but still… harsh. Very very harsh.

(I talked about a lot of the Doctor-clone stuff in the comments here, and ditto the Donna stuff coming up.)

But, man, talk about terrible endings. I’d previously thought that the worst possible ending for Donna would be that she, who had gleefully believed that she was gonna travel with the Doctor forever, would experience something so terrible in the course of adventuring with the Doctor — maybe her grandfather’s death — that she would realize that she could not, in fact, travel with him forever. But I was wrong. This is worse. If she had made the conscious choice to leave him, however painful it would have been, however much she would have mourned the loss of more extraordinary experiences with him, she would at least have had her memories. And she would at least have remained the changed person — the changed-for-the-better person — she had become with him. But even that is lost. And I don’t think it’s much consolation to say that, Well, at least she doesn’t know what she’s lost. The universe knows what she’s lost — the universe knows what it has lost. Potential has been squandered. That is a terrible crime.

And wow: I love Catherine Tate even more. Look how different she looks as changed-Donna:

and regressed-Donna:

That’s some badass acting. (Plus: Donna’s “You’re naked”? Brilliant. She’s a treasure.)

That’s true of David Tennant, too, who looks different as the Doctor-clone. (Tennant and Tate imitating each other? “Oy, watch it, spaceman!” “Oy, watch it, Earth girl!” Oy, glory.) And when he’s shaking with rage as Davros is fucking with him. Nice writing here, on Russell’s part, with all the levels of stuff happening: “Just think how many have died in your name,”Davros taunts, but all those people died to save others, they sacrificed themselves to save others, not even to save the Doctor necessarily (though some did). It’s not entirely false to say, as Davros does, that “the man who abhors violence, never carrying a gun… [has] take[n] ordinary people and fashion[ed] them into weapons.” But the intent of the Doctor’s actions, as Davros has interpreted them, is wrong. (Surely Davros recalls that the Doctor did in fact once hold a gun on him, and couldn’t use it.) Not that that stops Davros’s words from worming their way into the Doctor’s soul. Dalek Kaan predicted that “the Doctor’s soul will be revealed,” yet it’s not so much the Doctor’s actual soul as wha the Doctor believes his soul to be. Davros has — inadvertently, or perhaps deliberately — honed in on the guilt the Doctor feels about, well, his whole life.

And still the Doctor wants to save Davros. You have to wonder what is going on in the Gallifreyan noggin of his. What does he think he’ll do with Davros? Lock him away in the TARDIS, like he planned to do with the Master, and babysit him forever?

It just occurs to me that the reason — the real reason — the Doctor leaves everyone behind, eventually, is because he can’t bear to see their innocence sullied, can’t bear to see them transformed, at least in his mind, into the killers Davros pegs them as. And so he’s alone again:

and almost more alone than he’s ever been before. Perhaps because of what Sarah Jane said to him: “You’ve got the biggest family on Earth!” Except he doesn’t, and that’s by his own choice. He seems more aware of that now, and that he may never be able to remedy it.

Random thoughts on “Journey’s End”:

• The Daleks screaming, “Exterminate, exterminate!” in German? Awesome.

• Hmm… Somehow, this:

makes me think, “The galaxy is on Orion’s belt”…

• Did Harriet Jones have something to do with the Osterhagen Key? It’s pretty much the ultimate “how to cope with really bad aliens in the absence of the Doctor” thing, so it seems she must have…

• So Dalek Kaan has been manipulating the timelines, has he? “I have seen the end of everything Dalek, and you must make it happen, Doctor,” Kaan says. I really do hope this is the end of the Daleks: it’s time for some new stories and new villains.

• The Daleks are going to destroy all reality? And then what? It’s one thing to want to rule over everything, but who wants to rule over nothing? (“We will become the only lifeforms in existence”? What fun will that be?)

• “You are connected to the TARDIS — now feel it die,” the Dalek says, but Doctor seems surprised when it shows up later. What did he actually feel? Did he not know that the TARDIS wasn’t destroyed? Cuz that would be, um, interesting…

• Boy, Earth sure gets rattled on the tow home, doesn’t it? Is every vase on the planet now broken? And there was no reset button — this happened, and it affected the whole planet, and everyone knows it:

This must get worked into upcoming stories: there’s no denying that the whole paradigm of humanity’s understanding of its place in the universe has changed, drastically. Or will everyone think this was merely hallucinogenic drugs put in the water by terrrorists? I hope not. Yes, it moves the world of the show further away from our own, but that could make for some intriguing new dramatic possibilities, too.

• Great quote:

“Three Doctors?” –Rose
“I can’t tell you what I’m thinkin’ right now.” –Jack
(Oh, but we know, Jack. We know.)

(next: Season 4a, Episode 1: “The Next Doctor”)


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
tv buzz
  • Ryan H

    I really don’t have a lot to add. I love this episode for the emotional truths it speaks about the Doctor and his world. Just wanted to keep up the reputation of your rabid stalker Who posters.

  • Karen R

    Random Thoughts:

    I add that awesome lovely moment when Donna’s grandfather bounces the ball he’s holding off the top of his head as they celebrate the return of the Sun. Absolutely frackin’ awesome.

    Also, Martha Jones’ mother hiding under the table.

    I was reading some of the comments from the Brits over at Television without Pity after they saw this episode a couple of weeks ago and was a little surprised at how much many of them disliked it. They felt they’d been robbed on all fronts — Rose and the faux Dr. Donna and her fate. Many were quite disappointed. I can’t see that in this episode; not taken in connection with last week’s.

    MaryAnne wrote: “It just occurs to me that the reason — the real reason — the Doctor leaves everyone behind, eventually, is because he can’t bear to see their innocence sullied, can’t bear to see them transformed, at least in his mind, into the killers Davros pegs them as. And so he’s alone again.”

    So is the Doctor finally and at last cured of his human attraction? Will he really stay companion-less for a while? How can he not? How can he not learn a lesson of some kind from all this?

  • Joanne

    Regarding Donna’s ending and the anger I’ve seen from some online comments – and the sheer volume of “fix-it” fanfic in which Donna remembers and it’s all all right and her head doesn’t explode – I don’t get it, really. I didn’t like the ending for Donna in the sense that it made me cry and it was horrifically sad for both Donna and the Doctor, but I think I understand why the Doctor did what he did – or, to be more precise, why RTD made the Doctor do what he did. It’s because the Doctor can’t stand to lose anyone else. At least this way he knows Donna’s safe, her mum and grandad (oh, Bernard Cribbins, how do I love thee!) haven’t lost her. She’s not another name on his list of dead, which is extraordinarily long really. Maybe erasing her memory is selfish, but on a Doctoral level I think it made sense.

    Interesting what you said about Rose and maturity, MaryAnn; I hadn’t thought of it that way before. In the TARDIS, do you think she knows he loves her? Is she still waiting for him to tell her? (Because if so, remarkably dim, Rose.)

  • Philip

    I def agree with you on the Rose = immature thing MA. In hindsight, it has actually been a bit of a theme over the new series. The Doctors development through the series is mirrored by his female companions ascent not only in age but in maturity. First we have Rose, who is 19 and for whom the Doctor is literally her world. She sees nothing else but him saying she want to be with him forever to the detriment of her family and her oldest friend. She barely even blinks at Mickey leaving her world forever in this episode. Like any teenager in love she is completely consumed by her love for the Doctor and is completely defined through him. If you think about it, Rose seems to bring nothing to the table but her almost slavish devotion to and love for the Doctor. Which frankly makes her a little obnoxious.
    Then along came Martha. She is far more active than Rose and is far more assertive. She even forces the Doctor to tell her about his history in their first adventure because she won’t put up with his brooding. Martha has a mind, a family she is actively concerned about, ideas and goals beyond the Doctor that define her which ultimately give her the strength to leave him behind and form a life for herself. She is personally my favorite character, as of all characters in the show she has had the most intriguing development. And Freema Agyeman is a babe, but that’s beside the point.
    Then we have Donna. Even more assertive, isn’t bowled over by the Doctors usual schtick and never stops challenging him. She may wide eyed in wonder over traveling with the Doctor, but she never loses her head. She never ceases, in other words, to call him on his bullshit when he gets too full of his Time Lord self. By the end of the series she blooms into the Doctors ultimate companion, the perfect woman for him: his emotional and intellectual equal. The scenes of her bubbling away using Time Lord techno babble but in such an oh so Donna way were exhilarating! This makes her loss sting all the more tragic. It’s like a Greek play almost, horrible yet memorable.
    What I am wondering though is, where do we go from here? The Doctor found his perfect companion, the one who would release him from his loneliness and he had to kill her to save her life.
    The question is, where do we go from here? I know you MA, were very excited about Prof. River Song and Alex Kingston but it somehow seems like a step back from half Time Lord, half human Donna. Your thoughts?

  • I felt the need to speak up as a fan who most emphatically disliked this episode, but as it turned out, just thinking about it still makes me so angry I can’t express myself in reasonable tones, so I’ll just post what was going to be the end paragraph:

    But! Since this is a lovefest post, I will conclude on a high note by saying this: all season, after I heard some of the casting spoilers, I was hoping really, really hard for a Former Companions Extravaganza episode, possibly as the Doctor-lite ep. It never even occurred to me to hope for more than that, but more is exactly what we got. Triple crossover! I will never forget watching the preview for “The Stolen Earth” and squealing my fool head off. And apart from a few quibbles about Sarah Jane’s characterization? It was far more awesome than I could have imagined. That’s what I am going to try to take away from this season’s finale – not the stuff that made me wish I’d never heard of the show, but the stuff that made me overwhelming happy I had.

  • I was curious to find out what you thought of them neatly packaging up Dr. Martha Jones and Mickey, putting a bow on them and handing them to Jack to take the places of Owen and Tosh? Or was that just my imagination?

  • That’s certainly how it looked, but Freema has now taken a role in an upcoming UK version of Law and Order, which would make her participation in Torchwood hard to imagine.

  • Ryan H

    Well, the new ‘season’ of Torchwood is a 5 episode mini-series. So, it would not be the commitment that a full series would entail. I’d guess that filming would take place over 4 to 6 weeks. Might not be too hard to fit that into a schedule.

    I’ve heard a couple places that Freema Agyeman is a strong possibility to appear with Noel Clarke only slightly less so.

  • Depends on the schedule, I guess. But both shows are supposed to start filming this month, so I would be surprised if she does appear in Torchwood.

  • NorthernStar

    You raise an interesting point about Rose’s “immaturity” – I felt at the time that the shift in persona from Turn Left Rose into the Rose here is almost as if, now she’s at the Doctor’s side again, she’s fallen back into playing a role for him but it’s one she’s outgrown. Another reason for the Doctor distancing from her perhaps?

    Donna has quickly become my favourite companion, certainly of the new series and probably of all time, too. And her fate is gut-wrenching.

    On the DoctorLite and Rose – there’s a small blurb in my daughter’s “Dr Who Adventures” (a tie-in comic aimed at kids) that claims the Doctor gave them a piece of his TARDIS. This was published about a week after this episode was shown in the UK so it was probably written using production notes or similar. How canon that would be is debatable, but it’s interesting to consider.

  • MaryAnn

    Others have mentioned the piece-of-the-TARDIS thing, but if it’s not on the show, I don’t buy it as canon.

    is the Doctor finally and at last cured of his human attraction? Will he really stay companion-less for a while?

    I’d love to see that for a while, maybe through 2009’s specials, see how he handles being alone.

    Re: Mickey and Martha on *Torchwood*: That show had finally moved away from being *Doctor Who Lite,* and bringing them in would send it back in that direction.

  • Ryan H

    I don’t know about it bringing the show back to being Doctor Who lite. For me, it is kind of Doctor Who where the characters have to stick around and face the consequences. Still, Martha and Mickey are probably the ones who least need to learn about how real life works.

    And I go the other direction as far as new companions go. I want to see two or three companions, and not just for an episode or two. In the old series as well as the new shows, having a small circle of characters who can comment on and react to the Doctor seems to work really well. It gives more room for interesting reactions from the companions because the Doctor doesn’t have to be the sounding board for every reaction and emotion they have.

  • roger

    I really enjoyed seeing the three Doctors.. like everyone said, it was lots of fun watching Tennant and Tate acting like each other.
    I do wonder though.. it definitely seems TOO EASY to clone the Doctor. Why not lop a hand(or 2) off each time he regenerates? Carry that hand around, and you save yourself one regeneration, and potentially make half-Doctors.

    I was really moved when Martha and Jack call in with their threats, and they realize how much it hurts the Doctor.

    re: Doctor and Rose. When I watched it, it seemed like the fact that Doctor #2 AGES was made into a big deal. I think for the Doctor (and maybe for Rose too?) the knowledge that humans would age and die, and he wouldn’t was one of the big reasons why he limits how close he gets to them. Whether that’s legitimate or not is your opinion, I guess.
    I do agree with the posters who say that the Doctor has matured as well. I guess Doctor 2 is still mentally and emotionally the Doctor from when the hand was chopped off.

    Reading the comments here made me think that yes, this punishment IS pretty harsh. Especially compared to what he was willing to do for the Master. Couldn’t he have travelled with Doctor 2 and Rose? Wouldn’t that have been an okay way to watch over them.. even if he has to watch a romance he wouldn’t let himself have? (or has outgrown?)

  • MaryAnn

    I think for the Doctor (and maybe for Rose too?) the knowledge that humans would age and die, and he wouldn’t was one of the big reasons why he limits how close he gets to them. Whether that’s legitimate or not is your opinion, I guess.

    Oh, it’s certainly legitimate. It’s only part of the issue, though, I think.

    having a small circle of characters who can comment on and react to the Doctor seems to work really well. It gives more room for interesting reactions from the companions because the Doctor doesn’t have to be the sounding board for every reaction and emotion they have.

    True, but each story was longer in the old show — usually twice as long. That gave more room for more characters. Also, the old show wasn’t *about* the Doctor as a character the way this new one is, so there needs to be storytelling time for *his* emotional reactions to things (which we rarely saw much of before).

  • On the DoctorLite and Rose – there’s a small blurb in my daughter’s “Dr Who Adventures” (a tie-in comic aimed at kids) that claims the Doctor gave them a piece of his TARDIS.

    That comes from an earlier draft of the script, which was obviously dropped in the final filmed version.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/episodes/?episode=s4_13&action=factfile

  • This may sound like an odd thing to say, but I’m convinced that, in fact, The Doctor could have kept Donna’s memory intact if he’d given the matter any thought at all, but he was in such a dark emotional place at that point in the episode that he already “knew” that this utterly new thing in the history of the universe, the Doctor-Donna, couldn’t possibly last.

    If the “other” Doctor had been in the TARDIS when the original Doctor sadly told Donna there was no way she could keep her new identity, he would have argued it up and down, run all over gathering up bits of jiggery-pokery and Made! It! Work! Because his heart would have been in it. He would never let his other half be erased so cruely! If The Doctor can squeeze his identity into a pocket watch, he could have done something to save Donna.

    But the Doctor Proper was feeling miserable and sorry for himself, and on some level didn’t want to deal with the competition for hero-of-the-day embodied in either side of the Doctor-Donna. Or Rose, for that matter, so she had to go back to Earth 2 or whatever.

    Also, I remain thoroughly convinced that the Donna arc can’t possibly be over.

    1) If there’s any danger that this Timelord nature will come rushing back if Donna hears about what just happened to Earth, then it can’t possibly actually be deleted from her mind, can it? It’s suppressed down there, and if it’s suppressed, then there has to be room for it!

    2) It is an impossible expectation that Wilf and Sylvia will be able to protect her from ever hearing about what just happened to the Earth. Can’t be done. The Donna-Doctor will come rushing back, and there will have to be some way to save her.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the last of either Rose or Half-Doctor, either. All this stuff remains in a delicious limbo for Moffatt to pick up at his leisure.

  • Weimlady

    I don’t think we’ve seen the last of either Rose or Half-Doctor, either. All this stuff remains in a delicious limbo for Moffatt to pick up at his leisure.

    This is one of the few things that consoles me somewhat when I look forward to that dread day when the Doctor actually regenerates. David can always come back for a guest shot as the Half-Doctor. And we won’t have to politely pretend that he looks just like he did back in the day because it will be perfectly natural and right that he will have aged.

  • …makes me think, “The galaxy is on Orion’s belt”…
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    Maybe it was the fact that almost every other human character in this bloody episode was toting a MIB gun.

    (Rose and Jackie Tyler…saving the Earth from the scum of the universe…)

    The Daleks are going to destroy all reality? And then what? It’s one thing to want to rule over everything, but who wants to rule over nothing? (“We will become the only lifeforms in existence”? What fun will that be?)
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    Have you met the Daleks? (Figuratively speaking, of course.) They’re not big on rational thinking.

    So Dalek Kaan has been manipulating the timelines, has he?
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    In other words, it was all a Kaan jo–oh, never mind!

  • I did everything I possibly could to get myself not to read this post. I’m always the sort who reads ahead to see if anybody dies. Now that I know my fave, Martha, dies, its somewhat anti-climactic, but I’m also looking forward to seeing this episode despite the ind-numbing tension. Not everyone it seems, is going to forget the whole thing ever happened, as in most major episodes. I’m grateful I know now. I can stand watching it eventually. Torchwood will happen again though. I’m looking forward to the new season. Rose coming back, well, that was expected. I’m watching Dr. Who from the American end of things.

  • Ryan H

    I’m just disappointed that they missed this opportunity to do the big reveal and have Tennant scream out “Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

  • melissa

    @Supernetuser – I’m confused…where did you get the impression that Martha dies?

  • At the end of the episode, Donna sees the Doctor, but Donna’s memories aren’t triggered by seeing him? It seems the sight of him would have sparked her memories.

  • texphile

    Hmmm I actually liked the ep for the most part. i found it true to the characters and consistent with the story arc so far. The whole “gathering of the companions”seemed a bit forced however. I disagree on Rose and the “sorta doctor”. Even though Rose showed some really kick ass qualities in series one and in series too, she had to, in the end, revert to the teenager she is…She gets her heart’s desire and the real Dr Who gets to neatly sidestep his “committment phobia”.

    I also disagree about Dr Donna; it was actually pretty much inevitable that she would wind up with a fast mind squeegie. Rose couldnt absorb the Tardis energy either and CE did the noble heroic sacrifice thing… All of the Dr’s companions get the short end of the stick in the end. Dr Who is the rock that they break themselves against(to borrow a somewhat hackneyed but descriptive phrase).

    DR Donna was way too cool to last more than a half episode. I see a resurgence of Donna’s memory … in March of 2010 when Moffat officially takes the helm

    Cant wait HAJ for you to reveal just what RD has in store for us.

  • avgirl

    This episode is definitely a love and hate fest. Great amounts of affection for all these wonderful characters came pouring out after watching it the first time. How cute was Martha smiling at the camera? How so appropriate when the Doctor told Jackie she couldn’t help pilot the TARDIS? How magical and heartbreaking when Wilf said good-bye to the Doctor?

    Then re-watching it was like, why this and why that? Why didn’t they explain…? Why no Jack/Rose “I missed you,” randy innuendo and hugs? Does Big Wolf mean anything?

    Before the last couple of episodes for Season 4, I did some speed-watching of all the previous episodes and realized that although she was gone at the end of season 2, Rose was still a main character in seasons 3 and 4. Doctor Who is really supposed to be about the Doctor and all this time there has been Rose: always with the Doctor, or being thought of and wanted, or mourned. That’s great for someone like me that started watching Doctor Who mostly because I really got into the chemistry between 9 and Rose, and 10 and Rose. But learning about the show historically, the Doctor doesn’t do that. Rose had become an anomaly in the Who-world. Bringing her back to get rid of her so the Doctor could continue on alone seemed the most likely reason for her role in Season 4. And why let us see how Rose had changed and grown or even be the character we love, when she’s being shipped off – albeit with her own Doctor – which is so awesome yet so devastating at the same time. It also feels that one of the purposes of River Song is to say, “Rose is not the point of the Doctor or this show. Get over it. Doctor Who is not a love story (or just a love story); it’s so much more than that.”

    I am glad to have a break from Doctor Who for now. I’ve obviously been thinking about it too much! Christmas is far enough away for the excitement to build to see David Tennant against David Morrissey. Even though DM’s Doctor supposedly has a companion named Rosita, hmmm…Otherwise, Hurrah!

  • “How cute was Martha smiling at the camera?”

    I was never a big Martha fan, but that was one of my favorite moments ever.

  • Allochthon

    I couldn’t read this post until now. And I still get sick to my stomach thinking about this episode. I miss Who terribly, but it’s a good thing it’s gone for a few months…

  • Tina

    I’ve only today caught up with the end of season 4, but since I discovered this blog a week ago, I’ve been voraciously devouring every review (and trying desperately not to read ahead so as not to spoil myself!). Thanks so much for the really interesting reading!

    Everyone’s covered the episode in-depth so there’s just one thing I have to comment on – David Tennant’s performance as the two Doctors. It blew me away how he made the two doctors so distinct and yet so distinctly both the Doctor. I’d noticed over the last few episodes that he’d been looking more tired around the eyes, less exuberant, and wondered if that was just the inevitable consequence of the fact the actor is after all, a human being who gets older, but then the clone Doctor (I know he’s not a clone, but it’s the best I can come up with) comes along and it’s like the early season 2 Doctor all over again! The brightness in the eyes, the boundless unrestrained energy, the enthusiasm in his responses… In each Doctor’s response to “the DoctorDonna”‘s newfound brilliance and spinning of ideas, you can see the difference – the clone Doctor is thrilled and excited, and almost giddy at everything Donna says. The actual Doctor smiles at her fondly, but more warily, like he already realizes the consequences, while clone Doctor doesn’t. And you can see that in how he looks at Donna in the Tardis – the depth of sadness and sympathy and knowledge…it’s not easy for him but he knows what he has to do (and if the Doctor feels guilty for shaping all his companions into weapons, isn’t the human-timelord mix Donna has become the ultimate shaping and changing of who she is?). I like that you can actually see that the Doctor has changed and how what has happened weighs on him. And it’s all there in his performance.

    I never saw the old Doctor Who. I started watching with season one of the new series. I really liked Eccleston as the 9th doctor, and was really worried the series would suck with this new guy. But my how I was wrong. I’m a little over-obsessed with David Tennant now and I LOVE his Doctor.

    Oh and I wasn’t going to but I guess I have to comment on that beach scene and the decision the Doctor made. I think the Doctor knew he ultimately couldn’t be with Rose (timelord/human differences, etc) and that she needed to go back to the alternate universe (she should be with her mom, her mom has a husband and baby there). Plus, he loved her but he’s gone through so much since he’s been with her that he’s different, they’re different. And what was to be done with the second Doctor, this half-human/half-timelord who really does seem a bit of a reset back to season 2 (or season 1) Doctor who’s mortal, impulsive, doesn’t seem to think out the consequences as well as the first Doctor (he doesn’t realize the consequences to Donna, he exterminates the Daleks without a second thought, he took longer to realize what the Daleks were doing with the reality bomb)? Putting that Doctor in the alternate universe where evidently there isn’t a version of the Doctor, where he can have the happy life with Rose that the Doctor himself can never have… I see it as a sacrifice (and you can see it in his face as he watches them kiss), not a punishment. Someone’s got to help that Doctor learn how to live a mortal life, to grow and mature, and figure out who he is now, and that’s not going to happen hanging around his fully-timelord self who can regenerate and live for centuries and do what he can’t do. While Rose can never be with the real Doctor but can stop pining after him now. And I think it’s actually a sign of how the two Doctors really do think alike that Doctor 2.0 or 10.2 or whatever you’re calling him doesn’t protest after the initial “you made me!” – as soon as he thinks of it, he understands and comes to the same conclusions b/c, well, he thinks the same way.

    And wow, that was way longer than I meant to post. But that’s what happens when you watch the last 3 episodes back to back! (and the previous two just yesterday – which were both amazing)

  • Tina

    Oh and an entirely random comment. David Tennant’s accent work is awesome and usually impeccable (says the American who probably wouldn’t know if he was doing it wrong), but he went totally Scottish when he says “You can’t ever tell her!” at the end. Which doesn’t bug me b/c I love his Scottish accent. But amused the hell out of me.

  • Tara

    Tina: You summed up all my thoughts exactly :) Most importantly the bit about the two doctors, doctor number 2 being “reset” back about 2 years to before Rose made him better. That was completely shown in his performance. Its like Rose and him are at the point where they split in Doomsday- emotionally, that is, although of course Doctor number 2 still has memories after that event. The original Doctor’s “tired” look as you said may have come from all the emotional stress he continually experiences- the major onelosing Rose- he was miserable throughout the Runaway Bride/series 2, and this changed him from the exuberant Doctor she once knew, to a more.. quietly powerful, I think. Anyway thanks.

  • Tina, Tara–totally agree! Also, remember the Doctor had just come off two very harrowing experiences before Journey’s End–losing River, being possessed and nearly murdered in Midnight–and that all shows in his face, too. I’m sure that in Turn Left he and Donna were just trying to have a light-hearted holiday to help him recover from the trauma of Midnight, and, instead, within a short time of arriving (assuming the entire “Turn Left” experience actually happened pretty much in a flash, although it seemed like months to Donna) he is plunged into war with those pesky Daleks again. So yes, the proper Doctor was not very exuberant or bright-eyed, and David played it to perfection.

    One of the things that continually amazes me about the new series, and which makes it worth watching over and over, is how everything ties together. It’s one big four-year story, and it is part of the mythos that what happens to the character in one episode definitely is acknowledged in the ones after, unlike most episodic TV. Like a great work of literature, every time you read/see it, you see something new. I can’t honestly say that about any other TV show I’ve ever followed. Kudos to Russell T and the entire company, again and yet again.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m sure that in Turn Left he and Donna were just trying to have a light-hearted holiday to help him recover from the trauma of Midnight

    And of course the trip to Midnight was surely meant as a way to recover from the trauma of the Library!

  • And of course the trip to Midnight was surely meant as a way to recover from the trauma of the Library!

    Of course it was!

    The universe (aka Russell T) sure has it in for the poor guy, doesn’t it? :->

  • Hello. I’m new here – I just read this post with all its comments and the other “Journey’s End” post (linked) with all its comments. Great posts and discussions!

    If there had been no 10.2, even though Rose didn’t kiss him after he chose not to regenerate, what would the Doctor have done with her? I think the only reason he chose not to regenerate was for Rose’s sake – and possibly his own, since he loved her and had only just found her again (a new regeneration wouldn’t be the same for him or for her). I think he would have kept her with him. To me, his actions on the beach made it apparent that he still loved her. He couldn’t say it, but he actually did tell Rose that he needed her in a roundabout way: “[10.2] needs you. That’s very me.” He looked pained when she kissed 10.2 (which I can’t understand her doing), but it made sense that was when he chose to leave. Rose was momentarily distracted and his goal of having her accept 10.2 was accomplished. Staying beyond that point would just have been prolonging the pain.

    As for 10.2, I agree with Tina that he accepted staying with Rose because he had the same understanding of the situation as the Doctor and knew that was the best outcome for the situation between the 3 of them. And, being human, he could provide Rose with what she needed, as the Doctor couldn’t, shown when he told Rose what the Doctor had intended to say on the beach before – being human, he understood Rose’s need to hear him say it. Being human, maybe it would be easier for him to settle down and not lead the life of a Time Lord, too. It’s true, then, that he would be a bit different than the man with with whom Rose fell in love, but Rose would have stayed anywhere with the Doctor and I’m not sure 10.2 was different enough for the lack of time and space adventures to matter.

    My thought on the prophecy of the Doctor’s soul being revealed was that it could have symbolically been revealed in 10.2 – he seems to be a version of the Doctor without any inhibition. He could destroy the Daleks. He could tell Rose what he’d intended to say. Is he a truer version of the Doctor because of that? He represents what the Doctor actually feels?

    I didn’t buy Davros’s accusation that the Doctor fashioned his companions into weapons at all. The Doctor never expected any one of them to kill for him or fight his battles for him. They did so only because he inspired such loyalty and love in them, which I can’t see as a bad thing.

  • I get a Quote of the Day from the Foundation for a Better Life, and today’s made me think of the Doctor, especially in this episode.

    Within sorrow is grace. When we come close to those things that break us down, we touch those things that also break us open. And in that breaking open, we uncover our true nature.

    —Wayne Muller

    Davros thought he had uncovered the Doctor’s true nature by breaking him down, breaking him open. But like Clair, I think Davros misinterpreted what he found.

    I also think that the Doctor was being honest at the end when he told Wilf he was fine. It wasn’t like all those times when he said, “I’m alright. I’m always alright,” after some devastating experience, which Donna finally called him on in the Library story. (“Is that some sort of Time Lord code for ‘I’m really not alright?'”) I think he found the grace in the sorrow in Journey’s End. He has been broken down, broken open so relentlessly that he has found his true nature, and he is at peace with it.

  • Mischief Maker

    Apologies for commenting so late, but I’ve only recently discovered this show and have been watching it voraciously until this episode.

    I’m surprised no one voiced their dissatisfaction for how Mickey’s character came to an abrupt end. His character arc was great. He starts out this pathetic loser, going nowhere in life, and everything in his world revolves around Rose. As the series goes on and Rose keeps traveling with the Doctor, he starts melting out of his jealousy and warms to the doctor, even taking part in his adventures. But he’s still this clingy pathetic guy whose life is defined by the people he’s with and he’s treated as much by those same people.

    Then he goes to the parallel Earth and meets his double. Ricky is assertive, head of his own underground guerrilla movement, has friends who admire him just as much as people admire the doctor. Even if Ricky is just “London’s most wanted for parking tickets” he’s everything Mickey isn’t and wishes he could be. So when Mickey sees Rickey die before his eyes, something changes. He takes charge of the mission against the blimp even when Ricky’s old friend tries brushing him off.

    Then in the end he decides to stay behind on parallel earth. He tells Rose that he’s staying for his Gran, but what’s the last thing we see him doing in the episode? Not having tea with her, but getting into the truck with Ricky’s old friend to track down Cybermen factories on the mainland. He’s becoming the leader that Ricky showed him he could be. Then in Doomsday he’s back and he’s a completely new man, infiltrating torchwood security, and carrying around big nasty guns to explode some cyberman heads, a complete turnaround from the weakling of the pilot cowering in front of the plastic creatures. And his change was not caused by watching the doctor and saying he wants to be just like him.

    Then completely out of left field in this episode they have him decide to return to our own earth. Just because his grandmother died there’s nothing left for him there? What about his friends? What about his life? He’s really just going to leave behind a world where he’s no doubt a hero of the cyberman war and return to one where he’s just a mechanic? All so Rose can get her fake doctor and a pat ending?

    I think a better ending to his and Rose’s subplots would be that they ended up together again after Doomsday, with Rose realizing that he’s no longer the whiny doof that he was before and if not a replacement for the doctor, at least no longer just her backup guy to settle for. Then when she meets up with the doctor again in this episode, after he’s been galavanting about the galaxy with two other women, _she_ ends it. He may have been pining for her, but she now has her own life seperate from him. The doctor would realize that he can’t just dump someone and run and expect her to be waiting for him if he returns again.

    Don’t mean to sound like I’m hating, I did like the idea of a capper that brings all the companions together like this one did.

  • Jackie

    I think that Mickey made a deliberate decision. It’s obvious that although he’s friends with Rose, his relationship with her in that way is over. It’s Jackie who he gets on best with. He has other friends, but it isn’t his universe. He has a chance to get back to his home Universe, as a different person to the one who left originally.

    He’d probably already guessed what was going to happen with 10.5, it’s understandable that he didn’t want to be around to see it.

  • Mya

    I actually loved this episode. The most emotional episodes are always the best because theyre the ones the most beautifully or accurateley written, theyre just the best, and Donna lost her memory not because the doctor couldnt stand to loose another person, its because he was so moral and he would not let someone die when they could live on, especially when they have as much potential as Donna Noble like her life isnt some thing thats just completeley assumable, like it doesnt take a tardis and a doctor to change her forever it takes anything. She could still grow to be a great person, just never the same as the person she was with the doctor. And what was the doctor supposed to do, randomly let her die even if she could live?? Thats just..ridiculous!! He would never do that!! And I really love Rose. She was always so focused and funny and spunky and she wasnt one of those girls who would sniffle and go along with it, she fought back and refused to back down and barrelled into situations where she litterally knew she was going to die but somehow didn’t. And it wasn’t because she was near sighted and consumed by her love for the doctor or because she was just impulsive, she knew what she wanted and one of her values was bassically quality of live over quantity, not everyone needs or even cares about going for the long lifespan and Rose was so courageous and would stand up for everything she beleived in all the time, she would take death to try for the life she knows is for her even if every odd is stacked against her. She would give up Micky and her mom and Sharene whoever that was haha all in the name of i am rose tyler and i know exactly what i want, how i want to live for the rest of my life and how to live by me, obviousley if the life she will live matters more to her than the people in it it is so important for her to go for an entire life over three people. No matter how long shes known them. It is her life, not theirs.

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