Doctor Who Series 3 Finale
So, we're now into the final three-part episode of season three with Utopia having screened on Saturday. I'd like to do some commenting and speculating about Utopia, as well as the two episodes yet to come, and Torchwood.
First up, I liked Utopia. It didn't surpass Blink, which has shot straight to the top of my "best Doctor Who episodes ever" list, and given me some odd twitches around four in the morning, but it was still a good episode.
I do have one or two nitpicks in the characterisation with regard to Jack and Martha. First, Jack goes from being brooding, angry Jack in Torchwood to being cheerful Jack in Doctor Who in pretty nearly no time flat. I know some of this is due to Doctor Who being pre-watershed and a different series and so on, but he really did seem to be proceeding on a basis that the Doctor could do no wrong, even when he abandoned Jack. I'm amused, though, by the notion that time travellers fear immortals, because that's a principle I've used myself elsewhere.
Second, Martha's exchange with Chantho about her sentence construction wasn't written for Martha, it was written for Rose. That's exactly Rose's style of interaction, whereas Martha would normally be much more interested in Chantho's species, or how humans are essentially the same after all that time, or even the footprint-technobabble the Professor was using.
The flashbacks were kind of cheesy. I'm aware at some level that there are probably people watching who don't follow the whole series, and might have not seen the Christmas special or previous season finales. But there's no need to actually cater for that in the scriptwriting either.
Right, on to the good bits. It was very very good to see Jack meeting Martha, very good to see the Doctor interacting with Jack again, excellent to hear Jack's story from when we last saw him in Doctor Who and the start of Torchwood, and the bit where Jack said "fantastic!" was, well, fantastic. I liked the subtlety of just expression shots of Martha while Jack and the Doctor talked about Rose, and I liked the detail where Jack dropped by the estate a few times while Rose was growing up. I'm also a little interested by the line where he said he was waiting for the right version of the Doctor to show up - because his Doctor detector must have been going berserk from about 1900 onwards. How many times did he meet wrong versions of the Doctor? Or did he avoid those ones?
Onward, then, to the last two episodes, The Sound of Drums and The Last of the Time Lords...
The blurb for The Sound of Drums says, "The Master arrives in 21st Century — as Mister Saxon, Prime Minister — and the UK enters a period of terror when contact with an alien race known as the Toclafane is announced." Now, there were posters up in the WWII Dance Hall that Jack and Toshiko visited in Torchwood for Saxon, so I'm wondering if he didn't stop off in a few more places before he ended up in the 21st century. I'm also greatly amused by cameos in the cast list for Sharon Osbourne, McFly, and Anne Widdecombe.
The blurb for Last of the Time Lords is even more extreme: "Earth has been conquered and the Master rules supreme, with the Doctor a helpless prisoner. The entire human race has been reduced to slavery, as the mighty warships of a new Time Lord Empire rise from the ashes. Planet Earth relies on Martha Jones to lead it out of the darkness..." Which, really, just boggles the mind. I don't know how they're going to deal with that, especially with forward continuity - people may have blanked and denied the spaceship that crashed into Big Ben and the Cyberman invasion, but it'll be hard to ignore this one. And if Torchwood shares any of the same continutity, it's going to be an interesting show in the second season...
Posted by Drew Shiel at June 20, 2007 8:44 AM