Journey’s End opens with one of the series’s biggest cliffhanger cop-outs–and “Who” is all about the cliffhanger cop-out, so it’s actually a surprise. If the opening titles hadn’t already given it away, I guess.
This episode reveals the villains’ master plan and features them seemingly defeating Doctor David Tennant at every turn. If writer Russell T. Davies hadn’t introduced the deus ex machina early, there might be some tension about whether or not Tennant and company make it through. It’d just be so sad if he died now he’s reunited with Billie Piper.
Apparently it’s straight up they had a romantic—albeit unrequited—love, which isn’t how any of their episodes played especially not once she recruited ex-boyfriend Noel Clarke (who appears here) for the ride. But whatever. Make it all about giving Piper’s character a better ending.
Of course, Piper’s finale is nothing compared to Catherine Tate, who manages to get a more inglorious sendoff from the show than Christopher Eccleston—who just got forgotten like he’d done something wrong—harsh as his crime was not being David Tennant as Doctor Who, who himself wasn’t even David Tennant as Doctor Who yet.
No spoilers, but if you were intentionally writing “Doctor Who” to be full of layered misogyny, I don’t think it’d turn out any different than this episode turns out for Tate. It’s one hell of a flex from Davies.
The evil plan is kind of silly and better effects would help but not going to happen. What else… Camille Coduri is back too. She and Clarke team up with Elisabeth Sladen, which is closer to fun than you usually get with Coduri and Clarke.
It’s also one of those episodes where Tennant does his super-serious thing when he’s upset and it gets old really fast. And the way they end the season is just… unfortunate. It’s all really unfortunate.
Especially since Davies’s villains are better than they seemed last episode, occasionally even funny. More funny would’ve helped. More funny and a better subplot for Freema Agyeman, who manages to be a featured guest star but still get the shaft.
Because “Doctor Who” is about blowing off everyone but Piper, apparently, in a mad chase to bring her back to the show or something.
A friend of mine’s been worried I’m going to turn into one of those “Doctor Who” evangelizers who tells everyone to watch it.
I told him not to worry.