Doctor Who (2005) s04e17 – The End of Time: Part One

At least the Ood are doing okay. They’ve gotten Brian Cox to voice their leader even.

Sorry, getting ahead of myself.

The End of Time: Part One aired a year and a half after the last regular episode, so it probably played a lot different on air than marathoned. Which isn’t going to make Timothy Dalton’s narration good—he’s off screen for most of it, narrating writer Russell T. Davies’s version of foreboding Christmas exposition (Dickens Davies ain’t… also who wrote Mickey’s Christmas Carol, that narration was much better too)–but it might make you forget Davies has just used the same kind of lines in the same kind of crises.

Except instead of a “Doctor Who” supporting cast mega-crossover, Time: Part One is all about David Tennant finding out he’s doomed in his current incarnation but the universe is in trouble too. At least they don’t say the stars are going out. Davies loves the stars going out.

Anyway.

Back on Earth, Bernard Cribbins—who manages admirably to get through these “Doctor Who” episodes while never being particularly endearing or good, just not bad and unlikable—is the only person who remembers his nightmares, which is a big deal because everyone in the universe is having bad dreams about John Simm.

Not John Simm, the actor, rather his “Who” character—from two seasons ago now I think—The Master. He was the second-to-last of the Time Lords who would rather have died than be Tennant’s sidekick.

Turns out Simm started a cult in order for a bunch of ladies to resurrect him—really—only things don’t go right and instead he’s a little off when he comes back, eating lots of meat and absorbing the flesh off people. There’s a weird Christmas food monologue you’ve got to imagine really hit home with grease-loving Britishers.

Cribbins is trying to get in touch with Tennant, getting his fellow pensioners to help him look—including wonderfully horny June Whitfield—while getting messages from a mysterious woman in a pantsuit, Claire Bloom, telling him not to tell the Doctor they’ve been talking or something.

Eventually we get Cribbins and Tennant teaming up, which is nowhere near as amusing as whoever thought it was a good idea thought it would be, and trying to stop Simm from whatever he’s got planned.

Actually, whatever he’s able to get planned once rich guy David Harewood kidnaps him to repair an “immortality gate” for daughter Tracy Ifeachor. Harewood and Ifeachor should’ve passed on this one, “Doctor Who” Christmas special or not.

The acting from Tennant and Simm has its moments—director Euros Lyn can’t handle the dramatic conversation scenes and it’s unfortunate they didn’t get someone who could—and it’s amusing. It feels like a double-sized episode, even though it’s basically a one and a quarter.

Simm loses the big moment at the end to Dalton, who spits his way into an onscreen narration performance.

There’s a really weird Obama thing—he’s going to end the global recession—and everyone wants to watch his address; it’s concerning on many levels.

But since Obama’s president it means making “Master Race” jokes isn’t racist anymore, apparently.

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