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Recap: Doctor Who S29 E11 "Utopia"
"Chan don't call me a grasshopper tho."

Professor Yana: Every human knows of Utopia. Where have you been?
The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
Professor Yana: A... a hermit? With, uh, friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every 10 years, swap stories about caves.

The first episode of the Series 3 finale, based on the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Master". Leads directly out of the Torchwood Series 1 finale, "End of Days".


The TARDIS lands in Cardiff to refuel, and the Doctor picks up a hitchhiker: Captain Jack Harkness, lately of Torchwood and barely recovered from his encounter with Abaddon. Jack, stuck on The Slow Path, has been waiting since the late 1800s for the Doctor to show up. And he's not going to let him get away twice. The hand-in-a-jar that Jack's been carrying around in Torchwood turns out to be the Doctor's old hand, which Jack's been using as a "Doctor detector".

With a dramatic cry of "DOOOOCTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR!", Jack leaps onto the TARDIS as it's disappearing. It turns out that the TARDIS does not like Jack ever since he Came Back Wrong, and rejects him, hurling through time and space in an attempt to shake him off. Jack ends up dead when the TARDIS lands on a lonely dark planet trillions of years in the future. But everyone except Martha knows that death is pretty temporary for Captain Jack.

Once everyone's all caught up, the Doctor lays it out: they're at the ass-end of time, right at the heat death of the universe. The stars have all burned out. Humanity, they learn, have all congregated together in this planet's Elaborate Underground Base, where they've been lured by vague promises of shuttle service to Utopia.

The only one who knows anything about how to get to Utopia is kindly old Professor Yana, who is played by Sir Derek fucking Jacobi. If you'd told people, back when the old show was cancelled in '89, that not only would Doctor Who return, but they'd get people like Sir Derek Jacobi to play the Master, well. They'd probably punch you out for taunting them or something. So, when and if you get a time machine, it's probably just as well if you don't do this.

...also, spoilers, Yana is the Master. Whoops.

Anyway. Sir Derek's has been stranded on this planet for a while, ever since he washed up on a beach here as a young kid. He's clever — a genius, in fact — and gets on tremendously well with the Doctor. As they bond over Yana's gadgets, Yana's head starts getting a bit muddled every time he looks at the Doctor. Words like "Time Lord" and "TARDIS" trigger a very nasty kind of drumming in his mind. Yana tries to ignore it and explains to the heroes what he's building; his plan is to load everyone onto these enormous rockets and send them to Utopia, but the rockets aren't actually in working order. They need someone to enter a chamber filled with deadly radiation to reset some switches. Sounds like a job for someone immortal! Jack takes off a few layers of clothing for good measure before starting. While he works away at the device, he and the Doctor catch up on things (Daleks, Rose, etc.), and the Doctor confesses that he left Jack behind on Satellite 5 on purpose. Because Jack is now his own law of nature, an anomaly, something that just should not be. Jack calls the Doctor out pretty hard on his Fantastic Racism.

Meanwhile, the switches work! The evacuation starts; the rockets are boarded by the last dregs of humanity, hoping for something, anything better than a slow death in the night. Everyone congratulates each other on a job well done... and then Martha notices that Professor Yana has a pocket watch. And it looks just like the Doctor's watch. Which can be used as a receptacle for Essence of Time Lord.

The Doctor goes into full-on Oh, Crap mode and dashes back to try to stop Yana from opening the watch, but he's too late: Yana gets his memories back. He reveals himself to be a very evil bastard and gets shot by his sweet assistant Chantho. Which doesn't deter him, because he is the Master...

...which you've known by now. Again, whoops.

Anyway, he promptly regenerates into John Simm, steals the TARDIS and leaves our heroes stranded in the umpteen-billionth century with savages beating down the doors.


Tropes:

  • After the End
  • Ambiguous Situation: The fate of the Utopia Project. During his sabotage of the rocket, the Master removes a piece of circuitry and dismissively mocks the concept of Utopia, raising the possibility that he removed the guidance system of the rocket and sent them in the wrong direction.
  • Bad Liar: Martha's assertion that Yana's Watch is really, honestly, absolutely not important and that she has never seen it before.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Chantho, a nice giant insect alien. Jack Harkness thinks she's kind of cute.
  • Big "NO!": Jake's friend (see below) after Jake is disintegrated.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted by the Master:
    The Master: Anyway. Why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me. I don't think!
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Jack borrows Nine's "Fantastic!"
  • Call Back:
    • Several to "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood".
    • The Doctor's brief speech of how humans are indomitable.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fob watch makes an especially powerful one, as its appearance earlier in this series was adapted from a Seventh Doctor novel — fans who'd read the novel would actually be less likely to think of its appearance in "Family of Blood" to be foreshadowing for the series' climax.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: The kid with a speaking role is a Blue Peter competition winner. His character gets turned into a Toclafane offscreen.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Doctor notes upon refueling that somebody's opened up the Rift since he was last there, referring to the last two episodes of Torchwood season 1. Which is why Jack is running full tilt towards the TARDIS. He heard the dematerialisation at the end of that last episode.
    • Jack brings the Doctor's old severed hand from "The Christmas Invasion" with him. The Master steals it along with the TARDIS.
    • Martha mentions an earthquake in Cardiff that happened a couple of years ago and wonders if the Doctor was responsible, leading him to admit that he had a bit of trouble with the Slitheen. He also comments that it took place...
      The Doctor: A long time ago. Lifetimes. I was a different man back then.
    • Going back to classic Who, before Professor Yana opens the watch and becomes the Master again, you can hear Ainley's Master laughing and some of Delgado's Master's lines from "The Daemons".
    • In a subtle piece of foreshadowing, the (normally egotistical) Doctor praises the brilliance of Yana's work. In the Classic Who episode that introduced the Master, it's mentioned that his score at the Time Lord Academy was higher than the Doctor's.
  • Cool Old Guy: Professor Yana... at first.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: "Why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me, I don't think!"
  • Disaster Scavengers: The average mob of Mad Max-style tattooed goons haunting the lands outside the base.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jack is pansexual but it's his immortality the Doctor has a problem with. Totally. Jack is quick to point out what it sounds like, and the Doctor doesn't deny it.
    Jack: So what you're saying is, you're... prejudiced?
    The Doctor: I never thought of it like that.
    Jack: Shame on you.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Played straight with the Master. Jacobi gets a lot less subtle once he opens the watch, and John Simm manages to out-ham him with only a minute of screentime.
  • Evolutionary Stasis: Humanity still looks human. Despite having spent a million years as clouds of gas and as downloads according to the Doctor, humanity still always ends up reverting to the same basic humanoid shape. The unstated reason is likely that it's Boring Yet Practical.
  • Fangs Are Evil: The savage Futurekind have fangs.
  • Fantastic Racism: The homophobia version is used when the Doctor is uncomfortable around the time-travelling omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness, not because of his sexuality, but because he finds Jack's immortality to be "just wrong".
  • Foreshadowing: Creet (the kid with the clipboard) says that in Utopia, the skies are made of diamonds. That sounds familiar...
  • Fun with Acronyms: You Are Not Alone
  • Glasses Pull: "I know just the man."
  • Good Counterpart: Yana — a thoroughly decent man who's only mildly annoyed his genius didn't get some recognition, as opposed to the megalomaniacal, power-hungry and insane Master.
  • Grand Theft Me: Of course, given that both parties are the same, it's played with mercilessly.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jake, the blink-and-you'll miss him man who's the first sent into the chamber to fix the couplings. He's in a suit to protect himself from the radiation, but when it becomes clear that the build-up is about to reach a point that will fry him and his comrade urges him to get out while he still can, he simply, barely seems to consider it before going back to the task of fixing the couplings. This decision ends up with his body vaporizing as he tries to continue to get the rest of humanity shooting off into space. Good thing Jack was there to take the helm afterwards.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • The Doctor spends most of the episode unaware that Yana is actually the Master.
    • Notice something familiar about the equipment in Yana's lab? According to Word Of God, it was meant to evoke the image of half-disassembled TARDIS consoles.
  • I Choose to Stay: Chantho is perfectly fine with the prospect of staying behind with the Professor.
  • Incoming Ham:
    • Jack
    • And, of course, The Master. Twice.
  • Internal Homage: To the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Master", which featured a similar storyline for the character.
  • I Was Beaten By A Girl:
    The Master: Killed by an insect... a girl... how inappropriate.
  • Just Between You and Me: Defied; see Dangerously Genre Savvy.
  • Kiss of Life: "Was someone kissing me?"
  • Last Breath Bullet: Chantho. It doesn't stick.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • The Doctor... until he discovers who Yana really is.
    • Chantho mentions she's the last of the Malmooth.
  • MacGuffin Location: Utopia. And the way the Master says it, so dripping with sarcasm... really, it should have been obvious who the Toclafane were.
  • Magnetic Hero: Martha explains the Doctor basically flies around the universe picking people up. "God, I make us sound like stray dogs."
  • Man Hug: After the Doctor tells Jack that Rose is alive and well, Jack wraps him in a huge hug. Especially heart-warming considering their hostile reunion up until that moment.
  • Manly Tears: Professor Yana, struggling with the reminders of time travel, Time Lords and the TARDIS.
  • Meaningful Name: Doubles as a Bilingual Bonus. The Greek word "Utopia", which Sir Thomas More coined in his book of the same name, means nowhere. This becomes Fridge Horror two episodes later...
  • Mood Whiplash: The bittersweet scene where poor old Yana tearfully ruminates on his past and the time travel stories he used to hear... and then he takes out his pocket watch... Hey, why'd the background music suddenly turn scary?
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jack, and he knows it.
    Doctor: Wwwwhat're you taking your clothes off for?
    Jack: I'm goin' in!
    Doctor: Well, by the looks of it, I'd say the stet radiation doesn't affect clothing, only flesh.
    Jack: Well. I look good, though.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The Doctor and Jack running through the halls with their coats flapping.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Where to start? The Doctor for not recognizing his old nemesis, Martha for getting Professor Yana to open the watch, Jack for latching onto the TARDIS and causing a huge chunk of the mess....
    • Also a sort of more implied one — considering how many times humanity would have been wiped out without the Doctor's help, he's clearly part of the reason why they're still alive at the end of the universe. Considering what they're facing, though, it might have been kinder to let them get killed off earlier.
  • Negate Your Own Sacrifice: The launch can't be completed unless someone goes into a deadly-radiation-filled room to flip some switches. Good thing Jack is immortal...
  • The Night That Never Ends: All the stars have burnt out a long time ago.
  • Oh, Crap: The Doctor's face, on realizing that, whoever he is, Yana's not supposed to be able to really see the watch, and Martha just drew his attention to it. His subsequent panic implies that the Doctor knows perfectly well which Time Lord it is. When the two finally make eye contact, the Master coyly grins and the Doctor shows no surprise whatsoever, even naming his foe without hesitation.
  • One-Word Title
  • Pardon My Klingon: Apparently Chantho forgoing her Verbal Tic would be the equivalent of swearing.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A whispered example, but no less awesome:
    Professor Yana: I... am... The Master.
  • Red Herring: Yana appears to be "reverting" to a primitive state like the others, but it's actually the Master's suppressed personality.
  • Say My Name: "Use my name."
  • Schizo Tech: Yana's control system for the rocket, as the Doctor realises to his amazement.
    The Doctor: (Incredulous) That's food! You've built this system out of food and string and staples?!
  • Screw Yourself: Jack's the only man Jack's ever going to be happy with.
  • Shout-Out: Jack labels the Futurekind the Beastie Boys.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Professor Yana, until the Doctor shows up. The sole scientist at the end of the universe trying to get a rocket ship to work, so he can send everyone to Utopia.
  • Stable Time Loop: Martha mentions what the Face of Boe's last words were, while Jack is present. If he is indeed the Face (as he implies two episodes later), he now knows exactly the message he has to deliver, and what it means.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Chantho can't say any sentences that don't begin and end with "Chan" and "Tho". Well, she could, but it'd be rude.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: Jack has to remind Ten to do his "I'm so sorry" thing when Chantho tells them her tragic back-story.
  • Terrible Ticking: Professor Yana's "headache". Duh-duh-duh-dum, duh-duh-duh-dum...
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Yana.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Doctor is noticeably more cold, strange, and egotistical for the first half of the episode. Jack has to tell the Doctor to remember his social niceties.
  • Too Much Information:
    Chantho: Chan-I am happy drinking my own internal milk-tho.
    Yana: Yes, well, that's quite enough information, thank you.
  • Used Future: The computers need near-constant rebooting, among other issues.
  • Wham Episode
  • Wham Line: One of the biggest in the whole series, and easily the biggest so far in the revival.
    Professor Yana: I. am. The Master.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Professor Yana — according to Doctor Who Magazine, RTD told the wardrobe department to "Hartnell him up".
  • Wham Line:
    • "Even this thing never worked..."
    • And shortly after, "Does it matter?" If only Martha had a better poker face.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The facility security guards who open the gates for the Doctor, Martha and Jack shoot at the cannibals' feet, but not at the cannibals themselves. This leaves them alive so they can break in later.
  • You Are Not Alone: Plot point! Also a Meaningful Name.


Doctor Who S29 E10 'Blink"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S29 E12 'The Sound of Drums"

alternative title(s): Doctor Who NSS 3 E 11 Utopia
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