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The Stolen Earth/Journey's End
We all know what to expect from series finales now, and Stolen Earth/Journey's End is another misguided attempt to top the previous years'. This time around, everything runs on nonsensoleum, and I'm not just talking about the science for a change; character interactions, the plot's progression and the show's increasingly bizzare moral core are all powered by twisted, nonsensical Narnia-logic that locks the viewer out from the word go. Months of retroactive Fan Wank are needed to even begin to make sense of The Doctor's actions in this episode, and no-one else fares much better.

Like the other finales, it tries painfully hard to up the Holy Shit Quotient to insane levels, but the problem is it may be epic but it's generic epic; it tries to hit all the "awesome" notes in the most unchallenging, uninspired ways. It never elicits a gasp or a "Holy shit!", just indifferent groans and Olympic-grade facepalming (okay, I admit it was pretty funny when K-9 showed up out of nowhere, but probably not for the right reasons). If you look past the posturing and the overblown attempts at a Wham Episode, there's just no reason to give a damn; certainly the plot is the biggest case Like You Would Really Do It I've seen in a while and doesn't do anything to try and allay that.

To reclaim a little balance, it does have its good points; Julian Bleach is brilliant as Davros, and I dearly hope we get to see him reprise the role in a more watchable episode. Donna's "sendoff" is poigniant and well-written in total contrast to the painful, Narmtacular way it was set up. Murray Gold's score delivers as always, although it's increasingly clear his best work on Doctor Who was done by series 2.

It's all the usual suspects that are to blame; Protection From Editors (in particular, it's clear that Dalek Caan went from the drawing board to the final draft without anyone to say, "Hey, maybe there's a better way to do this character than Multiple Miggs Skaro-style!"), Running The Asylum, Deus Ex Machina, Russel T Davies smells of wee, you know the score by now. My advice is watch the very end and the bits with Davros on You Tube and just enjoy the pretence that the rest of the episode was that good.
Personally, I found it more watchable than that, but I agree that it was trying too hard: too much content, not enough substance.

That said, the plot at least was better than the series one and two finales, and fairly engaging most of the time. It's also always a treat to see Captain Jack Harkness back to his good-natured, jovial self, rather than that tyrannical jerk he plays on Torchwood.

Then again, Davies just does not seem to understand that you can't have an epic climax if you insist on punching the Reset Button at the end.

Personally, I got the distinct impression Julian Bleach realized his character was entirely superfluous to the plot - seriously, what purpose did he serve that the Supreme Dalek couldn't have handled just as easily? - and determined to make up for it by overacting Every. Single. Line! "Detonate the reality bomb!"

Speaking of Narmtacular, I think you were too easy on the set-up to Donna's farewell. It could've been really tragic and poignant, but with all the ominous foreshadowing of the previous season, it just ended up looking like a colossal cop-out. The sendoff itself also was a major nonsensoleum-guzzler: the problem was in the physical makeup of her brain, not in the content of her memories. Also, I completely failed to notice this, but one of my friends pointed out that the Doctor essentially mind raped Donna over her repeated objections. Um, that's not poignant, that's assault.

And of course, Davies continues his mission to establish Rose as The Greatest Companion EVER, even though she isn't. Not even close.
comment #1812 TrickyPacifist 6th Feb 10 (edited by: TrickyPacifist)
Also Journey's end totally undermind's donna's character arch. the whole point of Donna was her discovery that she was more than "just a temp" and now she's stuck the way she was before. Dude!
comment #1817 wellinever 7th Feb 10
Looking back at this review, I don't think I covered the half of it, but never mind. On being too easy on the set-up, though: s'true, I could really use a whole review to describe at length how shitty and amateurish that whole thing was (it's a real shame "like bad fanfiction" has become a cliché so quickly) but I've come to expect it. It was obvious Donna wouldn't die, since RTD has come out and said that keeping the dramatic promise you establish with the viewer is "not what Doctor Who is about".
comment #2967 MrWednesday 21st Jun 10
Aw man, I enjoyed this episode, and now you guys are saying I shouldn't have? :(
comment #4122 Sen 23rd Aug 10
Personally, I thought it was the best season finally I've seen (I've only watched series 1-4), but I do dislike what was done to Donna. I think dying would have been both more poignant, and more dignified to her character to just kill her from brain incompatibility. It feels awful to have the best developed companion in the new series and revert her back to the petty shallow screaming gossip she was at the beginning of the Runaway Bride.
comment #5401 DracoDracul 10th Dec 10
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