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 one where Jack is back. And so is a certain enemy not seen for a few incarnations.
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 only played by Sir Derek Jacobi! Sir Derek's 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 hold hands and skip down corridors together and 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 this enormous rocket and send them to Utopia, but the rocket isn'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 rocket is 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 the Essence of a Time Lord.
Martha bolts from the room to tell the Doctor he might not be the last of his species after all except the Doctor's less thrilled by the news than she expects. In fact, far from happy, he seems terrified at the prospect. Another surviving Time Lord? Yeah, brilliant, of course only it depends which Time Lord...
In his laboratory, Professor Yana becomes increasingly fascinated by his watch. Strange noises echo in his head a voice from long ago demanding power, a familiar cruel laugh, and a stronger voice ordering the "human fool" to open the light "and receive my majesty." His assistant Chantho all but begs him to just stop and rest for a minute... but he can't even hear her.
All at once, the Utopia rocket takes off, Yana opens the watch, and the Doctor and Martha recall the Face of Boe's dying words: "You are not alone." The Doctor goes into full-on Oh, Crap! mode and dashes back to the laboratory, but it's already too late: Professor Yana is dead, and the new man wearing his face proceeds to lock them out, let the Futurekind into the facility, and murder Chantho, who shoots him with her dying breath.
Which doesn't deter him, because, and it's this point the penny drops... he is The Master...
Ok. 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. Not only that, Jacobi enjoyed the role so much he came back, in 2017, and started playing the Master regularly again for Big Finish, this time getting more than two minutes to be tremendously evil.
Anyway, bad ol' Koschei, not seen onscreen since the start of the Eighth Doctor's tenure, promptly regenerates into the bloke from Life on Mars, steals the TARDIS and leaves our heroes stranded in the umpteen-billionth century with savages beating down the doors.
- Actor Allusion: Though not widely known, this isn't the first time that Sir Derek Jacobi has played the Master. He previously played the same character in Scream of the Shalka (don't feel too bad; during interviews for this episode Jacobi appeared to have forgotten this too). This isn't even the first time Doctor Who pulled this one on the fans. In Big Finish Doctor Who, Geoffrey Beevers (who had played the Master in "The Keeper of Traken") appeared completely out of the blue in the Seventh Doctor audio adventure "Dust Breeding", playing a guy who turned out to be the Master in disguise. As he hadn't been associated with the role for a good few decades by the time of the story, fans didn't make the connection until The Reveal.
- After the End: The stars have gone out, most civilizations have fallen, and heat death is approaching.
- A God Am I: Invoked: The Doctor tells Jack a Time Lord who did as Rose had and absorbed the Time Vortex would become "a powerful and vengeful god".
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg:The Doctor: I'm asking you, really, properly, just stop! Just think!
The Master: Use my name.
The Doctor: Master...I'm sorry.
- Ambiguous Situation: The fate of the Utopia Project. During his sabotage of the bunker systems, 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.
- Apocalypse How: In the year 100 trillion, an implicitly gradual Class X-3 has already occurred — all the stars have burnt out and faded, leaving what survivors remain reliant on an atmospheric shell to avoid freezing to death — and the universe is approaching a natural Class X-4 via heat death.
- Armour-Piercing Question: "How do you know it's broken if you've never opened it?"
- Bad Liar: Martha is so shocked at the sight of Yana's watch that she does an extremely bad job of convincing Yana that it's 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 Lieutenant Atillo (see below) after Jake is disintegrated.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: For once, averted by the Master:
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Jack borrows Nine's "Fantastic!"
- Cape Swish: We get treated to a double dose of this, thanks to the Doctor, Jack and their Badass Longcoats.
- 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 be less likely to think its appearance in "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" was foreshadowing for the series' climax.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Doctor notes upon refuelling 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 materialisation at the end of that last episode.
- 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...
- Jack brings the Doctor's old severed hand from "The Christmas Invasion" with him, and the Doctor mentions having regrown it. The Master steals it along with the TARDIS.
- The Doctor asks if Jack's had work done; Jack snarks at him for being hypocritical. In "New Earth", Lady Cassandra believes that the Tenth Doctor is actually the Ninth Doctor after plastic surgery, and also calls him a hypocrite.
- In a subtle piece of foreshadowing, the 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.
- 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 Dæmons".
- Cool Old Guy: Professor Yana is a kindly, likeable old man who also happens to be a super-genius... until he opens his watch. At which point, the "kindly" and "likable" bits go out the window.
- Cute Monster Girl: Chantho is a charming insect humanoid.
- Dangerous Key Fumble: The Doctor fumbling with his key while trying to unlock the TARDIS gives the Master time to throw the deadbolt and then deadlock-seal the doors, locking the Doctor out.
- Death Glare: The Doctor does an impressive one while fusing the TARDIS' coordinates as the Master absconds with it at the end.
- Did You Get a New Haircut?: In a rather unique take on the trope, the Doctor asks Jack if he's had some work done. Jack retorts that he can talk, given as how he's regenerated since the last time Jack saw him.
- Disaster Scavengers: The Futurekind 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 despite the Time Lord's instinctive rejection of temporal anomalies, 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.
- Failed a Spot Check: Somehow, no one notices that Futurekind woman constantly hissing and snarling, or baring her fangs.
- 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" due to his Time Lord instincts that reject temporal anomalies.
- Creet (the kid with the clipboard) says that in Utopia, the skies are made of diamonds. That sounds familiar...
- One could interpret the Doctor's almost frantic reaction when told of Yana's fob watch as him being afraid that it's The Master, but maybe the Master wasn't the only Time Lord that the Doctor was frightened of.
- When the Master awakens from regenerating, the music that plays is the same that played at the end of "42" when Mr. Saxon's goons were talking with Mrs. Jones. Furthermore, Martha recognizes the new Master's voice...
- 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: Unlike John Smith, Professor Yana doesn't get any warning of what will happen if he opens the watch.
- Gratuitous Japanese: English/Japanese keyboards can be seen 100 trillion years in the future.
- 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.
- Word of God, it was meant to evoke the image of half-disassembled TARDIS consoles. Notice something familiar about the equipment in Yana's lab? According to
- Hollywood Darkness: Considering that "it's not just night, all the stars have burned out", Malcassairo is pretty darned bright.
- Humans Are Smelly: While inside the bunker, the Doctor mentions the "ripe old smell of humans!"
- Hyperaffixation: Chantho begins and ends everything she says with "Chan" and "tho". Not doing so is her species' equivalent of swearing like a sailor.
- I Choose to Stay: Chantho is perfectly fine with the prospect of staying behind with the Professor.
- Incoming Ham:
- Jack dashing on screen shouting "DOCTOR!"
- The Master in both of his incarnations of this episode demonstrates that glorious Time Lord arrogance.
- In Harm's Way: The Doctor, realizing he and Martha are further into the future than even the Time Lords dared to look, notes that common sense says they should leave. Then he bolts outside, Martha right behind him.
- Internal Homage:
- To "End of the Line"* , a Doctor Who Magazine comic strip starring the Fourth Doctor, which similarly features a handful of survivors on a dying world besieged by cannibal reavers, dreaming of a better life in a mythical land.
- 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 Before the End: "The end" meaning The End, in this case the heat death of the universe is approaching fast.
- Just Between You and Me: Defied; "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!"
- Kiss of Life: "Was someone kissing me?"
- Last Breath Bullet: Chantho shoots the Master as he makes his escape, and then dies. This incarnation of the Master dies too, then he regenerates.
- Last of His Kind:
- The Doctor thinks of himself this way until he discovers who Yana really is.
- Chantho mentions she's the last of the Malmooth, who used to inhabit this planet. Being killed rendered the species extinct in that time, presumably.
- Literal Metaphor: The Doctor says he was "a different man" the last time he met Jack. He was Christopher Eccleston, and now he's David Tennant.
- MacGuffin Location: Utopia is a mysterious place out in the stars where humanity can supposedly outlive the end of the universe.
- Magnetic Hero: Martha explains that the Doctor basically flies around the universe picking people up. "God, I make us sound like stray dogs." Skip to "The Doctor's Wife", and you'll learn that this is precisely the TARDIS's opinion of them too.
- Man Hug: After the Doctor tells Jack that Rose is alive and well, Jack wraps him in a huge hug. It's especially heartwarming considering their hostile reunion up until that moment.
- Manly Tears: Professor Yana, struggling with the reminders of time travel, Time Lords and the TARDIS, sheds a few tears.
- 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...
- The Master had dubbed his human identity as "Professor", possibly as a counter to "The Doctor". Even he called it brilliant.
- The Mole: A Futurekind woman has wandered in with the crowd in order to sabotage the base.
- 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.The Doctor: Wwwwhat're you taking your clothes off for?
Jack: I'm goin' in!
The 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.
- Mythology Gag:
- Professor Yana's Edwardian-tinged outfit evokes the First Doctor's, explicitly noted by Russell T. Davies in Doctor Who Magazine.
- The story, with the terrible Futurekind and the desperate humans searching for a promised land, evokes the Fourth Doctor comics story "End of the Line," which took place on a planet overrun with pollution. In both cases, there wasn't a happy ending.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The Doctor and Jack running through the halls with their coats flapping.
- Naked on Arrival: Yana mentions he was found naked as a child.
- Natural End of Time: The setting of the episode, which takes place at a point where all the stars are dead and the last humans are trying to find Utopia to escape the end of everything.
- 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.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- The Doctor for not recognizing his old nemesis (although, in fairness, he had no real way to do so), 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 the bleak ending they're facing, though, it might have been kinder to let them get killed off earlier.
- The Night That Never Ends: All the stars have burnt out a long time ago.
- No Sense of Time: Technically averted due to Reality Is Unrealistic. The Doctor says the TARDIS has travelled to the year 100 trillion, which sounds like a ridiculously high number, even for the age of the universe. However there are scientific theories predicting that the universe could indeed survive for that long, if not even longer. Though since a universe that old wouldn't have recognisable things like planets and people it's not completely averted.
- The Nth Doctor: Derek Jacobi takes over as the Master, only for John Simm to take over at the end.
- Oblivious to Love: In yet another subtle hint that Yana is a Time Lord, he is unaware that Chantho has a crush on him, just like Martha with the Doctor.
- Oh, Crap!:
- When the TARDIS lands in the year 100,000,000,000,000. The Doctor quietly states that not even the Time Lords came that far, and that they should leave. They should really, really leave. Obviously, they don't.
- Martha's utter shock upon the sight of Yana's pocket watch, which grows upon confirmation that yes, it is a Chameleon Arch.
- 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.Martha: But that's brilliant, isn't it?
The Doctor: [clearly panicking] Yeah, it is, 'course it is. Depends which one...
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: When he's asked off-screen what he's a doctor of, The Doctor apparently responds with 'Everything'
- One-Word Title: "Utopia".
- Outside Ride: Jack grabs on to the outside of the TARDIS and hangs on all the way to the end of the universe, via the Time Vortex. It kills him, but as expected, he gets better.
- Painful Transformation: The Master screams near the end of his regeneration.
- Pardon My Klingon: Chantho forgoing her Verbal Tic would be the equivalent of swearing.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: See I Was Beaten by a Girl above.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A whispered example, but no less awesome:Professor Yana: I... am... the Master.
- Reality Ensues: An aversion. Jack mentions that without any stars, they should be freezing to death. The Doctor handwaves this with mention of an atmospheric shell.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The episode takes place in the year 100 trillion, which has been criticized as being an absurdly high number, even for the age of the universe. In fact, according to some theories, the last stars are actually expected to die out sometime between 110 and 120 trillion years in the future; in cosmic terms a 20-trillion-year margin of error is a pretty good guess. Some estimates put the expected lifetime of the universe even higher, effectively approaching infinity.
- Red Herring: Yana appears to be "reverting" to a primitive state like the others, but it's actually the Master's suppressed personality.
- Running Gag: Jack's attempts at flirting being shot down by the Doctor.Jack: Can't I say hello to anybody?
- 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.
- The Stars Are Going Out: Forget "going", they've pretty much all gone at this point.The Doctor: This isn't just night. All the stars have burned up and faded away into nothing.
- 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.
- Technicolor Death: While regeneration was depicted inconsistently in the classic series, the production team deliberately made the Master's resemble the Doctor's. The only differences are slightly more vibrant colours... and the Master screaming throughout the process.
- Terrible Ticking: Professor Yana's "headache". Duh-duh-duh-dum, duh-duh-duh-dum...
- Theme Tune Cameo: Listen closely to the drumbeat in Yana/The Master's head? Recognize it? It's the bassline of the Doctor Who theme.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Yana's past is a mystery to himself and everyone else. He thinks he's human, but that voice in the fob watch disagrees and overtakes him.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- because the Doctor's adjusting to Jack's presence and nature as a Fact, something which does the Bizarre Alien Senses equivalent of making his hair stand on end. 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. This could be
- Professor Yana manages to do this in less than a minute due to transforming from a kindly and eccentric old scientist into the diabolical and evil Master. Within seconds of transforming he's sabotaging his alter ego's life's work and murdering his former best friend without a shred of remorse.
- 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.
- Verbal Tic: Chan- Chantho has to begin every sentence with "Chan" and end it with "tho", otherwise it would be rude. -tho
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Jack and the Doctor are still great friends, but Jack's new status as a Fact of the timeline makes the Doctor edgy due to how "wrong" it feels to his Bizarre Alien Senses, which Jack doesn't appreciate.
- Waistcoat of Style: Professor Yana according to Doctor Who Magazine, RTD told the wardrobe department to "Hartnell him up".
- Wham Episode: The Master makes his first appearance in the revival series!
- Wham Line:
- "Even this thing never worked..." Professor Yana bringing out his supposedly broken fob watch.
- As Yana examines the watch, an audio clip from "The Dæmons" plays which anyone familiar with Old Who will recognise instantly, making it pretty clear exactly who Yana really is.
- One of the biggest in the whole series, and easily the biggest so far in the revival.Professor Yana: I. am. The Master.
- Wham Shot: Yana taking out his watch, and then turning it over to show Martha the top. Her reaction is about the same as the audience's.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- The Doctor is considerably more abrasive than usual in this episode, which Martha and Jack both call out. In a short space of time, the Doctor casually reveals that he can regenerate and regrow limbs, that he has had many more travelling companions than just Martha and Rose, and that they're all eventually dropped off somewhere to fend for themselves as soon as he's "bored" with them, all of which he had kept secret from Martha after previously promising to be straighter with her. The Doctor's apathetic reaction to Jack appears to be incredibly cold at first, but he later reveals that he has particular reasons for being so weary of Jack.
- Chantho's reaction to her beloved Professor casually destroying everything they had built together for mankind's survival is one of abject betrayal and confusion. The Master totally ignores her objections until she shows how serious she is.
- Whole Plot Reference: To The Night Land. It's the distant future, the sun has gone out, and the last of humanity clings to life in one tiny settlement, besieged by post-human monsters outside.
- 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! The meaning behind the Face of Boe's last words to the Doctor are revealed. It's a Meaningful Name.