The one where the world faces its DOOM as Sam Tyler hams it up all the way until James Bond outshines him (the show just really seems to love Bond at this point, huh? Guess that's what happens when you have a show that previously cast an actual former spy and friend of Ian Fleming as the main character).
Written by Russell T. Davies, this two-episode serial first aired from 25 December 2009 to 1 January 2010. This story is somewhat notable for being the first Multi-Part Episode to be separated into explicitly numbered "parts" (rather than having each part have its own title a-la the show's first 25 serials) since "Survival" twenty years prior. Incidentally, both stories were season finales and marked both the departure of the incumbent showrunner and the last full-length televised appearances of the incumbent Doctornote . It would also be the only Revival Series story to hold this distinction until "Spyfall" in 2020.
We begin with Timothy Dalton narrating over a shot of Earth, gradually zooming in to London. He states that as The End of the World as We Know It approaches, everyone on Earth has been plagued by nightmares, but they've all forgotten, save one man: Wilfred Mott. Wilf enters a church only to see a stained glass window depicting the TARDIS. A woman proceeds to explain to him the "Legend of the Blue Box" and the story of the "Sainted Physician", and then spookily disappears. Cue opening credits...
On the Oodsphere, the Doctor steps out of the TARDIS wearing a cowboy hat and a lei around his neck. He decided to take a nice long holiday after his nervous breakdown. After he relates his holiday details to Ood Sigma including a short-lived marriage to Queen Bess he locks the TARDIS ("like a car", remote starter and all) and takes a good look at the Ood's capital. After being told it's only been a century since he was last here, he realizes it's been way too soon for the Ood to be well-coordinated enough to send a message back in time. Even worse, the Ood have been having nightmares. Ood Sigma brings the Doctor to a group of Ood, and he shares in their psychic link, showing him images of the Master laughing, Wilf, two complete strangers, Lucy Saxon in prison, and the Master's ring being picked up by a woman. After a warning that the Master's return is only part of a greater plan and the revelation that "time is bleeding", the Doctor freaks out, runs back to the TARDIS at full speed, and heads back to the 21st century.
Meanwhile, Lucy Saxon is collected from prison by the mysterious woman who took the Master's ring, only to reveal that the Master, never one to let himself be out of the picture forever, set up an elaborate scheme to ensure his return from the dead. By combining the Master's ring, some Potions of Applied Phlebotinum, and a DNA sample from Lucy, the Master begins to come back quite naked. Lucy reveals that she's set up her own plan to prevent the Master from coming back and that she had her family connections make a potion to counter the effects of the Master's Applied Phlebotinum. She hurls it at him while his body is still forming. The prison explodes. The Doctor arrives too late to prevent anything. Cut to the two strangers from the Doctor's visions, a rich man and a younger woman: they're delighted to see the Master may have come back, and they begin setting up some Applied Phlebotinum of their own.
Wilf, at the end of his rope thanks to his nightmares, organizes a busload of senior citizens into a search party for the Doctor.
Elsewhere, a couple of homeless people get food from a stand, as it's explained that Barack Obama is about to announce a plan for ending the recession. A mystery man in a hoodie then comes up, declares himself a Big Eater, and pulls off his hood to reveal the Master's face, only with bleach-blond hair and stubble. He joins the homeless guys, wolfs down his food, gets compared to Mr. Saxon, and then starts ranting about getting even more food. He hates being remembered as Saxon and had hoped that his hair dye would fool people. His head starts flashing, revealing his skull, freaking out the homeless guys enough that they run away. They try to ask the food stand attendants for help, only to find them dead and Stripped to the Bone. With a shout of "DINNERTIME!", the Master leaps way into the air and onto them.
Afterwards, he grabs a stick of pipe and knocks four times on a barrel. The Doctor hears it from a distance. Four more knocks, and the Doctor begins running toward him. After deducing that the Master Came Back Wrong, he gets stopped by Wilf before he can catch up to the Master. Wilf's Senior Citizen Search Party comes out of the woodwork, revealing that they've set up an elaborate communications network to catch the Doctor. While the Doctor just wants to get away and chase the Master, the Senior Citizen Search Party makes him pose for a picture, while an elderly woman gropes his ass.
After riding on their bus back to town, the Doctor and Wilf stop by a coffee shop, and Wilf proceeds to talk about old times. The Doctor points out the Contrived Coincidence of Wilf tracking him down so easily (a running thread from this season, you may remember) and mentions that the four knocks he heard means he's going to die. They discuss regeneration for a while, and the Doctor admits that when he regenerates, the man he was actually dies. They see Donna through the window, and Wilf starts begging the Doctor to restore her memories, while discussing her life. She's engaged. Again. The Doctor tries to relate his recent solo adventures to Wilf, but nearly breaks down crying when he thinks about what happened to Adelaide. Wilf continues begging the Doctor to restore Donna's memories, but he just leaves to look for the Master again.
That night, Timothy Dalton's narration declares that the pieces are in place for the oncoming conflict and that the final day of mankind has come. The two rich strangers toast each other while the Master continues eating on the streets like a feral animal. The Doctor shows up, and the Master starts zapping him with lightning. The Doctor just keeps walking forward, until the Master finally hits him square in the chest. They have a bit of a chat about food and the drums in the Master's head. The Doctor thinks that the Master is simply mad, but the Master touches his forehead to his and opens a psychic link. The Master is actually hearing something real. But he quickly uses his newfound lightning powers to take off flying, screaming about how, "It's real!", and the Doctor is forced to give chase. Suddenly, the Master is kidnapped by armed men and whisked away on a helicopter, as more armed goons knock the Doctor unconscious and leave him on the ground.
The next morning, at the Noble house, Donna gives some gifts to her mother and Wilf. For some reason even she doesn't know, her gift to Wilf is a book written by one of the two mysterious rich strangers. His name is revealed as Joshua Naismith. Speaking of the strangers, we see that Naismith is holding the Master prisoner, and he explains that his daughter has heard legends of Mr. Saxon and believes he can help with their project. The Nobles turn on the TV for the Queen's speech, but only Wilf is watching as the mysterious church lady appears instead. She tells him that in order to save the Doctor's life, he must take up arms and not tell the Doctor. Wilf goes upstairs, grabs his old service revolver, and sees the Doctor waiting for him outside. He goes outside, shows Naismith's book to the Doctor; the Doctor speculates that Donna's Time Lord brain is still subconsciously active, and suggests the book is an important clue. When Donna starts to come outside, the Doctor and Wilf flee to the TARDIS and quickly take off, to the protests of Sylvia. As the Doctor and Wilf banter about how the TARDIS should be cleaner, the Doctor prepares to teleport to Naismith's mansion.
Back at the Naismith mansion, Naismith and his disturbingly incestuous daughter show their project to the Master. The Master figures out that it's alien technology, and a couple of scientists flee the room. Turns out those scientists are actually kooky aliens in disguise, preparing to hijack the project for their own ends. Naismith gives the Master a turkey as an incentive to help him, and he quickly gobbles it down. Naismith reveals that the project is a healing machine salvaged from the ruins of Torchwood. The gate came with two nuclear-powered control booths, which are set-up in a way that if a technician wishes to leave they must be replaced in the other booth, ensuring that someone is working the controls at all times. Naismith believes that once fully repaired with the Master's help, it will be able to give anyone immortality. Thus, he names it the Immortality Gate. Rather than wanting to use it to become a god, he intends to use it to make his daughter immortal as the ultimate Christmas gift. As the Master begins repairing the Immortality Gate, the TARDIS arrives on the estate. Remembering what happened the last time he left the TARDIS unguarded around the Master, the Doctor cloaks it with the key and heads off into the compound with Wilf. They run into the two alien schemers, and the Doctor sees right through them. Shimmer!
The Master finishes fixing the Immortality Gate. Naismith orders him restrained and reveals himself to be smart enough to check for traps before sending his daughter through it. Back to the Doctor and his alien friends, it turns out they're of the Vinvocci, a sister species to that of Bannakaffalatta, the little red guy from "Voyage of the Damned". They feel that the Gate is rightfully theirs; they're a salvage team, and they intend to steal it back as soon as it's working again. They reveal the Gate mends entire populations of planets based on a single medical template, not just one person at a time. The Doctor realizes the implications of this and runs off to find Naismith. As Obama begins to broadcast his economic plans, the Doctor arrives in the control room, telling Naismith not to let the Master near the Gate. The Master bursts out of his restraints and leaps into the gate. The Doctor tries to get Naismith to shut down the Gate, but it's too late...
The Master is inside Naismith's head. No, he's inside everyone's head. Every human on Earth. The Doctor gets Wilf into one of the nuclear booths, and its shielding gets the Master out of his head, but he's only one person. Less than a minute later, the Gate finishes powering up, and every single human on Earth, save Wilf (in the shielded booth) and Donna (who's not entirely human anymore) are turned into clones of the Master. He's the President. He's newsreader Trinity Wells. He's Joshua and Abigail Naismith. He's everyone. Earth is now populated by six billion Masters. The human race has become... "the Master Race". And upon seeing a transformation this bizarre, Donna starts to remember...
As the camera cuts away from the six billion Masters laughing at each other and at the horrified Doctor, Timothy Dalton's narration kicks in again, and starts growing ominously cruel and sinister, revealing that this is far more than humanity's end. For Dalton isn't just the story's narrator, he's the Narrator. As in Rassilon, Lord President of the Time Lords. The Time Lords are back in large numbers, and they're preparing for war. What are they fighting for? "The end of time itself."
End of Part 1.
Part 2 begins with the Doctor and Wilf tied to chairs while the Master taunts them with his plans to convert the entire planet into a warship. His gloating is rudely interrupted, however, when Wilf receives a call on his mobile. The Master is understandably miffed at someone escaping his Master Race Plan; he grabs the phone, also discovering and throwing away Wilf's revolver. He then orders all of him in that area to consume Donna. Donna's mind counters with a latent superpower (a parting gift from the Doctor) that knocks out all of the nearby Masters and leaves her unconscious. Cut back to the original Master, shocked at what just transpired. The Doctor taunts him, saying he "wouldn't leave [his] best friend without a defence mechanism".
The Master begins demanding answers from the Doctor, specifically regarding the location of his TARDIS. The Doctor is more interested in telling the Master how beautiful he could be if he used his talents for good, and once again tries to convince him to give up his evil ways and join the Doctor in travelling the universe. The Master almost looks tempted, but then Wilf speaks up and breaks the moment, earning himself a fantastic Death Glare from the Master. The Master explains the Time Lord initiation ceremony both he and the Doctor underwent at the age of eight: staring into the Untempered Schism. That's when the Master first heard that mysterious drumbeat...
Suddenly, the Master has a breakthrough: not only has he confirmed the drumming is an actual transmission, but it's currently being beamed into six billion versions of him instead of just one. He can now easily trace the noise to its source, which he assumes must be whoever the Doctor has been warned is "returning". He again demands the Doctor hand over his TARDIS, ordering the guard behind him to shoot Wilf if the Doctor refuses.
At which point, the Doctor happily points out the presence of the Idiot Ball in the Master's hands. Six billion pairs of eyes, and he still hasn't noticed "that guard... is one inch too tall". The guard knocks him on the head and reveals himself to be one of the Vinvocci. Wilf is shocked and yells out "God bless the Cactuses!"
Rossiter: That's racist!
Then the other Vinvocci comes out from nowhere to untie Wilf. They don't have the time to unstrap the Doctor, however, and resort to wheeling him away. After nearly dropping him down a set of steps, the Doctor yells: "Worst. Rescue. Ever!" The Master gives chase with his many clones, but the Vinvocci teleport Wilf and the Doctor away to their ship, where the Doctor proceeds to take command and uses the sonic to shut down every system in the ship so that the Master's radar doesn't detect them.
It is around this point that we see the Time Lords. Specifically, the Lord President, who is walking proudly to a meeting with seven other Time Lords, though parts of the building are falling off around him. The Time War is happening all around them, continuously and forever. At the meeting, it is revealed that the Visionary has predicted that today is the last day of the Time War and of the Time Lords themselves. Understandably, the Lord President is upset at this and vapourizes a Time Lady who says that maybe this is a good thing, that since the Time War is such a horrible thing it's better for everyone. After ranting a little, another Time Lord reveals that another prophecy details the "final clash" between the Doctor and the Master, and that the Visionary keeps mentioning the word "Earth" in her predictions. The Lord President shows everyone a projection of Planet Earth, saying that their salvation is there. The Lord President then demands that they find a way to move Gallifrey out of the Time Lock and save their race. We are then shown that the Lord President ordered the "sound of drums" implanted in the Master's head in an attempt to establish a link between him in the present day and the time-locked Time Lords.
We are then taken back to the ship, where the Vinvocci reveal they are simply scavengers, not a salvage team. The Doctor begins fixing the heating of the ship, and Wilf is getting lost somewhere in the bowels of the ship. He sees the Church Lady again, who talks to him about being a soldier. He pulls out his revolver from his jacket (apparently he retrieved it while the Vinvocci were trying to unstrap the Doctor) and turns to the woman, but she has disappeared. He then goes to see the Doctor, who is still fixing the heating. Wilf goes on a short spiel about how he always wanted to see the Earth from space and is happy that he is now an astronaut. Then Wilf begins to talk seriously with the Doctor, offering him his gun, ordering the Doctor to "not put [the Master] before the Human Race". The Doctor thinks for a moment, but declines. More than once.
On Earth, all the Masters are concentrating on the source of the drums. Back with the Time Lords, the Lord President, after saying "Link Established", throws a small diamond at the projection of Earth to make the link into a bridge. Back on the Vinvocci ship, the Doctor sees the diamond streaking across the Earth's sky. The Master, now hearing the sound coming from the shooting diamond, orders his clones to find and retrieve the diamond. It is revealed that it is a very special kind of diamond. The Master is ecstatic.
On the ship, the Doctor hears an all-frequency broadcast made by the Master. He addresses the Doctor and makes it clear that he knows what the source of the drums is, and he names the diamond as a White Point Star. The Doctor is scared, since a White Point Star can only be found on Gallifrey. Very, very scared. He grabs the pistol from Wilf, the one he had adamantly refused earlier, as he is willing to break all his rules to stop the Time Lords from returning.
Wilf is confused; the Doctor's fear doesn't go well with his description of the Time Lords so far as great people. Wilf asks him why he's so scared, and the Doctor reveals "that's how [he chose] to remember them". The Doctor quickly restarts the ship (saying he was repairing a bit more than the heating) and orders Wilf and Rossiter to man the mining lasers. Adams is annoyed and tells the Doctor that he is not allowed to commandeer her vessel like this. His reply goes simply:
Adams: What's that then?
The Doctor: Allons-y!
The Doctor takes the ship straight through the atmosphere and locks on to the Master's Evil Lair, the Naismith mansion. The Master orders a Macross Missile Massacre which is shot down by Wilf and Rossiter (complete with Han Solo-like whoops) and some very fine piloting by the Doctor. Eventually they are almost upon the Master's lair, and Wilf asks the Doctor if they will all survive, saying he doesn't mind and won't stop him, he just wants to know. The Doctor doesn't reply.
We see the Lord President giving the end of a speech that says, "The Time Lords will survive." It is revealed everybody save for two voted in favour of breaking the Time Lock and going to Earth. The two dissenters stand with their hands over their faces or, as the Lord President says, "like the Weeping Angels of old."
They (the Doctor, Wilf and the Vinvocci) are soon almost colliding with the Naismith mansion, but the Doctor pulls the ship up and takes Wilf's pistol, leaping from the ship and somehow surviving a massive drop through a glass roof on to an incredibly hard floor. He is not in time to foil the Master's master plan and is witness to the Time Lords returning. The Lord President, accompanied by several other Time Lords, comes into view in a blaze of white light. The Master grins maniacally and reveals that before, he could remake the entire human race in his own image, but now he can remake the Time Lords. The Lord President is completely unbothered, using his gauntlet to reverse the Master's actions, returning humanity back to normal. Then the Doctor makes a disturbing reveal: The Master didn't just bring back the Time Lords. He brought back Gallifrey.
From space, we see Gallifrey fade into existence almost on top of the Earth. Sylvia Noble and Shawn Temple, awakening to find Donna missing, run outside searching for her, and everyone else is also in the streets, mostly screaming and running about. Without Wilf, the Vinvocci flee, realizing that Earth is now about to be knocked out of orbit. Rossiter tries to mention the Doctor, but Adams is having none of it. They disappear.
While all the restored humans in the mansion are running out, Wilf runs in, hoping to help the Doctor. Instead he notices one of Naismith's minions, trapped in the Nuclear Bolt cabinet. Wilf goes into the other booth, allowing the terrified minion to escape, at the cost of getting himself trapped.
Back in the mansion, the Master moves onto Plan B: Unable to take over the Time Lords' bodies the same way he did the humans, he simply plans to celebrate the Time Lords' return and have them owe him one. The Doctor tells him that the Master wasn't there during the final days of the War. He tells him that Gallifrey not only had a host of leftover Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, and the Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Never-Weres; all about to break free and descend upon the Earth. The Master is a-OK with that scenario until the Doctor reminds him that even the Time Lords can't survive all of them at once.
The Lord President then explains his plan, if you can call it that. The Time Lords will destroy the Time Vortex itself, wiping out all life in the universe while they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. The Master asks to join them, but the President has no intention of letting his "diseased" pawn share in his glory. Just then, the Doctor stands up, pointing his pistol at the Lord President. A Mexican Standoff of sorts takes place. The Master eggs the Doctor on, saying that if the Lord President were dead, Gallifrey could be his for the taking.
The Doctor swings the gun back toward the Master. The Master realizes that the psychic link holding Gallifrey outside of the Time War exists in his head; one bullet in each heart and the planet and Time Lords would vanish. However, he knows that the Doctor would never really pull the trigger. Just so, the Doctor swings back to face the Lord President. For the first time, he notices a woman with him; a Council member who voted against returning to the universe-at-large. She lowers her hands from in front of her face, revealing herself to be... the Church Lady! She motions with her teary eyes to something behind the Doctor and, moments later, the Doctor again faces the Master. This time, he tells him to get out of the way. The Master dodges, and the Doctor shoots the machine holding the White Point Star in place. With the signal from the diamond gone, the Time Lords and Gallifrey begin to vanish. The Doctor refers to the Lord President by his name and Rassilon then threatens to kill the Doctor, to which he replies, "I know."
The Master steps forward, telling the Doctor to get out of the way. He uses his lightning blasts to strike down the Lord President over and over again, walking forward and vanishing with the other Time Lords back into the Time War.
The Doctor lies on the ground, half-sobbing, half-laughing, saying "I'm still alive!" in disbelief, stunned that he was able to succeed.
But just then, someone knocks four times... four times.
With a look of dawning horror on his face, the Doctor turns towards the source of the sound: Wilf, still trapped in the control booth, and knocking on the glass, anxious to be let out. The Doctor, examining the device, notices that it is about to overload and flood the booth with a very deadly amount of radiation, and even the slightest bit of interference will set it off. Even using the sonic is out of the question. He ultimately concludes that the only way for Wilf to escape is for the Doctor to enter the other booth and let him out, but that means he'll have to take the full blunt of the radiation himself. Wilf urges him to leave him behind, telling him he is an old man who has lived a full life already, while the Doctor has a brief Heroic BSoD. He has a small moment of "What Measure Is a Non-Time Lord?" and seriously considers leaving Wilf to die before he recovers, saying, "I've lived too long." He enters the other chamber and frees Wilf, resulting in him being microwaved with over a half million Rads, squirming in pain as he falls to the floor.
The Nuclear Bolt shuts down and the doors swing open. The Doctor stands and calmly walks out, seemingly fine. But when Wilf comments on the Doctor's cuts and scrapes, they heal before his eyes and the Doctor explains that the regeneration process has already begun.
The Doctor takes Wilf home and tells him that he'll "see [him] again. One more time." When Wilf asks where he's going, the Doctor replies, "To get my reward." The Doctor proceeds to visit each of his previous companions in turn, saving Martha and Mickey from a Sontaran about to ambush them, rescuing Luke Smith from oncoming traffic, and introducing Jack Harkness to Alonso Frame. He also stops in on Joan Redfern's great-granddaughter. He returns to the present day for Donna's wedding and gives Wilf her present: A lottery ticket purchased with money the Doctor borrowed from Donna's late father. Wilf asks him about the Church Lady, who was she? What was her connection to the Doctor? But he silently refuses to explain (though his eyes shift over Wilf and his own family members). After some final goodbyes, the Doctor leaves.
Back on New Year's Day, 2005, the Doctor visits the Powell Estate, encountering Rose as she's on her way home. Making sure to keep his face hidden in shadows, he wishes her a Happy New Year and says that he thinks she's going to have a "really great year". The Doctor heads toward his TARDIS but is overcome by pain, falling to his knees. Ood Sigma appears, telling him that "the Universe will sing you to your sleep". The Doctor stands and makes it into the TARDIS, setting it in motion.
The Doctor takes one last walk around the TARDIS, stopping just as the music reaches a pause before the crescendo before speaking his Tenth incarnation's last words: "I don't want to go." Visibly distraught, his head and hands begin to glow, as they had a few times before, but this time they won't fade away, growing with intensity before violently erupting. The energy severely damages the TARDIS and sends it toward Earth in a tailspin. With a final scream of exhaustion, the Doctor completes his regeneration, and we are introduced to Matt Smith for the first time as the Eleventh Doctor.
He goes through the typical self-examination common of all new Doctors, making sure he still has legs, hands, lots of fingers ("ooooh!"), his now longer hair ("I'm a girl?!"), that the fact he still has an Adam's apple means that he isn't a girl ("No. No, I'm not a girl!") and his hair colour ("Still not ginger!"). The burning ship, now crashing back towards Earth and into the next adventure, reminds the Doctor of imminent death (again) and he jumps onto the controls with manic glee, yelling "Geronimo!!" as the TARDIS continues crashing, the screen cutting to the credits.
Cue ending credits and the end of the (first) Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who. Technically, it starts with the regeneration, as Steven Moffat was allowed to write the first scene of "his" Doctor. And don't worry too much about the Master's fate he came back, as always, seven years later, along with his future incarnation. The HeelFace Turn, on the other hand, didn't stick.
- Abusive Alien Parents: The Master describes growing up on Gallifrey as "a life of duty" rather than an actual childhood, and the Doctor doesn't disagree.
- Actor Allusion:
- An Aesop: Don't cross the road without looking. This is an inside joke on RTD's part. He noted that since they always closed down the street when shooting The Sarah Jane Adventures, the actors never looked when they crossed the road.
- Alas, Poor Villain: The Master. It's revealed the drumming in his head (that has tormented him his entire life and led to him being totally unhinged) was in fact put there by Rassilon for his own purposes. At that point, some just really wanted to give him a big hug, so when he goes out in a vengeful blaze with that "get out of the way" it made them feel worse.
- All There in the Script: The bar where Jack and Alonso meet is called the "Ziggit Zagoo Bar", on the planet Zog. (No wonder RTD didn't put this name in dialogue...)
- Ambiguous Gender: The other dissenter who voted against Rassilon's plans never looks up, and is wearing heavier robes, so it's difficult to tell whether they're male or female.
- Amnesia Missed a Spot: Donna buys Wilfred a book by Joshua Naismith and has no idea why. The Doctor suggests it's because the Doctor-Donna is Fighting from the Inside.
- Apocalypse How:
- The Master essentially creates a Class 3a and sort of Depopulation Bomb when he converts every single human except Donna and Wilfred into clones of himself, although Rassilon undoes it with a Reset Button.
- Rassilon plans what amounts to a Class X-4, possibly even Class X-5. He wholly wants the spacetime rupture caused by him and the Time Lords escaping to thoroughly rip apart the Time Vortex and cause "creation itself [to] cease to be" so that he and his people will become disembodied consciousnesses. And adding onto this, the journey to reaching this stage of the apocalypse will be anything but quick and clean, what with Gallifrey manifesting next to the Earth and Hell on Earth in the form of the Time War's other horrors spilling out behind the Time Lords.
- Applied Phlebotinum:
- The Master's resurrection is brought about by... "potions of life", and countered by the opposite.
- The Immortality Gate likely works in a very clever and outer space way.
- Some kind of Time Lord tech to get around the Time Lock.
- Arc Words: "He will knock four times." Not only does Wilf knock four times, but he knocks four times four times. Just to make it perfectly clear what's about to happen.
- Artistic Licence - Space: It's Christmastime, so the North Pole appearing to be at the height of summer during the shot of the Earth showing the wave from the Immortality Gate is going around the planet can best be explained as this trope.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Rassilon's plot for the Time Lords in the last part of the Time War is to leave their bodies and become pure consciousness.
- Assimilation Plot: The Master makes Agent Smith look like an amateur in the self-copying-over-everyone department.The Master: [as TV host] Breaking News: I'm Everyone, and Everyone in the World is ME!
- Bad Boss: Rassilon kills a Time Lady who speaks out against the Time War, and even worse, dares to suggest that maybe the Time Lords should die.
Lucy Saxon: You're killing them!The Master: Oh, let them die! They're just the first!
- The Master is completely dismissive of the human cultists sacrificing their lives to resurrect him.
- Back for the Finale: In the final fourth of the special, the Doctor sees every ally and companion from the Russell T Davies era for the last time.
- Back from the Dead: The Master is revived by his disciples.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: Wilf offers the Doctor his old service revolver, pointing out that he might need a weapon to defend himself with if he goes back down to Earth. The Doctor politely and pointedly rejects the offer multiple times, despite a distressed Wilf, saying that lethal force just isn't his style. Moments later, however, the ship he's on gets a transmission from The Master, and the Doctor learns that the Time Lords are trying to bring themselves back into existence. His entire viewpoint on guns switches, and takes the revolver from Wilf without any hesitation. Not just because the Time Lords are returning, but because of what it'll bring with them; The Time War itself.
- Big Bad: At first, the Master seems to be one, but the real one is Rassilon, Lord President of the Time Lords.
- Big Eater: The Master, because he Came Back Wrong, is always constantly hungry.
- Big Good: The Church Lady/Woman in White is a mysterious force helping Wilf and the Doctor against the other Time Lords.
- Big "NO!": The Master's reaction when Lucy disrupts his resurrection.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Tear Jerker song played over Ten's regeneration is called "Vale Decem", a.k.a. "Farewell Ten", complete with apropos lyrics.
- Bittersweet Ending: Everyone on the planet is returned to normal and the Time Lords are dragged back into the Time War, but the Doctor is only saved by the Master (whom he had tried to save) charging Rassilon and being time-locked as well. On top of that, the Doctor reluctantly saves Wilfred at the cost of his own life but lives long enough to see all his companions to a happy ending. While the Tenth Doctor regenerates with tears in his eyes, the Eleventh is born and marvels at his new incarnation note .
- Book Ends:
- With Donna and the Doctor. Donna's in her wedding dress the very first and last times we see her.
- Ten's first and last full episodes were both Christmas specials.
- Ten's first scene was in the TARDIS and his second scene was at the Powell Estate. Guess where his second to last and last scenes are.
- Russell T Davies' tenure as the showrunner and main writer of Doctor Who begins and ends with the Doctor meeting Rose in 2005.
- The establishing scenes of the first and last stories of this miniseries feature "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" in the background, first sung by Victorian carolers and then played by a military band.
- Bullying a Dragon: Rassilon pulls an Eviler than Thou on The Master, admits to causing the drumbeat in his head that has tormented him his entire life, insults him to his face and tells him that he will abandon him to the horrors of the Time War along with the rest of the universe. As Rassilon learned, it wasn't a great move to talk like that to an amoral psychopath with superpowers.
- Cactus Person: The Doctor identifies two Vinvocci, green aliens with spikes across their skin, undercover on Earth. It's not clear if they are plant-based or not.Wilf: God bless the cactuses!
The Doctor: That's cacti.
Rossiter: That's racist!
- The end of Part 2 is one Call-Back after another. Most of Ten's companions show up (in addition to those who appeared earlier in the episode: Sarah Jane, Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Captain Jack, and Martha Jones, plus hangers-on like Jackie and Luke). Even Alonso makes an appearance.
- The Lord President is Rassilon.
- The Master's "drumming in the head" is actually a signal sent back in time through the Time Vortex, which he stared at as a child, to give the Time Lords a chance at escaping the Time War.
- The Master growling at the Doctor that he "never would" when the Doctor points a gun at him is a callback to "The Doctor's Daughter", in which the Doctor tells Cobb, after pointing a gun at his head, that he "never would".
- In the penultimate scene, Rose advises Jackie to dump her latest boyfriend, and suggests that maybe Jackie will find someone better.
- And, of course, the Doctor telling Rose she'll have a "really great year".
- Came Back Wrong: The Master, thanks to Lucy messing up his resurrection. His head flashes to reveal his skull, he's always hungry, he's far hammier than usual (at least until he steps into the Gate), and he's won the Superpower Lottery at the cost of burning up his lifespan.
- Cast from Lifespan: The Doctor, on the Master's superpowers: "You're burning up your own life force!"
- Celebrity Paradox: Claire Bloom, who plays The Woman, starred in Limelight with Charlie Chaplin, the actor that the DoctorDonna says she wants to meet before having her memories erased.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Master's ring from "Last of the Time Lords", last seen being picked up by a mysterious woman. Russell T. Davies originally planted this Gun with the intent of letting a future producer fire it, only to do so himself.
- Wilf's revolver is essential to saving the day.
- The Nuclear Bolt cabinet. Originally used by Joshua Naismith to power the Immortality Gate, it always requires one person to be inside it. Towards the end of the second episode, Wilf gets inside the cabinet to save one of Naismith's employees, but in the ensuing chaos the Nuclear Bolt overloads with radiation and the only way for the Doctor to save Wilf, and, presumably, everyone else is to take his place in the cabinet and absorb a massive amount of radiation, leading to his death and regeneration.
- Chewing the Scenery:
- The Master, who is also chewing on other characters. "Dinnertiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!"
- The Narrator loses it when he reveals his role. You can see him spraying. He's played by Timothy Dalton, so it's a given.
- The Doctor too, when he rages against the dying light. "I could do so much more. So! Much! More!"
- Christmas Episode: The first part involves Christmas stuff, but considering the lack of anything Christmassy aside from the date and the Master's obsession with Christmas dinner, combined with the bleak tone of the story, it's OK if you didn't guess it in the first place. Lampshaded by Naismith in the story: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas is cancelled. Prepare the Gate!" Then he lets "the prisoner" eat, which turns out to be a ready-made Christmas turkey.
- Clone by Conversion: What the Master uses the Immortality Gate to do to the human population of Earth.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: The Doctor is less than thrilled about being wheeled down a flight of stairs while still strapped to the restraint chair."WORST! RESCUE! EVER!"
- Continuity Cavalcade: The bar Captain Jack's in is filled with alien races the Doctor's encountered over the last few years (there's a Judoon, a Hath, an Adipose, some Raxacoricofallapatorians, etc.), and the music playing is a cover of the showtune performed in "Daleks in Mahattan".
- Continuity Nod: Lots.
- At the beginning of Part 1, the Doctor tells Ood Sigma that he married "Good Queen Bess", calls it a mistake, and notes that her nickname is no longer... well. May explain why she's less fond of him in the future.
- Joshua Naismith got the Immortality Gate and Nuclear Bolt Cabinet from the ruins of Torchwood One. And they came from the same spaceship that crashed at Mt. Snowden, just like the Magno-Clamps from that story.
- The Master's plan is in essence what would have happened if what happened in "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" was a deliberate act as opposed to A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
- The Master's last words to Lucy. "You will obey me!"
- The Doctor points out how the Vinvocci look like Banakaffalata, from "Voyage of the Damned". They're quick to correct him on how Banakaffalata was a Zygocci. Big diff.
- A shout-out by way of special effect. The effect used when the Immortality Gate and Rassilon transform humans into the Master Race and vice versa is a callback to the TV Movie. At one point in the movie, when the Master is attempting to take over the Doctor's remaining lives, his head begins shaking in a super-fast motion, interlaced with split-second cuts of the Doctor's head on the Master's body. The overall effect is almost identical to, though somewhat less polished than, the one used here.
- That gauntlet of Rassilon's looks disturbingly similar to the Resurrection Gauntlet of Torchwood.
- Rassilon's plan to escape the Time War by ascending the Time Lords to beings of pure consciousness beyond Time itself is reminiscent of the Beast's nature as a being of thought who existed "before time". This also indicates just how far the Time Lords have fallen, and why the Doctor will go to such lengths to stop them.
- Lord President Rassilon refers to his plan (sacrificing the entirety of the cosmos so that the Time Lords themselves can escape extinction) as the "Final Sanction" when the High Council votes on it. In "Arc of Infinity", Lord President Borusa used this same term for the High Council's decision to sacrifice the Fifth Doctor to prevent Omega's return.
- As well as all the references to past episodes (most obviously "Last of the Time Lords" and "Journey's End"), the Master's skeletal visage reflects the late seventies version who had passed his final regeneration.
- The President Master says he can send the UN protocols to the Master. The Raxacoricofallapatorians in "Aliens of London" were defeated mainly because they couldn't receive these codes quickly enough. He got them pretty quickly.
- One of the Silver Cloak members mentions phoning Netty, confirmed via Word of God to be Wilfred Mott's girlfriend who suffers from Alzheimer's and helped defeat the Mandragora in the novel Beautiful Chaos.
- There's an extended nod to "The Family of Blood", complete with an Identical Great-Granddaughter of Joan Redfern. What a sendoff.
- Donna's wedding dress doesn't have any pockets.
- Also, her fiancé Shawn barely speaks a word in her presence.
- Eleven checks his ears after regenerating and notes that they're not too bad. He also notes that he's still not ginger.
- Of sorts, when Captain Jack Harness meets Alonso. He says: "So Alonso, going my way?", referencing somehow obliquely "Allons-y Alonso", which means "Let's go Alonso".
- Contrived Coincidence: The Doctor lampshades his constant encounters with Wilf, suggesting something is forcing them together. The Woman also makes note of it, telling Wilfred he "stands at the heart of coincidence". Turns out it's because Wilfred is the man who brings about the death of this version of the Doctor.
- Cowardice Callout: Zig-Zagged when the Doctor points Wilfred's gun at the Master in the knowledge that killing him will save the universe from certain destruction. The Master angrily dares the Doctor to go through with taking a life so directly, hissing, "You never would, you coward". Although from the look in the Master's eyes a couple shots later, it seems he doesn't wholly believe his own accusation and/or he seems to realize he's misjudged how far the Doctor might go this time. Either way, the Doctor takes a third option which leaves his anti-firearm scruple intact.
- Crazy Consumption: The Master, after he comes back wrong, displays wrongness both in how he eats and in what he eats.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Y'see, when the Master turned Earth's human population into his clones, their clothes didn't change with their bodies. We've now got about three billion Masters dressed in women's clothing, and we see some of them.
- Cryptic Background Reference:
- It's a shame we never even get to glimpse the Time War in this episode, because the Doctor's description sounds EPIC. "Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradation, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, The Could-Have-Been King and his army of Meanwhiles and Never-weres." Word of God is that showing the Time War in all its glory, or even most of its glory, is simply impossible, even with the biggest budget in the world.
- The Doctor is mentioned as possessing something called "The Moment", which is apparently what he unleashed to burn everyone and end the Time War.
- Cursed with Awesome: The Master's incomplete resurrection gives him everything you see below under Superpower Lottery. Yeah, it burns his life energy, but he replenishes it by eating people, becoming even scarier and more awesome. Knowing the Master, having a reason to kill more people is probably a bonus to him.
- Dark Reprise:
- Originally, the music in the scene where the Doctor says goodbye to Rose one last time was planned to be a Dark Reprise of "Song for Ten" but was ultimately cut. Luckily, it made it onto the Specials soundtrack.
- The proud "This Is Gallifrey" theme from series 3 returns, albeit as a darker, more militant piece to reflect the grim situation of Rassilon and the Time Lords.
- Death's Hourglass:
- "He will knock four times." The Doctor is well aware of his impending doom and how little time he has left, and so he goes and wanders the Universe for several years before finally deciding to meet his end. All the while, he keeps saying he is going to die.
- It's explored even further once the prophecy is fulfilled, and he goes on his farewell tour.
- Delayed Narrator Introduction: The Narrator (credited as such) appears briefly halfway through Part One and is revealed at the end of the episode as a Time Lord. He's identified as Rassilon (and Lord President of the Time Lords) in Part Two.
- Delayed Reaction: Eleven, after regenerating, initially fails to notice that the TARDIS is on fire and severely damaged.
- Demonic Head Shake: The Master uses the Immortality Gate to unleash a World-Wrecking Wave that transforms every human being into a copy of him, which causes their heads to shake at blurring speed while they're being converted.
- Description Porn: The Master going on and on about all those delicious types of food that he wants to devour. "BLOOD FOOD!"
- Deus ex Machina: In "Journey's End", it was established that Donna will die if she remembers her time with the Doctor; there's an entire scene dedicated to how important it is that she never remember. In this episode a year later, it's revealed that the Doctor was being somewhat melodramatic as he had in fact installed a buffer to prevent her from suffering any harm if and when she remembers and just forgot to tell her family. In fact, the act of remembering her previous life is actually pretty beneficial as it knocks out a bunch of Master clones with no harm done other than unconsciousness and hypothermia (the second one could be from being outside during Christmas time for so long). Then again, installing such a safeguard probably isn't an exact science, and the Doctor might have been unwilling to bet on it working to protect her.
- Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The story is set at Christmas, but beyond the usual trappings the only time it comes up is a very minor plot point when Donna buys Wilf Joshua Naismith's book for Christmas. In the words of Naismith, "Christmas is cancelled!"
- Dirty Old Woman: June Whitfield's Minnie "the Menace" Hooper, who hints about making out in a police box and flirts with and gropes the Doctor.
- Disposable Vagrant: Tommo and Ginger, two homeless men who are unlucky enough to cross paths with the Master and even more unfortunately recognize him as Harold Saxon. It's heavily implied the Master eats them alive like he did the staff of the charity food truck.
- Distressed Dude: The Master, the Doctor, and even Wilf get all tied up in this two-parter.
- Don't Explain the Joke: The Doctor rather desperately tries to explain to Ood Sigma why locking the TARDIS like a car with remote locking is funny. It leads to a nice little moment where the Doctor unwittingly echoes the Master's "It's a gas mask" scene: "Funny? No? Little bit?"
- Doting Parent: Joshua Naismith's life revolves around his daughter. Kidnapping a guy and stealing an "Immortality Gate" from the ruins of a secret agency all for the sake of a Christmas present is pretty creepy.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Several times in rapid succession with the same gun.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: The Master's return is heralded by psychic nightmares afflicting the entire Earth.
- Dynamic Entry: Even for the Doctor, diving out of a spaceship without a jetpack or parachute to crash through a glass dome onto the floor between the Master and Rassilon is pretty impressive.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The point of the Doctor visiting his companions is him invoking this trope. Bidding them all final, and indeed personalised, farewells is his reward; he even gets to see (Martha and Mickey) or cause (Jack, especially Donna, and even Rose) theirs. Heck, even Jackie gets an implied one, if you recall that, yes, she eventually did do better.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: The return of the Time Lords is as ominous as it gets... but all it takes to stop it is a single bullet to a little machine and a few lightning bolts tossed at the Lord President.
- Eldritch Abomination: According to the Doctor, loads of these were in the Time Lock with the Time Lords and Daleks and his utter terror of them along with the little information implies they must be horrific, from the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesities, the Nightmare Child and the Could've-Been-King with his amry of Meanwhiles and Neverweres.
- One of the stories of the War Doctor reveals that the Skaro Degradations being Dalek mutants/supersoldiers and just as abominable as one would expect Dalek-made monsters would be.
- The Nightmare Child was also mentioned before as some sort of colossal thing possessing jaws into which Davros' command ship flew. An early draft showed it was made by the Dalek Emperor, but how canon this is to the final product is unknown.
- Electric Torture: Thanks to his botched resurrection, the Master can and does do this at will."ONE!" ZARK! "TWO!" ZARK! "THREE!" ZARK! "FOUR!" ZARK!
- End of an Era: This episode marked the end of Russell T. Davies' tenure as showrunner.
- The End of the World as We Know It: By the end of the first part, Earth's entire population consists of six billion Masters, the Doctor, Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble (who probably doesn't have long to live), and two Vinvocci.
- Enemy Mine: The Doctor has to choose between killing either the Master or the other Time Lords, with each side egging him to shoot the other. He ultimately went with the downfall of the Time Lords, with the Master taking them down with him.
- Establishing Character Moment: Rassilon disintegrating a member of his own Council for daring to suggest that their time is over, then shouting, "I WILL! NOT! DIE!" establishes straight away that Rassilon isn't a leader desperate to save his people, but a dictator desperate to save himself.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Played with; the Master thinks the Time Lords' plan to bring about the end of time and become higher beings is insane, but he still wants to be part of it. It's only after the President calls him "diseased" and refuses to allow him to be part of The Plan that the Master turns against them.
- Evil Laugh: Six billion Masters, all cackling.
- Eviler than Thou: Rassilon. Whereas in the Big Finish audio books Rassilon was shown to be a kind of Gallifreyan Hitler, futzing around with all the lesser species to give them Time Lord characteristics and eliminating anyone who stood in his way, here he manages to thwart the Master's plan with a flick of his wrist.
- Exact Words: The Doctor reprimands the Master for immediately assuming the prophecy is about his resurrection and notes that it never stated a person was returning, but something and that something is Gallifrey.Something is returning. Don't you ever listen?! That was the prophecy, not someone. Something.
- Face Death with Despair: The Doctor is initially unwilling to save Wilf at the cost of his own life, protesting that it's not fair and he could do so much more. Though he eventually does so, the Tenth Doctor's last act before regenerating (which he regards as a kind of death) is to whimper "I don't want to go."
- Face Death with Dignity: Lucy Saxon is clearly not afraid of dying if she can take the Master with her.
- Faceless Goons: Naismith's "ninjas", until they are transformed into Masters, at which point they show their face. Some of them still run around with their helmets down afterwards, though, which saves on the FX budget when multiple Masters are in the room, but also opens the Master up to a classic Evil Overlord slip-up, by letting a disguised Vinvocci get close enough to clobber him and rescue the Doctor.
- Failed a Spot Check: As the Doctor notes, sometimes the Master can be downright thick. Like not noticing the guard, supposedly a Master clone, is an inch taller than him.
- Fake Shemp: Obama's face is almost always covered or hidden by the camera angle.
- Failsafe Failure: What eventually takes the Doctor's "life", in that the radiation cabinet was overloaded by the Master.
- Fan Disservice: John Simm in a dress.
- You know that's the only reason for the extended scene of John Simm shirtless; and the eyeliner and the straitjacket and the collar and the crossdressing...
- Lucy Saxon looks good in her prison getup.
- Fantastic Racism: The Master is openly disgusted by the Doctor's Meta-Crisis with Donna, sneering that the Doctor "loves playing with earth girls", and tells Wilfred to "say goodbye to the freak" after ordering his clones to kill her.
- Fantastic Slurs: "Cactus" has racist connotations when used to refer to Vinvocci. Although Wilf calls them "cactus" frequently and they never flinch; it's only when the Doctor calls them "cacti" that they freak out.
- Final Solution: The Time Lords intend to do just this to all of reality. Bonus points for calling it "The Final Sanction".
- Four Is Death: The Arc Words throughout the specials of the four knocks indicating Ten's death.
- Fridge Horror: In-Universe, Wilf gets it when he asks the Doctor if all the dead people, such as his wife, became the Master as well. The Doctor confirms Wilf's concerns.
- Gambit Pileup: Let's see... you've got the Master playing Xanatos Speed Chess, Lucy's plans to prevent the Master's resurrection, Naismith's plans for the Immortality Gate, the Vinvocci's plans to steal the Immortality Gate and the Time Lords' plans to escape the War. Then the Doctor's typical Indy Ploy, plus the mysterious agenda (which seems to be to help the Doctor) of the Woman in White. Not forgetting the Ood, who plan to avert the End of Time by setting the Doctor on his tracks.
- Gambit Roulette: Rassilon's plan for the Time Lords to escape inevitable death in the Time War is one that encompassed the Master's entire life from age eight.
- Godzilla Threshold: It takes the Time Lords coming back with the intention of finishing their Ultimate Sanction to make the Tenth Doctor pick up a gun.
- Gone Horribly Right: Rassilon had the sound of drums implanted in the Master's mind to save himself from the Time War. It works until the Master learns about this and turns on Rassilon in revenge, forcing him back into the War.
- Grand Finale: "The End of Time" marks the end of both the Tenth Doctor and Russell T. Davies' run as head writer. As a result, virtually every companion introduced since the show returned gets a brief sendoff.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: The Doctor versus the Master versus the Lord President of the Time Lords becomes a titan clash of egos.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Lucy Saxon tosses a counter potion into the Master's revival brew that causes the prison to explode.
- The Doctor's own Heroic Sacrifice to save Wilf. Bombardment with 500,000 Rads looks pretty nasty.
- Wilf was only in need of saving because he, himself, was trapped after freeing a scientist.
- Believe it or not, but the Master gets one as well, in a Star Wars fashion, when he launches steams of energy from his Life Energy to force the evil overlord Rassilon back into the Time Lock.
- The Woman and her fellow Time Lord/Lady, who gave the Doctor what he needed, whose actions would trap her and her compatriot with the rest of the Time Lords.
- Hopeless War: The Time War is revealed to have become this by the end. The two sides are locked in stalemate while millions of people are killed and resurrected every second and various Lovecraftian monsters run rampant.
- Hope Spot: After the Master's Heroic Sacrifice and the Time Lords go back to Hell, the Doctor laughs hysterically as he finds himself still alive. Then he hears Wilf knocking four times on the door of the radiation chamber.
- Horror Hunger: The Master, due to his botched resurrection, is famished...
- Humans Are Insects: When the Doctor says how old he is, Wilf says that people must seem like insects to him. He denies it, saying "You look like giants." Rassilon, however, cares nothing about the millions suffering the collateral damage of the Time War, as long as he survives.
- Identical Grandson: Joan Redfern's great-granddaughter, played by Jessica Hynes.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The Doctor knew perfectly well what Rassilon was planning, which is why he ended the Time War the way he did.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Master's taken to eating people to the bone.
- Incoming Ham:
- Timothy Dalton marks his transition from off-screen narrator to on-screen ham by literally spitting out "Gallifrey rises!"
- In hindsight, the Eleventh Doctor counts. All it took was one "Geronimo" and it went from there.
- Ironic Echo:
- The Master to the Doctor, contemptuously: "You never would, you coward."
- Rassilon disintegrates a Time Lady, all the while screaming "I will NOT ''DIE''!", just like the Dalek Emperor himself.
- A big one from way back when the Sixth Doctor was on trial on Gallifrey that seems particularly chilling in retrospect, as it seems ol' Sixy was bang on the money in regard to what the Time Lords truly are
Sixth Doctor: In all my travels through time and space I have battled against evil. Against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here! The oldest civilization: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core! Power mad conspirators? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen: they're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power. That's what it takes to be really corrupt.
- Similarly, there was also a Sixth Doctor story from Doctor Who Magazine in which the Time Lords say they don't mind countless deaths over billions of years, if it means the Cybermen can eventually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. The Doctor is not happy about this.
- It's All About Me: The Master assumes the prophecy the Doctor heard refers to him. He's sort-of-right, but not the way he hoped.The Doctor: I've been told something is returning.
The Master: [dramatic] And here I am!
The Doctor: No, something more
- Jabba Table Manners: The Master's Horror Hunger causes him to eat like a ravenous animal every time food is placed in front of him.
- Jerkass: Adams the Vinvocci is in a perpetually bad mood with everyone.
- Joker Immunity: The Master has this, considering the last time we saw him it was very heavily implied that he was Killed Off for Real by refusing to regenerate and having his body cremated. "Potions of life" is a vague explanation.
- Just One Second Out of Sync: The Doctor hides the TARDIS from the Master this way.
- Kick the Dog: Rassilon disintegrating a Time Lady with his Power Fist shows not only that he's far meaner than the likes of Borusa, but also that the Time Lord High Council are no longer the staid Obstructive Bureaucrats of the classic series.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- Rassilon's putdown of the Master as "diseased" despite him being the direct cause of what he is. Yeah, we actually feel bad for the villain of Part One.
- And what the Master does to him in the second part, avenging himself and saving the Doctor.
- Klingon Promotion: When it looks like the Doctor will shoot Rassilon, the Master urges him to do so. "He's the President. Kill him and Gallifrey could be yours!" It's not like the Doctor hasn't been President before, if only in name.
- Knight Templar: Rassilon and most Time Lords degenerated into this. Though Rassilon has always been this.
- Kneel Before Zod: Kneel Before Rassilon!"On your knees, mankind."
- Large Ham: Practically a world of it; The Master (of course), Rassilon, the Leader of the Master's Cult, and as soon as Matt Smith arrives we know that his Doctor is a sign of more ham to come.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The last we see of the Master and Rassilon, the former is activly attacking the latter, and none of the Time Lord Council look like they're trying very hard to stop him. (Although the Chancellor looks somewhat alarmed.)
- The Last Dance: The Doctor's farewell tour of his companions just before he dies.
- Let's Get Out of Here:Sylvia Noble: Stay right where you are!
The Doctor: You can't come with me.
Wilfred: Oh, you're not leaving me with her!
The Doctor: Fair enough.
- Locked into Strangeness/Disease Bleach: The Master's hair seems to have gone white-blonde as a result of his sabotaged resurrection.
- Look Both Ways: As an in-joke about how no-one on TV bothers to do so.
- Made of Iron: The Doctor. Seriously, jumping out of a flying spaceship, through a window and onto the hard floor? You're gonna get more than cuts and scrapes from that. (Though it does seem the impact, at least, really hurt.)
- Mad Oracle: The Visionary. She's fond of scribbling on parchments in Circular Gallifreyan, while muttering to herself. It's not clear whether she's this way from having looked into the Time Vortex once too often, or because she's seeing The End of the World as We Know It.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: The new governess of Lucy Saxon's prison tells her the last incumbent met with an accident "that took some time to arrange".
- The Maiden Name Debate: The couple themselves aren't shown doing this, but...The Doctor: Hold on, she's not gonna be called "Noble-Temple"? That sounds like a tourist spot.
Wilf: No, it's Temple-Noble.
- Match Cut: Wilf looking at the cover of Joshua Naismith's book, featuring him looking into the middle distance with his arms folded, cuts to Naismith pulling the same pose in his office.
- Meaningful Echo:
- The Master mockingly addresses Rassilon as "Mr. President, sir", calling back to his identical appellation of President-Elect Winters. (Later, when he has started respecting him, he addresses him as "Lord President".)
- An unusually fast one: "Get out of the way."
- Mirror Character: The Master immediately works out what the Doctor plans when the latter tells him to "get out of the way" and later repays the favour.
- Missed Him by That Much: Donna just narrowly misses seeing the Doctor when she follows after Sylvia, chasing after Wilfred, and walks in just as Sylvia's screaming at the two to come back, making Donna think Sylvia's yelling at thin air.
- Missing Mom: Wilf mentions his wife is buried down on Earth, explaining the absence of Grandma Mott in a rather sad fashion.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The last episode involved suicide and the Doctor's god complex being thrown into very sharp relief. This episode opens with a quick bit of ominousness then the Doctor showing up in a cowboy hat, shades, and a lei.
- The climax moves from the Tenth Doctor's Hope Spot, to his anguished Heroic Sacrifice, to the realization that he's not quite dead yet.
- We go from the Tenth Doctor's heartbreaking final line to a comic, pumping music opening with the Eleventh. To sum up, we go from David Tennant's tearful "I don't want to go!" to Matt Smith's hilarious discovery that he's "STILL NOT GINGER!"
- More Expendable Than You: After being trapped in the Nuclear Bolt and realizing that the Doctor must die in order to save him, Wilfred insists that he be left there, saying he's an old man who's lived his life already.
- Mutilation Conga: By the end, the Doctor has gone through this, with lots of lightning zaps and cuts and radation bombardment, leading up to his regeneration.
- Mythology Gag:
- The Time Lords' plan to escape the War by ascending to a higher plane is similar to what the Celestis actually did in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, with "destroy the universe" added as a side-effect.
- The Doctor's mention of the "Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Never-Weres" may be a nod to the Expanded Universe, and specifically the Faction Paradox.
- The author's name is Verity Newman as in Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman, creators of Doctor Who. (This is also a Continuity Nod, as "Verity" was the name John Smith gave for his mother in "The Family of Blood".)
- The Eleventh Doctor is worried that he regenerated into a woman. The spoof The Curse of Fatal Death (written by showrunner Steven Moffat) and the Unbound audio drama Exile both saw female incarnations of the Doctor, regenerated from male ones; the Doctor's claim here is the first time it was brought up within the show.
- Narrator All Along: He's Rassilon, the Lord President of the Time Lords, and the episode's Big Bad.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: The Doctor admits to having been very selective in how he remembered and spoke of the Time Lords.
- Noisy Guns: The Doctor's Webley gives a Dramatic Gun Cock sound every time he turns to face either the Master or Rassilon.
- Noodle Incident:
- Whatever the Doctor did in the Middle Ages that would up getting the TARDIS depicted in one of the stained glass windows of the church at the beginning. According to the Woman in White, he defeated some kind of "demon" that was menacing the convent that stood at that location.
- The Doctor tells Ood Sigma what he's been doing recently:"Had a bit of fun, you know, travelled about, did this and that. Got into trouble you know me. It was brilliant. I saw the Phosphorous Carousel of the Great Megellan Gestadt, saved a planet from the Red Carnivorous Maw, named a galaxy 'Allison', got married. That was a mistake. Good Queen Bess. And let me tell you, her nickname is no longer..." [clears throat]
- The Nose Knows: Both the Doctor and the Master know where the other Time Lord is by smell.
- No OSHA Compliance: Three Time Lords stride along a platform bridge with no handrails that's barely wide enough for them. The Citadel is falling to bits around them.
- The Nth Doctor: Farewell, Ten. Hello, Eleven!
- Oh, Crap!:
- The Doctor, four times. First after his telepathic chat with the Ood, then when he realizes what the Master could do with the Immortality Gate, and finally when he realizes that the Time Lords are returning. Yet another when the Master opens a telepathic link and he realizes that the four-beat pattern that echoes in the Master's head isn't a symptom of his insanity; it's the cause. That means that someone intentionally drove his oldest friend into insanity for a no-doubt nefarious purpose. He gets one last one that quickly turns his look of joy to horror when he hears Wilf knock four times.
- The Master when he realises Lucy has the means to fatally disrupt his resurrection.
- Tommo and Ginger, the homeless men, when they realise the guy who looks like that homicidal maniac who killed the US President really is Harold Saxon. Then he starts the skull-flashing thing...
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: As the Lord President explains to the assembled Time Lords, all these events are part of a greater scheme which will eventually bring the Time Lords back (as well as "the End of Time Itself!").
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Doctor refuses to take Wilf's gun up until he realises that the Time Lords are involved.
- Pair the Spares: Martha and Mickey. Word of God says the pairing was a callback to the title of Martha's first episode: "Smith and Jones". The end credits even call her "Martha Smith-Jones". What happened to Tom?
- Patrick Stewart Speech: The Doctor tells Wilfred Mott that he's 900 years old, to which the old man remarks:Wilf: We must look like insects to you!
The Doctor: I think you look like giants.
- Planet of Steves: The Master transforms the Earth into a planet of Masters.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Bernard Cribbins. Finally. John Simm. Finally.
- Prophecy Twist: "He will knock four times" refers not to the Master's drumbeat (with the implication that he will defeat the Doctor in battle), but to Wilf knocking on the chamber's door so that he can be let out, leading the Doctor to his Heroic Sacrifice and thus, "death".
- Pun: In his own words, the Master has turned the human race into the Master Race. It's also a "World of Pun" because it's everyone on Earth.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Wilfred's role in Series 4 was originally meant for Donna's father Geoff, who appeared in her debut episode. When his actor died suddenly, the producers replaced him by bringing back a bit character from one of the Christmas specials and making him Donna's grandfather. But since it seemed awfully convenient for the Doctor to just bump into his future companion's granddad in a city of eight million, this story establishes that the Doctor and Wilf are cosmically connected, and fate is drawing them together toward the moment of the Doctor's death.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Wilf angrily repudiates this view when the mysterious Woman observes that though he served as a soldier, during the Mandate in Palestine, he never killed a man.Wilf: I did my duty.Time Lady: You never killed a man.Wilf: No I didn't. No, I did not, but don't say that like it's shameful!
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Averted. The Ood's eyes turn red again while they're talking with the Doctor, but they don't attack him.
- Resurrection Gambit: The Master turns out to have set up a cult before his death in his last appearance with the sole purpose of resurrecting him. Lucy's sabotage, however, makes him Come Back Wrong.
- The Reveal: After four series and several telemovie specials dropping hints about the Time War, we finally learn that the Doctor ended it to stop the Time Lords. Not that he had any love for the Daleks, but it's been suspicious for a while now that whole fleets and organizations of the Daleks not only survived the Doctor, but quietly thrived despite his knowledge, yet only one other Time Lord escaped. As it transpires, the Doctor wasn't a bad shot; the Daleks were never his target.
- Riddle for the Ages: The exact identity of the Woman in White. Wilfred even asks the Doctor who she is, and gets no reply. While Word of God from Russell T. Davies has it that she was written as if she were the Doctor's mother, it was intentionally left ambiguous enough to be anyone.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Master proceeds to on a massive anger-driven one to the Rassilon, for using him as a pawn since he was eight and being the one who put the drumbeats in his head, and thus driving him insane. He does so by shooting energy at him, all in a large rant. Furthermore, he does this after the Doctor spares him and he returns the favor when Rassilon was about to kill him.
- Running Gag:
- Sanctuary of Solitude: Wilfred does this at the start of the episode by walking into a church.
- San Dimas Time:
- The Ood are very disappointed in the Doctor taking so long to come to the Ood Sphere, despite the time-travelling TARDIS thing meaning that how many adventures he has in the meantime should have no impact on when he arrives. Likewise, when he realises the Master is back, the Doctor sprints to the TARDIS and races back to the 21st century only to arrive too late. The reason is probably wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.Elder Ood: Events that have happened are happening now.
- There's also this:Wilfred: Listen Doctor, if this is a time machine that man you're chasing, why can't you just pop back to yesterday and catch him?
The Doctor: I can't go back inside my own timeline. I have to stay relative to the Master in the causal nexus. Understand?
Wilfred: Not a word.
- The Ood are very disappointed in the Doctor taking so long to come to the Ood Sphere, despite the time-travelling TARDIS thing meaning that how many adventures he has in the meantime should have no impact on when he arrives. Likewise, when he realises the Master is back, the Doctor sprints to the TARDIS and races back to the 21st century only to arrive too late. The reason is probably wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.
- Say My Name: Lucy Saxon calling the Master "Harry". That's a moment of awesome all of its own.
- Scenery Gorn: Blink and you'll miss it, but the establishing exterior shot of Gallifrey's capital shows the city's dome with a large hole smashed through it, smoke pouring from damaged buildings within, and the surrounding landscape littered with crashed Dalek saucers.
- Schmuck Bait: "It's an open broadcast. DON'T reply, he'll know where we are."
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
- The Vinvocci ship is repeatedly said to be orbiting Earth at a height of 100,000 miles, or 160,000 kilometres. That's roughly a third of the way to the Moon. However, the size of the Earth out the ship's windows indicates the ship's true distance from Earth is less than a tenth of that (i.e. less than 10,000 km).
- The gravitational and tidal forces of such a big object that close to Earth should have been disastrous. The reason it wasn't is likely due to very complicated temporal mechanics.
- Screw Destiny: Strongly hinted to be why Wilfred is near the Doctor, because otherwise he'd die for real.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Played for Laughs when Sylvia Noble finds the Doctor and Wilfred talking, and they both make a break for it in the TARDIS.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Time Lords are sealed away in a Time Lock by the Doctor because their war against the Daleks made them worse than what they fought.
- The Doctor refers to the Master as Skeletor.
- The Master wears a hoodie, makes high super-jumps, has super-strength and eats people. Haven't we seen this before?
- And he shoots lightning from his hands and uses it to fly around. Sound familiar? Some found it reminiscent of something else... because "yeah, he can fly".
- The Master's resurrection scene, with loyal followers sacrificing their bodies and the mortal enemy being brought in for a forcibly taken biological sample, is uncannily reminiscent of that of Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter.
- The scene with Captain Jack is reminiscent of the cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope.
- So's the turret gunner scene (down to some shots being exactly the same!) with Frickin' Laser Beams, and the Lord President of the Time Lords getting his comeuppance by the Master, with electricity...
- Some viewers think the Vinvocci spaceship looks like the Heart of Gold. Or Starbug, or Serenity.
- The Doctor's death, a Heroic Sacrifice via massive radiation poisoning whilst sealed in a glass chamber, is rather appropriately reminiscent of the death scene at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Ood Sigma's last words to the Doctor.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: The Master is gloating about how his Turn-Every-Human-Into-The-Master machine can now be used as a Transform-The-Returned-Time-Lords-Into-The-Master machine... and upon hearing this, Rassilon silently uses his Glowing Metal Gauntlet to undo the machine's effect, returning every human to their original state.
- Skyward Scream:
- The Master's "IT'S REAL!"
- "GERONIMO!" Yes, the camera spins too.
- Soft Glass: Averted. The Doctor gets a lot of scratches when he breaks through the dome, but he still survives the fall.
- Spell My Name with a "The": All of the Time Lords are credited like this. Besides the Doctor and the Master, we have the Woman, the Visionary, the Chancellor, the Partisan* and the Lord President. Only the last of them has an actual mentioned name Rassilon.
- Stable Time Loop: The drumming in the Master's head was manufactured, and a signal to allow the Time Lords to escape their inevitable destruction in the Time War. Keep in mind they only know to put the sound in there because their history books already say it's there, and they realize it might have been them that did it. The Oracle helps, too.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: The Woman manages to perform this with Wilfred on a spaceship 100,000 miles from Earth. Of course, she's not physically there...
- Stripped to the Bone: The staff of the relief food truck the Master kills.
- Superpower Lottery: For a guy who Came Back Wrong, the Master has quite a few superpowers. However, he is burning up his life span by using them; jumping, electricity powers and Super Strength.
- Take a Third Option: The Doctor has a stark choice: shoot the Master, or shoot the President. He shoots the machine linking them.
- Taking You with Me: Rassilon shouts this at the Doctor as Gallifrey is dragged back into the Time War.The Doctor: The link is broken! Back into the Time War, Rassilon! Back into Hell!
Rassilon: [seething with fury] You die with me, Doctor!
The Doctor: I know.
- Tearful Smile:
- The Doctor's voice is noticeably breaking as he celebrates surviving the final showdown with the Master before Wilf knocks on the door four times.
- He has a particularly heartbreaking one when he goes to see Joan Redfern's great-granddaughter and she asks if, in the end, he was happy. He smiles, but he looks like he's about to cry.
- Terrible Ticking: The Master's drumbeat drove him mad.
- Thanatos Gambit: Played straight, inverted and averted at the same time, being that the Master anticipated his death (hence his refusal to regenerate) in "Last of the Time Lords", and used his subordinates to imprison his wife, (who murdered him), and took a biometric imprint from her to use as a catalyst for the Applied Phlebotinum used to resurrect him. Except his wife came up with a plan of her own, anticipating this scheme, and her sabotage which cost her life, meant the Master Came Back Wrong, but his scheme was otherwise successful.
- That Man Is Dead: Invoked by the Doctor about regeneration; his physical body will survive, but everything else about him, looks, personality, nature will be lost.The Doctor: Even if I change, it still feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away...and I'm dead.
- Third Act Stupidity: The Lord President. Telling the Master he has outlived his usefulness? Risky, in itself, but telling him that before he actually has outlived his usefulness? He was just asking to get zapped. (Of course, Rassilon is the definition of arrogant...)
- Time Crash: After the Ood berate the Doctor for taking so long to come see them about what's going on, he realizes that they have made far too much progress after only a hundred years since he last met them. Time is starting to break down, due to the Time Lords' plot to escape the Time War.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: The Doctor gives Donna a winning lottery ticket, bought with money borrowed from her late father.
- Title Drop:
- From the Ood: "Something vast is stirring in the darkness, and the darkness heralds only one thing: The end of time itself."
- "For Gallifrey! For victory! For the End of Time itself!"
- Token Minority Couple: Martha and Mickey are now married.
- Tragic Villain: The Master was once a happy child, best buds with the Doctor, and then he was deliberately retroactively brain-damaged as a child by Rassilon, for the purpose of making a gateway.
- Trash the Set: The Doctor's regeneration is quite explosive.
- Tricked-Out Glove/Power Fist: Rassilon's Gauntlet of DOOM, with which he first disintegrates a dissenting council member, and then reverses the effect of the Immortality Gate.
- Undercrank: Used when the Master scarfs down an entire roast turkey in a matter of seconds.
- Unflinching Walk: The Doctor walks stoically forward as the Master's shooting lightning at him, and this lasts until the Master actually hits him.
- Unseen Audience: The Narrator/Lord President is eventually revealed to be addressing the assembled Time Lords.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Donna stuffs the lottery ticket down the front of her wedding dress. It doesn't have any pockets.
- Villainous Breakdown: The President of the High Council ("I WILL! NOT! DIE!"). Unusually for this trope it's seen in the character's introduction, though justified as it's happening at the end of the Time War.
- Villainous Rescue:
- It is Rassilon who turns all of the Master's clones back into human beings.
- The Master himself, when he attacks Rassilon and sends himself, the Time Lords and Gallifrey back into the Time War.
- Villain World: Earth under the rule of the Master Race.
- We All Die Someday:The Doctor: I'm going to die.
Wilf: Well, so am I, someday.
The Doctor: Don't you dare.
Wilf: All right, I'll try not to!
- Wealthy Ever After: Donna, presumably, thanks to the lottery ticket.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted with Rassilon. Yes, your race has to survive and you're the Lord President of the Time Lords, but do you have to screw up a kid's childhood by making him Ax-Crazy (and an Omnicidal Maniac who has taken billions of lives) because you sent a maddening signal into his brain, to escape the Time War, and rip apart the space/time continuum itself just so your people could survive? Yes, he really does. But it's established Rassilon is blatantly motivated mainly by his own personal survival above all else; the Time Lords themselves are, in his eyes, his private empire, a society he made and ordered for the express purpose of reshaping the universe to his liking. So, while he presents himself to them as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, in reality he is nothing more than a raging egomaniac with a god complex and a Dirty Coward who would rather destroy all of creation than let himself be killed. This comes as no surprise to those who have listened to the Big Finish audio plays.
- We Used to Be Friends: In his last appearance, the Master was too busy tripping on power to respond to any of the Doctor's offers of friendship. This time, he shows actual signs of missing what they used to be and seems tempted by the Doctor's offer to travel together.The Master: I had estates. Do you remember my father's land back home? Pastures of red grass, stretching far across the slopes of Mount Perdition. We used to run across those fields all day, calling up at the sky. Look at us now.
The Doctor: All that eloquence. But how many people have you killed?
- Wham Episode: The Master returns. The Time Lords return, briefly, and it's revealed the Doctor ended the Time War the way he did mainly to stop them because they'd sunk so far, and were trying to destroy reality. The Doctor regenerates after saying goodbye to all his former companions.
- Wham Line:Rassilon: This was the day the Time Lords returned.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Whatever became of Leela? Or Romana, for that matter, seeing as how Word of God says she returned to Gallifrey and became President possible Fridge Horror if the unnamed Time Lady we see disintegrated was her.
- K9 Mk II should be with Romana, what happened to him? At least we know Mk I escaped.
- Susan? The last we're told of her note is that she vanished, and that the Seventh Doctor had no idea where she might be. Next thing we're told, the Doctor's entire family is gone. When did she leave Earth in the 22nd century?
- What happened to Borusa and his bas-relief mates when Rassilon emerged? note
- In the dénouement, Martha turns up married to Mickey. Last we heard of her relationship status, she was engaged to Dr. Tom Milligan. Where'd he go?
- What You Are in the Dark: The Doctor sacrificing himself for Wilf, with no witnesses and Wilf himself trying to talk him out of it.
- Wistful Amnesia: As Wilf describes Donna, "sometimes she's so sad, and she doesn't know why."
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Master is retconned into this with the knowledge that Rassilon drove him insane to create a lifeline out of the Time Locked Time War.
- World-Wrecking Wave: The Immortality gate lets loose such a wave, turning every human being on Earth except for Wilfred and Donna into an identical copy of the Master.
- Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Coupled with Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like "WORST! RESCUE! EVER!" as the Vinvocci wheel the Doctor out of Naismith's house on a hand truck and down a flight of stairs.
- The X of Y: "The End of Time".
- You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: The Doctor tries to persuade the Master to put aside world domination and elope across the universe with him. The Master actually seems to consider it."You're a genius. You're stone-cold brilliant, you are, I swear, you really are. But you could be so much more. You could be beautiful."
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After the Master frees the Time Lords, Rassilon decides to personally vapourize him before moving on to "the final sanction". The Doctor stops him.
- You Monster!: Wilfred delivers quite a heartfelt one to the Master.Wilf: What is it? What have you done, you monster?
Honore res quara