So, I spent the day today wearing my son's clothes. How weird is that? Seriously, because of Reasons, I wound up wearing a pair of his shorts and one of his t-shirts, and they fit my just fine. My Mini-Me is just... me I guess. I also didn't do my workout until evening because frankly I was just too dang lazy to get out of bet at 6am. I can't miss any more days, though. I have counted it out, and if I do not skip any more days then i will finish on Sunday, August 5th. I only have one day for wiggle room, because on Tuesday the 7th I fly to Las Vegas for work and I absolutely want to finish this ridiculous project before I go.
As for today's viewing, well, there were a few extra characters today. So let's talk about that.
The Stolen Earth
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
So here's the thing with Russel T. Davies: every season finale he tried to one-up himself. The end of the first NuWho season had the return of the Daleks in force. The end of the second season had the Daleks and the Cybermen face off with each other. The end of the third season brought back the Master and had the entire planet subjugated and ten percent of the population murdered before pulling some timey-wimey shenanigans at the end. So how do you top that?
Well, the downside is that Davies once again went back to the Dalek well, making them three for four in NuWho season finales. The upside is that he also brought back Davros himself, seen here for the first time since Remembrance of the Daleks thirty years earlier. On top of that, Davies brough back every main companion of the modern series -- Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, of course Donna Noble is still there, plus Captain Jack Harkness and Sarah Jane Smith. On top of that he brought in supporting characters from both the Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures spinoffs, making it a massive crossover event.
And then, to top it off, he brings back Harriet Jones for the first time since the Doctor deposed her in The Christmas Invasion. And yes, she still does her "Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister" shtick, which is always followed by some variation of "yes, I / we know who you are..." up to and including by the Daleks themselves. Oddly it actually works well, even when the Daleks say it just before killing her. Oh, yeah, she dies. But not before putting the pieces in place to get the whole gang together.
With all of those characters and moving pieces, you might think the episode would be overstuffed but it actually works well. By ten minutes in, with the Earth stolen away and transported to some other mysterious location along with twenty six other planets, it seems like the story has hit the point that would normally be the Part One cliffhanger, and yet it still has another half hour to go.
In short: when Dalek Caan did his emergency time shift to escape at the end of (the awful) Daleks in Manhattan he wound up accidentally piercing the time-locked bubble around the Great Time War. This made him a brilliant but insane prophet. and leading to the resurrection of Davros. Davros, in turn, used his own genetic material to clone an entire new Dalek army including a new Emperor Dalek, and then kidnaped all of the above-mentioned planets.
The big shocker, though, comes right at the end of the episode. To put this in context you have to remember that at the time it was known that David Tennant was leaving the series and that his replacement had not been named. It was also known that the upcoming Christmas episode that year was titled The Next Doctor. On the other hand, the official word was that Tennant would be in the Christmas episode, as well as a series of four more special episodes the following year before handing over the TARDIS to his replacement. So the theories were already flying around regarding when the Eleventh Doctor would be introduced, and wondering whether the title of the upcoming Christmas episode was a fake-out (and yes, it was). Imagine, then, how mind blowing it was when at the end of today's episode the Doctor caught a glancing blow from a Dalek cannon and then began to regenerate right at the cliffhanger. Holy crap! Viewers (absolutely including me) had no idea what to expect the following week, and wondered whether the Eleventh Doctor was actually going to take over right away. (Hint: he didn't)
I have to say, I liked this episode a lot more today than I did the first time around. I think maybe seeing it in rapid succession instead of strung out over several years made it play better for me. I mean, for this viewing Rose had only been gone for something like a month instead of two years. Martha hadn't even been gone for two weeks, what with her showing up earlier this season. All of these guest appearances were still recently-familiar faces instead of being dredged up from several years of NuWho history.
Also, and I mean this sincerely, it was just nice to see Sarah Jane Smith one last time in the main series. I know she gets one more cameo in David Tennant's Lord of the Rings style exit in The End of Time and that I still have her spinoff show to watch this fall, but even with that to look forward to it was heartbreaking to see Elizabeth Sladen put in such a stellar performance knowing that barely three years later she would pass away due to cancer.
So yeah, this was a good one and I thoroughly enjoyed the viewing today despite it being another damned Dalek story. Unfortunately, tomorrow I have to say goodbye to Donna Noble. That's gonna suck.
Companion(s): Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, Martha Jones, Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Wilfred Mott
Episode(s): The Stolen Earth
Steps Walked: 7,593 today, 2,944,075 total
Distance Walked: 4.09 miles today, 1,536.43 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 3,314 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
Is the Doctor So, So Sorry?: This time it is Rose Tyler who is so, so sorry (what with the Doctor being dead and all)
Weight: 253.08 lbs (five day moving average), net change -54.22 lbs