No pushups today. I barely slept the night before, I am coming down with a cold or virus, I had a teaser performance for my Fringe show in the evening, and I am sure I can come up with a few other excuses. On the other hand, I am still in the midst of the Specials, which all have longer running times, so I put in more work on the treadmill than a normal day. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
So let's talk about the first half of David Tennant's farewell tour.
The End of Time - Part 1
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
Obviously this is a huge story, what with it being the final story of the Tenth Doctor era, not to mention being the final story for the entire production crew. After wrapping this one, Russel T Davies handed over the reins to Steven Moffat as show runner and executive producer, and along with that came a complete sea change.
But I'll get to that on Wednesday. There are some other interesting historical notes about this story, though. This is the first time since 1989's Survival that a single story has run two episodes with the same title and actually presented as Part 1 and Part 2. It also marks the first time in the modern series that the actor playing the villain is credited in the main title sequence, placing John Simm as the Master there right after David Tennant.
As for the story, it opens with the Doctor answering a call by the Ood, although he has clearly been avoiding it and is pretending to by happy-go-lucky while he is clearly still stinging from the events of The Waters of Mars. The Ood show him that the Master is back on Earth, and that there is something even larger coming. As for the Master, he is resurrected by a cult of followers using the ring he left behind at the end of Last of the Time Lords combined with some Whatever technology that looks like magic. Unfortunately for him, his wife (ex-widow? murderer?) Lucy has a trick up her sleeve to throw a spanner in the works. It doesn't prevent his resurrection, but it makes his body unstable.
Which leads to the Bouncy Bouncy TiggerMaster, of which I am not particularly fond. Both Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley played the Master as a controlled, dignified villain. Sure, both incarnations were prone to some pantomime-style evil laughs and such, but they were always intensely specific performances. Simm's Master, on the other hand, is all broad physicality and mugging for an audience. In this story that is multiplied exponentially. (Literally so, by the end of this episode.) And so we get the Master leaping around like a kangaroo on crack, moaning about how hungry he is before tearing into a whole roast turkey with is bare hands, and just generally being manic. On the other hand, there is at least one good scene between the Doctor and the Master in which the reasons for the underlying madness is exposed, and in which the Doctor quite sincerely wants to help him. So that was nice.
The biggest problem I have with the Simm incarnation, though, is the whole thing with the drums. It was pivotal in his previous story, and is more so in this one, but it flies in the face of continuity. SimmMaster keeps talking about how he has heard the sound of the drums in his head for his entire life, ever since he looked into the Untempered Schism as a young boy. And yet, at no point in his Classic Series appearances is this a Thing. Prior to the modern series he has never been tormented or conflicted, he has merely been cold and calculating. The reasons for inflicting this into his character become manifest in tomorrow's episode, but it just seems out of place and wrong to me.
That being said, there is a heck of a lot of good in this episode. And most of that comes from the brilliant Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott. Just his mere presence in any scene lifts it to higher levels than the writing might deserve on its face. He manages to corral a group of senior citizens to search for the Doctor throughout London, and when they actually find him it leads to a beautiful scene between Wilf and the Doctor at a diner talking about growing old. It's just a beautiful, beautiful scene and I am happy to have this story spread out across two hours just because it gave enough breathing space to allow this scene to occur.
So yeah, there's some other hogwash about a billionaire using some Alien Whatever technology in order to gift his TrustFundDaughter with immortality. There are also a pair of cactus-faced aliens under cover trying to reclaim said Alien Whatever technology. Both of which combined result in the Bouncy Bouncy TiggerMaster being transformed into the Amazing Multiplex Master, literally turning every single living human on earth (minus Wilf and Donna) into direct copies of himself. Oops.
Oh, and then there's the small matter of the Time Lords returning, lead by WorstJamesBond in the role of Rassillon. So there's that.
I'm not gonna lie, I like the second half of this story more than the first.
Companion(s): Wilfred Mott
Episode(s): The End of Time - Part 1
Steps Walked: 8,530 today, 2,985,664 total
Distance Walked: 4.33 miles today, 1,557.55 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 3,714 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
Is the Doctor So, So Sorry?: He's sorry he can't hear the drums in the Master's head, but he's not so, so sorry
Weight: 252.62 lbs (five day moving average), net change -54.68 lbs