Sunday, 3 November 2013

Landmarks No.45


The Stolen Earth / Journey's End.
The return of Davros.
A new Dalek Supreme.
The end of the Cult of Skaro.
The Children of Time.
The "death" of Donna.
The short-lived return of Harriet Jones.
Torchwood & Sarah Jane Adventures crossover.
That cliffhanger.
So much of significance going on in this story, which marked the close of Series 4 - David Tennant's last full season.
Kudos to RTD for not bringing Davros back sooner. That would have been an easy - and lazy - thing to do. Dalek marked the first Dalek story not to feature their creator since Death to the Daleks in 1974. Russell made the Daleks strong in their own right once more - not emasculated heavies. In that 2005 story he was referred to but not actually named. There were a couple of "false alarms" regarding Davros' return - knowing the Daleks were involved in the first series finale, a lot of people thought he would turn out to be Bad Wolf. He was also thought by many to be lurking inside the Genesis Ark (RTD deliberately toyed with us - the shape and the name) .
One of my favourite behind-the-scenes Doctor Who moments is Tennant seeing Julian Bleach in costume for the very first time. In one of the Confidentials for these episodes, there is also the lovely reactions from Lis Sladen and John Barrowman as they watch Bleach relax between takes.
Personally, I prefer my Dalek Supremes black and not gaudy red & gold - but they had already used that colour scheme for Dalek Sec. The Cult of Skaro could have had a longer innings. They are destroyed a bit too quickly - three of the four being killed in the rather underwhelming Manhattan story, two of them in a throwaway fashion.
The big selling point of this story after Davros is, of course, the grand reunion of companions. We've already seen Rose a few times this series, but now she is properly back from the alternative universe, her ex-boyfriend and mother in tow. Martha is shown still working for UNIT, and we get to see Francine again. Sarah Jane is naturally involved - and we see her son Luke, K9 Mark IV and computer Mr Smith. Companions Clyde and Rani are absent, but do get mentioned. Captain Jack is joined by Gwen and Ianto, and they refer to the recent demise of Owen and Tosh. When the Doctor and Rose see Gwen, they mention Eve Myles first appearance in Who - the ill-fated maid Gwyneth (The Unquiet Dead).
It's nice to see the three RTD shows firmly linked.
Also returning is Harriet Jones. I'm sure you know who she is. She refers to Mr Copper (Voyage of the Damned). The Doctor destroyed her career the last time we saw her, and here she makes a noble sacrifice.
Talking of noble sacrifices, Donna's ending is truly heartbreaking - more than if she had actually been killed. A lot of people don't like Donna, but you only need to look at this, & The Fires of Pompeii & Planet of the Ood & Forest of the Dead & Turn Left to see how wonderful she was.
And then there was that cliffhanger, which managed to slip past the spoilerphiles. It even made the news that week. We knew Tennant was leaving - but surely not so soon? Rose gets to have a Doctor all to herself - one that will grow old with her.

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