That was awesome.
Okay, I say awesome. It was every Base in Peril story ever. It ripped off 28 Days Later and The Fires of Pompeii. It had a funny robot who left burning tracks, and a Dalek who respects the laws of time. And the Doctor got too cartoony at the end. There was much to criticise.
But despite all that it was awesome, for the specific reason that Utopia was awesome despite all its naff bits. There’s not a lot to say about most of the episode except that it was competent, atmospheric, and did what it said on the tin. Although better than Planet of the Dead, there was still a sense that Tennant’s era has run out of momentum and is recycling itself. Like Utopia, though, it was all just a means to an end, and the end was awesome, fresh, dark and lovely. It doesn’t matter that the old momentum has gone, because there’s new momentum, gathering towards the end of the era. He’s doomed, plain and simple.
I’m a complete sucker for dark story arc stuff. I know this makes me an uncritical, raving fanboy but I loved it. I loved the tragic inevitability of the base spiralling towards destruction, and the equally tragic inevitability of the Doctor deciding to stop it. I loved that the Doctor tries to decide who lives and who dies, and that he oversteps the mark. I particularly loved that Lindsey Duncan’s character doesn’t let him, but that otherwise he was fully prepared to let it stand. Loved it all. Except the naff bits, obviously.
I do wish they hadn’t let the Doctor go quite so “All shall love me and despair!” at the end, since he did what he did for very empathetic reasons and trying to turn it into sheer arrogance on his part does him a disservice and over-simplifies the situation. It didn’t ring true that he’d characterise himself as the “winner” of the Time War. I can believe that he’d break a golden rule to save people, and that it’s reckless and arrogant to do so, but I can’t believe that he’d get quite so power-mad. That said, he *is* arrogant, and those scenes of Tennant ranting that it’s a battle against Time itself and he’s going to win were pure adrenalin rush.
Very much looking forward to the Christmas two-parter, even as I’m also looking ahead to next year and Matt Smith.
* The base looked like the Eden Project on the outside, but to my amazement they don’t seem to have actually filmed at the Eden project.
* Ice Warriors!