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Children of Time: The Doctor's Secret Army Fights to Save the Stolen Earth

I cannot tell you how much this week's brilliant episode of Doctor Who ("The Stolen Earth") filled me with dread, not to mention an inexplicable sadness, both for the characters themselves and for the end of Russell T. Davies' phenomenal, groundbreaking run on the series. While we've followed these characters into battle before, never has it been with the scope of "The Stolen Earth," as though we are watching the calm before the storm, the space between seconds before the gods clash.

The first half of the two-part season finale, written by Davies, found the Doctor's many companions--from Sarah Jane Smith and adopted son Luke to Captain Jack and the Torchwood gang, Rose Tyler, and Martha Jones--fighting off a swarm of Dalek invaders... after the Earth had been shifted into the Medusa Cascade, with no sign of the Doctor anywhere.

The finale's premise is the fulfillment of a prophecy made by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton), who turns up here as well, government ID still seemingly surgically attached to her hand. She had claimed that one day humanity would have to defend itself from alien invasion when the Doctor is not around to protect them. It's a conceit that pays off beautifully, as the episode displays the Doctor's greatest fear: that his actions during the Time War have all been for nothing; that the Dalek race has risen again; and that he might be powerless to stop them from subjugating the Earth and annihilating its population.

As for the Doctor and Donna Noble, they manage to leave Earth in the TARDIS mere seconds before it's ripped from space and relocated. Together, they head for the Shadow Proclamation, where they learn that 27 planets in total have been stolen. The revelation connects several long-running subplots from this season--missing planets (including Adipose III, Pyrovillia, etc.) and the disappearance of the bees--and allows the Doctor to locate a hidden trail by which the planet traveled.

It also allows Donna the opportunity to be quite useful (she seems to notice things more readily than the Doctor's previous companions), though her ultimate purpose still seems rather unclear. However, one of the Shadow Proclamation workers does "see" that she had something on her back (a clear reference to last week's "Turn Left") and apologizes for her loss, the "loss yet to come." Ominous, that. Just what is Donna's true purpose? Is she the "most faithful" companion who will die? Hmmm.

The scene in which everyone realizes just what is coming from the darkness, a new race of Dalek exterminators (I couldn't help myself), was absolutely heart-stirring. Hell, I found myself getting teary as Sarah Jane pulled Luke towards her and told her son that he hadn't lived and as Jack grabbed Ianto and Gwen and kissed them tenderly. It made the threat of the Daleks hauntingly real as this wasn't another alien incursion that they could just fend off. This was the end of the line.

How bloody fantastic was it to see everyone pop up together in this episode though? Rose, Martha, Sarah Jane, Captain Jack, Ianto, and Gwen all inhabiting the same story. (Even Tosh and Owen get name-checked by Gwen when she urges Ianto to go down fighting.) It really is Russell T. Davies' swan song for the series, uniting his disparate characters in one epic storyline that puts the fabric of reality itself up for grabs.

I had a feeling something terribly would happen to either Rose or the Doctor before they could be reunited... especially as they had to run such a long distance to reach one another. Still, I couldn't help but gasp when that sole Dalek fired its death ray and hit the Doctor (or one side of him, anyway). While I don't think that the Doctor will die (it IS his series, after all), I am curious to see what this will mean for his character and what state we find him in next week's episode.

Will the Doctor's Secret Army be able to stop Davros, the Daleks, and the end of the universe? And will the Doctor be forced to regenerate into a new form? (Okay, that last one is really less than likely.) Will one of the Children of Time make the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe? Find out Friday night.

On the season finale of Doctor Who ("Journey's End"), the Doctor, Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, Captain Jack Harkness, and Rose Tyler battle the Dalek race and Davros in order to save the universe from destruction.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); American Gladiators (NBC); Gossip Girl (CW); High School Musical: Get in the Picture (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); Nashville Star (NBC); One Tree Hill (CW); Wanna Bet (ABC); House (FOX)

10 pm: CSI Miami (CBS); Dateline (NBC); The Mole (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Gossip Girl.

Looking to relive the freshman season of the teen soap? On tonight's repeat episode ("The Blair Bitch Project"), a dethroned Blair tries to find the strength to return to school while Jenny tries find a way to have her wallet keep up with the financial demands of being popular.

10 pm: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on Travel Channel.

This week on No Reservations, Tony heads to Uruguay with his brother Chris, where they attempt to uncover their family's history.

10 pm: Weeds on Showtime.

On this week's episode of Weeds ("Yes I Can"), Nancy decides to go over Guillermo's head; Doug and Andy interview applicants for their human smuggling operation; and Celia discovers the lure of inexpensive Mexican pharmacies.

10: 30 pm:
Secret Diary of a Call Girl on Showtime.

On tonight's episode, Belle finds herself one partner short of a foursome when she's booked by a couple as an anniversary present to themselves, leading Ben--on the eve of his wedding, no less--to suggest that he sub in as her professional partner on a one-time basis. Something tells me this will not end well.

Comments

Fantastic episode! It was great seeing all of my favorite characters come together (with the fantastic "Children of Time" moniker, no less).

Loved the "Buffyesque" moment when rose appears with her bad ass gun. But it was sad how cut off she felt from the rest of the Doctor's gang!

Very worried about Donna Noble but can't wait to see what her purpose is and can't wait for part two of the episode!
The CineManiac said…
I truly loved seeing everyone come together, it was fantastic. I already watched my British version of the Finale and loved it, and it doesn't give anything away to say I cried a bit.
I will likely check it out this week on Sci-Fi to see what they cut since the British version was 65 min long. I'm wondering if Sci-Fi will chop it up or give us a 90 min block for the show.
But Davies' swansong was, to quote the Doctor himself, "Absolutely Brilliant!"
eAi said…
Being in the UK, I watched the British version a few weeks back. I found even at 65 minutes it was somewhat rushed and a little over-complex. I guess thats what you get with so many characters.

As we all know, often the best episodes are the simplest ones (Empty Child, Doctor Dances, Blink) that rely on a scary concept rather than a complex plot...

That said, the final two episodes were certainly enjoyable, if only for the unusual confluence of characters!
Unknown said…
This episode of Doctor Who ("The Stolen Earth") was really very nice. I loved the things of TARDIS and their 27 planets. I think Doctor will definitely regenerate and obviously he will stop the end of universe.

John
Wide Circles

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