I've literally just finished watching it as I was at the Boosh Festival (on which more later, of course) so I haven't read any reviews whatsoever, and I kinda like that.
Davros, Daleks, whatever. That storyline wasn't important to me - we've had the near-end of the Earth and universe so many times before that I'm not suddenly going to be shocked by the prospect of destruction of Reality Itself - not least because that's never going to happen. We knew how *that* storyline was going to end all along - the Earth would be saved, and on a macrocosmic level everything would go back to how it should be. But the personal, character level, that's where we had no idea what was going to happen - look at all the theories, we *really* didn't know what was going to happen. But the DoctorDonna - how could we forget? It was there all along. Thank the Ood.
So there's the three-fold Doctor: one full Doctor with all his complexities, one brilliant human time-lord that just cannot be, and one merciless time-lord/human, who did what was needed, and what the full Doctor would never be able to do - he couldn't bring himself to halt their creation, and neither could he be their destroyer. He's "the man who never would", remember? But a Doctor with a bit of that very human, Harriet Jones-esque ruthlessness? He would.
I can imagine that this episode will provoke an ambivalent response, but I think that's because it was an episode that has ambivalence - absolutely intended by RTD - at its very core. Reality might be saved, but this was far from all wrapped up. Take Rose. She has a Doctor. A Doctor who can say the thing that a full time lord just can't, who has that humanness in him that means he can respond to her in the way that she has so longed. A Doctor with added human, what could be more perfect, right? Right? Of course not. He's not her Doctor. And no matter how much she teaches him, he never will be.
So there's ambivalent ending number one.
Then there's Donna, or DoctorDonna, who was so charismatic, so brilliant, and such a proper Doctor! She was the most important woman in all creation! Not that it does her much good now. Everything she's learnt, everything she has gained, gone. The Doctor might have saved her, but in another sense he has condemned her to the life she was so ready to leave behind. As Gramps said, she *was* better with him.
So there's ambivalent ending number two.
And the Doctor is on his own, again, forced to consider all the people who have fallen in his name, forced to recognise that it was a being that came from him who destroyed the entire Dalek race (until the next time they pop up, of course). His look at the end said it all - this wasn't a happy ending.
Which is why, of course, it is an episode that - literally ten minutes after watching - is not easy to love. It was clever and subtle and contradictory and ambivalent enough to mean that this blog has been a breeze to write, but you don't exactly come out of it buzzing. And the strange thing is, everything points to that being RTD's precise intention. If we were meant to think that Rose can be happy with her Doctor then why did she run after the Tardis as it left? If we're meant to be pleased that Donna is alive, then why is Gramps - who has always been right in all things - so upset?
This is how it's meant to feel. And that's just... an odd place to be.