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Reversals

The BBC has released the preview of this coming weekend’s finale. It contains absolutely no hints as to the solution to the great controversy raging since the first part of the finale. But now it’s time to get into my preferred theory on that count, after the jump.
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It’s Too Late

It certainly is beginning to seem more and more as if Russell T. Davies is going to draw his entire four years as showrunner on Doctor Who into the cauldron of this season’s finale. And it almost seems as if he’s threatening to undo it all and leave Steven Moffat to figure out if there’s anything left when he takes over the show.

Of course, this is all when we’re only halfway through the two-part finale (if you’re on the British schedule, that is). Plenty of time to for him to find a conclusion that doesn’t leave the entire thing in ruins.

The entire planet, and more than two dozen others, stolen from time and space. The bees, of course, have gone missing (the dolphins having already been spirited away by Douglas Adams). Donna is “something new”. Death coming to the “most faithful” companion? Our first look at the Shadow Proclamation. The suggestion that the infamous Time War somehow is “time locked” and therefore inaccessible (perhaps deftly explaining why it doesn’t seem to be raging on all around us the entire time, pardon the pun). Davros, creepier than ever.

All, or most, of that after an opening titles sequence with Donna, Martha, Sarah Jane, Jack, and Rose all listed together for the very first time.

Oh. And that ending.

Or, being a two-parter, that middling. Despite the name of this site, I don’t read ahead on most things. But I do know that the BBC has been saying for quite some time now that David Tennant would be around for the specials next year which bridge this season and the next one.

Could that have been a smokescreen? Was it all just a lie to protect this story? Or does Davies have one last — and inevitably maniacal — trick up his sleeve?

Not long now (and yet so very long now) until we find out. Unless you’re on the American schedule, in which case: Good luck keeping yourselves unspoiled after next week.

Update: Of course, minutes after posting this I read something by someone who themselves also does not know what’s coming next, or what Davies is going to do with this middling. But they had a very astute observation that I do believe will be the key to Tennant remaining.

I won’t blurt out the observation here, but I will say this: During that final scene, look around. Especially on the wide shots. Davies appears to have given us the option of noticing how he’s going to do this.

Two Words

As someone who has deeply mixed feelings about Russell T. Davies as a writer (but who gives him all due credit for managing to resurrect Doctor Who in a way that worked for both old fans and new), I think his script for Turn Left might have been one of his strongest.

I was skeptical going in, having yet another “timeline that ends up getting undone by episode’s end” thing (like the entirety of last season’s Master arc finale), but this worked pretty well. I found that even though I could tell that Davies was, with his re-done events in the new timeline, kind of tweaking the noses of people like me who don’t always like what he’s written for the show (and, indeed, the noses of people who have been resistant to Donna), it nonetheless managed to get even me.

I’ve seen some fans cringe at the return of the earlier approach to Donna that so tended to get on everyone’s nerves. But in reality this was Davies being rather clever. Since the story requires rewinding back to the Donna we originally met in her Christmas episode, it requires rewinding to who she was back then. You might note that as the story progresses through the events originally seen between that Christmas episode and her tenure on the series this past year, her character also progresses to the Donna with whom we’ve become more accustomed, the toned down version of this season.

So it’s not that Davies suddenly forgot Donna wasn’t the way she was when we first met her anymore. It’s that Davies — and again, remember that this is one of his critics saying this — understood that if the story was going back to that earlier Donna’s time, it also had to go back to that earlier Donna. Smart, and I think fairly decently pulled off.

As for Rose, while I’m inescapably a Martha fan, I do actually adore Rose, and in some ways miss what she brought to the mix. And I do think what we got here was a Rose who clearly at some point let all her experiences since first leaving Earth with the Doctor become part of who she is. She hasn’t returned as exactly the same person she was when she left. Despite not seeing it transpire on the show, Davies wrote her as having grown. Again, smart.

And those two words, left unmentioned here, certainly present one Hell of a set-up for the teaser of what’s coming up in the final two episodes of the season, all of which represents Davies’ sign-off from the show. The teaser even made me a little excited to see the Torchwood team involved, and I’m only a few notches below despising their own show.

I think it actually might be the first Who episode that left me seriously ticked off that there was a week’s wait before the next one.