OK, I think it’s fair to say the new Doctor Who would not have done as well as it did without the work of actor David Tennant in the lead role. Able to do the serious and silly as needed, Tennant’s Doctor would probably have to go out with as big a bang as the character had deserved.
So, here I am with the first of his final two-parter, not counting a couple specials he did as the series sorted out who the next Doctor would be, no doubt.
If you’re going to do something big, do it big. Warned that something bad was happening by Rose through Donna, the Doctor and Donna return to the present and find…everything’s OK. They then step back into the TARDIS and…the Earth disappears. The TARDIS is still in the same place, but the entire planet is missing.
And it isn’t the only one as anyone on Earth who looks up will notice. That leaves what’s left of Earth’s defenders to try and figure out what’s up. That’s Captain Jack with Gwen and Ianto at Torchwood, Sarah Jane with Luke and Mr. Smith, and Martha with UNIT.
Also, Rose is back with a big gun.
The bottom line for me is I really dug how this one worked out, picking up plot threads and ideas from, well, the previous four years’ worth of stories. It’s the Doctor and it has to be big, so the Daleks are behind it all. They’re enslaving the human race for…something, and anyone who knows the Doctor is on the run. UNIT is overwhelmed though Martha escapes with an experimental teleporter claimed form the Sontarans. Torchwood is probably next. Daleks don’t believe in apologies or the like and have no problem exterminating anyone who displeases them.
Worth noting, the Daleks announced their arrival with an audio message to Earth. It was a single word repeated over and over again: Exterminate!
Meanwhile, since a stolen planet is a crime, the Doctor reports it to the Judoon to get some help finding it. Sure, the Judoon want to use this as an excuse to start a war, and the Doctor won’t be leading anyone anywhere, but Donna’s observations about other places they’ve been all mentioning missing planets has the Doctor realize the planets are being stolen from space and time, so he really is the only one who can find them.
Yes, there was more than one stolen planet.
But again, Earth isn’t defenseless, because Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister, still doesn’t think she did anything wrong (and her argument had some merit as I said even then), found a way to contact all of the Doctor’s friends and former companions–except Rose, who of course has no idea who Martha is–and that does work to contact the Doctor, allowing him to get in touch. Sure, it costs Harriet Jones her life, but she knew that, and her insistence on introducing herself as “former Prime Minister” elicits a “We know who you are.” from everyone…even the Daleks.
That was kinda funny.
But see, this is big, even for the Daleks, and there is one other classic Who villain that has been left unaccounted for, so let’s trot Davros out to gloat about how he survived the Time War and rebuilt the Dalek race…again.
So, the Doctor is back, his allies are ready, and he even finds Rose who had been hiding out with Donna’s mom and grandpa. This should be where things start to get better.
Except Sarah Jane was found by the Daleks and they don’t accept apologies.
And Torchwood is under attack.
And a Dalek managed to wing the Doctor. The Doctor isn’t dead, but as Captain Jack recognizes…he is starting to regenerate.
That’s probably bad. It’s still too early for Matt Smith to save the day.