A selection of opinions from a variety of Second Life Doctor Who fans on episode one of End of Time. Thanks to those who submitted their thoughts!
I loved it :) The Master's powers were very cool and well done, and the return of the Time Lords at the very end brought a tear to me eye ;) I loved the scenes between the Doctor and the Master. You could really tell they used to be friends before the Master went nutty :) Heh, and the Doctor casually mentioning he didn't go straight to the Oodsphere was good - will let them do 'missing' 10th Doctor novels and other stories to fill in all the undetermined time between Waters of Mars and End of Time... probably including River Song, I would hope...
It's interesting to note that, in Last of the Time Lords, a small but vocal group of fans were decrying the Doctor for using temporary super powers to break the Master's day. Now, in The End of Time, the roles are temporarily reversed, and we get to see the Master in this position, his biology altered by a botched resurrection, flying through the air and flinging lightning bolts at his foes.
One of the undercurrents of the new series has always been the 'godlike' status of the Doctor. We see a man who stands in three places at once- a threefold man- "John Smith", the mortal man, who is afraid of death, who loves but dare not love, who is petty and funny and angry, the man who his companions befriend, the man who needs comfort. The Doctor, the force of nature unleashed, the final authority, who locks people behind mirrors and strides across time, who is like fire and ice, and the storm at the heart of the sun, and eats unlimited rice pudding for breakfast... and Doctor John Smith, the man between the two, our hero, the complete 'person' of the Doctor. Separate the three, and you risk unleashing the Doctor.
It was seen in Last of the Time Lords - in a scene chillingly glanced back at in Water of Mars, the Master seals his fate with the line "I'm a Time Lord; I have that right." By making it explicit that he, the Master, is entering the arena as a Lord of Time, he grants the Doctor the moral right to face him on the same terms. Now, we return to that scenario. Witness the battle of the desolation. The stakes; nothing. At this stage the Doctor and the Master are playing for nothing, neither yet holds any cards- and yet, all the grammar of the scene shows a meeting of gods, not of mere men, towering on the horizon, one striking at the other with eldritch energies, the other weathering the storm... and the only end to the contest of gods comes when they are unceremoniously struck down and drawn apart by mere mortals, seeking to harness the gods to tamper with forces that they, as usual, do not understand.
The theme comes full circle. Time Lords have great power- but, without we lesser beings, they are Lords of the Desolation, their battles meaningless, until life, little human beings, arrive and give shape to the struggle.
I got shivers at the end seeing Gallifrey - Dalek ships crashed into the dome and the return of the Time Lords. Part two is going to be a roller-coaster ride I am certain! :)
Snake Sosa: People will view the latest adventure of the Doctor in many ways, but the most interesting one is the remnants of the Time Lords - especially their feelings and motives for coming out of hiding. Two possible theories on their survival of the Time War - one answer might be something other than the Daleks entered the Time War and pulled some Time Lords out, or there were Time Lords living in exile - only to return when their numbers had risen. All this is still speculation and within the week we will have our answers - but there will be more questions!
Whatever the reason the Time Lords return, what will they do with the Doctor - who had left them? If they had lived in exile, could they be against him for turning against their race? What is the Time Lords true motive and reasoning for return? So we wait in time, for the end of time.
To be fair, Water Of Mars made such a mark on me, very little could follow that would compare, and End of Time didn't quite hit the mark in comparison. The story didn't feel quite as structured, rolling back and forth through a mass of ideas, serial exposition and new characters as Waters of Mars, though the nuances of what makes the new show great nevertheless shone through. The scene between Wilf and the Doctor in the cafe was both touching and revealing, Simm's Master returned with the same intensity and passion we'd seen in the Series 3 finale (and there was that wonderful moment between the Master and the Doctor in the wastelands) and the return of the Time Lords was most welcome under the deep, visceral intonations of Timothy Dalton.
For me the weakness was it simply was trying to do too much while giving away as little as possible. Perhaps a little too much of an attempt to weave the Master back into the story while trying to juggle new characters into the same events. Wilf's friends were a nice touch, adding a little depth to the show's day players, but at the same time felt mildly distracting.
It wasn't bad in any way, just felt a little rough in comparison to Waters of Mars (but twenty times more interesting than Planet of the Dead). The story direction seemed a little uncertain, the reveals a little convoluted and the final moments a mix of amusing epic absurdity and gigantic epic revelations that left me a little confused whether I should be in awe or laughing (perhaps that's exactly where I was meant to be left!) I suspect it will sit together better on a second watch, or even more so on a full sitting with its second part. As it was, I enjoyed this - especially Bernard Cribbins! This is an epic idea - and I'm not certain even two episodes was enough to let this idea breathe as it desired. Best to watch episode two before casting any final judgment on this. Never fair to judge a two part story singularly on one part!
My feelings on The End of Time Part 1. Well it was good, it just didn't seem to get going until it was nearly through though. For an epic two parter this is a bit of a failure. The pacing was, to be fair, crap. I wasn't totally sold on the Master's plan either, it seemed too comically silly despite it's diabolical reality. The score also got my nerves with every scene being drowned out by a huge orchestral crescendo, although as most of the first 20 minutes were so light on dialogue I guess this filled the silence.
However when Tim [Dalton] appeared and I clocked his Gallifreyan robes from the collar alone I suddenly became excited again and when the final scene arrived I was ecstatic. I now cannot wait for the next part - sod the Master's story, I want to see what the return of the rest of the Time Lords will bring!