1. The Stolen Earth
  2. Journey's End
The Stolen Earth/Journey's End

Story No. 214-215 Davros!
Production Code Series Four Episodes Twelve and Thirteen
Dates June 28 and July 5 2008

With David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Elisabeth Sladen, John Barrowman
Written by Russell T Davies Directed by Graeme Harper
Executive Producers: Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner.

Synopsis: The Earth and twenty six other planets have been stolen by the Daleks.


Obituary by Adrian Pocaro 5/8/09

"Doctor Who"- born November 23rd, 1963, passed away on July 5th, 2008 after a 13 week period of illness. The show was 45 years old. After going on life support in 1989, the show was sustained until 2005 when it awoke briefly, only to relapse in March 2008 when it commenced "series 4". After a brief few weeks when the creative cancerous phase went into remission (Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Midnight, Turn Left), the show relapsed again with The Stolen Earth and died of a terminal case of contrivance and utter creative laziness with Journey's End.

Julian Bleach, in a heroic last ditch effort to save the show, turned in a brilliant performance as Davros which was the best performance in the role since Michael Wisher. It was not enough.

Every character in the Tennant-verse made an effort to resuscitate the show in the last 60 minutes but, alas, they only hastened its death. Questions as to why said characters were present and how they got there from supposedly "closed" alternate universes were never actually answered, only adding to the sense of creative ennui that eventually killed the show.

Information exists supporting the existence of a "reset button" that will undermine/reverse any unpleasant fate of characters in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, most notably Donna Noble, but also possibly including the Tyler Family and anyone else you might want to see back. After all, the show is written for the masses now, not anyone interested in coherent storytelling.

Russell T. Davies is currently under questioning as a "person of interest" in the show's creative demise.

A DNA copy of the show is retained by one Steven Moffat, for future use.

The show is survived by at least one bitterly disappointed fan.

Why do I bother? by Thomas Cookson 6/2/10

After nearly giving up on the show after Last of the Time Lords, I begrudgingly watched Voyage of the Damned (a rather pointless live action computer game) out of a desire to part with the show less bitterly. Then I inevitably found myself watching Series 4 to keep up with my fellow fan friends' conversations.

Planet of the Ood was my favourite from the season. Its morality, scares and haunting soundtrack made it the first New Who episode I actually wanted to rewatch for a long time. Plus it had Donna's finest scene where she can't bear to hear the Ood song. Donna was someone who'd stand up to the Doctor and be platonic with him, and seemed to be the shot in the arm New Who needed.

So I watched Series 4 to the end. I saw Journey's End in a room full of expectant fans. We laughed at Captain Jack's catty jokes, we cheered when K9 turned up, the women cried when Rose got her happy ending with the Doctor. Overall, I was left with the impression that Journey's End had been fantastic.

But the paper-thin plot disintegrated the more I thought about it.

The thing is, Russell's stories were starting to look vaguely professional rather than his usual irritating, juvenile rubbish. Decent resolutions and no nasty 'laughing at a funeral' type humour that usually contaminates Russell's stories. Midnight was a fantastic, disturbing example of 'Doctor Who unplugged' like the show's classic fringe theatre days.

I awaited The Stolen Earth positively, but was somewhat rankled by the scene of the Dalek fleet transmitting the words "Exterminate!" repeatedly, and Sarah Jane suddenly turns into a defeatist crybaby. It really demeaned Sarah Jane, who used to be made of stronger stuff than this. Besides, the Daleks sending a transmission saying "Exterminate" umpteen times before they're even in firing range? Pur-lease. Even the more cheesy Dalek dialogue in Dalek Empire - "Attention! We are the Daleks!" or "All humanoid life-forms beware!" - would have been more plausible, and cooler.

But otherwise I was impressed with The Stolen Earth; it was mostly played refreshingly straight and Bernard Cribbins was a real delight. It took 35 minutes for the Doctor to reach Earth, but I liked the Doctor being helplessly out of reach whilst Earth was under siege from the Daleks. I loved the Shadow Proclamation scenes and the return of the Judoon. The scene where Donna was approached by a shadow member who breaks her vows by hinting sadly at Donna's future was a lovely moment of compassion and empathy, of someone following their heart rather than the rulebook.

The Doctor refused to lead the Shadow Proclamation to war, and I thought next week would end with the Shadow Proclamation catching up and the Judoon batting Daleks, which would have been so cool. It never happened, rendering the Proclamation scenes pointless.

I thought the Doctor would be proved wrong in his refusal of the Shadow Proclamation's war plans that'd end up saving the day. Certainly Harriet Jones' return, and the Doctor forgiving her in death hinted this episode might be about knocking the Doctor from his high horse and questioning his sanctimonious laws.

But as Mike Morris pointed out, the show has become more conservative and less challenging, and so the Doctor has become unquestionable. I had believed a thread was developing which would question the Doctor's actions and choices. We'd seen the Doctor trying to save the Master, and weeping for the fallen mass murderer. Then in Voyage of the Damned, Mr. Copper tells the Doctor that he'd be a monster if he had the power to choose who lived or died. Indeed, if the Doctor could choose for the Master to live again, he would, and that really would make the Doctor a monster. Fires of Pompeii asks whether the Doctor has the right to choose to save one family simply because he'd met them, whilst leaving the rest of Pompeii to die.

The Daleks' invasion and the deaths are actually down to the Doctor's previous misplaced mercies in refusing to kill Davros or Dalek Caan when he had the chance. Alas, this isn't addressed, nor does it build to what I thought would be the overall arc of the Doctor learning to live and let die.

Davros' return was mainly why I stuck with Series 4. But surely the reason behind bringing Davros back was because the audios had given Davros a character renaissance. This story completely squanders all that. This is the man who led the Time War which destroyed Gallifrey, and unlike the Daleks he did it by choice rather than nature. He could feel remorse for it but he doesn't. None of this potential is ever explored.

It's possibly New Who's biggest wasted oppurtunity. Especially given Julian Bleach's exquisite performance and the mask design. I also liked his exposed chest, a strong body horror moment briefly on par with Planet of the Ood. He's given a gravitas that few other Russell villains gets (barring Midnight's chilling villain), but that's all.

We don't learn anything new about him, or why he is doing any of this. In fact, Davros needn't even be in this story except superficially to appeal to the fans. He also needles the Doctor to make him feel guilty for all the good people who made heroic sacrifices in the Doctor's fight against evil. And it's only because the Doctor's been reduced to an emotional cripple, that Davros succeeds in rubbing the Doctor's wounds by pointing out the obvious. It's typical of Russell's 'drama' where his neurotic characters will act in the required emotional way to any prompting or provocation. No one actually demonstrates strength, conviction or individuality.

Worse still was the unmanageably ludicrous idea of the reality bomb, which instantly makes the whole story pointless. If the weapon can destroy every universe, and in every parallel universe every possibility plays out, then it shouldn't matter whether the Doctor wins or loses in this universe, we should all be doomed anyway.

The Doctor's being shot by a Dalek was a real shock. Just occasionally, Russell can be very good at making the Doctor seem vulnerable and mortal. Unfortunately the cliffhanger of the Doctor regenerating was resolved by a big, insulting copout. I had no problem with Romana's regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks, because it wasn't making any pretentions of being anything serious or important. But this was the cliffhanger, so it made me feel supremely cheated.

Then was also Sarah's cliffhanger predicament where she was about to be exterminated for being on the streets against the Dalek law, and both Daleks disregarding her surrender. An armed Mickey and Jackie conveniently materialise and save the day, though I didn't mind that (well, until Jackie opened her mouth). But then more Daleks arrive and Sarah surrenders to them, and they decide to take her prisoner. Nice of the Daleks to change their law out of the blue, to make the cliffhanger pointless.

Both Sarah and Captain Jack's parties have their own weapon that could bring victory, and a decent resolution to an RTD story for once, but the Daleks quickly disarm them. At the time this seemed pretty tense, but again I would have preferred it if one of those weapons had worked. As if Russell was teasing us with the fact that he could give this a decent ending but he wasn't going to, he was going with the awful resolution instead, like he always does. So instead we got Donna pulling a few levers on the Dalek ship and instantly rendering the Daleks powerless and turning them into spinning tops. Wow, so Susan Mendes or Kade could have won the whole Dalek war anytime they liked just by pulling a few levers on the Dalek ship.

I think the Daleks had no dignity left by the end, they'd been turned into a complete joke. Even Destiny of the Daleks managed to make the Daleks still seem pretty volatile and dangerous even when blinded by the Doctor's hat. It seems that instead of seriously questioning the Doctor's capability, this and Midnight were simply telling us all along that the Doctor is useless without Donna.

Yet at the time, I was willing to forgive it, because it seemed at least like a step up from Russell's miracle cure administered by touch or the Archangel network giving the Doctor God-like powers and reversing time. But I was wrong to excuse it. Crap is crap, right down to the insulting TARDIS-towing-Earth scene.

So what passed for the plot was just a laboured endeavour to get all the major players together, have them recognise each other, make in-jokes and have a big group hug at the end, as if New Who isn't pleased with itself enough already. But not actually doing anything meaningful with them, they're just there gratuitously. There was no sense of what makes an ensemble work with everyone contributing to the whole, when all Donna had to do was pull a few levers and render everyone else redundant. So the whole thing was revealed to be a waste of time.

The fate of Donna was deeply sad, and the Doctor having a go at Donna's mother for always being discouraging to her daughter (transference of his own guilt), was a great, poignant moment.

But why is Donna's fate so bleak when Rose gets the best of all worlds happy ending? It seemed like a nasty bit of Russell's favouritism without giving us any reason why Rose deserves it. Rose was less obnoxious than I feared but still, bringing her back seemed simply done to pander to a spoilt, teenage shipper audience who think that if the Doctor and Rose were reunited then all would be right with the world. Didn't Doctor Who used to highlight how there's a lot that's not right with the world?

As usual the sycophants repeated their desperate rhetoric 'It's not being made for the fans' and 'don't expect too much from it because you'll be disappointed'. They could just say 'don't expect it to be any good' and be honest about it. But they're conditioned to believe Russell's stories are great and faultless, and programmed to automatically yell 'nitpicker' and 'selfish, ungrateful fan' or 'sad sci-fi geek' at anyone who disagrees, convinced that the problem must lie with the viewers, not the show itself.

Why should I be grateful to Russell for making Doctor Who a trashy, undignified, lobotomised TV show, when plenty of Big Finish audios out there actually treat me as an intelligent, thoughtful listener?

It's funny watching fans fooling themselves it was a good story. I met one fan afterwards who claimed to like it but he couldn't resist saying 'it doesn't quite bear close scrutiny', and I could almost tell he wanted to say more but didn't want to nitpick. Because, let's face it, it doesn't even bear a curious second glance.

But I feel cheated and conned because I'd fallen for it. After it was shown, I believed it was good and I wilfully ignored other fans' criticisms. I'd put my preconceptions about Russell aside and was willing to enjoy what I thought would be a good effort from him, and I feel like I've cheapened myself in order to enjoy it. It really insulted my intelligence.

Now I feel almost like Donna, that the whole endeavour might as well never have happened at all. Nothing was learned. The Daleks' 'final end' in Evil of the Daleks made me feel something. When even Resurrection of the Daleks feels more substantial and treats the Doctor with more dignity, something's gone badly wrong.

Still it's the end of an era, thank God. Hopefully Steven Moffat will inject some needed intelligence, and let the Daleks rest and recover some dignity. Actually, his stories hint he'll dispense with conventional villainy altogether. Meanwhile, I'm quite glad of the hiatus providing a break from the show and its exaggerated, overblown fanfare.

A Review by William Sinclair 15/3/10

Well I think this episode deserves a defender after the two terrible reviews that were previously posted. The plot may be nothing but a big jumble of ideas but the plot is not the important part of the episode. It is really about the emotions the characters go through. The strongest example is the scene where Davros shows himself and makes the Doctor remember all the people that have died for him, which becomes somewhat important in The End of Time (the tenth Doctor's swansong). And yeah the resolution to the cliffhanger was dissapointing at best but did you really expect any different?

The solution to stopping the Daleks is another thing people keep complaining about which I can understand completely. It is utterly ridiculous and irritatingly simple. I mean seriously, all it takes to beat the Daleks is flipping a couple of controls?! Not to mention Catherine Tate's performance is ridiculous as the half Time Lord. The way in which she is made half Time Lord is also silly; she touches the Doctor's cut-off hand making a duplicate of the Doctor and is then given an electric shock by Davros making her half Time Lord. I mean really, is this the best RTD could come up with? I was also rather annoyed that the Judoon did not show up and have a battle with the Daleks. It was what I was expecting but it never happened, so what was the point of their appearance in the last episode? And the plot is stupid as well: the Daleks using 27 planets to fuel a reality bomb created by Davros to destroy the whole of reality. Doesn't make much sense does it?

But once again this episode is not about the plot, it is about the emotions the characters go through and when the Doctor is forced to make Donna lose all memories of him (because her becoming half Time Lord will eventually cause her head to burn or something like that) and is on his own once, again you really have to cry. I know I did.


(Not because the episode deserves it, but because it has received too many bad reviews.)

In The Mix by Mike Morris 3/8/10

I hate, I still hate, Russell T Davies bashing. I don't mind criticism of his era, as most of my Series 4 reviews should make perfectly clear. However, too many people are determined to give the man no credit at all for what he gave Doctor Who. And yet, when we look at the new series, who is there to rival RTD for sheer creative output? Steven Moffat is the only person you can mention with a straight face, and even he starts reusing his ideas wholesale after four stories. Of the rest, the only guest writers who produced out-and-out great work are Robert Shearman and Paul Cornell, both of whom largely rehashed their previous output (two of their three stories were quite literally remakes). There's a self-congratulatory edge (actually, "edge" is a generous assessment) to The Stolen Earth/Journey's End two-parter, but you can easily make the argument that the production team have earned the right to enjoy themselves by re-introducing all their favourite characters and revelling in what they've done over the previous four years.

However, watching someone clap themselves on the back is not, on its own, particularly entertaining. I don't particularly mind the production team choosing to give everyone their few minutes on-screen to take a bow, because I'm of the view that they've earned it, on balance, over the last four years. The real problem with Series 4's finale isn't that it's self-congratulatory, it's that there isn't enough else going on to make the story work. The Stolen Earth just about gets away with it, but even then there's a twenty-minute patch in the middle of the story where more or less nothing happens and the whole thing starts to look like a ludicrous vanity project. And Journey's End... yes, well, there you go. One of the things that most annoys me about Journey's End is that the (unavoidably) poor resolution to the cliffhanger has been allowed to overshadow how much the rest of the story fails to hit its targets. There's been plenty of commentary to this story along the lines of "well it doesn't stand up to analysis, but if you don't expect too much it's a lot of fun", but to my mind it doesn't even succeed on the level of loud brash silliness. It tries to work as a overblown arch-villain story, an examination of the Doctor's motives, and a tying up of the four years' loose ends, but as a result it fails on every level.

And yet, I don't come to bury this one. Much criticism will follow, and yet ultimately, I find myself with a sneaking regard for this, grand folly thought it may be.

Not that it doesn't start well. The Stolen Earth opens up with the most inflated of any of the series' pre-credit sequences to date; in multiple locations throughout the planet, various former companions look up and see planets in the night sky. It might not be subtle, but it's such a grand scale that it's impossible not to be swept along. The Dalek transmission similarly works. Sure, we've seen Sontaran and Cybermen invasions, plus thousands of Daleks flying around Lunnun Town with gay abandon, but the terror-stricken reaction of Sarah and Captain Jack make this feel as threatening as anyone might imagination. The Daleks are simply repeating "exterminate"; this isn't an invasion, it's a sterilisation. Right up until the Daleks make their broadcast, The Stolen Earth is doing exactly what it wants to do, and quite successfully too.

Now, here's a key question; the TARDIS has landed, i.e. materialised, on Earth. So why isn't it just moved, along with the rest of the planet?

I'm not nit-picking, honest; the difficulty I have isn't based on fannish pseudo-science, but on the question of how this helps the story. Had the Doctor just been transported along with the earth, then the next half-hour of story wouldn't have been necessary. Now, this wouldn't bother me if the next half-hour had been even vaguely interesting; instead, it just ends up being the first of a number of points where the story threatens to do something momentous, but promptly ducks out of it. The Awfully Big Adventure stops and the story engages in answering fanboy questions, and rather unsatisfactorily too. The Doctor detours to the Shadow Proclamation, who are revealed to be nothing more than a bunch of politicos in a small room and can't really help anyway; he's asked to lead their armies (as foreshadowed by The Forest of the Dead), but runs off without doing anything of the sort; and then we never hear from the Shadow Proclamation again. In storytelling terms, the whole thing could have been achieved by the Doctor fiddling with the TARDIS scanner and spouting some plausible-sounding technobabble, without the results being any less satisfying; meanwhile, the how-will-the-humans-defend-themselves-without-the-Doctor question turns out to have the answer "by trying to get in touch with him". The adventure story stops, the Doc and Donna are hanging around waiting, and the humans are trying to make a phone call.

Even the reappearance of Harriet Jones disappoints. The question of whether she or the Doctor were right about the destruction of the Sycorax isn't really touched; she says she thinks she did the right thing, doesn't bother explaining why, and then sweeps on with the technobabble. It's supposed to be the characters' redemption, but it's nothing of the sort; we see she's prepared to put her life on the line to save the planet, but it was her judgement rather than her motivations that were questioned in the first place. Ironically, the quiet reference to Mr Copper is the only element I liked, and it's easily missed.

And so, it's on to the cliffhanger and the reappearance of Rose. Now this is beautifully handled, the classic example of a back-pat that's merited and pays off. Much of this is down to Piper herself. I may sound like an evangelist for The Church of Billie Piper sometimes, but I really don't care; as far as I'm concerned, while she may not have the greatest range in the world, she just radiates a likeable presence. Her smile on seeing the Doctor is genuinely heartbreaking, and if the lengthy run is more than cheesy, the last-minute jolt to the episode is glorious.

Course, that brings us into Part Two, and here the story collapses under its self-imposed requirement to give all the characters something to do. Time stops in Torchwood HQ, a great moment that goes absolutely nowhere (oh, so Tosh could freeze time, could she?) Martha is sent off to Germany to pursue a ludicrous subplot; Donna is stuck within the TARDIS, even though the TARDIS's decision to keep her there is never explained; Dalek Caan finds himself playing the role of deranged soothsayer as Davros calmly repeats "it has been foretold" whenever the Doctor (or his companions) appear to have a chance of foiling him. It's an illogical, tension-stealing device; how are we supposed to be worried by Martha's threats with the Osterhagen Key, when Davros isn't even slightly perturbed? In much the same way that the season's individual stories too often allowed themselves to drift into setting up for the season's final payoff, as opposed to just telling the story we needed - I'm primarily thinking of the inexplicable foreshadowing in The Fires of Pompeii here - way too much of this story consists of characters telling us what they're going to do, without actually doing anything.

Speaking of Davros...

He's beautifully played; indeed, he's as gloriously achieved as any previous portrayal, including Mike Wisher's iconic debut. However, the story doesn't really know what to do with him. His role isn't even clear; he's described as the Daleks' pet at one point, at others it's hinted he's a prisoner, and yet he created these Daleks and they're happy to do as he says. Meanwhile, the sly characterisation of Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance have been forgotten - indeed, all of Remembrance seems to have been ignored, given Davros' newly reacquired body - and we're back to the ranting monomaniac of Resurrection's louder moments. In Revelation, Davros was revelling in his status as a great healer, and treated his Daleks as tools to fetch and carry for him. In Remembrance he wanted to conquer Time and usurp the Time Lords' position in the cosmos. Even in Resurrection, his aims were more subtle than is usually recalled: he wanted to make the Daleks the "dominant species" as a means to peace. Davros saw himself as a benevolent dictator, and could justify his position with a warped logic.

Here, he wants to destroy everything. And that's it. Not even every intelligent life-form, but everything there is, even though it would leave the Daleks shivering away in a sunless universe. It's a ludicrous idea, and its realisation is even more ridiculous. Why have the Daleks gone to the trouble of conquering earth, just so they can bring a few dozen humans onto their mothership as experimental specimens? It's like scientists wiping out or imprisoning all the animals in existence, so they can use half-a-dozen rats in lab experiments. They could have used half-a-ton of horse manure to test the Reality Bomb (oh give me strength) if they wanted.

The evoking of parallel universes also backfires, since it highlights a flaw at the heart of the storyline; there's an infinite number of universes, therefore there must be a universe where Davros is successful, so the multiverse should be doomed anyway.

Meanwhile, the thread of the Doctor's hand is resolved, and the old formula of "the Doctor resolves everything by pulling a lever" is morphed into "the Doctor in Catherine Tate's body pulls a few levers". It's hardly inventive, and it's hard to shake the impression of more and more improbable things happening in quick succession.

As for the moral questioning:

It's surprisingly moronic, in fact. I mean, really stupid. There's been an ongoing riff in Series 4 about "weapons", and it reaches its culmination with Davros telling the Doctor he "fashions ordinary people into weapons". The Daleks also call the TARDIS a "weapon". But both these are so obviously wrong it's barely worth debunking them. The TARDIS has no offensive capabilities at all; it's technology, but it isn't a "weapon" any more than the laptop on which I'm typing this review. As for the Doctors companions, they have free will, so they aren't weapons. Weapons are tools; guns don't choose who to shoot. At best they're soldiers, and even that's a stretch.

Meanwhile, at the conclusion Davros brands the Doctor a "destroyer of worlds", which is a) a bit bloody rich give what he's been up to and b) just plain wrong, since this is the one occasion that the Doctor doesn't do any of the actual destruction. The Doctor tells Rose that the other Doctor is "me, before we met" and castigates his doppelganger for his actions... but Tennant Mark II doesn't actually do anything that Tennant's Doctor hasn't done in the past (destroying the Sontaran fleet is a good example), so why the sudden moral high-handedness?

In short, the story seems to think it has some moral point to make, but it's so confused and so varying in tone that it's impossible to tell what it is. The most jarring example is that, when the earth is returned to its place, humanity celebrates with a joyous fireworks display. Haven't countless humans been exterminated? Is this actually appropriate? It's the same affliction that neutered the characterisation of Donna: Russell T Davies likes individual people, but has an attitude towards "people", i.e. the masses, that verges on contempt. So the fireworks display here is apparently fine. Sure, "people" died, but they weren't real individuals, they were just the same degenerate masses, in fact, that started looting shops and getting pissed in the story's first episode.

There are good points, though, and Donna is among them. I've read some criticism of her final fate as being cruel, but hey, that's what tragedy is. Tate's performance as a Time Lord brings new meaning to the phrase godawful, but by god she's learned how to play Donna at this stage. Her final fate is genuinely heartrending, and her reversion to the character we met in The Runaway Bride is effortlessly achieved. I'll never warm to Donna as a character but, even if the endlessly brilliant Bernard Cribbins steals these scenes and brought tears to my surprised eyes, it would be unfair not to mention just how good Catherine Tate is at this story's concusion.

I liked the Dalek Caan thing too, in isolation, and the design of this story is great. There are plenty minor lapses in logic, plenty of oh-look-Captain-Jack-just-happened-to-materialise-with-the-gun-pointing-the-right-way moments, but these don't really matter; spotting them is actually kind of fun. Big-ups to the direction, which gives the illusion of pace even though the story is slight.

Overall? I'll never like this, but I find it oddly difficult to dislike, in spite of the myriad problems. To be fair, I haven't watched it for some time now, and I'm unlikely to do so any time soon... but I can't help feeling indulgent towards it. It's overblown, confused, bloated and really something of a mess that doesn't have any clear aims in the first place. And yet, buried beneath all that, there's a genuine desire to give its fanboys a hug and to reintroduce everything we love. I wouldn't want a story like this more than once a decade but, as I said at the start, they'd sort of earned this one. Trying to give too many presents at a party in't exactly the worst of sins and there are isolated moments of beauty that suddenly appear amidst the dross. It's worth it, just for them. The story fails at every turn but I can't see it as a failure, somehow. It might be rubbish, but it's our rubbish.

A punchy review! by Nathan Mullins 6/9/10

So, I was in Luton not long ago, on the 8th of March 2010, and I bought three DVD's. I wanted to watch the finale of Series four, because of how much I enjoyed it the first time around, so I bought the one DVD with a bonus episode, Turn Left. So, a week after having bought the DVD, I decided on watching the finale, skipping past Turn Left, simply because I was keen on rewatching 'the one in which David Tennant surprizingly regenerates'.

I loved it!? David Tennant is superb, his Doctor shooting through emotions left, right, and centre. His confrontation with Davro is, chilling. Davros's return even more so. The return of Rose, not so much as shock as when I witnessed her appearence in Partners in Crime. The other companions are terrific also. Martha Jones being put in charge of the Osterhagen Key, however surprised me a little, but the scenes leading up to her arrival in Germany, and the German Daleks are awesome. Simply awesome.

I liked the effects - my, they know how to stun, those working at the Mill - and Russell T Davies' script is quite brilliant. It's terrific to see all the companions treated as equals, all given something to do, in relation to their characters. Only Jackie is left out, and I suppose that was the only sensible option really. I can't see Jackie piloting the TARDIS very well.

Yes, I agree with the previous reviewer, that the episode does delve into emotions galore, but I must say we all seem to have our 'little frustrated moments' to do with the episodes themselves. I think those who have reviewed have all made valid points. Neither are 'terrible', just judgemental, like every other review on this site, which is a good thing!

I love the new and improved Davros, compared to those of old, though am not saying I hated the old Davros. I like Davros's metal hand, a nod to Revelation of the Daleks, where his hand was shot off. I also quite liked the wit and humor of the dialogue. I like Russell T Davies' scripts because they're fun and enjoyable, which is key to making Doctor Who a success. Sure, I do agree that the Daleks were defeated too easily, but they were on top form throughout the rest of the episodes.

I was very excited to watch these two episodes, even back to back they're terrific, on DVD. But as a fan, when I first watched this being broadcast, I thought it was terribly exciting and amazing. I think both episodes are awesome, and those who slate it, well... be thankful Doctor Who is on, at its usual Saturday teatime slot, like back in the old days. It is, and always will be brilliant!

A Review by Michael Sopko 21/9/10

Let me start out by saying I am an American fan of DW, and have been since I first saw Robot here on PBS and that may account for the opinion I'm about to express.

To start off, since DW's return in 2005, I have not seen a 'bad' episode of DW (as "Spock's Brain" is a bad ST episode). There have been a couple that have been less than inspiring. Partners In Crime comes immediately to mind as being a bit on the silly side. And the attempt at humor in The Lodger didn't come off too well (with the exception of the Doctor's prowess at football/soccer).

On the other side, there are episodes that I have gone back and re-watched them multiple times. The Stolen Earth and Journey's End fall into that category.

First of all, the concept is an interesting one, that DW should feature appearances from each of its spin offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The pace is manic and frantic and keeps up throughout the two episodes, letting up only near the end of part 2. Of each of the season ending episodes (including The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang), this is the best. And that seems to put me into the minority here.

One of the real big pluses was Julian Bleach's Davros. He went from conversational to egomanical to psychotically insane and back again. This is a plot worthy of Davros and the Daleks. Not just the enslavement or extermination of all other life forms but the total destruction of reality save the little pocket of time in the Medusa Cascade. Of course, as an adjunct to that would be, after all the times the Doctor had foiled the Daleks, the final extermination of the final Time Lord in existence.

And the companions are not just there for show. They are actually there to belie Davros' speech about taking ordinary people and fashioning them into weapons. When push come to shove, the companions, particularly Sarah Jane and Martha, can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk, as each hesitates at the crucial time and allows the Daleks to teleport them into the vault. But rather than that pointing out weakness on the part of the companion, it's more of a trubute to the Doctor and the effect he has on his companions.

Under the concept of 'willing suspension of disbelief', the inter-textual references just fly by. Give it a little thought or give in to the nit-picker in your mind, and you kinda scratch your head at them. When did Sarah Jane have a son? Who's the father? What's a time-lock? And who is Tosh? If after watching an episode like this and you haven't seen Torchwood or SJA, then researching these minutiae is not a problem in this electronisized, computerized, digitalized, google-ized world. But it's not really needed to understand the episodes. I didn't understand or even ask those questions and I still enjoyed these episodes. And my enjoyment did not change once I found out the answers.

A couple of the down points. First, Jackie Tyler. She did not seem to have much function here other than a mother looking for a lost duaghter. She was pretty much kept in the background more as a warm body (a nice warm body to look at nonetheless). And the Doctor literally pushes her aside in the TARDIS while towing the Earth back home. Second, Sarah's scene with the Daleks in the car. I can see that it serves the purpose of getting Jackie and Mickey into the story, but it seemes to play a little awkward to me.

And RTD managed to squeeze a little humor in too, revolving around Harriet Jones. Not her sacrifice and death but everybody's reaction to her as she introduces herself. From Captain Jack to the Daleks. Who'd thought that the Daleks were capable of humor?

Other than that, a thumbs up and 8/10.

A Review by Harry O'Driscoll 19/10/10

Oh dear! This one has got to be the pits. Never before has RTD built up to a climax so big only to let us down so badly.

RTD has made it an official rule that every season finale must be bigger and better than the last. The only result being that he has backed himself into an impossible situation and has to resort to deus ex machinas to save the day. He has abandoned not only rational science but common sense in order to build this great climax. How exactly did the Daleks move those 27 planets anyway? How did Rose actually make it back to our universe? The decision to bring back Rose was an utter mistake; all that emotion at the end of Doomsday has now been undone, utterly irrelevant and for what, so the audience doesn't get upset about no happy ending?

The clifhanger at the end is utter rubbish, not only is it a letdown but it goes against the idea of regeneration. RTD seems to think that regeneration heals your body, but it doesn't! It gives you a new body. But of course the rules of Doctor Who mean nothing anymore. The Doctor himself is badly used, spending most of the action either wasting time with the shadow proclamation, in the TARDIS or as Davros's prisoner.

The Daleks were totally mistreated, being nothing more than cannon fodder. Towards the end, they are humiliated, the greatest terror in the universe defeated by flicking a few switches. In their comeback, Dalek, the Daleks proved to be terrifying when a single Dalek proved capable of destroying Humanity. Now RTD seems to think there is more power in numbers. Imagine if Davros had created just a handful of Daleks before enacting his plan. He doesn't seem to need many as it is established Humans are powerless to stop them and it would have proven the power of the Daleks.

The whole invasion of earth storyline has been done to death by now. In this season alone, not including the Christmas special, 6 episodes have been set on modern-day earth. That's almost half the season! I thought the Doctor was meant to be a time traveller? The idea of 27 planets is good; it could have provided a scale similar to that of The War Games, but of course the only interest is earth. You may say that there wasn't nearly enough time for that but this is my criticism of the 45 minute format which leaves no room for proper development. On the subject, this has got just too many element in it. We have every returning companion of the Doctor, none of whom do anything really useful. Towards the end, the only thing missing was a kitchen sink, much too confusing to provide a proper finale.

The climax is utter rubbish with the whole thing solved with a load of technobabble. Isn't it a little disappointing that THE DESTRUCTION OF REAILITY ITSELF! is solved by flicking a few switches? And when it's all over, what about the promise that the Doctor's companion will die. Oh no, RTD has coped out again just like he did in Doomsday. RTD says it's never an option to kill a companion so why build up to it only to let us down? On a side note, it was a sad exit for Donna, my favourite of the 10th Doctor's companions.

Good thing Steven Moffat is taking over, things can only get better.

Yet another RTD Dalek finale by Clement Tang 28/3/13

As I said before, I hate the RTD era. The only classics to me were Blink and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances while the only other good stories are Utopia, Smith and Jones, The Girl in the Fireplace, Dalek, Human Nature/Family of Blood and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. This whole era is a disaster. Too much emotion, not enough plot. Everything is one big soap opera. This very story is the epitome of it all.

The plot is just stupid. The Earth gets taken, yet the TARDIS remains in the same spot? Revealing that there were twenty-seven planets altogether before the Doctor can explain it? The fact that it was the Daleks' doing even though the Doctor has no clue? I mean, come on! This story is filled with plot holes. And don't even get me started on the cop-out regeneration thing.

And how sappy can 110 minutes be, you might ask? On a scale of one to ten, this goes to infinity. Rose is coming back. Cue the fangirls that aren't real fans. Everybody's crying, including Sarah Jane. Her character has just been poorly executed since School Reunion, and here is no better. And that scene at Bad Wolf Bay was, by far, the worst thing in any Doctor Who story. Ever.

Acting wise, these people can get nominated for the most terrible performance in New Who history. It's so over-the-top. Seriously, was no one paying attention to The Underwater Menace's over-the-top acting?

But, I will say that Julian Bleach as Davros is superb. It's a shame considering he lost the characterisation thanks to RTD. Thank you for making such a huge joke out of all this.


EXPLAIN! EXPLAAAAAAIN! by Evan Weston 9/7/16

The Stolen Earth/Journey's End is a story I've been dreading for a long time. In place of a traditional review, which I feel cannot do justice to how harmful it is to the show's history, I've decided to live blog my raw reactions. Enjoy.

Ooh, looks like we're starting with a bang. Earthquakes are always great harbingers of danger. Nice cherry on top to Tennant's "...but HOW?!"

Donna: "We're in space? How did that happen?" You traveled through a giant plot hole! The whole "stolen planets" thing makes no sense. Pyrovilia was taken before 77 BC... but Earth was taken in 2008? The Daleks, mind you, are not time travelers.

Oh, the Torchwood team! I don't know who you people are! It really would have been nice if Davies had allowed for some exposition on the characters in his spin-off shows. Mr. Smith is awesome, though.


Okay, we can definitely do without the super-dramatic zooms and line deliveries. This better not happen for the next 85 minutes... oh wait.

The conveniently timed news reports are literally driving the plot right now.

Rose's general non-reaction to the Daleks is not all that believable, considering the trauma they caused her over the years. The other characters are suitably terrified, but somehow, I'm not at all.

Donna sassing the Shadow Proclamation lady is extremely obnoxious. The last thing I need now is a return to Runaway Bride Donna.

Oh wow! The Daleks actually killed somebody!

Martha just received an obvious McGuffin designed to once again remove her from the plot. Jack gets really intense and tries to convince us that Martha is dead. Pretty much nothing that's happened so far has been convincing at all, though some of the set up is fun.

Here's Dalek Caan in the classic "crazy soothsayer" role. There hasn't been a single moment so far not dedicated to setting up plot and character archetypes. Zero original thought has been put into this story.

It just dawned on me that the Shadow Proclamation only exists so that the script can access their technology. They're not going to do anything, are they?

Nope, they're not.

Wilf's gonna shoot the Daleks with a paintball gun. He's easily the best thing in this. My God, why aren't the Daleks just killing people? Since when do they talk so much before - oh, they just blew up a house.

ROSE SAVES THE NOBLES! Davies ex Machina Count: 1

Why is Billie Piper's acting so subdued? I got it in Turn Left, but shouldn't she be a bit more animated? It's clearly a direction call from Davies, but I don't know why he made it.

Ridiculous dramatic moments are now standing in for legitimate character development. That's possibly the most grating thing here, beyond all the silly plot reaches and poor writing.

"Maybe Indigo tapped into my mind" PALM IN THE FUCKING FACE

Why would Davies bring Penelope Wilton back just to have her deliver technobabble? I do really appreciate him letting Harriet Jones stand by her decision at the end of The Christmas Invasion, but we've now reached berserk levels of technoplot. Now we have to wait five minutes while our heroes execute the plan that is transparently going to work. For an episode that's supposed to be the biggest thing ever, I'm outrageously bored.

Nicholas Briggs saying "we know who you are" in Dalek voice had to be fun to record. Bye-bye Harriet. You were sadly underused.

The Doctor warning Donna not to pursue Jack was the first laugh of the episode.

I'll say this: as much as I'm bashing The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, Julian Bleach's Davros is absolutely captivating. I lied about Wilf; Bleach is easily the best thing in this. His confrontation with the Doctor here is miles above the rest of the episode.

Here's why the Daleks aren't scary. They are so powerful and so arrogant, but they care about exterminating Harriet and Torchwood, which means they view our heroes as on their level. It's unnecessarily demeaning.


The Doctor and Rose running towards each other to "Rose's Theme" is a truly beautiful moment. I wish they hadn't shown the Dalek shooting him and then overedited it in slow motion; it had real potential to be shocking.

The cliffhanger is legitimately intriguing, at least with the Doctor regenerating. But the resolution comes in literally the first two seconds of the second part... and it's so bad. I'll wait until the clone pops up to talk about it, but ugh. Davies ex Machina Count: 2

Wait, never mind, there's Mickey and Jackie to save Sarah Jane. Davies ex Machina Count: 3

Temporal prison?! God, Russell, get it together. Oh look, Mickey's dimension jumper thingy needs a half hour between jumps. How nice for the script.

I don't give half of the shit I took before watching this about Martha's subplot.

Hasn't Donna gotten over the fact that she's a "TEMP from CHISWICK" at least three times before this? On the other hand, it's really nice to have Rose back, regardless of how bad this is. DALEKS. KILL THE DOCTOR. JESUS CHRIST.

The Doctor's hand (and apparently, his theme song) saves Donna just as she's about to drown in fire. Davies ex Machina Count: 4

Jack and the Doctor collaborating on his "death" actually makes a lot of sense. Good for you, Russell! A successful plot beat! Remember when you used to know how to do that?

Tennant's acting as the Meta-Crisis Doctor is among the worst he's ever done. He's possibly more annoying than Donna. Watching the two of them together is utterly terrible. And of course we get more trampling over Donna's growth in Series 4. Also, with this "we're destined to meet" stuff Davies is telegraphing the end of the episode in big bright letters. Awful. And don't even get me started on how silly the Meta-Crisis Doctor is even as a concept. The technobabble amounting here could bury a small city.

They kept Davros off screen for nearly a half an hour. He's the best thing you have! It is fairly silly that he's basing his entire plan off what his soothsayer is telling him, but I'm not one to credit The Stolen Earth/Journey's End for smarts.

"The Reality Bomb." This can't get any worse.

I'd forgotten about the Meta-Crisis Doctor and Donna. There's so much juggling of so many pointless plot fragments that I can't even track the dumb anymore.

Oh look, the Daleks' techno-fueled plan is to end reality. Shocking. It's this sort of thing that has me rolling my eyes.

I must admit, having Davros deliver the exposition makes it way more entertaining.

With Sarah Jane's warp star, we now have three McGuffins in play, including the reality bomb and the Osterhaagen key. If you count the Meta-Crisis Doctor, that's four. Unbelievably lazy plotting. For an episode that's this self-indulgent and this obviously about getting all the characters together, it's shocking how much it focuses on its terrible plot.

I liked Martha's "oh my god, he found you" to Rose. That's what this episode should have been about. I'm angry now.

Dalek Caan is the first time I've ever disliked Nicholas Briggs' vocal performance.

This "the Doctor only makes people die for him" plotline is semi-interesting, and they're finally using Davros. But it doesn't feel earned. And now the Supreme Dalek is crapping on everything by re-initiating the plot.

"NOTHING CAN STOP THE DETONATION!" Oh, Davros, do not underestimate Russell's willingness to write himself out of a plot corner. And as I speak, the TARDIS materializes. Davies ex Machina Count: 5

Davros just shot the Meta-Crisis Doctor with lightning. He is now officially Palpatine.

Catherine Tate is now flipping switches and resolving the entire plot. This is possibly the stupidest episode of Doctor Who ever written. Tate is now trying to be David Tennant. I'm actively cringing. She is pushing buttons and the Daleks are legitimately freaking out. I guess this means Davies ex Machina Count: 6

Jack kicking a helplessly spinning Dalek and sending it rolling is probably the lowest point the Daleks reach as a villain in the show's history. Though they haven't served Winston Churchill tea yet, so what do I know?

So the lightning jolt activated the Doctor-Donna? You know what, I'm not even going to try anymore.

I guess we know why the Supreme Dalek refused to leave its perch. It died 30 seconds after moving.

Think about this for a second. In this story, the Daleks have built a machine that, if the wrong switch is flipped, causes them all to blow up. Not just their bodies, but every single one of their warships. And you wonder why they've become a joke. Davies absolutely massacred them, and it's horrifying to watch.

No, Davros, don't die! You're the only character holding this together!

Davros has been replaced by K-9 as the lone character I enjoy. Of course, he had to save the day from, um... wow, I don't even know what's going on anymore. Davies ex Machina Count: 7

Poor Jackie!

Everyone flying the TARDIS together is a legitimately great moment. Murray Gold's score here rises to it, and we actually get something fairly redeeming. This scene deserves a better episode around it.

Time for extended goodbyes with all of the characters. This isn't earned at all. Thank God for The End of Time.

I do not need the title card on Bad Wolf Bay. Wow, I REALLY hate Doctor-Donna.

I have no idea how to feel about this scene. Rose had to have her Doctor - it's absolutely necessary to the conclusion of her character. However, the way the Meta-Crisis Doctor is introduced is so transparently for this moment, it feels like a bit of a cheat. The "I love you" moment makes me think it works, but I'm iffy. I think I just have to accept it.

Catherine Tate is trying so hard here, it's almost sad. Her improvement over the course of the series is thrown away by the script. More technobabble. Oh dear.

Memo to Russell T. Davies - you are NOT Joss Whedon. You can't just wipe Donna's memory for the sake of it. Nothing about this "death" is earned at all (that's becoming a theme, isn't it?), and it almost feels like the show is apologizing for how stupid Series 4 was when trying to evoke emotion. Then again, based on The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, I can't imagine that's true.

Bernard Cribbins, for his part, is doing his best to make this work.

Oh God, Temp from Cheswick Donna is back. Why aren't I sadder? Even the direction is failing. When the Doctor is leaving her, the camera chooses to focus on her meaningless phone conversation rather than his look of despair.

I'll try to recap this coherently. The Stolen Earth/Journey's End is basically Russell T Davies saying "screw it, I do what I want" and bringing back every main character in any of his three shows for one gigantic pat on the back. This was never going to be good, but the story is actively terrible. It destroys the momentum Series 4 was building for itself, it disrespects almost every character it returns save Wilfred Mott, and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The story isn't supposed to be great, I get it, but this is about as coherent as the imaginary tales second-graders play out on the playground. And I'm truly not exaggerating. This would all still probably be better than Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, as at least this episode doesn't have any real stakes to it. But then it goes ahead and gives itself importance, wiping Donna's memory and attempting real poignancy at the end. It obviously fails deeply at this, and so I'm reduced to nearly throwing my remote at the television by the time it's over.

I'll say this: Doctor Who is an absolutely wonderful concept that has been handled by extraordinarily talented people. It can deliver amazing highs and change notions of popular entertainment. The concept is also simple enough that, left in the wrong hands, it can go horribly wrong. The Stolen Earth/Journey's End is basically the physical manifestation of that Doctor Who. It does virtually everything wrong, and, save a few moments from the actors, it is unwatchable. The series, and most television, is never this bad ever again.