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Doctor Who 4.12: “The Stolen Earth” Summary and Analysis SPOILERS

Posted by Mister Random on June 28, 2008

Warning this post contains a detailed analysis and spoilers for the 12th episode of the new Doctor Who series “The Stolen Earth”

One Sentence Review

As normal an excellent penultimate episode of Doctor Who lets hope the final episode is a “Parting of the ways” opposed to a “Last of the Timelords”

Episode Summary 

The episode opens with the Doctor and Donna arriving on Earth and everything seems fine, they then go back into the Tardis and outside the Earth starts to shake. The Tardis is thrown about and when they open the door to the Tardis Earth is gone. Back on Earth we cut between Donnas family, Torchwood, Martha Jones at UNIT in New York and Sarah Jane Smiths house. When everyone looks outside they find the sky filled with several strange planets. Back where the Doctor had arrived Rose Tyler appears.

In the Tardis, the Doctor sets course for the Shadow Proclamation, and back on Earth we see how everyone is going on and we discover that an artificial atmospheric shell is keeping Earth habitable. We then find out that 200 space ships are approaching Earth and Martha tries to contact the Doctor but fails. Martha then contacts Captain Jack and we find out she is in charge of Project Indigo, we then receive a message from the ships “Exterminate, Exterminate…..” telling us it is the DALEKS.  The Daleks then attack the Earth taking out military installations and we find out that “Soon the crucible will be complete” and the Daleks proclaim they are masters of Earth.

Back in the Tardis the Doctor and Donna arrive at “The Shadow Proclamation” who are the interstellar police with the Judoon as Enforcers. The Doctor finds out that 24 planets dissappeared at the same time and then Donna points out that other planets have dissappeared and the Doctor arranges the 27 planets in a program and works out they are an Engine of some sort and remembers that someone tried to steal the Earth a long time ago.

Back on Earth at Unit General Sanchez orders Martha to use project Indigo (an experimental teleporter) despite Captain Jacks warnings and the Generalk gives Martha the “Osterhagen(?) Key”. We then find out that Davros is in charge of the Daleks and that Dalek Caan still lives but is insane and gives predictions and tells Davros that “the Doctor is coming”.

Back at the Shadow Proclamation Donna hears a beating sound, one of the Shadow agents talks to Donna and tells her that there was something on her back, that she is something new and apologises for the loss that is yet to come. Donna mentions that the Bees have been disappearing and the Doctor works out that the “extraterrestrial” variation of Bees knew something was coming and the Doctor uses this fact to track where Earth has gone. They then track the signal to its source but become stranded at the Medusa Cascade a rift in space and time.

Back on Earth Rose rescues Donna’s mum and grandfather from the Daleks. using her BFG. Rose starts to lose hope when she finds out that they cant contact the Doctor. A signal then appears on the computers of all the Doctors former companions starting with the same type of sound Donna heard, which was being sent by Harriet Jones on a subwave network. While Rose could listen in she was not seen, we also find out that Martha Jones survived. Harriet Jones warns against using the Osterhagen Key but we still dont know what it is and Harriet Jones stands by her actions which led to the Doctor deposing her. They then use all their resources to try to contact the Doctor with the knowledge that the Daleks will be able to trace it back to Harriet Jones.

The Daleks manage to track the signal to Harriet Jones and as she is found she transfers the network to Torchwood but the Doctor has received the signal and has been able to use it to find Earth which is in the Medusa cascade that has been shifted in time to make it out of sync with the rest of the universe. He then contacts the former companions, Davros is able to hack into the network and reintroduces himself and explains how he was able to survive due to Dalek Caan being able to rescue him from the timewar despite it being “time locked” albeit at the cost of his sanity. Davros was then able to recreate the Dalek race anew hidden in the Medusa cascade.  The Doctor then shuts off the network and heads to Earth, meanwhile Dalek Caan predicts everlasting death for the most faithful companion.

The Daleks then manage to track the network to Torchwood, and Jack is able to use information from the Indigo device to reactivate his teleporter which he uses to escape from Torchwood, leaving Gwen and Ianto behind. Sarah Jane then leaves her house to try to find the Doctor. Rose then asks control to shift her to the Tardis. The Doctor then exits the Tardis and Donna points out that Rose is behind him as they run to greet each other a Dalek appears and shoots the Doctor, a second later Jack appears and kills the Dalek and they drag the Doctor back into the Tardis

Elsewhere Sarah Jane runs into a pair of Daleks and they prepare to shoot her, at Torchwood Gwen and Ianto start to attack the invading Daleks. Back at the Tardis the Doctor Starts to Regenerate


My Thoughts

As usual Russell T Davies makes a superb penultimate episode of Doctor Who, while some may complaign that the Daleks are over used on Doctor Who, they have not yet sufferred “Star Trek Villian” syndrome and become easy to defeat or comic relief in the new version of Doctor Who and are still as threatening as ever. I must also give Kudos to all the actors playing the companions in the Dalek reveal scene as the faint hope they had after working out the aliens who moved the Earth wanted them alive to realising it was a fleet of Dalek ships and that they had no hope

Moving on to the episode itself it did a good job of pulling all the threads together from the expanded universe Russell T Davies created from the adult orientated Torchwood to the child friendly Sarah Jane Adventures and bringing together lots of threads from the past. We finally find out what “The Shadow Proclamation” is and we see the much mentioned “Medusa Cascade” and we hear the Daleks mention the Crucible, which may be related to the “Cruciform” that the Master mentioned.

We also get more foreshadowing that something bad is going to happen to Donna, and the beating sound she heard and the tone of the Sub-wave network put me in mind of the drumming the master heard starting with Utopia though the actual tune is different. There is also the fact that her ring was prominently shown a few times and while it is a different design to the Masters ring it is large enough to have it concealed inside. While I doubt it will have anything to do with the Master it is a possibility.

As for the regeneration I suspect that the doctors hand will come into play to ensure that David Tennant remains the Doctor or we may have a temporary Doctor for part of the episode before being “reset” as David Tennant.

As for which companion will die I think this will be a bit of misdirection and it will be the Tardis which dies with the Doctor getting a new one, given that this episode has shown that events in the timewar can be changed I would not be surprised to see the Timelords re-appearing by the end of the episode.

Episode Rating



6 Responses to “Doctor Who 4.12: “The Stolen Earth” Summary and Analysis SPOILERS”

  1. Nick Payne said

    I like your thinking with regard to the TARDIS being the Doctor’s most faithful companion. Have you seen some of the theories that are out there with regard to the regeneration being botched… and there being a replication of the 10th Doctor alongside the 11th due tot he hand. Seems a bit strange to me but we shall see.

    Do you think the Harthagen key is misdirection as well? I’m a little worried it might be used as a Deus Ex Machina.



  2. Charles said

    Unfortunately RTD is a fan of Deus Ex Machina, he used it in Parting of the ways and Last of the Timelords.

    The key Martha was given will probably play a role at some point if not in this episode perhaps in one of the specials, while some people think it is an “Earth Self Destruct button” I doubt that is the case if it could possible bring salvation to the human race.

    I have seen some of the theories about there possible being 2 Doctors or a botched regeneration of some sort and would not be surprised if that did occur. The hand has to play a part in some way either in ensuring that he stays in his current form or creating another Doctor. Unless they have been very good with “foilers” then pictures from scenes we have not yet seen show that Tennant remains as the doctor for a while yet.

    Another thought I had about the most faithful companion is that they could pull an even bigger swerve and have it be “Lucy Saxon” as the Master did describe her as “my faithful companion” Dalek Caan just said that the most faithful companion would die, not that it was the Doctors most faithful companion

  3. Nick Payne said

    Caan could also have simply been referring to himself in relation to Davros. After all, he did travel into a timelocked period to rescue Davros… at the cost of his own sanity.

    People are probably assuming Osterhagen is a self destruct button because it is an anagram of “Earth’s Gone”. However that may just be a circular reference to the title & plot in general.

    There was some speculation a while back that Harriet Jones had some connection to the Supreme Dalek.

    Though that sounds a bit extreme, one thing that intrigued me upon rewatching… was how passionately opposed she was to the use of the Osterhagen Key. There was something going on there. She may not even have been exterminated. She knew she was being watched on monitors, it could have been an act.

    Davros was clearly expecting the return of the Doctor,so maybe he factored that into his plan by deliberately drawing him in. Harriet Jones was unrepentant of her actions, is it possible she has become involved with the Daleks in a bid to get revenge?

    I can’t help thinking that the Supreme Dalek’s paint job is some kind of obscure hint as to who or what is on the interior.

  4. Charles said

    I personally will be very dissapointed if Harriet Jones volountarily had anything to do with the Daleks, I would not be surprised if it was revealed she is more than she appears to be as her constant flashing of her ID reminded me of the Doctors constant flashing of his Psychic paper when he wants to “prove” who he is and while her ID is twice the size of the Doctors Psychic Paper, there is nothing to say that all Psychic paper is the same size. When I rechecked the scene where she flashes her ID it appears to be on a white sheet of paper not two separate pieces of ID.

  5. Mark said

    >>Davros was clearly expecting the return of the Doctor,so maybe he factored that into his plan by deliberately drawing him in.

    Maybe it’s the Doctor who has planned this all along. The Shadow Proclamation is an anagram of “Doctor Who has a time plan” :)

  6. anthony said

    may be k9 is his mum lol

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