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Doctor Who 4.13 “Journeys End” Summary and Analysis

Posted by Mister Random on July 6, 2008

Warning this post contains a detailed analysis and spoilers for the final episode of the new Doctor Who series “Journeys End”

One Sentence Review

An exciting first half of the episode and a dissapointing second half of the episode

Episode Summary

The Doctor manages to heal himself and stop regenerating by sending the regeneration energy into his severed hand. Sarah Jane is rescued by Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler who port in from their dimension and manage to destroy the daleks threatening her. The Torchwood Crew are rescued by an emergency defense Time Lock which traps them inside a time bubble with the dalek outside. The Daleks capture the Tardis and transport it to the crucible, and Sarah Jane, Mickey and Jackie allow themselves to be captured and are taken to the crucible. Meanwhile Martha teleports to Germany in order to use the Osterhagen Key.

On the Crucible, the Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack leave the Tardis as otherwise the daleks would destroy them anyway. Donna tries to leave the Tardis but the door slams trapping her in it. The Daleks suspecting treachury send the Tardis to the core of the Crucible to be destroyed. Inside the Tardis the hand container smashes and as Donna reachers towards it, it expands into a human version of the Doctor, who manages to get the Teleport away in the nick of time, while everyone else thinks it has been destroyed. Outside the Tardis Captain Jack shoots at the Supreme Dalek in order to get it to Exterminate him so he can escape as he cant die.

In Germany Martha reaches the UNIT facility and tries to contact additional stations. Davros does the traditional villian explains all of his plans speech and it turns out he is planning to destroy everything with a “reality bomb”. In the Crucible Jackie, Mickey and Sarah Jane manage to escape from the testing of the Reality Bomb and meet up with Captain Jack. After the successful testing of the bomb all of the dalek fleets return to the crucible to ensure they are not destroyed when they activate it next time.

Martha gets ready to activate the Osterhagen key but before activating it contacts the Daleks to say that if they dont let her go she will use the key to activate a doomsday last resort weapon that will destroy the Earth. At the same time Captain Jack threatens to activate a “warp star” which had been given to Sarah Jane which is essentially a powerful Bomb in that is the size of a gem. The Daleks manage to stop them by teleporting everyone to where Davros is and they are captured along with the Doctor and Rose. On the Tardis the other Doctor is building a weapon to backfire the Relaity Bomb on the daleks.

As the Daleks get ready to activate the Bomb, the Tardis arrives at Davros’ location and the human Doctor gets ready to use the weapon but Davros is able to stop him by shooting him with an energy weapon from his glove, Donna tries to use it as well but is also shot, as all seems lost Donna manages to stop them by deactivating the bomb from the console she had landed next to. She was able to do this as the shock from getting shot by Davros had activated some excess regeneration energy she had collected and given her the “Doctors Brain”. She is then able to rescue everyone and neutralise the Daleks using her new found intelligence on the Dalek control console.

The Doctors and Donna are then able to send all the planets back to their original location with the exception of Earth. It also turned out the Dalek Caan had betrayed the Daleks at set everything in place for the Daleks defeat. The Red Supreme Dalek arrives to try to stop them but is destroyed by Captain Jack. The Human Doctor following some prodding from Dalek Caan then sends a feedback loop into the Daleks destroying them all due to the threat they would represent to the cosmos even without the reality bomb. As the Crucible starts to self destruct around them and the Doctor and the Companions leave, Dalek Caan tells the Doctor that one of them will still die.

As the Tardis leaves it contacts Torchwood and Mister Smith in order to set up a “tow line” for the Planet Earth. The Doctor and Rose also comment on the similarity of Gwen with Gwyneth from the first season episode the Unquiet Dead. The Earth then arrives back in the Solar System where it should be.

The Doctor then drops everyone off, Sarah Jane sets off alone. Jack, Martha and Mickey go off together, while Rose and Jackie return to the parallel universe. The human Doctor also remains in the parallel universe with Rose as he will grow old and die due to being part human.

Back in the Tardis Donna starts to experience an adverse reaction to the timelord memories and in order to save her life the Doctor has to wipe her memories of him and has to return her home and gives her family instructions never to mention her adventures with him as otherwise she could remember and die. The Doctor says goodbye to Donna and leaves visibly upset at what he had to do.

My Thoughts

I found this to be a very good episode up to about the 35 minute mark, where it descended into farce for 5 minutes and completely ruined the episode for me. The first 35 minutes though were tense and were building up to a crescendo quite nicely unfortunately RTD decided to get too clever and instead of resolving the Dalek problem by using the weapon the “human” Doctor built but getting killed by Davros before the weapon hit goes down the nonsensical “Doctor Donna” route, RTD doesnt even have Donna show any symptoms of the problem that causes the Doctor to wipe her memory, until it is time to end the episode. Moving on, I could live with the “human” Doctor plot, and while it was an obvious plot contrivence to give the Rose/Doctor “love” story a happy ending, it was not as farfetched as the whole Doctor Donna thing.

The Osterhagen Key as many predicted was a planetary destruction device, and fit the bill as a last resort weapon if the human race had no hope of survival, I also enjoyed the German Daleks going “Exterminieren” and speaking German, I do wish they had English subtitles for the German bits though.

The Question that is still hanging is does Donnas memory wipe count as the death that Dalek Caan was predicted, in one sense it does as the Doctor is dead to her and the Doctor can never see her again in case her memories return. On the other hand everyone is physically still alive and so it is possible that in one of the specials someone or something close to the Doctor (possibly the Tardis) will actually die.

I suppose that is my second major issue with the episode, the fact that no one actually died, and even the Donna thing is IMO not really that sad as it is always possible for the Doctor to influence events to help Donna have a good life perhaps by sending her a winning lottery ticket (gave one to a teacher in School Reunion so he could get a job as a temporary teacher). The only recurring character who died was Harriet Jones (thankfully the rumours of her other fate were untrue) and IMO this episode needed someone significant dying to give the defeat of the Daleks more meaning.

While this episode was not as dissappointing as Last of the Timelords, RTD once again showed his love for Deus ex Machina and need to have an almost total defeat of the villian, opposed to having the heroes getting through by the skin of their teeth with the villian still a major threat. Hopefully once Moffat takes over the end of series 2 parter will have second parts that always live up to the first.

Episode Rating

First 35 minutes: 9/10

Last 30 minutes: 5/10

Overall: 7/10 

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2 Responses to “Doctor Who 4.13 “Journeys End” Summary and Analysis”

  1. It’s amazing

  2. Chris Powell said

    I think it’s pretty clear that Donna, or more exactly, the Doctor-Donna, is the death that Caan was talking about.

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