|198b – "Journey's End"|
|Doctor Who episode|
Inside the TARDIS, Donna collapses near the Doctor's severed hand and transfer of energy begins.
|Writer||Russell T Davies|
|Script editor||Lindsey Alford|
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|Length||2nd of 2-part story, 65 minutes|
|Originally broadcast||5 July 2008|
"Journey's End" is the thirteenth and final episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who, first broadcast on BBC One on 5 July 2008. It is the second episode of a two-part crossover story featuring the characters of spin-off shows Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, preceded by "The Stolen Earth." At 65 minutes in length, it was approximately 20 minutes longer than a standard revived series episode. It marked the final regular appearance of Donna Noble. It received mixed reviews, not matching the acclaim of the The Stolen Earth.
The episode continues on from the end of "The Stolen Earth"; the Doctor (David Tennant) is regenerating inside the TARDIS. However, the Doctor is able to interrupt the process when his body has been healed. The remaining energy is transferred to his severed hand, which is floating in its jar nearby. Instead of a new Doctor, it is the tenth Doctor that emerges, restored to life. The TARDIS is captured by the Daleks and transported to the Crucible, the Dalek flagship at the heart of the 27 planets. The Doctor and his previous companions Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) leave the TARDIS, but Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) is locked in. The Supreme Dalek orders the TARDIS to be destroyed; inside, Donna collapses by the jar containing the Doctor's hand. In doing so, she activates the energy stored in the hand to form another Doctor, identical in appearance to the tenth Doctor. He promptly saves the TARDIS from destruction.
Concurrently, Torchwood employees Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) find safety from an advancing Dalek in an impenetrable time lock created by their deceased colleague Toshiko Sato. Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) is saved from a Dalek extermination by Rose's ex-boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and mother Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri); all three surrender themselves to the Daleks and are taken to the Crucible. Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) teleports to a castle near Nuremberg, enters a secret UNIT bunker, and attempts to establish communications with four other similar bunkers across the globe.
The Doctor and Rose are taken to Davros (Julian Bleach), creator of the Daleks. The Doctor taunts Davros for his low status among the Daleks, but Davros in turn retorts that the Doctor is as much a monster as he. Davros explains that the 27 stolen planets form a compression field which can cancel the electrical energy of atoms. The resulting "reality bomb" has the potential to destroy all matter in every universe; reality itself would be destroyed.
After the device is tested on captured humans, the Daleks receive two transmissions: Sarah Jane, Mickey, Jack, and Jackie threaten to destroy the Crucible using a "warpstar" that Sarah Jane has, and Martha threatens to use the Osterhagen Key, a last-resort device which would destroy the Earth by setting off a chain of nuclear warheads. Their actions cause Davros to challenge the Doctor's reliance on his companions. The companions, however, are transported to the Vault before they can execute their plans, whereupon Davros gloats over his seeming victory and makes the Doctor reflect over the deaths he has caused and the sheer number of people who have died for him. Davros then summarises the Doctor as "the man who keeps running, never looking back because he dare not... out of shame!" and says, "This is my final victory Doctor; I have shown you... yourself."
Davros gives the order to detonate the reality bomb, but as he glories in his apparent victory, the TARDIS materialises in front of him. The other Doctor and Donna run out, planning to turn the reality bomb on the Daleks, but are stunned by Davros' energy blasts. The blast activates Time Lord knowledge imbued within Donna ("half Doctor, half Donna") when she helped create the second Doctor, and she disables the reality bomb, Davros and the Daleks. The two Doctors help her relocate the missing planets, but the control panel is destroyed by the Supreme Dalek before Earth can be relocated. In the confusion, Davros asks Dalek Caan why he didn't foresee this, but the Doctor realises that he had. Caan confirms this, citing that having witnessed the atrocities committed by the Daleks throughout time and space, Caan sought to bring an end to it.
Motivated by Dalek Caan's prophecy of the Daleks' extinction, and knowing the Daleks could still take the universe by force, with or without the reality bomb, the new Doctor destroys the Daleks and the Crucible. The original Doctor offers to save Davros, who refuses, accusing the Doctor of being responsible for the destruction and naming him as "the Destroyer of Worlds", while Caan warns that one of the companions will still die. The companions flee into the TARDIS as the Crucible self-destructs, and "tow" the Earth back into its original orbit with the aid of Sarah Jane's supercomputer Mr Smith, her robotic dog K-9, and the spatiotemporal rift in Cardiff.
In the dénouement of the episode, the Doctor parts ways with his companions: Sarah Jane returns home to her son Luke; Mickey leaves with Martha and Jack; and the Doctor returns Rose and Jackie to the parallel universe in which they were trapped in "Doomsday". He intends to leave his half-human counterpart who could live a normal life with Rose as he will age normally and never regenerate. Determined to stay with the real Doctor, Rose asks both what was the last thing the Doctor said to her before the transmission ended in Doomsday. The other Doctor whispers the response to Rose and they kiss, while the real Doctor and Donna leave the parallel world in the TARDIS forever.
After departing, Donna becomes overwhelmed by the Time Lord knowledge. The Doctor is forced to wipe her mind of all memories of her time with him, saving her life but effectively killing the woman she had become through their travels (as prophesied by Dalek Caan). Returning Donna to her mother's Chiswick home essentially as she was before meeting him, the Doctor explains to her mother Sylvia (Jacqueline King) and grandfather Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) that Donna must never remember him, even for a second, because her mind will burn up and she will die if she does. The Doctor goes on to tell them how Donna has become a hero to many across the universe, pointedly implying to Sylvia that this should give her cause to be kinder to her daughter. The Doctor parts amicably with Wilfred, and returns to his TARDIS in a state of obvious misery.
The episode is the culmination of all four series of Doctor Who produced by Russell T Davies; dialogue in the episode refers to the events of "The Christmas Invasion", in which the Doctor had his hand amputated and regrown while fighting against the Sycorax and to the Ood prophectically calling Donna "Doctor-Donna" in "Planet of the Ood." The episode refers to Genesis of the Daleks; Davros mentions Sarah Jane's presence on Skaro at the creation of the race.
The fictional Dårlig Ulv Stranden (Norwegian: Bad Wolf Bay) seen at the end of "Doomsday" is revisited. The Doctor's reply to Rose's statement of love is specified to Rose but left unheard; Davies deliberately left the reply ambiguous when he wrote "Doomsday". Executive producer Julie Gardner stated on the "Doomsday" commentary and the Doctor Who Confidential special for "Journey's End" that the Doctor requited her love.
Davros' taunts give the Doctor a series of flashbacks of all the people in the revived series who died for or near him. Those include the humanoid Jabe ("The End of the World"), the Controller of Satellite 5 ("Bad Wolf"), Lynda Moss ("The Parting of the Ways"), Sir Robert MacLeish ("Tooth and Claw"), Mrs Moore ("The Age of Steel"), the majority of LINDA ("Love & Monsters"), the Face of Boe ("Gridlock"), Chantho ("Utopia"), Astrid Peth ("Voyage of the Damned"), Luke Rattigan ("The Poison Sky"), Jenny ("The Doctor's Daughter"), River Song ("Forest of the Dead"), and the Hostess ("Midnight") as well as Harriet Jones from the previous episode.
Davros refers to the Doctor as "The Destroyer of Worlds". The first reference to this phrase is from the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks, which states that the Daleks, in their own language, refer to the Doctor as Ka Faraq Gatri, which translates either as "Bringer of Darkness" or "Destroyer of Worlds".
In the episode "Victory of the Daleks", the Eleventh Doctor refers to the events of "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" when he asks Amy to help him explain to Winston Churchill about the true nature of the Daleks. Mysteriously, Amy has no memory of these events. He later concludes in "Flesh and Stone", when faced with the cracks in the universe, that these Daleks were absorbed by the crack and erased from history. In "The Waters of Mars", Adelaide Brooke has a flashback to her childhood during the events of "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End".
The Doctor is surprised by the revelation that Sarah Jane has a son, Luke, which she dismisses by remarking "long story". She adopted him in "Invasion of the Bane". She had no child when the Doctor last saw her in "School Reunion". The Doctor and Luke meet each other in person in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.
Despite the Tenth Doctor not changing his appearance during the regeneration depicted in this episode, it is revealed in 2013's "The Time of the Doctor" that this regeneration did in fact count towards the 12-regeneration limit established in The Deadly Assassin.
Russell T Davies started writing "Journey's End" in January 2008. A scene filmed showed the Doctor giving Rose's Doctor a small piece of "coral" from the TARDIS so that he could grow his own TARDIS. This was removed in the last edit of the episode, but was ultimately cut because the production team felt it made the Bad Wolf Bay scene "too long and complicated" and that producing another TARDIS should not be seen to be so easy. The clip was included on the Series 4 DVD boxset.
Another additional scene with Donna was cut from the final episode: "There was an additional Donna bit after this goodbye from the Doctor, which is when he goes outside into the TARDIS, we cut back into the kitchen, and there's a moment where Donna hears the TARDIS... there's a moment of realisation, and then she turns back round and carries on talking into the phone." Gardner considered this scene untruthful and too confusing, since Donna remembering would lead to her death, and since she didn't recognise the Doctor it wouldn't make sense to assume she would recognise the noise of the TARDIS.
Castell Coch, situated minutes away from Doctor Who's Upper Boat Studios, is used as the German castle. The beach at Southerndown, a few miles west of Cardiff, is used once more as Norway's fictional Dårlig Ulv Stranden (Bad Wolf Bay).
Some exterior scenes, including various companions interacting with Daleks, were shot at Arcot Street, Penarth.
Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler make their first appearances in Doctor Who since "Doomsday". K-9 Mark IV (voiced by John Leeson) makes his first appearance since The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Lost Boy, and his first in Doctor Who since "School Reunion".
Former Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones controlled one of the Daleks that escorts the human prisoners aboard the Crucible.[clarification needed] He previously played a Cyberman in "Rise of the Cybermen" and has made a cameo appearance as himself in Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures in the episode "Invasion of the Bane".
One significant feature of this episode is the creation of another Doctor. Unlike the multiple Doctors of stories such as The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors, where his previous incarnations were played by actors or depicted in old footage, this Doctor is identical in appearance to the Tenth Doctor. In the accompanying Doctor Who Confidential for this episode, Davies explains "This is so busy and so mental and so epic and universal in scale that of course you need two Doctors to solve it." Phil Collinson, Graeme Harper, and David Tennant discuss the use of the double, a musician named Colum Regan who is a very good physical match for Tennant. Collinson explains that while with an unlimited budget they would use Tennant in every shot, "we only have a certain number of effects shots where you can see the two Doctors together, so we have to pick those carefully."
Harper is then shown directing a scene in which both Regan and Tennant are shown around the TARDIS console. Harper explains that in "two or three wide shots" they were able to use Regan and Tennant together. For the most part the double is used for scenes where one or the other Doctor is only seen from behind, or only an arm or back of the head is seen in a shot. The double has appeared in other episodes throughout the series. Over documentary footage showing the shooting of the scene where the new Doctor emerges from the TARDIS, Tennant describes the procedure for making an effects shot involving Tennant as both Doctors. The camera is locked in place while Tennant goes off and changes clothing, with Regan holding his place. A shot is made for reference with Regan, then another shot is made without Regan. This enables the shots to be merged during editing to create the effect of having David Tennant in two places in the same shot.
The episode was screened free in Trafalgar Square in London as part of Pride London 2008; the third series finale was planned to be shown during the 2007 event, but was cancelled as a security measure. A teaser trailer was appended to promote the 2008 Christmas Special.
"Journey's End" was watched by 10.57 million viewers when broadcast on BBC1, giving it a 45.9% share of the total television audience. The episode was the most-viewed programme of the week; "Journey's End" is the first Doctor Who episode to receive this rank. It also received an Appreciation Index score of 91, equalling the record for the programme set by its predecessor "The Stolen Earth". A story on the BBC News website described fan reaction of the serials on the Digital Spy and Ain't It Cool News forums as "mixed".
The episode was premiered in Canada on 12 December 2008. Although the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is credited as a co-producer, the CBC used a version used for international distribution that cut 21 minutes from the episode to fit it in a 60-minute timeslot with advertising. This edit removed numerous subplots as well as the final farewells by the various companions, as well as the final scene of the Doctor alone in his TARDIS. The CBC subsequently streamed the unedited version of the episode on its website.
The Telegraph's John Preston states that this episode of Doctor Who "[a]s usual...served up a lot more than mere excitement." He credits Doctor Who's success partly to its "richly defined characters behaving in readily identifiable ways." Also of The Telegraph, Sarah Crompton wrote that the episode was "exciting, incomprehensible, satisfying and slightly irritating all at the same time". Although Crompton said, "It was inevitable that the start would be an anti-climax", she praised the special effects and also noted that she would miss "the warmth and humour" that Tate brought to the series. Lucy Mangan in a humorous review for The Guardian that rewrites the dialogue between Tennant's and Cribbins' characters at the end as a discussion of the plot, described it as providing "something for everyone". In The Times, Andrew Billen called "Journey's End" "a spectacular finale that...gave the lie to the truism that more always, dramatically speaking, adds up to less."
Mark Wright of The Stage likens "Journey’s End" to "one big house of cards...[that] will come crashing down" if thought about too much. However, he had no problem with the resolution of "The Stolen Earth"'s cliffhanger and is critical of those who complain about feeling cheated by the lack of a regeneration. Though he expresses that he saw little need for Mickey and Jackie in this episode, he asserts that Donna had "the saddest end for a companion ever" and praises Davies for just managing to keep the plot together. He argues that as Davies "writes the emotions and big themes so well...blow logic and rational plot moments if they get in the way!" He compares Davies's writing style to "PT Barnum showmanship" and praises both the dark and light elements of the episode. He concludes that, if not overthought, the episode remains "an audacious, big, silly, often poignant season finale".
Writing for The Mirror, Jim Shelley is highly critical of this episode in his review, describing it as "[d]emented rather than dazzling". He was confused by the two Doctors played by David Tennant, saw little development in Donna across the series and was puzzled by the Doctor's attempt to save his arch-enemy, Davros. He claims that "amidst all the shrieking, shouting, and mock operatic bluster, [he was] sure [he] saw a kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. Riddled with scientific mumbo-jumbo, it was too chaotic and long-winded to be the classic farewell Russell T Davies promised." He argues that the plot "went haywire" and that "Rose and the two Tennants acted out a sort of twisted ménage à trois." In conclusion he states, "Tennant's cheeky chappie mannerisms made the show into an extraterrestrial EastEnders."
In Scotland's Daily Record, Paul English called the episode "yet another fizzing Doctor Who adventure" and said that "Writer and producer Russell T Davies makes TV with the epic feel of the movies. He gets more tension, humour and emotion into an hour of telly than many films manage in twice the time with double the budget." He lamented that "Journey's End" "lacked the goofiness" of the series' 2005 return, but concluded that the finale was "TV gold".
Dave Golder of SFX says "If, while your brain is telling you, 'This is crap!' your heart is still doing backflips then it's your kind of episode. 'Journey's End' is almost a two fingers up at technobabble; there's certainly tons of it in the episode, but it's largely irrelevant." He praises the action sequences and the portrayal of Davros, Donna, Rose and the Doctor, but remarks that the overcrowding of minor characters made parts of the script seem "underdeveloped" and describes the Daleks as mostly "[c]annon fodder". "[The] plot does hang together, but only just". Overall, he describes the episode as "exceptional" but "not perfect".
Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy describes the episode as "a satisfying and epic crowdpleasing conclusion" to the series and particularly praises Tate and Donna's exit. He states the episode mixes poignant and haunting scenes with "'punch the air' moments and fan-pleasing twists." Noting the episode is "not entirely flawless", he is critical of the Daleks' seemingly "too convenient" demise, arguing that it undermines their menace. Writing for the Doctor Who blog on the Radio Times website, William Gallagher called "Journey's End" "event drama" and "party television". He stated that the resolution to the regeneration cliff-hanger left him feeling "a bit cheated", but praised the episode's characterisation, concluding that David Tennant "has been the best Doctor of them all" and that "Doctor Who is the best drama on TV: it's the one with most verve and spark and exuberant excitement." John Beresford of TV Scoop called the finale "just about the most exciting Doctor Who episode [he could] ever remember", and "a fantastically imaginative, exciting and action-packed finale to the fourth series." In 2009, SFX rated the Earth being towed as among the 25 Silliest Moments in Doctor Who, writing 'Judging from the shakes that ensue, it’s likely that millions more died from being bonked on the head by falling household objects than as a result of the Dalek invasion in the previous episode.'
Travis Fickett on IGN gave a negative review of this episode, claiming 'it misses the mark in almost every way' and 'plays like the most outrageous of fan fictions.' He claimed the 2nd Doctor and Doctor-Donna 'stretch credulity so far that it becomes translucent', and that 'it's sort of silly to even bring Rose back when you've got the episode stuffed with almost every other character from the series'.
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