We begin the race to the season finale this week with Utopia. Written by Russell T. Davies and airing on 16 June, 2017, the more I reflect on this one, the more I think it merely serves as just an extended prologue for the two-part finale.
The Doctor (Tennant), Martha (Freema Agyeman) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) who catches a ride on the TARDIS at the last moment arrive on the planet Malcassairo in the year 100 trillion. Mankind has survived, but all around them, the universe is dying, as stars go out. They are even hunted on Malcassairo, hiding behind a fenced encampment to keep the Futurekind out.
Following a legend of a place called Utopia, a spaceship is being built, and is almost ready to launch, to take the survivors away. And there, working on it, is Professor Yana (Derek Jacobi), who, upon encountering the Time Lord seems to be more than he appears to be.
Something older, something vicious, something evil.
The episode brings in the Torchwood story, that’s where Jack has been working, and also the curse/blessing put on him by Rose (Billie Piper) at the end of Series One – he can’t die.
But what is really captivating about the entire episode is watching Yana recognise who he is, and that he too has a fob watch. The last few moments of the episode are a wonderful revelation to longtime fans, and no doubt a bit exciting and scary for newer fans… Yana regenerates, and we know what that must mean…
The Master is back.
And that cliffhanger ending…. still gets me.
The Sound of Drums was also written by Davies and aired on 23 June, 2007. The Master(John Simm) having regenerated escapes in the TARDIS, but the Doctor, Martha and Jack, follow him back to the 21st century with the Captain’s vortex manipulator. They arrive too late, and discover who Prime Minister Harold Saxon really is… The Master.
He stages an encounter with an alien race called the Toclafane something the Doctor find suspicious immediately, as he seizes control over the government and works to eliminate national and international political opposition.
The Doctor, Martha and Jack are on the run, and hiding out as they can. But how long can they run before the Master and his people find them? Trap them? and find themselves at the mercy of the evil Time Lord? How far will Saxon go to control the outcome?
We get a very nice update on the history of The Master, and there are some nice reveals… apparently Saxon has himself a heli-carrier!
Simm as The Master is inspired, and just perfect, and you cannot wait for him and Tennant’s Doctor to go toe to toe… unfortunately, we race to another cliffhanger that leaves our heroes in terrible shape! Martha flees, the Doctor is aged beyond recognition, and Jack is tortured and killed over and over, while Martha’s family serves The Master, and the TARDIS has been converted into a Paradox Machine.
Everything seems to be in dire straits as the episode reaches its climax, next week it’s The Last of the Time Lords…