Well... at least, it was better than Part One. Except that's not difficult, is it? I'll pass over the fact that the Vinvocci machine is a bit like the nanogenes from "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" because there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them.
Oooh, look at Gallifrey. It is pretty and orange. Mainly orange.
The Doctor possesses a 'moment'? Are we going to find out what this actually means? Guess not.
The President is as obsessed with immortality as Voldemort and the Visionary is a bit too much like Dalek Caan for my liking (except not as creepy or interesting).
The Doctor is tied up and gagged, just the way the Master likes it. And then we get another run of "Let's put John Simm in as many costume changes as possible!" *sigh* At least Wilf is still awesome and you can see the Master getting irritated by his refusal to keep quiet (you should meet his granddaughter).
Then we have one of the most irritating scenes in NuWho history (and that's saying something): Donna remembering the Doctor and everything she's been through. Now, we have been told by the Doctor (just in the last episode) that if she ever remembered him, her mind would "burn" and Donna would be properly dead not just metaphorically dead. I first got annoyed at Wilf for not telling Donna to hang up the phone after telling her to run, but that was eclipsed by the scene when Donna remembers, has a massive brainwave (literally) and then collapses. And that's IT. Donna is as badly treated as Gwen and Ianto were in "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" and just as useless. I honestly wish she hadn't been in the episode, that she'd just fainted from seeing her fiance and her mum turn into two versions of the same person. At least we wouldn't have had this massive build up and this huge anticlimax. DEATH IS DEATH, Rusty. You know what I would have liked? Donna remembering and NOT exploding immediately, but helping the Doctor and Wilf, all the time knowing she could have an aneursym at any moment. God knows the end of this very episode proves that death is not always immediate so why couldn't that extend to Donna as well?
Fortunately, the unpalatable Donna scene is swiftly chased by a great (if extremely slashy) Doctor/Master scene, with the Master glaring at the Doctor like a pissed off teacher and the Doctor giving him that "I know something you don't know" smirk. Putting aside the Doctor's rather sickening paean to the Master's brilliance, the dynamic between them in this scene is brilliant as the Doctor pleads with the Master to give up the world and go with him and the Master wonders if that would finally silence this endless drumming in his head but doesn't know who he'd be without it. The only problem is that, as the Master puts it: "This body was born out of death, all it can do is die." Brain running ahead of the Doctor's, he decides to find out exactly what's been causing this drumming in his head and threatens Wilf to get to the TARDIS. Bad idea, especially since he doesn't even seem to notice that the guard standing next to him ISN'T him.
Also, if the Master is everyone, how come he doesn't know he's been knocked out?
Yes, let's just wheel the Doctor everywhere, that makes so much sense, especially in a house that isn't designed for wheelchairs. "Worst. Rescue. EVER." This and Wilf's amazement at being in space elevate the rescue above the banal.
It appears that diamonds are a Time Lord's best friend. So the drumming is a link in the Master's brain and all they need is a tiny diamond to open a gateway in a war that's time-locked? Wouldn't... you know... a key be better? Isn't the whole point of a time lock that you can't go backwards or forwards? Wouldn't the Doctor have thought of the whole "something already there" loop hole?
Wilf, in space, no one can hear you scream. Ooh, hello Woman in White. Yet more doom-laden prophecy about this being the end of the Doctor's life. I'm getting really fed up of this whole "this is the end of EVERYTHING" schtick. Has any other regeneration had such a melodramatic build up? I miss Nine more every moment. Yes, you're right, it SHOULD be 'spectacular' but it's not, it's just a big old mess.
On the other hand, I do love that all of Wilf's tearful pleading can't make the Doctor take that pistol but one mention of the Time Lords and the pistol is his new best friend. We even have David doing a little James Bond pose with it before he skydives without a parachute (even JB wouldn't attempt that). No wonder the Master gives him a little 'Dude, even I wouldn't be that stupid' look when he lands. He may even be a little worried about him. Rassilon's Risen Mitten trumps the Master's Gateway and everyone turns human again. I have to admit I enjoyed that, if only because the Master was so upset about it.
Wouldn't it be nice if Gallifrey came back without the Time Lords? Not where the Earth is, but somewhere on the outer reaches of the solar system?
You know what, I actually love the Vinvocci captain for not caring about the Doctor (and I really shouldn't). "Well, he said he was dying!" Compared to all the angst and melodrama, that is so refreshing, even if she was meant to be callous.
The marvellous scene where the Doctor ends up pointing the gun at the Time Lords, then the Master, then the Time Lords again, unable to decide which one of them deserves death. The Master almost begging him to do it and kill him (he's always getting shot, that guy), thinking that the Doctor is actually going to do it for a moment, then SACRIFICING HIMSELF for the Doctor (he also gets revenge on the Time Lords as well, but still). Followed by the equally marvellous moment when the Doctor thinks he's survived and then hears the tapping and the triumphant instrumental just drains away and the camera pans to see Wilf. And then it's all ruined by Ten having a massive temper tantrum about dying. STFU, Ten. Five died for Peri, how is this any different? You have indeed lived too long if you're acting like a toddler about this.
Hmm, so the Naismiths served absolutely no purpose whatsoever apart from getting the Master near the Gate? What a surprise. David Harewood deserved BETTER than that, RTD. Hell, even Friar Tuck on Robin Hood Series 3 was better than this, and as anybody who watched that knows, the third series of Robin Hood was one of the messiest things ever seen on television... but at least David Harewood got the best part and rocked it. Here he was reduced to a bloody plot device. If you're struggling to fit him in around all the other characters, that's a sign that a character needs to get cut and it should have been Naismith. You could easily stick the Master with the Vinvocci as a mysterious 'expert' and completely cut out his resurrection scene (which caused more plot problems than it solved). You wouldn't have had the Master running around, gobbling up everything in his wake but you could still have him taunting the Doctor from the safety of his little lair. It all works out!
Here's an idea: why couldn't Ten have regenerated into Eleven in the radiation chamber? We would have lost that amazing subtle moment when Ten rubs his face and heals all his cuts and bruises, yes, but the excruciating farewell scenes would have been COMPLETELY different. You could cut out Mickey and Martha running around with guns, have Martha tending to people in a hospital tent while Mickey does something technical on the computer system, have the Doctor save them from being ambushed by a Sontaran THAT way, them wonder who that guy is and maybe guess, then he disappears. (I am not going to rant for three paragraphs about Mickey and Martha being married, I'll just say that when I first saw this episode, I shrieked out loud "she was ENGAGED to TOM" and the subsequent rage nearly spoiled the rest of the episode for me. And hearing RTD's explanation didn't make it any better.) Eleven could save Luke, freak him out, and then Sarah Jane would come out and recognise him (because Sarah Jane is awesome like that) and realise what had happened. Eleven could sit beside Jack, be an understanding ear and a shoulder to cry on (but not matchmake him with Alonso). The Verity Newman thing would still work and then Eleven could actually GO to Donna's wedding! And sit on the bride's side because she wouldn't recognise him (at the back, of course). And then Wilf and Sylvia would be happy to see the Doctor, because they could see he was okay but different and he could still give that lottery ticket to Donna as a wedding present. And he could have spoken to Rose and looked as weird as he liked because she wouldn't recognise him. And there wouldn't have been that terrible Ood line or that terrible ending line. (You don't wanna go? TOO BAD. Seriously I had visions of everyone on Series 5 popping up and yelling "GET ON WITH IT!") And then there could have been a radiation backlash or something and the TARDIS could have hurtled towards Earth. There, much better.