Warning: The following post contains MAJOR spoilers for Doctor Who Season Four finale, Journeys End.
You have been warned!
Thoughts after the jump…
This episode was one big fanwank – technobabble up the ass, every companion known to man standing around the TARDIS helping the Doctor Fly (Except you Jackie… You just stand over there…) and one improbable event after another.
This can be excused though, since it’s an RTD episode. He’s known for his Improbable Events, his Reset Button Endings and There Are No Consequences scripts. But, since this is his last episode, maybe we can let it go?
I’m pretty sure this will be the last we see of the majority of the companions at this point: Jack will go back to Torchwood, with Martha and Mickey in tow. Sarah Jane Smith will go back to her improbable son and her tin-dog (A last minute inclusion I was happy to have!) and do her own thing… And Rose? Yeah, her and her mum are safely tucked back in their parallel world, which is really, really sealed off for reals this time, honest.
Oh, and she has her own beau now too, a war vet that’s filled with rage and genocidal hatred, but that she can love and tame. Because, well, she did it for the Doctor, right? [eye_roll]
Which brings us to Donna: She ends the season right where we found her: Loud, arrogant and oblivious to everything around her. This whole season has had a theme of growth and change, of being more than yo start out, of her being the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE… And it ends with The Doctor wiping her god damn memory so that she doesn’t die!
What. The. Fuck?!
I’m sorry – I loved Donna. She was bold and brassy, and a lot quicker than she gave herself credit for. She finally comes into her own in this episode, and what happens? It nearly kills her.
Maybe that was the reset button: Donna has every memory of the TARDIS, of the Doctor, of her past year removed from her. She has to live her life like she used to, doing nothing, being loud and arrogant and self absorbed – not the woman we saw her become by season end.
How frustrating, eh?
Can I think of a better ending? Maybe: The Doctor find a way to remove the Time Lord knowledge that is killing her without wiping everything else, and the pain of constantly being reminded of what she had been – had known – is enough to ask to go home. She stays the fully grown person we know, the more active, stronger Donna – but on Earth, doing what she can to make a difference here.
Sure, it’s shades of Flowers for Algernon, but I think it’d work quite well in this context. It sure as hell would be less ham-fisted, and I doubt the audience would feel quite as cheated as I do right now.
That said, I’m glad now for the year long break. I think the show needs it, the writers need some time to evaluate where it’s going, and where it should go.
So, so long Donna Nobel – You were enjoyed, and you will be missed.