Forenote: Apologies for the ensuing massive piece of self-indulgence, which has really taken up too much of my time, and will doubtless be utterly incomprehensible in just a few hours' time when the finale airs. It'll be contradicted about 8 million times I swear..
Yes, there was a big fat gap week. Not that it affected me anyway what with me committing big, fat, piracy and being a few weeks behind, but I am aware of its existence.
I liked to see this as an oppurtunity for fandom to see it as a gap in the Universe, to be filled by their own minds. Naturally, mine looked like this:
5.00 - Total Breakdown
The newly regenrated Doctor (Jared Hansen) wakes up in a cryptic mood and begins delving deep into the TARDIS to find some shoes. He doesn't even notice Donna, who has gone into a near catatonic state with the shock of what has happened. Eventually, she overcomes the trauma and tracks him down by following the sound of "Icehouse" being sung in a faltering baritone, and overpowers him with a cricket bat - just when he's found a pair of shoes that he likes.
The Doctor doesn't recognise Donna at all, following the debilitating effects of the Vogon Inhumation Beam, and refuses to give her any answers. More than that - he goes into a Tchkopic Neutrality Trance to make him immune to her 'torture'... which also leaves him unable to see, speak, or hear.
Utterly frustrated and defeated, Donna drags the prone (but strangely relaxed) form of the Doctor to the console room and tries to appeal directly to the TARDIS herself. It is a fruitless process, and she soon opens the TARDIS databanks looking for any solution. Reasoning that the Doctor must have been replaced by an impostor, she searches for 'Huon particles' remembering her encounters with the Rachnoss. Eventually she jury-rigs a means for the TARDIS to follow a trail of Huon particles, reasoning that this will take her to the Doctor.
The TARDIS lands in what seems to be a vast planet of desolate wasteland. Cautiously Donna leaves to explore...
Once she is gone the Doctor emerges from his trance, announcing that he will tell the 'crimson harlot' all that she wants to know, not because he is of a weak constitution but simply out of boredom. He takes a moment to congratulate himself on surviving her torture for, by his estimation, five hours and 28 seconds with no apparent injury... and then seeing that she is not present congratulates himself further upon managing to drive her off and reclaiming his TARDIS - possibly through intimidating use of morse code blinking.
He then checks the controls and is confused by the fact the TARDIS has landed - he didn't set a course. He then sees the data about Huon particles and is concerned. He then opens the scanner and looks at where he's landed and then he starts bricking it... but he has no idea why!
Realising he has a hole in his memory that would make the Gold Coast look reasonable the Doctor breaks some emergency glass to pull out his emergency memory-restorer - a copy of Terrance Dicks' The Eight Doctors. By the time he has read two sentences he is beating his head against the walls and shouting "THIS IS ARSE!" at the top of his lungs and decides that another measure is called for - interfacing with the Matrix.
Discovering that for some reason there is more power than he thinks the console has had for years, his plans are confirmed in his mind - he uses the Matrix to summon two key figures from his past lives, instinctively crossing his fingers to try and deter Gareth Jenkins and/or Tegan Jovanka. When Martha Jones and Charley Pollard appear the Doctor grins crookedly and simply says "Jackpot".
Meanwhile Donna is wandering through the planet, and is getting more and more creeped out by the second by the endless fog, rocky chasms, and whispering voices. She's also finding that it's dead cold, but goes on regardless, calling out for the Doctor. Some of the whispering voices seem to react - but differently. Some laugh, some cry, and others curse the name. Donna decides that it's time to turn back... and finds that she can't see the TARDIS behind her. In this moment of stillness she stops and listens, and hears a new sound, like the slow creeping of a million cockroaches, that she didn't notice before. She looks down... and sees that the ground is moving beneath her feet. The entire planet is in a state of migration...
Martha and Charley both demand to know what the hell is going on, and the Doctor refuses to tell them - primarily because he doesn't know. He gives Martha a couple of moments to dry herself off and find some clothes, apologising idly for getting her out of the show but not really sounding very sincere. After this, he gets the two women to yell obscure continuity references at him to try and jog his memory and they do so - Martha with great reluctance, but Charley very enthusiastically, explaining that it reminds her of her Doctor "who was a complete fruitcake!"
Eventually we get to the obligatory bit where the Doctor begins yelling "I'M THE DOCTOR!" and runs off to find a brand new wardrobe. He still ignores his companions' questions in a bid to establish himself as a Colin Baker-esque 'distant' Doctor, and then, with his memory rapidly accumulating, remebers Donna!
"Oh spack" he moans.
He then remembers the Huon particles.
And realises the fact that he hated what he saw on the scanner because IT WAS THE RUINS OF A DEAD TARDIS.
He yells "Spacking spacking spack, you spacking crukkmunching froods!" whilst attempting to eat a hat and climb the TARDIS walls.
He then calms down... and then he remembers that he's on THE RUINS OF A DEAD TARDIS! Martha and Charley have gotten the idea now that this is really, really, really bad, but the Doctor tells them to go and add another really and a swear word onto that sentence.
"A TARDIS needs to fuel itself - any time. Obviously it's meant to be done from Gallifrey but now that no longer exists. I went and destroyed it - good move, Doctor. Not too shocked by that, Charley? I'll take that as a no, it was a pretty miserable place. Close your mouth, you look like a nitwit, my dear. So, the emergency systems kick in - a big sponge that soaks up energy - in four dimensions. That's how I keep this thing going. Unfortunately to keep that big sponge going it needs to be made from something even more virtually indestructable than the TARDIS itself - which means it LASTS. And it keeps sucking things in - in four dimensions. Energy to begin with, then even raw matter. But the framework intended to process this muck no longer exists and if it does it will break down - so the mass of the TARDIS grows, the gravity gets stronger and it consumes, building up power endlessly until it breaches it's own capacity or reaches back to the Big Bang. Either way, the result's the same - massive explosion. As in galaxy-sized. And the fall-out will reach further than that - nobody's safe, least of all us. It needs to be neutralised."
"You... blew up Gallifrey?"
"Yes! Next question!"
Martha has done an incredible job absorbing the Doctor's needlessly complicated exposition, and points out that if the planet they're on is absorbing energy from every possible source - won't it be absorbing the TARDIS?
To his horror, the Doctor checks the instruments and sees that Martha is absolutely correct - and the news is so terrifying that he can't even thank her. The planet is draining the power banks at a remarkable rate, and now the Doctor understands why the power was high enough to fire up his Matrix-backup - the two TARDISes have formed a symbiotic link to aid one another as they were designed to do, only one doesn't have a maximum capacity anymore so will drain the entire TARDIS! The Doctor figures that he can stop this by forcing his TARDIS to use more power, so he engages the dematerialisation circuits. Martha guesses that this won't be about a thousandth of the power that the Doctor will need to break the link and power-down the planet they're on and the Doctor tells her that just this once he DOES like a smart-arse.
"WHY did you blow up Gallifrey???"
"I didn't like the wallpaper. Now I've got an appointment to go out and be mildly heroic - coming with me, Charley?"
Donna is following the shifting earth as best she can, hoping that the TARDIS has somehow thrown the surface into chaos after its crash-landing, and for a moment this seems to be working as she sees that the shift is coming from a hole on the horizon. When she runs towards it, though, it's only a matter of seconds before she finds herself tumbling into a roundelled cavern, and being groped by a cold, metal arm.
The Doctor has given Martha a headset hooked up to ones worn by himself and Charley, and he and the Edwardian adventuress are venturing out onto the TARDIS-planet with a ball of huon-fused twine to find their way back to the TARDIS. Charley is quite disappointed that they don't get to wear any spacesuits, but the Doctor promises her cheerfully that there are plenty of oppurtunities to narrowly avoid death to come. Just as he says this an ominous looking figure rises from the planet's earth like a golem and begins to follow the pair, unobserved.
Donna has been restrained by the Cybermen and also stripped - apparently to see if she has any concealed weapons - and chained up against their Cyber Base. The Leader interrogates her roughly to discover her identity and intention - believing her to be part of the wider trap that this entire planet seems to be. Her answers seem to be as truthful as they are ignorant, and the data is processed by the Leader - he can only conclude that subject Donna Noble is not part of the trap, yet the entire planet is a trap, ergo she is a random element, which means in all probability that she has arrived along with - THE DOCTOR!
"Erm, no. Never heard of him. Who? See, I've no idea what you're talking about."
The Cybermen instantly transfer her into The Hostage Chamber...
The Doctor and Charley continue their hunt for Donna, their conversation tugging in two ways - the Doctor wants to reminisce about that time that they teamed up with Don Quixote to reclaim that corn stolen by Richard the Lionhearted to thwart the giant duck people from Zarniwoop Minor, but Charley just wants more details about the Time War. The Doctor finally confesses sheepishly that his past two incarnations were so far in denial that he now has absolutely no memory of what actually took place, but has a vague impression of it being just like the Crimean War but with lots of really big clocks. Charley is horrified at the Doctor's lack of concern, and the Doctor tries to mollify her by saying that if he could bring himself to care he could probably get horrified himself - but there's a rather impatient damsel in distress to be rescued and not everything is about Charlotte Elspeth Pollard.
At that moment, the ground erupts into a circle of lurching zombies, formed from the clay of the ground.. but as the Doctor points out, it's actually chameleonic matter and it shape-shifts into the zombie-fied forms of The Celestis! In quite a Colin-esque bit of pique the Doctor blames Charley for this, saying that the planet's former inhabitants have been aroused by her paradoxical nature ("Well, pardon me for NOT existing!") and shushes her complaints that this is getting more fanwanky than the last season finale.
Donna tries to force her freedom from the Cybermen by telling them that the Doctor isn't there - she explains desperately to the ever blank-faced Cyber-Lieutenant that the Doctor exploded in light and vanished, leaving a stranger in his place. As if to a child, the Lieutenant explains the idea of regeneration to her, smugly informing her that they encountered ten different configurations of the Doctor and that her inability to extrapolate this is one of the many clear failings of the un-converted mind. It then seems to take an inordinate amount of pleasure for an emotionless being in pointing out the fact her actions will undoubtedly cause the death of the Doctor, and possibly untold millions of others.
Martha, to her horror, loses control of the TARDIS as Celestis materialise within it's walls, and force her away from the console - she screams out for the Doctor's help, but he sadly informs her over the headset that he, too, is completely helpless. He then apologises for the fact that everytime they meet up now they never seem to get any time together and promises that she won't get the 'left behind in room with aliens part' next time.
The head Celesti, calling himself simply The Judicator gloats over the Doctor's capture and snaps the string of twine. He announces that now all will be as it should have been. The Doctor harshly informs the Celesti that he isn't even a real being - just the vestige of a matrix imprint formed by a malfunctioning TARDIS's hiccup and even BEFORE that he had surrendered all of his honour as a Time Lord for the shelter of a fruitbat sect. The Judicator corrects the Doctor, claiming that he now works for the good of Gallifrey, even in his death, showing a dedication that the Doctor has lacked. He explains that, seeing the Daleks upon the brink of victory, it was his decision to self-destruct his war-TARDIS, to activate a perpetual energy vortex in deep space - a time bomb that would destroy a vast chunk of the Universe. Not just in space... but in Time itself, allowing the final hours of the Time War to be re-written.
To the Judicator's surprise, both the Doctor and Charley actually approve of this idea - the Doctor has forgotten the circumstances of the Time War completely and assumes in his new arrogant guise that it was simply the ineptitude of his former self that doomed the planet, and Charley is very eager to see that funny talking dog again. The Doctor talks through the theory and is very impressed at the feasability of the plan, but points out an obvious flaw - they will need an army to assault the Daleks. After all, if one War-TARDIS could have been enough, then the Judicator would haven't have cut and run like Arnold Judas Rimmer with his arse on fire in the first place. The Judicator, ignoring the slight, grins and says that this has already been taken care of.
Martha is well beyond being concerned hearing the Doctor casually talking about re-wiring the known Universe in a deranged ghost's image, and isn't sure whether he's double-bluffing or if the regeneration really HAS changed him this much. At any rate, as she tells the Sentinel, the chief Celesti occupying the TARDIS, she knows that the Doctor is too powerful to resist. But she knows enough about the TARDIS to know that she can sever the symbiosis and dematerialise - she makes the Celestis promise to take her safely back to Earth to stop her from doing this. They reach a tentative agreement.
The Judicator brings The Doctor to meet their army - The Cybermen! The Cyberleader is pleased to see that this is not a trap as they previously had believed - the Celestis have kept their word. The Doctor, puzzlingly, seems delighted to see the Cybermen and compliments the Judicator on his choice of army. He even goes so far as to friendly back-slap the Leader, but this nearly results in a broken arm as it's construed as an act of sabotage. The Doctor protests that he's on the Cybermen's side - after all, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"!
The Leader is frankly confused to buggery but for the sake of simplicity assumes that the Doctor is hostile and lays down his terms - Donna and Charley will die unless the Doctor gives the Cybermen the secrets of unlimited time travel. Then the Cybermen, in turn, can provide the raw fuel that the Celestis require to send the TARDIS supernovae AND join them to fight the Daleks. The Doctor isn't entirely happy with this deal - they're assuming he WANTS Charley and Donna.
Charley, who has been thrown by this entire conversation, now tries to punch the Doctor's head in, but is restrained by the Cybermen and taken away to be converted. The Doctor compliments the Cybermen on finally using resources effectively, and says that he will help them only on the condition that he is given two Cyber Bombs - there are some old enemies that he now believes he was too lenient towards.
The Cybermen demur - they will need to bring in their flagship to deliver the bombs and the TARDIS is difficult to land on - and the Doctor taunts them as a result. What are they going to do, kill his companions? They have NO leverage over him for a change and he's loving it. And they can't threaten his life because he is the only true Time Lord left and therefore the only person with a bona fide link to the Matrix. Rather unsurprisingly the Cybermen still don't trust him and so he volunteers to demonstrate the process on a lone Cyberman.. rallying back instructions to Martha and the Sentinel and using his own powers over the Matrix the Doctor downloads the knowledge into the Cyberman's mind and sets it up so that its circuits begin re-programming themselves. Once the process is complete the Cybermen disappears... three seconds into the future! The jury-rig the Doctor has supplied leaks chronon radiation like a sieve as well, making it impossible for the Cybermen to X-ray and keeping his dastardly secret safe, a fact which leads him to crack a smug smile.
Charley and Donna find themselves in the conversion cells and try to work out a way to help one another - Charley tells Donna that she's met the Cybermen before, and knows how to deal with them... vaguely. When pressed by Donna Charley's forced to admit that when she's met them they've tended to come undone due solely to their own competence, but it doesn't look like that's about to happen in the next ten seconds....
As the Cyberships come down, bearing their payloads, the Doctor grins and shouts an order at Martha to sever the link. She initially refuses but the Doctor yells her down and she harriedly separates the two TARDISes - this leaves the planet sucking the power from the Cyberbase, powering down the conversion cells and sucking the Cyberships into the planet itself where they are cannibalised in less than a minute.
Martha is overpowered by the Sentinel, who has survived the process. To her amazement, in fact, he is becoming whole again, his body repairing and reborn - he exclaims in wonderment that he was formed by the dead TARDIS and it's powers still flow through him - allowing him to repair himself with the Doctor's TARDIS' power! In seconds, he and his friends are proper, living, breathing Time Lords and have been invested with the telepathic energy of the TARDIS - it takes them a moment to realise what this means.. but they now have access to the rejuvinated Matrix and find all the data that they need. Martha is in shock and tries to run for the doors to the inner TARDIS but they are locked in an instant. The Sentinel smiles, waves his hand, and tells Martha that she will forget everything...
The Doctor assumes that now the ravenous monster of a planet has absorbed the Cybermen's energy it will turn to the Cybermen themselves and then he will be able to rescue Donna and Charley while they are decimated - but he's forgotten that he is the Last of the Timelords, and thus contains a much greater life-force than the Cybermen, and it is this which is now absorbed. He falls to the ground, years of his life being ripped away, much to the Judicator's amusement and, surprisingly, to some degree of enjoyment on the part of the Cyberleader.
The Judicator explains that he has the power to disengage the power-drive of the broken TARDIS for a short time... but the Doctor will have to do a favour for them. The Doctor nobly proclaims that his life is far too insignificant a concern right now, and so the Cybermen bring out Donna and Charley and threaten to kill them. The Doctor agrees to whatever terms they ask, naturally, and so tells them everything they need to know about accessing the Matrix. Charley begs him not to, but the Doctor weakly explains that he has no choice - he was playing a triple bluff, but it now may be that the Cybermen have his only hope of saving the Universe, by cancelling out all of this in history. He then apologises to Donna, because what happens next will erase their adventures from history, and he wished it didn't end like this...
Hooking the Doctor up to a Cyber-brain he downloads his thoughts and his link to the Matrix into the Cybermen themselves, and they update themselves in seconds. The Judicator is satisfied and disengages the emergency systems, telling the weakened Doctor that he is free to go... but the Cyberleader says that the Doctor will be converted. The Judicator protests, and says that even in the CIA honour has always been upheld - and then he dies painfully and in an instant - The Cybermen have no such concept of honour and have released a virus to attack the ephemeral agents. Donna grabs the Doctor and tries to run him to the TARDIS, but the Doctor explains that the TARDIS is gone before fainting from exhaustion. Desperately Donna tries the headset and finds herself talking with the Sentinel - who is delighted to have a trace back to the planet and sets course immediately. Charley demands to know what's happened to Martha, and the Sentinel says that she is where she belongs, at her home, with no knowledge of the Doctor. Even in his state the Doctor sneers at this and notes that CIA policy still hasn't changed...
In an instant the Cybermen materialise around them, proudly stating that they now have the power of time travel and have reached the ultimate point of evolution. They are so undefeatable, and strong that they no longer need humans for conversion and raise their guns to blow Charley and Donna away and.. nothing happens. Charley exclaims that they've clearly used their energy one time-shifting and so have none left for their usual murder and thus grabs the nearest gun, charges it with the sonic screwdriver, and starts blasting them away. She throws Donna the screwdriver, and announces that she's "Going like C'rizz", whatever that means, before running off into the yonder with a mad grin on her face.
Donna, tearfully, tries to shake the Doctor back awake and asks him what to do. The Doctor gives her some settings for the screwdriver and tells Donna to run. There is no more explanation and so she runs, finds the screwdriver beeping and follows the noise. Cybermen continually appear from the mist and fire at her but she keeps running, following the beeping as it grows stronger and stronger...
His TARDIS dematerialises by the Doctor just as the Cybermen arrive to find him and it's Extrapolator Shields block their lasers. Re-energized by the return of his time machine, the Doctor runs in to find the Sentinel and, with no preamble, punches him in the face. He snarls at the Celesti that he's lucky to be getting away just with that after effectively killing THREE of his companions. The Sentinel protests that he followed standard operating procedures in dealing with Martha and did nothing to the others, but the Doctor yells at him to look at the big picture - Charley, thinking that there's no hope left appears to be gunned down, and Donna reaches where the screwdriver leads her and presses the switch - detonating the buried CyberBombs, de-stablising the entire planet, and causing her to vanish.
The Doctor notes that they are all lost to him and, what's worse, he seems to have arranged it instinctively. The Sentinel tentatively suggests that the Fendahl is responsible before the Doctor tells him to piss off and get some work done. Now that the planet is unstable it's time-shifting around the Cybermen who can't stay here - and also can't use it to travel to the Time War where they probably would have converted every Time Lord alive. The Cyberleader hails the TARDIS and tells the Doctor that they will meet again, that it is a certainty, and the Doctor knows how that would be arranged - the traditional way. 21st Century Earth. He then grins wickedly, and says that his TARDIS is sitting on the biggest ball of power in the Universe...
The Cybermen begin descending towards modern day London, with such force that premontions sweep over all the human race and all eyes turn to the skies...
And the Doctor pulls a switch and beams out a chameleon circuit through space, right onto the Earth, and in an instant burns out all the power of the dying Celesti TARIDS, leaving nothing but empty space...
And a large book in the TARDIS. With the planet Earth on its cover.
"You... turned a planet into a book.." Notes the Sentinel weakly. The Doctor nods coldly.
"Imagine what I could do to you"
He randomises the TARDIS' co-ordinates and tells the Celestis that wherever he lands, they go, and they stay. And that if he ever meets with them again they had better change their standard operating procedures. The Sentinel says that the Doctor is being unreasonable, that he clearly needs their help to combat this new menace, but the Doctor pushes him out the door. But he agrees that he needs help. He needs friends. And now he's going to go make some...
Books/Other related - Doctor Who and the Insane Fan
I am Going To Kill You, an open letter from Nick Briggs
jaredubernerdfunk.blogspot.com/2010/01/hahahaha, Hansen's response
Fluffs - Jared Hansen seemed quite pants-wettingly overjoyous this story
"I am the Coctdor. THE COCTOR!"
Goofs - In several shots you can quite clearly hear the sounds of a fistfight and Nick Briggs yelling "I can't believe this shit!"
While the script is attempting some clever jokes about the new Doctor being asexual he can't seem to stop staring at Charley's chest
Weirdest. Christmas special. Ever.
Fashion Victims - The new Doctor's long ginger wig and cape.. does this make ANYBODY happy?
Why exactly does absorbing the Matrix cause question marks to appear all over the Cybermen?
Links and References - The tedious sequence where the newly-regenerated Doctor lists all of his companions. Astonishingly he misses out Sarah-Jane, but DOES list 'Professor Ruebish', 'Will Chandler' and 'Kate Tollinger'. What the hell is THAT about?
Dialogue Disasters - ..too numerous
Dialoge Triumphs - ...erm...
"I really did not commission this" - Steven Moffat (2015)
"Oh, come ON! THAT'S what the Doctor is on the run from? Hyper-advanced, insane, time-travelling Cybermen? It's so BANAL! He may as well be up against some fucking monkeys from a Klien Bottle! Nobody can use my stories ever again! NOBODY!" - Lawrence Miles (2009)
"There is no God" - Joseph Ratzinger (2009)
"... you have lost it. You have really lost it mate" - Ewen Campion-Clare (2008)
"Not the best story. 8/10" - Baysan Tulu (2009)
Next Week: A return to the bittersweet world of sanity... "This is the biggest library in the Universe... so where is everyone?" - possibly in another room in the biggest library in the universe? And...Universe? That's a bit extravagant, surely? There will never, ever be a larger library? ... Donna and the Doctor vent their frustrations on boring set doors ... that woman from Three Non-Blondes who dresses up like a tampon is incapable of portraying emotion... the Doctor runs through quite a normal-looking library... "HOLY SHIT, IT'S NATHAN SPRING... oh, wait, it's just that Benny Summerfield rip-off I've heard so much about. Why does she add the 'archaeologist!' on the end? Afraid I'd confuse her with all of those other Professor Riversongs around? ... black guy tries to freak out a young girl, seems to be doing quite well... the Doctor worries that the marble floor is infected with Shadow Virus, I assume a symptom of which is having shadows on it ... the Doctor runs some more ... then admits he has no idea who Cal Wilson is... and THEN engages in a re-enactment of the first Pyramids cliffhanger... ZOMG skeleton.
Seriously... skeleton? That's the best you can do?
(EDIT: Yes, I just posted an insane fanfic that LEADS in to Larry Miles' Book of the World. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry...)