Well, my time in the TARDIS has come to a temporary end once again as I’ve finally reached the end of Season 3. I understand that inherent in the nature of the series is a rotating door cast with everyone, the titular main character included, coming and going at a fairly frequent pace, but now that I’ve closed out my time with Martha Jones as the Doctor’s main companion, I really find myself wishing that she had gotten at least two seasons to hang around like Rose Tyler. I grew to love Martha’s character so much over the course of this season that her quick and shockingly sudden departure at the end of this disc’s three-part finale just seems far too soon. I’ve spent the last week (and one day) devouring the ever-deepening mythology that this stellar season of Doctor Who contributed to the series, and I’m quite sad to think that I’m going to have to navigate the rest of the series without a companion that you couldn’t help to love.

For the first time in the new series’ history, the finale is a three-part story. In “Utopia”, the Doctor and Martha stop in Cardiff in the modern day to refuel the TARDIS over Cardiff’s rift in space-time. This draws the attention of Captain Jack Harkness, now immortal and member of the rebuilt Torchwood, who latches onto the TARDIS just as it takes off. This causes the TARDIS to freak out and it flings the Doctor, Martha, and Jack (who was holding onto the outside of the police box) 150 trilliion years into the future, to the very end of the universe. They land on what is possibly the last planet in the solar system where the only surviving members of the universe are the last vestiges of humanity (and one bug-like inhabitant of the planet) as well as a monstrous race known as the Futurekind who are hellbent on killing the last of humanity. Humanity survives in a protective bunker where an elderly man known as Professor Yana (and his insect-like friend Chantho) are working on a rocket to send humanity to a place known as Utopia. The Doctor, Martha, and Jack volunteer to help out, but just as they’ve launched the rocket, Martha realizes that Professor Yana has a watch just like the Doctor when he was storing his Time Lord essence. Before the Doctor can stop him from opening the watch, Yana opens it and is transformed into the Master, the Doctor’s legendary arch-nemesis. He regenerates into a younger form and steals the TARDIS, stranding the Doctor, Martha, and Jack at the end of the universe.

The Master is the Harold Saxon we’ve been hearing about all season, and when the Doctor, Martha, and Jack make it back to the modern day with the help of Jack’s time vortex thing, we learn that Saxon/The Master has just been elected Prime Minister of England. After introducing an alien species that looks like the thing used to interrogate Leia in Star Wars, the Master assassinates the President of the United States and unleashes his army of these robot alien things to murder 10% of the world’s population. He captures Jack and the Doctor and ages the Doctor 900 years, but Martha escapes with the teleporter. A year later, we find that Martha has been walking the Earth at the behest of the Doctor as part of his plan to defeat the Master. After being captured by the Master, right on the eve of the Master’s plan to destroy the Earth and start a new Time Lord empire, Martha reveals what she had done all of these years walking the Earth, which I have no clue how it worked, but it caused the Doctor to be younger again. Jack and the others destroyed the Paradox Machine which was allowing the Master to actually change history and everything was reset to exactly one year earlier with most of Earth forgetting what had happened. The Doctor was going to take the Master prisoner but the Master was shot and decided to die rather than regenerate. At the episode’s end, Martha, sick of being in love with the Doctor and of all of the death she’s seen, decides to stay behind, and the Doctor is alone once more.

John Simm was awesome as the Master. He reminded me a lot of Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of how absolutely insane he was while simultaneously being so cheery and silly most of the time which only made him more terrifying. He wasn’t just chewing on the scenery, he was eating the whole whoniverse with how hammy and over-the-top his performance was but this was totally intentional and hilarious. I have a serious problem with how the final episode ended though. I get the story explanation (sort of) of how Martha and the Doctor’s plan to have the entire world think his name works because of the psychic satellites, but I’m not sure how this would make the Doctor stop being really old or make the cage he was in disappear or give him super-powers to deflect the Master’s sonic laser. It was uber-lame and nearly derailed the rest of the finale (which was otherwise fantastic). It was the most blatant deus ex machina since Rose ate the heart of the TARDIS back in season 1, and long time readers will no how much of a problem I have with deus ex machinas.

I feel like Donna Noble is going to be a serious step down from Martha Jones (since she was a nearly unbearable replacement for Rose and that was only one episode). Martha was gorgeous and brilliant. She was basically the total package for a companion, and she didn’t have a puppy dog following her around named Mickey (though Mickey became quite the bad ass in his own right). I’m just sad to see her go. Now that I’ve finished this season of Doctor Who though I’m going to be watching the fourth season of Dexter as well as the only season of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip since it was one of the requests that a reader left on my requests page. I’ll be watching those two shows simultaneously, so it will be like my old system with a disc of one show and then a disc of another. I’ll actually probably still be on Studio 60 by the time I finish season 4 of Dexter since the former is 22 episodes and the latter 12.

Final Score: B+

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