“The End of the World” – Doctor Who (S1E2)
“The End of the World” is the second episode of the first series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast on BBC One on 2 April 2005 following Rose. The episode was written by Russell T Davies, the show’s lead writer and executive producer, and directed by Euros Lyn.
The episode is set in the year 5 billion, on a space station orbiting the Earth, which has been invited to witness the destruction of the planet. The Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, arrives at the station along with his companion Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper. They become embroiled in a mystery surrounding the death of one of the station’s guests.
The episode features a diverse cast of characters, including the wealthy and powerful Lady Cassandra, played by Zoë Wanamaker, the last surviving humanity member; the robotic servants known as the Moxx of Balhoon; and the alien race known as the Jaggit.
Cassandra as the last human survivor has been surgically altered into a stretch-skin with just her face remaining but somehow she still manages to portray an amazing character. She is a parody of the classic Hollywood “Blonde Bombshell” and appears in several episodes in later seasons. Lady Cassandra is determined to survive at any cost and will do anything to stay alive, which often leads her to make questionable decisions. In addition to Lady Cassandra, we are also introduced to another pivotal character – the Face of Boe – and for the first time, hear the phrase “Bad Wolf” which is at the heart of this season’s story arc.
This episode marks the very first mention of the notorious Last Great Time War. It wasn’t until later, in “The Unquiet Dead,” that it was actually given its name. The Doctor discloses a heartbreaking truth – his home planet has been destroyed due to this war, thus making him “the last of the Time Lords.” His survivor’s guilt is an ever-present part of all subsequent incarnations: tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth.
Storyline and Plot
When the Doctor inquires as to where Rose desires to travel for her first TARDIS journey, she requests a voyage one hundred years into the future. However, upon arriving in the 22nd century, he informs her that it is mundane and they should continue onward. To 12005 – amidst The New Roman Empire – they move without ever exiting their spacecraft since Rose cannot accept his explanation.To wow his beloved Rose, the Doctor takes her to an orbital space station in Earth’s distant future — five billion years in the future. As they stand gazing up, their eyes fill with wonder as they witness the Sun expanding partially – “Welcome to the end of the world,” he softly speaks into her ear. Although awestruck by its beauty, a sorrowful expression passes across Rose’s face at this somber sight.
With an anguished expression, the Doctor informed Rose that humanity had abandoned Earth long ago and it was now being managed by the National Trust. Sadly, their resources were nearly depleted, so the gravity satellites used to combat the Sun’s influence could no longer be maintained; in approximately 30 minutes time, this once-thriving planet would succumb to its fate of destruction. Despite her pleas for help and a desperate glimmer of hope appearing in her eyes, The Doctor had decided he wouldn’t be saving Earth from impending doom.
Upon meeting the azure-hued Steward in charge of Platform One, the Doctor convinces him that he and Rose are welcomed visitors by utilizing a piece of psychic paper. This device makes people witness whatever it is that the Doctor desires. In addition to them, other invitees arrive – from Moxx of Balhoon’s tiny stature to living humanoid trees from Earth’s Forest of Cheem and hooded aliens called Adherents of Repeated Meme belonging to Financial Family Seven respectively.
In addition, the Lady Cassandra O’Brien.Δ17 will be present at the event; a peculiar piece of skin stretched out and attached to a frame with eyes and a mouth connected to its brain jar. She needs her attendants to keep moisturizing her skin constantly for it remain in good condition.
Why’s it always spiders?
However, all is not well at the end of the world. The Adherents of the Repeated Meme (isn’t that an awesome name??) hand out trojan gifts to all the guests – spider-like robots that infiltrate and sabotage the station.
As Rose grasps the reality that her mother is no longer alive, the Doctor changes her cell phone so she can communicate to her mom in the past. He then jokes that if she found that amazing, she should wait until seeing what’s next as a tremor shakes through the station – something nobody expected. The Doctor rejoices at this unexpected phenomenon with delight and starts to investigate what’s happening.
The Doctor and Rose investigate the mystery at hand, uncovering secrets about Lady Cassandra’s past as well as her true connection to the station. It seems the Adherents of the Repeated Meme are simply a decoy and in fact Cassandra is behind the sabotage herself.
Cassandra had planned to create a hostage situation in order to extort money, but instead opts for something far more profitable. She commands her spiders to shut down the force field containing the station and then teleports away with her attendants. With no one left alive, Cassandra’s shares in rival companies will triple as she watches from afar. Her operations have already cost a fortune, but this new plan of hers is sure to produce even greater fortunes!
Fortunately, with minutes to spare, the Doctor comes up with a plan to save the station and everyone on it. Unfortunately, many of the guests have died due to the machinations of Cassandra. In a fit of rage, the Doctor reverses her teleport and pulls her back to the station … only this time without her attendants.
In the sweltering heat, Cassandra’s body starts to dehydrate and she pleads for compassion. However, Rose implores the Doctor to help her but he bluntly declares that death is inevitable; all things come with an expiration date.
Rose was despondent that no one was able to witness the end of Earth while it was in peril. Understanding her despair, The Doctor brought them back to the present with his TARDIS and reminded Rose that nothing is meant to last forever. He shared with her how his own home planet had been obliterated from a war but he remained as its sole survivor; a Time Lord. Overwhelmed by this sentiment, Rose beamed at him and offered an uplifting suggestion: chips! Despite having just five billion years left before all shops close their doors for good, they can still enjoy something tasty together – because after all…they have each other!
You must log in to post a comment.