In those fantasy books, they have White Magic and Dark Magic and sometimes High Magic? But then Hearn goes hunting and that's Wild Magic, and that's the Doctor, and it will fuck you up no matter how beautiful it is. You can't hang out with the sun. The sun, we've seen, is terrible to his ex-wives. Glory is the new Grace -- terrible glory, like Galadriel. How do you limit the limitless? How do you tell God He's getting too big for His britches? The whole "ramp up/ramp down" thing means shite if you're God: those are just people rules. His ramp goes up forever. But that means one day he'll just be a strange lonely boy in the marketplace, you know? It won't matter if he's alone or not, because he'll be alone. So something has to knock him down again. The Third Testament: the death of God, or His complete submission.
I thought this episode presaged a very intense finale: that the Doctor would be forced by the mysterious Mr. Saxon into a situation so terrible and frightening and world-ending that he would have to pull a Bad Wolf, that he would become terrible, worse than Saxon, all Galadriel-style tainted by too much divinity and not enough humanity; that Martha would have to "stop" him literally, that her Quest would end in the murder of God. That what he was foretelling was his own failure, and not a rote description of the Master's actions start to finish. Which would have been interesting, to say the least. And it's not that those things didn't happen, exactly, but that they happened in the wrong order, to the wrong people, in the wrong way. I was right by being wrong, because I didn't account for the connections and love and mirroring between the Doctor and the Master that make that story workable. If you split the Doctor into two beings, light and dark; if you set them at each other, chained up by love and hate and madness, that's...pretty much exactly what happens. The word "last" is a lot like "buffalo": it can be plural or singular. Are they, the Doctor and the Master, the two last Time Lords? Or are they, together, the last one there is? Is God really just a very large vase? I like the ending of this season, a LOT, and by the time you read this you'll know whether you'll agree. But I still love this episode.
IX: Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Sweet Tinkerbell Jesus, what a tremendous story. You know, I've been called a lot of things on this beat: wordy and florid, pretentious and overly earnest (I prefer to think of myself as post-ironic), and they're all true, but nobody's ever called me a particularly huge fan of the show Doctor Who. I don't think of myself that way. I mean, I like it, but I haven't seen most of the episodes more than once, and I never would have started watching it without the recapping assignment. Which would have sucked, because I love writing about this show, and I got to see The Second Coming and Queer As Folk and learn firsthand that Russell Davies is a wonderful man who does not hold grudges. But the #1 thing that would suck about me never knowing this show is that I wouldn't have seen this story. It's one of the best things I've ever seen on TV, and I'm including everything I've ever seen on TV when I say that. It is phenomenal.