Ah finally, my turn. Amy here, starting off the David Tennant specials with ‘Planet of the Dead’. And, as I would call it. The Beginning of the End of the 10th Doctor’s run.
Of course, spoilers ahead. And yes, in my head, that was in River Songs voice… but onward…
The special starts off with a young lady, Lady Christina de Souza, slowly but surely sliding down into a museum and stealing a valuable artifact. Immediately the action takes off and we follow this young lady, off the roof top, smiling past her “lover” being arrested, and into a bus. Just as a familiar face hops onto the bus as well.
Since this is the Easter episode, the Doctor makes a point to say Happy Easter to Christina. After the title credits, the Doctor reveals why he’s actually there, he’s hunting wormholes as a hobby. However, this wormhole is much larger than the Doctor thought and the whole bus and all its passengers get sucked into the wormhole and into a giant, giant desert.
The Doctor slowly gets to know his traveling companions on the bus, Angela, Barclay, Nathan, Lou and Carmen, the last one having subtle psychic abilities. At one point, stating the dead were all around them. After attempting to fix the bus, and the Doctor contacting UNIT, the Doctor and Christina (who reveals she’s got everything but a kitchen sink in her backpack) start to walk the desert in search of help. Finally, they encounter the Tritovores, who resemble a cross between flies and humanoids.
The Tritovores inform the Doctor and Christina that they were making a routine goods collection run and crashed on the planet. And the planet at first was thriving and full of life, but then the Tritovores discovered that a massive swarm of stingray like creatures devoured the whole planet, turning everything into the sand that they are now walking on. At this point, the Doctor realizes that the next stop for these creatures is: Earth.
Christina is able to retrieve a crystal of the crashed space ship that will help the bus take off and leave. The Doctor complements her on her skills before seeing her stolen artifact and realizing she stole it. He doesn’t chastise her that much however, noting that when he was the 1st Doctor, he stole the Tardis. As they are leaving, Christina accidentally awakens a small group of the stingray creatures and this leads to the death of the Tritovores.
All the while at UNIT, Malcolm Taylor, who is the scientific advisor and some what of a Doctor fan boy, has been working on a way to get the bus and the Doctor back to earth, and stopping the stingrays. His commanding officer orders him to crash the wormhole before the Doctor can escape however. But even at gun point, Malcolm refuses to sacrifice the Doctor.
The Doctor gets the bus moving, turning it into a flying bus to avoid the sand, and begins to outrun the massive horde of the stingrays that are now flying towards the wormhole. Thanks to UNIT’s good timing, the bus makes in through the wormhole and escapes the massive horde. UNIT is able to shut down the hole and the Doctor lands the bus.
At this point, the police arrest Christina. As the Doctor is passing the other bus passengers, Carmen gives the Doctor and eerie warning of his future: “You be careful, because your song is ending, sir. It is returning, it is returning through the dark. And then Doctor… oh, but then…he will knock four times.”
At the end, the Doctor gives Christina one more gift: he uses his screwdriver to unlock her hand cuffs and she gets on the bus, as he gets in his Tardis, and flies off into the night sky.
First and foremost, The Doctor. He is still his goofy, funny old self, but slowly and surely you can see what traveling alone is doing to him. He’s not as worn down as he becomes though, and you can still see the bits of Donna, Rose and Martha. On that same note, David Tennant does a fantastic job leading he special, and carrying it through to the end, even with a new companion.
Speaking of the new companion, Christina is a very well polished character. In the 60 minutes, the actress, Michelle Ryan, is able to establish a complex character who at the end of the series, you are rooting for and are actually fond of.
One thing all the David Tennant specials are leading to is of course, the 10th Doctors regeneration. And the over all theme of them was “The Beginning of the End”. This is hinted in the end of the special especially when Carmen gives The Doctor the cryptic warning.
The over all plot of this special is my least favorite of the David Tennant specials. The plot felt very…dry to me. It lacked a lot of what the other specials had for content and depth in the storylines. Not to say it was bad. Because it was not bad. But it was very much so lacking. And while, yes being lighthearted is not bad, it didn’t feel right in the 10th Doctors storyline.
Another big issue I had with this special was it felt rushed overall. This story would have been a lot better had it perhaps been 90 minutes long, giving more time for back story development and character growth a tad bit more. What saved the rushing was that the two lead actors were very, very, very strong.
Not a lot is ugly in this special. I would say the character of Malcolm grew very annoying as the special went on. It was very unrealistic fanboying over the Doctor and didn’t feel like it added to the story or the plot the character was trying to develop.
All in All:
This special is not bad, but its not good either. Its right in the middle of the line. I would say probably a
Signing off for now, I will be back with my Series 5 review.