Okay, everyone who's anyone would have already downloaded the episode through highly illegal methods and already watched it, but don't lie to me, because we also watch every episode when it goes out on TV because we're so deliriously happy that Doctor Who is back on the friggin' air!... except that one time they showed Boom Town! because that sucked royally. But...
Damn it, my fannish elation has stopped that being any sort of sense-making thing.
Okay, here's the gist I was looking for: how awesome is the end of Utopia? See, now it's been shown on Aussie TV I feel like I have the right to talk about it. Not only is it cool, but great to watch on TV in its context because...
Yes! A lack of dirty, dirty SPOILAZ! A problem that has plagued DW recently, due to a certain overweight reviewer who thinks Pyramids of Mars is the greatest story ever and seems to write for everything published in the country. I won't name the miscreant, but his first name is the same as Captain Yates, and the fellows surname rhymes with 'gellato'. And he thrives on spoiling things for others. In 2005 when reviewing The Parting of the Ways he basically wrote a synopsis of the first 30 minutes of the episode and hinted with Sawardian subtlety that the Doctor would regenerate. And then, last year, he made sure we knew about the Daleks in the final frame of Army of Ghosts - I wouldn't have minded so much if that weren't the only good bit in the entire two-parter...
But this time? He didn't get the review. I don't know how, but Keith Austin reviewed it instead, and simply mentioned "a past villain returning". Given this season's track record in that department most people would have thought, "Ohh, is it the Yeti? Or Ice Warriors? Or is that just a curve ball and we're getting more Macra?" Nice and subtle, so I thank all that is holy (aka Paul Darrow and Jan Chappel) that Mike Gellato didn't get the tape. Maybe it conflicted with his schedule - a guy who loves spoilers as much as he does is probably busy at the Kazakhstani release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, shouting out "The rumours are bullshit! Harry and the others live! AND RON AND HERMIONE GET MARRIED!!!" The dastard.
So... it went to air spoiler-free. Well... no. Because the ABC, in their infinite wisdom, figured that casual viewers of ABC News would be more interested in watching Dr Who if they showed the ending directly before the episode went to air. Yep, an unbelievable "UP NEXT" ad which said "Who's stolen the Doctor's TARDIS?" and then a shot of someone very obviously not the Doctor regenerating in the console room.
If you had asked someone who'd just seen that whether the Master could be coming back, their response would no doubt be Pvt. Dexter's best-known quote from Spaced. That is, of course..
In our household, at least, I managed to dive in front of the TV set like I was taking a bullet for the President (not the President we actually have, obviously, a fictitious one who can talk properly and stuff. And not the PM because, you know, he's an arsehole and nobody takes bullets for PMs anyway) and the viewing resumed in relative normality.
When re-watching the story, though, it occurred to me just how clear it was that it was the Master. I mean, once you saw the watch it was all obvious - okay, part of it is thinking "Ohmigoditcantbe, ohmigoditcantbe, ohmigod-IT IS! YESSS!" but the part where Derek Jacobi hisses "I... AM... THE MASSTER!" well... you know what he's going to say. It's fan-pleasing stuff at his best.
But it got me thinking... how else could that sentence have possibly ended?
Don't quite have the same ring, do they?
"I...AM...A COMPLETE BASTARD!" - true enough, and can finally show the respect needed to Charles Daniels' work.
"I....AM... THE MEDDLING MONK!"
*drops the wire*
"Haha, I really gave you a scare with those silly death threats, didn't I?"
"I...AM...THE WAR CHIEF! But not the Master. We're different. The books say so."
"I...AM...THE DALEK FROM 'DALEK'! Yeah, didn't see that coming, did you, bitches?"
"I... AM... THE RANI!... it's a really good disguise, I know. I'm quite happy with it."
"I...AM...DAVROS! Now, if you'll excuse me I have to get back to Paul and see how things are going in Glasgow"
"I... AM... THE VALEYARD!"
"Ever seen Trial of a Timelord?"
"Erm... Maybe. I might have blocked it out of my mind..."
"Ep 13. I'm the badguy. The evil flip-side version of the Doctor."
"Isn't that role a little bit redundant? I mean, there's already the Master."
"The Master can fuck right off! I froze him in his TARDIS! Yeah! And unlike him *I* didn't get killed off! I CONTROLLED THE ENTIRE MATRIX!!! After the Doctor left me I had control over all of the Panopticon!"
"And did what?"
"Oh... you know. Stuff. Anyway... I'm going to kill you now."
"Wasn't Rassilon trapped in a divergent universe filled with nothing but creatures that wanted to kill him? Wait... that was just in that one audio story that...wait a minute..."
*Derek Jacobi's mask is torn off to reveal... GARY RUSSELL*
"Good god, they let the wrong Russell write this one!"
"No, no, let me keep it going - I've got a plot involving the Bandrils going here. The RE-INVENTED Bandrils - now they're the only bastards around who are harder than the Nimon. And we'll get the New Mel on TV in a couple of weeks' time, isn't that something to look forward to..."
*Russell is shot repeatedly*
"ACK! C'mon! It wasn't that bad an idea!"
"Oh, no that was just for The Next Life"
"...fuck it, you've got me there.."
Of course, since writing this last night I have read that Russell is apparently working on the New Series as a script editor. So good on you.
I also read something about Russell obsessively reading through blogs in case of discovering anything that references his off-moments at Big Finish, and then hunts down and kills the offenders with his bare hands, using the sheer muscle-power he built up over many years of playing Dick in The Fantastic Five. Hopefully that bit's just libel.