Editor's Note: I fell asleep while composing this. Mea culpa.
So last night was the US premiere of the Doctor Who "season finale" "The End of Time". It ran on BBC America so that meant commercials interrupted the flow of the show, which is something I don't get from BBC broadcasts but I'd rather see it with commercials than not see it at all. My overall impression is that it was very good in parts but just plain silly in others. We're about to enter the spoiler vortex, so either jump in or stand back. Don't stare into it lest madness ensue.
Let's get one thing over with off the bat, I am not a fan of the John Sims version of the Master. I understand he's supposed to be beyond insane but Sims' portrayal is a bit too over-the-top for me. That said, I appreciated that he was able to perform a noble act of self-sacrificing redemption in repelling the Time Lord invasion. The meter of the constant drumming in his head is all over the Doctor Who soundtrack and I thought it clever to incorporate it as the source of his madness. Slightly disappointed that it wasn't Lucy who recovered his ring, but that's not a big deal.
The whole business of the Time Lords being stuck in a "time box" isn't too much of a convenience I suppose. No more so than the Dalek army hiding out in the Genesis Ark back in Season Two's "Doomsday". I had no problem whatsoever with the Time War driving the Gallifreyans insane with blood lust (and Timothy Dalton plays a mad man brilliantly). Throughout the entire run of Doctor Who, the Time Lords have been portrayed as being super self-righteous and judgmental. For the most part, they've never been a fan of the Doctor (the end of the Patrick Troughton run, the constant bickering during the Tom Baker run, and so on). This all ties in to the Chris Eccleston version's pain and brooding quite well.
Speaking of the Time Lords, who was the woman Willfred kept seeing? Russell Davies says it's whomever you want it to be. Julie Gardner says it's the Doctor's mother. Other ideas I've seen floating around are Susan, Romana, Jenny, the Rani (I guess it's possible), and the Doctor's wife (judging by the cutaway to Donna in the wedding dress). I'm going to have to watch it again before hazarding a guess.
During the entire season with Donna, I've been wanting to see more of Wilfred Mott and was overjoyed when I heard he was to be the Doctor's companion at the end of this season. His sense of humor and devotion to the Noble family was a real high point for me that season. Wilfred's fatherly presence was something I felt the Doctor needed for some time now. Usually it's the other way around where the companions are concerned, especially during the early days of the show.
The ending was a bit indulgent with the goodbyes but I appreciated it anyway. Mickey and Martha were a given, as were Jack and Rose (Billie Piper looked weird to me for some reason). The farewell to Rose was a nice way of bringing the Russell Davies era full circle without bringing back the overwrought waa-fest at the end of "Journey's End". If anyone could brighten Jack's mood after "Children of Earth", it's the Doctor. The unexpected farewell to Verity, Joan Redfern's descendant, was brought on the waterworks at Casa Baisch. "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood" is probably my favorite Doctor Who story ("The Girl in the Fireplace" is a very close competitor). It was good to see that it was indeed considered a big deal in the Doctor's life.
The jury is still out where Matt Smith is concerned. He has great taste in clothes and he looks like he'll be fun if his catchphrase, "Geronimo!" is any indication. With the TARDIS so badly damaged (I don't remember the other regenerations being so hard on the old girl), it looks like we'll be repeating the theme of the Jon Pertwee era with a Doctor stuck on Earth for a while. In any case, I look forward to the coming season.