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Old 15-11-2012, 09:32
daveyboy7472
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I know some feel Utopia is considered part of the Finale but I think it is separate to a degree and deserves a thread of itís own. Plus it avoids the need to do a thread on three episodes at once as itís a bit mighty otherwise.

Utopia is one of those rare breed of stories that start of one thing and completely ends up another. I remember watching this on first transmission thinking that it was going to be one of those boring out in space adventures like 42 that I dislike so much in the New Series. On seeing the human-hating natives, I had this sinking feeling it was going to be crap.

It just shows how wrong I was. The first twenty minutes were fairly average as we learn about the humans trillions of years into the future as they prepare to travel to what they consider to be Utopia. There's all the stuff with the hand and Jack's return but aside from that there was nothing else of note in it. (Though I did enjoy The Doctor's reference to the big Ark In Space speech with his indomitable description).

Then out of the blue the episode explodes into life and the humans become second best in the story as a far bigger threat is revealed. I really enjoy the build upto the revelation Professor Yana is The Master. The references that echo around in Yanaís head. The Fobwatch that is similar to The Doctorís that Martha sees, the little inserts of Ainleyís chuckle and Delgado from The Daemons. The speculation by The Doctor as to who it could be. The Face Of Boe recap with Yana's meaning revealed on the computer screen, and then the opening of the watch accompanied by that superb incidental music and Graeme Harper direction.

Derek Jacobi is just superb in this, first as the stereotypical bumbling Professor with a few drumming problems in his head. Then as The Master where he plays the character more akin to the previous Incarnations in the Classic Series. I still think he should have continued, he was a lot better than the maniacal John Simm IMO. The regeneration scene was a good one and John Simm sets out as he means to go on by being mad from the start. Did like the line about not explaining his plans so The Doctor couldnít stop him and he then nips off with the TARDIS leaving The Doctor and co apparently stranded. (Though how he kept The Doctor out by simply putting the latch up is a bit far fetched) It was a very good cliffhanger into the Finale.

As Iíve said before, I had read somewhere The Master was coming back but I didnít realise it was going to be in this episode. I hadnít really linked any of the previous stuff to him so in some ways it was like being spoiler-free and therefore the revelation at the end was more pleasantly surprising for me.

Away from The Master we see the return of Captain Jack. Now Iíve deliberately not got involved further in the previous debate about how The Doctor knew he was alive in POTW and why Jack accuses The Doctor of abandoning him in Utopia until I rewatched this episode. The Doctor states in this that he knew Jack had been brought back to life by Rose and he promptly left, it was the reason he abandoned him because he knew he couldnít die. It wasnít to do with The Doctor going off without him at the beginning of the episode as some have claimed. Away from that, though, I preferred Jack in this episode than the Finale because at least he has something useful to do rather than being just the sidekick. I like the fact that even though heís changed, The Doctor still doesnít like him flirting!

I also like that we see another side of Martha in this. It is more akin to the more traditional role of the companion in this where she was used mainly as a cipher of sorts, like when Yana discovers the Fobwatch, asking all the questions about The Doctorís hand etc and the scene with the little boy brought out her more caring nature. Off course, she was still having pangs of jealously over every mention of Rose, who invisible presence continues to hang over her despite moving out of her shadow in recent episodes.

Chan Special mention about Chantho, excellent character, liked how Martha persuaded her to be naughty and dropping the Chan and the Tho, Tho! It was great she kept saying it at the beginning and end of every sentence, it wasnít overdone and was really effective when she asked who Yana really was.

Overall, a neat setup for the Finale and in some respects itís actually better. Iíd say for the last twenty minutes or so alone it is an excellent episode.

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Old 15-11-2012, 09:46
TRT1968
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Apart from Jack, and the Valiant. And Derek Jacobi and Chan'tho. I hated this multi-parter. Spoiled by a bloody stupid spontaneous zombie story and stupid faces in balls. It was more like Dawn of the Mad Max than Dr Who.
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Old 15-11-2012, 10:21
PJ68
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loved the last 10 minutes of this, derek jacobi was brilliant. unfortunately led into the worst 2 episodes of nuwho. i hated john simm's master he was terrible and OTT. he was just as bad in last of the time lords which i thought was rubbish too
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Old 15-11-2012, 10:34
chuffnobbler
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This episode is great. The quarry/desert feels so weird and alien. One of the few really alien environments we've seen in C21DW. There's a fewwling of the group of humans hanging on by a thread, claustrophibic, knackered and under attack.

The Blue Peter kid is cute, Chantho is adoreable, Derek Jacobi is so sweet ... then the "fob watch" moment made my hair stand on end ... and the final five minutes or so are utterly gobsmacking. Derek Jacobi as the Master gvies an horrifying performance. Genuinely stunning stuff, with maximum impact.

I hated the next two episodes though.
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Old 15-11-2012, 10:37
Granny McSmith
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I liked this whole story; the beginning with Jack, and wondering what was going to happen between him and the Doctor, given that the Doctor had abandoned him. I loved the chat between them.

The story was a bit of a peg to hang the return of the Master on, but it was well done, I think - lovely old Yana becoming the nasty new Master was wonderfully portrayed. Both Jacobi and Simm were excellent.

Then that nail-biting cliffhanger at the end.

Excellent lead-in to the finale, but also good in it's own right.
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Old 15-11-2012, 10:46
rumpleteazer
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I loved this whole story line, these 3 episodes are what got me interested in Doctor Who. For me they are still just as good on repeat viewings.
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Old 15-11-2012, 11:12
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I LOVE this story+the next 2 episodes, best finale after series 5's. RTD has really done magnificently well here, we have a real sense of this being the end of days. I was never to keen on Captain Jack and his plastic face, but the scenes between him and the Doctor are really good here and we have some top of the class acting from Tennant here. As always, Derek Jacobi is wonderful and he gives a really likeable performance as the kindly old Prof Yana. And that revelation that he was the Master. I guessed he might be returning though I never thought he'd be in this. I remember being utterly gobsmaked and this still has to be one of the best cliffhangers ever. Mind you, you do know who he really is from the moment we find out he's a Time Lord, but the revelation that he is one is in tiself astounding.

This is another almost perfect series 3 episode, everything works and it's just so brilliant. I've watched it loads, but I never get bored of it. Even though I know whats coming, those moments at the end, where we hear the past Master's voice, where he opens the watch, where we look into his eyes and we know he's evil, and where he reveals his identity and regenerates, never fail to thrill me. So excited at the time.

Just 1 small criticism, this episode seems to exist entirely to set up the next 2. However I much prefer this to the previous 2 series where the penultimate story would bear no real relevance to the finale whatsoever. And I like my multi-parters and cliffhangers, so I'm not really complaining. The cliffhangers to both this and Tje Sound of Drums, and then the series 4 cliffhangers, are brilliantly done, and without a doubt this was where RTD was at his best...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgOQ...eature=related

One of the best moments of tv, ever
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Old 15-11-2012, 14:40
Corwin
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Loved the reveal of the Master even though I'd been spoiled on it.

I knew Simm was going to play the character and then IIRC on the day of the show pictures were released in the newspapers showing him wearing the same clothes as Derek Jacobi which gave the game away.
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Old 15-11-2012, 15:15
davrosdodebird
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R.E the video clip, when Simm first appears he rminds me of a pirate... HA-HA!
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:33
tinny
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May I say i didnt see derek beingg the master at all , martha annoyed me by being whiny , chanto set my teeth on edge , the dr is so at times brillantly acted by tennant really upptight looking back, ok he lost his people etc but less of the hamlet please , jack was a breath of fresh air bbut usless in following epsidoes , martha was better in the end but took her blooddy ages to get there , the new masster was brill though really scared me as harold , he amused me in eend of time , got tto say looking back at eccleston class of ccourse , tennant aat times was a tad annoying , smith though at ttimes wobbly actually plaays the dr as he should be
how times changed guyss? aax
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:14
davrosdodebird
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...So you don't see the Master as the type to kill his lab assistant, ranting, making grand announcements to nobody, etc...

I'd love to know what universe you live in tinny
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Old 15-11-2012, 19:14
kyllerbuzcut
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My 2 cents....
THIS is the best episode of the series (or so I think)
It just looks and feels like one of the classic era episodes right from the start. And that was a great thing I thought. I didn't know the master was coming back at the time so it was a surprise, even though I thought there was a bit more to prof Yana. It was so exciting then it ended on a bit of a cliff hanger too. This was the point when I thought Doctor Who is really back to its best, and back for good. It did also set up the final 2 episodes. Nothing wrong with that at all- why should that detract from this story, it only makes it better in my view that it leads somewhere too. And the following episodes were excellent too I thought, but this one JUST tops that.
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Old 15-11-2012, 19:22
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Utopia is a weird one in that your perception of the entire episode can be changed on the basis of the final ten minutes. There's no denying that those ten minutes are what make the episode memorable, and without them the episode would have been excessively less successful.

Could Utopia have worked without its revelation about Yana being The Master? I think with bit more of a budget and maybe a bit more of a plot... after all, what else actually happens in the episode? With the ending we got, it has to be said that the previous 35 minutes were a nice change of pace, and a brilliant character piece, particularly for Captain Jack. It was probably the final time he actually gets a decent role in Doctor Who... after this he sinks into a pointless tag-along with very little to do for the most part. His exchange with The Doctor was interesting, and they took a route I didn't expect in terms of their explanation for the end of The Parting of the Ways. Unfortunately Martha sinks to the sidelines a bit again...she gets to act all companion-y and ask the questions which is wonderful, but this was possibly the last chance we had to develop her relationship with The Doctor - she's spent an episode off screen in Blink, two episodes with John Smith in Human Nature/The Family of Blood, most of 42 with Riley, most of The Lazarus Experiment with Tish, most of the Dalek story with Tallulah, Lazlo and Frank and Gridlock with those motorway kidnappers. She really doesn't see much of The Doctor, for a companion. Aside from her, Chantho was also a nice addition for the episode - she would probably have grated in more than one episode, I don't know, but I liked her here.

And as for Yana/The Master, it has to be said that Derek Jacobi delivered one of the best performances of the series. He successfully manages to turn innocent old man into sinister lunatic with ease, and echoing many others it is only a shame we didn't get to see more of him.

The plot of Utopia links nicely to the finale, but in the same way that The Doctors Daughter was linked onto the Sontaran story, I don't see them as the same thing. It wasn't until Last of the Timelords that we found out what lay in wait in Utopia, and it has to be said it is probably one of the most sombre notes the series has ever done. The Futurekind were a reasonable villain, but the people who would become The Toclafane were even more sinister and formiddable - it's odd to think those people in the corridors of the Malcassairo base became the sort-of main baddie of the third series.

The episode clearly had a limited budget, and relies hugely on the end revelation. I'd say it didn't need to and it could have done more, but I finish this episode feeling satisfied all the same. It does sacrifice quite a bit in order to deliver that shock ending (Doctor/Martha development would have been lovely right about now) but its a wonderful character piece that builds up wonderfully to an admittedly decent finale that followed
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Old 15-11-2012, 22:47
DavetheScot
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I didn't mind this episode until it ended up being vying with Blink for best episode in series three in one of the Survivor or Hurt and Heal games. As often happens, what was to me the unaccountable popularity of the story moved me from indifference to loathing.

Trying to cast that from my mind and remember it more fairly, there were good things in it. The Futurekind were pretty good, and the cliffhanger was actually one of the best. Apart from that, though, I really didn't think it was anything special.

For daveyboy's thinking it was going to be like 42, all I can say is "if only". 42 was far better.
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Old 15-11-2012, 23:16
daveyboy7472
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For daveyboy's thinking it was going to be like 42, all I can say is "if only". 42 was far better.
And there as usual we disagree. I think even in the first 20 minutes Utopia is still better than 42!
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Old 15-11-2012, 23:37
Richie1001
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I enjoyed this episode, but I'm a huge Captain Jack fan so it had ticked a box straight away! As others mention, the last 10 minutes or so are excellent.

The only disappointment for me is that we didn't get more of Derek Jacobi in full on Master mode - he looked amazing in the brief time we got.
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Old 16-11-2012, 00:39
John_Strange
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Essentially a 45 minute bridging exercise to get us into the last two episodes of the season. The first half of it is almost purposely downplayed, apart from Jack's wonderful return, riding the back of the Tardis all the way to the end of the Universe. It is astonishing how easily he fits into the Tardis team dynamic, creating an instant Scooby Gang - largely helped by John's natural charisma.

Apart from Jacobi, the rest of the A plot appears quite humdrum for Dr Who, but the key, of course, is that it is the B plot which is the real story. Jacobi is superb, but then the drums start, and the last fifteen minutes provide a third act which ramps up the tension all the way to 11.

The final five minutes is an absolute cascade of reveals: the watch, the Master, the regeneration, the ultimate cliffhanger!

We also have a further development of the companion theme. For the first time, we see the mirror relationship of the good Professor and his devoted companion, only to see that destroyed by the arrival of the Master's personality. Thus we are shown how while the Doctor is defined through his relationship with his companions, the Master's psychopath uses and destroys his (this is something which is further explored in the next two episodes where ultimately it is Matrtha that gives life to the Doctor and Lucy Saxon who kills the Master).

So a pity that the first half does not compare with the quality of preceding stories, but utterly forgivable because of the revelatory third act.

My kids, who'd been inflicted with the odd Pertwee story, actually cheered at "I am the Master!" Made me proud
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Old 16-11-2012, 00:45
krikkiter68
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I love this episode. I think Tennant and Barrowman are fantastic together, Jacobi was just great (the signs were there, in his slight resentfulness/peevishness...). I think Freema and the rest of the cast are great too. I think the story (certainly when it was first broadcast), as it progressed, completely upended expectations and went from being intriguing to being brilliant and menacing. I think as an episode it's pretty much faultless and it remains one of my favourites.
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Old 16-11-2012, 00:56
lordo350
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After only really watching the first series of Torchwood to see how Jack was going to be re-united with the Doctor at the end, it couldn't bloody wait for this one. I love it when two shows cross-over, and I'll give RTD his dues: he did this very well. The Jack scenes are brilliant from start to finish, though he really is just hanging around for the next two eps.
Of course, this episode is remembered for the last 10 minutes. Take away the Master and Jack, and it's a pretty bland affair tbh. And the Future Kind were just awful.
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Old 16-11-2012, 01:13
DavetheScot
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And there as usual we disagree. I think even in the first 20 minutes Utopia is still better than 42!
And as usual, I'm right
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Old 16-11-2012, 07:27
kyllerbuzcut
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I am not getting why people think the first half his rubbish. Just because it changes pace?
As others have said, and I think too, it was like an old John Pertwee or Tom Baker episode at the start. There were loads going on. Maybe not action wise after the initial chase, but lots of intrigue and trying to figure out where they were, why everyone was there etc. That's good stuff as far as I'm concerned too.
Is it just because there aren't 12 explosions per minute, or some soppy scenes with the camera looking at someones face near crying for 2 minutes straight? This episode attempts to engage the viewers brains with working stuff out, and that is few and far between on TV these days. THEN when enough clues have been presented, while there are STILL more things going on in the background to keep he characters from working it out, all the big reveals and action starts too. TV can't get much better than this.

............ so there lol
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Old 16-11-2012, 09:30
daveyboy7472
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And as usual, you're right
Sorted that for you.



I am not getting why people think the first half his rubbish. Just because it changes pace?
As others have said, and I think too, it was like an old John Pertwee or Tom Baker episode at the start. There were loads going on. Maybe not action wise after the initial chase, but lots of intrigue and trying to figure out where they were, why everyone was there etc. That's good stuff as far as I'm concerned too.
Is it just because there aren't 12 explosions per minute, or some soppy scenes with the camera looking at someones face near crying for 2 minutes straight? This episode attempts to engage the viewers brains with working stuff out, and that is few and far between on TV these days. THEN when enough clues have been presented, while there are STILL more things going on in the background to keep he characters from working it out, all the big reveals and action starts too. TV can't get much better than this.

............ so there lol
I do get annoyed when people slate other people's reasoning for not liking something in an episode. Disagree yes, have a laugh about it like davethescot and I do, yes, but is sarcasm of this sort really necessary?

And on my part, the reason I think the first twenty minutes is not so good is because of any of those things. I think the last twenty minutes are so good it just makes the first part seem dull.

And Blink is an episode without explosions and people crying and I enjoy that so there you go.

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Old 16-11-2012, 16:58
kyllerbuzcut
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I wasn't trying to be overly sarcastic, so sorry daveyboy if it came across like that. If only we could show some kind of facial expressions or something in type

Just trying to inject some humour into my response to people that were saying the first part was boring, and that the episode was nothing more than a set-up for the next one.
I think you've said your reasons very well for what you thought and that's fair enough. People saying things like "it's boring" is what I was having a go at. Just trying to figure out what they are expecting for it to not be boring I guess. To me, none of it is boring, there is always something going on.
If you think that the 'something going on' is not your cup of tea then that's fine. c'est la vie and all that. In this case it is the finding out about the far off end of the universe, where possibly the very last humans alive are clinging on to some vague hope of finding Utopia, which they believe is a real place. That won't be to everyone's liking.
This episode is especially prone I guess, to some people not liking some part of it, because of the contrast between the ' 2 bits'. If you like one bit, you may not like the other bit, and vice versa. Some people might say the ending bit is "too stupid", whatever that means anyway. I happened to like both the gradual finding out about humans and what is going on at the end of the universe, plus the plot of another time lord gradually being revealed, who then turns out to be the master and all the action that goes on at that stage.

PS, I too thought blink was excellent, and it is hard to fit the width of a sheet of paper in between that and this episode in my head. Even though they are probably 2 completely different 'types' of episode.
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Old 17-11-2012, 00:36
daveyboy7472
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I wasn't trying to be overly sarcastic, so sorry daveyboy if it came across like that. If only we could show some kind of facial expressions or something in type

Just trying to inject some humour into my response to people that were saying the first part was boring, and that the episode was nothing more than a set-up for the next one.
I think you've said your reasons very well for what you thought and that's fair enough. People saying things like "it's boring" is what I was having a go at. Just trying to figure out what they are expecting for it to not be boring I guess. To me, none of it is boring, there is always something going on.
If you think that the 'something going on' is not your cup of tea then that's fine. c'est la vie and all that. In this case it is the finding out about the far off end of the universe, where possibly the very last humans alive are clinging on to some vague hope of finding Utopia, which they believe is a real place. That won't be to everyone's liking.
This episode is especially prone I guess, to some people not liking some part of it, because of the contrast between the ' 2 bits'. If you like one bit, you may not like the other bit, and vice versa. Some people might say the ending bit is "too stupid", whatever that means anyway. I happened to like both the gradual finding out about humans and what is going on at the end of the universe, plus the plot of another time lord gradually being revealed, who then turns out to be the master and all the action that goes on at that stage.

PS, I too thought blink was excellent, and it is hard to fit the width of a sheet of paper in between that and this episode in my head. Even though they are probably 2 completely different 'types' of episode.
It's cool. I knew you weren't having a pop at me personally, it just felt from reading your previous post that you were being sarcy but now you've explained it, I see where you were coming from.

And it's good Blink and Utopia are two different sorts of episodes, it's always good to have contrast from one week to the next.

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Old 17-11-2012, 08:10
kyllerbuzcut
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And it's good Blink and Utopia are two different sorts of episodes, it's always good to have contrast from one week to the next.

I think that's part of what makes dr who so appealing for so many people. And even if 1 or 2 episodes aren't as good to an individual, then the next one could still be brilliant for them.
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