The poignancy of Donna's regression to simpleton and The Doctor's underlying loneliness, encapsulated by a haunting final scene, are cleverly counterbalanced by several 'punch the air' moments and fan-pleasing twists. The sight of the Tardis towing the Earth back into position is hilarious, but given gravitas by Murray Gold's epiphany-inducing music.
Then there's the reappearance of K-9, the revelation of Gwen's 'Unquiet Dead' background, the Daleks barking out orders in German and, most pleasingly of all, Gita from EastEnders being vaporised! Presumably Sanjay was too busy bedding her sister to save her.
The Doctor copping off with Rose Tyler would be a move that would split the audience, so Davies wisely managed to please both parties by allowing the human Doctor to play tonsil tennis with the chavette instead. The new Doctor figure's decision to commit genocide on the Daleks was very well handled, harking back to the ethical dilemma posed in Davros's debut story 'Genesis Of The Daleks' in 1975.
However, the manner in which the Daleks were quickly wiped out was disappointingly too similar to their sudden demise in both the first and second season finales. It all felt far too convenient and detracts from the air of menace generated in their comeback story 'Dalek' opposite Christopher Eccleston's Doctor.
The accusation from Davros that The Doctor uses his companions and friends as "weapons" was particularly thought-provoking, as the evil scientist's views are not without substance. A flashback to several characters who have perished helping The Doctor added another layer to the complex debate and evoked the 1986 epic 'Trial Of A Time Lord' season.
In many ways, Tate's ability to seamlessly and convincingly shift tone from joy to sadness epitomised just why this finale left its mark on the audience.
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