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The Fires Of Pompeii

The Doctor takes Donna to Ancient Rome. She is delighted as she wanders around. Eventually they realise it's not Rome, it's Pompeii, and as the Doctor so eloquently puts it, "It's Volcano Day!".

As the story unfolds, we meet the Sibylline Sisterhood and Lucius, all of whom not only claim to be able to tell the future, but are actually remarkably good at it. They know the Doctor's name, they know it's not his real name (which is hidden in the Cascade of Medusa?) and they call him a Lord of Time.

Partners In Crime

This episode begins with the Doctor and Donna Noble (last seen in The Runaway Bride) investigating Adipose Industries - a very successful fat-loss company. At first, it appears they're together, but we soon realise neither is aware the other is there.

Eventually there's a comical re-union across a room, conducted in silence with actions. We discover that Donna's plan was to follow trouble in the hope of re-uniting with the Doctor - reasoning that he'd be there too.

Voyage of the Damned

It seems much later than last year, but it's actually a year to the day since the last Christmas special. We quickly find out that the TARDIS hasn't crashed into The Titanic as implied, but rather a spaceship of the same name orbiting the Earth. The Doctor and Astrid1 Peth (played by Kylie Minogue) then battle the corrupt owner of the spaceship and the murderous, robotic host to save the Earth from annihilation.

Fahrenheit 451

So I finally got around to reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I say finally because it's been in print for over 50 years. It's well worth a read. As many have noted before me, it's remarkably prescient, both in the technology it depicts and of a society intensely and increasingly focused on often trivial media.

Last of the Time Lords

Set a year after The Sound of Drums, this is a ripping final episode with the Doctor's year long plan eventually playing out to defeat the Master. The Master is shot and refuses to regenerate to spite the Doctor. The Paradox Machine is destroyed and the last year is undone. We discover the true identities of the Toclafane and (in a big surprise) the Face of Boe. At the very end, Martha decides not to travel with the Doctor any longer. So he is now truly the last of the Time Lords and alone again.

The Sound Of Drums

A fair episode that covers a lot of ground. The Doctor, Martha and Jack escape back to Earth after the Doctor fixes Jack's Time Vortex Manipulator. They find that the newly elected Prime Minister Harold Saxon and the Master are one and the same. The figure out how the Master is controlling everyone and follow him to the Valiant where they find the TARDIS. But the Master is triumphant. His paradox machine tears open space and time. Six billion Toclafane invade the Earth. The Master kills Jack and ages the Doctor 100 years. Martha escapes.

Utopia

An absolute cracker of an episode that sees the return of two characters: Captain Jack Harkness and The Master. This is the first part of a trilogy to end Series III and it is brilliant. So much good stuff: why the Doctor never returned for Jack; tie-ins with Torchwood; the end of the Universe; the meaning of the Face of Boe's final words; and the return of the Doctor's nemesis.

Blink

A clever, innovative story that involves a young woman following clues left for her by the Doctor in the past, in order to rescue the Doctor and Martha, who have been trapped in 1969 by Weeping Angels. Well paced, good characters and plenty of tension - a fine episode, even though the Doctor, and especially Martha, hardly feature.

The Family of Blood

This was a drawn out and occasionally boring episode. The resolution of the threat is almost incidental to John Smith, who gradually realises who he really is but wants to remain human. The Doctor, it seems, longs for an ordinary life.

There's much to think about in this story. We return to the theme of the lonely God. John Smith likes his ordinary life. He can see a future with Joan. From his dreams he realises that some aspects of the Doctor's life are horrible. He scoffs at a man who did not think to include love in his list of instructions to Martha.

Human Nature

The Doctor and Martha are on the run from the Family and are hiding in England in 1913. The Doctor has taken the extreme step of becoming human to avoid detection. As part of transformation he "forgets" who he is and takes on the persona of a school teacher named John Smith. But the Family track him down. Unaware of who he really is, and with Martha unable to change him back, the Family try to scare him into reverting into a Time Lord by threatening to kill his friend or his lover. His choice. And the episode ends.

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