The Stolen Earth
|Season 4, Episode 12|
|Airdate: 28 June 2008|
|Writer: Russell T Davies|
|Director: Graeme Harper|
|Notable for: The first appearance of Davros in 30 years, the return of all New Who companions, and a gripping cliffhanger ending.|
The Stolen Earth
Still shaking from the best ending of a Who episode in ages, Simon considers the sheer amount that’s been squeezed into The Stolen Earth…
If the aim of a really well done Doctor Who cliffhanger is to leaving you screaming “noooooooooo” at the screen and frantically checking the calendar for the next episode, then it’s fair to say that Russell T Davies has just managed to tick that box.
With the Doctor shot by a Dalek, left in the midst of a regeneration and no preview for the episode that followed, that’s as close to leaving you on a knife edge that the show has managed since it came back. And for once, none of the spoilers, trailers or news stories ever seemed to see it coming. To pull a shock ending like that in the modern world is an exceptional achievement. Certainly my television is still recovering from being screamed at, while the neighbours have no doubt put the ASBO in the post. – Den of Geek
Wow, wow, wow! If the Time War can send Dalek Caan spiralling into madness, what will this outrageously enjoyable and unashamedly indulgent episode do for the heart rates of Whovians across the globe?
Bringing together key story components from the current series, a raft of former companions and a villain that hasn’t been seen since an encounter with ‘unlimited rice pudding’ in 1988, ‘The Stolen Earth’ does a fine job in weaving these elements together. It’s almost physically impossible to stifle yelps of delight as Captain Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Sarah Jane and Luke pop up in quick succession. All that was missing was K-9 to trundle into view and cock his leg on Davros’s chair.
Almost immediately though, our spines are bombarded with an onslaught of shivers courtesy of the simple yet effective cry of ‘exterminate’ that resonates through Torchwood and Sarah Jane’s attic after Mr. Smith picks up an incoming message. This scene, stark in its simplicity, is very effectively directed by Graeme Harper and generates massive tension. In many ways, Harper’s work in this episode is worthy of the big screen in terms of its breathtaking visual elements. – Digital Spy
The idea of ‘fan service’ is always a double edged sword. It’s great to see all of the things you may like about a series come together on screen, but it so often works better in theory than in practice. It’s like those giant crossovers that comic books do all the time – where every cool character meets every other cool character. While it’s interesting (to a degree) that they’re sharing a page, everybody ends up getting short-shrift.
That’s the case with ‘The Stolen Earth’. The first mark against this episode, in my opinion, is that it’s the Daleks – again. Granted, it had been a while since we’d seen them, but it does feel as though we’re hitting this well one time (three times) too many. Davies did a good job reinventing and reintroducing the Daleks to Doctor Who. The first season episode ‘Dalek’ – specifically singular – introduced the idea of the Time War and that the Time Lords were extinguished with the Daleks. It was a great idea, and by showcasing the power, ferocity and potential evil of a single Dalek – an outdated and somewhat silly (they’re pepper pots!) villain was made new again. – IGN
And so, here it is. The episode whose title was kept under wraps for months because it was considered to be ‘too SPOILER filled’. The episode that brought back the Daleks, yet again. The episode that brought back an old enemy. The episode that would bring together all of the Doctor’s companions (well, at least those seen since the show reluanched four years ago) for what promised to be an epic, ultimate battle.
It was an episode that I had pinned a lot of hopes on. As the final Russell T. Davies penned season finale, I was hoping that Davies would go for the gusto, throw in everything and the kitchen sink and give us the kind of finale that the series has wanted, demanded and needed since series one. I was hoping he’d learned from his previous mistakes and would truly give us a classic for the ages. – Slice of SciFi