Initial reaction: "Wow, that was terrific" + *is too torn up to even cry*
I'm writing this before I read anyone else's comments or reviews.)
I really enjoyed this episode. There were so many brilliant and unexpected moments, and the story worked so well! 5 stars, RTD!
And then it kicks you in the gut there at the end.
I love Donna. She's gone from being amusing and fun to being my favorite companion. I've been far more invested in her arc, in her sense of wonder, than I was with Martha or even Rose. To watch all that get torn away.... Well. I have a thing about meddling with memory anyway, and this made me recoil in the extreme. More on Donna's fate in a minute.
Let's start with the things I loved:
--Mickey! Jackie! Rose!
--In fact, all of the companions helping in their various ways. The sheer (if in some cases entirely useless) cleverness of them! I was a little peeved at the Doctor for being all emo about having turned his "children of time" into soldiers, instead of cheering them on properly.
--Dalek Caan (sp?). Creepy and hilarious.
--Sarah-Jane vs. Davros. Just a brief moment, but old school callbacks are always great.
--Jack being his swashbuckling, incurably flirty, unkillable self. *Jack eyes Doctor, Doctor, and Doctor-Donna* "I can't even tell you what I'm thinking right now." LOL. Donna should have snogged him.
--I adored the scene where the Doctor gives everyone something to do in the TARDIS, and says it was built to have six pilots. *melts* No wonder you can't stand being along, Doctor; the TARDIS probably can't either. You're both made for company!
--How the second version of the Doctor was handled. Again, more in a minute.
--Catherine Tate's acting. Everything, from her usual awesome sharp-tongued attitude to panic, to "you're naked!", to being part Doctor ("HA!") to that heartbreaking last scene in the TARDIS.... She has my undying admiration.
--Did all the Daleks die this time?
--Possible old-school question: why was the Doctor so merciful toward Davros? Supposedly the Doctor tried to save his life in the Time War, and here he offers to take Davros with them. What's the history there?
Has Russell T. Davies been reading fan fiction or fan essays? Or was this just inherent in canon all along? I get the parallel between Nine and the half-human version of Ten, and I felt Tennant played the character to emphasize that. I agree that Nine needed Rose, so when Ten said that she'd helped him, and she could help this him, now, I bought it. In fact.... Non-shipper than I am, this is the only way I could see 'shipping the Doctor with any of his companions: if he were part human. And I sort of love this as a "fix" for the mostly-unhappy ending of "Doomsday."
Though I couldn't help but hear a double meaning when the Doctor told Rose, "He needs you. That's very me." It could refer directly to Rose, and in the scene it does; but it also refers to all of his companions. He does need them.
Sarah-Jane's line might be my favorite. (paraphrased) "You act like you're such a lonely man, and you've got the biggest family in the universe!" You know, Doctor, she's right. You might want to listen to her now and again.
Okay, before I talk about the very end, I have to say just one more time: I really love this episode. Solid story, Who-type crack about clones and genetic mixing which works and which gets resolved in a way that's not silly, and with nobody dying (I was convinced that one of the Doctors was going to bite it and I was very pleased to be proved wrong), and involves so many companions.... I'm going to watch it again, and love it again.
That said: *anguished cry* DONNA!
I think I understand why RTD went in this direction. It fits as story, albeit turning Donna's tale from one of shining adventure to a tragedy. And it's well-done. Donna trying to be fine but not being fine, the Doctor taking her memories, the Doctor holding her on the doorstep of her family's home, telling her granddad what she can never know.
But I wanted to slap the Doctor. I wanted someone to yell at him and shake some sense into him. Because no matter how much he doesn't want Donna to die, I think she would have preferred death to losing the experience of traveling with him. Preferred death to losing all that growth, losing the knowledge that she is, oh she really is brilliant! Let her go out in that stuttering blaze of Time Lord knowledge and pain...let her have that sacrifice to end her faithful time as companion.
I could have dealt with Doctor-Donna as companion next season, too, if they'd chosen that route. I adore Donna, and Ten needs her the way Nine needed Rose. Specifically her.
Anything but this. That wasn't death, Doctor, though you may couch it in those terms to spare yourself; Donna then and Donna after she met you are both Donna. It wasn't death, only a violation. To save her life, yes; but she was already saved. Anything, anything but this.
*curls into miserable ball of angst*
The Scientist -- A Donna Noble Tribute, by TimeLady628
Beautiful, aching vid to the Coldplay song.
Donna Noble -- Super Temp!, by chocolatesal
Lovely, funny vid to Tom Jones' "She's a Lady." Captures the spunky spirit of Donna without the downbeat ending. True tribute.