It has been a year since the Time-Lord villain The Master (John Simm) invited the alien Toclafane to take over the planet Earth, and the human race faces extinction. The Doctor’s companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) has been travelling the world in secret. She is readying the surviving humans to go to war. The Doctor (David Tennant) has been psychically integrating himself into the Master’s Arcangel network of satellites, with which he might be able to channel the psychic energy of the people to himself. Martha is pretending to be searching for four components of a gun that will work against the Master.
Martha, with Professor Docherty (Ellie Haddington) and a medic named Thomas Milligan (Tom Ellis), capture a Toclafane and discover they are humans from the far future Utopia. They are part metal, with the minds of children. The Master created the Paradox Machine out of the TARDIS so they could travel into the past and kill their ancestors (us) without creating a grandfather paradox. Martha and Thomas leave to find the last component of the gun and Professor Docherty, as hoped, gives the Master Martha’s location in exchange for information on her son.
The Master corners Martha, destroys the gun, and takes her back to the Valiant sky carrier so he can kill her as the artificially aged Doctor watches. The collective psychic energy of the people rejuvenates the Doctor, and the Master cowers before him. Jack destroys the Paradox Machine and time snaps back to just before the Toclafane appeared. The Master is shot by his wife Lucy, who, judging by her bruises, has been beaten. The Master refuses to regenerate and dies in the Doctor’s arms. He is cremated on a funeral pyre. The Doctor returns Jack to Torchwood. Martha decides to care for her family and leaves the Doctor but gives him her mobile phone. In the last scene of the season, the Titanic bursts through the wall into the TARDIS.
Time Lords are cremated upon real death to destroy their DNA, which would be sought by those searching for eternal life. The Doctor is now the Last of the Time Lords. Despite canon that Time Lords only get 13 lives, this is the Master’s 17th, through various schemes to get his hands on extra regenerations. So far, this episode is the closest thing to a confirmation that Jack ends up as the Face of Boe. All the people of the world think good thoughts about the Doctor and he is saved; this is what you might call the Tinkerbell Effect. The Toclafane are actually the last humans from Utopia, the Planet at the end of the Universe. They look like the spheres from the movie Phantasm and are insane living creatures encased in metal like the Daleks. In fact, they were created by the BBC in case they couldn’t get permission from the family of Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks, to use them in the future.
The Master puts Jack in chains and amuses himself by killing him over and over again. Martha’s family are his personal slaves. He turns the Doctor into an ancient, shrivelled homunculus, like a cross between Gollum and Dobby the House Elf. The Master had his face carved into Mount Rushmore. In past episodes, he murdered multitudes and annihilated entire planets. And he dies, shot by his wife because he is beating her. This proves what I have always said: Nobody is an asshole in just one way. He ends on a funeral pyre like Annakin Skywalker, which is way too great an honor for him, and the Doctor bawls like a baby. It appears that the Master decides to die, not for noble reasons, but because he wishes to doom the Doctor to be the last lonely Time Lord. Frankly, I don’t care for the arrogant and entirely too-powerful Time Lords, and if there is only one left, I’m glad it’s the Doctor.