The Doctor, Martha, and Jack Harkness are blown to the end of the Universe, where the last of Humanity struggles to survive.
This one’s hard to talk about without spoilers.
Let’s start like this. This is an episode of the New Doctor Who (NDW). I don’t have the same level of nostalgia for it as I do with Classic Doctor Who (CDW) stories like, say Revenge of the Cybermen, The Ribos Operation or The Dæmons, or the like. The only bits of my childhood connected with it is the over all fact it is a part of the Doctor Who series, and I love Doctor Who.
Let me also say that by and large I’m enjoying the NDW. While I think most of the NDW fall short of the very best of CDW, they also fall short of the worst of CDW. I’ve yet to cringe in the way I cringed while watching The Horns of Nimon.
Utopia almost falls in the “bad” category. Like the worse of CDW there is a lot of running around to no avail. The story in general feels like it’s spinning wheels. It’s basically little more than a “Yes or No” question: Will the Doctor be able to save Humanity this one last time? More struggle in this regard could have fleshed this out a bit more. As it is (looking at just this story), the answer is obvious.
More time is spent with interaction between the TARDIS crew. This episode marks the return of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) to the series, and, as he hasn’t met either Martha (Freema Agyeman) or the new (to him) Doctor (David Tennant). All of this entertains, I must admit, but it didn’t redeem the over-all drag the story had on me.
Now in fairness, I had read spoilers for the episode. I knew where a certain character was going. I wanted to see that character right now. Having that character appear only in the last portions of the show didn’t help things at all.
But when he did show…
My lord. I never thought watching someone turn around could be thrilling.
Those last few moments of Utopia put it right up there on my list, and, to me, makes the wait worth while.