"I've hit the bottom, and there's nowhere to go but up. And out."
As season finales go, this one certainly delivers the goods.
It's action all the way, complete with location work, a bazillion extras, and an unashamed drawing on earlier episodes from the series to tie up various plot threads.
Yet I'm sorry to report that I found it all a bit of a turn off. Sure, it was once again the best episode yet, but it was also all so noisy and rushed. During its most heart-wrenching final scene, I found that my attention was instead fixed on attempting to coax one of our cats onto my lap.
I started to write a synopsis of the plot for this post, but then watched the episode again and realised that I had got some elements of it quite seriously wrong. I also had to rewatch some parts of it several times over to figure out in my head what was happening. Sometimes this indicates that a show is quite cerebral. Well, I don't believe that this was one of those times.
But still, a great episode - the best of the series.
The plot then:
A black hole and a white hole either come through the S/TM or can be seen through the S/TM. They begin to merge, which if successful will, according to Gryffen, "create a stupendous vortex of anti-gravity - anything within its reach will be sucked into oblivion."
Meanwhile at the 'London Dome' (yes, that dome in London), Thorne tells K9 that the deep space phenomenon is a gateway for an invading Korvan army massing on the other side of the galaxy. Fortunately he has created a giant super soldier - called 'Project Trojan' - to combat them, built from the DNA of every alien race in the series so far, including the regeneration unit that he conned out of K9 last episode.
However to mount a pre-emptive strike against the aliens, Thorne needs K9 to stabilise the gateway for him, using the temporal stabiliser that Gryffen salvaged from the wreck of the fallen angel three episodes back. To that end, Thorne reprograms K9 to form a remote connection to Gryffen's S/TM, and generates a much larger space-time portal inside the Dome.
With only minutes left to save the world, Starkey and Jorjie abandon it all to almost kiss, but instead almost get arrested for invading each other's personal space. Dang but these Department 'bots are oppressive.
CCPCs: "Subjugate all humans! Subjugate all humans!"
Meanwhile, for disobeying Lomax's order last episode, Inspector June has been busted down to Constable, and put in an office that is identical to Starkey's prison cell in the first episode.
Now that's a demotion.
Back at home, Gryffen is compelled to plug in the temporal stabiliser that will on the one hand save Earth from being sucked into the vortex, but on the other will also allow the Korven to invade. Which they then do.
K9: "Warning! Maximum danger!"
At this point, everything changes. The Korven are led by Lomax - Thorne and June's boss who in other episodes has been occasionally glimpsed in silhouette driving the Department bus (ding-ding!). (not sure how Mr Floppyfunears got in and out of the driver's seat without being spotted)
Thorne is revealed to be a traitor who has deliberately enabled the Korven to invade. Thorne is also revealed to be part Meron (though for no justifiably explained reason), and shows off his suddenly Meron hand, which I suppose vaguely explains why it glowed briefly 24 episodes ago in Liberation.
The only thing that can possibly go wrong with the invasion now, is if Gryffen crosses London to enter the Dome, and personally speak the voice code to permanently terminate the portal. However, as we all know, he's not going to do that because:
1. Permanently shutting down the S/TM would destroy any possibility of Gryffen ever getting his family back, and
2. Gryffen is an agoraphobic, and cannot leave his house.
For these two very good reasons, Thorne hasn't even bothered to keep Gryffen under surveillance. Yes, in true Dr Evil style, he has decided to just assume that everything must be going according to his plan. Well, obviously no-one told him that this is the last episode of the series.
Lomax: "Our army's arrival is imminent. Activate the terraforming pods!"
Yep, that'll be a good moment for Gryffen to astound everyone by bursting in and switching the portal into reverse, sucking the Korven in and blowing itself up, conveniently undoing everything. And it is. It's also a good moment for them to sneak-through an almost-mention the Doctor, but this is nowhere near as big an homage to that series as copying so many of Russell T Davies' plot-devices for this finale. Starkey and Jorjie even stop saving the world to discuss their feelings! Groan, and after I praised the first episode specifically for not doing that! :)
Now out for revenge, Thorne orders Trojan to kill them all. K9 however lets out a Jixen battle shriek to convince Trojan's Jixen DNA to fight its Meron DNA. Before the break, it is implied that this all goes pretty badly for both Trojan and Thorne.
After the break, we get possibly the longest scene of the entire series, as the friends gather around K9 to watch him silently die. This is really well acted, and testament to one of the things this show could be achieving if it just had the guts to stand still more often. (since you ask, no, in the end our cat Seven declined to get on my lap)
On the other hand though, we all know how the death scene of any lead character always ends these days, and K9's is no different.
Well, unless you count his breaking the fourth wall afterwards to address the audience and wrap up the series in the final shot. This admission that the show is fictitious betrays any remaining scrap of drama still left from his false death a moment earlier.
Well, I guess that's justified. Over the last 25 episodes the programme-makers have made it plainly clear that they don't care about any of this, so, if I'm honest, of course this viewer doesn't either.
Well, good luck with drumming up some viewer interest in a second series now.
Overall, I have enjoyed this series, but on no level have I believed in it. I'm sorry, but the programme-makers have really got to do that before I can.
Gryffen: "What have I done? The question is - what am I going to do now?"