Sunday, January 3, 2010
Doctor Who -- "The End of Time"
*SPOILERS* On New Year's Day, in the second part of episode "The End of Time", we said goodbye to David Tennant's character, the Tenth Doctor of Doctor Who. I've not seen any of the pre-2005 series, so I know I can not speak definitively about the whole of Who history. However, I feel that Tennant has got to be one of the best--if not the best Doctor of all time. Certainly it will be very difficult to follow in his footsteps.
The pure joy that Tennant displayed in the character's love of the unknown, crazy, and dangerous--skillfully blended with the anger, loneliness, power, and blinding intelligence the Doctor possesses--was a wonder to watch. I was very worried after the somewhat bizarre and dark first part of "The End of Time", that we would not get an ending for Tennant that he deserved. Part 2 was far worthier of him, however, and inspired heartbroken tears of love for this beautiful incarnation of The Doctor.
Donna's grandfather, Wilfred, played by Bernard Cribbins, had a substantial role in the episode and provided The Doctor with his much-needed human companionship. Cribbins' scene with Tennant, when he tries to give him the gun he's sure will save the Doctor's life and the planet, was one of the most powerful moments in the episode. What I've always loved about the Doctor is that while he inspires so much love and respect from his human friends, he loves and respects them in return. It's not just one-sided hero worship--it's a true relationship, with meaning.
John Simm, as The Master, also turned in another fabulous performance playing desperate, brilliant, crazy, and anguished all at once. The strange connection he and the Doctor have, with love and hate and shared loneliness tying them together, is just staggering to watch. It was perfect, too, that the fact that The Doctor absolutely refuses to kill him is the thing that finally cuts through the Master's madness.
I loved that we got further insight into the Time War, and the reason why The Doctor wiped out his own people along with the Daleks. It makes it so much easier to understand now, why he did what he did and the terrible burden he has to bear. We can now also spend our time guessing who the mysterious woman was that appeared to Wilfred throughout the show, guiding him to help The Doctor.
After all this Doctor has been through, I'm also glad that he got his "reward", to once again see and help the people he has cared for in this incarnation and the last: to see Martha and Donna happy finally, and see Rose's big smile, and Sarah Jane's meaningful look of adoration and sorrow.
And of course, when I saw the bar full of aliens, I knew it had to be where Captain Jack would be. After what's happened in Torchwood: Children of Earth, only The Doctor could get Jack to smile again--that great, big, beautiful Captain Jack smile.
The Doctor also visited the great-grandaughter of the woman he fell in love with when he was human for a short time. The grandaughter's name is Verity, which if my research is correct, The Doctor as John Smith said his mother's name was Verity.
All in all, just a beautiful, emotional goodbye to all that we've been through with Tennant's Doctor.
There's been nothing more tear-inspiring or emotionally devastating, though, than The Doctor crying "I don't want to go!" just before he starts regenerating. Tennant has thoroughly broken my heart in a million little pieces. Which is just as it should be. The amount we cry at his departure shows the amount we loved him when he was here.
So, on to the Eleventh Doctor and the cute Matt Smith. We'll have to see how he does in the next season, but for now, I did like how he picked up on some of Tennant's mannerisms--like the constant poking at his temples as he tries to think of what he's forgotten. And then the happy grin as he realizes he's about to crash land. I remember really liking that Christopher Eccleston's big goofy grin was picked up by Tennant when he took over, so I'm hoping Smith will maintain some of Tennant's signature style.
Farewell, fine Doctor, Mister Tennant. As the Ood say, this song is ending, but the story will go on forever. I certainly hope it does, as it's been a fine story so far.
Stay tuned for more Doctor Who "The End of Time" screencaps.
PHOTOS: David Tennant as Doctor Who, Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott, and John Simm as The Master, Doctor Who "The End of Time Part 2" screencaps, c2010 BBC.