Goodbye: Doctor Who The End of Time, Part 2

-by Amy Yen

“I don’t want to go,” realizes the Tenth Doctor, 906 years old and for seemingly the first time unable to grasp the idea of his own semi-mortality. So ends what feels like the longest goodbye in the history of television.

If Ten and Tennant weren’t so beloved, this year-long saga would surely be the most tedious event on television. After all, the most elegant thing about Christopher Eccleston’s regeneration might have been its simplicity. “You were fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!” I mean, come on, what a great last line.

But David Tennant was different, if only because he stayed for so long. He was my Doctor & a lot of folks’ Doctor & because of that reason, the four specials, the “He will knock four times” prophecy, the entire tiresome ordeal with the Master and the Time Lords & the parade of ex-companions…it all seemed fitting, rather than tedious. We didn’t want the goodbye to end either.

I will give RTD this: he was right about the four knocks bit being heartbreaking. I mean, poor Wilfred, who was, by the way, COMPLETELY BRILLIANT in this. And I asked for a proper showcase for David Tennant & that’s what I got. “SO MUCH MORE!” screams Ten (IMO, it’s really the look on his face when he hears Wilf’s sad, pathetic knocks that’s really stunning, more than even this rant). It actually felt too set up for the showcase. It reminded me of Glenn Close on Damages. If it was on American TV, I’d call it a scene tailored specifically for the Emmy reel, the plot & show being completely secondary…I hate these scenes. However, seeing as how David Tennant is brilliant & it really would be a shame to see him go without reminding everyone of that one more time.

Actually, the entire thing was one big indulgence, in a meta kind of way, but I kind of didn’t care. Because it’s always wonderful to see Martha & Mickey, even if their marriage was kind of a WTF moment (& in the commentary revealed to have been done entirely because RTD got a kick out of the whole “Smith & Jones”/“Martha Smith-Jones” thing, which was both amusing & a little annoying to me, as a Martha fan, since the “Ms. Jones”/ “Mr. Smith” thing always felt like Martha & Ten’s little inside joke). It’s always nice to see Sarah Jane (one of the best bits of the commentary was when RTD & Julie Gardner explained this sequence as the Doctor saving all of his friends’ lives one last time…in Martha & Mickey’s case, it was literally saving their lives, but in Sarah Jane’s case, it was saving her because he saved her son).

It was nice to see the Doctor, for once, providing a moment of happiness, of laughter, for Captain Jack, for all he’s failed him. (I hope that, even if they can’t show it, they tie Jack’s eventual return to Torchwood—& presumably, his eventual forgiveness of himself—to something the Doctor helped him with. Jack has always been the best example of the Doctor making others better, simply by his presence in their lives.)

I think that if the Human Nature/Family of Blood story wasn’t universally loved the way it is, the Joan Redfern/Verity Newman thing would have been completely misplaced. As it is now, it is a lovely scene, but one that I still don’t think belongs. Joan just wasn’t around long enough to warrant it, no matter how wonderful the story was. If anything, I wish they would have put this time toward a more satisfying, less trivial goodbye for Donna, who was not only a true companion, but one of the most special & beloved.

Ten’s goodbye to Rose, poetic, in the snow, was quite lovely. This is how I like Rose, the way we first met her. And as much as the character has meant to the new Who series, I truly hope this is the last time we see her. Bringing her back again would be a disservice.

So, this is it. Ten limps back to the TARDIS & we are dragged through another Ood scene that I’m so totally over (this promotion for the finale really did make the Ood & Joshua Naismith way more important than they were…to be honest, I feel like they could have left both of them out & there STILL would be too much packed into this story). Ten is somehow still not ready, even though there’s no one left to say goodbye to. It’s tragic that this Doctor dies all alone, biggest family in the Universe not withstanding.

The End of Time is a flawed story, but I still kind of loved it. It accomplished the most important thing anyway, it gave David Tennant the send-off he deserved. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else in the role, really. I mean, Tennant IS the Doctor, to me, to a lot of people. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

Matt Smith, Eleven, looked, frankly, perfectly at home in his five-second introduction (“Still not ginger!”). I cannot wait for series 5. And oooh, since it might be the last chance for me to sign off with this…Allons-y!

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4 Responses

  1. Brilliant commentary, thanks.

  2. Quite sad to see David Tennant leave the series. 😦

    I know people have been complaining about Matt Smith. I don’t mind him because I still like Doctor Who. At least it’s still continuing on and the Beeb is committed to the series.

    • You know, I wasn’t too thrilled at the announcement, but this new trailer kind of sold me. I’m actually really excited (although I’m not a fan of the whole “Geronomo!” catch phrase…it’s no “Allons-y!”). Moffat taking over helps. 🙂

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