I suppose it is only appropriate to bid farewell to David Tennant as The Doctor with a Hamlet quote; after all, we received five Doctor Who specials instead of a complete season this year because of his run as Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company (available on DVD in the UK but not in the US...yet).
But this is it. The end. The Tenth Doctor is no more...he has regenerated into a younger Eleventh Doctor who, frankly, seems to have even wackier hair. If such a thing is possible.
So what did I think of The End if Time? After the end of Part I, I couldn't wait for Part II, obviously. I mean you can't tease something like the return of the Time Lords without giving me an almost heart attack, but overall, I thought Part I was kind of lame. So...the Master comes back and he has all these wacky powers like super jumping and then he rewrites the genetic code of all humans to turn them into him? LAME. Although seeing John Simm in drag was kind of hilarious.
But Part I managed to make the grade for me for two scenes. The Doctor and Wilfred in the cafe and the Time Lords at the end. Other than those two scenes, frankly I could take it or leave it. But the cafe scene and the very end were just amazing, even though they couldn't be more different. One was quiet, consisting of nothing more than a conversation between two people, while the other showed thousands of Time Lords cheering for the end of time. But each one struck a nerve and were collectively the highlight of the episode.
And so we come to Part II, which basically caused me to freak out the entire time. I knew what was coming, and unless you were living under a rock for the past year you have known what was coming too. Even the Doctor knew what was coming, and despite his best efforts to avoid it, when he heard Wilf knocking on that glass you could practically see his hearts break. I think I cried about three times during this episode, which might be a record for me.
When I initially read that David Tennant's time on the show was ending, I was sad of course, but I also thought it could be for the best. He'd had a good run, but it did feel that his story arc was coming to an end. But actually watching it happen...yeah, maybe I wasn't as ready as I thought. When the end finally arrived, I didn't want it to happen, I was begging for it not to happen. I was literally sitting on my couch talking to the television saying, "don't go!" And apparently the Doctor felt the same way, for when he whispered, "I don't want to go" that's when I really lost it. Well, actually I had really lost it when Wilfred was locked in the nuclear chamber thingy and the Doctor was ranting about the unfairness of it all, but still, David Tennant made me cry all over again.
And then....he was gone.
"Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I'm dead."
He had enough time to say goodbye to his friends (bonus points for including Sarah Jane and Alonzo), and there were still some shocks to be had. Martha and Mickey got married?! The Doctor tracked down Joan Redfern's granddaughter (who was named Verity, natch). Luke's gotten that tall?! But mostly it was just sad. Especially seeing old Rose and Jackie. But I think it made for a fitting tribute, not just to the Tenth Doctor, but to Russell T. Davies' characters, after all, this was his swan song as well.
I wish I could do better about summing up how the episode affected me beyond describing my reaction as "sad," but I'm not sure I've got the talent. There's no denying the show is a cornerstone of sci-fi culture, and as someone who has embraced that genre wholeheartedly, it's hard when great change comes. While Christopher Eccleston was my first Doctor (and I thought I would hate David Tennant at the beginning), David Tennant has come to represent the Doctor for me. I've spent the last two days rewatching some of my favorite Tenth Doctor episodes on DVD, but now he's gone. It's almost like grieving for real, which I guess is pretty pathetic since it's just a television show. But I suppose tv has become as much a ritual as anything else in our culture these days, and being without David Tennant as the Doctor just feels wrong. At least for now.
So here we are. New Doctor, new season, new show-runner. But I don't think I'm ready for it yet. I guess that puts me in the denial grief stage, eh?
In case you are ready to see what's next, check out the Series 5 trailer. I'm cautiously optimistic. After all, with Steven Moffat in charge, it can't go that wrong. Especially since I spy weeping angels. Eek!