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January 2, 2010

Dr. Who - The End of Time: Part 2

So this is it.  So long, David Tennant.  Hello, Matt Smith.  With a mixture of emotion, I sat down to watch the final 75 minutes of David Tennant's career as the Doctor (barring any future multi-Doctor specials), ready for the tears that I knew would come.

And so they did, but not totally because of Tennant's departure.  Part of it was that the episode was a bit crap as well.
Not *too* much crap, but a bit.


First, the good parts.  David Tennant is once again brilliant, with a bit of overacting when he had to show the Doctor in pain (and he was in pain a lot toward the end of the episode).  I loved the quiet scenes between Wilf (the wonderful Bernard Cribbins) and the Doctor, where Wilf is trying to convince the Doctor to take the gun he brought and kill the Master, and the Doctor's refusal to ever take a gun.  These two men have brilliant chemistry, shown in part 1 and demonstrated even more in this episode.  Tennant had some great lines which also added a bit of humour to the cosmically tragic proceedings ("Worst rescue ever!" as he's been taken down a bunch of steps on a wheeled trolley that he's strapped on to).

John Simm as the Master is also great, and he seems to have reined things in a bit from last time.  He doesn't really go over the top that much in this episode.  He's got some great lines with Tennant as the Doctor tries to convince him to abandon this horrible plan for humanity and travel with him to discover the cure for what's ailing him.

I've already mentioned Cribbins' excellence, but the rest of the cast does a pretty good job too.

However, that's about all the good I can say about it (I'll talk about the regeneration later).

First, I have to say that the return of the Time Lords was a total waste, though it was kind of cool to see Timothy Dalton as the President.  The story contains some of the worst excesses of the Russell T. Davies era of Who:  Cosmic stories about the end of the universe, or Time, or whatever, stories that don't make a whole lot of sense and have Tennant trying to explain things to his human companions as he's trying to save everything (these are the times that Tennant tends to go over the top).  A really pointless action scene that really doesn't add to anything at all.  How did the Doctor survive that fall?  And as much as I enjoyed Donna, what was the point of her in this story? And the moral dilemma that the Doctor has at the climax is totally negated by what happens. Shame, Mr. Davies. It was a great dilemma, too.

Then we get to the end.  Usually, when the Doctor "dies" and regenerates, it's truly monumental because he's just sacrificed his life for a greater cause.  I did love the little twist that Davies threw us in this one, regarding the cause of the Doctor's death.  However, all of that emotion is tempered by the fact he takes almost 15 minutes to actually die!  Instead, we get a tour through the Davies era of Who in some very self-indulgent scenes.  I loved the Donna scene, but it meant something because Wilf had been such a big part of this episode and Donna was such a part of Tennant's final season.  But the rest? Martha?  Rose????  These and the rest of them contained the worst of Davies.  I really disliked them even as I teared up for a bit.

Now, for the regeneration scene.  I've heard (no idea if it's true) that new producer Stephen Moffat wrote all of Matt Smith's lines, so Davies wasn't involved after Tennant regenerated, which I think is a cool idea.  Moffat had some fun with it, and I did like Smith.  I'm really looking forward to his tenure as the Doctor.  "I'm a girl!  No, no!  I'm not a girl?  No.  And still not *ginger*!"  And then we get a direct lead-in to Smith's first episode.  I can't wait.

And Tennant's last line is, to re-use Tennant's signature line, brilliant.  I'll put it in white so you won't see it unless you want to.  Just highlight right after this sentence if you want to see it.  "I don't want to go."  We quite agree, David.

So, a mishmash of a story, one that I didn't really like.  An overindulgent ending before a great regeneration scene.

So long, David.  We'll greatly miss you, but hopefully your role is in good hands.


Note:  My next post will have a trailer for Smith's new season.  I think it deserves its own post.


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