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So That’s It Then

January 3, 2010

I don’t want to bore you with one more review, or recap. And really, when you get down to it, it’s just a TV show. Isn’t that what people – people who don’t go to places like Comic-Con – always say? It’s just a TV show.  It’s David Tennant’s last episode as the Doctor, sure, but it’s not like the man himself is dead. Heck, it’s not even as if the character himself is dead. Nothing to get worked up about.

And I think that’s what pisses me off: I’m not worked up. I’m not emotional. I just feel kind of…empty.

I have a tendency to get overly involved in the lives of fictional people, as a way to cope for my mostly boring existence. I have been known to mope for weeks after certain shows go off the air or kill off  my favorite characters. Not because of what happens, or who it happens to, but because of how it happens. Change is a necessary part of story-telling, it’s a key ingredient in drama. But the change should be earned. Fred turning into Illyria on Angel. Charlie drowning on Lost.

Frankly, David Tennant deserved better.

The actor himself was as brilliant as ever, and the episode had its moments – mostly the quiet ones, the moments between characters, the goodbyes (and though I enjoyed the opportunity to revisit old companions, the sequence went on too long.) Sadly the exit was overshadowed by a bulky plot and a lot of grandstanding. Contrast the scene of the Doctor’s anguish as he trades his life for Wilfred’s with the grand entrance of the Time Lords, a bunch of men and women in silly outfits. No contest.

The first hour was a story that went no where and benefited no one. It felt like another case of retcon. We didn’t need there to be an explanation for the sound of drums. We didn’t need to see the Time Lords again only to have them disappear a moment later. And when all was said and done, what was the ominous knocking the Doctor was warned would herald his death? It was Bernard Cribbins, trapped in a glass box. That was the moment, and on its own it would have been powerful; coming on the heels of ‘the End of Time,’ it was anticlimactic.

Underneath it all I think Russell T. Davies had the right idea – he just dumped a whole lot of junk on top of the right idea. When the Doctor said, “I don’t want to go,” that’s when my heart broke.

We didn’t want you to go either, Mr. Tennant. You brought a special spark to the role, managing to capture the Doctor’s eager, curious, geeky side, and his desperately lonely, occasionally terrifying side. I miss you already.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2010 1:08 am

    One of the things that I like about Doctor Who is that the absolutely ridiculous can co-exist with the heartfelt, dramatic moments in one story. And while, yes, there was a lot of stuff layered a lot more stuff and some of it went absolutely nowhere, none of that matters when you get to the moment. In my mind, with this show, it’s never the bulky plot overshadowing the moments, it’s the moments shaking off the chains of the bulky plots, because they are mighty.

    The seeming anti-climactic moment of Wilf’s knocking was brilliant, I thought, and it really cuts to the core of who the Doctor is. He saves worlds and universes and fights the big fights, and when he thought he was clear of it all, the sound of his doom exposed a reality about himself. He doesn’t die because of what happens to him, he dies because of who he is.

    One old man is just as important as an entire universe to him and he can’t not do it. Well, he can’t not do it for Wilf, anyway.

    If his regeneration had come as part of the grand spectacle of the return of the Time Lords, it would have been cool, yeah…but that’s all it would have been. Cool. This was a moment and it’s burned in well.

    In fact, the overwrought story is indeed appropriate as it’s symbolic of the Russell Davies era. He threw everything he could think of in there. And that silliness can translate to fun if one remembers the roots of the show and is not too critical of it. Even when it’s bad, it’s not boring, the same cannot be said of…basically any other sci fi series.

    Davies was self indulgent, but he still managed to pull out one hell of a series nonetheless and helped build a Doctor as popular, if not more so, than Tom Baker was in his heyday.

    It’s also part and parcel of Doctor Who. Don’t think it won’t continue under Moffat, though I am hoping for more solid and perfect episodes like Human Nature, Blink, Silence in the Library and Midnight.

    OK, I’m running off at the fingers. I needs to shut up.

    BTW, any theories on the identity of the Time Lady?

  2. January 3, 2010 1:34 am

    Well said. Well done.

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