David Tennant ended his run as The Doctor in a two-part episode called “The End Of Time.” The episode also marked the departure of Russell T. Davies, who has spearhead the show since its revival. As the episode clearly shows, the pair is leaving just in time.
Spoiler warning: If you have not seen the episode and really want to, stop reading here.
“The End Of Time” marks the end of the David Tennant, which had worked its way into storylines since early in the fourth season, possibly making this the longest death on television. Over the course of the episodes we have seen The Doctor turn from a swashbuckling hero to a mewling whiner. The bulk of Tennant’s dialogue in the episode focuses around him not wanting to die, despite the long-estanblished premise that regeneration is not death. In fact, back when Tom Baker played the role his companion Romana regenerated as a fashion choice.
Tennant’s Doctor meets his end in a transparent chamber flooded with radiation. Ignoring the badly written reason for him being in the chamber, and the fact that it had nothing to do with the rest of the episode, you could almost hear Leonard Nimoy saying, “I am and have always been…your friend.” It was a well done scene when Nimoy did it in Star Trek II 27 years ago. Here it was a slapped on scene that shows Davies needed to leave the show because he is out of ideas.
The entire episode is a rehash. The Time Lords return after the time war with a plan to end the universe. The same goal that The Daleks had in the fourth season finale. The Daleks were going to use a “reality bomb” while the Time Lords were going to “end time” but the resulting story is the same, providing more evidence that the franchise is running out of ideas.
The regeneration sequence iutself runs a mind-numbing 20 minutes and occurs so slowly that The Doctor has time to revisit Donna, Rose, Sarah Jane, Captain Jack (who is sitting in a ripoff of the creature cantina so they could showcase the aliens that appeared during Tennant’s run, and Martha. Martha has inexplicably married Mickey Smith, despite her being engaged when we last saw her and clearly not to Mickey, since he was still on a parallel Earth. The sequence showed a lack of respect for the character as she, once again, gets Rose’s cast offs. This despite Martha being more intelligent and infinitely more capable than Rose, whose only asset seems to be her looks.
All in all, the outing was a horrible wrap up for Tennant and hopefully not an indication of what we can expect when Matt Smith takes on the role. The only good thing I can say about The Doctor’s regeneration is at least it ended the whining.