I think I might have quoted Jim Morrison in my review for the last disc of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I don’t really care cause I’m going to do it again. “This is the end. My only friend the end.” I just finished Doctor Who: The End of Time, the two part special that finally closed the book on David Tennant’s run as the Tenth incarnation of everyone’s favorite Time Lord. After breezing through the rest of the specials that closed out his run, I began to subconsciously come up with other activities for myself to engage in rather than see my time with the Tenth Doctor to a close, but alas, today I could hold it off no longer. David Tennant (and his myriad companions and the writers of the series itself) provided me hours upon hours of exciting, terrifying, heart-breaking, and simply fun British television in a science fiction environment that I could use to escape from the less than always endearing real world. To quote the Doctor before you, you were brilliant, and even though this special didn’t fully transform into the send-off you deserved until its final 30 minutes, I’m willing to let that slide because you transformed the lives of so many science fiction fans around the world.

The Doctor finally returns to the Ood homeworld to discover just what the Ood meant when they foretold that his song was coming to an end as well as the prophecy of the woman on the bus (from “Planet of the Dead”) who spoke of the Doctor’s death and a man who would knock four times. While all of humanity is suffering from nightmares that they can’t seem to shake (underscored by narration by none other than past James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton), only Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins), Donna Noble’s wily grandfather, seems to realize that something is amiss and desperately searches for the Doctor. On the Ood homeworld, the Doctor sees mysterious visions of the Master (John Simms) and a plot to resurrect him which the Ood believe will lead to the end of time itself. Though the Master died at the hands of his wife Lucy Saxon, part of his being lived on, and a cult dedicated to the Master half-succeed at resurrecting him (though he is now slowly dying from an unquenchable hunger). As the Doctor arrives on Earth (and enlists the help of Wilfred Mott), he stumbles across a plan by a wealthy business man to use an alien medical bay to achieve immortality for his daughter. When the business man kidnaps the wounded Master to fix the machine, the Master uses it to transform all of humanity into copies of the Master (except for Wilfred Mott who was protected and Donna who is still half-Time Lord), and this heralds the return of the Time Lords from their time-locked destruction in the Time War led by President Rassilon (Timothy Dalton).

With the help of Wilfred Mott (and two aliens who were in disguise working on the medical device), the Doctor is able to escape and formulate a plan to defeat the psychopathic Master. The Time Lords see the Masters return as their chance to return to the real universe and manipulate the Master into following through with this plan for them. The Doctor realizes at the last minute what the Time Lords intend on doing (and he can’t let them return because it means the Time War would re-engulf the universe) and he flies back to Earth to stop them. While he is able to keep the Time Lords from returning (and the Master sacrifices himself to save the Doctor after he realizes the Time Lords had manipulated him), the Doctor has to sacrifice his own life in order to save Wilfred Mott by absorbing a lethal dose of radiation in Wilfred’s place. The Doctor catches one last glimpse of his past companions and then sadly returns to the TARDIS (with a heartbreaking “I don’t want to go yet”) to regenerate where we meet the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) whose explosive transformation nearly destroys the TARDIS.

Like virtually every Russell T. Davies story, the plot here wasn’t as impressive as the emotional payoff that we got at the end of the episode. Every single season finale was more engaging on a story level, and while I love John Simms as the bat-shit insane Master, this particular Master story did not stack up very well to the one from Season 3’s finale. Though the Master does get points for being one of the only villains who ever seems to succeed at his villainous plans. He just always gets stopped in the final stages. No, for me this episode will be defined by seeing the complete metamorphosis of David Tennant in his early days as the Doctor and where he ultimately landed at the end. I liked Wilfred Mott a lot more as a companion than I ever did Donna (and am I the only person who thought the Doctor was implying the strange Time Lord woman was actually Donna herself?). Like with the Season 4 finale, I spent the entirety of the final 30 minutes or so of this episode in tears. The chance to see everyone for one last time (though the Doctor only spoke to Rose, who didn’t know who he was yet, and Sarah Jane Smith’s daughter) along with the bravery of the Doctor’s actions really got to me at an emotional level.

David Tennant, I salute you. I no doubt enjoyed your run as the Doctor more than Christopher Eccleston (though not by an extreme margin and you had the advantage of lasting three seasons), and while I poke fun at the sillier aspects of the series writing, I know not every tale can be a Stephen Moffat master piece. I’m going to take a break from the program now that you’re not in. It isn’t because I fear watching Matt Smith’s run; it’s just that I want to let the emotional connection I created with your imagining of the Doctor and the Whoniverse to have a chance to settlebe fore I move on to new frontiers of your many, many worlds. For millions and millions of sci-fi fans, you were a stepping stone into the world of Doctor Who, and you’ll be missed. I’m not saying that the series will never be as good as when you were on it, but it will certainly never be the same.

Final Score: A-

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