Saturday 16 January 2010

My Thoughts on Dr Who: Farewell to Tennant

I originally posted this on Television Without Pity, but it fits just as well here. Enjoy.

After watching this episode, my second thought (first thought = "Shit, I'm going to really, really miss David Tennant" - no disrespect meant to Matt Smith) was "If you put a much-loved Companion on the mantlepiece in Act One, she needs to do something important by Act Three". I suppose I was expecting something along the lines of either:

a) Donna's memories start coming back, and she chooses to be the DoctorDonna again to save the lives of others, knowing that she will die. I know that the deal is supposed to be that memories coming back = instant death, but it could have been worked around to give her at least a few minutes of DoctorDonna, perhaps even by having the Doctor sacrifice enough of his life energy to keep her alive that he needs to regenerate afterwards.

Or, b) Donna does something heroic without her memories coming back because she is in fact awesome with or without the Doctor, and we get a little extra layer of tragedy in that the Doctor sees his beloved Companion as she was with him from a distance, knowing that they can never again meet without her dying.

As it was... yeah, I get that Donna's got her Happy Ending. I suppose what bugs me a little about it is that I really wanted to see some signs of her recovering the strong self she had with the Doctor and actually doing something of her own volition, not being the recipient for the actions of others. Of course, for all we know her new hubby's amazing and inspires her and together they'll discover the cure for cancer, but alas we will never know this since we've seen barely five minutes of him on screen and will never see any more.

Did anyone else find this two-parter to be unusually male-dominated? With the possible exceptions of Lucy Saxon and Sassy Vinvocci Lady (I haven't managed to find out her name), both of whom played fairly minor roles, all the characters with really significant parts (the Doctor, the Master, Wilf, Rassilon, Joseph Naismith) were male. That's not intended as a criticism, as the scenes between Tennant / Cribbins and Tennant / Simm were great verging on phenomenal in places, it just feels odd in a series which has to date made a big point of having strong female characters.

Agree to the nth degree with all who have said that this had far more plot than was needed. It's easy to say this in hindsight, but if there was going to be this much plot, "Planet of the Dead" could have been sacrificed (wishful thinking) for another episode which could have dealt with getting some of the exposition out of the way. As it was, just the Master's plan alone could have carried the two episodes, plotwise.

I'm still thinking about this several days later, and... I don't know. I feel like I saw much of this already, and it was called "Journey's End". The Doctor's already said goodbye to his companions, and the extended farewells, for me, drained much of the momentum out of the ending.

Also, I feel like now, whenever I rewatch any episodes with Tennant's Doctor in, it's going to be overshadowed by the thought "Yeah, now you're all brave and happy and saving the universe in between snogging your Companions, but you'll die a lonely and slightly pointless death which you'll hate and be fighting right up to the end". (Pointless in the sense that the "lockable box" mechanism felt just a bit too contrived, not that saving Wilf was pointless.) The final shot of the Doctor's bereft face at the end of Journey's End was enough tragedy for that character, for me.

When I compare that to Nine's regeneration, who at least got to go out in the knowledge that the danger was over and his regeneration (or the actions leading to it) saved the life of his Companion, it just seems a bit too tragic.

Final question: how the hell can a planet "stir in the deeps"? It's a planet. It orbits. It doesn't have a mind of its own (unless I'm missing something from old-school Who) and it doesn't move except in response to the laws of physics. Hmm?

Ah well. Bring on Matt Smith for the girly hair and GERONIMO!

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