It’s the end of time for the 10th Doctor.
Something is returning. Something big.
The thing is, for all the dire Universal consequences, this is a very personal story.
The Master, The Time Lords, the fate of the Earth – these are all just set pieces. We all know what is about to happen. The Doctor’s life(ves) will be the cost to save all of creation. The Time Lords, once the keepers of order and balance in the Universe, are now the greatest threat to all existence. After thwarting their machinations, the Doctor stands, ready to die, as the Master rails KNOCKING back the Gallifrey and all the Time Lords with 4 powerful blows to the locked Time War. Leaving just the Doctor again, Last of the Time Lords alone.
tap tap tap tap
Four taps. The timid rapping of old man, trapped in a glass box. The Doctor stared down certain death, against the most powerful might in the universe, and lived to tell the tale, and it’s the life of one old man that the Doctor gladly sacrifices his life for.
So like the 10th Doctor, giving it all for those he calls his friends.
Set against the background of the battle to stop the end of all Existence, is the personal and touching story of Wilf. Wilf has spent his life as a bystander to history. Too young to have served in WWII, he tells the Doctor of his time in National Service, 1948, Palestine. Standing on a roof top, bullets whizzing by. He was also a spectator to many of the Doctor’s adventures, and only now, has he had the chance to be part of the events.
The character of Wilf became something so much more than the joke he was meant to be in “Voyage of the Damned”. He was never meant to be more than random encounter. But do to unfortunate circumstances, Wilf Mott became Donna Noble’s Granddad. (If you don’t know the story, the actor who played Donna’s father in “The Christmas Bride” passed away during the filming of Series 4, So Wilf the news agent became Sylvia Noble’s father, replacing the character of Geoff Noble in that season.)
The final act, is the Doctor’s goodbye/love letter to his friends. 20 minutes of him getting to say goodbye, one last chance to make sure they are ok. Martha and Mickey (now married, I wonder what happened to Tom) get one last look, as he walks away, never knowing he just saved their lives…
Sarah Jane, well the Doctor saves her son Luke from becoming street pizza, and gets a wave, as he enters the TARDIS…
Captain Jack (the only character I expect to see on Doctor Who again in the near future, being a Moffat creation) is in bar, somewhere where all the aliens we have seen in the past 4 years just happen to go to. Where they listen to 1930’s New York vocal jazz. The Doctor brings Jack out of his funk by delivering him a new young man… (Alonso from the Titanic.)
Then the surprise, Verity Newman (Jessica Hynes), the grand daughter of Joan Redfern, the school nurse who fell in love with John Smith in 1913, John Smith being the human guise the Doctor became when hiding from the Family of Blood. She had found the Journal of Impossible Things in her Grandma’s attic, and has published it. The Doctor asks her if her Grandmother was happy… Yes. Is he.? She can only watch, as he silently walks away..
Then on to Donna’s Wedding. She still has no memory of the Doctor. But Sylvia and Wilf do, and when they see him, they rush to his side. Wilf asks about the mysterious woman who spoke to him, once in the Church, and again in the Vivocci spaceship, the one who new what the Doctor would be facing, a final battle. The woman who was once lost, so long ago. The Doctor doesn’t answer, but gives them Donna’s Wedding gift. A Lottery ticket, that just happened to be purchased with a borrowed quid from one Geoffrey Noble a couple years ago…
(I am sure the identity of the Woman will be one of much discussion, was she a psychic manifestation? Or did she really appear to Wilf. If she did, does that mean at some future point she does escape Gallifrey? And who was she? I am sure there will be some speculation, perhaps she is a future regeneration of Romanadovratralundar, or maybe Susan Forman. I can even see some making a case that she is even closer to the Doctor than that, but I do not think if we will ever get an answer.)
Finally a trip to the Powell Estate, on January 1, 2005… a young Rose Tyler, just before she knew how big the universe really was… A brief exchange, a happy new year… and then, this time he watches her walk away…
Ood Sigma once again appears across time and space, and Oodsong fills the air, the whole universe singing the Doctor off to his sleep… this song is over, but the story never ends. The Doctor finally makes it back into his TARDIS, and with a defiant, perhaps childish cry, tells us, “I don’t want to go”.
A little over indulgent? Perhaps. No other outgoing Doctor got to go one a farewell tour. But as thus was not only David Tennant’s swan song, but Russell’s and Julie Gardner’s, I suppose some sentimentality has got to be allowed. One can not help but wonder, if his last words were not only the Doctor’s sentiment, but David’s.
Goodbye Doctor number 10. 4 years was not enough.
Hello Doctor 11, with your youthful looks, and blimey, that chin, with your manic entrance, and still not ginger. Here’s to you, take us someplace… fantastic. Look out below!