After a Friday night bachelor party that consisted of strip clubs, tattoos, and the longest walk on one of Atlanta’s most dangerous streets at 3 in the morning, I knew the next day would be for physical recovery. Luckily, I’m a planner. I had decided that Saturday would be dedicated to finally finishing what was left of Doctor Who. What was left was the David Tennant specials and even though I had been watching them out of order, I had held “The End of Time, Parts 1 & 2″ to watch last. I knew that this would be Tennant’s last episode and Matt Smith’s debut, my first Doctor.
My true, in depth introduction started with Season 5 at the behest of my friend Jason, and too my dismay I enjoyed it and was quickly hooked. I had been resistant years earlier after seeing pieces of an episode that aired on SyFy, then SciFi, that featured the 10th Doctor and some cheap-looking alien. At the time, Doctor Who preceded Battlestar Galactica, which I was adamant about. BSG was serious, had great looking dog-fights in space, and it was filmed documentary style. Documentary style, I mean “rapid zoom”, it could have only been more serious if Ken Burns had directed it. I didn’t have time for humor and terrible costumes in my science fiction. I wanted “realism.”
Well BSG, as much as I loved it at the time, disappointed me in the end. The last 30 minutes of its last episode to be precise were it’s swan song. Breaking the fourth wall should have been a no-no. After BSG’s bitter end and after a period of mourning that included denial (of the the last 30 minutes) I was open to watching the silly Doctor Who. After all it had time-travel. Over the course of a few months, I watched every episode of the new series and in doing so saw the full episodes
that I had only seen clips of before when I was in a different mood. And this time the aliens were more sinister, still goofy looking, but believable within context. (The ones I had seen in those early clips were the Sontarans and the Ood. I remember Kylie Minogue too, but she’s not silly looking.)
Everything I saw seemed charming. And as much as Ronald Moore proclaimed that the last episode of BSG would be character driven, Doctor Who put their money where their mouth was. It under-promised and over-delivered. Doctor Who was a great character and his supporting players were equally good.
The last episode for the 10th Doctor was no different. Even though much of the episode dealt with the Master, a character who I did not care for in his current incarnation, I still loved it. Another character heavily featured was former companion Donna Noble’s grandfather, Wilfred Mott. Wilfred is the grandfather you always imagined having, a star gazer who always believes in your potential outside of everyone else’s lowered or normal expectations. At the end the Doctor even turns to Wilfred and says “I’d be proud … If you were my Dad.” Hokey, but effective. Especially to me. I love Rom-Coms and I love clichéd sentiments in stories when they are done correctly and to great effect.
Without giving too much away, I will say that the last few moments with the Doctor and Wilfred together on screen reminded me of Spock’s last scenes with Kirk in Wrath of Khan. Hands on the glass, radiation, and a painful goodbye that’s isn’t exactly the end.
The last moments, although tearful, lead up to the 10th Doctor’s regeneration into the 11th. I saw the familiar face that drew me into the series and now my viewing experience had come full circle. And as Whovian’s say, you never forget your first Doctor, but I know that I will never forget the 10th.