The End of Time Itself!

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I just finished watching the second chapter of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. Splitting the special to two nights was something new for the show and truly deserving given the epic nature of the story. I waited to talk about it until after I’d seen the whole thing and could consider the story in its entirety.  It was, in a word, spectacular, the *like category doesn’t really cut it with this one.

The episode was in many ways not at all what I expected, but I certainly have no way of describing what I was expecting. It’s better that way, because what I would have come up with wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Five years of episodes that have aired since the series returned in 2005 culminate in this tragic tale that pushes The Doctor to the breaking point. All the seeds that were planted along the way pay off as the show’s executive producer makes his exit with this story. The Master’s stolen ring, his widowed wife Lucy Saxon, the secrets of The Time War, the Ood’s warning, and the prophecy of The Doctor’s demise all play out beautifully and stand as a testament to brilliant planning since Doctor Who’s return to television.

It’s more than that though. More than ever before, these episodes harken back the classic Doctor Who series. The Time Lords, The Master’s entire history, and his relationship with The Doctor are all critical elements to this story. In some ways, we learn more about their history than ever before. The final confrontation between the principal characters is brilliant and should provide a real treat for long-time fans.  Knowing where these characters come form and what they’ve been through adds so much to the story, but it’s so well put together you won’t miss a beat if you’ve only seen the “new” Who.

It’s no secret that this story marks the end of an era for the show, but knowing that makes it no easier to watch David Tennant’s exit as The Doctor.  These things are never easy, however, this one is particularly heart wrenching.  Having waited through the show’s absence from 1996 to 2005, it was amazing to see it return with Christopher Eccelston in the lead role.  His departure after one season was saddening, but David Tennant’s entry solidified the show’s return for me.  He has been simply amazing and despite being the tenth actor to play the role, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else as The Doctor.  His run ends with an incredible homage to his adventures before we meet Matt Smith in the episode’s final moments.  Episodes with the new Doctor should begin airing this Spring.

Doctor Who – The End of Time Part One replays Saturday January 2nd at 6:45PM with Part Two following at 8:30PM on BBC America. In fact, a marathon of nearly the entire series is running right now through the airing of the two part epic tomorrow night. The DVR will allow me to sleep tonight.