I don’t know much about “Doctor Who”’s casting history but I did happen across how this episode is Tennant’s last because he quit. So when he’s going through what seems like an eon of histrionics before becoming the new Doctor—you’ve never appreciated Christopher Eccleston’s exit more—which includes him whining about not wanting to leave….
He wanted to leave. He wanted to leave and writer Russell T. Davies gave him a very embarrassing send-off for it.
Eccleston they at least waited to embarrass until he’d left.
Or it was Tennant’s idea, which is a strange, bad choice.
But no one gets off “Who” very well, not as they bid the Doctor farewell… I guess no spoilers but let’s just say they manage to crap on Freema Agyeman one last time.
The episode’s really well-paced again—this Christmas and New Year’s specials feel like four episodes, not two—and there’s some more good stuff with Tennant and John Simm. Every once in a while, you get a great glimpse of how great Simm and Tennant could’ve been as alter egos… if only for different directors and writers.
Bernard Cribbins figures in big. Like, annoyingly big. He plays the big scene like a comedy sketch, which director Euros Lyn can’t compensate and the whole thing backfires. That backfire continues into the pseudo-epilogue, pseudo-prologue.
I’ve already heard enough about the series to have some concerns for where the show’s headed next—even before I knew Alex Kingston was going to be a regular—and the end tag does nothing to dissuade those concerns. Not just the new Doctor, but the inane scale of the regeneration, which never pretends to be anything but a cliffhanger setup but it’s a bad one. It’s a bad choice.
Tennant had been lucky with the Christmas specials (until now, obviously). They were never bad. Not like when “Who” is bad.
But the show gets you every time. No one escapes a shitty farewell.