In 2009, David Tennant left the TARDIS. There was a whirlwind of hoopla. A massive two-part story dedicated to spectacle. Followed by uncertainty.
Doctor 10 didn’t want to go. No one else wanted him to either, it seemed.
I said in my very first post that Doctor Who was the last show my mother and I ever enjoyed together. She loved David. Towards the end of the 2008 Christmas Special (The next Doctor) she said, “He really is cool. I’m going to miss him.” Sadly, she never got the chance to.
Although David was The Doctor in residence when I finally sat down to watch the show (over a decade after discovering it) I never really considered him my Doctor. I certainly liked him, and would have been happy with him sticking around a bit longer. My Doctor was (and always will be) Tom Baker. His face was the first I ever associated with the part, and the one which pops to mind when I hear the title of the show.
For my Mom, David was The Doctor. He was HER Doctor. Just as he was THOUSANDS of peoples’ Doctor. Especially in America. Mr. Tennant was so synonymous with the part that when it was announced he’d be leaving the show, they held a press conference, he started to tear up. Americans who had just learned about the show and had grown attached to the spiky haired Time Lord were going to have that torn away from them. Children that grew up during this era were losing a friend. The universe was going to break in half.
Seriously, this was a BIG deal.
Yet, when David left, as crazy successful as the show was, a lot of folks here knew nothing about it. Doctor Who was the awesome little show I kept in my back pocket, slowly revealing to friends and family, determined to sway them.
Hard to imagine now.
Who could fill David’s sneakers? No one, obviously. Can’t be done. Impossible…
Now, four years later, on Trenzalore, the impossible has come to pass.
This pale, unknown twerp with the emo hair and boot-face that so few believed in, has the world mourning his death. Not only a new generation of fans call Matt Smith their Doctor, Legions, upon LEGIONS of New Whovians swear by the raggedy man with the bowtie, they worship at his altar, taking fish fingers and custard as communion.
Seriously, this is a HUGE deal.
Yet, as far back as a year ago, there were still detractors. Those who vowed never to accepted this kid as their favorite Time Lord. Well, those people are goons. If you can’t accept change – you’re watching the wrong f*cking show.
Matt Smith has been nothing less than incredible. His Doctor is complex, silly, exciting, dark, young, ancient, godlike, human, and everything. Since day one, he has owned the part, only getting better with each series. A mad genius, with subtle nods to the past and hints of the future. He is every Doctor in one, and then some.
His final adventure (until Big Finish gets their hands on him) is a satisfying one. It doesn’t have the overblown insanity of The End of Time, nor the quiet passing of Logopolis. It meets somewhere between. The Doctor fights to defend a town called Christmas for hundreds of years, fixing toys and fighting monsters. Growing into a very, very old man. His life is as happy as it can be for a man like himself. Not a bad way to go.
My expectations were nil coming into this. Until now, I have yet to enjoy a single Moffat Christmas Special, and the promotional material for this made it look cluttered. If anything, I expected Matt to be smothered by too much plot. There is a bit too much going on, but at least Mr. Smith stands center stage, and shines as brightly as ever.
Surely you’ve seen the episode, so I won’t waste your time going any further. What matters here is the departure of one of the TARDIS’ most fantastic occupants.
His regeneration was sweet and powerful. Sad and uplifting. It was the Eleventh Doctor. Hell, I even cried at the sight of Amy Pond, a companion I once loathed.
Will I miss Matt? Oh yes. Sometimes I’d wish he would break Tom Baker’s record. And at the same time, it feels right. All things end.
Let me tell you what I’ll really miss. And it is a strange one, because it never happened.
I will miss witnessing my mom getting to know and (surely) loving the Eleventh Doctor. I think he would have charmed her silly. She’d probably have to grow a second heart to share with Matt and David.
I thank you Mr. Smith, for giving me memories of a time that could have been. A time that is, if only in my mind.
Goodnight, Raggedy Man.