"Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I'm dead." -The DoctorWhen I interviewed David Tennant back in the summer, he said he was excited by the challenge, in these final movies of getting to "take this immutable character to mutable places." The Doctor's fear of his impending death - with or without regeneration(*) - gave Tennant some of the best material he's had to play in his run on the series, and the scenes dealing with that fear were the highlights of "The End of Time" Part 1. Watching him in the cafe with Wilf, you understood just how much The Doctor enjoyed being this particular aspect - and also how much Tennant had enjoyed this role of a lifetime.
(*) Again, I came to the character as a newbie with Russell T. Davies and Christopher Eccleston, but when I asked in the past (particularly around "Journey's End") about how The Doctor usually reacts to the idea of death and regeneration, I was told it usually happens so suddenly that he doesn't have time to show any emotion at all. So Davies has created a relatively unusual circumstance for his leading man to play on the way out the door.
Beyond The Doctor's fear, and some of his other interaction with Wilf, I largely found this half of "End of Time" to be disjointed and overly busy. I don't know if BBC America made any cuts to what aired in the UK on Friday(**), or if Davies just tried to take on too much, or if my ignorance of the pre-Davies series just makes me less interested in the Time Lords and the Master, but it felt like there was too much going on, too many new characters being introduced (and not with the usual grace Davies gave to one-off characters in the series itself), and, as happened at the end of the third series, too much of John Simm chewing on the scenery (and on chicken bones).
(**) Even if they didn't make any cuts, the number and duration of on-screen bugs and billboards for other BBC America shows drove me nuts. How about letting us pay attention to the show we're actually watching for a few minutes, folks?
Of course, the first half of a big story has to spend a lot of time on set-up, so I'm still relatively hopeful for next week's conclusion. But I wanted to share Tennant's excitement for the whole shebang, and I only occasionally did.
What did everybody else think?