Doctor Who “The Power of the Doctor” said goodbye to Jodie Whittaker and hello to David Tennant in one of the most exciting episodes this series has had in ages.
That’s not to say that “The Power of the Doctor” was perfect. Let’s make that clear before you go, “This woman has no idea what she’s even talking about! Has she not watched Whittaker’s tenure as The Doctor?” Yes, I have. And like her entire run, she was plagued with nonsensical writing that made it so Doctor Who didn’t have the same spark. The same could be said for this episode. It lacked the magic that initially drew me into Doctor Who back in 2005.
“The Power of the Doctor” simply tried to pack in too much. It’s like every desire and dream that Chris Chibnall had during his time on the BBC show had to happen at this very moment. And it was overwhelming. You couldn’t keep track of what was happening, plotlines were just happening for reasons, and characters were making decisions that made no sense while having to deal with throwback after throwback that was fanservice. Lovely fanservice for those who’ve watched the older series. But for newbies, oh they were lost and going, “What is happening? Am I supposed to cry now cuz they know The Doctor?”
But even then, “The Power of the Doctor” somehow worked. The fanservice did give some fans closure for specific characters they hadn’t seen in ages while reminding others why they started watching this show in the first place. And wrapped in that was the end of Whittaker’s journey as The Doctor. She was seeing her legacy, her past, and how even though she’s not ready, the future is here and she will welcome it. Because that’s what The Doctor does and that’s not going to change at the very end of this run. Which, it’s not to say we won’t ever see this Doctor again. This episode and the Doctor that remained at the end is proof of that.
Seeing David Tennant as The Doctor is the reason why I feel excited about the future of Doctor Who. Tennant was MY Doctor and the golden era of this leg of the iconic series that’s been going on since 1963. And honestly, I don’t know why I’m even surprised. Whittaker’s era was about rewriting The Doctor’s history. I didn’t like it completely. But I saw it for what it was: a risk to keep surprising viewers at every turn. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. The return of Tennant is one of those instances where it really worked. Because right now, I’m so ready for Doctor Who to return in a way I haven’t felt in years.
And I know I’m not alone in this feeling if the reactions online are any indication.
It’s not just Tennant that I’m excited about either. It’s Catherine Tate too. As much as The Doctor and Rose Tyler are my absolute favorite, there’s something so special about the possibility of Donna and The Doctor galavanting across time and space again. They were the best of besties and every single moment with them was a guaranteed laugh or cry. I preferred the laugh but oh when they made you cry they did it with such finesse that I forgave them real quick. Altogether, it feels like a return to the greatness that etched itself into my soul in the same manner that older Doctor Who fans were overjoyed to see their old Doctors and companions.
There is one major thing that really soured me about this finale, the whole Doctor and Yaz thing. Look, I’ve never shipped them. I’m a hardcore Doctor/Rose kind of person and have eaten up 13/Rose fanfiction. But that doesn’t mean I can’t side-eye “The Power of the Doctor.” I know queer when I see it as a queer person myself. And you mean to tell me that Yaz just left The Doctor cuz regeneration? No way, no how. This woman was ride or die for The Doctor and continuously proved that throughout the Whittaker run.
It really makes you wonder, as progressive as this show has gotten, it really can’t bite the bullet yet and make The Doctor part of the LGBTQ+ community. Because let’s be honest, there’s no way that this ALIEN lives his life and picks his partners due to whether they are a man, woman, or nonbinary. They pick their partners or companions on who they are as people. That’s it. That’s the only requirement. And it’s the only requirement that The Doctor needs to love. So yeah, I understand there’s a changing of the guard on Doctor Who, but this didn’t cut it.
Doctor Who is set to return in November 2023.