What a waste.
A vast waste of David Tennant.
A waste of John Simm.
An incredible waste of Catherine Tate.
A waste of Timothy Dalton.
An enormous waste of a marvelous potential storyline, right from the top, all sacrificed to RTD's massive, over-the-top, histrionic "story" telling.
What was the purpose of bringing Donna back if only to have her collapse in her first scene and then never come back again until the time-jump forward to her wedding? Why not leave it at that? We get it -- she can't be fixed. Okay, then, no reason for her to be there at all. Her saving herself by cutting down a few Masters didn't serve any story purpose at all, except to confuse the Master and give the Doctor at least one good line.
What was the purpose of bringing back the Time Lords if only to send 'em back again? Why not bring Gallifrey back and put it where it belongs? Okay, it's Rassalon. Big, ginormous Time Lock Circle, all the way back to the dawn of Gallifrey's history. Still. Huh?
What was the purpose of all the Masters? Knowing the Master as we do, does anyone else wonder why didn't each and every one of them claim to be THE Master and start in-fighting for superiority? In the end that didn't do ANYTHING.
What was the purpose of all the histrionics around the Doctor's "song ending"?! It's not like it's the first time, and he's never raised this much fuss about regenerating before. Sure, he was happy being Ten. But he'd been happy before, and he always hated to leave the current incarnation because he's never liked his other selves much (although they're always smarter and better than anyone else!). The only one of himself that One ever seemed to like was Five, and that's because Five was so very polite.
It's not like I'm not as big a Tennant fangirl as anyone, goodness knows. I've had a Doctor Who/David Tennant calendar up in my cubicle for the last several years (having to explain both to everyone in my office, especially the month with "Evolution of the Daleks" pictured). I have the Doctor Ten 12-inch doll. I have a Doctor Ten action figure on my desk. I have a couple dozen Dr. Ten icons. I have ALL the Doctor Ten novels, including the "Quick Read" kiddie books. (I wish there were more Doctor/Donna books. I may have to find the comics.) I ADORE Ten. I always will. But I think that Ten's potential to be the greatest Doctor of them all was ruined by RTD's over-the-top, often ridiculous and sometimes flat-out stupid storytelling, some of which were every bit as horrid and stinko as anything they put poor Dr. Six or Dr. Seven in.
Ten made me a fan of the show, but that's the thing -- I became a fan of the SHOW, not just Doctor Ten. And the show was not served by turning him into a whining, mopey, saint/devil who conveniently would forget and then remember that he was a Time Lord and what that has always meant to him, not to mention having him constantly mope over the passing of companions when he even said it himself more than once: Humans die, Time Lords regenerate. Yes, he was sad when Rose left. But the Doctor has always loved to LIVE and to pass that joy on to others. Instead of finding Big Name Costars all the time, RTD should have gotten him one companion who suited him (like Donna) and focused on them together instead of always dropping hints about his Big Bang Endings. Foreshadowing is lovely when used in moderation.
For that, what in hell was having him die of radiation poisoning, when back in "Smith & Jones" he shrugged off a massive dose of radiation through his SHOE? Maybe it was, oh, I don't know, the JUMPING FROM A SPACE SHIP (when Doctor Four died after falling from a radio tower) -- through a huge glass ceiling down approximately three storeys to smash onto a tile floor. Perhaps, as Barb suggested, that damaged the organs that normally absorbed radiation, leaving him vulnerable to the poisoning. What, he's on an alien ship and they don't have a jet pack on board?
I put up with "Love will free the sad little trapped alien" in "Fear Her." (Not to mention the Doctor taking up the Olympic torch.)
I put up with "Fairy Doctor" will come back if you just believe in him and clap your hands in "Last of the Time Lords."
I put up with "Voyage of the Damned" and the "Hallelujah Doctor" with the angels. (I even enjoyed the last second saving of Buckingham Palace and the Queen.)
I even managed to not kick in the computer with the overwrought, convoluted, and downright idiotic ending of "Journey's End," with shoving off a clone on Rose (possibly once the best companion ever, ruined by RTD loving his characters too much) and destroying Donna's memories (my favorite companion, second to Jamie, who ALSO had his memories stolen, although that was by all the Time Lords, not just one with aspirations of godhood).
But this -- with so much potential, watching it so wasted. I didn't even raise alarms when Gallifrey appeared right next to Earth and they didn't immediately smash into each other because, you know, GRAVITY? After all, last year we saw the Earth NOT freeze instantly when it was somehow yanked away from the Sun and the TARDIS just hauled it back into orbit without everyone on the planet dying and everything being destroyed in massive earthquakes, hey. Why even bother TRYING to explain the stuff on Dr. Who with science anymore? Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, away! It's magic!
And what was the deal with Martha and Mickey? Last we saw, she was marrying Tom-the-doctor guy (and in fact was on her honeymoon when she was last mentioned). What, when Mickey came back from the other side, she just had to have him? Maybe that was who she was on her honeymoon with (but we know her engagement ring, back during "The Sontaran Strategem/Poison Sky," was from her doctor-fellow, met during, and then just after, the Year That Never Was).
I have always liked the fact that Ten cared enough about his companions to go back to them once in a while, but I think things may have gotten out of hand there at the end. Regeneration isn't supposed to be that fraught. Damn it, I've been known to cry at McDonald's commercials, and I couldn't shed a single tear at the loss of my favorite Doctor?
Things I did like:
The escape with the Doctor strapped to the chair.
Captain Jack. I was hoping the note actually said "stop moping and get back to work," but the scene was nice, and I would like to see Captain Jack likewise restored to his old, happy self (before RTD gave him ANGST, ANGST, and MORE freakin' ANGST).
I liked Wilf as Ten's final companion. Hell, I LOVED Wilf as Ten's final companion.
And the way we saw Rose this time. Before she met Nine, a chance brush, and that was lovely. "It's going to be a good year."
And yes, I think I like Eleven. There was that joi de verve that always characterized the Doctor and that RTD somehow managed to write OUT of Doctor Ten (why why why).
Still, I feel angry and dissatisfied with this "ending," which was not at all what Ten deserved. Yes, he went very heroically, and I was sad he was alone at the very end -- one of the few who had to regenerate without a companion to help him through it (Four to Five had THREE with him). But he deserved a better story. He deserved a lot of better stories. I'm glad I have the books.