The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Doctor....I Let You Go": A Golden Age Ends

DOCTOR: Oh, there it is. Silly old universe. The more I save it the more it needs saving. It’s a treadmill.

[Tardis noise]

Yes, yes I know they’ll get it all wrong without me.

[Tardis noise]

Well, I suppose….one more lifetime won’t kill anyone. Well, except me.

[Theme from Heaven Sent, "Breaking the Wall"/Tardis noises]

You wait a moment, Doctor. Let’s get it right. I’ve got a few things to say to you. Basic stuff first.

Never be cruel, never be cowardly. And never ever eat pears! Remember – hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise.

Always try, to be nice and never fail to be kind. Oh, and….and you mustn’t tell anyone your name. No-one would understand it anyway. Except….

[He gasps, falls to the floor]

Except….children. Children can hear it. Sometimes – if their hearts are in the right place, and the stars are too. Children can hear your name.

Gasps, grunts more

But nobody else. Nobody else. Ever.

[Pulls himself off the floor, agonizingly.]

Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

[Theme crescendos, as in Heaven Sent.]

Doctor – I let you go.

And then it happens. The streams of energy, the column of flame, the revelation of the new Doctor--and her sudden, surprised gasp, of "Oh, brilliant," upon seeing her own new visage.


But I'm not here to celebrate the arrival of Jodie Whittaker just yet. You wait a moment, Doctor. Because first I have to say goodbye to my Doctor.

I've been a fan since I was a teen, and never thought that my old favorites would be shouldered aside by the angry Scot. The new series, well I've loved it since it began, but who could dethrone the Doctors of long ago, when I was so impressionable and innocent, and--young.

Peter Capaldi, that's who. With Steven Moffatt's writing, with his own tremendous acting, even when the scripts were less than perfect, the journey of the Doctor from emotionally disconnected to "hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise." The Doctor who punched his way through the wall because he had a duty of care, who couldn't give up on Missy, and never knew he had succeeded, with her dying to stand with him.

This last adventure, with no villains, much gentle humor, the two Doctors contrasting with each other, with a last run-around--it was a fitting send-off to the Doctor and the actor who pulled such emotion from his own depths that the young-ancient, weary-exuberant, old Doctor touched my heart in his last moments.

In an increasingly cruel world, the Doctor's last speech gives us words we so desperately need. And, we must hope, sets the expectations for his successor.

Long may she reign.


Jodie Whittaker is a superb actress, and "Oh, brilliant," with her wide eyes and a rapt smile is an encouraging welcome to the world of her era. And I'll be there for it, rooting for her and Chris Chibnall. If Chibnall can overcome the occasional misanthropy that makes his vision jar with Doctor Who, he has it in him to be a brilliant show runner, and to infuse the Whittaker era with a whole new brand of magic.

Welcome, Thirteen. Make it lucky thirteen for us. We're counting on you, Jodie. And you, Chris.

Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

And do it in your own way, Doctor.

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