9. Nine was weird. He was a soldier, still. he wore a leather jacket and walked like a broken man. He had lost everything in the fire, and every day he lived he lost more. He had seen his friends die, his comrades, his family and all those innocent people he never had the time to meet. And he could see them dying. Again. And again. And again. Until he couldn’t do anything else but stare. Knowing he was responsible. He had fixed it now, yes, but for what cost? And he looked around, and he saw planets, still burning from fires he could never put out on his own.
And rose came. And she brought peace and happiness and for her, he would go to the end of the universe for her. How full of innocence she was, sleeping in a room made of pink, but already understanding how the world seemed to work. And how it didn’t. Full of opinions is a good way to describe the girl he first met. He didn’t like Mickey much, the guy was aggressive and competitive more than that he had brains. So he took her with him and he loved her. And Jack came, admits war and destruction, and he saw a man turn good. So he came along too. And in the end, he loved them more than he hated the Daleks.
So he turned good too. Love above hate, that is how you could describe him the best, he was a good man, living in a nightmare.
10. Ten was smiles. And laughter. He jumped around like a little puppy trying not to stay still for too long. Ten griefed. A lifetime in war feeling like past. But still pressing on his back. he saved people. Many of them. Took them with him to see the wonder in their eyes. They were happy, so was he.
But he could get angry too. Angry for those people that still did wrong, a lifetime of war, bigger than they could imagine. And still, it happened. Again and again. But he loved Rose, and he accepted Mickey for the boy loved Rose too. So he accepted his fate with it. he was the man who saved, rarely thanked. Not deserving forgiveness, not deserving praise, but secretly wishing it. And when he feared that he had lost the feeling. The feeling of guilt. He counted. The children of Gallifrey, the people he had to protect. But there were simply too many.
And he lost Rose. Like he had lost Jack. And then came Martha brilliant and clever. She realised her mistakes and realised that the Doctor didn’t fit in her life, so she left him, and he let her go. Sad, because he had no family to put above his companions. And Donna came and she brought Wilfred. Donna was different. She didn’t take any of the bullshit of his grief, she didn’t let him determine her life. And he needed her. Needed her when he almost gave up on time, seeing all events as inevitable. It wasn’t her fault that he took too far.
In the end, you could say that he held onto his grief for too long. Because after grief comes acceptance. And he wasn’t ready for that yet. He wasn’t ready for a life without that guilt weighing on him. He was young in a way. Young and still foolishly in love. Perhaps losing that love was the best thing that happened to him, perhaps the worst. But he found other love in other people, some understanding, some not. But he learned from all. And when he died, he finally accepted that it was all over, even the four knocks faded away. Gallifrey couldn’t be saved, but he could.
11. And now we come to eleven. His supposedly final life. Eleven seemed younger in many ways, trying to hide the wrinkles in his soul with a bowtie and quick feet. he needed Amy Pond and Rory Williams. They taught him that love sometimes means patience, and in turn, he showed them the universe. Gave them a wedding never to forget and fought every planet in the sky to get their child back.
But amidst all that. Amidst all the running and wonders and quick hellos. He waited. He saved planets and he waited. He waited for something he couldn’t really pinpoint until it was said out loud: he wanted to be forgiven. He had saved so many worlds. He had fixed the rough edges of the time war, restarted the universe itself. And now he wanted to retire, find a nice spot and just lie down. But as long as no one told him that he was allowed to do that, he couldn’t now. So he saved some more worlds, some more planets. And still, it wasn’t enough.
People didn’t seem to learn. He’d save them and a hundred years later they needed him again. And again. They were dictators and idiots and hypocrites. So when he saw his friends in pain, when he saw them lose a child. He flipped out. And he exploded. And he couldn’t be stopped anymore. It started when he was ten, but now, he knew how he could break people. He knew what hurt more and pressed on it till they fled when his name was said.
It’s why he needed River. Of all people. The person he had hunted down the world for, standing in front of him, his wife. His love. Not yet now, but someday. And she didn’t show him patience when he was angry. She didn’t show him hatred either. She showed him a different kind of love, the kind that is appropriate for the way he was acting. A twelve-year-old.
So, in the end, he needed her the most. The woman who tested his morality but didn’t take any bullshit from him at all. For her, he grew up.
And when Clara came, so alike Donna but without the armour to protect herself. He could laugh with her and promise protection. He opened his palm for her, but she was the one to grab it. He wasn’t all grown up, still with a liking to bow ties and weird presents. But he needed her now. Someone who could grab control, who didn’t take bullshit and believed in an infinite number of second chances. She didn’t need compliments, she needed achievements, so she strived for greatness, even if greatness was beyond her. I always loved their chemistry.
12. Now he had lived longer than any timelord. And he had learned not to hide. He didn’t cover up his wrinkles, and instead of a younger face gave himself the right to complain and the mission to give everyone a chance. He had a home, he couldn’t find and when he did, he didn’t need it. He was a learned man, a magician. And in his earlier regeneration years, complicated.
He didn’t fit in one category or the other. He was many things but not stupid for not knowing. And he asked his friends. But even his friends couldn’t tell him what his morality was supposed to be. What “right” was. Which viewpoint the ultimate.
And while Clara decided she wanted a normal life next to the adventures, and Missy just really liked thump wrestling with nuclear weapons and earth on the line too much, he was lost. But he slowly found it again. With River. And with himself. And in impossible heroes and brave soldiers. He learned that love is a promise, you never break. So he promised Missy he would show her the universe if she just turned good.
Clara decided her own fate, as she always had. And he was stubborn enough to interfere and give her a second chance. For her, he wiped his memory. And when Bill arrived, he didn’t do it for the same reason.
There are many things to tell and to know about twelve, the many decisions he made. He was a madman and a lover and a friend and manual, all in one. You can’t give him one moral when morality was his confusion. Sympathy, not his area. Even when everything in your area, some things are just too hard. And in the end, what will kill him? I personally believe, only he can. When he accepts too, that the time of grief is over. He isn’t a soldier anymore.
And only then thirteen can take her place and start the new day. At Christmas, the new era begins. I wish Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall the best of luck. And I trust that we as Whovians can do the same. In the end, it’s a show for kids, after all.
“From the moment they meet, the Doctor and Rose are soul mates. They understand and complement each other.” – Russell T Davies
“To all intents and purposes, it’s a love story, really, the Doctor and Rose. Rose is clearly in love with the Doctor. And as time goes on we realize that he’s rather fallen for her.” – David Tennant
“She’s the one woman, the one human, that can make him better – that can make him a bigger character, a better man.” – Julie Gardner
“It’s a love story. It’s like love at first sight, in a way.” – Christopher Eccleston
“What Rose brings to the Doctor’s life is completion. It’s completing a circle – he’s male, he’s alien, he’s a traveler. Between the two of them together they complement each other and discover each other. And are in love with each other – absolutely, unashamedly, unreservedly.” – Russell T Davies
“I think it’s like all these relationships, like Mulder and Scully and Moonlighting, you know.” – David Tennant
“Obviously and quite overtly, really, the subtext of this show is that the Doctor is hopelessly in love with Rose.” – Steven Moffat
“You want Rose and the Doctor to be having a good time, going for a nice candlelit meal and, you know, maybe even the snog that we all know they really want.” – Julie Gardner
“It was what Russell had schemed, really, and there was an idea that the Doctor would imprint on Rose, like a sort of newly hatched chick. He would adopt Rose’s way of speaking.” – David Tennant (on why his Doctor has an English accent)
“The Doctor and Rose love each other. I think it’s that simple.” – Euros Lyn
“The Doctor is literally thrown into this bizarre new circumstance before he’s properly gotten himself together after saying farewell to Rose, who was the love of his life.” – David Tennant
“He’s a very damaged and closed man. She brings that out of him. She brings him back to life. She widens his horizons.” – Russell T Davies
“Oh, it’s SO love. I don’t care what anyone says. The Doctor and Rose love each other. HOW could they not? You can’t have the best times in the world – in the universe, go on all those journeys, have that much fun, sacrifice yourself to save each other. They absolutely love each other.” – Julie Gardner
“He knows that Rose mustn’t come back and that it goes against all the laws of space and time, and yet the chance to get to see her again is clearly something that he’s very excited about and delighted by.” – David Tennant
“I don’t think they really ever question it, they just get on with it but there’s this kinda suggestion, you know, that there may be some romance. I think she’s quite in love with him.” – Billie Piper
“He loves this woman so much.” – Julie Gardner
“I think Rose was unique in the sense that she loved him and he loved her back. And it was more than just a hint. It was deeply emotional.“ – Freema Agyeman
"You want it to happen, but at the same time you don’t want it to happen. It’s one of those weird things. It’s like Ross and Rachel.” – Billie Piper
“In the end I sort of though we created a companion who was so alive and dynamic and so wedded to the Doctor that you’d need a whole universe to contain her in. The only way to get rid of her is to send her into a parallel world from which she can never return; otherwise she would stay with the Doctor forever.” – Russell T Davies
“The whole thing has been building up to them meeting each other. You couldn’t bring Rose back and deny her a meeting with the Doctor.” – David Tennant
“When the Doctor met Rose, that was a very different Doctor, that was a lonely, damaged man; his entire planet had been wiped out. Rose helped him move on from his terrible grief he’s been dealing with. She knocks off the Time Lord edges and humanizes him just as he Time Lords her. They were what the other was lacking, they are inseparable.” – Russell T Davies
“There’s a part of her that feels very comfortable and very attracted to this new Doctor because he is the same guy, but clearly he’s not and clearly she’s saying goodbye to this other man that she’s been in love with. For the Doctor himself there’s just another heartbreak and another tragedy and he’s back on Bad Wolf Bay where he last experienced this, he’s saying goodbye again and bidding farewell again and this time it’s closing forever and there’s no going back. And in gifting her this other Doctor he’s not really allowing himself to go back either.” – David Tennant
“You know the thing is, I’m always quite full on when I kiss him as Rose, because she has this, you know, desperate love for him.” – Billie Piper
“Obviously and quite overtly, really, the subtext of this show is that the Doctor is hopelessly in love with Rose and trying to impress her. And then a younger better looking guy with the better gun turns up and he’s so annoyed.” – Steven Moffat
“Just in the terms of acting a scene like that, if Rose is over there, and she’s all you want in the universe, and you’re desperate to get to her, you’d want to be able to run flat out, wouldn’t you?” – David Tennant
“From first holding the Doctor’s hand to a farewell on a beach, Rose is the Doctor’s reason to fight, to endure, to ensure there’s light in the darkness. Together they can achieve anything. As Episode 9 describes it, they are the stuff of legends.” – Julie Gardner
“Finally they get to this wrecked, deserted, night-time, battered, Dalek-invaded street – civilization gone. Across the greatest possible distance, there they are, her with a great big gun, him with the Tardis, and they run toward each other like the biggest romance you’ve ever seen in your life…And, as in all great love stories, he’s cut down by a Dalek. I think that’s what should happen in most films, really. Gone With The Wind, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting hill – they all should have had the hero cut down by a Dalek, and they would have been vastly improved.” – Russel T. Davies
↳ Happy 46th Birthday David Tennant (18th April 1971)
“I think in the end there’s just something so open about him, he
just literally welcomes people in. You find yourself drawn to the
screen, and then you sit down and you stay because you want to spend
that hour with him. Actors like that are golden, people like that are
golden.” (Russell T. Davies on David Tennant)
“That’s the only planet in the solar system named after a woman.”
“Good for her.”
A bit of RTD girl power. Takes on a new meaning given our (fairly) recent announcement!
I know the bit where they first discover each other across the windows is much funnier, but this always melts my heart. Their friendship is so pure and adventurous and adorable. Total Whovian brotp.
“Go on, Girl!”
Wilf’s reaction to Donna finally realizing her dream is the best thing ever. Exactly how a parent/guardian should behave towards their child: “I want you to get out there. I want you to enjoy yourself and explore the universe.” His sheer joy always makes me cry.
[A side note that Sarah Lancashire is one of my favorite actresses and totally killed it as Ms. Foster. Sorry I didn’t include any of her scenes in my top three. She’s brilliant, I’m just drawn to these moments a tad more.]
How many ‘love’ lines are there between the Doctor and Rose? About six! And yet it’s talked about as the central spine of the series. Well, that’s a bit disingenuous, because that’s what I wanted, but we didn’t really have to try.
(Shipper) Russell T Davies [Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter, Chapter 4]
I wish more people would write about all the nuggets of
postcolonial commentary in Utopia. Interesting stuff.
Is it xenophobic?
Does it embody some of our worst stereotypes about the “savage”
natives? That’s what I’ve heard said of
the episode before. That’s what I was
tempted to conclude as I started my re-watch, certainly.
But I think there’s a lot more to it than that – the Futurekind,
after all, are never stated to
be the natives of Malcassairo – they’re “what we might become” (not the exact
quote). As we learn through the
Toclafane, in a way, this prophecy is true.
The real natives are Chantho’s people, the Malmooth. Chan, a species so gentle and harmless that
the greatest offence imaginable is not ending a sentence with “tho”, tho.
In the end, it is the human colonists, searching for their
own exotic “utopia”, who become monsters, their quest for survival doomed to
turn them into cannibals. The natives, a
peaceful and kind conglomeration, died out years ago. Their
last vestige is a tender and brave lab scientist, who still respects and
upholds her culture’s customs and beliefs, even long after they have become