I need to give a word of warning before I start this one. I ask that you not judge an actor by a role that he plays. David Morrissey played the Governor on The Walking Dead and the character he played was not a nice guy. His role lasted from season 3 in 2012 to season 4 in 2014. In the Doctor Who Christmas special I speak of here he plays a very good man, one out to save others. It took place in 2008 so this character came before he was the Governor.
With the end of season four of Doctor Who we find ourselves with a Christmas episode that many count as the beginning of the season of specials. David Tennant did not have a full series of episodes for his last year in the role, which was 2009. Although this special took place at the end of 2008 and his last episode came in with the new decade, most people count these all under one set. This episode is called “The Next Doctor” and it again comes with another devastating loss. There are some spoilers ahead.
The Next Doctor
The Doctor (David Tennant) has lost another Companion in a very heartbreaking manner. She was his best friend and the most important person in the universe for a while. To save her life he had to make her forget she ever met him and what they had done in their travels.
He also had to say good-bye to his love, his first Companion, again. He leaves her in the dimension she now belongs to. He left her somewhat happy with a part of him this time. It does not make it easier.
The Tenth Doctor is becoming darker and more out of control. This is another step toward his doom. He travels in the TARDIS to London in 1851, seemingly wanting to get away. The first thing he hears, however, is a woman yelling for the Doctor. Being who he is, the Doctor can’t help but run towards the woman.
To his surprise the woman, Rosita (Velile Tshabalala), is not calling for him, she doesn’t even believe he is the Doctor at first. Instead, another person calling himself the Doctor (David Morrissey) comes to her aid. Straight off he thinks that this is a future version of him. Before he has time to talk to him though, a creature attacks them. They give chase but lose it.
After the chase the Doctor starts to talk to this Doctor about their pasts. The unknown Doctor seems not to remember much. He has an excuse involving the cybermen. This Doctor does have a screwdriver, albeit a regular one instead of a sonic one. He also has a “TARDIS” of his own. His TARDIS is an abbreviation for Tethered Aerial Release In Style and it is a hot air balloon. The other Doctor’s stands for, of course, Time and Relative Dimension In Space and is a blue police call box.
Then there is the matter of the cybermen. They are back after the Battle at Canary Warf. They were thrown into the void but found a way out. There has been a rash of disappearances and deaths in London lately that came with them. The cybermen have a human ally with them, Miss Hartigan (Dervla Kirwan). It seems they have promised her a leadership role. How much can a cyberman be trusted, though? The cybermen and Miss Hartigan eventually reveal their plan. The Doctor, as he does many times, offers to take them to a place they can live in peace. Of course, you know the answer.
Whether this other Doctor is the next Doctor and what happens with the cybermen and Miss Hartigan is for you to see. The other Doctor does know that the Tenth Doctor has always traveled with Companions. He asks the Tenth Doctor where his is and is told that they all leave him in the end. The other Doctor then insists that they have Christmas dinner together.
This episode saw the Doctor having some much needed fun but it was also very solemn. It is obvious that all he has lost has taken a toll on him. It is the first time he seems to realize he needs Companions but he also puts them in too much danger. He seems to know that he is near the end of his tenth incarnation.
Next Up: The End of Time Part 1