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Ten Was Not Cowardly! An Argument Against His Return To “Doctor Who”!

Ten returns to Doctor Who (2005-present) as the Fourteenth Doctor. I truly hope it doesn’t turn into Russell T. Davies “making up for” how Ten departed. If it is, it’s unnecessary and paints an unfair depiction of Ten which fans debate: that Ten was a bit of a coward at the end of his run. Geek News Now posits his return is an unnecessary fan fix and explores how Ten’s original departure from Doctor Who was perfect.

The Problem

Lately I’ve seen fans comment about how when Ten said “I don’t want to go!” it seems a bit cowardly of The Doctor. This is backed up by other fans suggesting that Ten’s outburst at facing his own death and regeneration to save Wilfred Mott — “Well exactly! Look at you; not remotely important! But me? I could do so much more! SO MUCH MORE!! But this is what I get; my reward… AND IT’S NOT FAIR!!!” — is very anti-Doctor and, again, a touch “cowardly”.

I strongly disagree with this perspective.

Ten becomes the Time Lord Victorious! Picture credit to YouTube (via “Doctor Who” channel)

The Time Lord “Vainglorious”

I think it’s very right that Ten’s regeneration showed him sad to leave; even a bit temperamental about it at first. It fit this Doctor incarnation perfectly. Why? Because something fans kinda forget in their love of the character: The Doctor is not perfect… Like, at all… Oh sure, they accept “The Doctor lies”, but they don’t seem to allow for The Doctor to have flaws which make the character a bit more humble or capable of being humbled.

Some of the great character moments of The Doctor come from his/her flaws. It’s fair to say each incarnation is a bit full of themselves in a safe amount. They’re benevolent and kind, some stricter than others and some more carefree, but still a bit full of themselves and their own strengths compared to other beings. Ten is very much an example of this because despite his being a relatively good person with his limits, he was — it must be said here and now — a bit vainglorious… From a Google search, “vainglorious” being defined as: “excessively proud of oneself or one’s achievements; overly vain.”

It’s Ten talking with Wilfred about his own brilliance and its downfalls to others in The End of Time Part 1. It’s Ten deciding the laws of time are his to control and becoming the Time Lord Victorious even briefly. Or it’s Ten siphoning off the rest of his first regeneration into his severed hand to make sure he himself doesn’t change… “I didn’t need to change. I didn’t want to. Why would I? Look at me!” And it’s Ten in many respects along his journey because like every Doctor incarnation he too is a bit full of his own importance.

“It’s my honor!” said Ten before saving Wilfred. Picture credit to YouTube (via “TheOncomingStorm” channel)

Ten’s True Doctor Moment

It makes sense that Ten reacted like he did when his end came. Consider when he voiced his fears of regeneration to Wilfred while it’s still in an unknown (but closing) distance. Ten shared a perspective that “some new man goes sauntering away” with his body while everything his personality was effectively dies forever. He is the only Doctor incarnation who voiced a fear of death; of the adventure ending in any way.

So when he faced a choice to run away and live or save Wilfred and die/regenerate into a new person altogether, Ten very understandably reacted poorly at first out of fear. Ultimately, Ten did what each Doctor would do and sacrificed himself to save his friend. One could say that his time toward the end in that truly vainglorious “Time Lord Victorious” mode, well, he snapped out of it after his outburst. Ten sobered up and became the most “Doctor” he ever was.

That is character arc! Something Doctor Who missed over Chris Chibnall’s era of control; but I digress.

Ten says “I don’t want to go!” Picture credit to radiotimes.com

And though afraid, Ten was no less brave when he faced the actual end with inescapable regeneration! He said simply and truthfully: “I don’t want to go!” This was back when an incarnation was effectively dead and gone with each regeneration and it was a sad time seeing each Doctor depart.

Ten and Fourteen; the same man, but two different regenerations! Picture credit to quora.com

Final Thought

With the return of ex-showrunner Russell T. Davies comes the return of Ten’s personality in the Fourteenth Doctor! And if this is going to be Davies’ re-do of Ten’s departure to make him appear “less cowardly”, it’s unnecessary. Ten may have been vainglorious, but he ultimately faced his end in true Doctor fashion. It should have stayed that way.

What do you think of Ten returning as the Fourteenth Doctor? Comment below! Check out this Geek News Now article about five questions fans will be asking about the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary special until its November premiere! Also, subscribe to Geek News Now and give its Facebook page a like!

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