The End of Time is the 2 part Swan-song of actor David Tennant on the BBC series Doctor Who.
In it's defense, Part 1 was "the build-up", so it can be expected to not be very filling as it's meant to be the appetizer before the main course. And to be fair, there were brief fleeting moments that succeeded. The best moments in part 1 were when Russel T Davies let everything calm down for a few minutes and just let the characters talk. Bernard Cribbins as Wilf and David Tennant's Doctor had for example a beautiful heartfelt conversation at a diner, two weary old men lamenting the cruel inevitabilities of fate. And when Tennant and John Simm as the Master had their quiet moment of introspection in the wasteland, it was almost poetic.
On the other had we got to see this crap.
A heretofore unheard of multi-millionauire meddling with alien technology he salvaged from Torchwood 3 and aggressively "recruiting" the Master somehow knowing exactly who he is to repair a device so he can make his exceptionally creepy daughter live forever. Oh and we also got to see The Master flaunt his metabolism.
John Simm, to his credit, plays vorasciously starved and complete nutjob Master very well, but I think everyone can agree that the extended shots of "Let's see how fast he can shove a complete meal down his throat like Dom DeLouise on a buffet line" were excessive and just there to kill time. To say nothing of the utter stupidity of how the Master was ressurected, so stupid in fact I'm not even going to describe it. If you want to know, go torture yourself by watching it, I refuse to re-live that travesty.
Anyway, moving on.
As I mentioned, Bernard Cribbins as Wilf was without a doubt the single best thing in both parts, and in Part 1 the key ingrediant that made it watchable.
As Wilf, Cribbins kept the material grounded where Simm went over-the-top and Tennant seemed along for the ride but not quite driving. Wilf's earnest love for the Doctor as a man he not only deeply respects but would be proud to call son is never played for syrup, but always played as honest and frail. And it was nice to see the Doctor with a companion who didn't distract fanboys with porno fantasies. Trust me, even I'd bang Freema Agymen six ways from Sunday and I'm a girl. Wilf on the other hand is like the grandpa we all wish we had. Fun, but knew when to be serious, adventurous, with a bit of a rebel streak.
The other key factors in making Part 1 just captivating enough to keep people willing to watch Part 2 were the two mysterious figures laced throughout the episode. Firstly...
This mysterious woman, even listed in the credits only as "The Woman", kept appearing only to Wilf, giving him cryptic hints about the Doctor's fate and the hand Wilf could or should play in it, first appearing to him in a church where the Tardis was part of a stained glass window image, and second on his TV interrupted the Queen's traditional Christmas Day message.
And then there was the Narrator, the first time Doctor Who has HAD narration that I can recall, a deep sombre mysterious voice telling us about what we were seeing and the hidden significance no one fully realized.
He was revealed to be a Time Lord, and ended the episode by announcing the Time Lords were returning. And by gobbing on the camera.
Part 2 was the meat of the story, and all the good stuff happened here. Through flashbacks we learn that the Time Lords were aware that the Doctor was about to destroy them all, and were desperate for a way to retain their immortality and escape death.
Again, the character conversations were the best parts, with the conversation that The Master and the Doctor had after the near meltdown of Donna being very deep and revealing, with both men letting their gaurd down just enough with each other to wonder about how things could be different if one key thing hadn't been present in their lives; For the Master, the drumming in his head, and for the Doctor, well, the Master himself.
We also learn that the drumming in the Master's head was the doing of the Time Lord high council, as a backdoor for them to escape the time lock that prevents anything escaping from the Time War.
Because part 2 is just so damned good and powerful, I'll stop here. I got my jokes in on Part 1, and Part 2 would be ruined by any further joking or spoilery-ness.
So goodbye David, we'll miss you terribly, and hello Matt Smith, here's wishing you luck.
As Ood Sigma said, this song is ending, but the story NEVER ends.