Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor regenerating

Jodie Whittaker Takes Her Final Bow in a Powerful ‘Doctor Who’ Regeneration

Jodie Whittaker’s era of Doctor Who was one that came with a lot of changes. It was a new showrunner, a new Doctor, and all new companions, and it was an uphill battle from the start. And while showrunner Chris Chibnall tried to do something new with his era of Doctor Who, it didn’t always work and many fans found themselves struggling. But Whittaker’s final bow and her regeneration scene was the moment that, for me, gave us the closure we needed and proved that Whittaker understood the Doctor as the best of them do.

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A regeneration scene is, in my opinion, the most important part of a Doctor’s farewell. The episode as a whole can help set the scene, but if the Doctor’s last moments don’t pack that powerful punch, none of it was worth it. There are regenerations that can ruin a take on the Doctor for some. Like I am still angry about David Tennant’s departure from Doctor Who, given how Ten yelled at Wilf. So it delights me to say that Jodie Whittaker went out with an absolutely brilliant fine line as well as a beautiful sendoff for herself and Yaz (Mandip Gill).

As the Doctor is fighting the Master (Sacha Dhawan), she’s forced into a regeneration so that the Master and the Doctor can be one, and for a long while, I assumed that it would mean that the forced regeneration, and then the switch back, would be the cause of Whittaker’s transformation. Instead, it was a different act of revenge on the Doctor from the Master.

He uses a power source to hit himself and the Doctor, and as Yaz is carrying her back to the TARDIS, it is obvious that her regeneration is coming. At first, Thirteen is mad that her time is up, but she doesn’t yell at anyone in the way that Ten did. She just simply doesn’t want her time as the Doctor to come to an end. But as she’s preparing to regenerate, she does what makes her happy.

Let’s not say goodbye

When Yaz and the Doctor know that their time is limited, the two go and get ice cream together and sit on top of the TARDIS as it is floating through space. But they won’t say goodbye to each other. Instead, the Doctor drops Yaz off like normal and goes on alone—which is telling for her as a Doctor.

Some want to be with those they love, others want to be alone, but the Doctor and Yaz not wanting to say goodbye to each other? That shows how deep their love for each other goes while also making the Doctor’s regeneration still hers—and not putting those last moments on Yaz, either, as other Doctors have done.

It also sets up a “support” group for former companions by the end. Graham and Dan find Yaz and bring her to the group, and everyone is talking about their time with the Doctor, and so she not only has a support system in place, but she didn’t have to watch as the Doctor regenerated and deal with that in ways that other companions have.

Tag, you’re it.

For me, “Tag, you’re it” will rank highly up there alongside my personal favorite, which is “I will always remember when the Doctor was me” from Eleven’s regeneration. The Doctor either embraces where their regeneration is taking them or fights the time they’ve lost, and to see Jodie Whittaker open her arms and tag in the next Doctor? It was pretty amazing.

I know the reviews are mixed on not only this episode but Whittaker’s run as a whole, but I loved her take on the Doctor and she will be missed.

(featured image: BBC America)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.