I have to admit, when I first heard about Eccleston leaving, I was rather angry with him. But after the showing of End of the World, I’m actually becoming excited about the prospect. No, not because I dislike Eccleston, in fact I was upset because I liked his performance.
Knowing that his Doctor is going to die is actually making the drama and tragedy of this Doctor all that more intense. Here’s a Time Lord, the last of his kind perhaps. When he first left Gallifrey, he was sad because of what he’d left behind, yet could take some small comfort that maybe one day he could go home. For the new Doctor, though, he’s lost it all. There’s no home to go to.
You can see that the time war has done so much to him. The fighting alone would leave scars, but the loss of Gallifrey even more so. He’s obviously used to traveling alone again, at least in the beginning of Rose, and almost seems to be doing so just to run away from the guilt and the pain. He seems to actively enjoy the idea of tossing himself into situations where there’s danger, with his “fantastic!” response to knowing there’s no one to help them in EotW. It’s like he’s actively hoping to end it all in one of these episodes, to go out with a bang.
And then Rose Tyler comes along, forcing herself into his life, and he starts to feel again. But the pain is still there. It’s enough to cause him to react rather badly toward Cassandra when her actions cause Jabe’s death. But he’s opening up again, with his admission to Rose, starting to feel again.
So I’m actually beginning to like the idea of this being a Doctor who’s been hurt bad and can only heal himself by making the ultimate sacrifice toward the end of the season. It makes the tragedy elements that much more intense, and will allow for a new Doctor to come along next season with a renewed sense of purpose.