It was a bit of an uneven episode, to be honest (I prefer The End of Time, make of that what you will), but the last ten minutes was glorious.
The End of Time was amazing for the raw narrative alone. For once the companions of the Doctor, the people we all more or less use as touching stones as viewers, are not left holding the wrong end of the stick and end up as all his previous companions do. Instead, they are all left happy, successful, and alive. He even goes one step further and ensures they all reintegrate with life without him in a way that allows them to know he'll always be there even though he'll probably never be there for them again as he is as the 10th Doctor. He has for once in all of his journeys kept his friends and companions and loved ones alive through the thickest of all the perils he has faced up until that point. The journey to that point changed him. You saw him go from the goofy over compenstaing shell shocked war survivor that was Christopher Ecclston to the
charming, intelligent, confident, brave man that he always was but the time war nearly broke due to the awful choice it forced upon him.
This makes the very ending all the more heart breaking because he has done so much and has gone through so much in that body that he doesn't want to go. He doesn't want to have to move on like all Timelords must. He wants to stay who he is as his experiences have defined him to be in the form of the 10th Doctor. He had finally come to terms with the fall of his people and he didn't have to be so angry and alone anymore. He was finally moving on and becoming his own person which, of course, makes it all the more tragic and sad when you see him so broken having the barest kind of contact with someone else. The last bit always makes me tear up as he says, "I don't want to go...".
This makes it very hard to compare the 10th and 11th Doctors. They were both very different. The 10th wanted to stay even if he was in pain because he had been through so much even if he had reservations about how much he had seen or at least that is my interpretations of the writing. The 11th on the otherhand having an extra 400 years of time plus adventuring in between and having gone through several tragedies-both immense and miniscule in scope-didn't really face the traumatic emotions of it all. He didn't have to. He was just moving passed them and moving on all throughout his run no matter how awful. He was simply too old to let himself be caught up in it even if he had to face it having gone through so much tragedy and pain in his life throughout the iterations. He would just keep moving on regardless of what it did to himself(Amy telling him he shouldn't travel alone anymore because it nearly made him ready to kill in A Town called Mercy is an example).
I think this character development plus the fast paced adventurous writing of Steve Moffet made the 11th Doctor so devoid of the emotional checks he had previously that when it came time for him to move on it wasn't as dramatic as it could be. He was ready to move on. He understood he had received more regernations and logically he didn't mind. He saw Amy in his last moments one last time and that might have been one of the few things holding him back. He had securely kept another companion so safe that she saved him throughout existence as well in the form of Clara Oswald. So, he was ready. Now I don't mean on the whole he was cold and badly written as a Doctor but if you ever see a true veteran of anything in life...they simply aren't surprised when surprises happen and rapid change desceneds. So, I think this made the finale a little weak but character wise not hard to understand at all. He is simply the 11th Doctor and he didn't mind moving on. He wanted to go.
So, in so many words, I agree. The last ten minutes was pretty phenomenal television.
This is what makes me curious about this new iteration. He could be so brand new with a new line of regernations that he doesn't remember anything anymore hence the question to Clara, "Can you drive this thing?" or he is playing the fool because this new face needs to figure out this technically new companion?
I don't know. I'm still on overload here. I marathoned through the modern series' one after the other this last month and a half and my head hurts.