So I may practically worship 9 but I see the power in 10. The Doctor that is. “Doctor who?” you ask. This post is probably not for you.
As a stand alone performance the 10th Doctor is pretty strong, not as strong as 9 as a stand alone though and 10 has the benefit of many more episodes and stronger writing, in my opinion. The true value of 10 I feel is in acting the relief to the final strong moments 9 showed.
Where 9 was full of content smiles and a very few moments of pure extreme emotion 10 lives his entire life through swinging emotions.
He is spontaneous and erratic and his emotions mirror that through rapid and extreme changes. When he is happy he practically bounces with energy. When he is angry he can yell, which is intimidating, or her can glare, which is chillingly scary. He can crack jokes while taking a life threatening situation in stride. But if he gets mad he gets cold. He can bring down a PM with 6 words. He isn’t keen on second chances once his favour is lost.
He never lies with his emotions when it is important which is a stark contradiction to 9. But that is okay. It allows the new Doctor to grow and embrace love. And that gives us strong moments in his episodes such as when he loses Rose, when he saves the Roman family, when he messes with a set point in time going from strong denial of fate to despair upon realizing that he can’t fix things, and when he sees all his companions with ways to create mass destruction and feels he has corrupted them.
If it was just the range of emotions the actor has I would not be as impressed with him as a sort of foil for 9. What I enjoy is the rawness of the emotion being worn so openly after seeing it smothered previously.
And it is important to note that deep down 10 is still the same Doctor as 9. He manages to be so different, making the role his own, but still be the same man. The 10th is still self-loathing at times. He still is plagued by the fact that he can’t fix everything and that he has to see everyone die. He regrets attachments and dragging people into his life but is afraid to be alone with himself. He accepts with resignation death. He still wants to run away, especially when fate comes knocking but he will risk his life again and again when it really matters because that is who he is even if he sees himself as a murderer and coward.
10 is a smart and well executed answer to the subdued power I love in 9. But he is also allowed to grow and heal. That is important if we are to get the most out of his fall. Because he loves himself a little more, “I don’t want to go,” moves even me, a jaded, disillusioned person who makes no claims about having a heart, to a few tears.