I was quite happy with the conclusion of the Doctor/Rose arc in Journey's End as I wrote about right after it aired:
I love Russell T. Davies, I really do. And I AM thrilled that he found a way in the Doctor Who universe without breaking any unwritten rules of giving The Doctor and Rose a happy ending. I really, really, REALLY love that and so I really, really, REALLY love him. It wasn't perfect, but it was the closest thing that one could get for the Doctor and a companion on this show.And almost five months later, I not only still feel that way, but I actually feel even more strongly about it.
I am genuinely confused by the ire and/or disappointment that some still feel towards RTD and how he brought the Doctor/Rose love story to its end. Based on the logistics of what he had to work with -- the Who universe itself, Billie Piper done -- I thought he did everything he could. He gave the Doctor/Rose shippers the ONLY possible outcome for a happy ending with Piper leaving the show by giving the Doctor and Rose the only possible non-death, happy outcome that he could possibly give them within the confines of the structure of the show and the logistics of the actors not staying beyond this series. Because a Rose who didn't die would NEVER have willingly left the Doctor ... unless, she had the Doctor (albeit, with a few changes, incidentally ones that will allow him to be with her fully in every way). THAT is what RTD gave us even within the logistics of actors' schedules and the structure of a long-running television show.
I know that much of that disappointment that is felt comes from the fact that while Rose and TenII have that happily-ever-after, what about Ten, traveling alone with no Rose, no Donna? Well, while I don't see him as happy as Rose and TenII, I still do see a much, much happier Doctor than we did in series three and four. I see this because I do believe that the Doctor loved Rose Tyler unconditionally and absolutely and of paramount importance to him was her happiness. He knew -- no matter how he tried to convince himself otherwise -- that without him, Rose would never be happy in the alternate universe. He knew that. And so whenever he thought of her, he knew that she was as miserable as he was, which then likely made him more miserable. Now, though, he can't not believe that she isn't happy. Despite how selfish he can be, he can also be incredibly selfless and he did mean that knowing that Rose is truly happy, he can now be content himself because he gave her an undreamed of happy ending with him. (And, yes, he would believe it fully because he's rather an arrogant one and I don't think he could possibly conceive of Rose NOT being happy with someone who looks like him, talks like him, basically is him.)
In my opinion, this goes back to threads that Davies laid out throughout the series, going back to series one episode, "Father's Day," the Doctor said to the about-to-be-married pair:
I've traveled to all sorts of places. Done things you couldn't even imagine, but... you two... street corner. Two in the morning. Getting a taxi home. I've never had a life like that.And then to Rose in "Doomsday" ...
Living a life day after day. The one adventure I can never have.And this is clearly an adventure he does want -- at least with Rose, it's possible he's felt the pull before, but I do believe that the tangible wanting of it never hit him until he fell in love with Rose -- and yet, as a Time Lord, it's one that he can never have.
The Doctor: I don't age. I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone who you --He said it right there without actually saying it: He wants to spend the rest of his life with her, but he can't. But now, in a way, he can ...
Rose: What, Doctor?
The Doctor: You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the Time Lords.
The Doctor: I look like him and I think like him ... same memories, same thoughts, same everything. Except, I've only got one heart.You know, I tried to continue this sentence pointing out that technically it was a different man, or technically it's TenII saying this and not the Doctor who said those things to her in "School Reunion," but neither sentence works because that's the beauty of it all. It *isn't* a different man, and it IS the same Doctor from "School Reunion." There are just two of the same man, one with the added bonus of being able to have that adventure, have that life. And that is why I do believe Ten (and not just TenII and Rose) will be happy.
Rose: Which means?
Doctor: I'm part human. Specifically the aging part. I'll grow old and never regenerate. I've only got one life... Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you. If you want.
Rose: You'll grow -- grow old at the same time as me?
The Doctor: Together.
True, Ten doesn't have Rose and that adventure, but that's the key to why I believe that he'll have a sense of happiness now that wasn't possible without Rose (or even with a Rose who would wither and decay before his eyes): The Doctor NEVER thought he'd truly be able to have Rose and that adventure, but now, through the miracle of the metacrisis at the perfect time, a part of him DOES have that, and even more importantly, ROSE has him and a full, complete life with him. If he truly loves her unconditionally (as I believe he does), how can he NOT be happy about that after the initial, understandable, self-pitying grief has worn off?
How I see it is that it wasn't about the Doctor continuing his cycle of guilt-stricken grief. He wasn't thinking that he didn't deserve Rose and happiness because of all of the blood on his hands. No, he didn't give her up to be miserable, he didn't just say 'oh well, life sucks and so do I for all I've caused, you go and live happily ever after with my copy now so I can wallow in self-pity.' Ten looked at the situation and saw that here was another him, with the ability to live a full, complete life with the woman they both desperately love (because they *are* the same man), without having to hold back for any reason (legitimate or not). Rose could be happy *truly happy* and thus he would be happy *truly happy* that she could have that. They could have that. So now, Ten can carry on with what he feels is his Time Lord responsibility with a clear heart knowing that he gave the love of his life the greatest gift that he could possibly have ever imagined giving her ... one that he never thought *was* possible.
Or as Russell T Davies said it himself, speaking for Ten, in the Journey's End commentary (thanks to butterfly for the transcript):
You're giving her the biggest present in the world. Because even if you did pop across from a different parallel universe, you're still nine hundred years old. So, it's never, ever, ever going to work. And you know that she would devote herself to you and leave her family and stay on the TARDIS and die of old age in front of you, so you did exactly the right thing here.Now that he has that, there will be a contentedness, a quiet joy when he thinks of her with the perfect him (in his mind) for her. Yes, it will be paired with the inevitable sadness that that life is not his. However, he loves her so much that her happiness -- something he knew she did NOT have without any him there with her -- is paramount to his happiness. So now he'll always have that knowledge; he'll always know that there was a him who was able to love his Rose as fully and completely as possible.
And both "The Music of the Spheres" --
-- and the preview of "The Next Doctor" --
-- are proof of that, I think.
We have two instances of the Doctor clearly post-Journey's End (yes, I know that he's wearing the blue suit in the former, but I don't think that means it's TenII, just that the Doctor has multiple versions of the same outfit). And in both of these, he looks and acts happy. There is a serene contentment about him, and it matches perfectly with my own vision of how things fell into place in the best way they possibly could. Is he as happy as he was with Rose? No, but he found some happiness with Donna, and a joy in exploring the universe again a bit ... and he did that while mourning Rose and thinking neither one of them would ever have that true happiness. Now, he knows that she and a version of him will, so he can now experience a level of joy that wasn't possible before.
The way I see it, Russell T Davies gave the Doctor/Rose shippers an absolutely amazing gift. He came up with a beautifully romantic and wonderfully crack-tastic way of making our OTP canon and giving them a happy ending in a way that did not destroy the premise of the show (and allowed for the actors' schedules). Yes, the execution could have been better, but it was still pretty damn good and with time and money constraints? I'm thrilled with what we got. The Doctor and Rose actually got a happily-ever-after. And so did Ten because he knows that a part of himself now will experience that one adventure that he thought he could never have ... and wonder of wonders, he (sort of) is experiencing it with the love of his life.
How is that *NOT* the most awesome thing ever?