There are certain moments in television, certain episodes, to which I greatly look forward. Yes, season premieres and finales are most certainly among them; "special" episodes for sweeps tend not to be. On my favorite long-running series though I hugely look forward to episodes in which new main characters are introduced and old ones disappear. It's a delicate balancing act, introducing a character, eliminating another.
These episodes tend to, hopefully, call for big things to happen, and I like to see how they happen. Law & Order is a show which, sometimes, eschews those big stories, people just come and go. Law & Order can get away with that — it's not so much character-based as mystery of the week-based. Doctor Who, however, can't. Doctor Who lives and dies by the Doctor and his companions. Introducing a new Doctor (and, in the new series, a companion) calls for something big, something huge. The same is true of eliminating a Doctor. It takes a special sort of evil alien creation or bit of bad luck for the Doctor to be forced to regenerate into a new form.
Thus, with only five appearances left by David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, I headed into last night's viewing of Doctor Who - "The Next Doctor" - on BBC America with great hope and high anxiety. Yes, David Tennant would still be the Doctor in four upcoming TV movies, but with his departure announced, with Matt Smith already cast as the Eleventh Doctor — would the end of the Tenth Doctor be foreshadowed in "The Next Doctor?" Clearly, as the name of the episode indicates, some wanted us to believe so, but that doesn't actually mean anything. And, if there were hints, would they be obvious enough to glom onto without seeing the next four movies?
The answers to my questions? Who knows. If I had to guess, there is definitely a moment or two in the special that foreshadow the Doctor's death, but I wouldn't care to try to point them out. I'm not sure that they're point out-able. They probably will be once the switch to Smith comes about, but as of this moment, no. I'm going to refer to that as bad wolf-style hints. We all knew when the saying "bad wolf" kept popping up that they were leading us somewhere, that there were hints to be had, but they were exceedingly difficult — if not impossible — to actually put together into any semblance of the truth about what was to happen.