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DOCTOR WHO Review: The Time of the Doctor (SPOILERS!)

That’s that, then, is it? The Doctor is gone, long live the Doctor. I’m sure “The Time of the Doctor” isn’t what most people thought it would be, and it might leave a percentage of fandom cold, but from where I’m sitting, next to my mom’s Christmas tree after a festive and joyful day, I can’t think of a better way for the Eleventh Doctor to end his tenure that began a week shy of four years ago when a 20-something goofball checked in to see if he had all his appendages, if he was a girl, and if he was ginger. There were lots of loose ends for writer Steven Moffat to tie up, but somehow he did it. Again, whether or you think he did a good job of it is another matter. I’ll say this, though: it had no potions or physics-defying not-deaths. Matt Smith got to be the hero he always was and go out with class.

As I said before, Moffat had a lot to do, what with us still not knowing how the Doctor ended up on Trenzalore, why the first question was the first question, why “silence will fall,” and how he could get around those pesky regenerations. It’s as though Moff creates problems just so he has to solve them, like he has a split personality when he writes. Granted, a lot of the problems stemmed from Series 6, which is easily my least favorite, and the least focused. It may seem like a hand wave the way things ended up, but it’s actually very clever (if easy), and it cleans the slate rather nicely for the next fellow. More on that later.

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So, “The Time of the Doctor” is all about inevitability, fate if you will. We know, even if the characters don’t, that Smith is leaving the show and Peter Capaldi is taking over, but the whole of the series has been about changing the future. If “The Day of the Doctor” taught us nothing, it’s that not only can time be rewritten, but popular fan wisdom as well. If you don’t like the music, change the station; If you don’t like the future, make a new one. How does the Doctor reconcile not wanting to die, but knowing he must? The truth? He doesn’t, but that’s where friends come in, yet again.

After being tricked into going to Trenzalore by the Church of the Papal Mainframe, the Doctor finds in the perpetually truthful town of Christmas the crack in the fabric of the universe, the very same crack he faced before and made “The Big Bang” happen, only this time it’s a question being asked by a long-forgotten, and long-destroyed, world: Gallifrey. They need to know the Doctor is who he says he is, and so ask the question to which the Doctor cannot lie in order to come back into this reality. However, for him to bring the Time Lords back will mean the re-igniting of the Time War, with the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Weeping Angels, and even the Terileptils (who get name-checked) all waiting to make it happen. The Doctor knows he can’t abandon these people, and the Papal Mainframe instigate silence to make sure he doesn’t speak the name. He sends Clara back to her home in the TARDIS and spends the next 300 years foiling every plot and attempt to attack the good people of Christmas, Trenzalore.

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It’s this action that is the perfect farewell to the Eleventh Doctor. He’s the Doctor, more than any other, who has run away and not wanted to be tied to any one place or time. Remember how bent out of shape he got in “The Power of Three” after just a couple of days? So here is he, the Doctor who wouldn’t stay still, who lived many hundreds of years more than we’ve ever seen onscreen, compelled to stay put to save each and every life he can. He isn’t pissed off that he has so much more to do in this form; this is his last form, and he’s going to save every single person he possibly can, even if that’s only in one place. He’s always had a scheme or two, but this time it’s just him standing in between innocents and death. Finally, it’s Clara, who finds her way back to him for a third time, who is able to save him by beseeching the Time Lords from through the crack. And it works, because who else can eventually free them?

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There’s tons of other stuff worth mentioning here before I get to the final scene, so here we go: I love that the Doctor makes friends with a Cyberman’s head. Adorable. I love how well Moffat writes Clara, and how well Jenna Coleman plays her. She’s the most compelling companion in ages. I love how everybody in Christmas draws pictures of their hero and celebrates him. I love how they figured out a way around Matt having shaved his head. Genius. I didn’t much care for the nudity joke, especially because it didn’t seem to matter beyond the initial joke, but it didn’t spoil things too much. I loved the puppet show with the Monoid puppet. I loved seeing old, senile Eleven, muttering to himself. And most of all, I loved seeing Matt Smith being Matt Smith.

Now, for the final scene. It was perhaps the most important thing to me that “The Time of the Doctor” did two things: 1) make sense on its own terms without being too complicated (which it did about 80%), and 2) to allow the Eleventh Doctor to go out with dignity and both appreciate the sadness of leaving without casting a pall over the new. The second passed with flying colors. Smith returned to his young self in order to say goodbye to Clara, but he also sees the first face his face saw with a surprise appearance by Karen Gillan. It was a bit hokum, but still really nice. Then, the Eleventh Doctor says his final words, and they aren’t “I don’t want to go;” they’re his (and Smith’s and Moffat’s) way of saying that remembering THIS Doctor shouldn’t mean casting aspersions on any other Doctor and that each incarnation is as important as the last or the next. It was classy, exactly as classy as the Eleventh Doctor (but the Thirteenth Form) always was.

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I don’t know about you all, but the Eleventh Doctor was MY Doctor, and I will of course always remember the time when the Doctor was he. BUT! We get our first, very fleeting glimpse of the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi, who is just as intense and strange as we probably expected. He knows the color of his kidneys and doesn’t know how to fly the TARDIS, so we’re definitely going to have a lot to get used to, but we have plenty of time to make peace with our goodbyes to Matt Smith before we officially say hello to Peter Capaldi. Thanks for everything, Mr. Smith. You were splendid. Until our paths cross again in the 60th Anniversary Special in 2023, Geronimo!

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82 comments

  • I’d like to *be* Ten, but Matt Smith is my Doctor. It seems like he was the Doctor for the longest, he lived from around 900-1600 years, easily making him the longest incarnation. Its convenient all his enemies forgot him while having the same face. I was initially worried at the Eccleston-Tennant regeneration but I was wrong. I was worried when I found out Matt Smith was taking the role. I am no longer worried, I’ve learned to love the bomb. I’m sure Capaldi will do fine.

  • So many people felt the show was rushed – too many details. I don’t think it was rush, it was a bit too long and it could used more editing. I would have had clara be the narrator, eliminated the scenes that didn’t include her as an observer and I would have skip the Christmas dinner at the Oswalds. It could have focused on Clara’s catch phrase run you silly boy run and each time she sees him, she learns more and more, why he can’t. Also, I would have drawn on her being the impossible girl a little more in terms of her being able to reach out to the time lords by reaching into the crack and clara convincing them to help because they can’t come back without the doctor. It would seem less dues ex machina and it would be in character with the time lords

  • A few things. 1) The Doctor wasn’t tricked into going to Trenzalore. He was simply called to investigate. As far as I know, from their reaction to his question, the church didn’t seem aware that was supposed to be his end. 2) Also, the article made it sound like his fate in Trenzalore was averted. Just because he avoided dying there this time, doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be buried there. Though I suppose the crack in time makes anything possible. 3) Perhaps season 6 didn’t have full focus, but it was still one of my favorite seasons. The white house visit, the astronaut killing him, the Silence, the adventures with River, etc.. all awesome. 4) The nude gag was hilarious. 5) I do agree with most of article. Thanks for writing

  • Only Matt wears Bow Ties?! Are you kidding me?! Just HOW stupid are SOME fans?! Helllllooooo?!
    Matt himself said he was COPYING THE SECOND DOCTOR you babbling moron! sheesh! What a stupid thing to say. RME
    I’m waiting to watch this laughable disaster of a story. I’ve already heard from many friends that it was a joke of an ending. Yes, little Miss Moffat ties up some loose ends but in the most haphazard manner.
    sending Clara home?! You mean like the 9th Doctor did?

  • How did the Doctor age so much in 300 years? He was gone once before for 300 years, when he went from 900 to 1200, and he didn’t age a day!

    Why does he feel the Timelords will come in peace? Thats great the planet was saved, and I loved the Day of the Doctor episode, but when David Tennant was the Doctor, he rejected their coming back because they were going to destroy the universe or something like that.

    Clara is a great companion, but I still liked Amy better. She always had better chemistry with the Doctor. Her character grew over time.

  • I have no other place to post this but as people morn the departure of Matt Smith as Dr. Who, he, along with David tenant, is of the child-man form of dr. Who. Just look at them next john hurt in the day of the doctor – Smith and Tenent are just teenagers in their portrayal of the dr as well as their acting abilities. I long for an adult Dr. who like Eccelston that brought depth, intelligence and strength to the character. I also long for the more adult writing of Russell T Davies who has control over his stories and can edit his work. Moffat writes comic book stories for teenage boys with occasional moments of depth and maturity. It just takes too much effort now to find those moments. Just as Matt smith says goodbye to dr. Who so will I, it’s just not worth my time anymore

  • .
    It was a brilliant send off filled with heart, story, characters, previous plots, friends and enemies.

    Thank you Steven.

    Thank you Matt…you were wonderful.

    Thanks Kyle for keeping the voice of the Doctor alive and well on Nerdist.

    Peace & the new Doctor….is…IN.

    3ToF….naming his cyberman head ‘wilson’.

  • While I”ve watched “WHO” since the Peter Davison years, Matt Smith’s “11” has been my favorite to date. I also enjoy Jenna Coleman and the way she portrays Clara. I find her eyes to be very expressive and I think her timing’s great.

    I’ve been thinking on “Time Of The Doctor” overnight and here’s where I get stuck. I’ll accept that the Doctor would have ended up buried on Trensalore as explained in “Name Of The Doctor”. We all might have presumed that it was 11’s generation that was buried there (as did the Doctor himself). Had he not saved Gallifrey in “Day Of The Doctor” and altered his future, Timelords wouldn’t be there to give him a fresh re-generation cycle.

    The 300-year battle 11 was fighting would have would fit the account of the Doctor’s death as described by the GI in “Name Of The Doctor”. It was minor by the Doctor’s standards and it proved to be “more than the old man could take.” But . . . had the Doctor not saved Gallifrey, there would have been no reason for 11 (and the Daleks, Cybermen, et. al) investigate the tones in the first place and the “skirmish” would never have broken out. So, my interpretation is that another future re-generation of the Doctor rests finally at Trensalore.

    And another thing . . . I agree w/others about River Song. Since she has a connection w/Clara, would it not have been fitting for River’s echo on the TARDIS to retrieve Clara rather than Tasha Lem?

    Did we learn that Clara is somehow not human? The Silence ordered the human race to “kill them on sight”, but Clara seemed little more than curious when she encountered the confessional priest(s).

    I’ll buy that the Time Lords realized the war was going on and sent 11 energy to re-generate so he can aide their return to this “universe” in the future.

    Here’s the thing I keep getting stuck on, Before the Time Lords gave him energy, the Doctor told Clara he was on his last re-generation. At the time he froze Gallifrey, the Doctor hadn’t re-generated past 8, but the High Council notes “all 12″ . . . amending to “all 13″. 13 Doctors would have been correct to everyone except 11 (and maybe 10, depending on when events took place in his cycle). But all the Doctors were in communication at Gallifrey. 11 HAD to know there were more to come.

  • I was not thrilled with this episode, to say the least. I’m a new Doctor Who convert, and I’ve seen about 90% of the episodes, pretty much only NuWho. I love it, and I was prepared to love this one, but it just fell flat. I’ve never seen something before that was both confusing and drop-dead dull. I literally turned off my computer and thought to myself, “WTF did I just watch?” The plot lines were manifold and incredibly strange, there were SO MANY unnecessary elements (Weeping Angels? Come on, what was the point, especially considering that they were able to GRAB CLARA’S ANKLE for Heaven’s sake) and the ones that were actually part of the plot line just made no sense. The thing with Clara’s family and the turkey was almost funny but not quite (it was like it was trying too hard) and the whole nudity bit just seemed gratuitous and ridiculous. Tasha Lem was incredibly pointless as a character and little has confused me as much as the town of Christmas. The pre-regeneration scene was nice, and I liked Eleven as an old man, but Capaldi’s Doctor is getting me nervous. It was like his idea of the role is to be Eleven but older and it just doesn’t fit him. He has some serious redeeming of self to start.

  • Dr Who is my favorite show, and the only one I watch religiously. Tom Baker is my Doc. I loved Tennant and was iffy about Smith at first, but he really grew and made the role his own. Brilliant. Peter Capaldi will be absolutely glorious if he is allowed to breathe.

    But for gods sake, I REALLY hope the Beeb considers what they’ve got here, and what a waste it will be if they don’t step up the writing. The strengths of the actors have been carrying this show for at least a couple seasons, IN SPITE of Moffats writing.

    Peter has a raw intensity and realism that is a precious rarity, and it begs for a more adult, almost punk, rendition of everything: the TARDIS, the Dialogue, the stories, man, give him something serious and real to focus on, some out-in-the-open exploring to do, and something cataclysmic he can’t solve. Key of Time stuff. New worlds, new species, quit pussyfooting around and bring Gallifrey and the Time Lords back and deal with the consequences. Should have done that in this episode. They already were being attacked, there was no reason not to. …among other stupidity.

    Obviously Moffat is out of his depth at this point. I mean, he forgot how friggin Angels work… Hire some friggin sci-fi writers already, there are millions of talented writers with a great idea or two. But for the love of Pete, this shows clearly too big for one writer to be doing it all himself by now.

    I’ll miss Matt. Glad to see Peter C chosen as his successor. Now if they’d just get out of his way, and keep this from being purely a children’s cartoon…

  • A few things not mentioned here that I loved. Because the 11th Doctor is My Doctor

    The poem for the 11th hour and such was spectacular.
    The theme from the song “Wake Up” was slightly use from the episode Rings of Akhaten. Which is a fitting song and also because it was really Clara’s first adventure with the Doctor. (off planet that is)

    I have been wondering for ages when they were going to explain how someone got into the Tardis controls to blow up the universe.

    The Cyber head dying scene really showed how The Doctor had grown old. Young him would have gotten angry and probably thrown of punted the head, but it’s like Amy in “Amy’s Choice” with her Robot “Rory” it was his true companion. He thanked it this time instead and gave it’s one last reminder to The Doctor to fix the phone.

    Don’t know how necessary Amy was at the end, but kinda wish there was a bit of River in there. But I always want a bit of River but she wasn’t necessary for the plot. But perhaps for his Goodbyes it was better with just Clara and Amy. As the Doctor doesn’t like goodbyes.

    I loved seeing the Doctor Age because as River says he doesn’t like to see other people age. And he allowed himself to age and to become old and frail. “When one is in love with an Ageless God” as River says.

    After seeing Peter’s short performance as the new Doctor I don’t think I am going to have a problem with him at all as The Doctor. I also loved the excellent choice and change in the music that was made at that time. It really helped I think with his sudden appearance and being right in Clara’s face.

    As people have said before the Bow Tie was beautiful.

    I thought for a bit that Clara knew his name because she was the only one in “The Name of the Doctor” who could hear River Song (besides as we learn The Doctor) and she was the one who said his name to the Tardis. So I thought Clara was going to tell the Time Lords his name.

    I still don’t quite understand how the Silence fit in exactly. I will need to watch it again to get that completely out of it. But I do believe there was an explenation there.

  • I think all the drawings and children and everything were also in Homage to Amelia’s character as a child and the waiting she had to do and the faith she had in him. Her continuous faith in him through the drawings and dolls she made of her Raggedy Man and those children who he is the hero to. And the Hero he is to us.

  • Interesting review. I feel this was not a proper sendoff for Matt at all. I feel making him age was both confusing and a means of giving up. To be honest, nothing happened in this episode. The Doctor ran away from everything and ultimately chose to do nothing, which I don’t think was Matt’s style at all. As for his final speech, I feel it was filled with cliches and ambiguous moral lessons about life. Too literal and the bow tie dropping to the ground was, to me, a symbol of the show going downhill. I do hope the best for it’s continued success, however, I fear that based on this episode, we cannot look forward to unresolved themes or anything new from the 12th or rather 13th doctor.

  • I agree pretty wholeheartedly with your review. There are a few nits I could puck (the angel grabbing Clara, the cyber head schtick that went on about two minutes too long, Clara’s family being dreadful but super realistic) but it hit all the major things that I needed, primarily:

    – considering the implications of 10.5 on the character. It always bugged me that Tennant kinda cheated himself into more time, and here we finally see there was a cost- one regeneration gone, putting 11 on his last life, which gave a bit more weight to the aborted goodbye tour in S6.

    – played to Matt’s strengths. His cool not coolness, his love of a powerful woman, his grand raging against the dying of the light really resonated. And he got a scene with Amelia Pond, who defined this Doctor in way that no companion ever has. Possibly my favorite companion goodbye ever, and this after hating Amy Pond for years.

    -his wisdom in finally accepting the death and rebirths that he has been running from with every regeneration for YEARS. Classy, indeed.

  • In th day of the doctor,all the doctors come together -including Capaldis doctor to move Gallifrey into another universe.So why then was Matt Smith’s doctor in this episode not expecting another regeneration.He should have been confused to how he would regenerate, but also known it was going to happen.

  • Hi everyone, Tennant & Smith were great but very safe and fluffy. Matt Smith will always be the Torry painfully middle class Doctor to me. There is to much romancing with companions. Those of you who grew up with Tom Baker, Pertwee or McCoy will know that Doctor could turn on them in almost a Bi-Polar way. solitarians were a vicious ruthless enemy and now there a comedy double act. The show has gone to soft. Mr Moffat knows this this is why Peter Capaldi has been cast. Its time for all the fluffy lovey dovey stuff to end and go back to the dark side. Capaldi will be sarcastic, agressive and whacky!. I expect he will be somewhere between Hartnell and Tom Baker in his way of talking to people and taking care of business. I think the Cybermen and Daleks have had a fair run for now. They both appear to feature on everyone episode and it takes away from the times in the past where you waited seasons to see a Dalek and it was worth the wait. I want see a return of Sea Devils, Evil like weng chiang or the Mummys of Mars. Come on Mr Moffat scare us like the good old days. No more romantic moments with companions.

  • While Matt is *my* Doctor, I still love the role he has played for the past few years. He’s a very different Doctor than Tennant, but Tennant was different from Eccleston, which is how it’s supposed to be.

    That being said, I wasn’t crazy about how all this ended. I miss the subtly of the years before Matt. He’s an over-the-top actor, so I don’t think that every episode has to strive to be over-the-top. For example, the Season Six openers and closers which heavily featured the Silence, introduced them in very big ways. These storylines are no ‘Bad Wolf’ or ‘Harold Saxon’ stories where everything is just slowly built up until your mind is blown by the end. Maybe this is impossible for Moffat, but I would love to see something build up over a season and actually be resolved in a big way.

    Also, unlike you, I can’t stand Clara. I was by no means a fan of Amy (preferring both Rory and Craig), but Clara just do it for me either. I think she is a bit of a know-it-all, judgmental, and already thinks she’s a very important person…and I just don’t see how the Doctor makes her better. She’s also come in too often as the ‘Savior’ for me.

    I’m hoping Capaldi will bring in a new element to this show and revive Doctor Who like Matt did in the very beginning.

  • It is interesting the he keeps such positive views about Clara Oswin Oswald. Has this author written anything to explain it? I am just curious because Clara, to me, is the worst companion so far. (not because of Jenna, she is great). Clara is not easy to relate, she doesn’t seem like a real person, just a plot device. Alll this time she is doing all these great things and being over all a wonderful person and I cannot understand how she came to be this. She has no character development. She is not flawed, we know nothing about her expect that she has a different job every episode and she is quirky. It is almost like having a second, female Matt Smith in the TARDIS (except Matt’s Doctor has shown beautiful aging and developments and flaws) and I am not sure that is what the show needed. I was really exited for something new after the Pond’s long run, but now I kind off just want to skip over Clara.

  • I don’t understand why no one is talking about Lem the priestess being an incarnation of River Song. She acted just like River and did no one notice that Lem spelled backwards is Mel, her name before she regenerated into River.

  • nooooo! Matt cant leave! the episode, overall, was pure genius though. with nobody able to lie in Christmas, Trenzalore, he couldnt just make up any old name. i loved how Matt actually got attached to the people in Christmas. And i agree that Clara really isnt adding much to the show overall, but she did a good job in this sepisode

  • Yes to Lem possibly being River– the delivery of the “totally married her” line seemed to imply as much.

    I, too, do not dig Clara as a companion for the reasons mentioned by Dulce. All of the other companions have had messy earth lives and three-dimensional personalities, which Clara lacks (agree it’s more the writing than the acting). I happened to really love the Ponds and enjoyed season 6 very much, though, so perhaps it amounts to different strokes for different folks.

  • Clara will treat capal;di more like a prof than the former doctor, but that will be a perfect balance of a father daughter relationship(yes i kno there seemed to be some sexy glances exchanged before matt regenerated) as we could see how Clara changed her approach to acting with matt while he was in his old man gear. Also she will be revealed to be “infected” by mid season. The Doctor and her will be travelling based on trying to cure her illness and that will cause them to come across an old school “friend”(chronotis)that had been talked about but hasnt shown up. There will be yet again another qwirk related to this “Friend” that instills the belief that he`s good(moffats writting style provides perfect moments to further believe that) but mind melds into clara (truthfully clara should be dying but the TARDIS is able to keep her somewhat stable just in time for…) and helps Clara stay alive but unfortunatley now has the ability to fuffill its true intent(not wanting to die). Clara`s character is in every time stream. the individual inside her figures this out(as well as figures out that having meld with her brain he can live vicariously through her time streams {for he is time lordian lol}, but cant do so outright due to the doctor being around) and takes advantage of the father daughter relationship and kills her off right in front of the doctor(capaldi wont realize shes been controlled since they stepped foot outside the tardis but eventually realizes) causing him to throw down like no other(matt can get angry…but Capaldi…My GOD!!!)(the enemy will leave her body right before she dies{cliff fall} and thanks to that, she is able to return to her Real self) the written clean up will say that while clara in that time was killed by being infected/controlled, she was also holding onto a secret she didnt even know. The reason why she CAN be everywhere(which splits her memory infinatley, preventing her from easily remembering)…and never “really” age….shes the doctors daughter, from the sealed bit of time that John hurts war doctor was in.( the brits love WW1 and WW2 history and all those babymaking moments when the troops came back) As clara,at wits end whispers into the crack in time to help the doctor, her voice and choice of words stirred up powers on the other side( had she said his name{which she somehow knows but doesnt ever express it} she would have caused Galifrey to return. but it did not. only energy came from the crack. and a very very specific amount of it. Theres thinking happening on the otherside of that crack, but who?.the war doctor might not remember having made the decision to sacrifice galifrey in a seperate bubble(50th anniversary explains why) but at some point the crack in time became a bit more obvious to him and he begins to hear her voice. a voice he wont forget.nor remember, but cherish. After all. CLARA IS IN EVERY TIME STREAM OF THE DOCTORS.This in turn unleashes his regenerative force(who`s to say she wasnt the one who unleashed it if it gets revealed she is the daughter) through the crack and to matt(hint hint- pay attention to that moment in the christmas special, Matt gets very specific about how rules are made too be broken even after saying that there are only so many regenerations. SURROUNDED by the truth field..get it? get it? Galifreyian rules state that you can only have 12 regenerative cycles
    and Matt`s doctor stated how rules where truthfully ment to be broken :D

    Capaldi`s doctor is much more inquisitive,not from the childlike wonderment side(like matt,) but from the methodical side( will approach things more like sherlock{that makes sense due to who`s writing ;)} deduce and pick apart until he finds waldo without asking a million questions).As well, we will see him aggressively challenge more things due to those deducing situations.
    IMO matts approach was more “lets play around with things until smack bam the answers there” ( I NEVER HAVE A PLAN)and by the end of his run we see that the doctor has been an time lord whore(tenant did it to get something, matt was trying to GET something) I wonder if we will see capaldi act like a married man LOL Yes dear, No dear :P

    ANY WHOOOOOOOOO
    Thats my 2 cents and i will look forward to being picked apart lol Im open to it, i love the whoniverse to much to eliminate potentials :D
    ALLONS-Y!

  • I felt this episode did the transition from Smith to Capaldi better than Tennant to Smith was done in ‘The End of Time: Part 2′. It wasn’t overblown and didn’t leave the new Doctor in a negative void to the viewer like what happened with Matt Smith. It was a nice gradual “passing of the torch” so to speak. Matt Smith’s Doctor went out with dignity and gave Peter Capaldi’s Doctor some breathing room. Thank you Matt Smith for being an excellent Doctor by treating this iconic role with respect and admiration. You won a lot of fans because of it. Good luck in the future. GERONIMO!!!

  • Typical of the last season plus. Lately, Moffat’s got it so locked in his head that he’s a storytelling wizard that he must not be second-guessing his own choices, anymore.

    These days, when Doctor Who goes for epic it just ends up looking convoluted. When it goes for magical, Matt Smith’s acting (this was easily his strongest side of the Doc) usually saves lazy writing that tends to be full of the exact same “Doctor? Doctor who?” joke over and over and over again. And when a story is supposed to be “important,” it throws everything determined by previous episodes out the window for fear of having to come up with something new.

    So here we have Matt…possibly the most Doctorish of all the Doctors, the perfect blend of aged reticence and youthful exuberance…tossed out on a turkey of an episode that changes the story on some of what we’ve learned, dumps villains in almost at random just to have them all there, isn’t entirely clear as to its own story anyway, involves a hundreds of years long war in a tiny 19th century village that never seems to fill up with debris or be in any real danger, relies yet again on “space magic” to resolve its plot (note: I’m fine with this from time to time, but it didn’t used to be the only trick up the writers’ sleeves), and saves its best and most touching scene (the monolog by the grandmother…which also seemed to be the moment that best summarized Matt’s Doctor) for a moment that is totally disconnected from the plot OR the character.

    For one beautiful moment I thought they were just going to change him with that flash in the bell tower. It would have been perfect…11 is the one Doctor who would have gone without looking back, in an almost celebratory cry of victory, and that would have been so perfect for him. Then they did the (admittedly very good) outtro bit on the Tardis….which was emotional and one of the few well-written bits in the whole episode, but also a scene that feels too familiar and repetitious of previous change-overs to have the impact it deserved.

    Matt Smith was a great Doctor, and deserved a better ending than this one.

  • Moffat Need’s to get the hell out of office. Or instead of trying to smash everything into one episode give us a real half season to wrap matt up, what do they think just cuse of the 50th we wouldn’t notice there trying to jip us on half a season? Or worse, there going to the “9 months off” show cycle that ever good show is starting to do. If there doing that shit AND leaving us with Claira (how she is being written anyway, I agree writers fault on her) and this new older, not really attractive doctor, this show has reached its peek and is about to spiral down back out of popular eye. I hope they get there shit together because as much as everyone says there “excited” for the new doctor. I can’t help but feel it’s going to be Star Wars Episode 1 all over again, we say we love it, but take years to admit “This fucking sucks” its up to us bitching that fixes crap not poring Suger on it.

  • 1. Fire Moffat, he’s creatively spent.
    2. Hire some actual SciFi writers.
    3. Let Peter Capaldi act like a madman.
    4. Clara should love and want to follow the Doctor for his cleverness and sense of adventure, not because she thinks he looks like a cute “boy”.
    5. Stop using magic light fields, especially to explain crap. The Doctor relies on wit and cleverness, not supernatural flim flam.
    6. Get him out of London already. The Doc has a whole fantastic and beautiful worlds to handle.
    7. The Tardis should never materialize in plain sight out in an empty field. Use your head.

    Sci-Fi shows are most popular when they’re imaginative, colorful, adventures into the unknown. They become rote and boring when they run out of imagination and become a belabored political soap opera between the same enemies week after week. It killed Star Trek, Stargate, and countless others.

  • To be honest, and I know i will get flamed and trolled at, I really am disappointed by this regeneration episode. I do hope things improve by the time the new series (season for all you ‘Mericans) begins. I did write up a review myself, but that’s up to you to read. I’m not going to force you to read it; it was just me picking it apart and being the typical internet squirrel.

    Also, Tennant was my Doctor, but Matt Smith is my second Doctor. LONG LIVE THE OOD! xD

  • Matt Smith. Is not the Doctor I would’ve wanted to carry the legacy which David Tenant passed on. David Tenant himself said he wanted to get out before the show began to feel “same old, same old” — while this early departure caused uproar of the fans, this made him one of the most beloved of Doctors.

    Unfortunately, Matt Smith’s Doctor played the young and feisty Doctor card far too much, to the point when the Doctor tried to be serious or when giving monologue which conveys his deepest words of the soul, we can’t help but feel like its forced out in a “hit repeat” sort of way. We have heard the “I destroyed my own people” speech and that you are the only one (well sort of, the Time Lords are out there). Yes yes, its sad and all. It’s hard to take Matt Smith seriously since he’s so childish.

    Amy Pond. She had great potential to be one of many companions worthy of remembrance since Sarah Jane or the unofficial companions, Sally Sparrow or Jenny (The Doctor’s daughter…or twin technically). However again, her role was overplayed– she was the skirt wearing companion who always seemed to not only get into trouble, but also have little belief in the Doctor even though the Doctor had proven he will fix the problem.

    Which is another problem in Matt Smith’s Doctor. It seems more emphasized during Matt Smith than any other Doctor, that the Doctor always wins. Even when he is about to win, somehow the plot twists and the Doctor wins, even when again, he technically loses or is outsmarted. He always wins.

    Back to Amy. She is also reduced from a Companion to a character who puts great emphasis on being a mother, rather than being a Doctor’s companion. She dreams of having a child, how she would care for it — yes, it is the dream of any young woman at times — but then it is revealed she was with child 3/4th of a season, not actually with the Doctor, technically sidelined from the beginning. Ironically her dream of raising the child is likewise denied
    She also seemed to have more affection towards the Doctor than to Rory, her husband at times (Seriously though, the chemistry between her and the Doctor was perfect)

    Rory…he seemed to have this “why am I here?” sort of attitude. He only became more of a character after his wife and child were kidnapped — but shortly falls short of a Doctor’s companion as he, like Amy, get themselves in trouble and the Doctor must save them.

    But back to “Time of the Doctor”. Somehow we as the audience were supposed to feel a connection towards a small town named Christmas…I myself, never felt it. Even when the Doctor lived for 300 years there. There were more exposition in this episode than any episode I can remember…the last movie which had that much exposition was The Last Airbender and we know how that movie was received.
    Trenzalore, a place where we learn the Doctor is eventually buried. Yet the epic battle and thousands of dead never happens – – all the hipe built up since the last episode of the 7th season and nothing save a few corpses here and there, hardly enough to reduce the planet to a smoking ruin and graveyards. Well done in throwing that out.

    Clara’s character is constantly prevented from growing due to the Doctor “saving” her and sending her away.

    No weeping angels vs the daleks…I wanted to see that.

    The Doctor’s nuclear regeneration…its strong enough to destroy flying daleks, daleks on the ground, and their mothership (despite being mentioned in the film, the daleks calling for reienforcements — so after the explosion there should’ve been daleks coming from the skies) There is no explanation except for Moffat’s want for the dramatic. Sure David Tenants was explosive enough to make the Tardis recreate its desktop theme in the aftermath, but that was because he had suppressed it for so long so he could say farewell to his loved companions.

    The scene before the Doctor regenerates into the next Doctor. He goes into his Tardis, changes his clothes and takes off. Not a word to the people of Christmas (the village) or his allies who fought with him against the daleks. He just leaves.
    Seriously?! After 300+ years of living there and you just leave without a word, even after all that exposition of how the Doctor felt he had known only that life instead of any other? I know many would say I am being too critical or a realist and I should just enjoy the show for what it is. How can anyone ignore that? The Doctor who became the protector of Trenzalore, who protected the people of Christmas, and lived to be in his ancient years, and regenerated so powerfully he destroyed all the daleks on land and space.
    Yet no word of victory or thanks to his allies. Not even to the priestess whom I swore had it in for him.

    Matt Smith’s final words as the Doctor. Oh now you feel all wise and Obi-wanish, after being the young rash Doctor suddenly when you’re about to die you become wise?! Its out of character!

    The 11th Doctor sees Amy Pond for the final time. Often I hear “the ending was my favorite part.” and I feel as if its said in insult. But this statement does reflect my view of the special. Since my put down of the war of Trenzalore, my heart was elated with the sight of a long dead character who is only seen by the Doctor. She is the only companion whom should be with the Doctor in his final moments….oh wait…where’s Clara?

    Clara the one who saved his life technically ten thousand lifetimes over and over again is sidelined again…not once (he tricks her and sends her back home), not twice (lies and tricks her back to her home again!), but three times (chooses to waste spending his last moments as the Doctor speaking to a hallucination then to the living Companion who saved his life for the last time as the 11th Doctor). Its as if the Doctor does not want her to be at his side when in fact a companion is what he needs the most!

    Honestly, the entire episode felt wasted — it builds up for the battle of Trenzalore, which makes the planet a graveworld and bores us with exposition to the point we are just begging for Matt Smith to regenerate.

  • Finally saw it tonight. Thought it was gorgeous. A big, busy, pile-up for the end of an amazing run. My wife and daughter couldn’t follow it, but it left me grinning. Here’s to the next thirteen.

  • I did not care for this episode. To me it seemed very thrown together and not very well thought out.

    Parking a police box in the middle of a soccer field. No one will thing that is out of place.

    I hate that they keep using the phrase “through all space and time” If the message was transmitting through all time wouldn’t all the Doctors have shown up to see what it was? Wouldn’t the Gallifreyans have heard the message they were sending out for that matter?

    Why did handles broadcast the translated message to everyone? That makes no since whatsoever.

    How did the TARDIS get through the force field to take Clara back and forth?

    Why would the Time Lords be met with a war that would never end. The Doctor has destroyed the Daleks and Cybermen completely at every turn. (No, seriously, where the hell do they keep coming from?) There should be little resistance to the Time Lords.

    Couldn’t the Doctor have used the TARDIS to recharge Handles?

    The Doctor aged 30 years or so in 300 years. In the last he appeared to be another 30 years old making him 80ish so another 300 years or more likely passed. So, how is it that the 40ish people that live in that little bitty town managed to live for 300 years in a battleground against all the enemies of the Doctor. Further, if they cannot kill 1 Time Lord and 40 people in 300 years how the heck is it that everyone was worried about an eternal ware against the Time Lords. Seems to me the Time Lords would have been able to wipe out the enemies right quick.

    The Doctor appeared to lie in the truth field. He told not Barnible he had a plan then he told Clara he didn’t that they just love to hear it.

    Anyway, outside of this episode I hope they develop Clara more. As of now I still don’t really know why I should care about her. I agree with the she is just a prop comment above. I also hope they do something different with the Doctor. I really never loved Matt. He seemed to bumbling to me. Tenant was the best so far and I even like Christopher Eccleston quite a bit. As of now I do not expect to like Capaldi much but I hope I will blown away by him. I mostly hope the writing will improve.

  • This episode did not blow me away. In fact, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. It seemed awkward for all of the reasons other posters listed.

    I do have a couple of questions, though : What’s the deal with the priestess? Who is she? Why is she there? I understand that some claim she’s the reincarnation of River, and I’d agree that’s a strong possibility, but what is her role in this episode? That part really lost me.

    What happened to the Silence in the last episode in which they appeared? I don’t remember. I thought that they were silenced themselves. If so, how is it that they’re back? What is their role in this episode?

    Thanks much!

  • Yah, the priestess, and where the heck did “handles” come from?

    All of the sudden the Doc’s got a cyberman head for a friend? And then before we have reason to care about it, it’s gone again. ok.

    This episode feels like Moffat just took all the leftover ideas and scraps he had in his notebook and… actually this whole show is starting to feel like Moffat is just Fatboy Slimming his way through it.

    Peter C has the potential to be the greatest Doctor in all 50 years of the shows run. Hopefully BBC gets Moffat out of there before he wastes this opportunity.

  • I was really sad to see Matt go, honestly I’d just gotten used to him and accepted him as the Doctor. I’m excited for Capaldi though! I can’t wait to see his Doctor! I totally almost cried when Clara was reading the poem, old man Doctor made me REALLY sad for some reason.

  • Ok. The only thing i can think is they are trying to turn people off of the show so they can end it without issue. I mean, come on, the new doctor’s first line was “Kidneys! I’ve got new kidneys!” uttered so that you can barely understand what he’s saying. Really? Talk about disappointing. Oh well, I guess Matt is a hard act to follow, but they still could have come up with SOMETHING better.

  • Well, I certainly enjoyed the episode. There were only a few issues I found:

    1) I get that it’s the Christmas special, but really; a town called Christmas?!
    2) Okay, so he regenerated, and got young before saying goodbye, but I feel the last moment could have been a bit more dramatic, perhaps showing an explosion (small) of yellow revealing Capaldi or something.Or, he regenerates in the tower and then after blasting away the Daleks we see him morph into Capaldi right as Clara runs into the room, letting her see him. Then they run to the TARDIS as other enemies try to attack.
    3) As The Doctor was dying, I feel that he could have had a more artificial death, rather than old age.
    4) The episode was very confusing. I watch it and am like “The silence are good now?” and ” No one can resist the Dalek thingy”
    and “how does this Church system work?”. It could have been more clear and maybe a 2 hour special like the others.
    5) The Doctor acted like The Day of the Doctor barely happened; he is surprised that the Time Lords exist even after finding out that the trick worked at the end of the episode.
    6) I thought the Doctor closed the gap. Why is it back? What was the point of he second Big Bang?

    The episode was really confusing and could have been more dramatic. But it happened and we must stick with it.

    By the way, I heard that there will be an additional companion from the school that Clara works at. I bet it might be Susan (1st ever companion) who has come back as a teacher and hears about the Doctor. She is only 65-66 in the show.

  • 1 town called Christmas
    2 regeneration scenes
    3 hundred years
    4 visits from Clara
    5 hundred years older from Tennant
    6 confusing details (see my other comment)
    7 past references (Actually I didn’t bother to count)
    8 and a half is mentioned
    9 is a number
    10 is also a number
    11 th Doctor
    12 bodies
    13 regenerations
    14 after Capaldi
    And a whole new life cycle! (that will eventually blow up planets per regeneration!)