Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor

I did watch the Doctor Who Christmas special on Christmas Day, I just didn’t get round to writing about it till a week or so later so this post might be shorter than usual! However, it was a fine exit for Matt Smith’s Doctor 🙂

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

It felt like Moffat drew a distinct line under not just the various story arcs from the 11th Doctor’s era, but also the whole of New Who. And tied up the end of regenerations “problem”. Quite a lot for a single episode!

I liked the way that the possibility of Gallifrey coming back turned out to be something the Doctor couldn’t afford to allow. Of course it would reignite the Time War – after all we knew the Daleks were still out there and just the same as they were. I guess we have potential future stories about Gallifrey breaking through in one way or another but we likely won’t get the whole of Time Lord civilisation coming back. It is kinda amusing tho that it’s only about a month ago Tony & I were discussing in the comments if we thought the “search for Gallifrey” story would be one season or last for a while – looks like it’s kinda done already 😉

I also liked that the this threat is the one thing that finally gets the Doctor to stop running away, like he has done all his life. OK, so not actually having the TARDIS for the first few hundred years helped, but this is also the character that we saw going stir crazy on Earth after only a day not so long ago. But maybe having aliens to fight/annihilate every few days helped stave off the boredom. I wonder how that experience is going to affect him going forwards – two big things in the New Who characterisation of the Doctor have been that the Doctor is traumatised by his double genocide, and that he’s always running away. The 50th anniversary special resolved the final part of the first – he didn’t kill off the Daleks (as he’s known for a while) and he didn’t kill off his own species either. And now he’s had 700 years on one planet, protecting it without gallivanting around the universe having adventures. And he seemed by the end to’ve resigned himself to dying there.

I liked that this last Doctor has actually lived for a while – 400 years or so of gallivanting, 700 years on a planet. Gives a feel for what the lifespan of a Time Lord would be if they didn’t go around getting themselves into danger. And in some ways makes their conservative non-interference policy they used to have make a lot of sense – if you yourself might live for 13,000 years or thereabouts you can afford to take the long view, particularly when dealing with species with much smaller lifespans. A human’s whole life could be lost in the “oh give or take a hundred years or so” that you can imagine a Time Lord saying when trying to pinpoint a date from their past. Does make you wonder why the Doctor hangs around with humans so much though – even if you space your visits out, they still die so quick. (And we do see that in the way the 11th Doctor has been written, and in the way the rest of them keep dropping people off and then not looking back.)

I didn’t really buy Gallifrey giving him more regenerations – I’ve never had the feeling any of them would care. Although on reflection I guess that also means that they still have a chance to get him to help them come back through to this universe again. But it does very firmly boot that (slightly tedious IMO) line of fannish worry about how long the Doctor has left to live out into the distance. He’s not just got another regeneration, he’s got another cycle so let’s talk about it in a few decades! I did like the way Moffat chose to take the “oh no, now he’s #12, what next?” speculation and make it even worse before solving it – that half regeneration in 10’s era was a real one but he just looked the same. And what’s the numbering now – Peter Capaldi is now the 1st Doctor of part 2? 😉

Other things – Tasha Lem, who/what is she? Or does the Doctor just go about collecting not-quite-stable women who get to learn to fly the TARDIS? Can’t be River in some resurrected fashion, coz she has a line about the Doctor’s body being “new” to her at first. How about the Master? Or just someone new we’re given hints of backstory with coz after all there must be a lot of the Doctor’s past we haven’t seen.

I liked Handles, it was rather neatly surreal with the Doctor having a Cyberman head as a pet. Also liked the deftness of the characterisation on Clara’s mother (step-mother?). She gets a tiny amount of screentime but you can see why Clara invented a boyfriend and you can see why she was willing to run away so much while not quite severing ties with her family (coz her Dad & Gran seemed nice). I also liked the call backs to various things/people from the 11th Doctor’s run, tho a shame I don’t think Rory got an explicit mention (or maybe I’ve forgotten it). The hallucinations of Amy/Amelia as he regenerated were a nice touch, I thought.

So now we have a whole new Doctor and some new story arcs to look forward to! 🙂