As Lord Voldemort once said; “I confess myself… disappointed”. The 2013 Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor aired on the 25th of December and featured the nerve-racking regeneration of the 11th Doctor. Warning that this post WILL contain spoilers.
In a few words, I think Moffat’s writing is starting to go downhill. After the less-than-brilliant 50th Anniversary Special I was hoping Moffat’s writing would make a bit of a comeback with less stress for this episode, but I was disappointed. I’ve never really been a fan of Moffat as head writer. When he was a writer under Russell T. Davies he wrote some brilliant episodes; Blink, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances and The Girl in the Fireplace, but when he took over the show his episodes started going downhill.
Anyway, about The Time of the Doctor. It felt extremely rushed, and like every bad alien was trying to be crammed into it. The Weeping Angels, Dalek, Silence and Cyberman, even the Slitheen were mentioned! It was just too much! I mean, it probably would have been ok if they were just mentioned, but it was like each alien (except the Slitheen) needed to have a starring part in the episode. For the Silence it was when Clara saw them for the first time, which was completely unnecessary and didn’t really help the plot along at all. I mean, why were they even there purposely freaking her out? The Daleks had their ‘shining moment’ when they turned of all the church member into Daleks which, to be honest, was kind of lame. The Cyberman had their focus when the wooden Cyberman came down to Christmas. I have to admit that that was pretty cool, but the Doctor’s big speech to the Cyberman was just plain dull. Then there were the Weeping Angels which were not needed in any way except to have them in the episode. Way too many monsters meant way too much time wasted which could have been used on giving 11 a proper farewell.
The sexual inneuendos at the start between the Doctor and Mother Superious Tasha Lem were just irritating. They were not subtle, they were not needed and they were boring and, like most things in this episode, unnecessary. There wasn’t even any build-up to it. It was like “Here’s a new character we’ve never seen before, she’s a woman so let’s make her a love interest!”. No, just no.
I don’t know why, but when a sentence is quoted that’s been said in a previous episode, instead of it feeling like a callback or a cool little reference, it feels like it’s been shoved in your face. Like “Look guys, this was in a previous episode! Look we’re quoting ourselves! Look aren’t we cool!” kind of way. I like subtlety, but this episode didn’t have it.
I also saw the Doctor kind of slip out of character during this episode. Since when does he tell a really big lie straight to someones face, someone he cares about deeply, and then just walks away. It just seemed so unlike him, and to seem like he barely cared than he would never see Clara again. And for what? For a little town called Christmas, whose inhabitants he could have easily saved by bringing them in the TARDIS and taking them somewhere else. Why would he care so much about a little town he’s never even been to before so much that he would spend hundreds of years there knowing that after he died the whole planet would just be destroyed anyway?
And then there are the plot holes, the Doctor knew he would regenerate again because in the 50th Anniversary there were 13 of his regenerations. Had he conveniently forgotten that? And surely Clara would have known that as well, seeing as she went into the Doctor’s time stream and saw every one of his regenerations, past and future?
I feel like Moffat keeps trying to make it ‘epic’. “Look how many aliens there are! Look at all the deep speeches! Look at all the meaningful scenes! I even put the Time Lords in!” But enough is enough. You don’t need heaps of big speeches that ended up meaning nothing, or every alien, or the Time Lords! You just need it to be well-paced. Take your time. Make things ‘epic’ subtlety, in a way that a casual watcher of the show wouldn’t fully understand. Take your time to build up emotion. Give your audience an emotional connection so that even if this is their first episode, they’ll still want to cry. Focus on the story.
Wow, that’s quite a bit of angry ranting, so here’s some of the things I did like. I liked the fact that 11 accepted his regeneration. It almost made it happy, like it will be change for the better. Like it was time for 11 to go. I also liked that 11 died of old age, he died waiting… I like that he saw Amy, even if the hallucination was a bit weird, and her quote “Raggedy man, goodnight”. I loved his last words “I will always remember when the Doctor was me”. Peter Capaldi’s entrance was a little odd to say the least, it was very quick. I have a feeling he will be quite a whimsical Doctor. The whole episode actually did keep my attention, as rushed as it was I never really felt like I wanted to stop watching it. For most of the time, it kept my interest.
The acting, like usual, was brilliant. Matt’s acting when he grew older was just fantastic, it almost made me feel like he was a different person. Jenna’s acting was also superb, I could really see her pain when the Doctor sent her away for the second time, and when she was pleading to the Time Lords, and when 11 was regenerating. Just brilliant. Also, a shout out to Clara’s grandma who is awesome in every way. You go grandma!
Of course, the music by Murray Gold was also amazing just as it usually is. I especially liked the song that played when Clara was entering the TARDIS after she thought 11 had already regenerated. It was very dark and one of the few times that I actually felt some suspense in the episode. Because that music isn’t yet available, here’s Clara’s Theme:
I wish all my luck to Peter Capaldi; the 12th Doctor!
Favourite character/actor: Clara Oswald (Jenna Louise Coleman)
Least favourite character/actor: Mother Superious Tasha Lem (Orla Brady)
Favourite scene: When Clara was walking into the TARDIS during 11’s regeneration
Least favourite scene: When the Doctor destroys the Dalek ships while regenerating
Rating; 3/5 stars
The Time of the Doctor poster: http://screencrush.com
Amy and the Doctor: http://www.mirror.co.uk
Peter Capaldi: http://screenrant.com/