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Doctor Who Review: "The Time of the Doctor"

Sheba Wood ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

This year’s Christmas special episode of  Doctor Who, “The Time of The Doctor”, was the final episode for Matt Smith and the premiere of  Peter Capaldi ’s incarnation. This was also the last episode before season eight which is set to begin in August of 2014.

The episode starts out with a monologue about a planet that was surrounded by many of the Doctor’s worst enemies.  The Doctor is trying to decipher why all of these species have responded to this particular planet. He runs around, speaking to a decapitated head of a Cyberman (Aidan Cook), which is being used to translate the message that brought everyone to their current standoff.

Among all of this chaos The Doctor receives a phone call from Clara (Jenna Coleman), his current companion. She requests that since she told her family that she had a boyfriend that she bring to Christmas dinner, and for The Doctor to pretend to be that guy. After some confusion and The Doctor almost getting killed by the Cyberman, he agrees to attend. There is some jest involving The Doctor being naked, at which most fangirls probably screamed a little, and then Clara comes into the TARDIS for the sake of properly cooking her dinner. The Doctor takes her back to where he was working on solving the enigma of the planet surrounded by creatures of the universe, where he and the entire fanbase get a completely unexpected shock.

Matt Smith in Doctor Who: The Time Of The Doctor. Photo Courtesy of BBC.
Matt Smith in Doctor Who “The Time Of The Doctor”. Photo Courtesy of BBC.

For the sake of wanting any and all fans to experience this episode, most of the detail of the episode will not be revealed, but there is a mixture of memories and new experiences from across the entire series including some references to the previous adventures of former reincarnations of The Doctor including the phrase “Silence will fall.”

After the success of the “The Day of The Doctor,” the special episode that celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the popular Sci-Fi show back in November, which precluded the Christmas episode along with a farewell episode to Matt Smith, the show’s audience was in fear of either a subpar performance and mediocre writing in comparison to the previous episode. Also, fans were scared that since the 50th episode was filled with happiness, this episode would only be the most depressing thing to ever happen on Christmas day.

All of these fears were confirmed. Many fans from the era of the writing of Russell T. Davies, the former head writer of the show, have been frustrated with the way that Steven Moffat engineers episodes. Though plot twists are appreciated perhaps once per episode, a multitude of them can be at worst, annoying. Davies used to have plot arcs that stretched across an entire season, and they were subtle. Moffat, instead, tends to make them prominent, drills them into the heads of the audience, and doesn’t bring it up until seasons later (if ever). On top of that, Clara has never seemed to have any character development despite her being around for a few specials and all of season seven.

Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who "The Time Of The Doctor." Photo Courtesy of BBC.
Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who “The Time Of The Doctor.” Photo Courtesy of BBC.

However, because of the knowledge that this is Matt Smith’s last episode, the fans were slightly more open to his never ending antics. Everything from hearing the words Gallifrey, Trenzalore, Weeping Angels, Silence, Daleks, to watching the Doctor age over hundreds of years, all while knowing that his end is coming was enough to leave audiences in a state of emotional imbalance. The Doctor has an end of life crisis while Clara tries to convince him to save his own life, but he remains resilient in his mission to save the town called Christmas.

By his regeneration, despite the problems that fans have had with Moffat, even people who thought that they didn’t love Matt because of their loyalty to previous Doctors (Mostly David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor), everyone felt some level of sadness and loss that comes with regeneration. Another disappointment was the way that Moffat wrote the final regeneration and Capaldi’s first moments and the end of the episode. The entire new experience evoked a solid David Tennant “What?” from most fans because of how rushed it was. Now, fans have nothing to do but look to the future that has Peter Capaldi written all over the TARDIS.

Despite that this episode had numerous flaws, whovians learned and were reminded of some simple things about life and Doctor Who:

  1. The Doctor lies

  2. Everything has an end

  3. Regeneration is an event of mixed emotions

  4. Human beings are always changing, but as long as they remember who they once were, they’ll be okay

  5. No matter how an episode turns out, Doctor Who is a Christmas tradition

Episode Rating: 7/10

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