Season Seven of Doctor Who has been…disappointing to say the least. In fact, I let myself fall behind by five episodes, and only caught them up this week, as I Just Didn’t Care. I was looking forward to the finale, “The Name Of The Doctor”, but in a “prepare the lynch mob, we’re going after Moffat” kind of way. There were so, so many ways the episode could go wrong, and it surprised me immensely by going so very right.
If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP READING HERE.
In order for me to best express my feelings towards the episode, I’m going to break it down for you.
I suppose I haven’t really had time to form an attachment to Clara. I loved her in Asylum Of The Daleks…but her mystery and sense of impossibility annoyed me more than it made me love her.
Even though I knew she survived the episode, part of me was hoping that she would die, for real this time.
We didn’t get her (permanent) death, but we did get answers. As Clara best puts it, “the soufflé isn’t the soufflé, the soufflé is the recipe”. The question isn’t who, or what, Clara is, it’s what she had to do to save The Doctor. Clara is simply Clara Oswald, the girl from 2013 London, but her heroic actions, sacrifice, and reminder to “run, you clever boy, and remember me”, make her a permanent fixture throughout his life.
On one hand, I think the answers were pretty awesome. While the whole Great Intelligence story line seemed…stupid, Clara’s actions perfectly – and dare I say it, almost rationally – explained how she could keep appearing in the Doctor’s timeline.
Her overarching narration was…perfect. Even though it’s best to listen to it yourself, have a read:
“I don’t know where I am. It’s like I’m breaking into a million pieces and there’s only one thing I remember: I have to save the Doctor. He always looks different. I always know it’s him. Sometimes, I think I’m everywhere at once, running every second just to find him. Just to save him. But he never hears me- almost never. I blew into this world on a leaf. I’m still blowing. I don’t think I’ll ever land. I’m Clara Oswald. I’m the Impossible Girl. I was born to save the Doctor.“
My one big problem is…what’s her point now. She’s no longer the impossible girl, and I’m still not loving her as A Character, let alone as A Companion, so I’m worried season eight could become painful.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
Secondly, River Song
I was really hoping that we’d seen the last of River in the Seven Part One finale. Although I found her character likeable enough in her original “Silence In The Library” episodes, I thoroughly disliked the rest of her appearances. As for the season six story arc…don’t even get me started. Prior to watching the finale, I was happy for River to stay on a hard-drive in the library, where she belongs.
Don’t get me wrong. The finale did not make me suddenly fall in love with River Song, but it was such a heartbreaking appearance that made even me, a diehard Ten/Rose shipper, admit that Eleven had moved on and truly loved her.
Now. I still feel he was way, way overly attached to her, but this was deserved closure. The River we saw in this episode was not the River we had grown to hate throughout seasons six and seven (okay, personal bias, but still) but rather the Saved “echo” of River from season four. The pain that radiated from the episode came from the fact that it was a final goodbye for the pair, and that for the first time, Eleven acknowledged her sacrifice and current “existence”.
As much as I thought I wanted to see her gone, this kind of goodbye tugged at even my heartstrings.
Thirdly, The Whisper Men
As much as I hate Moffat, I have to admit that he comes up with some frankly terrifying monsters. The Whisper Men were definitely not an exception. A creation of the Great Intelligence, the feature-less bodies with their horrific teeth are more than enough to make me think twice about any whispers I hear from now on. While they were destroyed with the Great Intelligence’s demise, I’m sure they’ll be making lists of the “Scariest Doctor Who Monsters Of All Time” from now on.
Finally, The Doctor
Eleven is my least favourite Doctor, partly because I’m still not over Ten’s regeneration, but mostly because he completely avoids all the emotion that made the previous Doctors so powerful.
In the finale, the only word to accurately describe him was broken.
For the first time, Matt Smith was able to express his brilliant abilities to portray pure pain and heartbreak for the length of an episode. Aside from the first…minute in which we see The Doctor, one glance at him throughout the finale reflects the pain of his 900 years of grief.
I was mildly annoyed at the pain that came from his feelings towards River Song (okay, okay, I’m trying to get over my Ten/Rose bias, I promise), but the pain that came from being at his tomb, along with all it entails, was flailingly fabulous. It was like he had removed his playful mask that had been so firmly in place for the previous three seasons, and finally allowed his true feelings to show. It was obvious this was not new pain, it was just a pain finally, and gratefully, revealed.
As a side note, I will admit that when we looked into his timeline/scar/map/whatever and heard the voices of his past, I literally screamed when I heard Chris and David. Yes, I am that kind of fan, and yes, I am deeply unapologetic.
The final minutes of the episode, where Eleven sees this forgotten ninth reincarnation, can only be described as perfection. I don’t want to quote it for you, because you need to experience it for yourself to truly understand the majesty and importance of what is occurring.
When I read a few weeks ago that John Hurt was joining the cast as (allegedly) “the forgotten ninth doctor”, I freaked out. I loudly announced to everyone who could hear (my roommate, the internet, my college friends, my media class) that this time Moffat has gone too far and this is an absolute unforgivable and nope nope nope.
Then, in the final minutes of the finale, I proved myself so very wrong by instantly falling in love with this new incarnation.
While I am still Very Annoyed at Moffat for throwing in this new “Doctor”, I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing where the story will go.
It’s a breath of fresh air – albeit one that Moffat didn’t really have the right to create – that will hopefully inject some much needed life into the increasingly stale series.
It’s almost a life or death situation for Moffat, if this gamble goes right, faith across the world (well, fandom) will be restored in his show-running. If it goes wrong…well…he’ll have the wrath of the Whovians to face.
If, like me, you had just about Given Up on Doctor Who, I promise sticking through for the finale, if you haven’t already, will be worth it. It’s a brilliant ending to a sub-par season, and opens so many doors for hopefully amazing future endeavours.
To be honest though, I’m just ecstatic we didn’t actually find out The Name Of The Doctor. Maybe Moffat isn’t all bad after all.
Doctor Who returns in the 50th Anniversary Special (!!), starring my beloved David Tennant, on the 23rd of November 2013.
Doctor Who Season Seven Episode 13, “The Name Of The Doctor”, will be available for a limited time on ABC iView in Australia, and on the Season Seven Part Two DVD worldwide.
frangipani princess xoxo