Well… that happened.
Time of the Doctor was a perfectly fine Dr Who episode. It wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, like Day of the Doctor was… but it was definitely pretty good. Time of the Doctor was highly respectful of the show’s continuity and helped tie together a lot of loose threads. So I figure long time fans of the show, and the Eleventh Doctor, would love the hell out of the show.
But speaking as a highly casual fan (this is probably my 3rd or 4th episode of Dr Who I have ever watched), this episode was rushed. It lacked the depth that Day of the Doctor had. If it was like.. I don’t know… 30 minutes longer or so, then maybe it would have worked? Or cut some crap they threw in just for the sake of throwing in, I think it could have been fine. I’ll get into that in a few minutes. Just figured it would be best to be straight forward up front… you know, lay my cards on the table.
There was a lot to praise in this episode, so don’t get me wrong. This was a decent Dr Who episode. It had all the humor and whimsy that seems to be a trademark of the series. I found myself smiling a lot at how clever the Eleventh Doctor was and how charming so many scenes played out. Like when the phone rang on the Tardis, and the Doctor opened the door into outer space to answer it. The moment was disarming, like I could tell that the Doctor wasn’t worried about anything at all. Like everything was old hat to him.
For now, I’m going to assume that everything awesome about the episode is self-explanatory. There was a lot, like the dialogue, the interactions… how every scene was able to carry emotional impact so perfectly.
There was something strange about the episode though. A few things. Like why was the 300+ years the Doctor experienced so rushed? Why bother aging him at all? It didn’t seem to add much to the overarching story. Or why did the Angels show up? It felt like they were just tossed in for the sake of having them. They are bad-ass important villains. Why put them in a throw away scene?
Or why in the world have the location of Gallifrey be revealed that damn quickly? Day of the Doctor made it seem like it would be a huge adventure trying to discover the location of it. Like it was lost somewhere in the universe.. in some unknown and unknowable corner of reality. But nope. Outside of reality and the Time Lords are peeking in. It felt anticlimactic. Sort of like they were thrown in… but at least they had a justification (unlike the Angels).
Maybe I’m being way too negative. There was a lot in the episode that I missed because I’m not a regular viewer. I’m not a Whovian….. god, I hate that name. Yeah… gotta focus back on the point I was trying to make…. Time of the Doctor was made specifically for Dr Who fans rather than for casual viewers. A special episode like this one would attract casual viewers, or people who might be curious about the show. It can be a great jumping-on point… so it is important to make sure the episode can be understood without needed a lot of outside references.
But on the other hand, the episode really did reward the Whovians who paid attention to the Eleventh Doctor’s run. It tied together a lot of loose threads and shows that the writers had a pretty clear idea of what was going on. I appreciate writers who plan in advance…. have a general direction for the story. I got the feeling the writers for Dr Who always have an idea. So I think that’s awesome.
Yeah, I’m torn about the episode. There was a lot to like and some things I didn’t like. It should have been far better than what it was. I still feel it was way too rushed. But, take that from a highly casual fan.