Time of the Doctor

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.


It’s the town of Christmas.. because you know, it’s Christmas time.. get it.. get it? *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

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.

The Sonic Screwdriver can fix anything

The Sonic Screwdriver can fix anything

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?

All that the angel wanted was his halo back. But nope, the Doctor kept it all for himself.

All that the angel wanted was his halo back. But nope, the Doctor kept it all for himself.

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).

The Time Lords exist to make Dr Who young again. That's something... right?

The Time Lords exist to make Dr Who young again. That’s something… right?

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.

What the hell am I doing here? This doesn't look like anything in the brochures.

What the hell am I doing here? This doesn’t look like anything in the brochures.

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.


4 comments on “Time of the Doctor

  1. This episode marked the end of the 11th Doctor’s era. Yes, most of what you saw was tying up the loose ends of questions that had not yet been answered, and there were many questions. A casual viewer may not pick up on all that was going on, so I agree that it could have been longer, providing more time to at least explain a few things to a casual viewer. And I also agree that this episode was more for the Whovian fans. But mostly, I think it was for Matt Smith, who was leaving the show. This episode was all about giving him a chance to really brandish his acting chops, and demonstrate how far he had come from the trials and tribulations of his entrance upon David Tennant’s exit.

    That ultra-sad “I don’t want to go!” earmarking an explosive regeneration, as if The Doctor was almost throwing a tantrum, makes it hard for the viewership to accept The Doctor’s new face, as Matt Smith was an unknown actor at the time. This episode was a celebration of Matt Smith and how far he had come up since his first episode, going so far as to knock on the Fourth Wall, when the 11th Doctor was about to regenerate and his last lines were, “I will not forget one line of this, not one day; I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.” This was a graceful send off, remembering the greatness of his tenure and welcoming the next Doctor with open arms. In this episode, we are treated to some rushed story-telling, but when I look at the whole of it, I see a celebration of some of the best acting showmanship (and great showmanship at that) I have ever seen on Doctor Who.

    This was about how much the 11th Doctor had done up until he reached Trenzalore, and once arriving there, how he was willing to strand himself in small town on some low-tech planet for hundreds of years so that the townspeople don’t get killed, while simultaneously ensuring that his own people aren’t beset by an endless war. The reveal on Gallifrey’s location was surprisingly soon, but the discovery of the location isn’t what we should be focusing on. The real question will be how The Doctor is able to get them back into our universe without triggering a second Time War. As the 11th Doctor, he did not have the resource to be able to do so because by broadcasting the “First Question: Doctor Who?”, Gallifrey had made itself known to the entire universe. But I suspect, looking forward, that the Gallifrey Council realized that another war would happen if they were to return. I believe this is the case, because The Doctor is so smart/crazy because he is a Time Lord, and all other Time Lords have similar levels of that smart/crazy as a unique personality trait. I think the Gallifrey Council realized they needed The Doctor to run more distraction, but because he couldn’t regenerate, could not buy them more time. So the Gallifreyan Council granted The Doctor a new regeneration cycle, not just a reward for saving him, but knowing he’d do something to throw up a cloud of smoke they could all retreat behind. This sets up what will most likely be what Season 8’s main arc will be – Figuring out how to get Gallifrey back into our universe without triggering a second Time War.

    -Thoughts from a Whovian. Love from Gallifrey, boys.

  2. Oh – Almost forgot about the Weeping Angels. Their appearance was explained in about two lines, that they were there for the same reason as everyone else, and that they had arrived far sooner so as to get through the forcefield that the Papal Mainframe had set up.

  3. I have to say that at this point in the story having context and knowing the show would be required for full enjoyment, but that would be the case with any story driven show. I would not expect to jump into Game of Thrones now and understand the intricacies of that story. There are some things that are going to be aimed at making connections for the people who have been following all along, and at the end of the day I would prefer a franchise to keep its fans in mind rather than catering to the pop-in viewer.

    I will say, however, that I was a little disappointed with the introduction of the new doctor. I have not been a die hard fan of Matt Smith so I was personally looking forward to Peter Capaldi taking over. That part did seem rushed to me but on retrospect I think it was exactly the same amount of screen time the previous regenerations have been given. After all this was a fair well episode for Matt Smith, and I suppose it should be that way. I am just looking forward to the next chapter in the series!

  4. Speaking as a whovian, second generation (my mother used to watch the show on PBS when I was a child and allowed me to stay up and watch it with her) , I cannot fully disagree with your review. At the end of the epsiode I walked away feeling more “meh” than anything else. Yes it tied up loose ends and was a fitting goodbye to Matt Smith. However riding on the the back of Day of the Doctor this episode did not feel as epic as it should have been. I think if this episode was further removed from the other and if it were a multipart episode it would have felt like a bigger deal.

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