Doctor Who: Review and Explanation of The Time of the Doctor

* Contains spoilers from The Time of the Doctor*

doctor who 14So, we can all agree that Matt Smith’s departure was emotional. Despite what you may think of the episode in general, Smith’s goodbye as the 11th Doctor was very well done. Good one, Moffat.

The episode itself had it moments of confusion and some disappointments (due to the anticipation of some characters), but in the end, everything made up for it.

The episode itself had a lot to explain – the explanation of the crack in the wall, who is Tasha Lem, who are the Silence, why did he leave Clara twice, etc. So let me explain here for you:

Crack in the Wall: It has always been a message to the Doctor from Gallifrey. Gallifrey was locked in another dimension and wants to come back, but is waiting for the Doctor to tell them when it is safe to come. The question is “Doctor Who?”… and the answer is for the Doctor to reveal his name to the crack to determine it’s really him. Of course, it’s not safe for Gallifrey to return because of the Daleks and enemies of the Doctor surrounding the planet. So he must do what he has to, stay and protect the city and the crack in the wall.

doctor who 9Tasha Lem: I have to admit, this was a bit of a disappointment. There was so much talk about Tasha Lem being this all important being in the Doctor’s past but we learn she’s just the head of the Church of the Papal Mainframe (later, the Church of the Silence). They have sexual chemistry but honestly, they could had placed River Song into the role and it’d be the same thing. Tasha Lem knew how to fly the TARDIS but can’t control the Doctor… sound familiar? River Song. There were so many theories about her being related to Susan Foreman (the Doctor’s grand-daughter) or a Time Lord herself, but nope. She’s just a friend from the past who is in charge of the religious order.

doctor who 3The Silence: So, are the Silence bad guys? So Madame Kovarian (the bad guy who stole River Song and made her a weapon against the Doctor) and her crew broke away from the Churck of the Papal Mainframe with the goal of killing the Doctor. The Silence and the Church of the Papal Mainframe/Silence actually want peace. The Silence were actually genetically modified priests belonging to the Church of the Papal Mainframe. The whole reason they are forgotten when you look away was so people could forget their confessions immediately after revealing it. So, they aren’t actually bad guys – well, these ones in this episode. They walk alongside with the Doctor fighting against the Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels.

doctor who 11Why did the Doctor leave Clara, twice: This is an obvious one… To protect her. He promised not to ever leave her and then, he leaves her. Well, the Doctor lies. He’s doing it to protect her.

doctorregenerationThe Regenerations: The Doctor gets up to 13 regenerations and he has used them all up – yes, we are counting the Tennant 10th Human Doctor and War Doctor (John Hurt). They were still regenerations used up, so Smith is the last Doctor that cannot regenerate. So technically, he is the 13th Doctor (11th really, because the 10th Doctor’s half regeneration would had been 10.5 and the War Doctor wasn’t called The Doctor). But thanks to the crack in the wall (Gallifrey), they granted him another regeneration to fight this battle against the Daleks and enemies. He gets a “reset” and therefore, a new cycle of regeneration. The regeneration has given him time to say good-bye and really, it was for the fans to get Smith to say goodbye as the 11th.

It’s a lot to take in, I know. But this is for people wondering, what the heck just happened? I had to explain to a lot of people last night what was going on. But I’m so glad that everything was answered from the previous episodes.

Character of the episode: Other than Matt Smith, his Cyberman head buddy ‘Handles’ stole my heart. It was his only companion from the future that stayed with him for 300 years (while Clara was gone). It was so sad when Handles ‘died’. I have to include that in the sad moments of the episode.

handles doctor whoWorst moments: Everything was put together so quickly. It was just too fast of an episode to put the regular Doctor, then he was 300 years older, then he was an old man. It was just so much for one episode to handle.

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Best moments: Thank you Moffat for giving me a naked and bald Matt Smith. The fact that the show made use of his short hair and use of a wig in the episode was hilarious. And the mentioning of his lack of eyebrows (which everyone in the fandom universe had made fun of) and his huge ears was the best. I adored those hilarious moments that reminded us that this Doctor – although fierce in battle – was still this silly, raggedy man who still had this childish personality that we all fell in love with.

The sad thing about the episode is seeing the Doctor age. It’s nice that he is in a place where he is wanted and needed (Christmas Town), but it’s just sad to see him age. He ended up looking like the First Doctor, which was a nice tribute. The fan art was also a nice tribute to the Doctor and the fans.

doctor who artThe Regeneration: This was what was adding up to the moment. We get a moment with the 11th Doctor before he becomes the 12th Doctor (Capaldi). This moment was a farewell for the fans, really. The speech was just so endearing and if you didn’t cry during the episode, you would had shed a tear during this time. We see him seeing Amelia Pond as a child and then Amy Pond (Karen Gillian, herself) walk down and say three words that sent the Whoniverse tremble, “Raggedy Man, Goodnight.”

doctor whoAnd here comes the water works… he gives this speech that reminds you that he will never forget every moment he was as the Doctor and that he was the Doctor… and then he drops the bow-tie. The iconic bow-tie that made “bow-ties cool” again. This was heartbreaking because he’s finally letting to.

doctor who bowtieThen BAM – Peter Capaldi shows up. Seriously, those eyes. Those intense eyes. Peter Capaldi looks shocked (as well as Clara). With that moment, we know… the 12th Doctor is going to be intense and a great face actor.

I have to say, the speech was great. It left us not upset that he was leaving – I mean, we were upset, but that he wasn’t really gone and to accept the new Doctor. When David Tennant left, the 10th Doctor left on such a sad note that made people not accept Matt Smith’s Doctor. I know, for myself, it took a long time for me to warm up to the 11th Doctor. Because of the 10th Doctor’s not wanting to regenerate and being described as “regenerating is like dying”, fans didn’t want to accept the 10th Doctor was dead.

With the 11th Doctor’s speech, it was a reminder for all of us that he isn’t really dead and that he will always be the Doctor, no matter how he regenerates. I feel like this allowed us to accept the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) into our lives.

But I have to say, that regeneration was quick. It was like tearing a band-aid quickly to just feel the initial hurt and then be fine. I guess that is what Moffat wanted – not to drag on Smith’s goodbye. But still, ouch.

Overall, it was a good episode. I mean, every episode has its’ quirks of good and bad, but in general, it wasn’t a bad episode to end on. We were given explanations of things, got to see the 11th Doctor defeat his enemies, say goodbye to an iconic character and welcome a new one. It was a good episode.

But I am disappointed that I must wait several months for a new Doctor Who episode! Really, BBC?!

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I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again, whenever a Doctor regenerates, it really feels like we are losing a good friend. We welcomed each Doctor into our home (on our television or computer) and take it all in. Now, we are saying good bye to someone who we have come to know. So with that, I say, Thank you to the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) for the fond memories and the amazing stories you have filled us with. You will always be our Doctor.

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul