Doctor Who Recap: The Name of The Doctor
After a long season, one with a huge gap in the middle and many ups and down, we have reached the end of Series Seven.
Gallifreyan: It’s the repair shop. What kind of idiot would steal a faulty TARDIS?
It was a proper ending. All our answers were wrapped up in a package, tied up with a ribbon and presented with a box of chocolates on the side to help us overlook the rougher parts. We were given a generous dose of the Paternoser Gang, who once again reminded us that it is seriously unfair they do not as yet have their own spin off for 2014. The most surprising was the River thread. Since somewhere along the way it got all tangled up in string and her life no longer ran backwards from The Doctor’s, like the show originally claimed it would, and our hello to her was no longer our goodbye, Moffat managed to twist time up just a little more so that the character got a proper send off.
Do you hear the Whisper Men?
The Whisper Men are near
If you hear the Whisper Men
Then turn away your ear
Do not hear the Whisper Men
Whatever else you do
For once you’ve heard the Whisper Men,
They’ll stop and look at you.
Then we got the twist.
Strax: It better be important. I was in the middle of destroying some very pleasant primitives.
The new monsters introduced were The Whisper Men. Faceless villains who are partial to iambic pentameter, how very British. I was upset to see them kill Jenny, but in tragedy comes opportunity, as we got more of the chemistry between Vastra and Strax one on one. Plus once again we saw how useful Strax is, as he then casually saves Jenny’s life. Too bad he can’t buttle.
Strax: This planet is now property of the Sontaran Empire. Surrender your women and intellectuals.
But it turned out these monsters were Great Intelligence body copies, and tonight the GI was defeated. Does that mean they were one and done? Perhaps they can be shipped off to the Paternoster Gang spin off as well. Plus any and all Scots that our Sontarian friend picks up as playthings.
Clara: So…how come I met your dead wife?
The Doctor: …I sort of made a back-up.
River: Left me like a book on a shelf.
This was River “post-Library,” so that meant she was already dead, having committed Suicide By Doctor when she reached the day that the Doctor returned and did not know who she was. On the surface, she snarked confidently, but it was telling that she prickled that Clara did not know she was female. All she wanted from The Doctor was a proper Goodbye, even though she knows he hates endings. She may have had to walk him through how to do it, but by god, it was perfect.
The Doctor: Well then, see you around, Professor River Song.
River: Till the next time, Doctor.
The Doctor: Don’t wait up.
River: Oh, there’s one more thing.
The Doctor: Isn’t there always?…..
River: Spoilers! Goodbye, Sweetie.
Fare thee well, Alex Kingston. I may not have always agreed with how Moffat handled your character, but you always handled her with aplomb.
The Doctor: I always thought I’d retire. Watercolors or beekeeping or something.
Trenzalore, the one place the Doctor must never go, turns out to be his grave, and the TARDIS his mausoleum. (Having cracked and itself dying, it’s finally growing bigger on the outside to match.) Inside, there is a twisting of light floating in the center of the room, which the Doctor introduces as “The Tracks of My Tears.”
The Doctor: Bodies are boring, I’ve had loads of them.
These are the tracks of his tears. Time travel is a tear in the fabric of the universe, and the Doctor has torn time more than anyone in the universe. It is an open wound on time. That is the master plan of the GI. To enter this wound and destroy him. As the Doctor lays dying on the floor, his life is undone and the galaxies and lives he’s saved start going out.
Clara: This time I will get it right. This time I will be “soufflé girl.”
I have over the course of this half season referred to Clara as “being spun out of the pattern over and over” which some of you might recognize as a Wheel of Time reference. I wasn’t that far off. We saw tonight that there are many copies, going all the back all the way to the First Doctor. And they have A Plan. Well, sort of. Clara follows the GI into the wound, where she is broken up into millions pieces, scattered along The Doctor’s life to save him over and over. Even the idiot leaf is explained, as it turns out this echo of her came flying in on it.
Clara: You know what? Run. Run, you clever boy and remember me.
All the Old Whos appear, though always running, and once or twice one can see the CGI lines around the insert. I loved seeing Clara styled in 1960s and 70s outfits to match. My favorite was her dressed in the same style as Susan Foreman, as she tells the First Doctor not to steal the TARDIS he’s headed for. “Steal this one instead. The navigation system’s knackered, but you’ll have much more fun.” We got to see what a TARDIS looks like de-skinned. Did it surprise anyone that it’s a plain silver cylinder that would not look out of place in a 1963 sci-fi television show?
The Doctor: I said he was me, I never said he was the Doctor.
Clara: I don’t understand.
The Doctor: …The name I chose is, “The Doctor.” The name you choose, it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise. He is my secret.
The Doctor could not let Clara just go and sacrifice herself. He had to enter his own timestream to rescue her. Inside we see…. Well, if you’ve been following the 50th anniversary filming, you would know rumors has it that John Hurt was cast as “The Doctor.” The theorists suggested this was Hurt filling in for Eccelston as the Ninth Doctor. Or this was like “The Next Doctor.” Perhaps this was the 12th Doctor? The one gaining traction (enough that it appears on Wikipedia) suggested this was a lost Ninth Doctor, and that the New Whos would have their numbers bumped. Is he in fact the lost incarnation of The Doctor who destroyed Gallifrey and ended the time war?
JohnHurt Doctor: What I did, I did without choice, in the name of peace and sanity.
The Doctor: But not in The Name of The Doctor!
And you thought the episode title meant we were going to learn his name. Silly Human. It was all just a prequel after all.
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