‘Doctor Who”s 800th episode was a fitting — if flawed — goodbye to the show’s fun, flirty, and ferocious Eleventh Doctor. Check out our recap of ‘The Time Of The Doctor’ below!
“I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.” These were the last words of Matt Smith‘s Eleventh Doctor, who said goodbye to life and time in a fast-paced, emotionally fueled episode of Doctor Who. Read below to find out what happened — AKA, spoilers, sweetie — when Matt Smith became Peter Capaldi.
‘The Time Of The Doctor’: Amy Steals Clara’s Thunder
Okay, so a lot happened before Karen Gillan showed up to make how everyone in the universe feels about Jenna Coleman blatantly obvious, but most of it was too quick and jumpy and utterly confusing to actually process. Matt’s goodbye had its great points — Eleven’s peaceful and resigned reflections on death itself were powerful, and very appropriate for our very old youngest Doctor — but there was no real thrill and certainly no danger when it came to the (sigh) reemergence of the Angels, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontaran, and Silence. As a goodbye to Eleven I was pleased with “The Time of the Doctor”; as an episodic… not so much.
AnyWHO, the aforementioned baddies gathered when a mysterious signal drew in every alien race with a halfway-decent spaceship, interrupting Clara’s ill-fated Christmas dinner with her family. (Remember when Donna and Rose had families, and they were wonderful? Anyway.) The signal ended up being from the stranded Time Lords, who would reenter our universe through one of those damn cracks in the wall if the Doctor gave up the safe word — his name. Which doesn’t even exist! Still, a sexy and ferocious nun (Orla Brady) made damn sure that the “Silence” was kept, since the Doctor’s name would bring yet another Time War to our dimension. Not cool.
Anyway, the England-ish planet that housed the unfortunate crack ended up being Trenzalore, so no matter how badly he didn’t want to go, Eleven knew he was doomed the second he set foot on the planet — more specifically its town of Christmas (groan). So Eleven stayed and grew old as he fought for 300 years to preserve Trenzalore, and during this time he managed to gain a keen appreciation for the mundane, day-to-day lives he’s been saving for centuries, but until now had no time to really observe. It was sweet to see him look so damn peaceful, but also frustrating to have the Doctor in old age makeup for over half of the episode. We like your face, Matt! (Even the rocket-fin ears.)
But he really only stayed for so long because the Doctor was only born with a certain number of regenerations, and thus would die in this Eleventh (or Thirteenth, if we count John Hurt and his vanity phase) body. So why not stick around and make some actual friends for once, you know? So that he did, leaving Clara behind in a twist that slapped us in the face yet again with Rule Number One — the Doctor lies.
Which brings me back (sorry, it’s Christmas and I’m as topsy-turvy as the episode from peppermint bark, wine, and tears) to my initial point — that the episode was a lovely salute to Matt Smith and his take on the role (the falling bow tie at the end was a brilliant touch), but it also really highlighted Clara’s weaknesses via her blatant lack of emotional payoff scenes. Amy Pond was a woman who loved life, love, and adventure — not just the Doctor — so when she showed up for ten damn seconds to say “Raggedy Man, Goodnight” it blew the lid off anything that has happened between Eleven and Clara over the last freaking year. And of course it did! How pissed would you have been if Amy Pond hadn’t showed up to say goodbye to her Doctor?
But Jenna Coleman and Matt Smith just have not worked as a team, so let’s pray that Jenna and Peter find that same spark that made Eleven, Amy, and Rory so thrilling during their 2.5-ish years in the TARDIS. I almost feel like Clara has just been treading water, waiting for her Doctor to arrive. Let’s hope I’m right.
‘The Time Of The Doctor’: Capaldi!!!!!!!!
Matt Smith was one of the best Doctors of all time. Period. (I will not say the T-Word in honor of Matt’s great take on the role, natch.) But he summed up everything when he said “Times change, and so must I.”
He managed to cheat real death when Clara — brought to Trenzalore to say goodbye via Mother Superious — let the Time Lords in, and all it took was one bolt of TL-mojo to begin the quickest regeneration in regeneration timey-wimey history. Could you imagine if you-know-who’s regeneration had been that quick?! Donna would never have won the lottery! Jack would have never gotten that hot dude’s number! Shameful.
But the Eleventh Doctor had already said goodbye to this chapter in his life — a brilliant chapter that he would remember; every word! — and he really didn’t need to waste any more precious words on his just-okay friend Clara. (You know he would never have dumped Amy in that cruel of a fashion.) And so the Doctor became reborn faster than a Dalek could say the first syllable of the word “exterminate,” and it was thrilling! Nothing sucks the tears from one’s eyes quite like Peter Capaldi asking how to fly a TARDIS. Chills.
So, who is ready for the Fall of 2014? And who else is hoping that Twelve is into yummier food, for the sake of their future theme parties?
— Shaunna Murphy