The Time of the Doctor has arrived and now Matt Smith's run has come to a close. Does the Time of the Doctor prove to be a fitting sendoff to one of the most popular Doctors, or is a disappointing end to his run?
Since some readers may have not seen the episode, I will provide warnings before I go into spoiler territory. However, you can watch the entire episode at this link if you have not seen it yet.
Despite being hated by a few, Matt Smith's run as the Doctor has been the most successful and popular runs of any Doctor, and it has given us some of the best episodes and moments of the series. The critical response to the episode has been mostly positive to average, the fan response has been mostly positive as well, and there are a few others that disliked the episode immensely. But, overall, most viewers were pleased.
Here is a quick non-spoiler review of the episode: "The Time of the Doctor" gives us a fitting end to Matt Smith's run that is equal parts fun and sad. Matt Smith is fantastic as always, and Jenna Coleman as Clara is even more lovable than before. She is actually given something to throughout the episode. However, the story lacks logic and it contains some noticeable plot holes, which hamper it in the end. Now skip down to the Overall rating for my final thoughts if you have not seen the episode yet, but if you have, continue reading for my full spoiler review.
Since there are so many questions brought up, and so many confusing plot points, I have a series of thoughts in no particular order.
Matt Smith was better than ever, particularly in the dramatic scenes. He played the elderly Doctor brilliantly, and his ending speech literally gave me chills: "We all change when you think about it…and that’s OK as long as you remember the people you used to be. I won’t forget this, not one day. I will always remember when the Doctor was me." Truly fantastic lines to end his run. The old age makeup was rather impressive. It was better than most movies I have seen. The Doctor aging was rather unexpected, however, my theory is that he is aging because he was so close to the rip in time or he was on his last regeneration.
The "Silence Will Fall when the Question is Asked" storyline has finally come to an end, although the inclusion of it was clunky and felt forced. Also the "Pandorica Opens" and the cracks in time story from season five is somewhat explained as being the Time Lords trying to come back. Basically, the episode tried to provide closure to all of the major plot threads of Smith's run, and those aspects felt unnecessarily rushed. There was way too much plot for one episode to cover along with the regeneration of the Doctor in just 60 minutes. The story would have been better served with an extra 20 to 30 minutes, but it still manages to pull it off in the end.
The humor in the episode was absolutely spot on! I laugh a lot during the earlier parts of the episode. However, The Doctor being naked joke was a little too silly and awkward, but it did produce some good laughs. It actually reminded me of the scene I posted below from when Tennant's Doctor was cloned.
The Time Lords using the Doctor saying his name as a locator is kind of dumb. If they heard Clara when she convinced them to help the Doctor, how did they not know the Doctor was there? But after re-watching the episode I figured out that they are asking the question so that the Doctor would tell them when it is safe to return. However, there is another unexplained thing, which is why did the Time Lords place a truth field if they are relying on the Doctor's help. He literally says, "If I give my they will know that this is the right place and that it is safe to come through." Also why did the Cybermen head transmit the message to everyone?
When the Doctor explains to Clara that he is on his thirteenth regeneration he states, "Number Ten once regeneration and kept the same face; I had vanity issues at the time." When did this happen? If someone knows please comment and let me know. I feel as though I kind of remember that happening, but it has been years since watching those episodes, therefore I am not sure. Also, I assume he is referring to Tennant and not Eccleston if the War Doctor does not count.
With no more generations left how can the Doctor possibly save the day? Space-Magic, yes, it was basically Space-Magic, or a Deus ex machina if you prefer. The Time Lords send him a new regeneration cycle and the day is save. Why? Because Doctor Who is too good of a show to end, and hopefully it will never end for as long as I live. It made it 50 years, and it make it another 50 years.
Also, what exactly was everyone trying to do and who was fighting who? Was the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Weeping Angels, and whatever else that decided to attack, sole objective to kill the Doctor so that he would not bring the Time Lords back? Maybe The Doctor would have just left if his TARDIS returned as planned.
The cameo by Amy was a nice and sweet moment that worked very well. On the other hand, why did he see Amy other than she was the first person that saw his face. Technically, she is his mother-in-law, but he still kind of acts like he is in love with her, which is a little weird. Nonetheless, the scene was great.
The "psycho space-nun," Tasha Lem, first appeared as weird, but later in the episode I really liked her character. She also took a big risk flying the TARDIS when she is partially controlled by the Dalek though, but her comment about flying the TARDIS was quite humorous saying, "Flying the TARDIS was always easy; flying the Doctor I never quite mastered."
The way Smith left was perfect. Unlike when Tennant's Doctor regenerated, where he complained, "I don't want to go" and that he is not the same person, which is completely inaccurate, Smith gave us hope and reassurance that no matter which incarnation he will always be the Doctor. He went out like a man and he will always remembered. Do not get me wrong, Tennant was an awesome Doctor, maybe my favorite, but in retrospect, the Tenth Doctor acted as if he was actually dying, and not regenerating. He is still essentially the same person with the same memories, just with a different body and some personality differences.
Now for Peter Capaldi's zany 45 seconds as the twelfth or thirteenth or fourteenth or whatever number you designate him as, Doctor. "Kidneys, I've got new kidneys; I don't like the color!" Despite the limited time we got to see him, I am confident that he will do well. Jacob theorizes that the Doctor has forgotten everything, which is why he is asking how to fly the TARDIS. Right before he regenerated he talked about how he will never forgot, which sets up him forgetting.
Overall: 9.5/10- Admittedly, "The Time of the Doctor" has its problems as it tries to do too many things in one episode and there is little logic behind what is happening some of the time, but despite those problems, the episode nailed it where it needed to most: Matt Smith's saddening sendoff. Everything about the characters worked, and even though the plot did not make sense the entire time, the ambition shown in the episode is admirable and a worthy sendoff from to the Doctor. Additionally, from a personal enjoyment rating the episode would receive a 11/10 (see what I did there?).
Now I will leave you with this cool gif.
Please check tomorrow for my New Year's Blogging Resolutions!
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