Eleven returns for a last hurrah replete with wooden Cybermen and naked Twister before his inevitable regeneration
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The entire Whoniverse of belligerents is once again on tour, this time parked around a planet transmitting a cipher beam and being shielded by the Church of the Papal Mainframe, an organisation with absolutely nothing to hide and absolutely no clothes to hide it with.
Doc is also in orbit, being plopped in and out of various starships by Handles, a Cyber-knockoff from the market at Maldovar, merrily mentioning Terileptils and Slitheen with zero intention of bringing them back on screen.
Meanwhile, Clara’s overslept past lunchtime on Christmas Day and is trying to entertain what’s left of her miserable, broken family with promises of an oncoming gawky boyfriend until the turkey warms up.
Exactly who is sending this indecipherable cipher, and to whom? What can’t Doc tell Clara about his dealings with the Space Pope? And how many changes of Doctors does it take for the Time Lords to have a lightbulb moment?
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– “I died in this room screaming your name”
– Naked Doctor at Clara’s Christmas dinner.
– “Silence will Fall”, satisfyingly (?) explained.
– Handles (sniff)
– An explosive regeneration.
– The Winter-Wonderland hells-cape that is Christmas Town. Sick bag please. How has this Town not changed in centuries? Why haven’t they built Helms Deep defences? Why are they still armed with pitchforks? Why is the women in the bonnet still alive at the end – are they immortal? Why haven’t they all got rickets? I’m with the Daleks – everyone in this town should be exterminated.
– The Silence. Way to ruin a good villain. Do you remember when these guys were cool, eviscerating people in bathrooms. What’s the point in confessing your sins to one if you then forget? You don’t forget your sins, right?
– Wooden Cyberman. Too many questions for the 250 word limit.
– Are all the Papal Mainframe forces fighting the Daleks alongside the Doctor actually Dalek Agents?
– The reveal of the Crack being the Doctor’s worst nightmare in Room 11. What a let down. He doesn’t look remotely scared. Should have been the Kandyman! Look at the fear in the Seventh Doctor’s eyes!
Summary: Better than I remembered.
Rating: 2.8/5 sickly sweet Dickensian Christmas villagers being vaporised.
It all started with Matt Smith announcing his departure from Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, already prepping for Matt in Series 8, and he had to wrap up his era in less than an hour.
So we got this. All the issues I had with Matt’s era are amplified to eleven with cringe comedy (most notably the part where the Doctor is naked), rushed storylines, underdeveloped characters, and references everywhere. Clara is still making sad goo goo eyes over Eleven, which is annoying. This really feels like this is a full season’s worth of story in one episode.
However, this episode is redeemed by the last third with Old Eleven, the Clocktower scene with the Daleks and the regeneration scene itself. This is what this episode should’ve been. It should be somber in tone and just be dripping with this grim atmosphere, similar to Logopolis or even Caves of Androzani. Then the regeneration got to be epic. Matt’s final speech at the end is good. I would’ve cut the Amy stuff, but that’s just a tiny thing. Even the quick snap regeneration into Capaldi was good.
Overall, it was okay. Like I said, the issues from the last few years were amplified but the last third of the episode was good enough to make up for it. That last third is what everyone is gonna remember. It was perfect.
Farewell, Matt Smith. Enter, Peter Capaldi. 3.0/5
Also, expect me more regularly on the New Who reviews. I watched Capaldi’s era on TV all the way through, so I’d love to share my thoughts on his era in a more complete fashion.
Here we are at the end of the Crack/Silence/Question arc that began with Matt Smith’s first episode and here ends with his regeneration.
The Question is “Doctor Who?” and the Question was only dangerous because of the Answer, and the Answer was only dangerous because it would be the homing beacon for the lost Gallifrey, and the Return of Gallifrey is only dangerous because it would restart the Time War which would end in the Silence of all things, and the Question is the first-ever question because the Cracks are through all of time, so there’s a crack somewhere before the first people had a chance to ask a question actually relevant for their situation.
Did I untangle it correctly?
Clara circumvented the Question being Answered, so once again Silence did not fall.
That said, this episode felt surprisingly powerful. I really liked Tasha, and I like that they brought back the melody from the Rings of Akhaten (the Wake Up melody the child sang) for the Doctor’s goodbye to Amy. I am quite excited for Capaldi.
I still feel suspicious about whether the multiple-season plot feels satisfying, or if it feels like what the Doctor described in this episode: a lot of words bluffing there is a plan, then taking all the credit at the end…
But this episode did feel triumphant, and I love it, so 4.8.
On the fields (or snow drifts) of Trenzalore, at the fall (or wobble) of the eleventh, when no living creature (or reanimated Dalek thingy) can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked (more to follow on that); a question that must never, ever be answered, (even though, for plot purposes, it will be, sort of, in a hand-wavey, bullshit kind of way). Silence will fall (in line behind The Doctor, apparently) when the question is asked, or whispered creepily through the wall of an adobe church in a solitary town in the ass end of space. So say we all. Skip to the end. Sort of.
All threads lead back to Trenzalore in this blow-out Matt Smith finale, in true Moffat style. Of course The Doctor got more lives. Of course Amy Pond gets a cameo. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
How much timey-wimey does it take to cook a Turkey, anyways?
The Sonic Screwdriver still does not work on wood. Of any kind. Especially wooden cybernetic beings The TARDIS, whilst flying through the Vortex, in no way would have caused multiple versions of Clingy Clara to be tossed off to save earlier incarnations of The Doctor. Thats way too crazy.
Score: 4/5 I hate Capaldis entrance. He needed something more. Everything else was lovely.
There are so many ties to the 20th Anniversary Special, “The Five Doctors”, that you should watch that prior to watching this episode. Trust me, there are a few things that will become more clear. Also, apparently that was one of Moffat’s favorite episodes of classic Who; especially after he had them go back and update the special effects.