The Time of the Doctor: A Review

Caution: Lots and Lots of Spoilers for the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special.

The bad:

As it turns out, having the daleks forget all about the Doctor in Asylum of the Daleks served no other purpose than to end the episode on a high note. Boo!!!!

Tasha Lem dies, and is used as a dalek puppet. But she managed to fight off the daleks from controlling her mind (already hard to believe considering an eye stalk just popped out of her head) and is back alive again, just as fine as she was before. How does that work? She died. Moffat, you should take a lesson from George R. R. Martin and learn to start killing off main characters.

Speaking of Tasha Lem, she had almost exactly the same personality as River Song. Boo!!!

The Doctor using regeneration energy to kill all his enemies was a bit of a stretch**, especially since the time lords giving him the energy in the first place was already a bit of a deus ex machina. It wasn’t as bad as, say, The Last of the Timelords, but still.

I’m glad that the series six plot-line got wrapped up, but the way it did seemed made up on the spot, which it probably was. Hey, at least it made sense. Mostly.

The good:

Is it me, or did Clara actually show some character depth in this episode? We finally get to see her family, and she showed all these brand new emotions we’ve never seen before. Combine that with Jenna Coleman’s acting, and Clara (almost) stole the show.

I don’t get the complaints of it being overly convoluted. Compared to episodes like The Big Bang (which I loved) or The Wedding of River Song (which was okay), this was fairly straight-forward, and tied up all the loose threads from Eleven’s era.

Was anyone genuinely upset when Handles the Cyber-head died? I was hoping he’d be a K-9-like companion for a while.

As much as the plot needed some work, I must say, Matt Smith was at his very best here. Everything you could like about his Doctor was in this episode, and the ending was all the more powerful for it.

Speaking of the ending, the regeneration scene was handled perfectly. The Eleventh Doctor went out happy and optimistic for the future, instead of whining the whole time about how he doesn’t want to go. Cough cough The End of Time cough*

Peter Capaldi was only shown for about thirty seconds, but the few moments we did get with him were great. I like him already.

Things I’m not sure about:

Did the doctor just age at least six hundred years in one episode? Not sure how I feel about that.

Stop bringing back the Weeping Angels! They’re cool and all, but every time they show up, they become even less scary. I think they never should have returned after the Time of Angels two-parter.

What was up with the super-quick regeneration? Capaldi just popped up out of nowhere.

Overall Rating: 7.45/10. Flawed, but the two main characters held it all together. Also, the feels.

*To be fair to the Tenth Doctor, he was having a really bad day.

**By a bit of a stretch, I mean it was a huge stretch. Not even Mr. Fantastic could stretch that far.

To end this post on a high note, I should point out that today is my blog’s one year anniversary. To celebrate, I made myself a cake.

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16 thoughts on “The Time of the Doctor: A Review

  1. Agree with pretty much all ofIt, but concerning Tasha I’m glad she didn’t die. Also, Moffat is still better at killing characters off than RTD was.

    Also, I really like the “split second” regeneration. I’ll go more into it in my own post at some point, but I like how jarring it is. It makes this regeneration unique amongst all the other new-series ones.

    1. I think the reason I wasn’t so sure about the regeneration was because of how jarring it felt, although I do like how it sets him apart from all the other Doctors. Mostly I just loved everything Peter Capaldi did, and Clara’s reaction to him.

      I think Moffat’s great at killing characters, but not so great at keeping them that way. Of course, I don’t remember RTD killing off any main good characters at all, except for The Voyage of the Damned (and I hated that episode).

  2. Congratulations on the anniversary! I hope the cake was super tasty.

    (And yes, I’m avoiding mentioning the Doctor. I somehow got busy on Christmas, and still haven’t seen the episode. But I read your post, because spoilers and I have a long running relationship. 🙂 )

  3. I have to agree with you — this wasn’t the greatest episode ever. The tie-up of series six did seem a bit made up on the spot but to some extent I kind of liked it, because that chapter of the mainframe were apparently to blame for everything awful that’s happened, so it was nice to see them cause the one thing they were trying to avoid. As for the doctor’s hundreds of years — since when did he age? I’m pretty sure that from when he regenerated to when River shot him there was a fur hundred year gap, so why did another six hundred suddenly make him look all old? The weeping angels were such a badly-done nod to Moffat’s only glory years; they added mothing to the story, and then… magically disappeared without causing any further harm. As did the truth field, which was the catalyst for the whole story and yet was conveniently forgotten about halfway through.
    I can’t say I’m s happy with Clara’s growth as you are, though. We met her family, which was sweet — but who were they? One was her grandma but who were the others? And where were they for the rest of the time, when she seemed to be a lonely little orphan girl who paid her way by looking after a couple of kids?
    Also — and this is my main, giant issue with the whole plot — it still didn’t explain how they escaped from the doctor’s time stream at the end of the last series.
    In short I was really not impressed. :/

    1. For Clara’s family, I believe the guy was her father(?) and the other woman was her aunt.

      Yeah, that really bugged me. I thought The Time of the Doctor would start off with Clara and the Doctor stuck in the time steam, but apparently they just walked out like it was no big deal.

      What did you think of Eleven’s regeneration scene though? I thought it was the best one in NuWho so far, though I may be biased because Eleven’s my favorite Doctor.

      1. Oh I did really like the regeneration actually. It wasn’t as good as Ten’s for me personally because Ten had such a massively awesome character arc before his demise, but I did like the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it regeneration and I loved his little speech as well. I wasn’t sure about Amy coming back to see him off though because — while I know that she’s a beloved companion — it felt like a belittlement of Clara’s position as the companion.

  4. I think Matt Smith pulled off the old man bit and so did the make-up team. I particularly liked all the drawings by kids that adorned his walls in the town of Christmas. He may be old but he’s just a big kid himself! The episode, while completely mixed up, had a really nice feel to it as if the Doctor had looked after the townsfolk for a very long time, over generations. I don’t think we can be too critical at Christmas.

    An afterthought – did anyone think Clara’s hair was different? Like worse?

    1. Yeah, I usually set my expectations low for Christmas specials. “A Christmas Carol” was the first one I’d rate above a 7 out of 10.

      Yeah, i noticed it too. While it didn’t really bother me, her hair did look better before.

  5. I liked this episode too. I was thrilled to actually be able to watch it, because I was at my grandma’s and she has cable. 🙂 I probably would have given it an 8/10. It’s not my favorite episode by far, but it was good. I’m really hoping we can get a bit more into Clara’s character soon, but with the new regeneration, it seems unlikely. Also, I loved Handles. He will be missed.

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