Television: Doctor Who and the Time of the Doctor

"The Time of the Doctor"

The Doctor dies on Trenzalore. It’s a fact. He’s seen it. His own tomb, somewhere out there in his future. The Great Intelligence knew it to be true: “One day, it was just too much for the old man.” The Doctor’s death is inevitable – and the time has come for him to return to Trenzalore to fight his final battle. But first, there’s Christmas dinner to prepare…

I’m having a hard time writing this because I want to say I liked the Christmas special, but I would be lying.

It’s not that I hate it, because I don’t. I just don’t like it. And I feel terrible because this is Matt Smith’s last episode. He is my Doctor. He is the one who introduced me to this weird and wonderful universe. And for a swan song, he gets an episode crammed full of things that I don’t really understand the need for. The Silence are back, and so are the Weeping Angels–but why? We finally find out where the crack of the universe begins, and why the TARDIS was made to explode–but there’s no satisfaction in learning these things.

They were just information being given.

Instead of building up to a big finish, like what Russel T. Davies had done for David Tennant in End of Time, we get a disjointed and disappointing swan song for Matt Smith. We get an episode that spends more time in zipping around and not learning things to actually feel the emotions that the characters are sharing. We don’t feel the Doctor’s pain, his despair, his longing. We see him send Clara away,  much like he did with Rose in the finale of the first series. We see Clara not allow herself to be left behind. And then, instead of seeing how this decision has affected the Doctor, we instead cut to a montage of The Doctor fighting different monsters. Couldn’t we have had a scene with the Doctor allowing himself a moment as he says goodbye to Clara? A moment of realization, when the TARDIS doesn’t immediately return, that he will be stuck in the town of Christmas?

There are so many ways to make the episode much more emotionally powerful, and I feel cheated that it wasn’t already so. Because the episode worked so hard to be smart, it forgot the most important part of Doctor Who: it’s heart.

Although, admittedly, a smart episode could work too. If it weren’t a Christmas special. And if it hadn’t dropped a bombshell like Clara’s family on us.

Since when has Clara had family? I mean, I know she had a dad. But hadn’t her mum died already? There was a scene and everything!

But that’s just one small thing compared to the big wrong that was The Time of the Doctor. Maybe it is time for Steven Moffat to take a leave off Doctor Who. He can always return later on. I just think he needs time to rest for now. Rest so he can go back to the way he used to write; when he wrote about Star Whales, about big bangs, about raggedy men dragging along children to an adventure in all of time and space. Rest, Steven Moffat. Rest, so you may give us our Doctor back.

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