Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe's deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars - and amongst them, the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.Written by
The Doctor's final speech before regenerating articulates one of the true themes of the series. See more »
Just as Matt Smith's Doctor regenerates, he throws his arms up as he hurls backwards. The very next scene with Peter Capaldi, his arms are already at his side with no indication he lowered them. See more »
And so Matt Smith's time as the Doctor ends, the sonic screwdriver passed on to the much older Peter Capaldi which should make for an interesting change after Smith and his immediate predecessor David Tennant put a more youthful slant on the Doc.
Like the recent 50th anniversary celebratory episode "The Day of the Doctor", Steven Moffat fills this particular pie with many ingredients, perhaps too many at times, but in the end the story was still gripping, finishing up with the much anticipated, if rather sudden, regeneration where Capaldi's first appearance begins with a rather poor line ("What colour are my kidneys?") which I would hope isn't indicative of what is to follow.
Again Moffat reaches back this time into the show's more recent lore which he himself has supervised, to introduce the plot elements here, principally the crack in the universe, intriguingly suggesting the return of the Time Lords. There he meets Colonel Meme and her band of intergalactic police acting as the conduit to Trenzilore where only the Doctor can gain entry and where, as a sort of space-age Wyatt Earp, sees off the would-be interlopers down the years. Eventually, inevitably, it's the Daleks who break through with an invasion force and set up one final showdown for this Doctor which will change him forever.
The episode has its oddities, none more than the Doctor's literal attachment to a disembodied Cyber-head called Handles, Clara's (to me, inexplicable) encounters with The Silence, and for the first time, we see a Doctor physically ageing as his supposedly final regeneration nears its end.
There's some typically cheeky Moffat humour throughout, particularly concerning hologram clothing, but it ends as it must with Smith's Doctor triumphing even as he expires, given a grand "Thank You everybody" speech and even a touching reunion with Amy Pond, but surprisingly not with Rory or River Song.
I have enjoyed Matt Smith's tenure at the TARDIS, but feel that after the youthful but different eccentricities of both his and Tennent's reigns, a more mature, perhaps spikier Doctor could make for a refreshing change of pace and it will be interesting to see how Clara moves on from her clearly physical attraction for the younger Doctor to an older man.
Lucky thirteen, anyone?
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