Wow. Just wow.
I had stopped reviewing the second half of Series 7, purely because it had gotten so underwhelming and I did not want to continually write reviews on a number of below-average episodes.
But this finale … Moffat
almost redeemed this sub-parity of a season with these stunning 45 minutes. Of course, the title itself was just a red herring – no way would he reveal The Doctor’s biggest secret; all 50 years of history in just one episode – but it did answer a number of questions that viewers had been long debating on forums and Twitter. (And it welcomed back the ever delightful Professor River Song.)
Who was Clara? Why is she impossible? What is Trenzalore and what does it mean to The Doctor?
“This was not just the best episode of the season, but possibly the best finale we’ve seen.” - The Guardian
The episode begins with a montage of Clara in different times and identities, constantly looking after The Doctor in his numerous states. Now, it does not make sense until the final few minutes of the episode. It’s so amazingly mind-blowing, but at the same time, so simple and obvious.
Clara, this current, original Clara, had been scattered across time and space via The Doctor’s timeline. “Run. Run you clever boy. And remember me.
“I don’t know where I am. I just know I’m running. Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives, in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die. And always there’s The Doctor. Always I’m running to save The Doctor, again, and again, and again. And he hardly ever hears me. But I’ve always been there. Right from the very beginning.”
While I am quite satisfied with this explanation, I felt that it revealed itself too soon. We’ve barely been introduced to the character and to know her relevance and importance oh so soon seems to be a waste of what could have been a grande story arc. Nonetheless, great twist and an impeccable episode, and no doubt Moffat will take this and work some sort of incoherent non-sensical, yet fantastic storyline to it.
I do, however, applaud Moffat’s new choice of villain: the Whisper Men. As stylish as The Silence and almost as creepy as The Weeping Angels, having an “idea” be the antagonist is pure genius. The role that The Great Intelligence plays in the episode however, throwing himself into The Doctor’s timeline, seems random and farfetched.
The highlight of the episode for me? The scene with River and The Doctor, I must admit, shed a
river few tears.
River: How are you even doing that? I’m not really here.
Doctor: You are always here to me and I always listen. And I can always see you.
River: Then why didn’t you speak to me?
Doctor: Because I thought it would hurt to much.
River: I believe I could have coped.
Doctor: No, I thought it would hurt me … and I was right.
Seriously, stop it, Matt Smith. Displaying his beautiful range of emotions once again, he’s really, really impressed me. From a tearful reunion with his dead-but-digitally-alive wife, to a jolly mock farewell, Doctor Who proves time and time again that it is not merely a family show.
The souffle isn’t the souffle. The souffle is the recipe.
Just when you think things can’t get any better, we meet an incarnation of The Doctor that’s never been seen before – the absolutely brilliant John Hurt. November 23rd can’t come any sooner.
Damn you (once again), Steven Moffat.