So, the long-awaited series finale of Doctor Who. It’s been a patchy series – a lot of it, to be honest, just kinda okayish, but they’ve still set up a decent pile of mysteries to resolve in this last one. Who is Clara? What is the Doctor’s name?
Steven Moffat might now tell us. Hold on to your hats and beware the almighty spoiler. Watch the episode on iPlayer if need be.
That’s Not My Name (of the Doctor)
The Name Of The Doctor teased us with the twin mysteries of Clara and the Doctor’s real identities, but both turn out to be feints, in a way. Well, the Clara question is answered, in a way that is clever if not an OMG revelation. However, I did enjoy her insertion into past footage – bringing in past Doctors already is a fun way to tee us up for the anniversary.
But the Doctor’s name is skipped through entirely, showing that Steven Moffat already knew what was kinda obvious ever since the plot was announced: announcing the Doctor’s name serves no purpose, because his literal name doesn’t matter. Who the Doctor is comes from his actual past, and that’s the revelation we end up getting. Or at least, a teaser for it.
On the way, though, there’s a pile of emotional scenes, and thankfully everyone involved is up to it. The Doctor, Clara, even River Song felt sincere, and the Victorian detectives get their best material yet. I might almost watch that spin-off show now.
Should I jump into this swirly thing? DISCUSS.
The episode itself, admittedly, was weirdly static for a finale – I enjoyed the emotions, character moments and reveals, and it started well, but they sure did spend a lot of time debating whether to throw themselves into that special effect. Richard E. Grant is a great actor, but his Great Intelligence character hadn’t been built up enough to carry the level of spite his part here required, so he just drifted away.
And then we were left with the Doctor and Clara taking ages to throw themselves into the swirly thing. Doing good acting along the way, but still. Ultimately, this was Anniversary Special Part One, wasn’t it? Considering we ended with the Doc trapped inside his own timeline-corpse, having throw himself in to rescue Clara, this seems a good place to start exploring the man and his past.
At least, I think he was still trapped. It’s possible he escaped using the magic leaf, and if so, that’s a bit lame after spending so long talking up how secure it was – so I assume he remains stuck. This wouldn’t make me hate the magic leaf any less after my bile during episode two.
But still – decent episode, if slightly waffly in places, lots of good scenes and a potentially very interesting ending – so John Hurt’s Doctor/non-Doctor might have been an off-screen regeneration between McGann and Eccleston, I guess? Making the current Doc the twelfth, rather than eleventh. Interesting.
And good, really. Perhaps felt more like the build-up to something bigger rather than a massive finale in its own right, but if that’s the intention, so be it. Onwards!