Ever since the second half of this season of Doctor Who started the quality of the writing has taken a giant step backwards. The overall arcing plots that we’ve come to know and enjoy disappeared to replaced with one rather tepid plot: Who is Clara Oswald and why is she impossible?
This has made her into a mix of River Song/Rose Tyler-type but without the puppy dog eyes when it comes to luvin’ the Doctor.
Steven Moffat’s MO since he started is time traveling out of sequence is fun fun fun for the entire family. Something like Memento mixed with Back to the Future.
I was ready to write this episode off.
Until the pre-credit sequence has Clara greenscreened into 1 adventure per Doctor.
And, even as far back as the Doctor and his granddaughter stealing the TARDIS before The Unearthly Child episode.
Yeh. They went there.
The Great Intelligence has been busy tracking down the Doctor’s friends and through means we aren’t shown and probably never know brings everyone to Tranzalore. The same place mentioned by Dorian all the way back at the end of season 6.
It is the final resting place of the Doctor and several thousand veterans of a war/skirmish we haven’t seen yet. It is here where they visit the Doctor’s grave and like all villains the Great Intelligence tries to kill the Doctor by stepping into his timeline and killing him over and over.
Except Clara does the same thing and becomes a repeating echo through the Doctor’s life. The wardrobe people must have had fun with the clothes and hair styles.
The good news is this doesn’t become a Wedding of River Song type of episode where nothing is actually lost or gained due to the giant time travel reset button. In fact one of the better episodes this season, Journey, is remembered by Clara.
The bad news is several fold: First, we get the whole universe is blinking out of existence and the well dressed villain is going to kill everyone schtick. Doctor Who, I fear is going to start running out of season finales at this rate. The blowing up/rebooting/kill everyone is getting too old. Second, knowing all this now we should be able to go back and look at 14 episodes and find hints but instead Dalek Asylum, The Bells of St. John, The Snowmen and Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is all we’ve got.
I think the Great Intelligence being living breathing information could have been a great idea since Clara deleted the Doctor’s existence from the universe. I’d be pissed too if I you just deleted my memories of a certain person. But that is glazed over.
The lack of River Song since losing the Ponds and gaining the support system of Jenny, Vastra and Strax is better since I enjoy Strax’s comedy over River and the Doctor’s dueling time lines.
The episode highlights something the writers have been doing a lot this season: Cram as much as you can into an episode. Cold War and Hide did this and I’m not liking it. The three/four/five act structure should be enough for the writers instead we’re getting too much and it’s hindering in my opinion.
As for the end…and the introduction of a new character in the Doctor’s timeline I will not ruin it. I will say a few things:
1. November 23rd is a long ways away.
2. San Diego Comic Con’s Doctor Who panel is going to worth standing in line.
3. Thank you Moffat for going back to the Time War. Yay.
Having said all that, I hope the Nerdist manages to get any of the Doctor Who cast for their Saturday panel like they did in 2011 cuz no way in hell’s bells I’m standing in line for Hall H.