My first thought: It was no End of Time.
#10 at least had a villain to hiss at and a plot, outlandish as it may have been to follow but in the end we all agreed with him: I don’t want to go.
With the 50th Anniversary Episode revealing the fact Gallifrey was out there the episode started off well enough.
A signal is being sent out and all the aliens have arrived on this world to find out what it means. This includes the Doctor using a decapitated Cyberman head named Handles. This isn’t explained well or explained so quickly I had to re-watch it several times. After going from Dalek ship to Cybermen ship to find he decides to beat a hasty retreat after being summoned by Clara.
Turns out she’s making christmas dinner and he needs to meet her parents since she’s been lying to them about having a boyfriend. The parents + grandmother leave no lasting impression or the fact the Doctor wears a hologram of clothes which makes no sense. After another retreat to the TARDIS to cook the turkey, Handles tells the Doctor the planet is Gallifrey.
Before the Doctor can throttle Handles for making a mistake an arm of the Papal Mainframe arrives with Mother Superior Tasha Lem played by Orla Brady. Don’t remember the Papal Mainframe? Turns out an arm of the Mainframe went rogue and they’re the ones who kidnapped Amy several seasons back. This is where the writers break a cardinal sin: telling and not showing.
If the Papal Mainframe had a proper set up in a proper episode I wouldn’t be complaining this heavily. It would silence most of my complaining about Madame Bevari’s lack of introduction several seasons back. A proper villain working against the Doctor and a proper reveal of why would have worked for me. For a show that has 12 episodes a year you’d think they’d cut the fat and get right to the point. Same goes for Vastra, Strax and Jenny’s introductions.
Tasha Lem could have been an interesting character. Instead she brings nothing else to the episode then to info dump on why Madame Bevari tried to blow up the TARDIS. This plot line and the villainess hasn’t surfaced since the Amy and Rory’s wedding two seasons ago. It also hasn’t been touched since.
Tasha sends the Doctor and Clara down to the planet to find out what’s going on only to be confronted by the Weeping Angels probably one of the better scenes in the entire episode.
Turns out the rip in space and time from Amy’s bedroom is back and the signal is coming through is from the Time Lords.
This is where the episode should get good, right? The Time Lords and Gallifrey are coming back! But alas, they are kept out of the picture because the Time War could start up again and no one wants them back. The Council may have gone mad with power with Rassilon at the helm but the Gallifrians were worth saving and that’s something that’s never brought up.
Oh, and the planet’s name is Trenzalor.
The episode could have linked back to The End of Time and the 50th Anniversary Special but alas it doesn’t for long enough. It’s weak writing. The actors are there but the writing isn’t. I used to like this show but either the Moffat has to stop doing double duty between Who and Sherlock or someone needs to buckle down on the writing and embrace the fact this show is no longer a kids show.
It’s a tightrope. Good plots and the fans are happy. Bad plots just makes sure my work doesn’t suck as bad as Doctor Who does.
That’s a sentence I shouldn’t have to type.
I have to say out of the three Doctors: I’m a Tennent and Eccleston fan. The writing on the Matt Smith’s seasons 6+7 are really hit or miss. It made his portrayal and final season weaker. He never connected with a lot of people. My mother being one of them.
We’ve got a long wait until Peter Capaldi bows in “Autumn 2014”.
The conversations in the queue for Hall H at SDCC is going to be interesting. A queue that would have been worth standing or sleeping in. But now, I’m not so sure it’s even worth it.
And that’s another sentence I shouldn’t have had to type.