Yowzah! What a finale! Hope you don’t mind going absolutely bonkers waiting until November 23rd, amirite? For an episode that suffered an awful lot of hype, “The Name of The Doctor” no only withstood it, but completely twisted our expectations. Like a good episode of Steven Moffat-penned Doctor Who should. Moffat has stumbled in the past and I’ll be the first to admit he’s the king of convolution, but in this finale he managed to not only rewrite all of Who history, but at the same time, leave it completely untouched. An impressive feat, indeed. I’m sure most you of sat there, staring at your television screen, mouth agape, just stunned as the credits rolled. And there’s no better compliment than our stunned silence.
But I’ve had time to sit and digest, and I’m not one for keeping quiet. First off, Clara, the “impossible girl.” The mystery surrounding her has hung like a shadow over this entire season. From the moment she appeared in “Asylum of the Daleks” – another absolute shocker that left us all scratching our heads and wondering how and why the new companion was appearing now, before The Ponds had even made their exit – to her role in “The Snowmen”, all the way to this opening montage. What a way to start! It’s a sequence I know Classic Whovians will be picking over again and again. It’s a sequence I made sure to watch more than a few times, because holy shit! There’s Clara and the First Doctor, and the Sixth, and the Fourth, the Fifth, the Second, the Third, and the Seventh! I mean, how is this possible!?
Well, here we are, sitting on the brink starring at Doctor Who‘s Season 7B finale. A rather big finale at that, where all sorts of wild things are promised: The Doctor’s name, the truth of the “impossible girl”, the Fall of the Eleventh. (OOOoooOOOooohhh.) And, how did we get here? Let’s go back, two weeks back in fact because if you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed last week’s episode, “The Crimson Horror” wasn’t reviewed. My bad. To get us all back on track, Nerd Bastards proudly presents, a mini-review.
Welcome to Sweetville. And, what was probably the weirdest episode this season since “The Rings of Akhatan”, and unfortunately, the weakest. Actually, that may be unfair because even after all this time I’m not sure what to think of “The Crimson Horror.” It began like one of those episodes where The Doctor wasn’t in it except as a peripheral character with Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart), and Strax (Dan Starkey) taking the lead. But that isn’t what this episode ended up being at all, and maybe if it had things would have worked better. Once The Doctor is back in action Vastra and Strax are basically sidelined and used entirely as comic relief. Though the episode was genuinely funny, on a second viewing a good chunk of the comedy falls flat. Jenny’s the only one of the trio given some time to shine, but even she’s eventually rendered useless.
The premise is weird, no getting around that. Mrs. Gillyflower (Dame Diana Rigg) finds a prehistoric parasite, Mr. Sweet – now a good front runner for creepiest, grossest Who villain – and by using his “necter” creates a toxic disease that’ll both preserve her chosen people for the second coming and wipe out the rest of the planet. What saves this episode are the pretty fantastic performances, especially from Rigg and her actual daughter, Rachael Stirling, who also plays her daughter. Rigg relishes the role of the absolutely mad Gillyflower, and Stirling gets a good bit of range, too, flipping from sweet, downtrodden Ada to going completely postal on her mother and Mr. Sweet. Y’know, turns out this is a great episode for Mother’s Day, even if it’s highlighting the worst kind of mother.
Plans are foiled and the day is saved, but I felt the real reveal of this episode would be The Doctor admitting something to Vastra, Jenny, and Strax about Clara. I mean, otherwise, what was the point of visiting Yorkshire in this period? Especially once they turned up and all kept asking how Clara was alive. So that was a bit of a let down and a wasted opportunity. What we are given is an ending that wonderfully sets things up for where they go next, a family holidy – The Doctor, Clara, and the kids off to visit the amusement park planet, Hedgewick’s World, in “Nightmare in Silver.”
As if you haven’t been following along, Doctor Who returns this weekend for the second half of its seventh season. (Psst, we threw together a collection of Doctor Who fan art in celebration. Fan art is cool.) With the season premiere practically upon us we’ve been inundated with Who news, like this new poster for “The Bells of Saint John,” above. Click it to check out the full version. In addition to the poster, the Beeb’s released an additional clip in where The Doctor (Matt Smith) makes a wardrobe change,
Of course he keeps his bow tie in a special box. Oh Doctor. Anyway, were you a little confused to see Sontaran Strax (Dan Starkey) reappear with Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Jenny (Catrin Stewart) in last year’s Christmas special, “The Snowmen”? Yeah, me too, he died valiantly in battle – like any Sontaran would want – on Demons Run in “A Good Man Goes to War.” So, how’d he turn up in 19th century England? Hit the jump to find out!
Oh, what’s that? Just some Daleks cruising the halls of the LAX Marriot last weekend during the world’s largest and longest running Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One, celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who and 24 years for the completely fan-run convention. Gallifrey One is a pilgrimage for Whovians of all kinds, offering plenty of Who-centric entertainment from their wonderful guests to sketch comedy shows to a fully judged Masquerade to one wild karaoke, where it isn’t unheard of for a guest or two to perform. I’m looking at you Tony Lee and Richard Dinnick.
But back to those Daleks, I managed to capture a short video of their hallway hi-jinks that you can watch below. There’s also a few more photos in the gallery at the end of this post, including ones where you can see many of the convention’s guests, like Sylvestor McCoy (7th Doctor), Nicholas Pegg (Dalek operator, otter), Frazer Hines (2nd Doctor companion, Jaime), and Dan Starkey (Sontaran Strax), signed one of the pepper pots.
It’s here! Our first smidgen of Doctor Who since we say goodbye to The Ponds weeks back in “The Angels Take Manhattan.” This Christmas special, prequel, minisode, thingy just aired on BBC for Children in Need and ZOOM!, just like that it’s available on the YouTubes. Gotta love the future. The video is introduced by Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman and while they’re playing themselves you can already see a great chemistry between Doctor and companion. I’m excited for their upcoming adventure.
Minisodes are cool. Also, “Damn, Moon.” Ha! I love the Christmas special already and I’ve only seen this snippet. Can’t wait for Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Caitlin Stewart), and Strax (Dan Starkey). And is it just me or does The Doctor look a little like the Artful Dodger?
Stay tuned for the Christmas special trailer. We’ll post it here once released!
UPDATE! Here’s the Christmas special, “The Snowmen,” trailer, as promised,
They sure are teasing us with that whole Coleman was Oswin and now Coleman is Clara thing, aren’t they? Are there any clues in here or is it only more teasing to mess with the fans?
Only yesterday we were sharing a collection of set pics from the brilliant Ryan Farrell, who’s been all over the Doctor Who set gathering intel for internets. Today’s there’s a bit more to share about episode nine of season seven titled, “The Crimson Horror.”
Guess what? Plenty more spoilers here. Avoid if need be.
First we’ve got video of the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Jenny (Catrin Stewart), yes she is indeed reprising that same role, searching for his missing companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman).
What can me made out of the dialogue is Jenny telling the Doctor, Clara is dead and that Mrs. Gillyflower (Dame Diana Rigg), the “ice lady” was responsible. The Doctor responds with saying it isn’t that simple and the “the process is reversible.” We’re also assuming this has something to do with the creepy factory in town, run by Mrs. Gillyflower, which we’ve just learned is a matches factory bearing the sign, “Brightwell and Hyman – Quality Matches.”
Hmm, what is writer Mark Gatiss planning?
Our second video shows the Doctor and Clara talking to, or maybe interrogating, Brendan Patricks‘ character, Edmund.
All right, so much of this has been confirmation of what we told you yesterday, here’s the newest and most spoilery bit. Look who’s back,
Ah-ha! Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) is returning, along with Jenny, and could very well be seen hookin’ up with Clara as the rumors suggest. Sure, she denied it in an earlier interview but she also denied her return to the show and look! She’s right there! Liar, liar, pants on fire…
And she isn’t the only returning alien. Does this guy look familiar?
It’s Dan Starkey, reprising his role as the Sontaran Strax, last seen as a nurse now it seems a butler.
There’s a lot of bits here to piece together, and if even if we did I’m sure we’d be completely wrong, but what do you think “The Crimson Horror” will be all about? And how about the return of Madama Vastra and Jenny?
Thanks again to Ryan Farell for doing the work of 10 Whovians, great job!