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.”
It’s sad to realize there are only two more episodes of Doctor Who left this season. I mean, where did the time go!? I feel like we just met Clara, again, and now we’re already to the finale! Ugh, even with a time machine time passes too quickly. Well, prepare yourselves, because we’ve got plenty of news in this edition of Who News! in hopes of alleviating some post-Season 7B depression.
First, what do you think of the new TARDIS? I love the design because I’m a sucker for anything retro and the new console room pays homage to the TARDIS console of old in many ways. In the latest Doctor Who Magazine they shared these wonderful shots of the new console, up close and in detail, revealing each individual panel,
I particularly like how bleak it looks, this is a dark time for The Doctor, and I dig all the Gallifreyan symbols.
Lots more below the cut, including Billie Piper talking – as little as she can – about the 50th anniversary, Neil Gaiman on Clara and her relationship with the TARDIS, and more rumors about John Hurt’s mysterious role in the anniversary special.
Once we all realized Doctor Who was to reach its 50th Anniversary the rumors of past Doctors returning and promises of multi-Doctor adventures were rampant. Since then we’ve learned only one previous Doctor, the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), will be returning to save the world? universe? himself? – that part we don’t really know – alongside the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Until now some fans, myself included, held out hope they’d realize some way to incorporate the surviving Classic Doctors (4th Tom Baker, 5th Peter Davison, 6th Colin Baker, 7th Sylvestor McCoy, and 8th Paul McGann), but alas, it just ain’t happening. An especial bummer for Eighth Doctor fans. The guy only got one mediocre, TV movie!
The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine – which also contains those “The Name of The Doctor” spoilers you’ll find below the cut – has confirmed no other Doctors are appearing in the anniversary special, stating, “Although David Tennant has returned to his role of the Tenth Doctor, the other old Doctors will not be taking part.” Wah-wah. There’s still a chance they’ll be included in some fashion, maybe in recycled audio, but expect no new appearances.
Those looking for new material from Classic Doctors shouldn’t worry too much, there’s still Big Finish’s excellent audio adventures. They’ll even have their own 50th Anniversary special which will feature Doctors Fourth through Eighth! Plus audio clips from Doctors First through Third, so really, it’s the more comprehensive 50th anniversary special.
This weekend’s Doctor Who – find our review here! – again teased us with not only the mystery of Clara, the “impossible girl”, but with the ever present question, who is The Doctor? This entire season is hinging on those two mysteries being uncovered, and showrunner Steven Moffat is promising we’ll be nothing but pleased with the answers we get,
It’s full of surprises and questions that have never been answered in the history of Who, including the Doctors greatest secret. We’re not pretending, we’re not kidding, it’s actually going to happen. The episode is called The Name of the Doctor and involves our hero in a conflict that is very, very personal to him. Usually he’s saving other people, but this time he might be the one who needs to be saved.
We’ll also find out what makes his new companion so impossible and there’s a surprise that no one has got right so far, and one that will change the course of Who forever!
These are some pretty bold claims, no? The Doctor’s greatest secret? A revelation “that will change the course of Who forever?” I honestly can’t even imagine what insanity that man’s thought up, but I’m sure it’ll both thrill and frustate us.
Jenna-Louise Coleman has also been dropping some tantalizing finale hints,
The finale story is such a fantastic idea; it’s epic and huge and filled with drama.
It was really exciting to sit down and read the script. There are little bits and pieces, which Steven planted a couple of years ago. It’s just really clever and a crucial moment in the Doctor’s life that you get to explore with the best baddies! I really think they are going to become another Moffat classic.
Those “baddies” she’s referring to are the Whispermen. Moffat explains,
We wanted a brand new monster to create chills in the finale. And the thought of stylish whispering almost faceless creatures was an idea that firstly scared me and that I thought would work well in an episode that looks forward and back.
And the biggest clue Coleman gave about Clara? “All I can say is that Clara hasn’t just met the Doctor three times before…” WHAT!? What does this mean? Have we seen Clara and The Doctor meet but it didn’t recognize her? She mentions Moffat’s been planting some of these pieces for years, so, maybe.
The finale of Season 7B, “The Name of the Doctor” airs on May 18th. What do you think of these hints?
Clara is summoned to an impossible conference call, alerting her that the deadly Whisper Men are closing in on Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Someone is kidnapping the Doctor’s friends, leading him toward the one place in all of time and space that he should never go. It’s a deadly trap that threatens to unravel his past, present and future…
Wow, was this one hell of an episode! With a name like “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” expectations were, expectantly, high. And I’ll say not only did it deliver, but my expectations were exceeded! This is Doctor Who at its very best. Engaging, exciting, frightening, and occasionally frustrating with the tantalizing clues it’ll wave in your face only to stuff them back in its pockets. The TARDIS is given center stage as not only the episode’s entire setting but as an equally valuable character. “Journey” is gripping and horrific where “The Doctor’s Wife” was sad and sweet. And honestly, I’m not at all surprise I found this to be one of the best episodes since “The Doctor’s Wife” because if Doctor Who has another, often forgotten star alongside The Doctor, it is the TARDIS.
She has appeared in every episode and serial of the series since it began in 1963, and for as little as we know about The Doctor, we know even less of her. In this year of Doctor Who‘s golden anniversary it seems only right we get know the TARDIS, and The Doctor, a little better. She is a mass of corridors, which I find only too fitting, what with Doctor Who‘s penchant for a good corridor. She is quite literally infinite, able to create and destroy on whim. She is filled to the brim with memories and you hear several of them bleeding out when the console is being dismantled. She is powered by a dying star, held within The Eye of Harmony in a constant state of decay; Time Lord engineering (“Smart bunch, Time Lords, no dress sense, dreadful hats, but smart.“) Inside her library – and hey did you catch the swimming pool? – is the complete Encyclopedia Gallifreya as well as a large, ominous looking book containing the entire history of the Time War. It was at this point I realized, “Journey” was going to raise a lot more questions than it could answer.
We’re about half way through the second half of Doctor Who‘s seventh season, and this weekend we get one of the series’ most anticipated episodes, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.” There was one clip earlier this week of Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) doing her best impression of an all too curious cat, and today there’s another clip, this one of The Doctor (Matt Smith), plus an episode introduction. Give ’em a watch,
Below the cut we’ve got a new poster and synopsis for Neil Gaiman‘s Cybermen story, “Nightmare in Silver“, a look at a new Doctor Who box set celebrating each Doctor’s regeneration, and some speculation about who John Hurt is playing in the 50th Anniversary special.
Come on, Clara. You must have heard “curiosity killed the cat” in at least one of your many lives!? When there’s a big, flashing red light, whatever you do, don’t press the button! Or in this case, open the door. Watch the very first clip from this week’s all new Doctor Who, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS,”
Jenna-Louise Coleman is going to have to be smarter than that if she expects to survive in the TARDIS long enough for The Doctor (Matt Smith) to save her. But a bigger questions is, who will save The Doctor? I know, you’re thinking, “What’s happening to The Doctor?” Well, it won’t be in this episode, but in the Season 7B finale, titled “The Name of The Doctor,” we may finally see the “Fall of the Eleventh.” Y’know, the ominous warning given to The Doctor by Dorium Maldovar in “The Wedding of River Song”? All that cryptic talk of “Silence will fall when the Question is asked.”
Speaking with Doctor Who Magazine, Grand Poobah Steven Moffat teased those answers may appear in the finale,
The TARDIS. We all know what it is, what it looks like, and could roughly explain it if needed to, but how much do we really know? Judging from the premise of this week’s Doctor Who episode, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS“, not much. When Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) is trapped within the TARDIS and The Doctor (Matt Smith) only has 30 minutes to save her before everything blows, we’ll learn just what goes on inside the vast and infinite time machine. And it doesn’t look like anything good. Check out these newly released stills and see more of the TARDIS than ever before!
And here, we all thought the finale was going to be called “The Funeral of River Song.” I mean, that sounds epic, right? Nice call back to the “The Wedding of…” and Alex Kingston will guest star, I was sure we had it. Nope, the last episode capping off Season 7B is “The Name of The Doctor.” Which I’ll admit, is exceedingly more epic sounding. Also extremely final. Guess that makes it all the better of a lead in to the 50th anniversary.
In addition to the new posters for the finale there’s also this short synopsis,
Someone is kidnapping The Doctor’s friends, leading him towards the one place in all of time and space that he should never go.
Ooh, ominous. Hit the jump for another, larger look at the new artwork.
Doctor Who “The Name of The Doctor” will air May 18th on BBC America at 8pm.