Doctor Who Reactions: "The Time of the Doctor" (SPOILERS)

1)"Handles"?  OK, carrying a severed head around with you is a bizarre idea. Kudos to them all for managing to make Handles' death somehow poignant.


2)"Tereleptils" -  a callback to "The Visitation".


3)"I'm OCD. What's their excuse?"


4)"How those Cyberevenings must fly!"


5)"I need you, I'm cooking Christmas dinner!"  "I'm being shot at by Cybermen!"  "Well, can't we do both?"


6)The whole "naked" thing was fairly tedious. Also, can't we have a companion whose mother isn't obnoxious? I'm starting to think these guys have "mother" issues.


7)As for Tasha Lem... "You have been fighting the psychopath inside you all your life!"  "You can fly the TARDIS?"  Please tell me she isn't another iteration of River Song!  Let's see. what's "Tasha Lem" an anagram for?  "As Hamlet", "Same halt", "Melts ham", "Mel's a hat"..."Mel"? I knew it! It's River Song again!


8)Both the Silents and the damned Angels again. Sigh.


9)"You shaved your head."  Apparently he did that for real for another part, which is why he's wearing a wig.


10)"I'm an English teacher."  So much for my theory that she took Barbara Wright's old job.


11)"Bubbly personality masking bossy control freak." Ooh, I went out with one of those, years ago.


12)"No one can lie in this town."  That must make life interesitng.


13)Wait, so the crack is what he supposedly saw in "The God Complex"?  Then why did he say "Who else?"


14)"Seal of the High Council of Gallifrey - I nicked it off the Master in the Death Zone."  A callback to "The Five Doctors".


15)"Doctor who?" You'd think the Time Lords would have come up with a better message than that. Also, I thought Gallifrey was "frozen" in a moment in time.  Contradicting continuity in the very next episode?


16)And he sends Clara home using the same gag he used in "The Parting of the Ways".


17)"The Church of the Papal Mainframe apologizes for your death."


18)Is a flamethrower really the most logical thing to arm a wooden Cyberman with?


19)The "old age" make-up on Smith is unconvincing.


20)"Are we forgetting Captain Grumpy?"


21)"Number Ten once regenerated and kept the same face.  I had vanity issues at the time."  That's not quite how I interpreted the events shown in "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", but I am willing to buy into the notion that those shenanigans cost him a regeneration.


22)"Information concerning the Doctor was harvested from the cadaver of Tasha Lem".  So, the whole "The Daleks had all memory of the Doctor wiped away" business only lasted until the very next time he met them with no use really made of it in a story at all?


23)I don't buy into the whole "using regenerative energy as a wepaon" gimmick, either.


24)"Love from Gallifrey, boys!"


25)Fish fingers and custard again.


26)"A whole new regeneration cycle" - another callback to "The Five Doctors".


27)"Raggedy Man, goodnight."  I suppose we had to have one last appearance by the Blessed Saint Amelia the Omnipresent.


28)The way Capaldi stares at Coleman when he first changes, I thought for one ghastly moment that Moffat had decided to put his own spin on Part One of "The Twin Dilemma"!


29)"Kidneys! I've got new kidneys!"  Ooh, that's original. Sigh.


30)"Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?"


Overall:  It was a typical Moffat Muddle. It has some amusing moments, but it suffered from trying to resolve too much at once. It also suffered form following hard on the heels of the much better "Day of the Doctor".


As for Smith, I liked him as the Doctor, I had no beef with him in the role, for all that I wasn't always wild about the writing.  What the show desperately needs is for the next show-runner to be someone who isn't a fanboy of the old series. Actually, what it really needs is Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks or Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes, but I know that ain't happening, so I'd settle for a competent writer who doesn't have a list of "Wouldn't it be cool if..." moments that they compiled while watching the show when they were a kid.  Of course, that disqualifies me, but, ah, well...

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Too many numbers--

6) I didn't find the naked thing tedious. It made me imagine them naked. Imagining Clara naked never gets tedious. Clara's mother is dead. DEAD. That wasn't her mother. Maybe a girl friend of her Dad--Linda or Janet, I think--which probably explains the tension. She doesn't get Clara because she doesn't know Clara. Unfortunate that the same actor who played her father before didn't play him here. But there is a similarity in appearance, so he looks like he could be the same guy, just older with less hair.

8) It's a summation of Matt Smith's whole career as the Doctor--so revisiting old villains comes with the territory.

9) I figured that was why he was bald. I wouldn't have wanted to see him bald through the whole episode. But it's amazing what they can do with wigs. I wonder how many other times we saw him or others wearing wigs. Like the naked thing, it's hard not to think about it once you start imagininig it.

11) (and others) You hear better than me. Two times watching I wasn't able to catch all those words. Need a transcript.

15) Not what I understood. The moment in time is frozen, outside of our universe, but inside that moment, Gallifrey continues to exist and time goes on. But anyway it's never indicated at what rate time is flowing there. There was probably a STAR TREK episode that covered this bit of pseudo science.

Based on your points, I thought you were going to give it a better grade. The story encapsulates the Matt Smith version of the Doctor. Mileage will vary on how much you liked his run.

And Amy Pond had to make an appearance. You have to give them credit for leaving it vague. Was she just a hallucination or was it really her spirit come to guide her Doctor to new adventures (wherever old Doctors go when they regenerate!)

Also Karen Gillam shaved her head for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie so they both were wearing wigs!

Instead of assuring Clara, Regeneration terrifies her!

I think Clara was sad about losing Eleven but okay with the regeneration since it would save the Doctor--until she saw what he had become--that terrified her. Another Captain Crankypants, oh dear!

Crankypants does worry me. The idea of 'older' Doctor being a cranky one seems a basic ingredient and done well I'd welcome it ...BUT...
I remember Colin Baker's tenure was planned (by him at least) to be a long slow burner. His Doctor was to start off arrogant and unlikeable and gradually over the seasons mellow.
Current audiences are very different and far less forgiving. Myself included. I praised the 50th episode but damned this one what a month later?

Jimmm Kelly said:

 That wasn't her mother.


Ah, OK, I didn't pick up on that!

Moffat had to employ a liberal amount of “writer’s fiat” to achieve his “neat idea” methinks.

I imagine his internal dialogue went something like this:

“So, what can we do to make the Christmas Special really stand out?”

“I know! Let’s have the Time Lords grand the Doctor and entire regeneration cycle!”

“What would be the point? Timelords get 12 regenerations, and Matt Smith is the 11th Doctor.”

“Let’s introduce a hitherto unknown Doctor in the anniversary special!”

“Still doesn’t work. 12 regenerations means 13 Doctors. Still one short.”

“Trust me.”

Which brings me up to your point 21, which I must disagree with. (DISCLAIMER: Tracy and at least one maker of memes agrees with your interpretation.)

21)"Number Ten once regenerated and kept the same face. I had vanity issues at the time." That's not quite how I interpreted the events shown in "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", but I am willing to buy into the notion that those shenanigans cost him a regeneration.

That’s not how I see it at all.

My Two Assumptions:

1) The Doctor regenerated just prior to the episode “Rose.”
2) The “War Doctor’s” regeneration at the end of “Day of the Doctor” wasn’t it.

Here’s how I see it:

The “War Doctor” is Nine
The “Mystery Doctor” is Ten
Christopher Eccleston is Eleven
David Tennant is Twelve
Matt Smith is Thirteen

This interpretation leaves the door open for Christopher Eccleston to reprise his role in the future (say, for the 60th anniversary). It wouldn’t be a problem for him to appear 60-something rather than 40-something, because he kept the same face and regenerated into a younger body. Also in support of my interpretation is a remark Steven Moffat made some weeks ago, something along the lines of there being an unknown regeneration actually making Matt Smith the 13th Doctor. An “unknown” regeneration wouldn’t be the Tennant Doctor of Pete’s World. Yes, “the show-runner lies,” but sometimes he tells the truth. When the 13th Doctor (i.e., Matt Smith) said that Number Ten had vanity issues, regenerated and kept the same face, he wasn’t referring to David Tennent’s Doctor, he was referring to an iteration of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor whose adventures have never been broadcast.

The Doctor himself wouldn't get the count wrong!

It's an interesting idea, Jeff, but personally I would prefer to avoid the additional complication of yet another "unknown" Doctor.  Also, I think the "vanity issue" works better for the Tennant Doctor than for the Eccleston Doctor. Tennant even said something like "Look at this face! Why would I change it?" My personal suspicion is that the "War Doctor" came about because Moffat knew he would need a back-up idea if Eccleston couldn't be persuaded to come back for the 50th  anniversary show.  I suspect that if Eccleston had come back for it, we wouldn't have seen the Hurt Doctor at all, and the Eighth Doctor would have been the one that fought in the Time War.  My possible scenario is this:


The Name of the Doctor:  Goes largely as it did in "real life", except with no John Hurt at the end.


The Night of the Doctor: The Eight Doctor, sickened by the Time War, steals the Moment, but is injured in the process. The cliffhanger is him regenerating into the Ninth (Eccleston) Doctor, and setting off to use the Moment.


The Day of the Doctor:  Goes largely as it did in "real life", only with the Eccleston Doctor in the Hurt Doctor's place.


The Time of the Doctor: Goes largely as it did in "real life", only without the business of the Time Lords having to give him a new regeneration cycle.


As it is, I suspect that Moffat's thinking may have gone  something like this:


"OK, Eccleston's definitely out. I really don't want to do the special with just Tennant and Smith. Hmm... I know! We've never seen the regeneration from McGann to Eccleston, what if there was a 'hidden' incarnation in between them?  We'll get the biggest name actor we can for it. John Hurt, say.  Also, this would mean that Matt's really the Twelfth Doctor!  Say, if we count that business in "The  Stolen Earth" as a 'regeneration', then that makes Matt the Thirteenth Doctor, and we can have the whole dramatic hook of 'Oh, my God, the Doctor's used up all his regenerations!' That would be great!"

If things had been different--in an ideal world--they would have done six episodes in the fall, one of which would have been the 50th anniversary. Then ideally a Christmas and New Year's special, with the Doctor regenerating in the New Year special and then six episodes in the spring with the new Doctor.

For behind the scenes reasons (most of which I don't know), we didn't get that, so a lot had to be dumped into two specials, to get everything out of the way for . . . a long time from now when DOCTOR WHO returns.

A lot of people seem to judge every DOCTOR WHO episode against some Platonic ideal DW show that never aired--rather than accepting that TV productions are bound by practical limitations. Accepting the actual conditions that the producers were given, they did the best they could with what they had.

The pacing of the two specials is kind of interesting. The first one is evenly spaced out, but it spends most of its time on plots that aren't directly related to what happens in the climax. The second special has a lot of stuff happening that directly relates to the main action--with short side trips into Clara's world--but then it gives this whole section of time to the Doctor waging his own sort of mini-time war to defend Christmas, which is presented like a fable.

What I find intriguing about the Doctor Who Stayed For Christmas is that you could set endless numbers of stories within that situation--it leaves the door open for other media tales of DWSFX. It's bigger on the inside.

Even though you disagree with me, you’re certainly much more reasonable than my wife has been. She understands my interpretation, but steadfastly refuses to even discuss it. Me, I like the idea of Eccleston as the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Do you, then, think that the regeneration at the end of “Day of the Doctor” leads directly into “Rose”? Or do you not think Eccleston regenerated immediately prior to that episode? There just seems to be something missing. It would also help explain (for those of us who do believe the Doctor regenerated just prior to “Rose”) all those images of Eccleston’s Doctor on the Titanic, at the JFK assassination, etc. (Of course, I’m perfectly content to continue to believe those adventures occurred when the TARDIS faded out then “right back” in at the end of “Rose.”)

Perhaps Moffat’s true legacy (apart from “Weeping Angels,” “timey-wimey” and “fish fingers and custard”) is to foment fan debate and screw up the nomenclature of the Doctors until such a time a future show-runners sets it straight.

I think if you look very closely at the regeneration in "Day of the Doctor", you can see just a brief glimpse of Eccleston's eyes on the regenerating Doctor.  I figure that the Hurt Doctor became the Eccleston Doctor, and was more than a little jumbled by the effect of crossing his own timeline and by the trauma of what he thought he did in the Time War.  The other stuff could have happened between "Tha Day of the Doctor" and "Rose", or between televised adventures.

It's most definite that the Hurt incarnation becomes the Ninth Doctor (Eccleston) at the end of Day of the Doctor. Because three incarnations are crossing timelines, they won't remember exactly what happened (although Eleven seems to retain more of it, because everything has already happened in his timeline).

Nine could have appeared at different points in history at any time during his existence. We see those photos in Rose, but they easily could have been taken at future points in Nine's timeline. I'm of the view that Nine has just newly regenerated when he appears in Rose.

I'd like to think that Moffat had already decided what the crack in the universe was all about when we first see it in the Eleventh Hour. And this was the story he was going to tell eventually. He just didn't know about the timing--or which Doctor would be there in the end. He knew his beginning point and his end point, but he just ddn't know what variables would come up along the way in between those points.

There are any number of ways he could have changed the numbering, to make this the last Doctor. If there had been no Hurt, or if Matt Smith had left early and been replaced by yet another actor. If McGann or Eccleston had been given bigger parts to play. Whatever. At the end of the day, Moffat would have adjusted the numbers to resolve the crack in the universe story with the last Doctor.

“It's most definite that the Hurt incarnation becomes the Ninth Doctor (Eccleston) at the end of Day of the Doctor.”

I’m not trying to be argumentative (really, I’m not!), but to my way of counting, the Hurt incarnation is the Ninth Doctor (because he directly followed the Eighth Doctor). I agree that Hurt regenerated into Eccleston at the end of “Day of the Doctor,” but whether or not he later underwent a regeneration and kept the same face, I number Eccleston as the Tenth Doctor (because he directly followed the Ninth Doctor… again, by my way of counting).

Thank you so much Steven Moffat! It’s like the “When does the millennium begin?” argument all over again. I was looking forward to not having that again for another for another 986 years, but this one will never go away!

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