TARDIS Thoughts: August 2013


NaBloPoMo (catchup): Series 2, Episode 3, "School Reunion"

Well...way back in February I sought to cover Series 1 and 2 via an event called National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). I failed miserably, only managing to post daily for about half the month before I fell completely off course. Now, 6 months later, I'm still catching up. So, "Allons-y!", as Ten would say. (I have to say, that is my favorite Doctor catchphrase so far. Not just cause Ten is my favorite Doctor, but because it's French, and I love French).

Next up is episode 3 of Series 2, "School Reunion." This is an interesting little episode that not only fits well with the New Who series but pays homage to the past as well, with guest appearances by Elisabeth Sladen as The Doctor's former companion Sarah Jane Smith and by John Leeson as the voice of K-9, a faithful robotic dog that became a staple of Tom Baker's era as The Doctor, being seen with Leela, Romana I, and Romana II.

So, basically, The Doctor and Rose have gone undercover at a school to investigate some strange stuff going on there (this is set up in the special "TARDISode" accompanying this episode), which Rose's boyfriend Mickey alerted them to. Their cover is already underway when the episode begins (though when I rewatched this episode with the audio commentary on, it was revealed that set-up scenes of The Doctor and Rose in the TARDIS, like you would normally see at the beginning of an episode, were actually written, but ultimately not used). The Doctor is masquerading as a substitute physics teacher named John Smith (of course he pulls out his usual alias) while Rose is working as a lunch lady. When she and The Doctor meet during lunch to share intel, she remarks that the children seem unusually intelligent and that they are eating a lot of french fries. (We see an example of this unusual intelligence in a boy in The Doctor's physics class as well). Soon after, Rose is called back to the kitchen by her "boss," and sees a fellow lunchlady get severely burned by the french fry oil. Around this time, we also learn that the whole school's staff was replaced within the last few months, including the Headmaster, Lucas Finch. (The episode's token Torchwood reference appears here too: Mickey's screen shows the words "Torchwood: Access Denied").

Later the same day, The Doctor is hanging out in a staff area when Mr. Finch walks in with a woman in tow, who he introduces as an investigative journalist writing a profile on the school. The journalist's name? Sarah Jane Smith!

Albeit older than when we last saw her 23 years before in The Five Doctors. (Or 13 years, if you count Dimensions in Time as her last appearance before this). The Doctor clearly recognizes her, though, by the overjoyed look on his face:

But he has to maintain his cover, so he addresses her casually (but without familiarity) and introduces himself as John Smith, a teacher at the school. Sarah Jane, however, sees through his bluff:
SARAH: John Smith. I used to have a friend who sometimes went by that name.
He attempts to still bluff his way through the awkward conversation:
DOCTOR: Well, it's a very common name.
SARAH: He was a very uncommon man. Nice to meet you.
DOCTOR: Nice to meet you. Yes, very nice. More than nice. Brilliant. 
Still, you can tell The Doctor can barely hold in his excitement at seeing Sarah Jane again after all these years, and as she leaves, he says to himself:
DOCTOR: Good for you. Oh, good for you, Sarah Jane Smith.
That night, The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey break into the school to investigate. Unbeknownst to them, Sarah Jane has also broken in on her own. The Doctor sends Rose to get a sample of the fry oil and Mickey to investigate the math department (all the new teachers being math teachers). He meanwhile goes off on his own.

Elsewhere, Sarah Jane wanders the hallways and finds a storage room. When she opens the door, she sees...the TARDIS!

Surprised, she staggers back into the hallway, where Ten - trenchcoat and all - is waiting for her:

They have a sad, but sweet reunion:

DOCTOR: Hello, Sarah Jane.
SARAH: It's you. Oh, Doctor Oh, my God, it's you, isn't it. You've regenerated.
DOCTOR: Yeah. Half a dozen times since we last met.
SARAH: You look incredible.
DOCTOR: So do you.
SARAH: Huh. I got old. What are you doing here?
DOCTOR: Well, UFO sighting, school gets record results. I couldn't resist. What about you?
SARAH: The same. I thought you'd died. I waited for you and you didn't come back, and I thought you must have died.
DOCTOR: I lived. Everyone else died.
SARAH: What do you mean?
DOCTOR: Everyone died, Sarah.
SARAH: I can't believe it's you.
The Doctor's line "Half a dozen times since we last met" is significant, since it cements that he is in fact the Tenth Doctor (The Doctor Sarah Jane last traveled with was Four, and 4 + 6 = 10). Since the terms "Ninth Doctor," "Tenth Doctor," "Eleventh Doctor," etc., while official, are generally not actually used in the series itself, that they put this line in is definitely worth noting.

Interestingly, when Sarah Jane first meets the Eleventh Doctor in "Death of the Doctor," an episode of the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures that Matt Smith guest starred in, they have a very similar conversation:
RANI: You bring him back, whoever you are.
SARAH JANE: No, no, no. Rani, don't you see? It's you, isn't it? You've done it again.
DOCTOR: Hello, Sarah Jane.
If you watch the episode (or just the clip referenced above), and you've seen this episode, you'll notice Matt gives the line "Hello, Sarah Jane" the same emotion and enunciation that David Tennant does in this episode. Like, spot-on.

I'm not sure how Sarah Jane recognizes The Doctor even after he regenerates, but they were VERY close during the time she traveled with him. And mind you, she's met seven Doctors -- she traveled with Three and Four, met One, Two, and Five in The Five Doctors, met Ten in this episode, and met Eleven in "Death of the Doctor" as noted above.

Anyway, their moment is interrupted by Mickey screaming, and The Doctor and Sarah Jane regroup with Rose, allowing Rose and Sarah Jane to meet for the first time. The conversation that follows is described in the commentary by writer Toby Whithouse as a "Sex and the City moment":
ROSE: Did you hear that? Who's she?
DOCTOR: Rose, Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane, Rose.
SARAH: Hi. Nice to meet you. You can tell you're getting older. Your assistants are getting younger.
ROSE: I'm not his assistant.
SARAH: No? Get you, tiger.
(This may also be a commentary on the fact that, when Sladen was on Doctor Who, the Companions were called "Assistants," whereas now they are called "Companions" - although the term "assistant" for the Companions is still frequently used in the UK. Sarah Jane's line about The Doctor's assistants getting younger could also be meant to be a feminist sort of remark, since Sarah Jane was always portrayed as openly feminist in Classic Who).

They catch up with Mickey, and learn he screamed because he found a bunch of vacuum-sealed rats (the sort they use for dissections in biology class). The four then head for Mr. Finch's office, where they are shocked to discover several bat-like creatures hanging from the ceiling. This scares them off, and they leave the school.

As the four head to Finch's office, Sarah Jane and Rose have yet another spat:
ROSE: I don't mean to be rude or anything, but who exactly are you?
SARAH: Sarah Jane Smith. I used to travel with the Doctor.
ROSE: Oh. Well, he's never mentioned you.
DOCTOR: Oh, I must've done. Sarah Jane. Mention her all the time.
ROSE: Hold on. Sorry. Never.
SARAH: What, not even once? He didn't mention me even once?
MICKEY: Ho, ho, mate. The missus and the ex. Welcome to every man's worst nightmare. 
(Noel Clarke [who plays Mickey] has commented that he really liked saying the "missus and the ex" line).

They then head to a nearby diner, but not before we learn Sarah Jane has a surprise for The Doctor in the trunk of her car:

Yep, the faithful robot dog K-9 has reappeared! Only...well, he's broken.

Nothing The Doctor can't fix, though; at the diner he catches up with Sarah Jane while fixing K-9 with the Sonic Screwdriver as Rose and Mickey look on:
SARAH: I thought of you on Christmas Day. This Christmas just gone? Great big spaceship overhead. I thought, oh yeah, bet he's up there.
DOCTOR: Right on top of it, yeah.
SARAH: And Rose?
DOCTOR: She was there too.
SARAH: Did I do something wrong, because you never came back for me. You just dumped me.
DOCTOR: I told you. I was called back home and in those days humans weren't allowed.
SARAH: I waited for you. I missed you.
DOCTOR: Oh, you didn't need me. You were getting on with your life.
SARAH: You were my life. You know what the most difficult thing was? Coping with what happens next, or with what doesn't happen next. You took me to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, you showed me supernovas, intergalactic battles, and then you just dropped me back on Earth. How could anything compare to that?
DOCTOR: All those things you saw, do you want me to apologise for that?
SARAH: No, but we get a taste of that splendour and then we have to go back.
DOCTOR: Look at you, you're investigating. You found that school. You're doing what we always did.
SARAH: You could have come back.
DOCTOR: I couldn't.
SARAH: Why not?
Shortly after this, K-9 revives, and The Doctor gives him some of the fry oil to test. K-9 confirms that the oil is Krillitane oil.

The Doctor's eyes go wide at this, and we then go to the next day, where all covers are down and The Doctor is ready to face the Krillitanes as himself. He, Rose, and Sarah Jane infilitrate the school, leaving Mickey behind in the car with K-9, much to Mickey's annoyance. (David Tennant states in the commentary that there is a blooper from this scene where he was unable to get out of the car, and Elisabeth Sladen and Billie Piper started doing their "heroic walk" without him).

Sarah Jane and Rose go to investigate the school's computers while The Doctor confronts Headmaster Finch. Finch, by the way, is played by Anthony Head, who Joss Whedon fans will recognize as Buffy's mentor Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has since gone on to play many other roles, including Uther Pendragon in Merlin, the Prime Minister in Little Britain, and Baltazar in the Doctor Who animated special The Infinite Quest. He was also the narrator for Doctor Who Confidential from 2007 to 2009. Anyway, the two confront each other by the school's pool (David Tennant reveals in the commentary that much of the dialogue in this scene had to be re-recorded because the pool was noisy), during which Finch claims he and The Doctor are not enemies, and that in time The Doctor will embrace the Krillitanes.

Sarah Jane, meanwhile, struggles to get anything out of the computers. She and Rose then start talking about their respective times with The Doctor, which leads to what Toby Whithouse calls in the commentary a "Sex and the City b****-fight":
SARAH: Rose, can I give you a bit of advice?
ROSE: I've got a feeling you're about to.
SARAH: I know how intense a relationship with the Doctor can be, and I don't want you to feel I'm intruding.
ROSE: I don't feel threatened by you, if that's what you mean.
SARAH: Right. Good. Because I'm not interested in picking up where we left off.
ROSE: No? With the big sad eyes and the robot dog? What else were you doing last night?
SARAH: I was just saying how hard it was adjusting to life back on Earth.
ROSE: The thing is, when you two met they'd only just got rid of rationing. No wonder all that space stuff was a bit too much for you.
SARAH: I had no problem with space stuff. I saw things you wouldn't believe.
ROSE: Try me.
SARAH: Mummies.
ROSE: I've met ghosts.
SARAH: Robots. Lots of robots.
ROSE: Slitheen, in Downing Street.
SARAH: Daleks!
ROSE: Met the Emperor.
SARAH: Anti-matter monsters.
ROSE: Gas masked zombies.
SARAH: Real living dinosaurs.
ROSE: Real living werewolf.
SARAH: The Loch Ness Monster!
ROSE: Seriously?
A lot of previous episodes are referenced here. Sarah Jane references "Pyramids of Mars," "Robot," "The Sontaran Experiment," "The Android Invasion," "Genesis of the Daleks," "Death to the Daleks," "Planet of Evil," "Invasion of the Dinosaurs," and "Terror of the Zygons." Rose references "The Unquiet Dead," "Aliens in London"/"World War Three," "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," and "Tooth and Claw."

(Sarah Jane is apparently impressed by the term "Slitheen in Downing Street," as she uses it later herself in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Revenge of the Slitheen":

SARAH JANE: The outcast Slitheen Family are scavengers, thieves of others technology. Known to infiltrate low-tech planets by hiding in the skins of the dominant native species. Slitheen in Downing Street.
LUKE: What?
SARAH JANE: Something a friend said once.

After this, Rose realizes how silly they are being to fight like this, and they start laughing and talking about funny things the Doctor does. The Doctor walks in on them doing this, and they are laughing like old friends:

(David Tennant reveals in the commentary that he was told they needed to make Elisabeth Sladen and Billie Piper laugh genuinely in this scene, so he had his makeup artist paint a fake moustache on his face to make them laugh. The moustache is not seen in the shots of The Doctor in this scene, as those were shot separately from Sarah Jane and Rose's side of the scene).

It's notable that Sarah Jane mentions The Doctor stroking the TARDIS, because, as I mentioned in my analysis of "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," Eleven is seen doing just that.

The Doctor investigates the computers and figures out the Krillitanes are using the children to solve the Skasis Paradigm, a "theory of everything," the solving of which would give the Krillitanes complete control over reality itself. Finch soon arrives to confirm this hypothesis, and attempts to tempt The Doctor with the possibilities of such power:
FINCH: Let the lesson begin. Think of it, Doctor. With the Paradigm solved, reality becomes clay in our hands. We can shape the universe and improve it.
DOCTOR: Oh yeah? The whole of creation with the face of Mister Finch? Call me old fashioned, but I like things as they are.
FINCH: You act like such a radical, and yet all you want to do is preserve the old order? Think of the changes that could be made if this power was used for good.
DOCTOR: What, by someone like you?
FINCH: No, someone like you. The Paradigm gives us power, but you could give us wisdom. Become a God at my side. Imagine what you could do. Think of the civilisations you could save. Perganon, Assinta. Your own people, Doctor, standing tall. The Time Lords reborn.
SARAH: Doctor, don't listen to him.
FINCH: And you could be with him throughout eternity. Young, fresh, never wither, never age, never die. Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor. Join us.
DOCTOR: I could save everyone.
DOCTOR: I could stop the war.
While David Tennant states in the commentary that The Doctor's not really that tempted here, the dialogue seems to suggest otherwise. The Doctor had already confessed to Rose earlier in this episode that he can't spend the rest of his life with her, because humans age and die while he must live on. And we already know how guilty he feels about the Time War. And Finch is offering him the chance not only to save Gallifrey - prevent the destruction of his home planet, his people - but also to never have to lose a Companion again. Don't you think The Doctor would jump at such a chance?

Thankfully, Sarah Jane saves the day:
SARAH: No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends.
This prompts The Doctor to throw a chair at the screen displaying the Paradigm and order Finch out angrily.

Mickey, meanwhile, is still sitting in the car while all this is happening. However, Kenny, one of the students who didn't eat the tainted french fries, gets Mickey's attention through the glass doors of the locked-down school. Mickey realizes something is wrong and, seeing as his only weapon is the car itself, crashes it through the doors (suprisiingly Sarah Jane is not upset at this, which you'd think she would be -- it is her car, after all).

Mickey then rejoins the others, and a fight ensues between the four and the Krillitanes, in which they are saved by the timely appearance of K-9. The Doctor realizes the Krillitane oil is toxic to the Krillitanes (ironically), and heads for the kitchens (where barrels of the oil are kept) with Rose, Sarah Jane, and K-9, whilst sending Mickey off to "unplug" the kids from the system set up to solve the Paradigm and evacuate them from the school. Which Mickey proceeds to do (ironically, all the computer wires are plugged into a SINGLE PLUG. Really?!).

The Doctor and co find the barrels of oil, but Finch has sealed them with a deadlock seal, which the Sonic Screwdriver can't undo. K-9 pipes up that his laser could blow them up, but adds that his battery power is failing. The Doctor sends Rose and Sarah Jane out the back way and lines the barrels up for K-9 to shoot at.

A sad scene between The Doctor and K-9 follows:
K9: Capacity for only one shot, Master. For maximum impact, I must be stationed directly beside the vat.
DOCTOR: But you'll be trapped inside.
K9: That is correct.
DOCTOR: I can't let you do that.
K9: No alternative possible, Master.
DOCTOR: Goodbye, old friend.
K9: Goodbye, Master.
DOCTOR: You good dog.
K9: Affirmative.

Sarah Jane is none too pleased by this, but later claims to accepts it, only to burst into tears:
SARAH: Where's K9?
DOCTOR: We need to run.
SARAH: Where is he? What have you done! 

DOCTOR: I'm sorry.
SARAH: It's all right. He was just a daft metal dog. It's fine, really.
The school goes kaboom (with K-9 and the Krillitanes inside), to the students' glee.

The scene switches to a nearby park to which the TARDIS has relocated (Whithouse says in the commentary that the scene was initially planned to take place in the ruins of the school, but appropriate debris for the background of the shot could not be found). The Doctor invites Sarah Jane inside the TARDIS for tea, and she wanders in, where Rose and Mickey are already present. She comments that he's "redecorated" (this is a huge understatement, if you know anything about Four's TARDIS interior) and admits she liked it as it was, but this is all right too. The Doctor invites her to travel with him again, but she declines. Mickey then volunteers himself, an idea Sarah Jane supports, saying playfully, "You need a Smith on board." The Doctor agrees, though Rose is less than ecstatic. Rose and Sarah Jane then have a tender parting:
ROSE: What do I do? Do I stay with him?
SARAH: Yes. Some things are worth getting your heart broken for. Find me, if you need to, one day. Find me.
The episode ends with The Doctor and Sarah Jane saying their farewells:
SARAH: It's daft, but I haven't ever thanked you for that time. And like I said, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
DOCTOR: Something to tell the grandkids.
SARAH: Oh, I think it'll be someone else's grandkids now.
DOCTOR: Right. Yes, sorry. I didn't get a chance to ask. You haven't? There hasn't been anyone? You know.
SARAH: Well, there was this one guy. I travelled with him for a while, but he was a tough act to follow. Goodbye, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Oh, it's not goodbye.
SARAH: Do say it. Please. This time. Say it.
DOCTOR: Goodbye, my Sarah Jane. 
He then hugs her and goes back inside the TARDIS, which begins to dematerialize. Sarah Jane begins to walk away, but as she looks back, she sees, sitting where the TARDIS stood...K-9!

But wait, didn't K-9 get blown up with the school? Yes, but The Doctor has rebuilt him - as a new model, but with the same memories as the one Sarah Jane had with her - as a parting gift:
K9: Mistress.
SARAH: But you were blown up.
K9: The Master rebuilt me. My systems are much improved with new undetectable hyperlink facilities.
SARAH: Oh, he replaced you with a brand new model.
K9: Affirmative.
SARAH: Yeah, he does that. Come on, you. Home. We've got work to do.
K9: Affirmative.
Given that K-9 ultimately joins Sarah Jane on The Sarah Jane Adventures spin-off, this conversation leads into that series well (as well as the spin-off K-9 and Company, in which it was explained that The Doctor sent K-9, equipped with a special alien-scanning watch and a sonic lipstick for Sarah to use, to Sarah for Christmas). Sarah Jane's last line is also a nice homage to the final line of "Survival," the last Doctor Who TV episode before the hiatus:
DOCTOR [OC]: There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do!
Overall, this is a very enjoyable episode! I really do like Sarah Jane; she's a great Companion! I think she is probably one of my favorites from the Classic series. It's a pity that Elisabeth Sladen is no longer with us; I would have very much liked to have met her. :(

This episode made me really want to watch The Sarah Jane Adventures (which it essentially leads into). I currently have all five seasons of it in my Amazon Instant Video queue (unlike Torchwood, it isn't on Netflix). I just have to watch it. I think I've watched enough Doctor Who that I can safely start watching it now. Maybe I'll analyze it too. Like I do Doctor Who here. Though not probably in quite the same way, to avoid unnecessary stress. (It may not sound like it, but at times it's been quite stressful to keep up the analyses here. I used to be so good with deadlines...I don't know what happened. College happened I guess). Still in a blog format, I mean, but I won't feel pressured to watch and analyze all the episodes in a short block of time, as I am currently with Doctor Who (I'm trying to be caught up on New Who by the anniversary, as I said before). I can take it slower. If I can find the K-9 spinoffs (the 1981 one-off K-9 and Company and the later 2009-2010 TV series K-9), I would like to watch those too as they seem interesting.

Well, till next time! Next up is my favorite episode of Series 2, "The Girl in the Fireplace"!


NaBloPoMo Special: 
The Love of the Doctor and Rose Tyler 
Part Seventeen: The Missus and the Ex

Since the theme of NaBloPoMo this month is "Love and Sex" (probably because of Valentine's Day), I feel compelled to write something about love in my posts. Hence, since I am exploring Series 1 and 2 in this challenge, I am going to write a little special essay throughout the month about the growing love between the Doctor and Rose. Please note I am in no way an expert on relationships. 

The Doctor and Rose's relationship is tested in this episode by the appearance of Sarah Jane, especially as it becomes increasingly evident that Sarah Jane still has romantic feelings for The Doctor. Rose also becomes upset when she learns Sarah Jane used to travel with The Doctor but was left behind:

ROSE: How many of us have there been travelling with you?
DOCTOR: Does it matter?
ROSE: Yeah, it does, if I'm just the latest in a long line.
DOCTOR: As opposed to what?
ROSE: I thought you and me were. I obviously got it wrong. I've been to the year five billion, right, but this? Now this is really seeing the future. You just leave us behind. Is that what you're going to do to me?
DOCTOR: No. Not to you.
ROSE: But Sarah Jane? You were that close to her once, and now you never even mention her. Why not?
DOCTOR: I don't age. I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone who you
ROSE: What, Doctor?
DOCTOR: You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the Time Lords. 
As of the end of the episode, as mentioned above, Rose is uncertain whether to stick with The Doctor, but Sarah Jane encourages her to stay, saying "some things are worth getting your heart broken for."

And stay she does. What will happen next for these two? Time will tell!

"School Reunion" quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts. "Survival" quote also from The Doctor Who Transcripts. The quotes from The Sarah Jane Adventures came from The Sarah Jane Adventures Transcripts and can be found here ("Death of the Doctor") and here ("Revenge of the Siltheen").


Special Post: And the Twelfth Doctor Is...

Not Ben Whishaw, sorry. It's Peter Capaldi.

Honestly, I wasn't too surprised. I knew he was a favorite for the role. Though honestly I don't even think his name was even out there being speculated about till like a week or two ago.

People are complaining about him being older. He's 55 (the same age as my dad, actually), but honestly he doesn't look that old. He's aged well I think. (As has Peter Davison, I noticed...he was interviewed on the special yesterday). Plus, c'mon, it's not like we haven't had older Doctors before; all the Classic Who Doctors except Davison and McGann were older guys. As far as I can tell, the people who are complaining about his age are the people who are big fans of Matt Smith and were thus hoping for a young Twelfth Doctor. My favorite Doctor, as I said before, is David Tennant, so I think that's probably why I'm more OK with the idea of an older Doctor (not to mention I've been watching the Doctors Revisited specials and thus have familiarity with Classic Who).

As for Capaldi himself...I say, give the guy a chance. I didn't want to give Matt much of a chance at first, but I did, and he eventually grew on me. Same with Eccelston...after watching Series 1 I didn't like Nine at all, but in retrospect I realize he had some really great scenes, and now I'm looking forward to seeing Eccelston in Thor: The Dark World later this year (he's playing some evil Dark Elf Lord though, so I doubt you'll recognize him).

I'm glad they interviewed Capaldi right after the announcement. I think that was very smart, because it gave us a chance to get a feel for him right away. And once it came out that he's a huge fan of the show and has been since he was a kid, he automatically became much more favorable to me. Because that aspect is part of what I like about David too. (And Steven Moffat for that matter). He seems like a very nice guy, not afraid to admit his failings (I mean, he admitted to having his phone ON SILENT when he got the call saying he got the part!). And that story Matt told about Capaldi coming up to him after "The Eleventh Hour" first aired to tell him how great it was...I think that's just awesome that he did that. Only a fan would do that.

And now that his daughter knows (Capaldi said he wasn't allowed to tell her before), she must be thrilled. The way I imagine Georgia Moffet (Peter Davison's daughter, and now David's wife) must be.

Interestingly, they cast somebody who's been in Doctor Who before. I did not expect that at all. Capaldi played Caecilius in "The Fires of Pompeii," the second episode of Series 4. He also played John Frobisher in Torchwood. Will have to look for him in both those roles. (I'm also intrigued to see him as Cardinal Richilieu in the new BBC production of The Three Musketeers...I've liked Richilieu [an actual historical person] in other movies).

So, even though I don't know anything about him, and have never seen any of his other stuff, something about Capaldi feels right to me. Since he's a huge fan of the show, and has been since he was a kid, I feel he will do the role justice. Also, if the GI was correct in the Series 7 finale, and The Doctor is getting darker, then you need someone who can play dark. And Capaldi can do that - he's playing Cardinal Richilieu, as I mentioned above, and that's typically a very dark and sinister role. Plus, after a couple younger, more childish Doctors (cause, let's face it, Ten was pretty childish too, though nowhere near as much as Eleven is/was), it'll be kinda nice to see a more "mature" Doctor again, I suppose.

So, anyway, before you just dismiss him, just give this guy a chance. I'm going to!

(Published via Blogger for Android)

Series 7 Special - "Pond Life" (Webisodes)

The countdown to the Twelfth Doctor announcement is ticking! Just half an hour now as I write this. Anyway, while I wait, I'm catching up on posts, and here's one for the special series of webisodes that connect the Series 6 Christmas Special and Series 7: "Pond Life."

This series was originally released as five separate webisodes on the BBC's website from August 27-31, 2012, leading up to the premiere of Series 7 in September. Later, the five episodes were combined into one "omnibus" version. Both are available on the official BBC YouTube Channel; I recommend the omnibus just cause that way you can watch them all together in one video. Less choppy of an experience.

I have to say, these webisodes are pretty funny. Well, the last one is a little sad at the end, but mostly they're funny. Just short little vignettes (about a minute long apiece; the omnibus version is about 5 minutes long) detailing the life of the Ponds. The one thing that ties them all together is that throughout the series, The Doctor is trying to get back to the Ponds, but keeps failing to do so due to the TARDIS's helmic regulator being on the fritz. Meanwhile, he talks to them by phone and fills them in on what he's doing.

The first episode in the series is Pond Life April. In this segment, The Doctor calls the Ponds to check in on them, and fills them in on his recent adventures. He surfed some impressive fire falls to get away from some Sontaran soldiers, met Mata Hari in a hotel in Paris (who he calls an "interesting woman;" given his slightly embarrassed tone of voice as he reports this, and the fact that we see Hari drop her clothes, who knows what happened there), and laid down some backing vocals on a rap song. He then promises that he should be there any day now (while frantically running around the console flipping controls), but says the helmic regulator is acting up so he can't say precisely when he'll be there. Then, as the camera zooms out to show the Ponds' phone/answering machine combo, we hear him suddenly realize he's crashed into Ancient Greece, followed by a crash. Amy and Rory, meanwhile, are sitting down with some wine while this is going on, and just as we hear the crash, Rory presses the stop button on the answering machine. Amy then looks at him, unperturbed, and says "The Doctor." They then clink glasses and drink.

Next comes Pond Life May. The Ponds are in bed when all the sudden the TARDIS arrives. The Doctor, without even thinking, barges into their bedroom (though once he realizes this, he covers his eyes...the fact that Amy appears to be at least partially naked in this scene may have something to do with this). The Ponds are quite obviously angry at the intrusion:

RORY: What's going on?
AMY: Doctor! Bedroom!
RORY: We have a rule about the bedroom.

The Doctor is apologetic, but tells them the Earth is in danger, that they have to go save it while there's still time...before realizing the Ponds have no clue what the heck he's talking about. He then realizes the helmic regulator acted up again and he's arrived too early for that particular adventure. He then leaves, but Amy calls after him, saying he can't just leave, and don't they need to know about this danger? He then returns, and assures them that the future is fine, don't worry about it, and that they should go back to sleep (while, meanwhile, clips play showing that he is totally lying and the future will not be fine - the clips shown, by the way, are from the Series 7 episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship," which at this point had not aired yet).

The TARDIS departs, and the Ponds lie awake in bed, while Rory mutters, "I really hate it when he does that."

Third is Pond Life June. This is a really short scene which starts with Rory heading to the bathroom in the morning. But when he opens the door, something shocking is in there, and he rushes out. Amy then comes out, but Rory won't let her in the bathroom. After a few moments, he finally lets her in, and they both see an Ood sitting on their toilet. The Ood, in a perfectly happy voice, asks if he (it?) can be of any assistance. Amy and Rory look at each other awkwardly, unsure what to make of this:

RORY: Ood on the loo.
AMY: Yeah.

The next one, Pond Life July, is a direct sequel to the previous webisode and features the Ponds on the phone with The Doctor to tell him about the Ood. He tells them he rescued the Ood from the Androvax Conflict and was taking it back to the Ood Sphere, and that it must've wandered into the Ponds' flat when The Doctor stopped by before (in Pond Life May).

(Hold on...the special is coming on! Right now, there's just a placeholder saying "Stay Tuned for the Live Announcement of the 12th Doctor," which means there must be a delay in the simulcast...will write while I'm waiting, and once it starts, I'll write during commercial breaks, if there are any).

(Ok, it's started!!)

(Ok guess there aren't going to be commercial breaks...will continue after the special's over)

(Ok the special's over...more on that in another post!)

Sorry about that, didn't want to miss the special (although technically, I was recording it, in case I forgot to watch it, so I could've waited and finished the post first, but I didn't want to get spoiled later today so I decided to watch it live).

Sooo..anyway, The Doctor asks the Ponds if the Ood is being any trouble. We then see a montage of the Ood doing what Oods do best, which is serving. The Ood hands Amy her laptop and Rory his lunchbox (I love that he has this childish lunchbox) as they head out the door, then we see him making the beds, hanging the laundry, and cleaning the windows. Rory feels awkward, telling The Doctor that the Ood seems to think he's their butler. The Doctor tells him it's fine, that Oods are conditioned to serve, and to just let him do his thing, and promises to pick the Ood up that evening. He then realizes a power drain has occurred that could cause the TARDIS to implode and hangs up. The Ood then gives the Ponds their tea (or "infusions," as the Ood calls them), while they eat breakfast awkwardly:

RORY: I feel so guilty.
AMY: Just eat your breakfast.

Finally, the fifth and final episode of the series, Pond Life August. Despite the name, the episode primarily features The Doctor, although the end leads nicely into "Asylum of the Daleks." As it starts, The Doctor is fixing the light on top of the TARDIS, whilst leaving yet another phone message for the Ponds, and apologizes again for not coming by, claiming the helmic regulator is on the fritz again. He then fills them in on adventures again, saying he got hit by an arrow (or maybe the regulator did; the context is confusing) on Hastings Hill, rode a horse in 11th-century Coventry, and may have accidentally invented pasta a bit too early. He also took the Ood home. He also says he stopped by their place one day, but they were out. (This scene is kind of sad, because it's rainy and The Doctor looks SO disappointed).

Then, in a slightly concerned voice, he asks about them:

DOCTOR: Everything's all right, isn't it, with you two? Course it is. Ponds always fine. Just worrying unnecessarily. Anyway, just call me if you need me.
But, as we see, the Ponds are not fine. We see Rory leaving the house, looking angry, and Amy running after him, with tears in her eyes. (Supposedly she is mouthing the words "I hate you," but it's hard to tell). Seeing as the Ponds are on the brink of divorce in "Asylum of the Daleks," I think it's safe to say they're having marital problems here (also, in "Asylum of the Daleks," it's implied that Rory has moved out of their apartment, which he seems to be doing here).

The Doctor says goodbye and then stares at the phone for a few moments. Then, reconsidering his message, he points the Sonic at the phone receiver, erasing his message. Shortly after, Amy arrives home alone, checks the answering machine, and sees there are no messages on the answering machine. She leans against the counter and sighs, clearly upset, and says:

AMY: We need you, raggedy man. I need you.
And that's the end of the series of webisodes.

Like I said, mostly a really funny set of episodes, but has some sad parts. Worth a watch, definitely!

Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.

Special Post: Matt Smith's Departure and the Twelfth Doctor Announcement

As many of you reading this blog may know, Matt Smith - the wonderful young man who has played the Eleventh Doctor since New Year's Day 2010 - is leaving the show. His last episode will be this year's Christmas Special. This being a major event, I thought I should post a special post here about it.

I meant to post this back in June, after it was first announced that Matt Smith was leaving, but never got around to doing so. At any rate, writing it tonight will do, as tomorrow we find out who will replacing Matt at the helm of the TARDIS, in a live, half-hour special called Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. It's airing at 7pm on BBC One and will be simulcast in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. (Possibly elsewhere as well, but these are the countries where the simulcast has been confirmed). Here's a trailer for the special from BBC America:

The nice thing about the event being simulcast is that all of us will get to find out who the Twelfth Doctor will be at the same time, which eliminates the possibility of spoilers, like you get with the regular Doctor Who episodes, which air at different times (though all on the same day). 

I admit, way back in June, when I heard Matt was leaving the show, I was just as shocked as anyone else. I think I've said on here that Eleven isn't my favorite Doctor. Ten gets that honor. And I've said good things and bad things about Matt Smith and his performance as The Doctor. I was just re-reading my posts about Series 7 Part 1 earlier today, and I realized how much I disliked Eleven back then. Now, months later, I feel differently. The 2012 Christmas Special and Series 7 Part 2 changed my mind about Eleven; I've warmed up to him now. (That and this fanfic I've been working on that stars Eleven, which forced me to actually think about him as a character). He's still not my favorite, and I doubt he ever will be. (Granted, after I watch Series 5 and 6, my opinion on that may change). 

In the past several months, I have realized that Matt Smith truly is a gifted young man. He really can act, and act well. And it's because of this that he went from being a nobody in 2009, when he was cast, to a much-beloved Doctor now 4 years later. With him came Steven Moffat as showrunner and a much darker hue to the show in general (at least based on what I've seen so far). And with him came great Companions in the forms of Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Jenna Coleman now...sorry) as Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, and Clara Oswald respectively. Each Doctor brings something new to the show, and Matt has brought his something in spades, giving us a young, rather hyperactive, childish Doctor who likes to wear bow ties and fezzes and Stetsons and a worn-out suit with patches stolen from a hospital (or fancy purple Victorian-esque suits with top hats), enjoys eating fish custard and Jammie Dodgers, and is married to a woman whose timeline is all out of whack who also happens to be Amy and Rory's daughter. (And yes, I can say this having not seen Series 5 and 6...I'm spoiled enough on those seasons that I have an inkling of what goes on in them). 

So am I going to miss Matt Smith? Absolutely. But I know I still have the two specials left to see him in, and I'm sure Moffat will send him off in proper fashion come Christmastime (it was confirmed in a recent Comic-Con panel that Moffat is writing this year's Christmas Special). Apparently, according to the Wikipedia entry for the Christmas Special, that episode will also be the 800th episode of Doctor Who, which will make the send-off for Matt extra special. Also, I just realized the Complete Seventh Series DVD and Blu-Ray will be released in the UK and Europe on October 28, which is Matt's birthday. (And also mine...that's right, Matt and I share a birthday!)

But now we have the Twelfth Doctor to look forward to. It's 12:06 a.m. right now as I type this sentence, meaning that the special announcing the Twelfth Doctor is in slightly less than 11 hours from now, my time. And you know what? I can't wait. I'm tired of all the speculation (and believe me, there has been a LOT); I just want to find out who it is already. This is the first time I've been able to be part of the lead-up to a new Doctor's run, so I want to enjoy it while I can. I want to find out who the next Doctor will be, and spend the next few months letting that revelation sink in, and possibly watching other things with him (or her; many people think we'll get a female Doctor this time around) in it so I can get used to him (or her) beforehand. Personally, I am hoping for Ben Whishaw:

Ben Whishaw has long been a favorite for the role of Twelve. I loved him as Q in the latest Bond film Skyfall. He's also been in other movies like Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Cloud Atlas and has a fair amount of TV experience, including playing the main character in the TV series The Hour. Plus, he's close in age to Matt, so the transition between Doctors will be a little smoother if he's cast. 

Honestly though, I think I'm mature enough to be happy with whoever they picked. I'm not sure about the female Doctor idea; I mean, I'm not against it (I'm writing a story right now myself that stars a female Time Lord), but it would be such an abrupt change. Still, if, as Jenna has said, the 50th Anniversary Special is going to send the show in a whole new direction, I suppose anything's possible. Also, one of the Doctor Who audio dramas stated that, in order for a Time Lord to change sexes when regenerating, he or she has to commit suicide. Whether Moffat considers this canon or not, I just can't see Matt's Doctor doing that.

I'm more open to the idea that we might get a person of color as the next Doctor. Like the female thing, we also have never had a Doctor of color. We had Companions of color (Martha, Mickey, Rosita from "The Next Doctor," Rani from The Sarah Jane Adventures) but never a Doctor of color. I would be open to that idea. I like the idea of an Asian Doctor for some reason. (Maybe because the Time Lady in the aforementioned story I'm writing has one regeneration where she looks Chinese). One of the favorites for Twelve is black, though I forget his name.

So, let's enjoy these last few months we have with Matt before he turns in his bow tie and fez (or not; I have a feeling he'll talk someone into letting him keep those) and takes a bow. And let's get excited about what is to come, especially once we know who Twelve is (which is now in about 10 1/2 hours my time). Allons-y, as Ten would say.


Series 7, Episode 14 (Series 7 Finale): "The Name of the Doctor"


Sorry for the belated post...had hoped to post this closer to the finale but that didn't happen.

Anyway...here, finally, is my analysis of the episode we all waited for for ages: the Series 7 finale, "The Name of the Doctor."

Words can hardly describe how epic this episode was. And yet, it was confusing too - I was left very confused after the first time I watched it and had to discuss it to death with fellow Whovians and watch the episode itself a second time before I felt I could do an analysis of it here.

I think part of the confusion is that this episode is sort of a "Part 1" of a longer story, a story which will likely be continued in the 50th Anniversary Special that will air on November 23, since Matt Smith said this episode leads into the 50th. Not all the questions raised in the episode are answered, and even the ones that are don't seem like they're fully explained.

Anyway! Plot!

This episode begins in a rather epic fashion: ON FREAKIN' GALLIFREY.

And by "a very long time ago" (which I admit kinda made me laugh which I initially saw this as a promo photo on Facebook, because it made me think of the classic Star Wars motto "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away"), they mean a LONG time ago. This is First Doctor era, folks. Gallifrey (specifically the famous Citadel) in its PRIME. For comparison's sake, here's what the Citadel looked like during the Time War (from "The End of Time, Part Two" - which granted I have not seen, but since the Wikipedia article on this episode pointed out that we saw the Citadel destroyed in that episode, I figured I'd hunt up the picture anyway):

In this scene, we actually get to see the First Doctor and Susan about to leave Gallifrey in the TARDIS they stole, which is pretty awesome since we never saw that in the show. But just as they are about to (whilst an alert has begun to go off due to the theft), they are stopped by a mysterious (and familiar-looking) young woman, who tells The Doctor he's "about to make a very big mistake."

This is followed by a monologue from Clara, interspersed with clips of her falling through the Time Vortex and various clips of the different Doctors and of her in various period looks:

CLARA [OC]: I don't know where I am. It's like I'm breaking into a million pieces and there's only one thing I remember. I have to save the Doctor. He always looks different.
(The sixth Doctor walks across behind her.)
CLARA: Doctor!
(The fourth Doctor walks past her, scarf flying.)
CLARA [OC]: But I always know it's him. Sometimes I think I'm everywhere at once, running every second just to find him.
(The seventh Doctor is dangling from the ice cliff on the lower levels in Dragonfire.)
CLARA: Doctor!
CLARA [OC]: Just to save him.
(The third Doctor drives past in Bessie.)
CLARA: Doctor!
(The second Doctor, in his fur coat, runs past her in a palm-fringed park. She tries to follow, but falls onto a clear surface, where the fifth Doctor is floating beneath her in the reactor chamber in Warriors of the Deep.)
CLARA: Doctor?
CLARA [OC]: But he never hears me.
(The Eleventh Doctor in Victorian clothes, in Snowmen.)
CLARA [OC]: Almost never. I blew into this world on a leaf.
(The leaf that blew into the face of her father, that made him meet her mother.)
CLARA [OC]: I'm still blowing. I don't think I'll ever land. I'm Clara Oswald. I'm the Impossible Girl. I was born to save the Doctor.
What is this all about then? A hint?

We're left to wonder, sadly. We then go to 1893 London and Vastra visiting a prisoner named Clarence DeMarco, who begs her to use her influence to save him, which she refuses to do, as he is a serial killer. He buys her trust - and a stay on his execution - by giving her information on The Doctor (how he obtained said information is not revealed, though maybe it will come out in the "Clarence and the Whispermen" special that is supposed to be included on the Complete Seventh Series DVD set when it's released later on this year). Distressed by this information, Vastra takes action: she and Jenny (minus Strax, who has the weekend off and has decided to spend it getting into fights with big burly guys in Victorian Glasgow) decide to initiate a "conference call" across time and space, via the use of an unidentified soporific drug administered via a candle that puts you into a dream/trance state. She sends out invitations to said call to Strax (via telegram), River Song (via an unknown method) and Clara (via a letter). Significantly, Clara is about to make a soufflé when she finds the letter (yet another reference to the "Soufflé Girl" motif with her).

The whole "conference call" business is a little weird. It makes sense, but it's not something that, to my knowledge, has ever happened in the show before. And it's not clear how the heck River got there, since it was hinted prior to the episode airing - and is revealed later in the episode - that the River Song in this episode is a post-Library River, in other words a manifestation of the data ghost Ten uploaded to the Library's computers in "Forest of the Dead."

Anyway, this conference call. We learn that DeMarco traded Vastra very serious information in exchange for his life: space-time coordinates for a place said to be the location of "the Doctor's biggest secret." He describes it with the words: "The Doctor has a secret, you know. One that he will take to the grave. It is discovered." Vastra also mentions that he got her to trust him with one word (those who have seen "The Snowmen" will remember that Vastra believes truth can only be expressed in single words): Trenzalore.

Yes, THAT Trenzalore...the one we heard about in Series 6. From the prophecy:

DORIUM: On the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely, or fail to answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered. 
DOCTOR: Silence will fall when the question is asked.
DORIUM: Silence must fall would be a better translation. The Silence are determined the question will never be answered. That the Doctor will never reach Trenzalore.  

DORIUM: But you're a fool nonetheless. It's all still waiting for you. The fields of Trenzalore, the fall of the Eleventh, and the question.
DOCTOR: Goodbye, Dorium.
DORIUM: The first question. The question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight. The question you've been running from all your life. Doctor who? Doctor who? Doctor Who. 

River recognizes the implications of this immediately (though I have no clue how she knew about it, OR Vastra for that matter...I guess since it was a prophecy The Silence believed in strongly, and River was nominally involved with The Silence at one point, maybe she heard about it from there).

But just when you think the group's going to discuss this thing further, Jenny starts panicking, sensing a ghostly presence near her astral body. She realizes she forgot to lock the door, and that strange beings are attacking her. She declares, in a thin voice, that she thinks she's been murdered, and fades away.

River takes charge and shocks Team Vastra awake - Vastra with a slap (which has a funny backstory if you watch the behind-the-scenes clip for this episode) and Strax by splashing water (or maybe champagne, since she had summoned some for herself) in his face. Simultaneously in London and Glasgow, Vastra and Strax fall under attack by strange men in top hats and tuxedos, with white, waxy faces and almost vampiric teeth, and are captured (while Jenny is shown lying dead on the floor).

Meet new villains The Whispermen, everyone:

Oh man those guys give me the creeps.

The Whispermen somehow make their way into the astral-plane conference call as well, surrounding River and Clara. They taunt the pair with the words "Tell the Doctor," after which Clara asks them what they're supposed to tell him. A hologram of the Great Intelligence (with the face of Dr. Simeon, as in the Series 7 premiere) then appears, and utters these words:

HOLO-SIMEON: His friends are lost for ever more, unless he goes to Trenzalore.  

Basically meaning, "Doctor - if you ever want to see Team Vastra again, you have to go to Trenzalore." As in the one place he's not supposed to go - a fact River vehemently points out in response to Simeon's statement.

Suddenly, The Doctor's voice breaks into the scene, and Clara wakes up, only to find The Doctor in her house, walking around blindfolded and calling for Artie and Angie. He realizes she's there, and tells her he agreed to watch the kids while their father went next door, and that they had wanted to go to the cinema, but he had said no, they needed to wait till Clara woke up. Clara removes his blindfold and reveals he's been duped: they got him to play Blind Man's Bluff so he'd be blindfolded and not see them sneak off to the cinema. This frustrates the Doctor, who calls them "little Daleks," but his look quickly changes when he sees Clara's face, and he asks her what's wrong.

A jump cut later, Clara is making tea and has apparently told the Doctor everything that occurred at the conference call. The Doctor is distraught over the fate of his friends, to the point of tears (something we rarely see from him!), and ultimately runs out of the house. Clara follows him, finding him under the console room of the TARDIS. He sadly says he always suspected what Trenzalore was, but never wanted to actually find out - but that River always knew what it was. He connects Clara directly to the TARDIS's telepathic circuits (pay close attention to that - it becomes important later) so as to retrieve the coordinates DeMarco gave from her memory. After he does so, Clara pushes The Doctor about Trenzalore:

CLARA: Okay, what is Trenzalore? Is that your big secret?
CLARA: Okay, what then?
DOCTOR: When you are a time traveller, there is one place you must never go. One place in all of space and time you must never, ever find yourself.
CLARA: Where?
DOCTOR: You didn't listen, did you? You lot never do. That's the problem. The Doctor has a secret he will take to the grave. It is discovered. He wasn't talking about my secret. No, no, no, that's not what's been found. He was talking about my grave. Trenzalore is where I'm buried.
CLARA: How can you have a grave?
DOCTOR: Because we all do, somewhere out there in the future, waiting for us.
(They go up to the console.)
DOCTOR: The trouble with time travel, you can actually end up visiting.
CLARA: But you're not going to. You just said it's the one place you must never go.
DOCTOR: I have to save Vastra and Strax. Jenny too, if it's still possible. They, they cared for me during the dark times. Never questioned me, never judged me, they were just kind. I owe them. I have a duty. No point in telling you this is too dangerous.
CLARA: None at all. How can we save them?
DOCTOR: Apparently, by breaking into my own tomb. 
Which they then proceed to do, a process which takes the bulk of the episode. They get to Trenzalore (after a LOT of resistance from the TARDIS, who knows all too well what Trenzalore is and that The Doctor should not go there), which, it turns out, is a pretty freaky-looking place:

The TARDIS having refused to land, The Doctor's only option is to crash-land onto the planet, which he does by turning off the anti-gravs (the only thing the TARDIS hasn't turned off yet) with his Sonic.

They land finally and walk out into a dark and scary graveyard, which The Doctor identifies as a battlefield graveyard, with different-size gravestones depending on the rank of whoever's buried there:

The graveyard is dominated by a massive monument in the form of a TARDIS, which, as it turns out, is The Doctor's tomb -- AND his TARDIS from the future:

(Apparently he never will get that Chameleon Circuit fixed).

Clara and The Doctor then proceed to break into the tomb. Oh, and just in case we forgot about her, River shows up again!

She looks really substantial for a data ghost, if you ask me. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that was River, alive and in the flesh, standing there.

River accompanies the two into the tomb, supposedly seen by only Clara, who has a mental connection to her from the conference call. (I say "supposedly"...more on that later).

Meanwhile...Vastra and company wake up inside the antechamber of the massive tomb. Strax, in classic Strax fashion, starts barking military orders:
STRAX: This base is surrounded! Lay down your weapons and your deaths will be merciful!
STRAX: This planet is now property of the Sontaran Empire. Surrender your women and intellectuals.
Vastra, on the other hand, could care less about Strax's military ambitions - cause she's found Jenny, her beloved wife, and she's dead. Nothing Strax's handy-dandy Sontaran handheld medical scanner/defibrillator can't cure, though; soon enough, she's back to normal. Well, as back to normal as you can be after being revived from lethal, shock-induced cardiac arrest. They don't have time to celebrate, though, because they are soon confronted by Whispermen once more. And guess who their leader is:

Well, hi there Dr. Simeon. Or Mr. Great Intelligence, rather, taking the form of Dr. Simeon (as shown earlier in this episode and in "The Bells of Saint John").

This brings on a confrontation between Vastra and Simeon:
SIMEON: I see you have repaired your pet. No matter. I was only attracting your attention. I presume I have it.
VASTRA: Doctor Simeon. This is not possible.
SIMEON: And yet here we are, meeting again, so very far from home.
JENNY: But he died. You told me.
VASTRA: Simeon died, but the creature that possessed him lived on. I take it I am now talking to the Great Intelligence?
SIMEON: Welcome to the final resting place of the cruel tyrant. Of the slaughterer of the ten billion, and the vessel of the final darkness. Welcome to the tomb of the Doctor.

We then cut briefly to The Doctor, River, and Clara - who get in the tomb but are pursued by Whispermen - before cutting back to Simeon, Vastra, and the others, where Simeon proceeds to give us backstory on Trenzalore:
SIMEON: It was a minor skirmish, by the Doctor's blood-soaked standards. Not exactly the Time War, but enough to finish him. In the end, it was too much for the old man.
JENNY: Blood-soaked?
VASTRA: The Doctor has been many things, but never blood-soaked.
SIMEON: Tell that to the leader of the Sycorax, or Solomon the trader, or the Cybermen, or the Daleks. The Doctor lives his life in darker hues, day upon day, and he will have other names before the end. The Storm, the Beast, the Valeyard.
VASTRA: Even if any of this were true, which I take the liberty of doubting, how did you come by this information?
SIMEON: I am information.
JENNY: You were a mind without a body last time we met.
VASTRA: And you were supposed to stay that way.
SIMEON: Alas, I did.
(Simeon pulls at his face, to reveal that he is an empty shell. His clothes tumble to the ground, then a Whisper Man steps forward and becomes him again.)
SIMEON: As you can see.
Oh yeah, The Whispermen are basically just lifeless shells for the GI to inhabit. And any of them can take on Simeon's appearance. Creepy much!!

The Doctor and Clara make it into the upper parts of the tomb, when all the sudden Clara starts feeling dizzy:
DOCTOR: Hey, it's okay. You're fine. The dimensioning forces this deep in the Tardis, they can make you a bit giddy.
CLARA: I know, I know. How do I know? How do I know that?
DOCTOR: Clara, it's okay. You're fine.
CLARA: Have we, have we done this before? We have. We have done this before. Climbing through a wrecked Tardis.
Yes, you have, my dear Clara. In "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS." Remember how I said to pay attention to the fact that The Doctor directly connected Clara to the TARDIS's telepathic circuits, in order to get the coordinates for Trenzalore? Well, that connection went deeper than expected, and now her memories of the events of "Journey" - which she shouldn't even remember because The Doctor rebooted everything - are starting to reemerge:

CLARA: You said things, things I'm not supposed to remember.
DOCTOR: We can't do this now. The Tardis is a ruin. The telepathic circuits are awakening memories you shouldn't even have.
DOCTOR [memory]: Why do I keep meeting you?
DOCTOR: Clara.
DOCTOR [memory]: The Dalek Asylum. There was a girl in a shipwreck and she died saving my life. And she was you.
DOCTOR: Clara.
DOCTOR [memory]: In Victorian London there was a governess, who was really a barmaid, and she died. And she was you.
DOCTOR: Clara? Clara, what's wrong?
CLARA: What do you mean, you keep meeting me? You said I died. How could I die?
DOCTOR: That is not a conversation you should even remember.
CLARA: What do you mean I died?
The transcript doesn't do it justice; you really have to watch the scene. It's very well edited together, with the flashbacks and everything, and the panicked way The Doctor reacts to the fact that she's remembering these things.

Anyway, The Whispermen start coming after the two of them again, so they don't have time to dwell on this revelation. They make it to the antechamber where Simeon and the others are, and a rather epic scene ensues where Simeon reveals the only way to open The Doctor's tomb is if The Doctor says his name, something he refuses to do. Simeon tries to blackmail him into it by having The Whispermen attack Vastra, Jenny, Strax, and Clara. The Doctor is clearly disturbed by this, and finally literally begs Simeon to stop:
SIMEON: Doctor who?
DOCTOR: Please! 
Ironically, just after he says "Please," the tomb's doors open, much to the surprise of everyone, The Doctor most of all.

Everyone in the room assumes The Doctor said his name, since that's the only thing that can open the doors (this led to a popular meme online where people claimed The Doctor's real name was "Please"). But, as it turns out, he DIDN'T say his name. But if he didn't, who did?

Well, we all know there's only one other person who knows his name, now don't we?

Yep, River's the one who said it. Only we didn't hear her say it. So we still don't know what it is. Pooh.
RIVER: The Tardis can still hear me. Lucky thing, since him indoors is being so useless.
STRAX: Why did you open the door, sir? I had them on the run.
DOCTOR: I didn't do it. I didn't say my name.
RIVER: No, but I did.
The confusing part here is that River enters the scene from inside the tomb, which leaves one to wonder how the heck she got in there to begin with. Maybe she got in by speaking The Doctor's name earlier, or maybe she can phase through walls since she's a ghost. Not sure.

Anyway, Simeon, eager to see inside the tomb, prompts The Doctor to show them in:
DOCTOR: ...Now then, Doctor Simeon, or Mister G Intelligence, whatever I call you, do you know what's in there?
SIMEON: For me, peace at last. For you, pain everlasting. Won't you invite us in?
Now, as the viewer, you might think, what the heck is he doing, letting the GI into his uber-secret tomb? In retrospect, I wonder that myself. I guess he figures there's no point in refusing to let him in, since Mr. GI will probably force his way in anyway.

So The Doctor pushes the doors open with both hands and leads the party in. They then proceed up a staircase (the same one we saw leading down to below the console in The Doctor's regular TARDIS, notably) into the console room. Or, rather, what's left of it:

Nothing but a derelict console room, with railings overgrown with plants (I'm assuming those are plants anyway) and that big glowing column in the center where the console itself would usually be.

I admit, I was quite surprised by this. I was expecting a tomb in the traditional sense. Like with a coffin or a dais with his body on or in it. It's not like Time Lords don't do traditional tombs, after all; in "The Five Doctors" we see the Tomb of Rassilon, and in Doctor Who: The Movie The Doctor is taking The Master's ashes to be interred on Gallifrey, which means they must do cremation as well. Not surprisingly, The Doctor recognizes that the others (and the viewers) are wondering this, and says:
DOCTOR: What were you expecting, a body? Bodies are boring. I've had loads of them. Nah, that's not what my tomb is for.
So instead of a body, there's this glowing column of light, all twisted and thorn-like. Despite this, Jenny calls it beautiful, while Strax, being Strax, asks if he should destroy it. (A welcome funny line in a very serious scene). The Doctor then explains:
CLARA: Doctor, explain. What is that?
DOCTOR: The tracks of my tears.
SIMEON: Less poetry, Doctor. Just tell them.
DOCTOR: Time travel is damage. It's like a tear in the fabric of reality. That is the scar tissue of my journey through the universe. My path through time and space from Gallifrey to Trenzalore.
"Tracks of my tears" likely referring to the famous Smokey Robinson song:

Anyway, to prove his point, The Doctor zaps the column with his Sonic, and we start to hear voices coming from it, representing all the Doctors up to this point:
DOCTOR 1 [OC]: Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension?
DOCTOR 4 [OC]: Do I have the right?
DOCTOR 6 [OC]: Daleks, Cybermen, they're still in the nursery compared to us.
DOCTOR 2 [OC]: There are corners of the universe that have bred the most dangerous things.
DOCTOR 9 [OC]: You were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.
DOCTOR 10 [OC]: I'm the Doctor. I'm from Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous
DOCTOR 11 [OC]: Hello, Stonehenge!
DOCTOR: My own personal time tunnel. All the days,
DOCTOR 3 [OC]: It was the daisiest daisy I'd ever seen.
DOCTOR: Even the ones that I, er, even the ones that I haven't lived yet. 
The audio we hear, by the way, comes from, in order: "An Unearthly Child," "Genesis of the Daleks," "The Ultimate Foe," "The Moonbase," "The Parting of the Ways," "Voyage of the Damned," "The Pandorica Opens," and "The Time Monster." (Thanks to Wikipedia for this list).

However, just about now, the paradoxes and such that make this tomb the one place The Doctor should never go catch up with him, and he collapses:

The GI, taking advantage of this, decides he's going to step right into this glowing time tunnel. Which, it's implied in the dialogue, he's been planning to do all along anyway:
DOCTOR: No. No. No. What are you doing? Somebody stop him!
SIMEON: The Doctor's life is a open wound. And an open wound can be entered.
DOCTOR: No, it would destroy you.
SIMEON: Not at all. It will kill me. It will destroy you. I can rewrite your every living moment. I can turn every one of your victories into defeats. Poison every friendship. Deliver pain to your every breath.
DOCTOR: It will burn you up. Once you go through, you can't come back. You will be scattered along my timeline like confetti.
SIMEON: It matters not, Doctor. You thwarted me at every turn. Now you will give me peace, as I take my revenge on every second of your life. Goodbye. Goodbye, Doctor. 
 The GI then steps into the beam and is consumed by it.

That is one creepy shot right there.

A rather scary sequence ensues as the GI wreaks his revenge on The Doctor, striking him all over his timeline. We see him appear in pretty much every place we saw Clara show up in the cold opening, plus a few others (like a scene from the First Doctor episode "The Aztecs"). And The Doctor feels it, oh does he feel it. He writhes as the GI does his work, while Vastra monitors the GI's actions (somehow...how she does it is not explained), which worries Clara:
CLARA: What's wrong with him? What's happening?
VASTRA: He's being rewritten. Simeon is attacking his entire timeline. He's dying all at once.
However, one of the places Vastra mentions being The Doctor dying in is the Dalek Asylum, which rings a bell for Clara due to her memories from "Journey" having returned. Finally, The GI finishes his work, and the glowing column turns red:

Vastra (who apparently knows everything) realizes what this means:
VASTRA: Oh, dear Goddess.
JENNY: What's wrong?
VASTRA: A universe without the Doctor. There will be consequences.
She rushes out with Jenny, where she points out that stars are disappearing as a result of The Doctor's timeline having been rewritten (basically stars and planets The Doctor had saved, but which now he hasn't saved thanks to the GI turning all his victories into defeats). But it's not just stars that are affected. Jenny, whose life The Doctor had saved in a previous episode, disappears. Strax, now not remembering he and Vastra are friends (their friendship having also come about thanks to The Doctor), runs out and tries to attack her. She pleads with him to remember their friendship, but fails to move him. She then lifts her weapon to shoot him, but before she can, he too disappears, since, like Jenny, he would be dead if not for The Doctor.

Clara, meanwhile, is cradling the dying Doctor, and tries to ask him what to do:
CLARA: The Dalek Asylum. You said it was me that saved you. How? Victorian London. How, how could I have been in Victorian London?
After the scene with Vastra, Clara looks at the timeline and decides she must save The Doctor, whatever it takes. This leads to a great scene between The Doctor, Clara, and River (who pops in again unannounced):
CLARA: I have to go in there.
DOCTOR: Please, please, no.
CLARA: But this is what I've already done. You've already seen me do it. I'm the Impossible Girl, and this is why.
RIVER: Whatever you're thinking of doing, don't.
CLARA: If I step in there, what happens?
RIVER: The time winds will tear you into a million pieces. A million versions of you, living and dying all over time and space, like echoes.
CLARA: But the echoes could save the Doctor, right?
RIVER: But they won't be you. The real you will die. They'll just be copies.
CLARA: But they'll be real enough to save him. It's like my mum said. The soufflé isn't the soufflé, the soufflé is the recipe. It's the only way to save him, isn't it?
(River's image nods.)
VASTRA: The stars are going out. And Jenny and Strax are dead. There must be something we can do.
CLARA: Well, how about that? I'm soufflé girl after all.
DOCTOR: No. Please.
CLARA: If this works, get out of here as fast as you can. And spare me a thought now and then.
DOCTOR: No, Clara.
CLARA: In fact, you know what? Run. Run, you clever boy, and remember me.
DOCTOR: No. Clara! 
Despite his protests, our plucky Impossible Girl goes through with it anyway. Of course.

The sequence from the cold open plays again, with some new scenes added. But now we have the proper context: that sequence is showing how Clara is split into thousands of pieces across The Doctor's timeline, and that with these echoes she intends to save The Doctor from the GI's scheme.

She ends the montage by saying:
CLARA [OC]: I just know I'm running. Sometimes it's like I've lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I'm born, I live, I die. And always, there's the Doctor. Always I'm running to save the Doctor again and again and again. Oi! And he hardly ever hears me. But I've always been there. 
CLARA [OC]: Right from the day he started running.  

There's a whiteout, and we return to the tomb, with The Doctor alive and standing once again and Jenny and Strax alive. River is still there too, unseen by everyone but the viewer. But Clara, of course, is gone. The Doctor, naturally, wants to save Clara by entering his own timestream, but both Vastra and River tell him not to. He insists, and finally River's ghost begs him:
RIVER: There has to be another way. Use the Tardis, use something. Save her, yes, but for God's sake be sensible.
She then tries to slap him, but he, amazingly, catches her hand before she can!

River is shocked. Remember, the whole episode she's been saying that only Clara can see her. But if that's so, how was The Doctor able to catch her hand?


That's right. And, we discover, he's been able to see her the whole episode. He just pretended he couldn't. 
RIVER: How are you even doing that? I'm not really here.
DOCTOR: You are always here to me. And I always listen, and I can always see you.
RIVER: Then why didn't you speak to me?
DOCTOR: Because I thought it would hurt too much.
RIVER: I believe I could have coped.
DOCTOR: No, I thought it would hurt me. And I was right. 
As you might imagine, learning this fact - that he could see her the whole time - makes watching the episode a second time even more painful, because you suddenly pick up on the moments where he clearly ignores her presence. On a first viewing of the episode, you assume it's because he can't see her, but once you know he can and could the whole time, those moments seem way more sad.

The Doctor and River then kiss, passionately:

Mind you, they haven't kissed (that we know of) since their wedding in Series 6...and that wasn't even a real kiss, it was just to fix the messed up timeline...this, however, is a real kiss. A real, loving, reciprocal kiss.

The Doctor then awkwardly realizes that, since nobody in the room can see River but him, that kiss must have looked rather odd. And indeed, Vastra and Jenny look a little weirded out (while Strax is showing no emotion whatsoever):

The Doctor and River then talk in what I think is the most awesome scene I've seen of the two of them so far. If anything screams "The Good Ship Eleven/River," it's this scene:
DOCTOR:...There is a time to live and a time to sleep. You are an echo, River. Like Clara. Like all of us, in the end. My fault, I know, but you should've faded by now.
RIVER: It's hard to leave when you haven't said goodbye.
DOCTOR: Then tell me, because I don't know. How do I say it?
RIVER: There's only one way I'd accept. If you ever loved me, say it like you're going to come back.
DOCTOR: Well, then. See you around, Professor River Song.
RIVER: Till the next time, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Don't wait up.
RIVER: Oh, there's one more thing.
DOCTOR: Isn't there always?
RIVER: I was mentally linked with Clara. If she's really dead, then how can I still be here?
DOCTOR: Okay, how?
RIVER: Spoilers. Goodbye, sweetie.
That moment when she says goodbye is tear-worthy. It's really, really sad. Because she says it like she really, really means it. :(

After this, as Vastra and co watch, The Doctor steps into his own time tunnel.

Clara, meanwhile, is still falling through the Vortex. Finally, she lands in a strange, old-looking, empty room, bathed in yellow and brown hues:

As she tries to get her bearings, ghosts of the previous Doctors run past her, as if running away from something. Finally, The Doctor - her Doctor, the Eleventh - manages to reach her, if only by voice, and informs her that he's inside the timestream himself, and that because of this the timeline's collapsing in on itself (which is what all the other Doctors are running from). Clara tells him to get out then, but he refuses to until he gets her out of there. He then says he's sending her something from her past, telling her to hold onto it tightly, as it will help her get home. But what is this mysterious thing?

Well, does this look familiar?

Yep, it's the famous leaf from "The Rings of Akhaten"! And here I thought the leaf wasn't going to end up being significant beyond that episode. Boy was I wrong.

Clara grabs the leaf, and finally The Doctor is able to appear bodily before her.

She stumbles toward him, as he encourages her:
DOCTOR [OC]: Clara! Clara! Come on. Come on, to me, now.
DOCTOR: You can do it. I know you can.
DOCTOR: Because it's impossible. And you're my Impossible Girl. How many times have you saved me, Clara? Just this once, just for the hell of it, let me save you. You have to trust me, Clara. I'm real. Just one more step.
She manages to reach him, and nearly collapses into his arms. The white column reappears. But just as The Doctor prepares to take her back through it, Clara sees a man standing a few feet away, his back to them:

Clara asks who he is, but The Doctor says "never mind" and tries to distract Clara from the stranger. Clara insists, and finally, The Doctor tells her:
DOCTOR: He's me. There's only me here, that's the point. Now let's get back.
CLARA: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you. You're the eleventh Doctor.
DOCTOR: I said he was me. I never said he was the Doctor.
CLARA: I don't understand.
DOCTOR: Look, my name, my real name, that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, it's like, it's like a promise you make. He's the one who broke the promise.
(Clara faints.)
DOCTOR: Clara? Clara? Clara!
(The Doctor picks up Clara in his arms.)
DOCTOR: He is my secret.
The stranger then speaks up, and The Doctor responds:
NOT DOCTOR: What I did, I did without choice.
DOCTOR: I know.
NOT DOCTOR: In the name of peace and sanity.
DOCTOR: But not in the name of the Doctor. 
The Doctor then turns away, Clara in his arms, back toward the white glowing column, looking somewhat disgusted. As he does, the stranger turns around, and we see an old, bearded man, dressed in simple clothes, who looks at the camera. As he does, text appears:

And with this cliffhanger, the episode ends, followed by a card that reads, "To Be Continued, November 2013" (referring to the 50th Anniversary Special).

Honestly, you should just watch that last scene. I don't think I probably did it justice describing it. Normally, I wouldn't post clips from actual episodes here, just teasers or trailers (cause I'd rather you watched the episodes via legal means) but since BBC America posted this video, I suppose it's all right to share:

Overall, a great and satisfying finale, and worth watching more than once (you really should, because I was confused out of my mind after the first time I watched it). Makes me excited for the upcoming Anniversary Special (which will clearly be "Part 2" of this story, as I mentioned at the beginning), and what it might reveal. Especially about this mysterious "John Hurt Doctor" (who has since been revealed to be a Doctor between 8 and 9).

This episode is more poignant now, actually, because, as you may have heard, Matt Smith is leaving the show. Given that the next two episodes he'll be in are both specials - the 50th Anniversary Special and the 2013 Christmas Special - "The Name of the Doctor" is his last normal episode as The Doctor. And what an episode to end his career as The Doctor on. Well, in terms of normal episodes I mean, ones that aren't specials. I mean, it's a whammy of an episode, so full of drama and suspense and feels, with so many well-written scenes - and Matt Smith pulls it off brilliantly. As our local sportscaster Jerry Coleman likes to say, "You can hang a star on that one, baby!"

Steven Moffat wrote this episode, as I mentioned before that he would. I'm glad he handed off "The Crimson Horror" to Mark Gatiss so he could focus on "The Bells of Saint John" and this episode. The two connect in several ways (the famous "I don't know where I am" line pops up again, for one). And like I said, there are many well-written scenes in here -- which is why I think I included so many quotes. The dialogue really speaks for itself here. (No pun intended). Moffat has done himself proud on this episode for sure.

So...finally, after long last...I have completed this analysis. Which has been months in the writing, because I started it then kinda abandoned it halfway through. My bad. (If the post sounds disjointed, this is why). Anyway, enjoy it now that it is done. Fantastic, Allons-y, Geronimo!

My next new episode to analyze will be the Anniversary Special, obviously, but I won't be idle. I still have Series 3-6 of New Who to catch up on -- which I want to do by the anniversary -- plus I have some Classic Who episode posts yet to write, and will likely write more as time goes by. So as I watch those, I will post analyses of them. Once I get caught up with New Who, I will focus on Classic Who catchup and on the new episodes yet to come -- the 50th Anniversary Special, the 2013 Christmas Special, and the upcoming Series 8, starring Jenna-Louise Coleman (or rather, Jenna Coleman, as she goes by now) as Clara Oswald alongside the as-yet-unannounced Twelfth Doctor, which according to BBC One, is coming next year:

Till next time!

Doctor Who pictures from GRANDECAPS. Quotes from The Doctor Who Transcripts.

Subscribe to Tardis Thoughts!

Thanks for visiting TARDIS Thoughts! If you like what you've read, you can subscribe to the blog via an RSS reader or e-mail, using the links below, to keep following it. You can also add the blog to your Technorati favorites using the button at the bottom of this section, and help spread the word about the blog!

 Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe by Email

Add to Technorati Favorites

Next Doctor Who Episode

Doctor Who Series 8

Premiering Autumn 2014

Doctor Who Official on Tumblr