STORY 244: THE TIME OF THE DOCTOR
With The Time of The Doctor, at least two things are certain. One, this 'trilogy' (The Name/Day/Time of The Doctor), or as I call it, 'the lazy way to title stories' has finally come to an end. Two, Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor is No More.
Put this under the 'thank God for small favors' department.
The Time of The Doctor is simply not just a mess, not even a disaster. It's a chaotic, insulting and crushing end to simply the worst Doctor in the series' history, one that even he did not deserve.
A message is being sent throughout space from a mysterious planet. This planet is surrounded by all sorts of aliens, and the Doctor (Matt Smith), with the aid of a Cyberman head he calls 'Handles' (Kayvan Novak) attempts to find out what the planet and the message is. There is a quarantine on the planet which even the TARDIS cannot break through. Wouldn't you know it, at this exact time Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman...I still use the 'Louise') is in need of a boyfriend for Christmas, having invented one to her family.
Side note: I thought only closeted lesbians were in need of 'inventing boyfriends' to their families. Not that, if the dialogue is to be believed, the Doctor has 'invented a boyfriend' himself, though I think he means android, at least I think that's what he meant. Hard to say given the same-sex bestiality of Madame Vastra and Jenny. In any case, I digress.
When he arrives, Clara rushes into the TARDIS to see the Doctor completely naked! Why is he naked? Because he's going to Church. Why does he seem oblivious to the fact that he is complete nude in front of anyone, let alone a woman? Well, in a nutshell, it's because the Eleventh Doctor is either a total idiot or clinically insane, not a quirky insane, but in a 'posing a danger to himself and others' insane. The Doctor and Clara hop between her family (who are at the very least puzzled as to why Clara's 'boyfriend' is to them completely naked but to Clara fully dressed) and the TARDIS. Handles now identifies this planet.
It is Gallifrey, The Doctor's lost world.
The Doctor refuses to accept it is Gallifrey (despite having set as his goal in The Day of The Doctor to search for his home world, a mere month ago). Now they encounter the Papal Mainframe, the first ship that arrived on 'Gallifrey' and which put the quarantine and can get them through it. Tasha Lem (Orla Brady), the Mother Superious, beckons them enter (which does require them to appear nude, though we are spared more actual nudity).
|He really didn't need to reveal all...|
The signal comes from a clock tower on this planet in this town. Here, no one can tell a lie due to a truth field, here in this town called Christmas. Yes, Virginia, the town is called 'Christmas'. The clock tower reveals all: the crack in time we first encountered in The Eleventh Hour and which reveal a shocking secret. The message in Gallifreyan is decoded. The Message is "Doctor Who?" Sadly, Handles analysis broadcasts the Question to every ship waiting out above this mysterious planet. He also learns the name of the planet with the town called Christmas.
It is Trenzalore, where he is destined to die. Moreover, should he reveal his name (and given the truth field, he has no choice), the Time Lords will emerge and the Time War begin again.
|The kick is good...|
All sorts of aliens manage to get through: Sontarans, Weeping Angels, even a wooden Cybermen, a wooden Cyberman who unleashes fire. The Doctor defeats them all as he grows older. After a 300 year wait on Trenzalore, Clara and the TARDIS finally get back to Christmas. The Doctor takes Clara up to the clock tower to see the brief Christmas sunrise but Wilson, I mean Handles, finally breaks down. We also learn that rather than being the Eleventh Doctor, he is actually the Thirteenth. The 'War Doctor' was Regeneration Number 9, and whom we once thought the Tenth actually was the Eleventh AND Twelfth, his quasi-regeneration in Journey's End Parts I and II (The Stolen Earth/Journey's End) counting. Hence, he who was once the Eleventh is now (by Moffian fiat) the Thirteenth and final Doctor, having come to the end of his regeneration cycle and thus doomed to die permanently.
In what must have been yet another confab with Tasha Lem, we learn that those aboard, like the Silence and even Tasha are actually dead and basically Daleks in drag. Despite Tasha saying that she is dead, Tasha somehow pushes the Dalek within her back long enough to kill the other Daleks and allow the Doctor and Clara a chance to escape.
And finish cooking the Christmas turkey they put in the TARDIS console.
Despite his promise to never send her away again, the bird literally ends up holding the bird when he dumps her back at her parents...again!
Guess Clara doesn't get the hint that the Doctor is just not that into her.
Now there is all-out war on Trenzalore where all the Doctor's enemies battle it out in Christmas, with only the Daleks left rolling to fight the Church of the Mainframe. Clara is at home with her family at Christmas, moping over the Doctor (as all women are apt to do). Fortunately, the TARDIS materializes and she whisks herself off yet again, to see Tasha Lem piloting the TARDIS!
In the Battle of Christmas, Clara beholds a decrepit Doctor, sitting in front of the crack. The Daleks demand he emerge, and he shuffles up the clock tower, deciding to sacrifice himself and meet his final end. Clara, however, goes to the crack in the wall, pleading with the Time Lords to spare him, telling them his name is "The Doctor". From the sky the crack emerges and sends out regenerative energy, which allows him to have such power that he literally blows up the Dalek mothership with the regeneration energy.
The Doctor, now restored to his younger self, bids farewell to both Clara and a vision of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), and then a quick facelift. The new Doctor (Peter Capaldi) comments about how he doesn't like his kidneys colors before asking an incredulous Clara one question: "Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?"
The Time of The Doctor is the perfect embodiment of what the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat Era has been to Doctor Who: a massive pile of shit. The Time of The Doctor is the After Earth of Doctor Who: a hopelessly idiotic vanity project that fails spectacularly to achieve anything good but is an embarrassment to all involved.
The best example of how The Time of The Doctor is a vanity project for writer/showrunner Steven Moffat is when Tasha Lem informs the Doctor of the breakaway sect that "engineered a psychopath to kill you". His reply? "Totally married her. I'd never have made it here alive without River Song". Song has been extremely divisive: some think her as this great Doctor Who icon, some see her as a monstrous character. I fall squarely in the latter, detesting her ever since I saw her, not in Forest in the Library Parts I & II (Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead) but in The Time of Angels Parts I & II (The Time of Angels/Flesh and Bone). With little bit of dialogue, Moffat sticks it to the River-haters by having the Doctor credit her with being vital to his life. He even manages to go one more, by throwing in Tasha Lem, a River Song clone in all but name.
Tasha and River are cut from the same cloth, so much so that even the most casual Doctor Who viewer cannot miss the parallels between them. Both carry this oddly flirtatious, almost brazenly sexual banter with the Doctor. Both basically attempt to have sex with the Doctor (and the Doctor appearing both pleased and a bit frightened, like a virgin in Reno). Both apparently can fly the TARDIS, something once reserved exclusively for Time Lords (The Doctor, his granddaughter, Romana, and the Doctor's Time Lord enemies like the Meddling Monk, the Master, and the Rani). We can even thrown in the fact that technically, both are dead.
However, having seen The Time of The Doctor twice now, I am astonished that, even given the low IQ of the NuWhovian, the ridiculous plot holes and questions The Time of The Doctor has are not questioned by them.
Trenzalore has an impenetrable shield...that the Weeping Angels could get through. The Doctor picks up a Cyberman head that acts like a cross between the Angels in Voyage of the Damned and K-9 exactly why? He couldn't find information the old-fashioned way...Wikipedia? WHY is there a town called Christmas where apparently it always snows and people dress like they all came from Scandinavia?
|I'm bald now. Baldness Is Cool...|
When Clara sensibly asks how can a town be called Christmas, the Doctor rapidly replies, "How an island be called Easter?"
I'll field that question. Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as the inhabitants call it, was sighted by Europeans on Easter morning 1722 and thus christened 'Easter Island'. The ball is in your court, Moff.
Again and again Moffat shows either his contempt or his shockingly lack of coherent storytelling by putting things in that make no sense in the first place, then never bothering to answer things.
Tasha Lem can fly the TARDIS? How? The Daleks have taken over the Papal Mainframe and are masquerading as Tasha Lem or the Silence. How then can the Dalek-as-Silence continue to have the power to make people forget? Moreover, is Tasha actually dead or alive?
The answer to that one must be that Tasha Lem, River Song substitute, is alive OR dead depending on Moffat's whim. If she is dead, and the Dalek inside her controlling her, how can a dead person come back to life to kill off the other Daleks and save the Doctor and Clara? How does a dead person be conscious of the fact that, as she put it, "The Dalek inside me is waking".
I confess to bursting out laughing at this particular line. "The Dalek inside me is waking." I thought I'd heard all sorts of idiotic things on Doctor Who these past few years: "Bow ties/fezzes/Stetsons are cool", "Hello sweetie", "Spoilers", "I blew'em up with love", but "The Dalek inside me is waking" certainly ranks up there with being astonishing in its idiocy.
Moffat tries to get the emotions going with characters like Barnable (Jack Hollington), this 'adorable' little boy from Christmas who looks up to The Doctor, or with Handles, the head of a Cyberman. However, we can't feel for these characters because there is no actual connection between the Doctor and anyone else apart from Clara. Throwing in an 'adorable' little boy does not equate having a relationship between the two of them that we can feel anything for or about. Given Barnacle and the Doctor were never shown building a lifelong relationship or indicating anything other than misguided hero worship I as a viewer couldn't care less about little Barnacle.
Even worse is Handles (typical idiotic nickname). Despite Murray Gold's score trying desperately to pull at my heartstrings, I cannot bring myself to cry over a metal head finally wearing down. At least with Castaway's Wilson (the most obvious inspiration), there was a connection between Tom Hanks and the volleyball through Hanks' interaction with it. Try, try, try, anyone crying over Handles (and I imagine quite a few NuWhovians did), I found the whole thing dragging.
As a side note, shouldn't Murray Gold just retire and give the music to someone else?
Moffat also throws things in for the spectacle of the thing, but never bothers to answer the questions he poses. I've already mentioned some things that don't make sense, but let's throw in some more. The subplot with the Oswalds is irrelevant to The Time of The Doctor. Let's leave aside how derivative this whole thing is of Bad Wolf Parts I & II (Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways), right down to how the Doctor tricked Rose...I mean, Clara...into going in the TARDIS and back to Earth only to have her rescue him. Let's also leave aside how Clara pleading with the Time Lords to save the Doctor is reminiscent to Martha's "I DO believe in Doctors, I DO, I DO!" business in Vengeance of the Master Part III (The Last of the Time Lords).
What true purpose did the Oswalds play in the story? They popped in at the beginning to showcase bad comedy, and then near the end to do what, exactly? Given the Oswalds, unlike the Tylers, the Moffs-Nobles, or even the Ponds/Williamses, were never part of Doctor Who, why bother throwing them in now?
What The Time of The Doctor really was was a showcase to show off Matt Smith, who gives yet another overdone, overblown performance. He couldn't resist one final monologue at the end when he defeats the Daleks ("I blew'em up with regeneration"), and there was Smith, hamming it up with gusto and lousy make-up. He was so relishing the chance to get a spectacular send-off that poor Peter Capaldi got the shortest regeneration in the show's history (NuWho AND Classic). Just a quick face change and voila, a new Doctor. Whether he is now the Twelfth, Thirteenth, or even Fourteenth Doctor (thanks to another lousy deus ex machina that played like parody...the trapped Time Lords sending new regenerative powers to the Doctor after he declared Canon the "War Doctor" and the abortive Tennant regeneration being two previous regenerations) remains to be seen, but no matter how you cut it Capaldi's regeneration scene was a slap in the face to which to welcome him.
What is highly amusing to me is how NuWhovians, who did contortions that a Chinese acrobat would look at in envy, attempted to say how Smith was still the Eleventh Doctor with elaborate counting systems or that the "War Doctor" was not a real regeneration because he called himself the "War Doctor" rather than just plain Doctor; when Moffat said Smith was still the Eleventh they said the same thing. NuWhovians would also go on about how the Doctor could go past the Twelve Regeneration Rule established in The Deadly Assassin by harping about how River "gave up her remaining regenerations to the Doctor". Now they meekly go back to their online forums to deny what they had been repeating as Scripture only a month ago in order to fit into Moffat's own nutty bastardization of the Doctor Who world. After enduring NuWhovian nonsense about how we, who argued that Smith couldn't be the Eleventh Doctor given the events of The Day of The Doctor (I won't even get into that quasi-regeneration business with Tennant), were all wrong, were all stupid, were all incapable of understanding the genius of "The Moff" (and by extension, theirs), now contradict themselves to keep the logical inconsistency Doctor Who stories have become.
In short, the fact that they cannot or will not grasp how nothing in this so-called The (Blank) of The Doctor trilogy makes sense on any level says more about a.) how utterly demolished Doctor Who has become under 'The Moff' and b.) how utterly inept and witless NuWho fans truly are.
|Wooden Cyberman: an oxymoron.|
Time of The Doctor: from a moron.
Let's be frank: The Time of The Doctor is nonsense from beginning to end. Naked Doctors? Why? Wooden Cybermen? Who came up with that idea? Did the Cybemen think that a version of themselves made out of wood, complete with FLAME THROWER, made any sense? Besides, weren't all the Cybermen destroyed in Nightmare in Silver? Is a wooden Cyberman really a Cyberman, given Cybermen are humans who have been technically modified? If Smith is the actual Thirteenth, where oh where did the Valeyard, the amalgamation of the Doctor's dark side who comes between the Twelfth and final regeneration go?
Oh, yes, that's from the Classic Era, and no NuWhovian (or Moffat) really care about THAT! How is something between An Unearthly Child and Survival relevant to Doctor Who anyway?
Brady is basically doing an Alex Kingston as River Song impersonation and the script doesn't give her anything to hold onto. In terms desirous and enraged by the Doctor, there is no sense in why she does anything: why she admires his nude body, why she rages against his keeping Christmas safe. Coleman continues to play Clara as a typical NuWho female Companion, one forever pining after the Doctor. While it's good to know she went from nanny to English teacher I can't for the life of me figure out why Coleman struggles to make Clara interesting. Smith by now has become so entrenched with his 'Doctor As Idiot' that it's not really even worth commenting on how bad he was. The make-up and walking stick, which I figure was there in part to make his Doctor more 'distinguished' merely served to point out how weak his Doctor eventually devolved to. No make-up in the world makes up for teaching children 'The Drunk Giraffe'.
The Time of The Doctor is a big, loud, overblown piece of trash, appealing only to people who can't be bothered to look past the pretty colors and naked bodies to see that it holds no logic within itself, let alone with its The (Blank) of The Doctor alleged trilogy, and let alone within the eight years NuWho has been on.
If Peter Capaldi is not allowed to make The Doctor a more serious, stable, rational, and intelligent hero, if he continues down the road Smith and Moffat created, then without a doubt The Time of The Doctor is up.
|What Would Pertwee Say?|
Next Episode: Deep Breath