Friday 27 December 2013

The Time of the Doctor

I watched this episode with my father. He's not a regular watcher of Doctor Who and he was very confused. Although I follow the show, I was almost as confused myself. This was a confusing muddle of a story. This story really jumps around, moving from one scene to another and introducing a muddle of plot threads and continuity references. It was really hard to follow.

There was a lot of silliness and clowning around in the first half of the story. The scene with the Doctor naked was embarassing. The stuff about Dr. Who and Clara being naked in the church beneath their holograms seemed odd too. Why have characters naked if you are not going to show it? It felt pointless.

It was difficult to feel anything about the Doctor's apparent impending death when we knew Peter Capaldi was going to show up. This episode established that Matt Smith was playing the 13th Doctor and in principle, the 'last Doctor.' We all knew the problem of the Doctor's final regeneration was hanging in store for a future producer. However, Moffat has made the odd decision to fix circumstances so the problem is his own burden. This smacks a little of egotism, not to mention his usual over-indulgence in puzzle-box plotting.

It turns out that Time Lords can destroy Dalek spaceships when they regenerate, which makes for a convenient conclusion. It also turns out that the Time Lords have the power to grant a whole new life cycle of regenerations, which makes it difficult to understand why Borusa was after imm-mortality back in The Five Doctors. I always thought the reason the High Council was able to offer the Master a new life cycle was because he had become a Trakenite through his posession of Tremas' body.

The Time of the Doctor faces the ultimate problem of the over-use of epic storylines. Every season finale has to be big and epic; the anniversary special had to be big and epic and now the Christmas special attempts to offer a grand cosmic opera. The more the production team deliver these grandiose cosmic dramas, the smaller and more mundane the Doctor Who universe feels. The Doctor has already destroyed and re-created the universe, making him in effect a god. There is simply no direction Doctor Who can go in now without looking utterly crass.


  1. Oh, The Time of the Doctor was utter trash from beginning to end. I feel for Capaldi, because if he isn't allowed to right the ship then Doctor Who will continue to be embarrassing, appealing only to NuWho fans who simply cannot think (or think for themselves).

  2. I agree with your sentiment here, Matthew. It was all continuity and no plot. Once you know what all the twists are there's nothing to enjoy... and the twists aren't that enjoyable to begin with.

    1. Absolute trash. I started off as a NuWho fan (with series two as my first) and went back and fell in love with the classics. I was shocked when the credits finally rolled that the show has been allowed to get like this.

      I dearly hope Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman get some better scripts next year.

    2. Woops, accidentally posted this as a reply rather than a comment on its own. Just ignore it.

    3. It was an awful episode. Thanks for dropping by.