Doctor Who Christmas Special Review: The Time of The Doctor


by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)


It’s been a week since the Doctor Who Christmas special aired and I’m still not over it. I didn’t realize I was so attached to Matt Smith until I wept the last 20 minutes of the episode. It was brutal. But before the tears, a lot went on.

Truthfully, I thought the plot’s basic premise was a little complicated; however, I see why it was what it was. Every reference needed to be just so for Smith’s final episode. Callbacks abounded, including references to Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, The Silence, fish fingers and custard, and Trenzalore. Ah yes, Trenzalore.

In the episode, the Doctor is tasked with protecting a town called Christmas on the planet that is said to be his final resting place. The Time Lords are trying to peek through the crack in time, proving the events in the 50th anniversary special were successful. The Doctor’s aforementioned enemies are surrounding Trenzalore and Tasha Lem, the Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe, is keeping them out.

When The Doctor realizes the crack has followed him to Trenzalore, he knows he has no other choice but to stay with the people of Christmas and protect them from attacks for 300 years. Lem tells him that if he speaks his name to the universe, the other Time Lords will reappear and thus start another Time War.

In his waiting and defending, he actually grows old. That’s one of my gripes with the episode – it was Smith’s last one so why did he have to be in old age makeup for most of it?  I wish he could have just looked like himself for his final turn as The Doctor.

He also tricks Clara (twice!) into leaving him behind. But when she returns to him at last, he explains he can’t regenerate anymore – given Ten’s two regenerations and counting the War Doctor, he is technically Thirteen. Clara can’t and won’t let this be the end for him, though, and appeals to those on the other side of the crack by saying to it, “His name is The Doctor. All the name he needs, everything you need to know about him, and if you love him – and you should – help him.”

Just as The Doctor is about to take a last stand against his foes, the crack appears in the sky, raining down regeneration on him. After he defeats his opponents, Clara goes to find him and it looks like his regeneration has already taken place. But it hasn’t, not before the two can say a proper goodbye.

And this is where the waterworks started.

He tells her, “I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.” At that, I couldn’t help but know that line was written not only for The Doctor but for Smith himself as well.

What made the tears worse was when he imagined Amy Pond on the TARDIS with him one last time. She looked so happy to see him, called him “Raggedy Man,” and told him goodnight. With that – and with his bowtie gone – Peter Capaldi suddenly appeared, new kidneys and all.

And I continued to cry for another half an hour or so.

I just can’t believe Smith’s time is over. His five years on the show were filled with ups and downs, but he was always great in the role. While this episode’s plot is not necessarily what I would have chosen for his last time filling The Doctor’s shoes, he was wonderful – and Jenna Coleman wasn’t so bad herself. If her brief interaction with Capaldi at the end is anything to go by, their new partnership should be an exciting one.

What did you think of the episode? Did you find it as emotional as I did? Has it taken you a week to process everything (again, like me)? Was it a fitting end for Matt Smith or did the slightly convoluted plot bog things down a bit? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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