Doctor Who: The Name of The Doctor Review

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By Will Barber – Taylor

Clara receives a letter summoning her to a mysterious meeting, where she is given a message for the Doctor. The meaning is uncertain, but when an enemy strikes the Time Lord is left with no choice but to travel to the one place in time and space he should never go – into a deadly trap that threatens to unravel his past, present and future.

The Name of The Doctor, even the title of this story is controversial. Most fans gasped when they discovered what the series finale of Series 7 would be called. However, they did not expect the eventual reveal, that John Hurt would be playing The Doctor, or a version of The Doctor. The truth seems confused and most likely we won’t get know everything until the 50th Anniversary special. What we can gleam from the episode is interesting enough though.

The story begins with Clara flying through a weird CGI tunnel in the pre credits. Through this odd tunnel we see clips from previous episodes of Doctor Who. Going from the narration we discover that Clara knows even less than us. We soon cut into the actual episode. Things are going on in Victorian London that come to the attention of Vastra, Jenny and Strax. It turns out a convict called Clarence knows about “The Doctor’s Greatest Secret”. Deciding not to call the Timelord (like, you know, sensible people would in that situation.) they decide instead to drink some weird tea which sends then into a mystic time vortex. How the hell does this make any sense? Seeing as Vastra, River Song and Clara are separated by hundreds of years, how did the packages get to them so quickly? Or did Vastra send them forward in time? Surely by that logic then she could simply send herself forward in time and not bother with the whole tea thing.

After this weird sequence, we get to finally see The Doctor. When told about Trenzalore he begins to cry and weep. Have we missed something? The last time Trenzalore was mentioned he didn’t have a clue what it was yet now he know exactly what it is and what is means for him. We are soon on our jolly way to Trenzalore which is where the story finally gets going.

Arriving at Trenzalore, The Doctor and Clara witness some wonderful imagery. The set designers have gone all out with Trenzalore, the battered graves; the dying TARDIS and the wonderfully darkened sky. It then gets ruined by the appearance of The Great Intelligence. The appearances of the GI don’t really make any sense. If The Snowmen had been a one off story that would have been fine, however, the fact that Moffat is determined to sledgehammer in some form of weak arc when one really isn’t needed rather ruins it. Series Seven, Part One worked fine without any arc so why the need of one here?

Soon however we get into the decaying TARDIS. After more talking, The Great Intelligence is shredded throughout the Doctor’s timeline and somehow manages to kill him at every single point in his life (don’t ask how this is possible, just go with it). Clara, realising that the only solution is to fling herself into the time stream randomly warns The Doctor at different points in his timeline. Not try and actually stop The Great Intelligence. No, just warn him or try to get his attention.

After lots of faffing around with “the most important leaf in creation” we finally get to the moment everyone has waited for – the reveal of The Doctor’s big secret. Unlike the rest of the episode this scene is actually incredibly well executed both script wise and wonderfully directed. With an interesting cliff-hanger, Series Seven, Part Two comes to an end. This story is in a way fitting for Matt Smith’s last regular series appearance as The Doctor and reflects his era rather well – bizarre, like a dark fairy tale and very confusing.

The Name of The Doctor is not really a story more of a long winded piece of mythology. Moffat seems able to come up with good ideas, The Doctor’s tomb, a “Hidden Doctor” and a companion shattered throughout time. However, he does not seem able to execute them in a lineal, straight forward manner. His concept of story creation seems more like throwing paint randomly at a canvass and then patting himself on the back for being so clever. Maybe before Matt Smith leaves he will discover how to write again. Maybe.

DOCTOR WHO RETURNS

23RD OF NOVEMBER 2013

 

 

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One response to “Doctor Who: The Name of The Doctor Review

  1. Pingback: Audition Script For The 12th Doctor | The Consulting Detective·

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