Were you sad to lose Eleven or happy to see Twelve? Yeah, me too. I thought I’d make this review-thing of “The Time of the Doctor” different from my typical reviews in that it’s a list. Specifically, a list of predictions I made, with notes about what actually happened.
I am not very good at predictions.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Prediction: The Weeping Angels from “The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone” are the ones from the special – they went through a crack in time! Not everything from the cracks disappears, it seems. Amy still vaguely remembered her parents, for example. So if that didn’t operate as it should, maybe the Angels were sent through the cracks elsewhere.
Reality: This would’ve been a great way to connect various stories together, but it didn’t happen. I’m not sure why the Angels were in the special, honestly. They didn’t zap Clara back in time or even have much of a role after that minute in the snow. Every time the Angels appear, they get less and less scary.
Prediction: Vastra, Jenny, and Strax will be in the episode.
Reality: I think every story needs an adorable lesbian couple and their pet potato. Evidently Steven Moffat disagrees.
Prediction: River shows up! Maybe she’s with Eleven when he regenerates and is horrified afterwards because he’s not “her Doctor” anymore.
Reality: I think Eleven’s regeneration scene would have had a bigger impact if she’d been there. Instead, Clara was. Clara, who barely knows him. Amy Pond had a surprising cameo but I felt even that should’ve been done differently. I wanted Amelia – little Amy – there. I wanted a scene like the one in “The God Complex” where Eleven says he’s not a hero and he ran away with her because she was the first face he saw in that regeneration. It would’ve been very sweet. Also, Tasha Lem was so similar to River that my brother is convinced she’s a future regeneration. I think Moffat just sucks at writing unique characters, personally. If we’re going to see someone River-ish, just give us River! Let her be her own person and stop making all the characters the same.
Prediction: Eleven will regenerate to avoid being fully converted into a Cyberman.
Reality: Instead, he had a pet Cyberman head that got more character development in one episode than Clara has in one series. Sigh. I was certain his regeneration was hinted at in “Nightmare in Silver,” when he fought to get rid of his partial conversion. This would have been terrifying – and a lot more interesting than what we got, where it felt like nothing had high stakes.
Prediction: Eleven will die like Five, hurt early on but still struggling through to save the day.
Reality: This could’ve gone hand in hand with my Cyberman theory. Instead, I’m not totally sure why Eleven died. Old age, I guess? And speaking of old age, why did he look noticeably older? He’s lived for hundreds of years in other episodes without developing wrinkles and gray hair.
Prediction: When Eleven regenerates, we’ll hear either the best, most grandiose version of “I Am The Doctor” ever, or “The Long Song” because he’s finally at peace when he dies.
Reality: OH MY GALLIFREY THEY DID THEY ACTUALLY DID. “I Am The Doctor” was heard only once, I believe, but they played “The Long Song.” Eeeeee. Murray Gold, you are a genius. It was the perfect piece and one of only two times I got emotional. (The other was when the Doctor took off his bow tie. I thought he would stubbornly, childishly hold on to that until the end but he didn’t. Sniffle.)
As you can see, I would have written “The Time of the Doctor” quite differently. Every Christmas special I’ve seen (which is all of them except for the one in 2010) has been ridiculous, so I didn’t have huge hopes for this one. I thought it would be cheesy.
But I can deal with cheesy. This was just plain bad. I think we can all agree that even if we don’t like a certain version of the Doctor, he should get a chance for a decent last hurrah, a good regeneration episode. Maybe “The End of Time” is super-emotional, but at least it had a decent plot, good pacing, and well-written characters.
This is one of my least favorite Moffat episodes, which is a shame. Yes, he tied up all the loose ends from as far back as “The Eleventh Hour,” but I can’t say there were any particularly brilliant plot twists or even any emotional depth – I watched the Christmas special thinking, “Oh. Whatever.” He can write amazing stuff and I’m always hoping the next episode will bring back his brilliance from earlier series, but it doesn’t happen. Let’s see how he handles the Twelfth Doctor.