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'Doctor Who' Season 7 Finale: 'The Name Of The Doctor'

Posted: 05/19/2013 1:49 pm

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 7, Episode 13 of BBC America's "Doctor Who," titled "The Name of the Doctor."

Woah. You know what? I'm not even going to bother with an attempt at a real introduction here, because the last five minutes of the episode were pretty heavy and that's what I really want to talk about. So here is the quickest recap ever:

The Great Intelligence (utilizing the form of Dr. Simeon) kidnaps Jenny, Vastra and Strax with the help of his Whisper Men (pretty freaky looking eyeless things which I hope we do and don't see again) and takes them to Trenzalore, the one place the Doctor should never visit because that's where his grave is. As we all know, the one rule of time-travel is that you should never cross your own timestream, meaning this action is bound to have dire consequences. Since the Doctor will always save his friends, he and Clara go to Trenzalore where they are forced to enter the Doctor's tomb, which is actually the TARDIS. Inside they find the Doctor's timeline, a shiny tangled web of everything the Doctor has ever been. In order to destroy him and every good deed he's ever committed, the GI enters the mass of lights and begins to wreak havoc across the universe. Galaxies and relationships are being destroyed as the Doctor writhes in pain on the floor, dying. In order to save him, Clara enters the Doctor's timestream, causing her to be torn into a million pieces, living and dying multiple times to fulfill the sole purpose of saving the Doctor. With the Doctor restored, he jumps into his timestream to find Clara. Amidst the chaos of his being, the Doctor and Clara are reunited, but they also come face to face with the other Doctor, the version that broke the promise and performed works "not in the name of the Doctor." And there you have it folks, the set-up for the 50th Anniversary special.

I've mentioned that I've thought the second-half of this series was uneven, unable to find its footing. Other fans and critics have been claiming that show runner Steven Moffat is destroying the series and although I wouldn't go that far, I'll agree that innovation has been in short supply these last eight episodes. Clara in particular has been criticized for being just another cute, feisty companion (even if people find her likable). And although discovering her mysterious origins has played a big part in these recaps, it bothered me that something felt off. Could the point of season 7.2 really just have been about finding out who Clara was? It seemed ... trite.

But now it seems that Clara's mysterious origins have been a red herring to distract us from the bigger picture that Moffat's been creating. For the past two seasons, usually through a line uttered by Amy or River or someone else, we've been told that the Doctor is dark. He keeps secrets. He's a madman who should never travel alone for too long. Throughout his entire history, he has accumulated the blood of several civilizations on his hands, including the destruction of Gallifrey during the Time Wars. Sure, he's our hero, but not everyone in the universe feels that way about him. So now, at the very end of a stunning and brilliant finale, the Doctor is finally confronted with the secret that he has always kept away from his companions (and us).

So honestly: is it November yet? Because that special is going to be amazing.

Random notes:

Just in case you needed clarification for any rumors you might've read, John Hurt is NOT the new Doctor. According to this article from ScreenRant, Matt Smith has signed on for season eight of "Doctor Who," which will begin taping at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Speaking of Matt Smith, he's done an incredible job as the Doctor this season. How could we have ever doubted him? This is the guy who makes us laugh over fish sticks and custard, but then breaks our hearts when he's losing his friends. He is amazing.

Even though they're a bit cheesy, I love the River Song and Doctor scenes. Sure, they're melodramatic but ultimately compelling, and how can you not love River? She shamelessly turns tea into champagne.

If you want to give yourself a refresher course on all things "Doctor Who" before it returns in November, check out Who-Ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany. It contains all sorts of stories, facts and figures from the show's entire history and will be available in the States on June 11, 2013.

So let me be honest about Clara's revelation as the "Impossible Girl" who has always saved the Doctor: I'll accept it as so many other timey-wimey things that happen in this series, but it feels slightly sacrilegious. Sure, it was fun seeing Clara pop up in the archival footage, but it's a pretty big development to say that Clara's been around since the beginning. And I'm talking the William Hartnell beginning here and not just the reboot beginning. I really like Clara but Moffat could've said she was the offspring of the Tooth Fairy and Bigfoot, and I would've been like whatever, that's cool and less controversial. So how do you feel about the Clara reveal? Let us know in the comments!

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